Not knowing how to adjust a pulsating sprinkler can lead to frustration, but adjustment is not as technical as you might think. With the steps below you can save time and money by adjusting your pulsating sprinkler yourself. The components of the sprinkler will allow you to adjust it without any extra tools.
Step 1 – Map out the Zone
Map the areas you would like the sprinkler to cover. Take note of the type, height, and density of plant cover. The sprinkler must be adjusted in such a way that water can reach the farthest extremes of its zone. Another important reason for mapping the area is to understand the soil’s water retention capability, all other factors being constant (such as the rate of evaporation). Soil that displays high water retention levels should receive less water than that with lower retention. Lastly, watering a lawn covered with low-cut grass is different from how one waters flowers and shrubs.
Step 2 – Check the Sprinkler Head for Damage
Examine the sprinkler head to confirm that there is no crack or blockage that may be causing irregular or low-pressure output. If the head is faulty, you’ll have to replace or repair it.
Step 3 – Adjusting the Rate of Water Output
Push the depressible tabs on either side of the sprinkler nozzle to move the throughput to the desired level. This helps control the amount of water that leaves the nozzle. Run a full cycle through the sprinkler system to confirm the throughput before proceeding to the next step.
Step 4 – Adjusting Sprinkler Reach
Use the knob at the top of the pulsating sprinkler nozzle, to adjust how far you want the water stream to go. Directions on the knob will detail which side to turn it for further and which direction for closer. On some sprinkler models, you must apply pressure (using your hand) to the nozzle in order to turn the knob. Run a cycle through again as a test.
Step 5 – Adjusting Angle of Rotation
If the sprinkler is to be placed at a corner of the lawn or close to the sidewalk, having the sprinkler do a 360 ° will be wasteful. Different manufacturers manage rotational adjustment in different ways. Most pulsating sprinkler models come with a lever that blocks a set of protrusions on either side of the sprinkler head to prevent the full-circle rotation. You lift when you need the full-circle turn and lower it to hold it within the pre-set angle. Further, there are stops that enable adjustment of the angle of rotation.
Setting up the best sprinkler heads in your lawn or garden is just the first step to proper watering. You need to be aware of how to properly adjust the head in order to know about changes in the local climate, as well as in your growing plants. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of good irrigation for the normal growth and development of any plant on earth. To a much greater extent, this applies to lawn grass, as it doesn’t respond quickly to a lack of moisture. The grass dries, changes its color from juicy green to yellow. The modern level of development of irrigation equipment can effectively solve this problem.
Orbit produces various sprinkler heads, and all of them can be easily adjusted with the help of a screwdriver or a special key that can be bought along with the Orbit sprinkler system components.
How to Adjust Orbit Sprinkler
The Orbit sprinklers, as a rule, have a pre-installed factory sector at 180°. The sprinkler must be adjusted with the water supply turned off.
- Turn the sprinkler to the left counterclockwise until it stops.
- Then rotate it clockwise until it stops. The sprinkler should be in this position for further adjustment.
Adjusting Arc on a Spray Nozzle
- To adjust the arc on a spray nozzle, insert a special key into the adjustment socket (you can also use a regular flat-head screwdriver).
- While holding the nozzle in the right position, turn the key clockwise.
- Adjust the irrigation sector between 40° and 360°.
- The key will stop turning when a specific “creaking” sound appears, this will mean that a 360° sector has been reached (full circle).
How to Adjust the Spray Range
The Orbit sprinkler head adjustment for a desirable watering radius requires using a special key. Insert the steel end of the key into the adjustment socket sector. Turn the key clockwise/counterclockwise by screwing/unscrewing the fixing screw. This will reduce or increase the radius by about 25%.
WARNING: Turning the key clockwise more than 5 times 360° may lead to loss of screw.
How To Adjust The Rate Of Watering
For adjusting Orbit sprinkler head to proper irrigation level of wet or dry areas, you can replace the nozzle in the sprinkler to increase or decrease the rate of watering during the work of the irrigation system. For dry areas, install a high flow nozzle. For wet areas, install a nozzle with less expense.
- Insert the plastic end of the special key into the slot to raise the telescopic rod on the top of the sprinkler. Rotate to 90°. Pull the drawer out and lock it.
- Using the metal part of the special key, turn the nozzle locking screw counter-clockwise until you make sure that it doesn’t fix the watering nozzle and doesn’t interfere with its installation. If it is necessary to remove the nozzle from the installation channel, simply turn on the water and squeeze it out under pressure.
