DIY Troubleshooting

Are we still in business?   Absolutely, and we will be as long as this site is up.   

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.

Manuals and User Guides for RainDial RD-600, 900, 1200 PROGRAMMING HELP and manuals, click here

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

  • Get smart – learn the terminology
  • Get user manuals
  • Timer Behavior problems
  • Display error messages
  • How Do I … and troubleshooting topics

Get smart – learn the terminology and concepts from the “What is a” topics: Irritrol Rain Dial Timers

  1. Learn the terminology – what is the back terminal board, timer, transformer 
  2. What are valve boxes, valves, and solenoids?
  3. How is a Typical Sprinkler System Wired?  See this Valve Wiring Diagram?

Official Manuals, User manuals, programming information etc :

  1. Programming guide and template worksheets: click here
  2. Manuals and user guides: click here

Behavior Problems: RD-600/900/1200 :

  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 (a good page to start with)
  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
  7. One station does not shut off before the next station starts
  8. Voltage measurements don’t make sense

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 the earlier topic
  8. Display shows “—-“ for days of the week – refer to skip days

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

How do I …” sprinkler timer-related topics

    1. How do I turn on a valve using the manual button?
    2. How do I program the timer to irrigate a newly seeded or overseeded lawn?
    3. How to reset the RainDial controller and set it to factory defaults
    4. How do I water while my timer is being repaired (Manually watering without using a timer)
    5. How to check the fuse (also see FUS topic above)?
    6. How to test the transformer to know if the transformer is bad?
    7. How to test if the valves or solenoids are bad?
    8. Rain Sensor information for Irritrol RD600 and other timers.
    9. How do I replace the dial?
    10. How do I replace the Solenoid?
    11. How do I replace the valve guts for a leaky or stuck valve?

RainDial Plus Model (Different than the regular RainDial timers)

Video of common symptoms that indicate the Rain Dial Controller needs repairing.

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?


393 thoughts on “DIY Troubleshooting

  1. Good day

    I have 5 Solenoids that i want to connect to the controller.There is 2 main cables to the solenoids,The cables have the white,black and then the earth cable inside.
    I will be the best way to connect this cables?

  2. Thanks for the information. Very helpful and very much appreciated.
    I replaced #4 solenoid but did not know how to clear the code until I read your instructions. I measured the resistance on the old solenoid at 12 ohms and the new one at 53 ohms. Indicating the new solenoid had a short in the winding.

    • Hi Douglas,

      Thanks so much for letting me know. Sometimes I wonder if the effort I put into the website is worth it, so I appreciate hearing from people.


  3. Hi,
    I have a friend that has an rd900-int-r timer. I get a message when scrolling through to check watering times, etc. It says P:On. I see where you said it was for a pump. It is in a residential system in San Antonio TX. Is there a chance that there is a pump? I tried to get some of the stations to manually water to check them but, I kept getting that message and they would not physically water. Any ideas?

    Thank you!

    Jimmy Spalten

    • Hi James,

      whether or not the pump feature is on or off, won’t matter if there is no pump. If you have a pump, it would matter, if not, it wouldn’t do anything. Look at the back terminal board for the MV/Pump terminal and see if there’s a wire connected to it. If not, then it doesn’t matter. If you do see a wire, see the instructions for setting P:On for all the valves here:

      Let me know whether or not you have a pump wire or not.


  4. brian, you really helped me out in 2018.
    thank you..

    i have a 900
    everything works perfectly except zone 2.
    It doesnt energize the whole time its suppose to be on.
    but everything else cycles great.
    when i stick it under zone 1, it comes on and works fine..

    can you help?

    • Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for remembering us. Typically when only one zone is having trouble, it’s a valve issue and not a timer problem. I have some questions before we determine what the problem is. When you try to turn on zone 2, does the timer switch to off? Does the display indicate it is working? Let me know. I’ll send you an email so we can troubleshoot more easily.

      Brian – RD900 RainDial Doctor

  5. I have an Irritrol RD-900 from about 2008. It seems operational on the timer and I can manually turn on sprinklers at the sprinkler head, but cannot get the sprinklers to turn on with the Irritrol timer device, even tried manual mode. Any tips?

  6. Hi! I have a Irritrol RD600-EXT timer for my sprinkler system and I believe it’s from 2007. About a year and a half ago I was not able to change the current day (Tue., etc) anymore when the dial was set to “today” and then selecting +|- to change the day. I have checked all the programming areas to make sure there’s nothing abnormal in all my programming and I don’t see that there is since I’ve had pretty much the same schedule for the last 10 years. Is there a fuse or a battery inside that I need to replace? thank you so much for any help! Blue

    • Hi Blue,

      Try fiddling with the dial and switches – sometimes the “Set Programs” switch may be in the middle position, but gets “stuck” on the off or run spot. Often times just wiggling them a bit may help. If that does not help, go ahead and try a factory reset. You can find instructions here on our website if you need them.

