Comparisons between irrigation & electrical terminology

Irrigation (Hydrolic) Terminology


Electrical Terminology

Pressure (PSI)   Voltage (Volts or V)
Friction Loss (PSI)   Resistance (Ohms or R)
Flow (GPM)   Current (Amps or A)

ALTERNATING CURRENT (AC)—Standard household current. Most irrigation systems use AC current.

AMPERAGE (AMPS)—quantitative measurement of flow of electricity, similar to Gallons Per Minute in irrigation.

CIRCUIT—in irrigation terms the electrical wiring path from the station output terminal to and through the solenoid back to the common terminal

CONNECTION—connection of one wire with one or more wires inside of an approved wire nut or other connecting device

DIRECT CURRENT (DC)—directional flowing electricity: i.e. current flowing from the positive terminal of a battery through a device and back to the negative terminal

FIELD WIRING—the wiring between the controller and any device/valve installed in-ground

GROUND—in electricity it is always earth ground

MULTIMETER (VOLT OHM-METER)—a digital or analog testing device for measuring electricity's characteristics (voltage, amperage, resistance)

OHMS/RESISTANCE—the resistance encountered by electricity in wiring or devices on a circuit, similar to friction loss in irrigation terms

OPEN CIRCUIT—term given to a circuit when the pathway for electricity has been severed or is not completed

PRIMARY SIDE—the side of the transformer that is connected to the 120vac supply.

SECONDARY SIDE—in the irrigation industry it is the 24vac output side of the transformer

SHORT CIRCUIT—term given to a circuit where electricity bypasses the intended and goes directly from the hot to the common wire

SHORT TO GROUND—the electricity has a direct path from the wire through the insulation to ground

SOLENOID—an electrical device on valves that when electrified creates a magnetic field that pulls a metallic plunger

TERMINAL STRIPS—a collection of terminals numbered to differentiate zones

TERMINALS—the connecting device on the panel of the controller that the field wires are attached into. There are station output terminals and common terminals

VOLTAGE (VOLTS)—quantitative measurement of the power of electricity, similar to water pressure (PSI)

ZONE—irrigation term used to differentiate one circuit from another: i.e. zone 5, or zone 12

ZONE WIRE VS. COMMON WIRE—the zone wire is the wire connecting a station output terminal on a controller to a solenoid or device. The common wire is the wire connecting the solenoid or device to the common terminal.


© Control Tech USA, Inc 2005