DIY Troubleshooting

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Scroll down to see the many DIY troubleshooting topics below

Please go through the following DIY list; if you don’t see what you are looking for, you can look through the Q&A and/or ask a new question about your sprinkler timer.

This do-it-yourself page will help you troubleshoot and diagnose problems with the Irritrol Rain Dial RD-600 and other irrigation systems.  We don’t want you to send in a sprinkler timer in for repair if it doesn’t need it. Click the links below to navigate the troubleshooting sections.  If you’re asking “How do I …”, keep reading.

For RainDial RD-600, 900, 1200 PROGRAMMING HELP and manuals, click here

Choose the Rain Dial RD600 series problem DIY troubleshooting topic below.

  1. RD-600 Series: Rain Dial Sprinkler/irrigation valves chatter or buzz or water pressure seems low.
  2. RD-600 Series: Display says FUS or FU5 and a number
  3. RD-600 Series: Display shows 5En or SEn
  4. RD-600 Series: Display shows OF1 or OF… some number
  5. RD-600 Series: Display shows P:On or P:Off
  6. RD-600 Series: Display shows OFF or blinks when turning on a valve manually
  7. Display is blinking – see above
  8. RD-600 Series: Time is frozen or cannot change the time
  9. RD-600 Series: Valves do not come on when they’re supposed to
  10. RD-600 Series: Determine if the valves are good
  11. RD-600 Series: Valve won’t turn off or come on when they’re not supposed to
  12. RD-600 Series: Valves will not shut off
  13. RD-600 Series: The case door won’t open or you lost your key 
  14. RD-600 Series: The case door breaks off or comes apart
  15. Rain Dial Plus:displays “Opn” or “Open”

Choose from Other Helpful Rain Dial and DIY troubleshooting “How do I …” sprinkler timer related topics below

  1. RD-600 Series: How to check the fuse
  2. RD-600 Series: How to test the transformer to know if the transformer is bad
  3. RD-600 Series: How to test if the valves or solenoids are bad.
  4. RD-600 Series: How to reset the RainDial controller and set it to factory defaults
  5. RD-600 900 1200: Programming tutorial
  6. RD-600 Series: Programming worksheet
  7. RD-600 Series: Typical Sprinkler Valve Wiring Diagram
  8. RD-600 Series: Rain Sensor information for Irritrol RD600 and other timers 

Here is a video showing common symptoms that indicate when a Rain Dial Controller needs to be repaired.


If this information wasn’t enough to resolve the issue, we can help:
Send Rain Dial Timers in for repair?

RD600 Repair

Irritrol Rain Dial RD600 repair services

For other issues, or ones that are in progress and do not have a link yet, just contact us, or see details here: How do I send it in for repair?

 

168 thoughts on “DIY Troubleshooting

  1. One of my zones (3 valves) would not stop running despite turning off the system. I had to shut off the water to the sprinkler system. The Controller clock display was blinking so I replaced the battery and reset everything. I turned the water back on. Now the same three valves are just leaking at a pretty heavy flow. I have not yet gone through a full cycle to see if things reset. I am about to do so shortly.

    Help….:-)

    • Hi Tonya,

      The number of any valve that is on will appear on the top row of the display. If your valves are on, dribbling or other when there are no numbers showing on the top of the display, it is not a timer problem, but a valve problem.

      When you see the valves dribbling, are there any numbers in the top row of the display?

      Brian

  2. I have a hardie rd1200. The sprinklers would not run and in the manual Mode I couldn’t get display to move it was stuck on 7min. I changed battery and now it doesn’t even turn on.

    • Hi Scott,
      That’s not a problem we typically see but we can definitely take a look at it. I will send you an email with repair details. If we can’t fix it, we have some replacements available.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  3. My RD 900-R system is coming on twice in the AM when it’s only scheduled to come on once on my watering days. I will be checking all connections at the box and home circuit breaker, also. Without replacing everything, what do you suggest ????

    • Hi Susan,
      I would recommend resetting the controller and reprogramming it. When you reset, the timer defaults to 10 minutes per station at 7am every day on schedule A. Make sure to remove those if you do not want them. If that doesn’t work, let us know. Thanks!

      Meghan – Irritrol RainDial Doctor in Training

    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks for the inquiry. On our website we have a page here that contains links to all of the user manuals for the different timer models. Scroll down on that page and select which one is yours. I believe it sets watering days by odd or even calendar day number. The manual will have specifics on how to change it.

      I hope that helps,
      Meghan – Rain Dial Doctor in Training

  4. Oops, I just posted a question re swapping a 6 and 12 valve controller, update both the 6 and 12 are gray, not blue. Can I swap them? Thanks. Also I got a replacement 6 from you about 4 years ago. Still going strong. Thanks.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      You can switch them without any trouble except the RD600 can only control 6 valves and the RD1200 can control 12. If you have 12 valves and a 6 station timer you’re going to lose the ability to control the upper 6. If you have 6 valves and a 12 station then you’ll just program the first 6 and leave the upper 6 alone.

