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.

For RainDial RD-600, 900, 1200 PROGRAMMING HELP and manuals, click here

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

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

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

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


148 thoughts on “DIY Troubleshooting

  1. I have an Irritrol RD 600 controller and I it was working fine up until the other day. The display is completely blank. The controller has voltage and I tried a fresh battery. I opened everything up and can’t find a fuse
    to replace. Any insight?

    • Hi Ken,

      Since you’ve already checked the transformer and it seems good, I’d try unplugging the battery and turn off the power for a minute and see it it “wakes up”. If that doesn’t work, I’d say send in the back terminal board as well as the timer for repair. We usually get them in the mail the next day and you can water using the manual-on feature of the actual valve if you need to.

      Let me know if that works and if we can help with a repair.
      Regards – Brian – aka the RainDial Doctor

  2. RD600-INT Controller was dead when I arrived at my weekend house. I checked the electric outlet that the transformer is plugged into and the GFI was tripped, so I resolved that but, now the controller reads 85 – PM and will not respond to the “set program” switch or other controls.

    • Hi Bruce,

      Try following the factory reset instrucctions on the reset page; I suspect that will resolve the problem. Let me know either way,

      Brian – aka – the RD600 series RainDial “Doctor”

  3. I wanted to run a station manually but couldn’t get it to go so I ran it on semi-automatic . When I went to shut the door, it turned off, then came back on when I lifted up on the door. I carefully closed the door and it did stay on through the cycle. It has become more picky and will not stay on at all with station one. From reading some of the questions on here, I am assuming the board needs to be replaced. Is that a correct assumption? The unit is about 5 years old.

    • Hi Sue,

      Yes, your assumption is correct. However, don’t just send in the board, also include the timer too. That way we can thoroughly test everything together. There’s two videos on my site that how how to remove both easily. If you have any questions, just use the contact-us page and we’ll get back quickly.

      Brian – the rainDial RD600 repair doctor

  4. Hi i have a rain dial 12 with only 6 zones hooked up zone 1 does not work all zones are timed for 30 minutes it skips to zones 2 thru 6 and runs until cycle ends any ideas charlie

      • Hi Charlie,

        Will any other zone come on? What model timer do you have (look near the semi-auto button on the timer face)


    • Hi Charlie,

      I’d do a factory reset and re-program; that’ll likely solve the problem. See instructions on the DIY Troubleshooting page.

      Brian – aka the RD600, RD900, RD1200 series timer “Doctor”

    • Hi Patrick,
      Does the RD600 indicate that the valve should be on (by the little valve number appearing on the screen)? If so, let me know if you have an RD-600-R or just the RD600. then I can help more.


  5. older system and one station does not come on automatically or manuel. Checked wires outside seem ok. solenoid?


    • Let me know more about what the display shows when things are not on, when they should be on. also let me know the model number shown above the semi-auto button.
      If you’re getting voltage to the solenoid and things don’t work, then the solenoid is definitely bad, or possibly the valve guts (diaphragm, etc.) but when they fail, they usually fail in the ‘on’ state.

      Post back here with what you find out,

  6. I have a six year old Irritrol RD1200 and early this morning about half of the 11 zones came on and shut off at some point. They are not scheduled to come on today. I have checked the programming on the controller and don’t see anything on the zone programming that would cause them to come on. Do I have a malfunctioning controller? Any trouble shooting suggestions? Clint

    • Hi Clint,
      It’s strange to have the controller misbehave and cause that. I’d watch the display when the valves are on and not supposed to be on. If you see the valve numbers show up, it must be programmed to do so.

      Read the directions on the DIY page for a factory reset and do that. Do both methods (for old and newer controllers).

      Please post back so we know what you found out.
      Thanks, Brian – aka the RD600 irritrol timer ‘doctor’

  7. I was reprogramming the Rain dial, everything worked as far as setting the zones for the time I wanted them to run. When I turned the dial to today it did not show a day.All the days did not show. It showed the number 1 and when I did the plus it just kept showing 1, then 2 then 3 then 4 and then 3 dashes.
    How can I get the today to show a day of the week?

    • See the answer to my other post.

      Oh, I’d tell your daughter to just set the switch to OFF – it’ll save a lot of hassle 🙂
      Brian – RD600 series rain dial from irritrol – “doctor”

  8. Hi, we were away for the winter and are now re setting up our irritrol system. Problem is, when we turn on the water valve the system starts, even after I have programmed the system and have it on Auto. What are we doing wrong please?

    • Hi Barbara,

      If it’s coming on when you don’t want it to, look on the LCD display to see if the timer is causing it to come on. There will be a little number in the top row of the display that represents the valve that it turned on. If you don’t see any numbers, the timer is not likely the problem and you have a valve issue. Sometimes the valve diaphragm gets worn out and you can just replace them. It doesn’t seem to be a timer issue anyway. You can also disconnect the timer ribbon cable to disconnect it and make sure the timer is not causing the problem.

      Brian – aka the rd600 series raindialdoctor

      • Hi Brian. We finally figured out what was wrong. It had to do with the connections in the box on the ground, the one you loosen for the winter, my husband forgot to retighten it. Thanks.

  9. Brian {the rain doctor) is absolutely the best!!!! His videos are excellent and most helpful. I am 71 yrs old and with Brians help I sent my rain Dial to him and he returned it in 6 days. I re-wired it an it works perfectly. This was a lot better than buying a whole new rain dial ( and a lot cheaper) THANK YOU, BRIAN

  10. I have an RD600R. I can set the current time, start times and watering duration times on all 3 programs, but the stations do not begin watering on regular run, semi-auto or manual. I put in a new 9v battery, but it still does not water. What can I do to make it work?

    • Hi Gene,

      If the timer display indicates the valves are on (little number shown in the top row) they should go on. If they don’t, look at my diy page for the section on how to test the transformer.

      If the transformer is good then send in the timer and the back terminal board for repair and we’ll get it fixed up for you.

      Let me know what you figure out,
      Brian – aka the RD600 series irrirol rainDialDoctor

  11. I severed my electrical line while trenching. I spliced them back together and none of them work now. Could it be the fuse? Any help I could get would be greatly appreciated. Scott

    • Hi Scott,
      You can visually inspect the fuse, but you have to look very closely. I’d recommend you purchase a volt meter capable of measuring 28VAC. They sell them at harbor freight for about $8.
      Check the transformer voltage wires (thick red and yellow), then check it through the fuse and then work your way out toward the valves. I can help with troubleshooting, when you’re ready, drop me an email at

      Thanks for posting,
      Brian – aka the RD600 Irritrol Rain Dial doctor.

  12. Hi, just moved across the country and am new to irrigated landscaping. However, I worked at a greenhouse and am familiar with irrigation. I know virtually nothing about these automated systems though.

    I have a RD-600-R Irritrol mostly blue system.

    Things I’ve noticed in the last week or so. Don’t know what is related to what or if there are several problems.

    1. Water bill was higher than normal this last month. However there are no obvious leaks. No water in the road or puddles in the yard.

    2. System has appeared to be acting normal. Landscape looks great. Pots are being watered as usual (pots are on a zone of this system). Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

    3. Went to bump up the watering since the weather is getting warmer. The display on the system was blank. Opened up to see inside and the display very briefly flashed on. Closed and opened the door several more times, but was unable to get the display to flash on or stay on any more times.

    I am not as concerned about the increased water usage as I am about the display. I only added that in case it was related somehow. The water usage could be explained a variety of ways. I am more concerned about the blank display. I noticed it had a 9V battery in there. I’m sure that hasn’t been replaced in a long time. Don’t know if that could be the solution or not. Don’t even know if i can replace that without turning the power off. Turning the power off might be a bit of a problem due to the fact it’s hardwired into the fuse box. And there is not a single label or sign to tell me which breaker its on. Not sure how to reset or if that would even fix this. Or if its possible that there is just a loose connection. Not sure what I can safely touch with the power on though.

    Any advice on what to check or do would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Katie,
      Great description. Here’s the bad news: what you’ve described matches a problem with the timer and/or the back terminal board. The good news is that I repair them all the time and I have two videos on my site that show how to remove them easily, and you don’t need to worry about breakers…

      I can’t say that the water usage will change a lot, that’s usually based on the programming.

      If u replace the battery (you don’t need to power it off to do so) the display will work again, but only till the battery dies again, which will be soon.

      Here is my recommendation: watch the two videos and send in the two pieces or drop them by, I dis them and get them in the mail the best day. See the page on how to get them repaired. If u have any questions, just let me know.

      I have programming tutorials too. Welcome to the world of irrigation, you’ll be a pro in no time.

      Brian, the rd600 rainDialDoctor

  13. We are contractors and one of our units Irritrol rd1200r after a lot of back and forth we found that when it starts running a normal program, it runs every station for about 5 minutes and goes to the next, regardless of the time allocated to that station in the program.
    Any advise?

    • Hi, thanks for posting.
      I would follow the steps on the DIY page to reset the timer back to factory defaults. If that doesn’t help then it likely just needs to be repaired. I repair them all the time and usually turn them around the next day after I get it. I suspect the reset will fix it for now, but keep a close eye on it. If it misbehaves again just send it and the back terminal board in. There’s two videos that show how to easily remove them on my site.
      Let me know if that helps,

  14. HI there. When trying to adjust any setting or even the time, the up and down (+/-) keys appear unresponsive. Any ideas

    • Hi Carley,
      Thanks for posting. Make sure the bottom center switch is in the correct position. If it is, then it’s likely that the buttons just need replacing. If you’d be interested in having us do that, we’d be happy to help and also update some of the other parts in the timer that can fail. After that, it should last good 10+ years. Drop me an email via the contact-us page for more details.

      Happy Easter,
      Brian – aka the RD600 RainDialDoctor

  15. I wrote earlier about the battery of a 600 timer draining and have to change the battery every ten days. Could the problem be the transformer that plugs into the wall for power? just a thought

    • Hi Kim,

      That’s a good question. The battery draining issue is almost always caused by failing parts inside the controller. I’ve never seen a transformer problem cause this, unless of course the transformer isn’t working at all :-). If you’re able to activate any valve, the transformer must be good.

      The problem you describe is the number one problem we repair. If you’d like to send it in, we can have it back in the mail the next day. (we’re not busy now). Just follow the directions on the “how to get it repaired” page.

      Thanks for posting,
      Brian – aka the RainDial rd600 series “doctor”

  16. I have an Irritrol KD6-INT and the LCD display is blank – nothing there! The unit will not do anything. Transformer checked out AOK w Voltagemeter. I also tried the reset feature with a flat blade screwdriver without any success. Also tried unplugging for a few minutes-still doesn’t work. Incidentally, the unit is about 13 years old. It has been trouble free until now. I don’t see any fuse to replace on this unit. Don’t see any burn marks or anything out of the ordinary on the front side or back side of the electronics board. Any suggestions on where to go from here? Thanks. Al from central Florida

  17. I have an Rain Dial Rd1200, it wasn’t watering, the display is accurate, everything seems to be working but its not, I tried to manually water no luck. I replaced the 9volt battery and the system waters. the system has never had a 9volt installed until now. I cant figure out why it dose not work with supplied current as is has since new, but will work with the 9volt installed.

    • Hi Mike,
      That’s actually a “classic” symptom that the sprinkler timer is starting to fail. The battery is basically making up the difference for some internal parts that are degrading. It’ll continue to get worse over time until it stops working completely. Fortunately, it’s something we repair frequently; just send it in if you’d like to have it repaired and reliable again. The “how to get it repaired” page has more information, or just contact me using the contact-us page.

      Thanks for posting,
      Brian – aka the RainDial “Doctor”

  18. I am replacing an old hardy 6 station rain dial controller with a new Irritrol 6 station rain dial-r controller and the ribbon cable connector does not fit into the connector in the old housing. Did I order the wrong controller or has the connector on the ribbon cable been updated. There are

    • Hi Mike,

      If you bought an “upgrade” from me, it would have an adapter that’ll fit. If not, you’d need to buy an adapter or purchase a new back connector board that matches the larger connector. It’s possible to “hack” the old connector in, but it’s an ugly modification so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you really want to try. If you do, let me know and I’ll give you some tips, but the best thing to do is get the matching parts or an adapter cable.

      I hope that helps,

  19. 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.


  20. 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.


  21. 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,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *