Ask your questions here – (They will appear shortly)

To avoid spam and other problems, your comment won’t appear until it’s been approved.  Don’t worry if you don’t see it right away.

To add a question, go to the bottom of the page, fill in the comment and click Post Comment.  

Please look at the DIY Troubleshooting section before posting, answers to most questions can be found there. 

You can also reply to other people’s questions if you like. (Thanks for helping)

Please try to include the following with your question, list:
1) the date code (located under the battery),
2) the model number shown on the face of the controller (usually below and to the left of the dial, e.g., RD-600 or RD-600-R).
3) Color (mostly Gray or Blue) based on the example rainDials shown at the top of the page.

860 thoughts on “Ask your questions here – (They will appear shortly)

  1. Brian, when I move the dial manually on my irritrol rd600 to say zone 3 often times my zone 1 may come on instead. I have to keep going back to zero and then to zone 3 and finally it will water only 3

    • Hi Charles,
      There’s one of two things that could be happening here, I’m not sure I fully understand what you said but let’s see if I can help.

      The first thing is that there may be some confusion about the semiauto vs manual functions- If you want to run only station three, the only way to do that is to set the dial to station 3, the lower switch to the right for Manual, use the plus button to add how many minutes you want to run it for, and then press the Manual button. If you press the semi-auto button, it will run the whole program, which may be why you’re seeing it turn on station 1 when you don’t want it to.

      Aside from that, it could be some weird problem- you can try doing a reset, or if you can give me some more details maybe I can help!

      Hope this helps,
      Ben

      • Sorry for the vagueness, but I meant that when I choose to run only one zone I select that zone with the dial, push the time dial for say 5 minutes and then press the manual start at the bottom right. The screen then shows a small 3 and M05 as it starts, however the other day I did this exact thing and zone one came on instead of 3 despite the dial being in the three position. After moving the dial back and forth several times and then to 3 again it finally started zone three only and ran for the selected 5 minutes

  2. Hi, I’m based in Queensland Australia and had a landscaper install an Irritrol RD-900r control unit a couple of years ago. My plants started to look thirsty on the weekend and I found the controller had a blank screen and was unusable. I’ve since performed multiple system resets, as advised here, but now my display is a jumble of incomprehensible symbols and still unusable. I’m not sure where to go for advice on how to fix or what parts I need to replace. Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Good day Glen,

      Let see if we can try a few things before giving it up.
      If you have followed the detailed reset instructions (removed the battery and power and followed the button-press plugin sequence shown) and it didn’t seem to work, try the following:
      1) Remove all power and install a fresh 9V battery and plug it in. Sometimes this will clear up some of the problems for a short time, but it will still eventually need to be repaired.
      2) Determine if the timer is working but the display is faulty by pretending to manually turn on a valve: put dial on #1, switch on Run, press + to add some minutes, then press Manual-On. If valve #1 turns on, then we know it’s just a display problem.
      3) You can also try semi-Auto to see if that works.
      4) Question: have you opened up the timer? Often that can mess things up a little so it would help to know if that was done.

      Let me know what you find in your testing,
      Brisn

      • Hi Brian, tried all the above as well as successfully testing the transformer to deduce the display / timer unit is broken. Nothing works if I try to manually or semi-auto start and the display starts as a jumble of numbers and then fades to nothing whenever I plug in a battery. So, with all tests exhausted, I guess I’ll just grab a new timer unit online! Although I have an RD-900-R, I only use 6 solenoids. Is it possible to fit an RD-600 timer to an RD-900 base unit? Thanks!

        • Hi Glen,
          Sorry to hear that your timer has failed- That’s definitely strange that the display goes dead WITH a battery.
          Yes you can definitely use an RD 600 or 600-R in place of a 900 as long as you’re certain you only use 6 valves!

          Thanks,
          Brian

    • Hi Raymond,
      The Rain Dial plus timers are surprisingly different from the RD and RD-R models, and are much more difficult to repair, especially with the situation you describe… If you are in the Phoenix area, you are more than welcome to drop it off and I can do my best to repair it- If I can fix it, I’ll charge you for repair, if not then no charge.
      If you’re not in the area, you could mail it in and I can give it a shot, but again I’m not sure if I will have success.

      The RD-R models are (most of the time) able to be used as an easy replacement- That would probably be your best option for a replacement.

