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 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. Typical Sprinkler Valve Wiring Diagram?
    9. Rain Sensor information for Irritrol RD600 and other timers.
    10. How do I replace the dial?

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?


357 thoughts on “DIY Troubleshooting

  1. my timer RD1200 valves set to come on there’s a clicking sound on valves front and back and very little water comes outof the valve thats set to run

    • Hi Carlos,

      That’s a classic indication of a timer that’s failing; I’ll send you a separate email with repair info. We’ll get it working like new again.


      • Hi! My valves are making the slow clicking sound too. My lawn man said tinker or wires. You mentioned the timer…can you please send me instructions on how to fix it? My guy said about $190 for timer plus labor on top of it. If I can save some money that would be great!

        • It’s definitely not a wire issue; the timer just needs to be repaired and the repair process is only $45 for a 6 station, so well worth it. I’ll send a separate email to you, but most of what you need to know about getting it repaired can be found on this website; look under the “how to get it repaired” page

  2. i have a RD1200 new homeowner programed when the valves set to come on only get a ticking sound both front and back valves

  3. Hi Brian, I have a 15+ year old Irritole RD- 9000 timer. Yesterday it stopped working. The timer display comes on and shows all the programming settings well but none of the programs for the 3 zones activate the solenoids, thus no water come out of the Irrigation heads. I can not even activate the solenoids thru the timer display manual button, though it shows the manual setting properly. However, only by manually turning the solenoids, water successfully comes off the irrigation heads. Also, prior to the system stop working, the past couple of weeks, I used to hear a clicking sound every time the timer was on and the flow of water from each irrigation head was intermittent (come on and off) like there was some air in the lines!!

    I would really appreciate your advice. Will resetting the timer fix the issue?

    • Hi Mya,

      That sounds like the typical symptoms of a timer that is starting to fail; especially the clicking. I’ll send you a separate email with repair info, but you can get most of it by clicking on the menu above that talks about how to get it repaired.

      Thanks for posting,

  4. I have a new controller RD600R to replace an ancient RD600. The cable from the 600R is not compatible with the 600. I have the correct cable but am unable to open the controller case to get at the connection to change cables. Looks like flat screw driver would open, but it’s not the way to open. HELP!

    • You can probably try it open with a flat screwdriver just try not to break the tabs when you do it. There’s no real easy way to replace the ribbon cable since it’s somewhat permanently attached inside the case. So I’m not sure what your intent is. You would be better off trying to put the connector on the existing cable, hopefully that makes sense. Good luck.

  5. Hi Brian,

    I have a RD1200r. It’s been programmed by someone else. The person showed me how it works. However what I’m confused about it there’s a valve that continues to set off a certain few times a day even when no schedule for those times…..I’m getting worried because the soil is saturated too much. I checked that valve, I think it #7, and on the program there an 3 HR on it with the set time how many mins. I couldn’t set it to “Off” because as soon as it hits from 1, it doesn’t turn next to Off. It goes back to 59.
    Can you tell me how to remove this altogether? The other valves doesn’t act that way. There has to be a switch to reset it.
    Thank you so much for letting me know!!! I’m worried with all the water going on my trees would fall off. But I can’t turn off our water because I just planted grass seed.
    Thanks and take care


    • Hi Anne, if we’re helpful, please consider leaving us a donation. It goes to a good cause and it helps us pay for the site.

      In this case , when it goes back to 59, it is actually changing from 1 hour to 59 minutes. You just need to keep going until the 59 reaches 0.

      That’s it 🙂

  6. I have an RD-900EXT controller and just went to reset the Start Time. The clock only shows PM time I.e. from “12:00pm” to “11:59pm”. How do I access the “AM” TIMES so I can ßet it to start @ 6:00?

    Thanks and great site – very informative!

    • Hi Larry,

      I have had that problem reported to me in the past. I suspect it’s just a display problem and the A is not being changed from the P in PM. I would be interested in getting a timer like this to look at and repair, so if you’re interested, let me know. I’d repair that, as well as refurb. some other parts that typically fail, so it’d be good to go for many years. Look at the ‘how to get it repaired’ page for details.

      Other options:
      1) try a full reset, see the DIY page.
      2) if it is just a display problem as I suspect, you can ‘figure out’ the am/pm by playing with it. look at the ‘TODAY’ setting after you adjust the time before and after 12:00. if it changes, you must be at midnight. Then you can adjust times as needed. It may take a bit of playing to figure everything out, but it can be done with enough patience. Or, you can send it in for repair.

      Please let me know what you decide to do, I’m curious to know what you determine.

  7. I have an RD-1200 that is 20+ years old. It seems to run all my 10-station programs correctly but the buttons are glitchy – meaning that the controller will frequently jump ahead in time, etc. (in other words, all buttons and controls extremely sensitive, perhaps not making good contact??) when trying to set programing. It is more irritating than anything else, but I am trying to be proactive in determining if this is a sign of a bigger issue to come? Would it be better to just get a replacement now?

    • Hi “American Coffee” 🙂

      I’d suggest just sending it in for repair when you have a chance. We’ll get all of those issues taken care of as well as replace other parts that typically fail when the timers get old. 20yrs is not that old for these timers; I repair them as old as 1992, and honestly, the older ones are better than the newer ones so I think you’re better off this way compared to a replacement. See the “how to get it repaired” menu item above for all the details.

      I hope that helps.

  8. Hi Brian!

    We have a RD600 and it’s watering for the wrong *amount* of time. For example, one zone is set for 6 minutes and the sprinklers will run for 10 minutes. Another zone is set for 3 minutes and the sprinklers will run for 10 minutes. Does that make sense? Any thoughts?

    Thanks and “high five”!

    • Hi Erik,
      This is a fun one- The important distinction here is whether the timer thinks it is on or not when it’s beyond that standard watering time.
      If the timer is no longer trying to run the valve after the time is up, but it’s still watering, then it’s likely a valve issue.
      If the timer IS trying to run the valve longer than programmed, then there is some issue with either the timer or the programming.

      The way to tell if the timer is trying to run a station is by the little number in the top row of the display. If the top row of the LCD shows a little 2, the timer is running station 2. I would advise that you watch what the timer does when the 6 minutes you described is up; does that number go away, or is it still there?

      If it’s still there, then there is either a timer glitch or a programming issue or a repair needed. Try resetting the timer fully, if that doesn’t work read below.
      If it is not there, then you probably have some valve guts that need to be replaced; however its rare that multiple would fail at the same time, so I’m more inclined to think that there’s a programming error or glitch.

      My best guess is that you have overlapping programs. For example, if you have Program A set to run valve one and valve 2 for 10 minutes each beginning at 6am, and program B starting at 6:15 to do something else, the timer gets confused because it needs to active the B program but it still is only 3/4 of the way through program A. When the timer gets confused, it can do some very weird things…

      The timer only runs one station at a time due to the water pressure needed for a valve, so if you have 5 stations set to run 10 mins each the total run time is just over 50 minutes, make sure you don’t have another start time on any of your programs that would occur during the run time of another.

      Let me know how it goes; if your problem is solved, then great! If not, I can help you troubleshoot.

      Thank you for your “High 5”, I truly appreciate it. I do a lot of troubleshooting with a lot of people, I really appreciate the show of appreciation!

  9. I have my RD-600 malfunction last year and find out that was the fuse problem. After switch a new fuse it works fine. This year when I turn back on, it fails again. I manually turned it on but nothing comes up. I tried put valve 1 directly touched the right most VAC and the VC to the left most VAC, it still not coming up. All my 6 stations are not responding. It is unlikely that all the wires broke in a sudden. And also tried reset factory but no luck. Can you please advise?

    • it’s likely one of two problems.
      1) power/transformer issue.
      2) timer/backboard issue that we repair.

      Try touching the common wire to the left terminal while you touch the vavle wire to the right one as you did before. This connects the valve directly to 24vac.
      Also double check the fuse on the board, and the breaker box to make sure AC is valid.

      Let me know what you find,

  10. Hi Brian,

    I have a RD-900-R, all of a sudden none of my sprinklers will work. I have made sure all valves are open, all wire connections are intact, done a factory reset and tried to manually turn on each valve through the dial (none of the 8 valves will turn on). I can manually turn the solenoid and this will turn on each valve. All the water is on and I can hear the water hammering against the valves in the sprinkler box. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Tim,

      If you’re hearing constant water hammer when the timer is on, it’s a classic symptom of a timer that needs repair. The good news is that it’s something we repair often. Just follow the instructions on the ‘how to get it repaired’ page and we’ll get it back to you quickly and it won’t give you any more trouble. If you have any questions or concerns, just let me know.

  11. I have 3 stations on my RD600. 1 & 2 Work great. 3 suddenly isn’t working, even in the Manuel mode. I tightened all of the connections, but still nothing. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Douglas,
      This is most likely an issue with the solenoid; try unscrewing the solenoid on the valve a half turn or more. If water starts to flow, then the valve is okay, and you likely just need to replace the solenoid.


