Ask your questions here – (They will appear shortly)

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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.

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

  1. Hello Brian –
    Spoke with you yesterday about timer issue (stations running twice). I reset control to manufacturers default (timer posted 12:00) and reprogrammed the timer.
    This morning with timer set to run at 5:00 am nothing happened.
    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    • Hi Jim,

      If you don’t see anything appear on the display to indicate that the timer has turned on a valve, it usually means something isn’t programmed correctly. You seem to have a lot of experience programming it, so it must be something subtle that is not expected. I’d double-check the AM/PM on the time as well as the switch being in the run position; then verify valve run times and days of the week. Try testing it yourself by simply changing the current time to 4:59AM and wait for a minute till it hits 5:00. If you still don’t have any luck, let me know. We’ll get it figured out.

      Regards,
      Brian

  2. I have tried all the corrections in the back of the trouble solving instructions & can not stop valves #5 & #6 from running. Bought & installed one new irritrol valve thinking a new solenoid would solve the problem. Took old valves apart, no sign of debrie. Now back to new valve. Timer is only a couple months old.

    • Hi Elwood,

      Make sure that the valve solenoid is in the “off” position. I have some information about stuck valves here. Go ahead and have a look, let me know if you have any other questions.

      Thanks,
      Meghan

  3. Hi,
    I have RD-1200, and as of yesterday it stopped watering my lawn. The controller shows the zone being ON, but no water.
    It could be the rain sensor (even though it has not been raining recently). How can I bypass the sensor?

    • Hi Mohammad,

      It’s possible there may be an issue with power. Here is a link to my page on the matter: https://www.raindialdoctor.com/testing-the-transformer/
      Basically, the most likely thing is that the backboard needs some work, as they can develop intermittent connections and not properly provide voltage to the solenoids. The next thing is that you may have a bad solenoid; if only one valve is failing to run, it’s either a bad solenoid or a bad valve. Lastly it could be your transformer has failed.
      Check out the page, and see how troublshooting goes!

      Thanks,
      Brian

  4. I have an RD900 R controller and 6 of the channels work fine, but two don’t turn on at all. Could it be the solonoid valve? Is there an easy way to check? I tried to move the “on-off” switch, and either they’re stuck or I’m not moving them right.

    • Hi Walt,

      You can try swapping backboard wires for one that works with one that doesn’t to see if the problem ‘follows’ the valve. If so, it’s likely a valve problem. We can certainly repair the on/off switch and perform a full refurbish of the unit to make sure it will work for a long time. Just let us know and we’re happy to help.

      Regards,
      Brian

      • Thanks, Brian. I did get one of the valves to work. . .does that mean the solenoid is bad? I’m a little confused by your reference to “backboard wires”. Are those in the valve box or the control panel?

