What does 5En or SEn on the LCD mean?

When is “Sen” normal to be seen on an Irritrol RainDial?

“SEn” or “5En” indicates SENsor.  It is displayed when an (optional) external rain sensor device detects that it has rained.  If you have a rain sensor and it is sensing rain, it should display “SEn” and stops the watering schedule until the rain sensor indicates the rain has stopped and water is needed again.  It is normal and expected operation to see SEn if you have a rain sensor and it has recently rained.

What to try if you do not have an Irritrol RainDial or other rain sensor:

  1. Some back connector boards have a rain sensor selection switch that can be set to either Bypass or Active. Make sure it’s set to Bypass if you don’t have a rain sensor.
  2. If you have sensor connection screws but no switch, (and no rain sensor or you removed a sensor that’s no longer being used) there should be a jumper wire between the two screws.  If the wire is missing you can just add a wire between the two sensor screw terminals.   FYI: The switch on the board (if you have one) basically does the same thing as the jumper, it connects the two sensor terminals together.

The most likely problem:

If you do not have a rain sensor and get this message, it’s usually a “real” problem that will be intermittent and eventually get worse as time goes by and it’s hard to detect because the message may only appear when you are not looking at it.

It’s caused by a circuity problem that we frequently repair.  Simply mail the controller module and back connector board to us and we’ll have it working better than new in no time.

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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.

Follow the steps for either A or B below based on what timer you have.

A) describes what to do for Older timers (If it doesn’t work for you, do B)
B) for Newer timers

A) 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.
  7. 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.

B) 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.

How do I know if it took the reset or not? 

If the reset worked, the Time will say 12:00 and schedule A will have a default schedule of: Start time of 7:00AM, Every day (M-Su), all valve run times set for 10minutes.  If you don’t see this then carefully re-read the steps and try again.

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 can’t get the reset to work, contact us about a repair.

Contact us – we’ll send you repair details.

Good luck,

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How do I remove the back connector board?

It’s always best to send the back connector board with the controller unit, and there’s no extra charge for working on it. Removing the back connector board is easy; you just need to keep track of the wires and where they go.

Use the steps below, or watch this video.

    1. Just loosen the screws holding the wires, slide them out, then simply remove 4 “Philips” screws that hold it  into the case.  
    2. Do not remove the entire case (it’s too much work), just the yellow or white connector board with all the screw terminals. 
    3. Here are some tips on removing the back connector board
      1. Always disconnect power first, or at least remove the red and yellow 24VAC wires first and cover each end with tape so they do not touch each other or anything else while you work. This protects the transformer from shorting out
      2. Take a picture of the wiring or label the wires before you remove them, Use it as a guide when you hook it back up. 


If you have any questions, just let us know.

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Why does my timer say OF…?

Question: You just repaired my rain dial RD600 two weeks ago, reinstalled today, flashed 0F9, did a reset now flashing 0F1 alternating with the time. Any ideas?



Hi David,  That indicates that the controller is turned off for 9 days; it’s a rain delay feature.  A RainDial button probably just got pressed accidentally while programming. It’s a handy feature to delay watering if it rains … you can read about it in the manual: http://raindialdoctor.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Irritrol_Rain_Dial_2007_manual.pdf

See page 24

Why is this flashing happening?

The number indicates the number of days to not follow any schedule (you would set this if it rained).  To get rid of the rain delay feature, follow the steps below and change the delay back to 0.
see the following.  (Important: Make sure to slide the switch to Run again when you’re done or everything will stay off).

How to I turn set or turn off the RD 600 series rain delay feature?

The Rain Delay enables the Rain Dial to suspend all automatic watering activity from 1 to 9 days.
  1. Place the Function switch in the OFF position.
  2. Press the +/- button to set 1 to 9 delay days (OF 1 – OF 9). (when it’s shows the current time, the delay is off)
  3. Place the Function switch in the Run position.
When delays are active, the display will flash, alternating between the current time and the number of delay days remaining. The delay day number will decrease each day until watering automatically resumes at the end of the selected delay period. Note:

To disable RD 600 series Rain Delay feature

At any time you can return the controller to active mode, repeat steps 1 and 2 to decrease the Rain Delay till it just shows the time, then the delay is off.
There’s an alternate way to set this delay feature shown below, but I would use the steps above instead.
  1. Place the Function switch in the Set Programs position.
  2. Turn the Dial to the Skip Days – Special Functions position.
  3. Press the Manual button (repeatedly) to display rd0 (Rain Delay = 0 days).   If it says rd2 or another number, that number is the number of delay days currently set.
  4. Press the / buttons to select a Rain Delay period of 1 to 9 days or 0 to turn off the Rain Delay feature.
  5. Return the Dial to the Current Time position.
  6. Return the Function switch to the Run position.
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Using Irritrol Remote Control with any brand of controller

This video shows how to use the remote control unit with an Irritrol controller and also how to use a wiring harness to connect it to any brand controller. This setup requires the Irritrol remote control modules and an Irritrol RD-xxx controller. I build a little adapter that allows you to clip into any system.

This is a quicktime video that shows the basic setup and how to hook it up.  The wiring harness basically connects to the ribbon cable and wires up both 24VAC wires, and one of the sprinkler valves (In this case valve 6).  I used an IDE connector from some old PC scraps I have around, otherwise, you can order the mating connector.

Here’s the video: sprinklerRemoteVideoSmall

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Is the rain dial sprinkler controller broken, or is it a sprinkler valve problem? Basic Troubleshooting Steps

(This information and all information on this site is copyrighted by the rainDialDoctor)

Sometimes people suspect the rain dial sprinkler controller is bad.  Before sending it in to get it repaired, or even worse, putting in a whole new system, test to see if the problem is with the valves.  We do this by disconnecting the controller from the system and manually connect the valve wires to the transformer power.

Bypass the timer and check that the 24VAC transformer can turn on the valves directly by doing the procedure below.  You basically touch the valve wires directly to the 24V transformer outputs instead of going through the timer:

    1. Unplug the timer’s ribbon cable from the back of box so it can’t control anything.
    2. Disconnect one of the valve wires (e.g., connected to terminal #1 screwed into the back of the controller box; just loosen the valve’s connection screw and slide out the wire)
    3. Take the wire and hold it directly on the right-most of the two 24VAC screw terminals (touch it for 10-15 seconds, long enough to notice if the valve 1 turns on or not)
      (Note: don’t touch it to both 24VAC terminals at the same time. )
    4. If the Rain Dial Transformer and valve are good, the valve should turn on within a few seconds of touching the wire to the 24VAC terminals.  If it doesn’t come on, it’s most likely a valve or wiring problem, not a problem with the rain dial controller.
    5. Additional things to try, just to be very thorough:
      1. Try repeating the process by touching the wire to the other 24VAC terminal instead.
      2. To eliminate the back-connector board from question, connect the wire going to the VC terminal to the left 24VAC terminal and the valve wire to the right 24VAC terminal.  (You can put two wires under the screw and tighten it down.)  If the valve comes on, the wiring and valves are good, contact us about repairing the controller.
      3. It’s also worth noting, that if you’re having trouble, try disconnecting every valve wire except one, this will help simplify things while troubleshooting.

Note, it is extremely rare for a valve to stay stuck “on” because of a bad controller.  Valves stuck on are usually due to a valve problem, or a programming problem caused inadvertently by the user.  If a  sprinkler valve is stuck on, try disconnecting power to it, or disconnecting the Rain Dial’s ribbon cable from the back-connector board. If the valve stays stuck on, the controller is certainly not the problem.  You can probably fix this by purchasing new “guts” (diaphragm, washers, etc.) for your valve from a good irrigation supply store.  Tell them the RainDialDoctor sent you, and let them know we repair Irritrol RainDial timers.  We’d appreciate it!

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Posted in Q&A

The time is frozen, cannot be changed or never changes.

I see this on rare occasions but have not been able to repeat the problem enough to diagnose it.  Something causes the processor to lock up.  The good news is that it rarely occurs and is easily fixed by doing the following:  (You might want to write down your current schedule before doing this since the Irritrol RD600 will default program to 7am, every station, 10minutes on schedule A.)

Perform a complete power-down reset by:

  1. remove the battery
  2. pull off the ribbon cable from the back connector board.
  3. Wait at lease a minute for any residual power to completely drain from the unit
  4. Plug in the ribbon cable again (it should power up)
  5. reconnect the battery.

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

If this doesn’t work, try following the more detailed instructions on this page.  Note that it has additional factory reset settings for the Irritrol RD-xxx-R series of controllers.

Good luck,



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