Author Topic: Automatic Watering System Not Working  (Read 6169 times)

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Automatic Watering System Not Working
« on: July 06, 2017, 09:28:45 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, k852696. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Having trouble with watering system. The water is not going down the plastic clear tube. but the watering is coming out of the small hole in the bottom the  Sensor head. Thus it is not filling up with water

Can Anybody help me ??

ED

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2017, 09:30:53 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, mjb8743. This user is is located in Zone 7, South NJ, Garden State. This was originally posted on June 22,
2008.


Hi
 I haven't hooked mine up yet, so I'm not sure how they are supposed to pass the water. By hole in the sensor head, do you mean that square hole next to where the clear tube is attached? Is that where the water is coming out? If so, I'm gonna just guess at this...

The AWS works by sensing air pressure through the cup and up the clear tube. There is a diaphragm in the head that senses the change in air pressure as the reservoir empties or fills up. It will open or close the water flow.

So I'm thinking that if the water is coming out of that square hole it will flow down into the fill tube and reservoir until the sensor tells it to stop. My guess is that the clear tube is for air only.

Have you tested it to see if it shuts off when the reservoir is full? If water flows when you're holding it, we know that it opens ok. If the reservoir stays full without overflowing, then it's shutting off ok. If you have an overflow condition, the first thing I would check is if the box is absolutely level. If it's not level, that will throw the sensor off and it will continue to flow.

Why do you think it's not working?

Mickie

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2017, 09:33:03 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Hero Member, RatedPG. This user is located in Zone 8B, Jacksonville, Florida. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, k852696. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Having trouble with watering system. The water is not going down the plastic clear tube. but the watering is coming out of the small hole in the bottom the  Sensor head. Thus it is not filling up with water

Can Anybody help me ??

ED

I think this is the way it should work.  The clear plastic tube is where the air is being compressed that causes the valve to shut off.  My AWS works exactly just like yours and it's doing fine.  As soon as the water in the EB reservoir reaches the right level (not overflowing), the valve shuts off.

Let's wait for what the experts say on this... I'm an AWS newbie too.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2017, 09:35:04 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

It's not working for me either. My problem is that the water does not shut off ever, so it continually overflows through the overflow hole.

I looked up the patent description of the sensor to see how it is supposed to work.

Check this url: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6848483.html

Essentially, the water does come out the square hole at the top. The opening at the bottom of the clear tube is immersed in the reservoir and as the water rises, it compresses the air in the tube, until eventually this closes a diaphragm at the top and shuts the water off.

I have to presume that Earthbox manufactured the system properly so that this will happen. I am going to try immersing my filler arrangement in a pot of water so I can watch it work.

Something is very very wrong here. I have two of them and they both do the same thing.

I have another serious gripe: It took hours for me to get the large tubing over the ends of the fittings, especially the end fitting at the end. Especially that one! I had to use all kinds of wrenches and clamps, practically destroying the tube in the process, and I drew blood from my hand when everything slipped and I got scraped.

I used vaseline. That only made everything slippery and harder to grip.

Again, something is very very wrong here. Although I have had two great seasons with growing plants in my two Earthboxes, this day in the hot sun trying to get the watering system to work or even to fit together destroyed all the goodwill I have for this company!

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2017, 09:35:56 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest dough_it. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

That is how the AWS should work, the water comes out of the top by the head and the clear tube is for the air gap to shut off the water.
A trick I learned on this forum was to put the end of the hose in hot water before trying to put it on the fitting.
Ii kept some very hot water in a thermos and dipped the end of the tubes in the hot water for 10-20 seconds and it softened up the
tubing so It slipped on the fitting easily.  One other thing to remember is to be sure your boxes are level for the AWS to work correctly.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2017, 09:36:38 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Followup:

I immersed the filler system in a tall glass of water and found that it does shut off, and smartly at that, when the water is about halfway up the height of the black plastic collar at the bottom.

I looked down the filler tube and saw that there is water in there, though I could not see how much.

I made very certain that the filler tube is properly seated in the hole in the screen. I can't see that because the potting soil is in there, but I can feel it very clearly when I manipulate the filler tube. The tube is definitely in the right place, and please don't anybody tell me I have to dump out the soil and replant everything!

I checked the level of the two planter boxes. They are level!

There is only one conclusion: THE GEOMETRY OF THE FILLER ASSEMBLY IS INCORRECT FOR THE EARTHBOX!

This could mean something in the supply chain has changed and not been handled correctly, or that there are variations in the way the filler assembly is put together..

If the outer black tube were a little shorter, this might work as long as the inner assembly did not collide with the bottom of the hole. Of if the clear plastic tube were longer, with the same consideration. Or even if one or both ends of the plastic tube were not pushed so far over the adjoining part. But this is not my problem. I want to know what is going to be done to provide a system that works.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2017, 09:37:06 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Yes, dough_it, I thought of the hot-water trick myself and tried it exactly as you did. Beyond that, I even put the valve thing in the freezer while waiting. None of this made a bit of difference.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2017, 09:38:15 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 June 22, 2008.

gerryz-

Just a thought.... what filler tube do you have? the tubes that came with the AWS are shorter than the ones supplied with EBs before the AWS came along.

Another thing to check is that there is no obstruction such as roots or debris at the bottom of the filler tube. One way to deal with that is to raise the tube about an inch, and jet spray down the tube and in a circular movement. While spraying, slowly lower the tube back in position. That should clear out anything there.