      If you had a blue and gray, you generally can’t swap them without some sort of adapter, but since yours are both gray, you’re in luck.

      Brian

  5. I have a gray rd1200 that needs repairs. I just bought a refurbished one from you. I am wondering, I have a spare rd-600 controller (blue), can I plug it in to the box and use it to control the first 6 valves while I await the replacement for 12 valves? Or will that blow up something else….

  6. Have Rain Dial. The auto run works fine but the manual doesn’t appear to work. There is no station numbers coming up when you put it on manual and the time thats shows is what you put in when setting programs. Also when you move across to stop/off nothing happens

    • Hi, thanks for posting.
      I suspect that the switch that controls running, programming and turning off the timer, has failed. That’s why it’s working the way it is.

      The good news is that it is something that we can repair easily. We can also include other fixes that commonly occur, so the timer will be like new again.

      Just look at the “how to get it repaired “page For more details. We usually get them turned around the next day. If you have any other questions, you can easily reach is using the contact-us form.

      Happy new year!
      Brian-AKA the RD-600 series RainDialDoctor

  7. Good afternoon,

    Have a question about a Rain Dial RD600-EXT. I was re-scheduling my parents’ system; I suspect that some power outages and lack of use over the yrs (unit built in 2009) threw off the timer. I had it watering on manual and was reviewing the various water lines when the system suddenly stopped working – the LED screen went blank; the system is wired into the home electricity. I replaced the controller battery and got the LED to indicate again, but it will not start watering, even in manual.

    Thoughts?

    • Hi Brad,
      Thanks for posting. If you get it to display something with a battery, but not without, it’s likely one of the following:
      1) AC power is out or breaker it tripped, or gfci outlet tripped (depending on how it is getting power)
      2) Failed transformer (see diy troubleshooting section for testing the transformer)
      3) Failing fuse or backboard
      4) Failing controller.

      Based on your description and the age of the timer (which isn’t that old really), I’d bet it is items 3 and 4 because that is the most common problem.
      You can check out items 1 and 2 easily if you have a volt meter. If you don’t, there are other ways to figure it out.

      The good news on items 3 and 4 is that it’s something I repair frequently for timers as old as 1994, so they have a long life left in them, making the repair well worth it. I’ll send you a separate email with repair information if you’re interested. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to email me back, or post here.

      Thanks, and happy holidays!
      Brian

  8. Hey Brian,

    Got an issue with my RD600-EXT. I am unable to run the sprinklers via the control unit under manual mode or timed mode. Today I replaced 2/3 solenoids, as they looked a little worse for wear anyway and that was not the issue.

    However, if I bypass the system with a wire (directly from 24V input to output valve wire) the sprinklers will activate. Any recommendations on how to fix the controller?

    • Hi Tim,

      I wish we had found each other before you replaced the solenoids. Since your testing indicates the transformer is good, I’d suggest sending both the timer and the back terminal board in for repair. just make sure you protect the transformer by turning off the breaker or otherwise protecting the transformer wires from shorting. There’s a short couple of videos on my site showing removal instructions if you need it. It’s not typically a user-serviceable repair job. I’m not busy this time of year so I’d have it back to you quickly, usually back in the mail the same or next day.

      Repair info is on my site, just look at the how-to-get-it-repaired section. If you have any questions, just let me know.
      thanks,
      brian

  9. I have the 600 rd and after we had a power outage, i tried to run the system on manual but only dials 4,5,6 worked. Nothing from 1,2,3

    • Hi Michael,

      If 1,2,3 are grouped together and 4,5,6 are in another grouping (e.g., one set is in the front and the other in the back) then you probably have a faulty ‘common’ wire. Look at the wire(s) that go to the VC or VCOM screw terminal of the backboard and check them. If they’re grouped like i suspect, the common wire going to valves 1,2,3 is disconnected or loose in some way.

      If that doesn’t work, you can try following the reset instructions on the DIY page, but I suspect it’s a wiring issue as mentioned,
      Let me know what you figure out,
      Brian
      -aka the RainDial Doctor for RD600 series timers.

  10. Hello,

    Thank you for checking out my question in advance. I just had the RD-900 installed and my sprinklers aren’t popping up anymore. Water pressure hasn’t changed either. Any ideas?

    • Hi Pete, I need a little more info. Is the timer displaying anything. Dies it indicate the valves should be on by showing the valve number in the top of the display? Does the display show when the battery is removed?

      Tell me more, and I can help more.
      Thanks,
      Brian

    • Hi Georgios,

      There’s an extensive explanation of the FUS message on the DIY Troubleshooting page. See item #2. It’ll explain what typically causes the problem in the RD-600 series timers as well as how to troubleshoot it, how to get parts, and how to clear the message.

      Thanks for posting
      Brian

    • hi , You should be able to just keep pressing the + button on the RD-600 or other model until you get past the am settings… after 1159pm, you should get 12:00am

      Brian – aka the RD600 series Irritrol RainDial Doctor

    • HI Brandon,
      That’s usually an indication of a problem with the RainDials I can repair – drop me an email at rainDialDoctor@gmail.com with more details and I’ll give you all the info on repair costs, etc.

