DIY Troubleshooting

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 PROGRAMMING HELP and manuals, click here

Choose the Rain Dial problem troubleshooting topic below.

  1. Sprinkler/irrigation valves chatter or buzz or water pressure seems low.
  2. Display says FUS or FU5 and a number
  3. Display shows 5En or SEn
  4. Display shows OF1 or OF… some number
  5. Dispaly shows P:On or P:Off
  6. Display shows OFF or blinks when turning on a valve manually
  7. Display is blinking – see above
  8. Time is frozen or cannot change the time
  9. Valves do not come on when they’re supposed to
  10. Determine if the valves are good
  11. Valves are stuck on or come on when they’re not supposed to
  12. Valves will not shut off
  13. The case door won’t open or you lost your key 
  14. The case door breaks off or comes apart

Choose from Other Helpful Rain Dial and “How do I …” topics below

  1. How to check the fuse
  2. How to test the transformer to know if the transformer is bad
  3. How to test if the valves or solenoids are bad.
  4. How to reset the RainDial controller and set it to factory defaults
  5. Programming tutorial
  6. Programming worksheet
  7. Typical Sprinkler Valve Wiring Diagram

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 it in for repair?

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?


82 thoughts on “DIY Troubleshooting

  1. I have rain dial RD 1200 EXT- R
    Two of the zone stays on all the time as long as the main valve stays on what is the problem
    Thank you

    • If the valve number that is “on” appears in the display, it’s a programmed to turn the valve on.
      If no valve number is shown, it’s likely a problem with your valve itself that makes it not “close” completely. Try going to the back terminal board behind the control module and remove the wire to valve you’re having trouble with. If it still keeps coming on, you know the timer is not the problem and it must be a valve issue.

      Brian – aka the Irritrol RainDial Doctor for RD-600, rd-900 and rd-1200 timers.

    • Set bottom center switch to middle set-programs position.
      Set program switch on A
      Turn Dial to every station and set to 0-minutes or off
      Repeat for B and C

      Let me know if that doesn’t fix it.


  2. Hi there. My irritol irrigation system is repeating station cycles and sometimes 2 stations will come on at once. I’ve tried to turn everything off by turning the dial to “rain off” but the system still comes on! Now I’ve just unplugged the unit all together. Can you please help?

    • Hi Susan,

      I noticed you sent a separate “contact-us” email so I replied there. If you don’t get it, post back here.

      Brian – aka the RD600 series Irritrol Rain Dial Controller “doctor”

    • Hi Chuck,
      If the problem happens when only using one valve, it’s likely a solenoid problem on the valve. If it happens with more than one valve, it’s the classic symptom of a failing controller that I repair often. See the “how to get it repaired” page for details.


  3. All stations come on together. Was working fine then this started and can now not water the lawn. Has anyone seen this issue or have any possible solutions.

    • Hi Daryl,

      Thanks for posting. Follow the reset/factory default instructions on the DIY troubleshooting page. This should get it working again. However, this is likely a sign that it is becoming unreliable and just needs to be repaired. Keep a very close eye on it, and when it gives you any other sign of trouble, send it to us for repair.

      You can use the contact-us form to reach me as well,

    • Hi Pat,

      Those are classic symptoms of a controller that’s failing. If you send it in, I can repair it like new.

      I’ll send a separate email to follow up.
      Thanks for posting,

  4. We have a model RD600ext and we are having to replace the 12v battery quite often, like every 3 weeks to a month. All will be normal for a while and then just quit operating. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Larry,
      When the battery keeps draining faster than it should (usually they last at least a year or more), it means that the controller is failing, but has not failed completely. As the parts fail, Here’s a link that describes what’s going on – take a look and let me know if you have any other questions, and post back here if you thought it was helpful.

      I’m happy to repair it for you if you’re willing. I’ll send a separate email with details.

  5. Hi Brian
    I have a RD 900-R. Suddenly today all sprinklers lines went on at once. I checked the controller and the digital screen was blank. So I shut the water down at the solenoids with an isolation valve and am now wondering why the controller has shut down. There is power at the power point and the fuse looks ok. The unit was manufactured in Aug 2015. Any advice?

    • Hi Peter,

      That’s actually a very strange problem. I haven’t heard of *every* station going on before. I’d follow the steps to do the factory reset (see the DIY page) and see if that revives it. If not, let me know and we’ll discuss repair options.

      Let me know what you find out,

  6. I apologies,

    The Irritrol model is RD-600-R The R is what I forgot to put in on my original Comment.

    Thank you,
    Jerry Khounganian

  7. Hello,
    We have 2 Irritrol timers the RD 600 ( outdoor ) seems to have a problem, the date stamped on the inside of the battery compartment says 1-15-2016 was put in by our Gardner last April.

    When we turn station #1 on it comes on on time, station # 2 which is set to come on about 10 minutes later does not come on, and 10 minutes later when station # 3 needs to come on, it is station # 1 that comes on again, I replaced the Celenoids on the Champion Valves, replaced all the wires with new, and still does not work. about a month ago the 9 volt battery was in the timer, I noticed the battery was taken out by the gardner most likely for replacement and he obviously forgot to put the new one in.

    What do you think we should do with this fairly new unit ?

    Jerry K.

    • Hi Jerry,

      I’m just getting back from vacation. I suspect that your timer and backboard just need to be repaired, so I’d recommend sending them in using the information on my website. When 9V batteries start dying fast, it’s an indication that repair is needed.
      However, I’d suggest following the factory reset instructions and reprogramming it first to see if that helps. If the 9V dies again in less than 6 months, or if the programming seems to keep getting messed up, i’d send it in.

      Brian – aka – the RainDialDoctor.

  8. Hi Brian,
    Our unit seems to work well on the timing feature except that we cannot get it to operate manually when needed- I’ve tried both the semi-auto option and also followed the manual’s directions for “manual operation”, neither work. I put in a new 9V battery, the unit is plugged in, the fuse looks fine, and I reset the circuit breaker for that outlet, plus I walked through the reset and reset the entire unit, none of which is changing anything. Any advice?
    Thank you, Katie

    • Hi Katie,

      To help, I need a little more info about what it does. E.g., when you try to manually turn on the valve, do you see the valve number appear in the upper row of the display, or does it just flash and go back to Off?

      Brian – aka the RD600 series RainDialDoctor

      • It does appear- it has “1” first, as I push the manual “on” button, it will rotate through all 6 – but nothing happens.

        • Try removing the battery – if the controller stays powered (you can still see info on the LCD), then you probably have an RD-xxx-R (the -R version). If so, then I’d send the controller and backboard in for repair, there’s not much else you can do on your end.

          If you remove the battery and nothing shows up, follow the diy steps to test if the transformer is good.

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