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.

  • Timer Behavior problems
  • Display error messages
  • How Do I … and trouble shooting topics

RD-600/900/1200 Timer – Behavior Problems:

  1. Rain Dial Sprinkler/irrigation valves chatter or buzz or water pressure seems low.
  2. Valves do not come on when they’re supposed to
  3. Valves stuck onwon’t turn off or more than one is on.
  4. Time is frozen or cannot change the time
  5. The case door won’t open or you lost your key 
  6. The case door breaks off or comes apart

Display Error Messages for the Irritrol RD600, RD900, RD1200 Irrigation Timers:

  1. Display shows OFF or blinks when turning on a valve manually
  2. Display is Blank.
  3. Display says FUS or FU5 and a number
  4. Display shows 5En or SEn
  5. Display shows OF1 or OF… some number
  6. Display shows P:On or P:Off
  7. Display is blinking – see above
  8. Display shows “—-“ for days of the week – refers to skip days
  9. Rain Dial Plus:displays “Opn” or “Open

Programming Information for Irritrol RD600, RD900, RD1200 Irrigation Timers:

  1. Programming tutorial for RD-600/900/1200
  2. Programming worksheet for RD600/900/1200
  3. Understanding the Skip Days Feature

DIY troubleshooting “How do I …” sprinkler timer related topics

    1. How to reset the RainDial controller and set it to factory defaults
    2. How do I water while my timer is being repaired (Manually watering without using a timer)
    3. How to check the fuse (also see FUS topic above)
    4. How to test the transformer to know if the transformer is bad
    5. How to test if the valves or solenoids are bad.
    6. Typical Sprinkler Valve Wiring Diagram
    7. 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?


308 thoughts on “DIY Troubleshooting

  1. Woke up this morning to thumping sound. Sprinkler heads popping up and down during program A cycle. Same scene in station 2. & 5

    • Hi Brian,
      This is a symptom of the most common problem we fix- The thumping noise is from the solenoids opening and closing over and over again, as the power supply chain inside the timer is unable to provide the power needed.
      I recommend that you send it in to me for repair, or if you’re in the phoenix area you can just drop it off at my house! I’ll send you an email with the details.


  2. Great website! Your DIY page is very helpful and solved my problem simply. I donated $5 to you so you can continue your excellent help. I’m bookmarking your page so I’ll always go to it for the answers to my RainDial 600 ext problems!
    You folks are the best!

    • Hi Mike,
      I’m not sure what you mean by “Fail-safe” mode, but I would recommend that you reset the unit. Here’s the instructions:
      A) For older controllers: Perform a complete reset by: (note, this will delete all your programming)

      Remove the battery
      Pull off the ribbon cable from the back connector board (white or yellow board with all the screw terminals) by holding the gray ribbon cable close to the back terminal board and wiggling it off. It’s a press-fit connector that should be relatively easy to remove
      Wait 3 minutes or so for any residual power to completely drain from the unit. (Newer controllers do need a lot of time to discharge so it’s worth taking the time)
      Plug in the ribbon cable again (it should power up)
      Reconnect the battery.
      Reprogram the controller.
      Note: The older model sprinkler timers will have default schedule which is something similar to:every day, 7AM, every station for 10 minutes. Make sure to go through all the station settings when you re-program the controller or your sprinklers may come on when you don’t expect them to.
      If this doesn’t work, you may have a timer that has newer internal circuitry but the older case. Try following the steps below for the newer controllers.
      It should start with a blinking 12:00pm and now work as expected; you can now set the time and re-program the schedule.


  3. I have an outdoor 600 controller. It started working intermittently, more not working than working. I asked my electrician/electrical engineer brother to look at it. He’d like to look into the area to the right (the narrow compartment next to the tab that releases the face of the controller) but can not figure out how to open that compartment.

    Can you help me with this?


  4. System will turn on only for like 5-10 seconds before turning off and in Manual mode will switch through all the little numbers at the top before saying “OFF” without completing desired time I put in.

    • Hi Dom,
      I just sent you an email! The general idea is to try running a reset, but if that doesn’t work then you should send it in to us for repair!


  5. When I manually run valve 2 it works but when I try valve 1 the valve number shows on the little screen but the water does not come on.

    • Hi Mike,
      From this, I know it’s not your transformer, and that leaves us with the timer, backboard, or the solenoid.
      It sounds like it probably needs repair, I think you should check out your valve solenoid with this page:
      If from that testing, you think it’s the solenoid- Replace it.
      If you think it’s not the solenoid, you should send it in to me for repair.


    • Hi Redmund,

      When you turn on a valve, does a small number corresponding to that valve appear in the top row of the display? If so, that means the timer is working and that you may have a valve issue. If you do not see a small number, then there is a problem with the timer. Let me know what you find out.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  6. I installed rain dial rd600 2 yrs ago for a customer. She said it goes thru 3 stations and repeats again and again etc and floods everything until she turns it off. I suggested to reset it to factory specs and try reprogramming it.
    Still didn’t fix the problem. What would you suggest?
    Rick Wickizer 520 401 1105

    • Hi Rick,

      I apologize for the delay in response. Here is some info I can share that should answer your questions:

      The 2nd start time should never start before the first run finishes. The length of a cycle is the sum of all the programmed times. E.g.,
      If your start time is 7:30AM and 6 valves are programmed to each run 1-hour, then the 2nd start time must be set later than 1:31PM.
      Here’s the calculation:
      7:30AM start time +
      (1 hour for each valve) x (6 valves) = 6 hours of run time
      Finish time is = 1:30PM.
      The 2nd start time must be set after the first one finishes, which would be at 1:31PM or later.

  7. We have the rain dial 600
    Date stamp 022502
    The display is staying on the time.
    I can’t get it to do anything what should I do.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Follow the steps to reset the timer; see the DIY Troubleshooting page under the “How do I” section. Please let me know if that works or not.

      Regards – Brian – aka the RD600 series Irritrol Irrigation Timer repair “doc”

  8. Raindial 600 ext… will not turn on, unit stays blank, Fuse has been checked and is OK, Is there a Battery if so were can i locate it so that i might replace and see if that is the problem,

  9. My RD 600 has a completely blank screen and will not turn on. I have unplugged it and plugged it back in and still have a blank screen. Over the past month or so I have had trouble with it working in a manual position. I will get flashing displays of off and on when in the manual position and then will finally get it to work. What do you think? Thanks

    • Hi Andy,
      I just sent you an email in response, but this is characteristic of some common circuit board failures that I can fix, and I would recommend sending it in for repair.

  10. I have a RD600-INT controller. It quit working and I replace the 9V battery and it will work for a while until the 9V goes dead. Replace the 9V and will work for awhile again. What should I check for?

    • Hi Tim,
      Thats a classic symptom of a failing timer that we repair often. I sent you an email with all the repair information and answers to other questions, I hope its helpful and you consider our services!

        • Hi Shianne,
          The battery in these units is on the back near the top behind a plastic cover, however it is only there to keep the clock time during a brief power outage. A new battery should make the LCD show something, but it can’t turn on the valves.

          If the screen is blank, check that the timer is getting power; check breakers, GFCI outlets, etc. or it could be a problem with the timer. You can look here for more ways to test the transformer. If the transformer is working, we can repair the timer for you.

          Let us know what your transformer test results indicate and I can help further,

  11. My RD6 keeps beeping. About once ever minute. I’ve tried unplugging and replugging it. Not sure why it is beeping.

    • Hi Richard,
      Can you describe the beeping a little more; and tell me if there is anything changing on the display when it happens?
      Thanks ,

  12. I have a RD600-ext-R model. Lawn not being watered. I opened the box and display off. I went to open to see if the fuse had blown and the display came on. Before I could reset time the display went out again. Three several times same results. Any ideas?

    • Hi Dennis,
      That sounds like the type of problem we typically repair. Please send both the controller and back connector board to us and we can repair it for you. I will send you an email with further instructions.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

    • Hi Karl,
      It sounds like it may be a problem with the valve. The B indicates schedule B is active and 20 indicates 20 minutes left to run.
      There should also be a #2 on the top row of the display. Do you see that?

      You can also try switching the wires for 1 and 2 and see if the problem follows the wire; then you have an idea that it’s a valve problem, not a timer problem.

