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I am installing a new sprinkler valve system. Everything was pre-assembled with three valves, all I had to do was connect the incoming water and outgoing water. As part of the "testing" procedure it says to "turn manual bleed screw counterclockwise until water flows out". My understanding of this based on previous experience with other valves (although it has been a while and I may be mis-remembering) is that when I loosen the bleed valve it will bypass the solenoid and water will flow out into the outgoing pipes to the yard. But instead, when I do this water starts flowing out the top of the bleed valve, quickly flooding the top of the valve. Meanwhile, if any water if flowing through the actual pipes it isn't enough to make any of the typical hissing noises of air flushing out the ends that precedes water coming out, and no water comes out even the shortest line.

When I tighten the bleed screw the leak stops. There isn't much play between off and leaking, only a fraction of a turn, but I have tried turning it just barely to the point of leaking (just over 1/6th of a turn) and still nothing.

I'm a bit puzzled as to how I can manually turn on the water to test everything out and maybe run the water a bit before I get the electrical part installed to run it automatically. I'm also questioning whether it is really supposed to leak this much water, as if I turn it only 1/3 of a turn total it is spraying water all over the box getting all the valves completely wet! Are there different types of bleed valves, some of which only leak instead of turning the water on? This is a brand new unit with three stations and the two connected stations have the same behavior, so it seems really unlikely it is defective.

Update: The third station has no outgoing pipe, but when I tried turning it on via the bleed valve that valve leaks too but no water comes out the open pipe at the end.

Update 2: It's an "Orbit Sprinkler Valve System" aka "Orbit 3/4-in or 1-in Inline Preassembled Sprinkler Manifold"

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    My completely uneducated guess is that the bleed valve is to get rid of any air in the pipe to the valve - you open it until there's a slow hiss of air, and close it the moment water starts to exit the bleed valve. You may be thinking of some kind of manual operation valve. – Someone Somewhere May 1 '16 at 17:52
  • Maybe you can link the exact product you purchased or give the make/model number of the valve. Yes typically opening the bleed valve on a sprinkler valve causes the valve to also open but right now no one can help because we don't know what product asking about. – Tyson May 1 '16 at 19:23
  • Yes the bleed screw on Orbit valves functions as a manual open. Do the valves fire with the solenoid? Normally I'd ask if you have the flow direction correct but since it's a 3-valve manifold it should be, unless someone took the manifold apart and put it back wrong--look for the flow arrows on the valve. If you have no way to power the valve even temporarily you can also try unscrewing the solenoid a couple turns. – Tyson May 1 '16 at 20:47
  • I just found an uninstalled orbit valve that I knew I had somewhere. Disassembling it and observing I would guess that the valves must be connected to the manifold backward for the amount of water you are getting. there should be arrows for flow direction in the topside near the threaded ends. The valve I'm looking at has 4 flow direction arrows on the top side, right where the fitting would attach. – Tyson May 1 '16 at 21:03
  • @Tyson Double checked, and the arrows are pointing in the correct direction of flow... after installing the electrical it runs fine on automatic too. – Michael May 2 '16 at 2:34

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