I don't know what else to suggest if the AWS opens and closes properly in independent tests.

Mickie

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2017, 09:38:57 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Guest dough_it. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

gerryz
sorry to hear about the problems you are having with the AWS
I have had the earthboxes for 6 seasons and just got the AWS this year and read everything on this forum before I hooked it up
I guess luckily I haven't had any problems since I hooked it up.
Putting the tubbing is not really easy but I found that by using boiling hot water it made it soften up enough to slip over the ends of the barbed fittings without much issue.
Good luck and hope you can get your AWS to work for you

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2017, 09:39:50 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Hi Mickie

I'm using the tubes that came with the AWS and have set aside the other ones.

Although I can't feel any obstruction, that would sure cause the problem. Great idea about the jet spray and it just so happens I set one up for other watering yesterday when I put in the AWS, so I can try it. It'll be a couple of hours before I get to it.

As to roots or debris, when I set the boxes up only a couple of weeks ago (it was late because the owner of our house was rebuilding our deck) I started clean; nothing left over from last year. And the new plants are still pretty small so I doubt that anything other than some soil that spilled in could be in the way, and to tell the truth I can't feel anything, other than a slight grittiness at the bottom, when I push on and manipulate the tubes. But I'll try that.

Understand there is water at the bottom right now (just not enough, apparently) so I'll have to blast through that.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2017, 09:40:27 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Dough_it, the water I used was at about boiling when I microwaved it in a cup but then I took the cup outside so it was slightly cooler than that, but not much I would say.

Funny thing about the barbed fittings: they were not all equally difficult. One of them was very very easy. By far the worst one was the end fitting.

Either they are not all the same size, or there are variations in the tubing itself along its length. The particular piece I was working with there, felt almost brittle and acted like it was about to crack in places. It certainly kinked and buckled from the strain, I can tell you that. And the plastic part that I attached it to is badly chewed up from all the pliers and vise grips I had been using on it.

The way I finally got it on would have required three hands but I saved one by placing the fitting into the crack in the decking. Then I pushed FEROCIOUSLY with one hand while the other hand was used to push transversely wherever the tube was starting to buckle under the strain. In fact, I had attempted this many times over the hours, but this one last time I guess I was more violent about it than the others.

SUCH THINGS SHOULD NOT BE NECESSARY! AT THE VERY LEAST, EARTHBOX SHOULD WARN PROSPECTIVE BUYERS. I consider it a lapse. They really should withdraw this product from their catalog until all these things have been corrected.

I presume there are machines that assemble tubing like this in industrial settings.

You can tell I am still furious with Earthbox.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 09:43:10 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 June 22, 2008.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.




AT THE VERY LEAST, EARTHBOX SHOULD WARN PROSPECTIVE BUYERS. I consider it a lapse. They really should withdraw this product from their catalog until all these things have been corrected.

You can tell I am still furious with Earthbox.

As are most of us who have multiple box systems to assemble. I'm assuming you have the AWS 3/8" MAIN line, off which you have a separate length of 1/4" tubing going to each EB valve. Earthbox screwed us again by having an oddball 3/8" size that doesn't take standard, readily available fittings.

The AWS instructions lists the components that come with it. They have add-on kits for expansion, but you have to read the descriptions to know exactly what you're getting. Even then, they say 1/4" tubing when in fact, it's 3/8" tubing... so be aware and beware.

Also their errors of omission are inexcusable. They should have at least told us about other essential components like the vacuum breaker, fine mesh filter, and various on/off valves that allow flushing/draining the system.

Mickie

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2017, 09:44:14 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Wow, Mickie, issues I didn't even know about!

Ok, my system is working. Again, more information would have made all the difference.

The bottom of the hole where the big tube goes is is COMPLICATED. When I thought I was there, I still had a LONG way to go! I discovered this in stages when one of my tubes suddenly went past an obstruction, and then when I tried doing the same with the second box, the tube went past the obstruction and then went a lot farther than that!

It was almost impossible to get the first one to do the same thing. I was beginning to think the staking system on that box had parts sticking up through the bottom of the planter box that were blocking the passage.

With a long screwdriver I could feel the grooves and things down there but I could not see them even with a powerful flashlight.

Eventually I found passage around whatever it was and now I believe the system will work. It's turned on now, and I'm watching it.

Thanks everyone for all your help. Earthbox people (the company staff), get a life.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2017, 09:46:20 am »
Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Full Member, BethNC. This user is located in Chapel Hill, NC Zone 7-8. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.

Disclaimer: This post was originally posted by Newbie, gerryz. This was originally posted on June 22, 2008.
Thanks everyone for all your help. Earthbox people (the company staff), get a life.

You are new on this board, and obviously frustrated, but that was extremely uncalled for.  Several EB staffers post here are helpful, and of course, full of life.

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Re: Automatic Watering System Not Working
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2017, 09:47:33 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 June 22, 2008.

gerryz-

There are many of the staff that are just as frustrated because they are 'caught in the middle'. The powers that be make the decisions, and the helpful EB people who read and post here have forwarded our comments and ideas 'upwards'. That's all they can do. Some have been heard and acted upon, some not. Earthbox as a whole is suffering growing pains, and that means they make mistakes. Correcting those mistakes is not a simple act.

So let's give them a break...  at least they've given us a place where we can b*tch, share, help, and laugh: this forum.

Mickie