      Finally, try performing both types of factory resets using the DIY Troubleshooting page instructions.
      Let me know if that helps,

  13. Question I got a new rd600 I set the zones and times correct but one zone seems to be coming on by itself . I double checked everything it’s all correct times and days any remedies ? Thank you .

    • Hi Joey,

      I’d suggest doing a factory reset for the RD-600 and reprogram it; you’ll likely find that solves the problem. See the DIY Troubleshooting page for instructions.


  14. Hi I have the system to run every other day but it runs every day I reset to factory default but still running every day

    • The irritrol rd600 series default setting runs the schedule every day at 7:00 for 10 minutes on every station. This happens every day the week. You’ll have to change the default settings to be something different, or set them all to 0 minutes, or no start times. Otherwise, it will keep running every day.

      Brian – aka the Irritrol RainDial RD600 series repair doc.

    • Hi Sherri,

      It’s likely the control signal for the lower part of the A isn’t working, so you always see a “P”.
      If you’d be willing to send it in, I’d repair that as well as replace other parts that typically fail so you won’t have any other problems for a long time. Please post back and let me know what you decide to do. I’ve heard of the AM/PM problem before and would like to get hold of one so I have a good answer to give people. I can give you a discount on the repair if you’re willing. See the “How to get it repaired” section of the website, or email me directly at


  15. I do not have the manual to program this Irritrol RD600 INT sprinkler control and I do not know how to program it. Please send me a manual to do this. Thank you so much

    • Hi Carole,
      I have links to the different manuals here on our website. Go ahead and take a look, you should be able to find yours.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

    • Hi Carole,
      I have links to all of the user manuals here on our website. Go ahead and have a look, you should be able to find yours.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  16. My rain dail system is on but won’t respond to any of the buttons or switches I use on it. It won’t turn off the sprinklers either. I tried to reset the system but nothing is happening. It stays in zone one when I start the main water valve and never moves to the next zone.

    • Hi Micah,

      Try disconnecting the timer (remove power or disconnect the ribbon cable). Then turn the water on.
      If the sprinklers come on, then it’s not the timer doing it. Check your valve, it may be bad or you may have to make sure the valve has not been manually turned on.

      Let me know what you find out,

    • Hi Jeff,
      When you set Zone 6 to run, do you see a small 6 in the top row of the display? This will tell us if the controller is working or not. Let me know,

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

      • Hello, I’m having a similar issue. Zones 1-6 run on manual mode. But 7-11 won’t run. No small #’s appear on the top of the display. When 6 is running and I hit next, the top row goes blank. Any suggestions?

  17. I have an RD600_ext_r. When I try to arrays to run it shows I1 on current day and— on other days. When I try to set to on it shows off and won’t change to on.

    • Hi Carly,
      It sounds like you have the skip days function enabled. The number on the current day is telling you that it is the 11th day of the number of days you want to skip. If you just turn off the skip days function, all will be well again.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  18. Manual is not working. I need to water prior to tenting for termites and although control panel shows minutes gradually decreasing water does not come out of any of the sprinkler stations. Help., The tenting is the day after tomorrow.

    • Hi Beverly,
      I apologize for the delayed response. It sounds like it might be too late, but here is some information:

      It sounds like the timer is working. The problem you are having could be several things, so we need to try and figure out what is causing it. Here are some quick checks you can do.
      1. Make sure the water is on 🙂
      2. Double-check that the breaker was not tripped
      3. Take the 9 volt out and see if the display stays on. If the timer remains on, then we know that power is getting to the controller.

      Let me know what you find and we can go from there.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

    • Hi Ted,

      If by “not working” you mean it just switches back to “OFF” then that’s a standard repair item; just send it in and we’ll get it working like new again and provide a warranty like new. See the “How to get it repaired” page for more info…

      If your “not working” means something different, reply with more details and I’ll help.


  19. My rain dial will run all programs. For example I have it set on program A and it waters those times but also runs the program B times. What could cause this?

    • Hi Josh,
      I think there may be a misunderstanding on how the schedule and start times work. Schedules A,B, and C are always followed, regardless of what the schedule the switch is pointing to. I.e., if you set the switch on A, it will still run schedule B and C if they are programmed to run. I have some additional information about programming here.

      If this information is helpful to you, please consider making a donation to our website. We only make profits from timers sent in for repair or donations.

      If you have any other questions, let us know.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

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