      Thanks,
      Ben

    • Hi Juli!
      I replied to your previous comment, I’m guessing the email alerting you to that went to your spam folder. I just sent you an email directly, hopefully that gets through to you as I don’t have any other way to contact you.
      If you see this reply, check your email and spam folder for an email from raindialdoctor@gmail.com ! I’m sure I can help you get this sorted out.

      Thanks,
      Ben

  3. I have had my system inspected and cleaned but #1 on the system won’t go on. I can manually turn it on in the green box but what is causing that one area not to work?
    John Heinley
    623-764-3146

    • Hi John,
      This is usually indicative of a problem with the backboard, but could also be a bad solenoid depending on the situation. I would recommend trying this to troubleshoot:
      You said #1 won’t work through the timer. On the backboard, swap the wires for #1 and #2 (assuming #2 is currently working).
      Once they are swapped, you have valve 1 on terminal 2, and valve 2 on terminal one.
      Try running what is labeled 2 on the timer. If that turns on the valve you’ve been having problems with, then there is a backboard problem. If it does not turn on the valve, then the valve solenoid is probably bad.

      Hope this helps!
      -Ben

    • Hi Richard,
      We’ve never seen one of those before, but if you’re in the area and would like to drop it off for us to try and fix it then let me know!
      Thanks,
      Ben

  4. Your service and quick replies are much appreciated. You suggested I tighten the solenoid like a screw. Appears I need to change the valve. Do you have any recommendations on who I can contact to do the valve replacement?

    • Hi Robert,
      I don’t currently have any people I recommend- I would suggest you go to a Sprinkler World location or another irrigation type store and ask who they recommend!

      The replacement of the valve isn’t all that difficult on the whole, the important thing to know is that you don’t have to do any pipe work or anything, you simply swap out the insides and top of the valve with a replacement. Here’s my page on it: http://www.raindialdoctor.com/how-to-replace-the-sprinkler-valve-guts/
      And here’s a video that walks through it as well: Youtube Vid

      Good Luck!
      Ben

  5. I have a Rain Dial Hardie RD900, you repaired it a long time ago.

    I notice the sprinklers were not coming on. There is no time showing just dead!

    Help,
    Ann

    • Hi Bob,
      The start times is the start time to run the program you have set- For example, if on Program A you have Station 1 set for 5 minutes and Station 2 set for 10 minutes, with Start time 1 set for 6am and everything else set to zero, then at 6 station one comes on, and at 6:05 station one turns off and station 2 turns on and runs until 6:15.
      So in short, Start time 1 is simply one start time for the program, not the start time for Station 1. Tons of people get that confused.

      If you already knew that, and are looking for a way to run a program more than three times a day, you could use the three different programs A, B, and C to have a total of 9 start times: On A, B, and C, set Station 1 for 10 minutes. Set Program A Start times to 6, 7, and 8; set Program B start times to 9, 10, and 11; set Program C start times to 12, 1, and 2. Then you will have station 1 come on 9 different times each day!

      I hope this is helpful, let me know if there’s anything I can explain more or any other questions you have!
      -Ben

  6. I have a RD600 unit that i have programed to run every 3rd day. However, this week its been coming on every two days twice in a row now. Ive checked the program and everything looks correct. Any ideas?

    • Hi James,

      Here are some ideas: Check to see if you have something inadvertently programmed in one of the other schedules (e.g., B or C) and double-check that the skip-days is set for 3. Note that the ‘today’ dial setting will tell you what day number it currently is. so if your setup for every 3 days, it’ll count 1,2,3 and if the today value is set to “2”, it’ll water tomorrow. Read through the DIY page on the skip days setting for more information.

      If that helps, post back and let me know.
      Thanks,
      Brian

      • Thanks Brian. I checked this morning and the total value is 01 which seems correct since it had just watered yesterday. I decided to do a full factory reset nevertheless. Let’s see what happens. I had a similar situation over a year ago where the control ran a day or two days early and one of the common wires was completely out of the screw socket. I’ve checked all the connections and they are all secure. I will reach out if the problem continues.

  7. My Irritrol timer is functioning when the manual button is pushed for each zone but will not function when the zones are suppose to turn on during the programmed set time. I have a fus error sign. I have replaced the cylanoid.