      Let me know if that helps,

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

    • Hi Mike,

      That is an unusual problem. I would recommend trying a factory reset (search our website for detailed instructions). If that doesn’t help, try pushing around the display to see if it changes. If the display returns, it may just need to be taken apart and put back together again to re-seat the display. Let me know if you have any luck.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  7. Irrotrol12 . After setting,timer, stations 1&2 comes on and then nothing. Can I jump from master to #4 and etc to verify that rest of system is ok and my timer is bad . t

    • Hi Bob,

      I sent you a separate email with information… If you don’t get it, let me know.

  8. I have a Rain Dial -R
    My system runs great but it runs every day. I went through and made sure program A is running and cleared B and C to show nothing. I made sure the days I want show Off but they still come on? I put a new battery in too. Everything else works just fine. Oh the skip days is off too. I can figure why it turns on every night?

    • Hi James,
      I’d suggest following the DIY Troubleshooting section for how to reset the timer back to factory defaults. That should solve your problem. If it doesn’t, look at the display when the water is running when it shouldn’t be. When the dial is set to the station that is currently on, it will tell you the schedule that is running, followed by the remaining minutes. E.g., A:15.
      This will tell you what schedule is currently activating the station and you can then go look at that schedule in more detail to see what may be programmed in a way you don’t expect.

      Let me know what you find out and I can help further.

  9. I have a Rain Dial six station RD-600-EXT-R Serial number 221705
    The current time keeps to different times. I have to keep resetting everything as the times won’t hold. I changed the battery. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Hi Rick,

      I’m happy to help. Quick question:
      Does the time of day change unexpectedly even when you put in a fresh 9V battery, or did the new battery seem to keep the time correctly?


        • Hi Rick,
          I’m glad things are working for you now, but keep a close eye on it. If the battery seems to die quicker than normal, it’s a symptom of a failing timer that I can help you with. Eventually even a new battery won’t be able to make it keep going so my best guess is that you’re living on borrowed time and it’ll probably fail rate before you’re planning to go on a long vacation 🙂

          Keep us in mind, will be here when you need it.

          • Hi Brian – I think i’m in the situation you feared Rick would find himself in: even though I’ve installed a new battery, our Rain Dial can’t hold the current time. Is there any way to fix?

  10. Hi, Brian!
    I have an RD 1200 Rain dial controller. I’ve written to you before and have not yet received an answer to this problem: The controller left one of my valves open that caused flooding behind a retaining wall that almost brought it down. I thought it might be a leaking water pipe, but that was not the case. I turned off the valve with the controller. That stopped the water. Following that event, the timer which has always been set for Monday Wednesday and Friday, suddenly turned on a Tuesday and began watering. I shut it off and checked the transformer (which is fine,) and believe there is something wrong with the timer itself. Incidentally, the fuse looks fine and I’m going to change the battery for the first time in the thirty years I have had this magnificent timer. I don’t know if the battery has anything to do with the performance, but why take a chance. I will gladly send you the timer and white board behind it if you think that should be done. Okay?

    Best wishes,

    • Hi Phil,

      I just sent you a followup email. Let me know if you did not receive it. Thank you!

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  11. Serial number 193360 my Raindial nine station 900 EXT the current time keeps turning off and changes to different numbers, I have to keep resetting, watering times blink to random numbers and won’t hold. Do you repair or do I have to spend $ 300+ for a new one
    PS it faces direct Sun..
    Thanks mason

    • Hi Mason,

      Thanks for the inquiry, I appreciate it. Yes, that sounds like an issue we typically repair. I will send you an email with repair instructions. Thank you!

    • Hi Robert,

      That’s usually a problem with the valve reacting to changes in pressure; I’d try replacing the guts/diaphragm, etc… Look on the DIY troubleshooting section for when valves come on when they shouldn’t.
      Let me know if that helps,


  12. Tried to change the clock time to daylight savings on my RD600 and display displayed OF7. Did not intend to turn the system off for 9 days. How do I get it back to showing time? Thank you – Mac

    • Look under the do it yourself troubleshooting pages, there’s an entry that describes that and what to do with it. If for some reason you have questions after reading it, just let me know.

      Thanks for posting,

  13. I have had my Rd 600 for a few years and like it. A little while ago my up arrow on the keypad will not operate in addition I was trying to remove the keypad or timer and I’m having a problem getting their ribbon out and also removing the keypad itself can you help on either of these issues thank you Pete

    • Hi Pete,

      I don’t think the RD600 has an up-arrow, are you sure the model number is the same? If you’d like to send me a photo to, I can probably help you further.

      Thanks for posting,

  14. Hello Brian
    My rain Dial rd600 stop working, i have blank screen. Controller has power. It was working fine but one day it has blank screen. I need advice what can i do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.