How to Troubleshoot a Solenoid

Solenoid will not turn on electrically. #

First, you’ll want to test if you can you turn on the valve manually. #

This ensures that water is getting to the valve.

Go to the valve. Turn the solenoid rotation lever counterclockwise ¼ to ½ turn.  Sometimes the solenoid rotation lever sticks out to the side of the solenoid and will have an on-off indication arrow. If your valve doesn’t have a rotation lever, simply rotate the solenoid.

Note: Do not completely unscrew the solenoid or water may spray out the top of the valve where the solenoid was connected. 

If the water turned on, we know it’s not a water source issue.

If your valve still didn’t turn on, your valve is not getting water. You’ll need to check your water source to confirm it is turned on. You can also check that the solenoid bleed port (the hole under the solenoid plunger) is clear of any dirt or debris. Gently insert a toothpick, or something of similar size into the hole.

Now, close the valve by turning the solenoid rotation lever clockwise. Make sure it is hand tight. Note: Do not use any tools for tightening the solenoid. 

Now you’ll need to test the solenoid. #

  1. Turn off the water to the valve(s) from the water source by turning off the main or master valve.
  2. Unwire the solenoid that is not working from the valve.
  3. Take the solenoid to your timer. If your solenoid has an adapter it needs to be removed first do this test

Hook up the solenoid to the timer with one wire to the COM and the other to a Station, it doesn’t matter which wire, the solenoid doesn’t care.

Note which station you connected to the solenoid. You will need to reference it later.

Now, run the timer/controller in manual mode on the station you connected the solenoid to.  Did the solenoid activate?  When the solenoid is activated, the silver plunger is pulled up into the solenoid, so it is flush with the bottom. Did you hear a click or buzzing sound?  If no, then the solenoid needs to be replaced.

If you hear a click or buzzing sound, let’s perform another test.

Locate a multimeter. #

Set it to 200 ohms (ohms is the upside-down horseshoe = Ω). With the solenoid unwired, place one lead from the multimeter, on each wire.

You should get a reading between 24 to 35 ohms.

If less or greater than the range, the solenoid will need to be replaced.

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