  12. Have a new 2020 kwikdial -KD6. – one head left open last night by a pine one- problem all stations work on Test but will not open on there start times electonically

    • Hi Robert,

      I’m not that familiar with the KD model so I can’t really offer much besides recommend reviewing the programming and ensuring that start times are accurate. It’s likely just a programming issue or something is not set as expected; It’s unlikely (from your description) that there’s a problem with the timer.


    • Hi Donald,
      This is pretty common; If you would like you can crack open the timer with a flat head screwdriver, use a phillips head to remove the screws keeping the board in, and then use a pair of pliers on the clip in the middle to allow the board to come away from the housing. You’ll now have access to the plastic on the inside of the housing, you should be able to snap the button back in to the housing properly, and glue it!

      If you don’t want to go through the trouble, you can send it for me and I can fix that along with standard preventative maintenance.


      • My rain dial will start but after a few minutes I have water running out underneath the valve and running down the pipe!!

        • Hi Nancy,

          It sounds like a valve problem – unfortunately we only focus on timer repair, but I would suggest contacting your local landscaper or irrigation repair company near you.

          Wish we could help more,


    • Hi Renee,
      I wish I could be of help, but I think what you’re looking for is more on the side of sprinklers and sprinkler heads than sprinkler timers- We are just a repair company for the sprinkler timers.
      I would recommend that you call or go into your local irrigation supply store, or maybe hardware store, and ask them; they’ll probably be able to help (-:


    • Voltage Common, or common voltage. It’s the ‘common’ wire that goes to one wire of each valve. It is usually the same as ‘ground’ in most installations and can be thought of as that. For some more properly wired systems, ground is separate, and not used to connect to the valves. In summary; VC is supposed to be connected to one wire of each solenoid. You can think of it as the ‘return’ wire, or conceptually a common ground wire.

      I hope that helps,

  13. Hi, great site.

    I have a 7-10 year old RD 6000r and it has worked great up until now. I noticed it will turn on another zone in another group ( A vs C) after another zone completes.

    Example Zone 1A is trees set to every 10 days and zone 5C is grass set every day at 5 pm. I noticed that the grass will come on at 1pm after the tree cycle shuts off? I ignored it as it’s only every 10 days being associated with the tress schedule. However, now I noticed the Trees ( zone1) just came on randomly the other day after manually watering the grass on zone 5. Time for a new timer or could a reset help? Water is super expensive and I can’t risk hours of tree watering coming on everyday.

    Thanks in advance.

    • I would suggest doing a reset as you mentioned. It will leave a default program of schedule a, every day, 7 AM, 10 minutes, every valve. So you’ll have to make sure and clear those out.

      This behavior is almost always related to programming, so I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with your timer.
      I hope that helps

  14. Hi Brian. I have an irritrol Rain Dial-R for about 4 years n it has been working good until today. For some reason, when I decided to water a certain station n ,as usual, push manual button n no number came up on screen at all? N needless to say,cannot operate manually ?

    • Hi Sean,
      This can happen for a number of reasons, but the first thing I would try would be to reset the timer and see if that helps. (see DIY troubleshooting, “how to reset the Raindial Controller…)
      If this does not help, then I have a few questions to diagnose:
      Can you run other stations manually?
      Can you run using Semi Auto?
      Does your program run as scheduled?

  15. Hi Brian-
    I have the RD 1200 model. It has worked well and no problem until now. Now I have two valves running at the same time. When Valve 1 is supposed to be on, Valve 3 comes on and runs concurrently. Then when Valve 3 is supposed to be on, Valve 1 come on and runs concurrently. When the two valves are running at the same time, the sprinkler heads on Valve one don’t pop up.

    • Hi Tommy,
      When the valves are both on, what does the display show? If you see the little number on the top row for both valves, then it’s a program issue. If you only see one number, then it’s typically a valve problem.
      There is an entire section on the DIY troubleshooting page for when valves come on and they’re not supposed to.If you haven’t already check that out, it’s worth a read. Let me know what you find out.
      , Thanks, Brian

  16. My RD 600 R runs a second watering cycle right after the first one completes. The B and C cycles are off. All 6 stations run twice. Is there a way I can correct this or does it have to be replaced, again?

    Thank you.

