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Thread: Efficient ways to trace buried sprinker lines?

  1. #16
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    My own observations with the L-rods is to hold them so they can move on their own.

    My body has always been susceptible to static discharge, not sure if that might have some influence on dowsing.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  2. #17
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    The main shutoff valve would be metal. It could be that the grass has grown over the valve box and you just can’t see it. Borrow a metal detector and see if you can find it. That would bring water to your valve manifold.

    you said that you have found one electric valve. How many zones are on the controller? If there are multiple zones, how many low voltage wires are coming out of the controller? You may need to locate more valves. Again, a metal detector would be helpful. Those valves have some metal.
    Last edited by Roger Feeley; 09-18-2020 at 8:44 AM.

  3. #18
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    Good luck. I have been working on my system since I installed it 45 years ago. Straight line sprinkler to sprinkler will work about 75% of the time, but if there is a tee mid-pipe, all bets are off. Most of my pipe failures are a result of tree roots pinching off a line, once they start a small leak, roots will migrate to that source of water and it becomes a real struggle to excavate to a line buried even 9 inches with all of the roots in the area. I found a sawzall with a pruning blade works ok until it dulls. Dowsing seems to be highly dependent on the skill and karma of the individual.

    My golf buddy just got a quote to install a sprinkler system with a lake pump, not a huge lot. $4500. Yikes. That is why I tend to DIY.
    Last edited by Ole Anderson; 09-18-2020 at 8:45 AM.
    NOW you tell me...

  4. #19
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    With only one vale it could be using seqimatic valves downstream. Unlikely, I think FMC quit making them in the early 1970's. I am not sure if a sequimatic valve has any metal in it at all.

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen Tashiro View Post
    Is there a an efficient way to trace the path of buried PVC sprinkler lines?

    At a friend's house, there is an old sprinkler system that nobody knows anything about. The location of the electronic timer and the location of a box in the ground with one electric valve in it are known. The location of the sprinkler heads are known. However it's unknown where the rest of the electric valves are and where the sprinkler lines connect to the main water supply.

    As far as having a sprinkler system, the best solution for my friend is to install a completely new one. However, I wonder how "the pros" go about tracing sprinkler lines when they need to. I might try their methods, just out of curiosity.
    There are tools you can use to follow the wiring from the controller to the valve controlling a zone, basically listening to an oscillator signal.

    Beyond that, you’re assuming a common-sense path connecting the plumbing to the sprinkler heads. “What would the installers have done?” Assuming they weren’t knuckleheads. That’s what you have to go on. You could try to get the original schematic from them, if they were conscientious and still in business. Alternatively, dig around the sprinkler heads and “connect the dots.” Unless they were trying to be mischievously annoying.

    So-called “water dowsing” is a well-known fraud. Good luck with that.

    For the curious: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowsing
    Last edited by Doug Dawson; 09-21-2020 at 8:34 PM.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    ... Alternatively, dig around the sprinkler heads and “connect the dots.” Unless they were trying to be mischievously annoying.
    Or they ran into something underground which required a detour, underground wiring, big rock, old foundation.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Or they ran into something underground which required a detour, underground wiring, big rock, old foundation.
    I would file that under the category of “mischievously annoying”. You can’t always win.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Or they ran into something underground which required a detour, underground wiring, big rock, old foundation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    I would file that under the category of “mischievously annoying”. You can’t always win.
    A couple of weeks ago I had an annoying little rock about an inch high and 4" in diameter in the way of some leveling so I pushed it with the tractor. Not a budge. I ended up digging out a rock about 4' x 2' x 2'.

    The same thing happened maybe 10 years ago when putting in a road and a small rock was about 2" higher than I wanted the grade for drainage. I ended up digging out a rock I so big I couldn't lift it with the skid steer. I had to dig a shelf on one side, dig an access ramp on down into the ground on other side and roll the rock onto the shelf. I repeated this several times, each time filling in the ramp and making a higher shelf. Eventually I rolled the rock into the woods where it sits today. I filed it under "incredibly annoying but way too stubborn to give up." Anyone who wants a large rock can come get it.

    JKJ

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    A couple of weeks ago I had an annoying little rock about an inch high and 4" in diameter in the way of some leveling so I pushed it with the tractor. Not a budge. I ended up digging out a rock about 4' x 2' x 2'.

    The same thing happened maybe 10 years ago when putting in a road and a small rock was about 2" higher than I wanted the grade for drainage. I ended up digging out a rock I so big I couldn't lift it with the skid steer. I had to dig a shelf on one side, dig an access ramp on down into the ground on other side and roll the rock onto the shelf. I repeated this several times, each time filling in the ramp and making a higher shelf. Eventually I rolled the rock into the woods where it sits today. I filed it under "incredibly annoying but way too stubborn to give up." Anyone who wants a large rock can come get it.
    I would have started out with an SDS rotary hammer. Nice tool to have around, particularly the SDS Max units. Shatter that rock. Impose your will upon the gifts of the earth. :^)

    Also useful for trenching, I hear.

  10. #25
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    I used a big rock for a subdivision sign once. We have an abandoned rock quarry, with all sizes of rocks. I had my Wife go pick out a suitable rock, with a nice big, flat side to mount the letters on. I had a guy working with an old Cat 955 loader, and tandem dump truck, that was about as crazy as I am. He could grab the rock with the loader, but he couldn't quite pick it up and keep the tracks on the ground.

    I went to the local store, and got about 8 guys to come and hang onto the back of the 955. He was able to pick the rock up, but it was too big to get all the way in the back of the dump truck. Using all his chains, and binders, and all my chains and binders, we were able to secure it hanging out the back of the big dump truck.

    Fortunately, that subdivision was only a couple of miles from our place, and he made it over there without dropping it. When you are driving up the hill towards where that subdivision is, the rock is sitting right at the top of the hill. You turn left to get into that subdivision right in front of the rock.

    I was developing it to have some where to build spec houses for several years. That was when things were going so crazy in the building business, prices on lots were going crazy too. Long story shortened, I sold the whole subdivision to another builder outfit that was a lot smarter than me, for twice per lot what I was planning to sell them for when I built a house on them. That stone is still sitting there with no sign on it.

    An SDS Max drill will go right on down into Granite, but a rock drill does better.
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  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Dawson View Post
    I would have started out with an SDS rotary hammer. Nice tool to have around, particularly the SDS Max units. Shatter that rock. Impose your will upon the gifts of the earth. :^)

    Also useful for trenching, I hear.
    Yes, I have industrial SDS rotary hammers. Used one just a few days ago to drill in concrete. I've use the chisels in non-rotary mode to cut long channels in concrete for drains.

    However, my latest rock removal was a long way from electrical power. My excavator carries it's own power running on diesel. Digging and removing the rock took only a few minutes while I relaxed in the air conditioned cab and listened to the radio.

    My neighbor was thrilled to get the rock. So far I've given him multiple tons of rocks for landscaping. He loves the way I can set a 1-ton rock down exactly where he wants it.

    JKJ

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