        • Hi Walt,
          Here’s a general overview of how I talk about these systems:
          In your valve box (or boxes) you have individual valves that operate sets of sprinklers or drips. Each of those valves has a solenoid attached to them, which is basically an electric gate that opens the valve when voltage is applied to it. Each solenoid has 2 wires; one wire that connects to the “Common” wire (which is white 99% of the time) and then the other wire will connect to what’s called a valve wire.
          Behind the timer, there is a circuit board that all of the valve wires connect into, as well as the common wire, ground, and transformer input.
          The timer, when it tries to operate “Station 1” applies voltage across the “COM” slot and the valve 1 slot, which are on either side of the solenoid atop one of your valves. The solenoid opens the valve, and water can flow!
          However in your case, the timer is failing to apply voltage like it’s supposed to. Since all of your stations except 2 are working, that means that there is some interrupt of the power getting to those solenoids, or that those solenoids are bad.
          The most likely case is that the backboard is having some issues (they tend to develop intermittent connections over time). The best way to test is to try moving the valve wire of the one that is not working to one of the slots you know is working, and then try running that one, and see if your trouble valve comes on. For example…
          Lets say that station number 1 is not working, but station 3 is. You would go to your backboard (again the one behind the timer) and make sure you can tell the wires apart; sometimes they’re all different colors but sometimes not. You can always use a sharpie to mark them! Now, we’re going to take a phillips head screwdriver and loosen the screws for the terminals 1 and 3, probably just 2 turns would be fine. (The only thing you can really screw up here is if you somehow touched your screwdriver to both of the transformer wires, the ones that say 24VAC. This would probably fry your timer’s transformer, but does not pose a significant safety threat to your person- still don’t do that.) Now those wires are free for you to slide them both out of their terminals. Then, put the wire that was originally station 1 into station 3’s slot, and tighten terminal 3 screw back down. Doesn’t have to be super tight.
          On the timer, set the dial to station 3, the lower switch to the left for off first, to make sure the timer isn’t running, then to the right for manual. Use the plus button to add 2 minutes, then press the manual button. This will have the timer provide power to station 3 terminal, which from us swapping the wires, is connected to valve 1, which is the one that was not working.
          IF THE VALVE TURNS ON:
          The backboard terminal for station 1 is your issue. If you have open station terminals, try moving the wire there and see if that terminal works; if it does, then I would say keep that wire there permanently and just alter your programming accordingly. If you don’t have open slots, I repair backboards all the time; Shoot me an email at raindialdoctor@gmail.com and we’ll get you fixed up.
          IF THE VALVE DOES NOT COME ON:
          The valve or the solenoid has an issue. I have a couple pages about these issues. My hands are a bit tired from typing all this; if you find yourself with this scenario then let me know and I can direct you to the right pages if you can’t find them.

          Hope this helps,
          Brian

  5. I’m trying to upgrade the firmware in my 10 year old RD-600-R so that it functions in FULL REMOTE mode. I have remote control of ON/OFF/PROGRAM DURATION/STATION DURATION over the internet using the SMRTSCAPE App and the CL-MR kit…but to get full remote (like creating programs and changing start times) it says I need new firmware and it keeps saying the firmware upgrade has failed. Any experience with this?

    • Hi Pat,

      I’m not familiar with that product, I typically work with just the RainDial timers. You might try irritrol.com for some assistance.
      Regards,
      Brian

  6. I have an Model RD 900. Partway through its timed cycle, suddenly it starts running another cycle at the same time. B&C are turned off with no starting times. Help!

    • Hi Shelly,
      I would recommend resetting the timer to factory defaults, and then putting your setting back in; It’s likely either a timer glitch or a programming error. If you reset the timer and still have the issues, make sure that the start times you have set don’t interfere with each other; for example if you have a start time of 6AM running 4 different stations for 30 mins each, you can’t have a second start time until at least 8:01AM to prevent overlap.
      The timer can only run one station at a time, and no start time should be scheduled to occur when the timer is still running a station from a previous start time.

      Thanks,
      Brian

    • Hi Barbara,

      Yes, you can. Make sure the set programs switch is in the middle position and just turn the dial to the valve you want to adjust and press the minus button until it reads “OFF”.

  7. I have a 2007 RD 1200. The problem I’m having is that every time I make a change to the program ie. changing the frequency or start time, the controller will not turn on for the next scheduled watering. It’s been happening for over a year now. After a factory reset everything will be fine until I make another change. This is becoming an regular issue now. I’m only using program A, I haven’t used any of the other programs B or C.

    • Hi James,

      It seems like the programming is somehow not as expected. If you can let me know the following info, I can probably help.

      Set the bottom switch to set-programs and rotate the dial from station 1, all the way around to each position. Write down the dial’s position and the value you see for each position. .Ignore anything that says ‘off’ or ‘–‘. List all the start times, run times for each valve, and days of the week. Then double check B and C to make sure they’re all ‘off’ or settings are nulled out, just to be sure.

      We will figure it out.
      Regards ,
      Brian

  8. I have a Rain Dial Plus 9 (gray colored) that looks very similar to the RD900 but not the exactly the same. When trying to run the sprinklers, either manually or in a program, the number of the valve comes on and immediately the letters OPN start to flash. The solenoid does not engage. All 9 zones act the same. I have a rain sensor but not a switch to deactivate the sensor. There is not a separate sensor terminal on the circuit board, it is wired through the common terminal on the board. I suspect the sensor is bad or the timer is bad. Is this something that you can advise on? Can you repair this timer if that is the problem? How do I determine if it is a sensor or timer problem? Thanks for any insights you can provide.

    • Hi Dale,

      That OPN indicates an open connection between the timer and the valve. I’d suggest looking carefully at your common wire connections. Since it happens on more than one valve, that’s likely the problem.

      It could also be a timer or terminal board problem, but check that out before we go forward.

      Regards,
      Brian

  9. Have an RD900 unit- (been working for 10 years now)
    Came back to Show Low house in April after the thaw where unit is located to turn on the irrigation water to the back yard, which this unit controls. Unit was working in manual and auto mode. Left the home for another property we have.
    Came back yesterday June 7th and found that auto timer watering had not been taking place (daily)- found all of the valve times to be OFF and a lot of dead stuff in the back yard.
    Tried to start the unit manually and semi auto program A after resetting the valve times (only use valves 1 thru 4). When hitting the manual button, the LCD started “whirling around” as if in a circle, then A-06 code appeared momentarily, then flashing the time I think. Checked the valve times and what I had set for 1-4 valves was now at “off”. (As I originally found it yesterday)
    On the terminal strip where the transformer wires come in, I measured voltage with DVM and found the following DC values:
    VC to 24, VC to VAC, and 24 to VAC = 0VDC for all.
    Set DVM to AC voltage and found this;
    VC to 24 = 0VAC
    VC to VAC = 27.2VAC
    24 to VAC = 27.2VAC

    Checked incoming AC voltage before transformer;
    GND to BLK (hot) 121VAC
    GND to WHT (neu) 0.3VAC
    WHT to BLK 121VAC
    Also checked the incoming power strip from transformer to the valves terminal strip using AC;
    VC to valve strip 1,2,3,4 0VAC
    24 to ” ” 1,2,3,4 0 VAC
    VAC to ” ” 1,2,3,4 27.2VAC
    (Checking all of the above using DC was all 0VDC)

    I was under the impression that my solenoid valves are operated by DC voltage, and not AC, correct?
    Hopefully with this information, you can lead me to what I need to do to get this watering system running again.
    Thanks in advance. Jim

    • Hi Jim,
      You’ve certainly done a good job troubleshooting compared to many people I talk with.

      Valves are powered by AC, not DC (with rare exceptions not applicable to your system).
      Your transformer is good, which makes things easy.

      The whirling LCD is a classic symptom of a problem we repair. Just follow the instructions here and we’ll get it working like new.

      Regards,
      Brian

      • Hey Brian,
        I found “resetting your timer/controller” , and also addressed wiring at the watering valves. There was nothing I found to be wrong with it, but just looking for corrosion, etc. Trimmed back the cable and solenoid wiring and connected back together.

        I think the controller reset was what worked, as I did not find any wiring issues to speak of.
        So now it’s working in manual, semi, and auto modes.

        Jim

      • Brian,

        After all of what I have done and thought that my problem was fixed, it is not. The semi-auto zone A function only worked the first time, and same for the auto “RUN mode. There’s a ghost in the machine!

        I am sending you both the controller and back board. They will be in the mail tomorrow to you.

  10. I have a rain dial 900 and the #9 won’t turn on. If I switch it with a different # it will work. Is this fixable.

    • Hi Sherry,

      When you say “switch it”, what do you mean?
      If you, for example, swapped wires 8 and 9 on the back terminal board, turn on valve 8 using the timer and see if it turns the water on.

        If it does

      , then you know the wiring and valve to your (original) 9th valve is all good and there’s likely a problem with the timer and back terminal board that we can easily repair. Just send it in.

        If it does not:

      I.e., if when you turn on #8 with the timer and the water still does not flow, you’ll know that no matter what you do, the (real) 9th valve does not seem to work, meaning you likely have a valve, solenoid or wiring problem.

      Note that when you turn on a valve it should show the little number appear in the top row of the display.
      There are some more troubleshooting tips on the DIY page you can look at if you want more information; look for the section that talks about valves not turning on when they should.

      Did this help?
      Brian

  11. we have a RD 600. The soaker and front yard programs work fine, but the backyard won’t turn on even in manual. any ideas?

    • Hi Douglas,

      When the backyard is supposed to be watering, look at the display. The valve number should be in the top row of the display. If it’s not there; then it’s a programming issue. If it is there, then it could be a valve, solenoid or timer issue. There are some troubleshooting methods on my DIY page that will show you how to test the valve and solenoid. If they are good, send it in for repair and we’ll get it back to you quickly.

      Post back here with what you find out,
      Regards,
      Brian

      • Hi Brian,
        The number of the valve is visible, but the valve for #3 doesn’t open. Do you have contacts (techs) that can help troubleshoot in person?

        • If you want, we can set something up in the evening to troubleshoot over the phone. I don’t get paid for this, so I’d ask that you make a reasonable donation on my site. Let me know if that seems reasonable and we’ll set up a time. I do a lot of troubleshooting over the phone, so it shouldn’t take too long. There are a lot of DIY troubleshooting tips on my site; feel free to take a look. If you get to the point that it seems like a timer problem, we’re happy to repair it.

          Let me know what you’d like to do,
          Regards,
          Brian

          • Our yard maintenance guy fixed it with a new valve. I appreciate your site and have made a donation.

            • Thanks Douglas!
              Only a few people a year donate to my site and it’s costly to keep running. Most people don’t realize that we’re not a large company and we don’t get paid except for repairs. That means that no one pays for all the troubleshooting information and this blog. Only around 12 people donated last year, so we’re very thankful for you; please consider yourself one of the ‘good guys‘ 🙂

              Thank you so much!

              Brian, Meghan and Ben. Your RainDial Doctors

  12. I have a blue Rain Dial 600. I programmed it to start running at 11pm. It does not come on. I can run the whole cycle by pushing the auto button or the manual button. It just won’t start by itself at 11pm. Should the run times show when I have it in run position? When I am checking each day, the run times shoe. When I turn it to run, the run times do not show? Have I missed something?

    • Hi Teresa,
      The timer only shows its programming when you have that lower switch in the middle; having it pushed to the right lets the timer run but is also used to run manually, so no they should not be showing when you have it in the run position, it will normally show OFF for each station when pushed to the right. Most commonly the issues with programming come from overlapping run times, having the time of day not set properly, or others; I would highly recommend you check out my page Programming tutorial, I think it will answer all your questions!

      Thanks,
      Brian

  13. I have a RD-900-R that is turning on stations that I have programed off and turning on or leaving on so that two stations are running at the same time. I do see that the station numbers are on so I see which stations are running. If two are running, I see which ones they are. I have done the factory reboot per your directions but still not functioning properly. I usually only run program A or B. Depends on how much water I need to throw.
    I can just turn the dial to the station that I want to run and set time, push button and good to go. I’m getting tried of that as I’m working and not here to make sure everything gets watered. Thanks and Cheers.

    • Hi Cam,
      Here’s some info from one of my pages:
      4. If more than one valve turns on, or another valve turns on before the previous one turns off.
      A little lag between one valve turning off and the next one turning on is common and usually not a problem. It shouldn’t be on for long though. This lag is usually due to slow operating valves.
      In general, the sprinkler timers are intentionally designed to not turn on more than one valve at a time. This is done because there is usually not enough water pressure to turn on too many valves at once. If you are not intentionally trying to turn on more than one valve, then it’s probably due to one of the following:
      If more than one valve turns on at a time, it is usually caused by one of the following:
      Incorrect programming. You may have overlapping schedule times where one schedule turns on a valve while the other schedule has on a different valve.
      These problems are usually caused by a failing valve. To know, look at the display. If you see two numbers appear on the top row, it’s a programming problem; review all the scheduled programming and if needed, perform a factory reset and reprogram.
      Wiring problem: if you have wires crossed or shorted to each other, it could cause one valve to come on with another valve.
      Valves are failing: sometimes the change in water pressure that’s caused by a valve being on can trigger another valve to turn on. This is uncommon.

      I hope this helps,
      Brian

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