How to Wire Sprinkler Valves to the Timer
It can seem like a difficult task, but it is actually pretty easy if someone tells you how to do it. You will need a pair of wire strippers and a small screwdriver.
Where to Buy the Right Wire
The first step is to buy the right wire. Sprinkler wire is sold at hardware stores and sprinkler supply stores. If you need a lot of wire, it is better to shop at the sprinkler supply store. Sprinkler wire is an 18 gauge wire.
Number of Strands
A strand is the same thing as one wire. You should get one more strand than the number of valves being used. For example, a seven valve system would use an eight stranded wire (eight wires).
There is one solenoid per valve. Each solenoid has two wires already connected to it. Pick one wire from each solenoid and twist them tightly together. It doesn’t matter which solenoid wire you pick.
White Wire or Common Wire
It’s an unwritten rule that the white wire will be the common wire. Stick by this rule to prevent confusion by others working on your system. It’s called common because it is used on all valves. The white wire will be hooked up to the large bundle of solenoid wires. For example, if you have four valves there will be four solenoid wires and one white common wire all hooked together with a wire connector.
Pick your Colors
Once the white wire is connected to one wire from each solenoid, pick any color you wish and connect it with a wire nut to the other solenoid wire. On a four valve system you might pick blue, black, green, and red for each valve and run the white wire to each valve as well. In total, for four valves, you will need five strands of 18 gauge sprinkler wire. Keeping track of colors will help you know which timer station will turn on which valve.
Run the Wire Back to the Clock
Take the wire to the timer. To get wire into the garage, it is helpful to use a hammer drill and some foam sealant around the wire hole.
Hooking Up the Timer
You will need a small screwdriver for most timers. Connect the white wire to the terminal that says C. Connect the colored wires to the additional terminals. It doesn’t matter what order the colored wires are installed. You may want to have the wires in a certain order for your convenience, but it’s not required. For example you may want station 1-3 to be the front yard only.
You will also need to hook up the power. Connect the power pack to the ac terminals. If you are using an outdoor timer, make sure you have a pigtail instead of an ac adapter.
Most contractors use silicone filled wire nuts. The theory is that they keep out water and make the connection last longer. However, many landscapers disagree. The silicone keeps out water but interferes with making a good tight connection. For this reason, we recommend using regular wire nuts. The ultimate wire connection is a regular orange wire nut in a grease filled cap. They are made for direct bury and somewhat over kill for sprinkler boxes, but if you want quality they will do an awesome job.