Lesson 5 – Laying Out The Pipe Along The Rows Of Panels
Rolling out the pipe
To save significant time during the installation process, two people are needed to roll out the pipe. As the pipe is coiled, rolling out the pipe properly will avoid pinches in the line and will make clipping the pipe to the panel much easier. One person should put their arms through the coil while the second person pulls the pipe from the bottom side of the coil. As the pipe gets pulled, the person holding the coil should allow it to unwind. Given the weight of the coil, it may be necessary to shake the coil up and down get it to rotate.
Positioning the pipe
Once the pipe has been rolled out over the length of the panel row, cut it about 3 feet longer necessary. It will be trimmed later after the clips are attached.
Position the pipe so it extends about 1 or 2 feet past each end of the panel row.
Attaching the pipe with clips
Start attaching clips to each solar panel as shown above. Hook the clip to the upper part of the frame of the panel, and as you bring the clip down to hook onto the lower part, place the pipe within. Make sure you hear the click as the clip snaps into place.
IMPORTANT: All clips need to be bent to provide a tight connection between the tube and the panel frame. To do this, start with a clip as shown in the 1st photo below, and bend it as shown in the 2nd and 3rd photos. The clip will have a slight bend on it as shown in the 4th photo. This will have more tension as the clip is attached, providing a much stronger fit of the tube to the panels.
1 2 3 4
For panels arranged in portrait mode along the top edge, there should be two clips per panel as in the first photo, with each clip placed about 2-3” from the left and right edges. For panels laid out in landscape mode, with about 10-12 cells along the top edge, you’ll need 3 clips per panel.
One end of the row will have an end plug attached, while the other end is the water inlet from the control box, and will have an elbow or tee compression fitting attached. Attach an extra clip at both of these ends, so there will be 2 clips attached at those points.
IMPORTANT: After all the pipe clips are attached, cut the pipe squarely with a pipe cutter so that it extends about 4″ (10 cm) from each end, as shown in the third photo above. Not cutting the pipe squarely will make it more difficult to make a leak-proof connection.
Repeat this pipe layout procedure for any additional row (or rows) of panels in the installation.
Keep in mind that each valve in the control box can only handle 25 sprinklers in order to maintain proper water pressure. For each 25 sprinklers, piping will need to be routed down to the control box.
As a general rule, try avoiding designing the system with too many tee and elbow compression fittings on piping nearest the control box. This will ensure higher pressure throughout the system. As a general rule, each compression fitting will reduce water pressure in the pipe by 1.5 psi.
Attachment of the elbow and T-type compression fittings
Start attaching elbow and T-type compression fittings to the panel row piping according to the planned layout. Follow the same step-by-step procedure you used for attaching end plugs:
The diagrams below illustrate the attachment for an elbow fitting. Make sure you smooth out any burrs from the end of the pipe before attaching.
Once attached, make sure there are two clips attached near the edge of the panel (2nd photo). If a clip doesn’t seem to be firmly attached, bend it slightly as explained in Loose-fitting clips.