  17. Hi There,

    My Irritrol Rain dial 6 zone is not popping up sprinklers. It was working normally till recently. Never had any issues. No problem with the displays, I try to do manual each zone but that’s not popping the sprinklers. Fuse also looks good. Can you please help

    • Hi Sam,
      There’s a lot of different things that could be happening here- The most likely things are that the timer has a problem in the power supply chain and needs repair, which I fix all the time, or there’s a problem with power getting to the timer, either with the back terminal board or the transformer. An important distinction- If there is no battery attached to the timer, and it is plugged into the backboard, is the display on?


  18. Does the rain dial model RD-600-R require a battery to function? The lights went out so I thought maybe the breaker flipped. couldn’t get it to work and then thought; “well, maybe I’ll change the battery” and sure enough, the lights are back on so just curious. Thanks

    • Hi Dave,
      The purpose of the battery is only save the programming if there is a power outage, but the -R timers like yours have state independent memory, which basically means there is no purpose for using a battery.
      If your timer is blank unless you connect a battery to it, then the timer is not getting power through the backboard from the transformer. Check out my page about what to do if the timer display is blank. It’s likely that the breaker needs to be reset, the transformer is dead, or that the backboard needs repair.


  19. my Irritrol RD-600-R display is dead. I have replaced the 9V battery and the fuse appears intact. The timer is 14 years old. I have not had any previous problems. Suggestions??


    • Hi Calvin,
      If the timer display does not come on from either being plugged in or connecting a 9V battery, then that’s not a good sign- If you’re in the phoenix area you can bring it to me and I can see if I can repair it, but it’s unlikely.


  20. I have a knocking in my water pipe that happens only for a short time and seems related to the time the sprinklers are on. Is this something that might be related to my RD 600-R


    • Hi Mel,
      This is a common symptom of an issue with the power supply chain in your sprinkler timer- Your timer needs repair! If you are interested in having it repaired please send me an email and we can set that up.


      • I also have a knocking noise when the system turns on. I replaced both values and that did not correct the problem. so it must be in the timing schedule. i would like to have someone look at it.

        • Hi Marlene,
          We see this problem daily, it is a very common indicator that your timer needs repair and I’m sure I can fix it. If you’re interested in sending your timer in for repair, please check out our “How to get it repaired” tab!
          (If you’re saying you need someone to come out and look at it, then sadly that’s not something we do- we are just a 3 person family business, all of us working full time at the moment; if you need someone to come out I would recommend you try some landscaping companies!)


  21. I currently have an RD 900 that has worked well for many years. Currently, I am experiencing an issue where various zones in the yard turn on, and the sprinklers pop up, run for a second, then pop down for a second, then pop back up, and so on. Because it happens in multiple zones, I suspect the timer is the culprit. Any ideas?

    • Hi Richard,
      This is a very common problem with these timers, and I fix it all the time!
      If you’re in the phoenix area you can come by, or you can mail it in to me. I’ll send you and email with all the details!


  22. Hi Brian,

    I have the outdoor RD 600, the semi-auto button is not working as the irrigation didn’t start and Manual button also not working as I tried to manually run a particular zone, what happen was when I press the manual button after set the time and zone I wanted, its just blink for a few second with the minute I set on the screen then the screen go back to OFF and nothing happen. There are time when I check the controller, it show the current time but it just keep blinking until I press the + or – button before it stop blinking. Can you give some advise please?

    • Hi there,
      It sounds like the buttons are working, but the timer isn’t executing your program. This sounds like a common problem I see all the time, and I bet I can fix it if you would like to send it in for repair!


      • My RD-600 only works with a new 9v battery for about a couple of weeks. Once the battery is dead the display remains on, dimmed and flashing, but will not function?

        • Hi Gonzo,
          This is the most common problem we see with timers; I can definitely fix it! If you’re interested check out the page on how to get your timer repaired, or shoot me an email at!


          • I have an irritrol 609r series that has started to give me problems recently. It appears that there’s nothing wrong with the timer it has power and cycles through all its programming normally, but all I hear from the valve box is a click or chatter. In order to water I have to turn the handles manually on and off for each zone. I think the timer might have an issue although for all appearances it appears to be functioning properly. Is this common? I’m in Phoenix and wondering where you are located if I need to drop off?

            • Hi Chris,

              That sounds like the classic symptoms; I’m happy to help. I’ll send you a separate email with the details on a repair, but you can get most of the information from the “How to get it repaired” menu at the top of this page.

              As for my location; you’ll see it with a link to a google map in the Contact Us -> Find Us menu
              If you have any other questions, just let me know.

              Thanks for posting.

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