- Install the required nozzle into the installation channel. The fixing screw must pass through the special opening without hindrance. Tighten the lock screw clockwise. The arrow on the rubber cap will always indicate the position of the nozzle.
- How to Adjust a Rain Bird CR5000
- How to Adjust a Rainbird 42Sa
- Proplus K Sprinkler Instructions
- How to Adjust Distance on Orbit Professional Sprinklers
- How to Adjust Pop Up Sprinkler Irrigation Heads to Change the Water Direction
Impulse or impact sprinklers are available in brass or plastic models in various sizes. These types of sprinklers often are identified by the clicking sound when the spray reverses between stops. The two styles include a sprinkler on a spike that inserts into the ground or a newer version of a pop-up style that is easier to mow around in the lawn. Both styles adjust in the same manner for distance and spray coverage patterns.
Insert a flathead screwdriver or the flat end of a sprinkler tool underneath a pop-up sprinkler cover. Push the end of the screwdriver or tool downward to pry the lid upward. Pull the lid straight up and off, and set it aside.
Flip the rear, metal trip lever upward for a full 360-degree watering pattern. The sprinkler head will turn in a complete circle to water in all directions. This is the usual pattern for an impulse or impact sprinkler in the middle of a zone.
Flip the trip lever downward and move the two trip arms from the front sprinkler nozzle toward the pin in the back. This narrows the spray pattern to less than a full circle. Turn the water on and observe the coverage area. Make additional adjustments to the trip arms so the water falls in the area you want.
Turn the top diffuser screw or knob (depending on your make and model) clockwise to increase the throw distance. Turn the diffuser counterclockwise to decrease the distance of water.
Replace the cover on a pop-up sprinkler by pressing it onto the sprinkler body.
Adjust each sprinkler in the same manner to provide even water coverage that doesn’t overlap.
- Gilmour: How Do I Set My Gilmour Impulse Sprinkler
- Clemson Cooperative Extension: Landscape Irrigation Equipment Part 1: Sprinklers & Spray Heads
- Rain Bird: Brass Deluxe Impact Sprinkler Instructions Manual
- Rain Bird: LG-3/Mini-Paw and MG-4/Mini-Paw Installation Instructions
- University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources: Lawn Watering Guide for California
- Utah.gov Division of Water Resources: Sprinkler Systems
- Make small, incremental adjustments for the spray pattern and distance with the supply off. Turn the water on after each adjustment and observe the results, then make more adjustments if need be.
- Wet the ground if it is very dry before inserting a sprinkler on a spike into the ground.
- Brass sprinklers require a larger investment, but are long-lasting, work well with low water pressure and provide even watering.
Mary Lougee has been writing for over 10 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Management and a double minor in accounting and computer science. She loves writing about careers for busy families as well as family oriented planning, meals and activities for all ages.
Last Updated: May 20, 2019 References
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You should test and adjust sprinkler heads at the beginning of spring to ensure they’re functioning at their highest level. If your sprinkler is not up to par, it can waste water and cause dry spots in your lawn. Fortunately, you can adjust a broken sprinkler quickly and have it back to normal in minutes!
Tip: Keep the sprinkler on during the adjustment period to figure out the issue efficiently.
An impact sprinkler is an effective irrigation system that can be used to water wide areas of lawns and gardens. The system works by spraying pressurized water on a given surface area uniformly. It mimics the effect of rainfall to ensure the grass on the lawn or the plants on the garden are well-watered.
The only problem is when the sprinkler starts to malfunction: all of a sudden, you might notice the area around the sprinkler head is downright marshy, while the rest of your lawn turns brown. Or maybe only half of your lawn is getting watered. This can certainly be infuriating, but there are also several easy steps you can take on your own to repair the impact sprinkler and optimize its performance. Keep reading to learn how.
Step 1 – Eliminate Simple Problems
Before you take any steps to repair the impact sprinkler, you need to know exactly what’s going wrong. There are a few tests you can do to determine the problem. Do some basic troubleshooting by checking for the obvious.
Make sure the timer is set correctly, the master shut off valve is open, the flow control is open, and the water pressure is at the correct level for your model. If any of these are not correct, adjust them and see if the problem fixes itself.
Step 2 – Try the Water Pressure Test
One of the most common issues with impact sprinklers is that they stop rotating. To rule out a simple question of water pressure, go to a working sprinkler head and push your hand on it to block the water flow; if the other heads start rotating, that simply means you need to increase water pressure in the system and open the flow control, which is easily done. However, if that doesn’t work, you’ll probably need to fix the irrigation valves in the rotors. Move on to step three to find out more.
Step 3 – Try Sandpaper
If your impact sprinkler head isn’t moving correctly and isn’t watering uniformly, one simple quick fix is to take some fine-grit sandpaper and gently rub all of its parts. This process can help reduce friction and encourage free and easy movement. Never ever spray your sprinkler with lubricants. This may provide a temporary solution, but in the long run, it will only cause more problems.
Step 4 – Clean the Sprinkler Parts of Any Debris
If the sprinkler is dirty or any parts are clogged with debris, this will keep it from watering your lawn as it’s supposed to. Remove the sprinkler and check for any buildup in or around the nozzle, swivel bearing, and inlet. Sometimes a small pin or needle can be inserted into the nozzle to loosen debris, but do not drill into the nozzle or alter it or you risk damaging it permanently.
Wash the rest of the sprinkler to get rid of grease and dirt and use a solution of vinegar and water to clean any water deposits.
You should also clean the solenoid valve. Unscrew the valve box with a screwdriver and take out the piece. Flush any debris therein and clean out mud with dry rags.
Step 5 – Check for Misaligned, Worn, or Damaged Parts
When you’re cleaning your sprinkler, study it closely to see if any of the components need to be replaced or adjusted. You may notice damage at first glance, so save yourself a little trouble and compare the problematic sprinkler to one that is still working. This way, any faulty parts should stick out to you a little better.
Two important pieces on the head are the trip pin and trip collar. The trip pin is the thin piece of metal at the base of the impact sprinkler, above the trip collars. This piece must be in a downward position for the proper oscillation to occur. However, if it is somehow out of place, it will not be able to move as it should. Generally this is easy to adjust back into place with a flathead screwdriver.
The trip collars set the boundaries for the watering range, so if they are out of their proper position, it will interfere with the sprinkler’s intended watering area. If they are too close together, for example, the sprinkler head will be restricted to facing one direction.
Adjust the trip collars by using your fingers to pinch the prongs and rotate them until they’re lined up with where you want your watering area to be. It stands as a given that if either of these two parts is damaged and unable to be adjusted that you’ll need to replace them.
Your bearing washers will also need replacing if any oil has been used to lubricate the head in the past. Oil attracts dirt and debris, which wears away the bearing washers even faster than normal use. If they’re less than 2/3 of their original thickness, they need to be switched out.
If the arm or body of the sprinkler has become bent or damaged, it’s easiest to detach and replace the part with an identical substitute.
Your arm spring might need an adjustment to its tension if it’s become too slack. For metal impact sprinklers, unhook the spring from the arm using needle-nose pliers; then, just bend it slightly before you re-hook it and test the tension. On a plastic model, you will re-hook the spring on the next protrusion on the arm instead.
Finally, it stands to reason that if you notice any other parts in the sprinkler that look damaged, you should try to replace them. These parts are not the only ones that can suffer a malfunction; they are just some of the most common.
Rotor sprinklers are a type of lawn sprinkler that helps to maintain lush green grass and the pretty gardens outside the home. There are rotor sprinklers for lawns that are made in different sizes, and these sprinklers can be adjusted to help spray the water and get to those hard to reach areas.
Step 1 – Turn off the Sprinkler and Adjust the Center Screw
Turn off the water to your sprinkler system. You will find a flat screw in the center of the sprinkler, and a metal or plastic set screw nub toward the edge of the sprinkler where it rotates. You can adjust the strength of the spray by tightening or loosening the screw. You can usually accomplish this by squeezing the screw in between your fingers, but you may need a set of tweezers or pliers to aid with this task.
The set-screw nub will be turned counter-clockwise. Keep turning until it comes to a stop. You will need to use a screwdriver to do this task, or you can use your set of tweezers.
Adjusting these two screws will help the rotor sprinkler rotate in both directions.
Step 2 – Adjust the Nub Screw
The nub screw indicates how far the water will travel from the sprinkler. It’s usually next to the center screw and can be adjusted by twisting it either to the right or to the left.
For the spray to go the distance, turn the center nozzle screw counter-clockwise. This will increase the distance of the spray. Turning the rotor sprinkler clockwise will lessen the distance of the spray.
Step 3 – Rotate the Pop-Up Part
To adjust the pattern of the spray you will rotate the pop-up part clockwise. Turn this until it stops turning.
Step 4 – Adjust the Left and Right Stops
There is a right and left stop for the rotor sprinkler. Adjust the right stop to as far as the head of the sprinkler will go. You will need to screw the head of the sprinkler down. Then twist the entire sprinkler into the ground and the receptacle that holds it in.
To adjust the left stop of the rotor sprinkler, turn the nub screw clockwise, 1/4 of a turn. This turn indicates a range of 90 degrees for the head of the rotating sprinkler.
Step 5 – Turn on the Sprinklers
Once you have made all of these adjustments, you can turn on the sprinkler.
- How to Adjust the Water Flow From a K-Rain Lawn Sprinkler
- How to Adjust a Rainbird 42Sa
- How to Adjust Toro Mini 8 Sprinkler Heads
- How to Hook Up a Sprinkler System to a Hose Bib
- How to Adjust Sprinkler Heads With a Right or Left Stop
A sprinkler provides a simple-to-use method of watering a lawn during periods of dry weather. On a version such as an impact sprinkler, water spray direction and distance are typically two aspects that are adjustable, allowing the user to customize the spray pattern. Adjusting an impact sprinkler fine tunes its spray pattern so it waters grass thoroughly. Reducing the distance the impact sprinkler projects water requires minimal adjustment.
Turn on the water flow to the impact sprinkler. Observe the sprinkler’s rotation and water pattern. Turn off the water flow to the sprinkler.
Locate the sprinkler’s dial for water stream adjustment. That dial is on top of some impact sprinkler models. Turn the dial toward the minimum distance setting to reduce the distance the water travels. The dial adjustment lowers the distance control flap, reducing the water spray’s distance.
Find the diffuser screw on the front of the sprinkler. Turn the screw to the right, or counterclockwise, using a screwdriver if necessary. The adjustment decreases the distance the sprinkler projects water.
- How to Adjust a Rain Bird CR5000
- Instructions for a RainBird R-50 Sprinkler
- Instructions for a Melnor Tripod Sprinkler
- How to Adjust Toro Mini 8 Sprinkler Heads
- Pulsating Sprinkler Instructions
Orbit Irrigation Products, Inc., manufactures a variety of sprinkler heads suitable for watering small as well as large areas. Plastic pop-up sprinklers, for watering shrubs and small lawn areas, come with adjustable nozzles so you can regulate the direction of the fan, its width and the distance the water sprays. Brass impact sprinklers, which deliver water over a wider area, are similarly adjustable. The company manufactures a pull-up tool, which makes it easier to extract the sleeve of a pop-up sprinkler and hold it while you make adjustments. Consider getting one if you have a large array of sprinklers.
Adjusting Pop-Up Sprinklers
Turn off the water so the sprinklers don’t come on while you’re working.
Grip the metal screw in the center of the sprinkler nozzle with a pull-up tool and lift the nozzle out of the ground. When the sleeve is extended fully, clamp the pull-up tool around it to keep it extended.
Turn the sleeve clockwise until the mark on the top of the nozzle is at the extreme right of the area you want to water. Hold the sleeve steady with one hand and turn the nozzle counterclockwise until the mark is at the left extremity of the watering area. Alternatively, if the nozzle has markings denoting the angle width, turn the nozzle until the mark is aligned with the width you want.
Insert a flat-head screwdriver into the slot of the screw in the center of the nozzle and turn it clockwise to reduce the spray amount and distance. Turn it counterclockwise to increase them.
Adjust the spray pattern on a gear-driven sprinkler using the screwdriver. Turn the sleeve to the left as far as it will go and then to the right, stop at the right-hand extremity of the watering area and turn the large adjustment screw clockwise to increase the angular width spray pattern.Turn the screw counterclockwise to reduce the pattern. Each complete rotation adjusts the pattern width by 90 degrees. Adjust the spray volume and distance by turning the small screw.
Adjusting Impact Sprinklers
Turn off the water.
Set the spray pattern width by sliding the two friction collars. Rotate each one by squeezing its two tabs together. Set one tab of one collar at the extreme right of the spray area and a tab of the other collar on the left. The trip lever on the spray head will cycle the nozzle between these two points.
Lift the trip lever and lock it against the side of the spray head to get a 360-degree rotation.
Screw in the diffuser pin on the front of the nozzle to reduce the spray distance and increase overspray. Screw it out to increase the distance and create a more streamlined spray.
Things You Will Need
If you don’t mind getting wet, you often can make adjustments to a sprinkler while the water is on to make sure you get the exact spray pattern you want.
- Orbit: How to Adjust a Sprinkler Spray Nozzle
- Orbit: Voyager Gear Drive Sprinkler
- Orbit: Satellite Pop-Up Brass Impact Sprinkler
Chris Deziel has a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in humanities. Besides having an abiding interest in popular science, Deziel has been active in the building and home design trades since 1975. As a landscape builder, he helped establish two gardening companies.