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I am building a hose station in my backyard. For fun, I would like to use a huge vintage valve handle to operate the water coming out of a normal 3/4" hose.

Obviously I can't connect anything like this to my normal hose bib. I have been researching larger valves which I could use to control the flow, (2-3" for instance) but I'm guessing a valve that large will be terrible at modulating the flow of my 3/4" hose.

Can anyone suggest suggest how I would choose a valve that is:

  1. Strong enough to support a giant valve handle such as the one pictured? I presume a wheel this size will put a lot of stress on the valve internals and body. Kids will be using the hose and I would like it to be a durable setup.
  2. Provides the ability to effectively modulate flow of a normal garden hose
  3. Provides 1-2 full revolutions to transition from fully on, to fully off

Like this one, for instance.

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It's true that is a lot of leverage for most valves that would be appropriate for a water hose. A large gate valve might work, but you would get a full stream of water even when the valve was opened 1/4 of the way (depending on size, of course).

What I would propose would be a few gears (worm/screw drive?) between this large handle and a 3/4" valve. If using gears, you can make a large, strong axle to hold the large wheel rather than having it mounted directly to the valve. The torque available with the large handle could still be a problem, but mechanical stops could prevent over-torquing.

Another idea - use an electric valve to open and close the water hose, sense when the wheel is turned, and activate that valve. This way you can turn the wheel as much as you want and as fast as you want and the real work is mechanically separated by the electronic valve. Also, you could design in a timer to automatically close the valve after being on for a set time.

I realize building something like this might be beyond a small DIY project, but it's the best I could come up with beyond using a large valve. And who knows - you might really enjoy the mechanical or electronics challenge.

  • Thanks. After posting, I had the same idea as you to hook the valve handle up to a rotary encoder or potentiometer (electronics is more my area of expertise compared to plumbing) and then having that communicate to an electronic flow control valve. I'm searching for a low cost electronically controlled flow control valve. – John Jun 10 at 20:42
  • I don't know what your bar for "low cost" is, but I've wanted to use something like this in a project for a while but haven't gotten around to it. They are super simple to control. Power to one wire to open, power to the other wire to close. Can be stopped in any position and automatically stops at the limits of operation. I can image a simple, full analog way of making this work. – JPhi1618 Jun 10 at 20:48
  • That's definitely low cost. Many industrial versions are $500-$1000. My only hesitation is that some research indicated that ball valves are not usually recommended as a modulating valves and are better for binary, on-off, operation, but at this price I might be willing to give it a shot. – John Jun 10 at 20:58
  • I often use small quarter turn valves on the end of my hose like this to cut off the flow and they seem to work ok at modulating flow. It could be better, but they work. – JPhi1618 Jun 10 at 21:10

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