Troubleshooting Controladores - Part I:
Quick Tests to Determine if the Controller is Really the Source of the Problem
The controller is frequently the first component blamed for a malfunctioning irrigation system and sent in for repair. Unfortunately, at least 25% of the time, the controller is returned by the repair facility with "no problem found." However, a minimal amount of testing can help you isolate if the controller is causing the problem and prevent you from needing to change the controller unnecessarily.
Start, of course, by checking the obvious (i.e., is the controller is plugged in, is the water turned on). Then, turn to the most useful tool for troubleshooting controllers: a digital multimeter (DMM). This can be used to verify the primary power and transformer voltage levels are in the correct range, and its resistance function will tell if the field wiring and solenoids are operating properly.
Verify Incoming Voltage Into the Controller
Use the AC voltage feature of the DMM to test for the presence of approximately 22-28 volts coming into the controller from the output side transformer. This is most easily done by touching the two leads from the multimeter to the two AC posts on the controller's terminal strip, after the transformer. On the Hunter ICC controller, if you experience a low reading of voltage (say 11 volts) you should verify you have correctly wired incoming power to the correct wires (the controller will accept either 110V or 220V, but the hookup is different for each). If you do not detect any voltage from the transformer, or only a very low voltage, check the incoming 110/220 volt power and/or further check the transformer using an Ohms resistance test (the Hunter technical services department can provide you information on performing this test). In a vast majority of cases, the transformer will check out OK.
Verify Power to Válvulas from Controller
Using the controller's manual function, activate each zone one at a time and test for voltage output to each zone. You can do this by using the one probe on the common post and the other on the specific station post. To perform this check, the DMM should be set to AC voltage test. You should obtain a reading of at least 20 volts on each station for proper operation (also check the master valve and the wiring for the rain sensor if appropriate).
Sometimes during testing, valve power may not be present on a newly installed module on an ICC controller. If you experience this, make sure you have installed the module properly, disconnecting power to the entire controller prior to installing the module so the controller can re-energize and properly "recognize" that the new module has been added. Instructions for proper installation of station modules are included with the controller.