    • Hi Gregg,
      The fuse error is 99% of the time a problem with the solenoid, so I’m intrigued that replacing the solenoid did not fix it- Please check out my page on the FUS error:http://www.raindialdoctor.com/qa/

      As far as the timer not coming on when it’s programmed to, usually that ends up being a programming problem- Commonly from having overlapping start times. an important troubleshooting question for this is when the sprinklers are supposed to be on by the schedule that you have set, does the top row of the timer’s display show a number corresponding to the valve that’s supposed to be on?
      If it does not show that number, that means that the timer is not trying to run the station, and there is a problem with the way you have it programmed.

      Thanks,
      Brian

  8. I have a RD600. Has worked fine for a few years. Just started kind of randomly doing manual water on its own. The annoying part is that it just turns on a manual watering for for over 4 hours!

    • Hi Rick,
      This sounds like a valve that has failed- I would recommend that you check out this info from my page about watering when it’s not supposed to:
      If the water is on, and you do not see a number on the top row, then it’s usually not a timer problem. Look at the other DIY Troubleshooting section for information on “what to do when valves stay on when they’re not supposed to.” Also try following the DIY Troubleshooting instructions to timer to reset it to its factory defaults. This clears out all the programs and leaves a default program which is set for everyday of the week starting time of 7 a.m., every station for 10 minutes. if you don’t want that schedule simply change it.

      If that little number is there on the timer display when the water is coming on randomly, then there is a timer problem.
      If it’s not, then it’s a valve problem, and you should check out this page: http://www.raindialdoctor.com/how-to-replace-the-sprinkler-valve-guts/

      Thanks,
      Brian

  9. We have an old RD-600 with wiring for 12 valve positions, but only 6 positions show on the dial. How do we access positions 7-12 for programming the times?

    • Hi Chris,
      The backboard wiring you mention is standard, but the number of stations useable is determined by the timer, since it drives the whole system. RD 600 units can do 6, 900 can do 9, and 1200 can do 12- If you have a 600, sadly it is only capable of programming 6 stations.
      So, to answer your question directly- you can’t.
      If you would like to use more than 6 stations, you need to upgrade to either a 900, 1200, or some other companies sprinkler timer.
      If you’re interested in purchasing a 9 or 12 station timer, let me know! I have some in stock.

      Thanks,
      Ben

  10. I followed your troubleshooting directions and eventually fixed my 99-R system. Saved me at least $100, so I sent you $20.
    Thanks,
    Chad

  11. We have a DR 900 R at our bowling club.The timer initially stopped working so I opened it up & I repaired a corroded track on the timer just below the failed internal battery & replaced the battery.
    The timer then seemed to work fine on battery until I reconnected it to the system.
    I have used your diagnostic guidelines. I have tested solenoids ,all pass resistance tests & by-pass tests. The outputs on the board all switch on and off continuously including the pump output. I think the timer is faulty. It is 10 years old.

    • Hi Shad,
      Sounds like a common problem that we deal with! I sent you an email to verify, and I look forward to getting an email back and getting you sorted out.
      Thanks,
      Ben

    • Hi John,
      The solenoid unscrews from the valve if you rotate it counter clockwise.

      Thanks,
      Ben

  12. I just left a question about the unit pulsates when timer is off and keeps having water go thru the line and soak the yard. Rain dial RD 600 R date 11/19/2013. Is their a transformer that can be replaced?

    • Comment Referenced:”I have a RD600 and it pulsates when timer is off and water continues to flow thru the lines and over water each time it pulsates”
      Hi Butch,
      This is definitely an unusual problem- Brian is out for the week on a well deserved vacation, but let’s see if I can help.
      There is a transformer that can be replaced, and I have a page about testing it: Transformer Testing
      If you think that the transformer is your problem, please try that link to test your transformer.
      It sounds to me like you have a problem with your valves- I think that this page will be more helpful to you: Valve stuck on
      Please let me know how it goes, and if I can be of more help.
      Thanks,
      Ben (Brian’s son)

  13. Just bought a house in a town with low water pressure, my dial “zones” has up to three zones spraying at once, how do I program it to spray one zone at a time. For instance, if it’s on zone 3, it is spraying 3,4,and 5. How do I minimize it to one zone at a time

    • Hi Nancy,
      Please check out the page I have on this issue under Troubleshooting!

      Thanks,
      Brian

  14. when the timer dial is on “current time” so I can change the time, neither + nor – button will not change the time. If I keep wiggling the time will only go down, not up, for a few numbers but stops again. Is there way to maybe open the box it self where the back of the button is making the connection?

    • Hi Yoko,
      We use a flat head screwdriver and slot it into the slots on the side of the timer- it can be hard to do so without breaking the tabs, so be careful!

