The camera phone is a great invention. The camera phone that allows me to zoom is even better.
I had the following 2 problems to debug this weekend.
The ball joint on the right (with red handle), was leaking, even after I tried to cover the leak with cement. Turns out I had sort of screwed this up, the ball joint was screwed on, not cemented on, but whatever. In the bad old days, I would have probably cut the whole mess off on the left side, brought it into the hardware store, and said "help". Instead I showed the photo. We ended up making the whole thing simpler by removing the pressure regulator (the black thing) and screwing a new ball joint directly onto the pipe fitting after the 90 degree bend. Leak solved, added a water timer (finally coming to the realization that teflon tape will keep the screwed on joints from leaking) and my blackberries and strawberries will get watered appropriately.
This one was ugly. There was a white cap indicating a capped off line next to one of my almond trees. The previous owner ran all sorts of tap in spots to the surface when he ran his buried irrigation line, in case he wanted to drop in more irrigation. I noted slightly wet ground around this cap. Digging deeper the ground was soaked - maybe this is why the Almond tree is loaded with nuts this year! That's not the long term solution to watering the almond tree, I ran an irrigation line to the tree that will be on a timer, but this leak needed to be fixed.
Turns out the rummy used a cut off nipple to run to the ground from the 90 degree PVC pipe. Cut off nipples are used so that you can easily size the distance from a PVC connector to the lawn sprinkler. Say you have a line running at a uniform "altitude" from the center of the earth, but your lawn isn't even. Some places you will need more vertical length, some less. The cutoff nipple allows you to shorten that distance with one part.
A cutoff nipple is not exactly the best part to use where tree roots will be getting in the way. A root pushed on the cutoff nipple and eventually bent it to the extent that the cutoff, which is intended to be breakable, broke. Replaced with a solid nipple, recapped, and I was good to go. I left this above ground because since I didn't run the PVC and the previous owner didn't leave me a map, it's good to have some reference as to where the PVC is running.
Neither of these solutions were immediately obvious to me. Being able to take the photos and head off to the hardware store with the evidence saved a lot of hassle and probably a couple of trips.