      Thanks,
      Brian

  11. I have a RD900 and on occasion the screen just goes blank. I’ve unplugged it and plugged it back in, tightened all the internal screws and nothing. I plugged it back in and nothing, I pulled on the AC cord and the screen came back on and everything worked (for a while). Now it comes on and goes off whenever it wants. I play with the wires aand it works. I live in Ca. so under the budget we are on I only use it manually but some times it takes a long time before it will stay on. Is this a common problem?

    • Hi Terry,

      Yes, that’s a common problem I repair. I’d suggest sending in the timer and back terminal board for repair. You’ Never have that problem again and I’ll also add some other enhancements so you won’t have the other problems either.
      I usually get them in the mail the day after I receive it.

      Thanks for posting; If you have any other questions just let me know.

      Brian

  12. I have 9 dials wired to my yard. First seven work great. Other two in the back never turn on via the controller. They turn on manually. I put in all new valves and still not working. Not sure what the issue is.

    • Hi Brian E,

      I assume you have 9 valves, and not 9 dials… 🙂
      If the two in the back don’t come on but the timer indicates they should be on, I would look closely at the common wire that goes to the back valves. It’s likely that it’s loose or not connected well. Let me know if you find anything or not… If not, I’ll offer additional suggestions; be sure to give me more info on the model number of the timer (listed near the semi-auto button).

      Regards,
      Brian

  13. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for posting answers to many of the questions in the forum. My RD-600-EXT suddenly stopped working, i.e. it is not triggering my sprinkler head. As you could see, there is power going from the transformer to the board; however, I did not sense any power in blue, green, red and white wires (see attached photo). Also, there is no power in the front LCD panel.

    What could be the problem. Appreciate your help.

    Thanks,
    Marc

    • Hi Marc,

      You’re very welcome. I think I replied to your email, so if you still have questions after reading that, just let me know.

      Thanks,
      Brian

  14. Hi Brian,
    Thanks for posting answers to many of the questions in the forum. My RD-600-EXT suddenly stopped working, i.e. it is not triggering my sprinkler head. As you could see, there is power going from the transformer to the board; however, I did not sense any power in blue, green, red and white wires (see attached photo). Also, there is no power in the front LCD panel.

    What could be the problem. Appreciate your help. I just sent you an email as well – with a small video clip.

    Thanks,
    Marc

  15. I have a Rain Dial Irritrol RD600. A couple of days ago, I noticed the indoor control for my backyard spa (Jandy aqaulink) say “Air Sensor Shorted” and the backyard lights wouldn’t turn on. Over the past couple days, I also noticed the sprinklers did not turn on in the morning like they normally would (I think the two issues are linked?). So I checked my RD600 and the display window is blank. I don’t think the transformer breakers were tripped. Of course I am new to these systems. I have no idea what the problem is so any enlightenment would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Noel,
      It is likely a circuit breaker or GFCI that has been tripped. That would explain why both are not working. Check those and let me know if you find anything.

      Brian a.k.a. RD600 RainDial Doctor

  16. I had a power outage for 24 hours. My Rain Maker worked after this, however, it was the wrong time of day, so I turned it off during the cycle. Display was blinking so I reprogrammed the unit. After programming and when I moved the set programs button to run or manual, it won’t start at all. What can be wrong. This never happened before.

    • Hi Shirley,

      If (no matter what valve you try to turn on) it just goes back to “OFF” or blinks or acts strangely on the display, it just needs repairing. I do them often and would appreciate your business if you’re willing. If it only happens with One valve, then the valve solenoid is probably bad and needs replacing, but I’d doubt that based on your description.

      If the timer seems to be working (I couldn’t tell from your message) but the water isn’t coming on, let me know and I’ll guide you through the other troubleshooting steps to figure it out.

      You can email me at RainDialDoctor@gmail.com if you have other questions.

      Regards,
      Brian

  17. My Rain Dial is blank in the window where it should show the time or other functions. I changed the 9 volt battery, but that didn’t help. I tried unplugging it inside the box and plugging it back in, but that also did no good.
    HELP!

    • Hi Valorie,

      What model number is shown near the Semi-Auto button in the lower left corner of your timer, and what brand is it – either Irritrol or Hardie).

      Then I can help more.
      Thanks,
      Brian

  18. I have a rain sensor, but I don’t think it is working properly. It flashes SEn but there has been no rain. I looked inside the unit and notice that there is an orange wire that is not connected. Any idea where that might go?

    • Hi Mike, I don’t think the wire is the issue, it’s likely a problem we repair. I’d send the backboard and timer in for repair. It’s pretty common to have some extra, unconnected wires because the wire bundles have a set number of wires in them and they don’t all get used based on how many valves you nave.

      If you want, you can send me a photo of the wiring and I can take a look. send it to rainDialDoctor@gmail.com

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