      Thanks,
      Brian

  15. We recently replaced our RD-6- Mod-R a few months ago and right now the morning run is working fine, but the night run won’t come on (only one valve, drip only). We live in Phx and the daytime highs are above 110 degrees. I have tried to manually start the runs at night and they won’t come on – I can manually start the runs in the morning just fine. I just replaced the solenoid with no change. Any ideas what might be causing this? I have double checked all settings and they appear to be fine (1 run in the morning and one at night for ten minutes each).

    • Hi Harold,
      This heat definitely has been rough in Phoenix- this sounds like a problem I can fix for you, I’ll be sending you an email soon with some details.

      Thanks,
      Brian

  16. I just had a new Irritrol RD900-INT-R (Blue color) installed last Saturday (8/8). I programmed “Skip Days” to begin the next day (Sunday) and it appears to be working properly. However, yesterday (8/11) I turned it on with Manual button for Valve 2 to test some newly installed lines and it came on ok but after I stopped it to repair a line, it now will not work again in the Manual setting nor the Semi-Auto setting. The next “Skip Days” is scheduled for tomorrow so do not yet know if that still works. Any ideas?

    • Hi Ed,
      It sounds like an issue with the new line you installed, not with the timer.
      Does the timer indicate that it thinks the valve is activated? The top row of the display should show the number of the valve if the timer is actually trying to turn it on.

      Thanks,
      Brian

  17. Hi,
    Nice site you have here…
    I am helping my elderly uncle, whose sprinkler system has obviously seen much better days. Lots of troubleshooting to do – everywhere it seems. I am close to being a newbie at irrigation systems, but I’m fairly handy and I’m learning.
    I’m starting my troubleshooting quest with the timer.

    Here’s the info on the timer:
    – Rain-Dial (Hardie Irrigation)
    – 9-station
    – mounted on outside wall (with cover).
    – gray face
    – no model number on face
    – date stamp is 041593

    Here are the symptoms that I see:

    A) Buttons are failing (“Manual” & “Minus”)
    B) When I first opened the cover I saw a flashing LCD. So I moved the function switch back and forth between the positions Off/Set/Run, and it was still flashing. Then I replaced the battery, and the flashing stopped. I reprogrammed 3 stations and the settings stored successfully.
    Then the next day, I opened the cover again, and to my surprise, the flashing had returned. I took out the battery and it tested “like new”. I decided to try a Semi-Auto check anyway. So I reset the time on stations 1, 2, and 3 down to 1 minute, and the settings were stored. I then noticed that the flashing had stopped. But then later it came back again. I had been playing with it and I don’t understand the cause or what it could be telling me.

    Here are my questions:

    Q1) Is the LCD flashing behavior that I described normal? What is it even telling me?
    Q2) I assume that if I brought it in to you, that the problems I described above would be simple fixes for you. But I’m wondering if it’s worth doing. Of course I’d want some reassurance that all the other components would have some life left in them. I see in another post that you typically scan/test other parts and replace the typical troublemakers. I assume that it kinda validates the overall state of health. That is awesome. I’m trying to weigh if it’s worth fixing, or if a newer model wouldn’t be more advisable. About how much would this cost me?

    Here’s a question about the timer’s features, that will help me decide whether to fix… My uncle’s system features a manual anti-siphion valve (Orbit 51022) that leaks profusely. I assume that there weren’t any solenoid-operated SVs back in the day. So while dealing with its leak problem, I thought I might just upgrade his SV to a modern automatic one. I’m assuming that an auto siphon valve is preferable, and that it would be activated everytime that any station gets activated.
    Q4) Does his vintage timer even support a solenoid equipped SV?
    Q5) If not, is there some kind of a wiring hack to get that to happen, or again, would I need to invest in a more modern model?

    • Hi Dayold,

      Sorry about the delay in response – we have gotten a little behind with comments. I updated this link with details about the flashing problem. I hope your repaired timer is working well now.

      Brian

  18. I had a power outage and my rain dial kept the time and settings during the outage. I am new to the system details since I only bought the house 2 years ago. Anyway , when I realized it has a 9v battery back up I went to change the battery and one was not installed. So my question is, how could the system have kept the time and setting set during a 2 hour power outage without a 9 v battery installed??

    • Hi Mike,

      Some of the newer models can keep the programming even without a battery plugged in. The 9 volt will help keep the time correct in case of a power outage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *