Picture of Help! Where are my Sprinkler Valves Located?
One summer after I had moved into my new house I found that the sprinkler system didn't work correctly. I noticed that when the water was not on the sprinkler heads still leaked water. I figured that the values were probably dirty and were not closing properly. So I set out one morning to bleed the values and clean them up as necessary. The only problem is I had no idea where the valves were located. I knew they were under the ground somewhere in my yard. I looked and looked but could not find them. I used a metal detector, probed the ground, everything. Then I had an idea about building the following circuit.

The valves make a clicking noise when their solenoids open and close the water valve. I figured that if I turn the valves on and off (after turning off the water supply) and listen then I might be able to hear the valves operating. The problem is that I didn't have anybody that would stand around flipping the switch on/off while I walked around the yard listening. So I built this circuit and connected it to the sprinkler system. Within two minutes I found the valves and had the leaks all fixed.

Parts List: wire, (AA,AAA,C,D or 9V) batteries, toggle switch, relay, leds, NTE955 timer chip, 1k resistors, 5k resitors, 4k resistor, 100uF capacitor, battery clip or battery pack holder, circuit board.

Step 1: Tools Used For This Project

Picture of Tools Used For This Project
The tools used for this project are as follows:
Digital Multimeter
Soldering Iron
Soldering Flux
Magnifying Glass
Wire Cutters
Wire Stripper
admin6 years ago
This project looks awesome but there isn't enough documentation of you actually making it to be a full Instructable. There are two things which you could do. 1) If you happen to have images of you making your project you can create some more steps, add those additional photos into your Instructable and then republish your Instructable. 2) If you don't have any more pictures of you working on your project, that's ok too. That just means that your project is better suited to be submitted as a slideshow. Your images are already in your library, and you can use the same text that you have already written for your Instructable so it should only take a few minutes to create your slideshow and show the world what you made! Thanks for your submission and let me know if you have any questions along the way.
cstwrt3 years ago
ANyone got a schematic for the thing that has a speaker on it ( I am not sure what its called ) that makes a sound the closer you get to the valve your trying to find. Its basically a detector that magnifies the sound through the speaker like a homing reciever.
junits155 years ago
did you find them?
thb43 (author)  junits155 years ago
It took about two minutes to find all my valves.  Worked great!
smr15 years ago
I found another easy method. Hook up a wire from your turn signal light bulb socket of your car and connect it to each solenoid lead...each time the turn signal goes on, the solenoid will also click ! 
Perhaps not a good idea to use a reed relay to handle the solenoid's current.
thb43 (author)  Callum Snowden6 years ago
They are cheap, fit the specs, and it works. Please teach this amature a thing or two and explain why another relay would be a better choice for this project.
I'm not an amature, I have built many a circuits in my life. I was only saying that the reed relay might not be able to handle the solenoids current, because you might not know the solenoid's current unless you measure it. So if you measured the solenoid's current then chose a suitably rated relay for the job, that's the point I was trying to get across to you.It was only a suggestion.
He was talking about himself.
thb43 (author)  Callum Snowden6 years ago
thanks for the info. Its a good point that the size the relay should be sized to the solenoid's current.
bwpatton16 years ago
Did you ever find your valves? If you did was that the problem?