Author Topic: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?  (Read 3158 times)

EarthBoxAdmin

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Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, johnthomasc3. This user is located in Chapin, SC - Zone 7. This was originally posted on April 4, 2013.

Short of having to keep purchasing new ones, has anyone come up with a solution for the little nipples that keep breaking off on these. I wish Earthbox would just sell the back plate with the 3 screws that has the nipple that keeps breaking, rather than to have to buy the entire sensor, at $14.

Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.  I am a long time Earthbox owner, and would love some suggestions if there are any.  I haven't been to the forum in awhile, and if this has previously been addressed, I apologize.

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 08:46:52 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, minov. This user is located in Central Connecticut - Zone 6. This was originally posted on April 4, 2013.

Agreed!  I will be looking into this in a month when I set up my boxes. The pieces broke off of two of the sensors late last year.

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 08:48:44 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Horticulturalist, over 45 years in the business. The EarthBox Hero Member, kathy. This user is located in the mountains of PA Zone 5, almost 4. This was originally posted on April 4, 2013.

Unfortunately, it isn't EarthBox that won't sell that part, we don't manufacture the AWS, therefore we don't have control of this. We have been trying for several years now to negotiate with the mfg, to start manufacturing this ourselves.

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 08:51:29 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on April 4, 2013.

Prevention is the best option. Here's my advice for new systems:

1- When setting up, use a fairly long length of the 1/8" tubing... at least 2x what you actually need. You may need to order an extra 25' roll.
http://earthbox.com/index.php/earthbox-accessories/aws/replacement-parts/automatic-watering-system-125-1-8-tubing-25-ft.html

2- Don't force the tubing when assembling to the sensor. If you heat it enough, the tubing should slip right onto the nipple without fighting and possibly breaking it off.

3- If/when taking the system down, detach the 1/8" tubing from the supply end rather than the sensor end. The fewer on/off cycles of tubing-to-sensor, the better.

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has anyone come up with a solution for the little nipples that keep breaking off on these?

Kathy-- would the mfgr be willing to sell the back part that has the nipple as a replacement item? At the very least they should be made aware of the breakage problem.

Mickie

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 08:52:16 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, johnthomasc3. This user is located in Chapin, SC - Zone 7. This was originally posted on May 1, 2013.

I appreciate the replies.  I did have to order two more of the sensors.  I will experiment with trying to make my own part where the nipples break off.  I must add that these break off with out anything unusual happening.  Being that I am aware of the situation, I have left some slack to minimize any tension on them, but the nipples apparently break from weathering in the sun.  So, if anyone has attempted their own fix, let me know.  Thanks!  I will be removing all of the sensors after the growing season to keep them away from the elements.

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 08:53:50 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, movrshakr. This user is located in Zone 10a - near Cape Canaveral. This was originally posted on May 1, 2013.

What about duct tape wrap to keep UV off them?

Hey EarthBox.  You might want to talk to the vendor about beefing up the strength of these in future production.

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 08:56:19 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on May 1, 2013.

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I have left some slack to minimize any tension on them, but the nipples apparently break from weathering in the sun.  So, if anyone has attempted their own fix, let me know.

Quote
What about duct tape wrap to keep UV off them?

An easier, cleaner option is aluminum foil: loosely wrap a small square around the sensor head. Easier to remove or replace than tape, and definitely will keep the sensor head cool.

Mickie

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2017, 09:01:24 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, johnthomasc3. This user is located in Chapin, SC - Zone 7. This was originally posted on May 1, 2013.

Ok, I found what I needed at my house and garage.  I had a Mister Landscaper (Lowes) connector that has barbs on two sides.  I cut the one off that left a flat side on the connector.  I then cut off the remaining barb from the AWS sensor that had broken.  I took a file and made sure it was flat and flush.   I then mixed some JB Weld.  I took a small hobby flat head screw driver and put it through the hole of the connector barb.  I put the JB Weld around the edge with a match stick.  I then took the connector already on the screw driver and put the head thru the hole of the AWS sensor.  I pushed the connector with the epoxy onto the AWS, taking care not to let any epoxy get into the hole.  The plastic protrusion on the inside of the sensor has a very very small opening, that is too small to allow the screwdriver to go through (it is a very small screwdriver head).  I twirled the screwdriver around to removed it several times to remove any excess JB Weld.  I wiped off the screwdriver tip and inserted it back and did this several times.  I could hold the repaired AWS sensor side (not put back together) and see light coming thru the entire opening.  I know that water can pass thru.  I just did this so the epoxy has not dried.  I am positive this will work perfectly.  So, I answered my own question and hopefully save you all some money.  With shipping, the sensors (2) was over $30.  The barb connectors can be purchased for $4.60 for 15 of them.  JB Weld is not expensive and I always keep some around the house.  I forget where I got my little screwdriver set, but I bet it was at Lowes Home Improvement.  I have attached pictures to be helpful.

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2017, 09:02:42 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, johnthomasc3. This user is located in Chapin, SC - Zone 7. This was originally posted on May 1, 2013.

Final Picture if you would like to see

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2017, 09:05:07 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, morganmac. This user is located in NW Georgia, Zone 7b. This was originally posted on May 1, 2013.

Looks like it just might work. Keep us posted on how it holds up!

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Re: Has Anyone Found a Way to Fix the Automatic Watering System Sensor?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2017, 09:06:27 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, cushman350. This user is located in Tomato Hell, Wichita Falls, Texas Zone 7b. This was originally posted on May 1, 2013.

Wrenching to remove the hose is too much stress on the fragile part. Extra hose is important because in automotive situations, it's easier to cut the hose off just clear of the nipple, then, with a razor, slit one side of the remaining piece of hose. No wrenching, no breaking. Old stuck radiators hoses come off lots easier this way. But if you haven't allowed for extra length in your tubing, you will run out of hose.