How do I reset my Irritrol controller or reset it to factory defaults

On rare occasions something occurs that causes the processor to lock up.  Sometimes the programming acts strange, or the clock even quits working.  This would most likely happen when during power outages or transients.

The good news is that it rarely occurs and is easily fixed by doing the following, depending on whether you have an older or new model controller:

For older controllers: Perform a complete reset by: (note, this will delete all your programming)

  1. Remove the battery
  2. 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
  3. 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)
  4. Plug in the ribbon cable again (it should power up)
  5. Reconnect the battery.
  6. 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.

It should start with a blinking 12:00pm and now work as expected; you can now set the time.

For newer controllers (Typically the -R models), you can restore the factory default settings by doing the following: (note, this will delete all your programming).

  1. Before you do this procedure, you should try doing the basic reset for older controllers first (see above).  It may work, and you won’t lose your program settings.
  2. Set the dial on the current Time.
  3. Place the Function switch in the Set Programs position.
  4. Place the Program switch to select program “B.”
  5. With AC power connected, carefully disconnect the control module ribbon cable from the back PC Board by grabbing the ribbon cable close to the back terminal board and wiggling it till it comes off.
  6. Open the battery compartment and disconnect the battery.
  7. Press and hold the Manual button in and KEEP HOLDING IT IN while performing the next step.
  8. Reconnect the ribbon cable, then release the Manual button. Note: The display should now show 12:00 AM indicating the controller has reset. If it does not, repeat the procedure as necessary.
  9. Reinstall the battery.
  10. Reprogram the controller.

What to do if that doesn’t work

If you reset the  controller and that seems to help, but it still behaves strangely now and then, it probably needs repair.  The sprinkler timers tend to get intermittent before the completely fail.

If you want someone to repair it, just contact us – we’ll send you repair details.

Good luck,

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64 thoughts on “How do I reset my Irritrol controller or reset it to factory defaults

  1. My KwikDial KD9 keeps showing a battery symbol with a line through it. Where is the battery and why does it need one if it is plugged into an outlet?

    • Hi Jessica,

      The battery is in the back of the unit on the top, look for a compartment that would hold a 9V battery.
      The battery just keeps the clock and programming during a brief poweroutage. It usually lasts about a year, but if you have a lot of poweroutages it could be less.

      Brian – aka the RD600 Irritrol Rain Dial “doctor”

  2. I have the RD-600 (irritol) … suddenly it stopped the scheduled watering … I’ve tried the manual as well and nothing. I looked at fuse-looks ok … I unplugged, took fuse out, unplugged ribbon, unplugged unit to reset but it did not return to factory settings …
    any thoughts ?

    • Hi Bruce,
      Sorry for the delay – had a hiccup on my notification emails and didn’t know you had posted.

      For the reset question: it could be that you have a newer RD600 that has teh gray label, but newer internal circuitry. Try following the reset instructions for the RD600-R instead.

      Let me know if that doesn’t work and we’ll address the other programming items. It’s likely that there is a problem with the timer or back terminal board; we can discuss that if the reset doesn’t work.

      Thanks for posting,
      Brian – aka the RD600 series rainDialDoctor

  3. one more thing…Tried ‘fooling’ the controller by resetting the time, to see whether the normal watering occurs.

    It didn’t work. No water!

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