instructions are written for the VLV kit in order to prepare a solenoid valve for use with the AstroSplash Drop Controller. Click here for the assembly instructions for the AstroSplash.
Parts provided in the kit:
2-ft length of shielded cable
2 mounting bolts with washers
2-in of 3/32-in heat-shrink tubing
3-in of 3/16-in heat-shrink tubing
21/4-in NPT x 1/-in" barb adapters
Section of of 1/4" ID flexible tubing
and supplies required for assembly:
Lighter or match (to shrink tubing)
15-30 W soldering iron, solder
Pipe joint compound
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Preparing the cable
The valve supplied with the value kit operates on 12VDC and has a power rating of 6W. If you use your own valve rather the one we provide, be sure to use one with the same ratings.
The valve has red and black wires. Remove the twist tie and unfurl the cable. Then strip back the ends of the wires about 1 inch. Cut the 3/32-in heat-shrink tubing into two 1-inch pieces, and slip a piece over each wire.
Strip the black insulation from the shielded cable about 2 inches. Twist the shield out of the way. Then strip the red and black wires back by about an inch.
Twist the bare ends of the red and black wires tightly together. Solder the splices. Clip off the shield.
Slip the heat-shrink tubing over the splices and use a heat source such as a match or lighter to shrink the tubing.
Slip the 3/16-in tubing over the black cable from the free end, and then shrink the tubing over the cable and splices.
Unscrew the jacket from the DC power plug.
Slip the jacket over the free end of the black cable. Strip back the black insulation about 1/4 inch, and remove the shield. Strip the black and red wires about an 1/8 inch, the black a bit more than the red.
Slip the black wire into the hole in the longer lug and the red wire into the shorter lug.
Solder the two connections. In order to melt solder onto the lugs, hold the flat of the iron on the metal for a while. If you don't get the lug hot enough, the solder won't flow well and may produce a cold solder joint. Trim back any stray wires that could produce shorts.
Crimp the metal collar around the wires. Be careful not to cut into the insulation.
Screw the black collar back in place to complete the plug assembly.
The completed valve assembly with cable and plug
Installing the adapters
The adapter provided for the valve has a standard 1/4-in NPT pipe thread on the end that screws into the valve. The barb end is 1/8-in ID (1/4-in OD). If you prefer using brass adapters, that's fine. We provide nylon adapters, because they're inexpensive and do not corrode. The latter could be a problem, particularly at the drip end.
Now hold the valve so that the thumb screw is oriented as shown in the photo. Note that by loosening the thumb screw, the flow channel can be rotated with respect to the solenoid. Leave it as shown in the photo for now. You can make adjustments later when you assemble your system.
Note the black arrow at the bottom. This indicate the direction of fluid flow. When you assemble your system, have this marker points down. In this orientation, the suppy side is at the top, and the outlet is at the bottom.
The adapters screw easily into the valve. The photo shows an adapter screwed into the supply side of the valve. This is just for illustration. In a moment, you'll use pipe joint compound to seal the threads. This is important in order to prevent small leaks and to maintain the integrity of the Mariotte bottle supply system (if you're using one).
In order to seal the pipe threads, coat them with pipe joint compound. Don't use Teflon tape, as this won't stop all leaks.
Screw the adapter into the supply side of valve. You can use a wrench to snug it up, but don't overdo it. The pipe joint compound will provide a good seal. If you're using brass adapters, be especially careful not to screw them in too tight, as you could crack the housing of the valve. Wipe up any stray compound.
In a similar fashion as for the supply side, seat another adapter in the outlet side of the valve. If you decide later that you want to try a different nozzle diameter, you can easily remove the nozzle, since the pipe compound doesn't harden.
Enlarge the photo to the left to show how the parts of the fluid channel fit together. See Guide to Setting Up Your Drip Photography System for more information. The flexible tubing can be used to connect from the bottom of the bottle to the valve inlet. An appropriately sized hole will need to be drilled or cut in the bottom of the bottle to receive the tubing.
The reservoir for the Mariotte bottle and the inlet tube aren't provided; however, a soda bottle and straw will do the job. You'll have to cut holes in the cap and bottom of the bottle. Use a silicone compound to seal around the inlet tube and the outlet.
The flexible tubing provides a tight fit over the barb side of the adapter. In order to make it easier to push the tubing onto the adapter, heat the tubing first with a hot air source such as a hair dryer.