To locate sprinkler valves, locate the sprinkler system's controller, disconnect the wire of the first terminal, and connect it to the wire ringer of the locator. Walk on the lawn holding the locator, and mark the spots where the locator identifies the wire. Repeat the step until the locator is unable to find the wire. The final marked spot is where the valve is located.
The controller of the sprinkler system is normally located outdoors or inside a utility room. After locating the controller, take out its wire connections panel situated at the bottom or behind the controller and at the point where the wires go into the controller.
Identify a red, black or white-colored wire going into the first terminal, and disconnect it using a screwdriver. Connect this wire to the positive lead of the wire ringer, which is a box present with the hand-held locator. Connect the ringer's negative lead to the sprinkler's ground wire. If the negative lead has a metal rod, push it into the ground.
Then, switch on the ringer and the locator. Walk on the lawn holding the locator with a sweeping motion. When the locator identifies the wire, mark the area using paint. Now, sweep with the locator in a 3-feet circle around the mark. When the locator identifies the wire again, mark the area. Repeat the process, and mark the location of the wire at every 3 feet.
When the locator is unable to identify the wire anymore, dig at the final location marked to a depth of 1 foot to expose the sprinkler's valve. Repeat the search process to find the other valves.