Q: What is AC? What does this mean?

A: AC (Alternating Current) describes the flow of charge that changes direction periodically. As a result, the voltage level also reverses along with the current. AC is the most common method to deliver power to houses and office buildings. 

Q: What is DC? What does this mean?

A: DC (Direct Current) is a bit easier to understand than AC. Rather than oscillating back and forth, DC provides a constant voltage or current. You must use a DC controller with DC solenoids for valves. 

Q: Are AC and DC components compatible? 

A: No, AC will only work with AC, DC will only work with DC.

Q: Why would AC or DC power matter in my irrigation system or the planning of it?

A: If your system will be zoned with a valve and manifold system, then you will need a controller. You will need to make sure that you select solenoids that are compatible with the controller. AC Controllers must have AC solenoids. DC Controllers must have DC solenoids. If you plan to use your household electricity you will want to look into AC controllers. If your landscape or garden is more remote without a power source nearby, you will want to check out DC controllers (battery operated).

Q: Are hose-end timers AC or DC?

A: Hose-end timers are battery operated which means that they are technically DC!

Q: How can I tell if a controller is AC or DC?

A: 24VAC indicates that the controller is AC. AC power must be wired into the property electrical system or be plugged into a standard household (110/120V) electrical outlet. 9VDC or 12VDC indicates that the controller is DC. If you do not have electric power nearby you will want to use a DC system with a battery or solar power. If you are unsure what the controller power requirement is, you can look up the controller through the manufacturer using the model number. You can also reach out to our helpful Customer Service Team!

Q: How can I tell if a solenoid is AC or DC? 

A: Telling AC and DC valve solenoids apart is much easier than telling their controllers apart! With AC solenoids, both wires will be the same color while DC (imagine your car battery), will have different colors for each wire.

Valve with AC Solenoid: 

Valve with DC Solenoid:

Here are some helpful links to articles on our website:

Still have questions? No problem! Feel free to reach out to our wonderful and knowledgeable Customer Service team!