How do I reset my Irritrol controller or reset it to factory defaults

On rare occasions something occurs that causes the processor to lock up.  Sometimes the programming acts strange, or the clock even quits working.  This would most likely happen when during power outages or transients.

The good news is that it rarely occurs and is easily fixed by doing the following, depending on whether you have an older or new model controller:

For older controllers: Perform a complete reset by: (note, this will delete all your programming)

  1. Remove the battery
  2. pull off the ribbon cable from the back connector board.
  3. Wait 30 minutes or so for any residual power to completely drain from the unit.  (Newer controllers do need a lot of time to discharge so it’s worth taking the time)
  4. Plug in the ribbon cable again (it should power up)
  5. Reconnect the battery.
  6. Reprogram the controller.
    Note: The older model sprinkler timers have default schedule which is something similar to:every day, 7AM, every station for 10 minutes.  Make sure to go through all the station settings when you re-program the controller or your sprinklers may come on when you don’t expect them to.

It should start with a blinking 12:00pm and now work as expected; you can now set the time.

For newer controllers (Typically the -R models), you can restore the factory default settings by doing the following: (note, this will delete all your programming).

  1. Before you do this procedure, you should try doing the basic reset for older controllers first (see above).  It may work, and you won’t lose your program settings.
  2. Place the Function switch in the Set Programs position.
  3. Place the Program switch to select B.
  4. With AC power connected, carefully disconnect the control module ribbon cable from the PC Board socket.
  5. Open the battery compartment and disconnect the battery.
  6. Press and hold the Manual button in.
  7. Reconnect the ribbon cable, then release the Manual button. Note: The display should now show 12:00 AM. If it does not, repeat the procedure as necessary.
  8. Reinstall the battery.
  9. Reprogram the controller.

What to do if that doesn’t work

If you reset the  controller and that seems to help, but it still behaves strangely now and then, it probably needs repair.  The sprinkler timers tend to get intermittent before the completely fail.

If you want someone to repair it, just contact us – we’ll send you repair details.

Good luck,

(c) This material is copyrighted

55 thoughts on “How do I reset my Irritrol controller or reset it to factory defaults

  1. Thank You!! Your instructions for resetting the controller did the trick. The clock was stuck in PM mode, AM was missing. Did the reset like you showed (so quick and easy) and AM is back.

    Appreciate that you share this.

    • Yay! thanks for posting back and letting me know, I appreciate it.
      Please consider giving a “High $5” donation. My Daughter just got into grad school and we’re super excited. Now we are trying to figure out how to pay for it 🙂


  2. Hi we have a RD 600 – setting 1 turns on the nature strip and front sprinklers, setting 2 turns setting 1 and the side sprinklers(nature strip, front sprinklers and side sprinklers), setting 3 turns on all of setting 2 (nature strip, front sprinklers, side sprinklers) and the back yard and so on, what do i need to do/look at so that each section only comes on once under each setting? Thanks

    • Hi Jo, thanks for posting. Can you rephrase your question using terminology other than Settings. Typically there are programs a, B, C. And there are stations one through six. And there are start times One through three. When you say Settings do you mean program? Let me know more and I can help. Thanks, brian

  3. I have RD-600-R irrigating every day 2 programs 30 min each with a gap of 15min (6:20-6:50 and 7:05-7:35). The controller start the second program immediately after the first, I tried one program on A and second on B still the second program start immediately after the first, no other programs exist.

    • Hi, thanks for posting. I tried doing a factory reset, you can find instructions under the DIY section of my page. If that doesn’t help let me know and we’ll figure it out. Thanks, brian

  4. Hi Ron,
    I have found your site useful. I have indoor RD-900 purchased @ 2001. It was running great until recent power surge. Ground was not connected. Only time was showing up, otherwise not responsive. I used your method to (1) to reset, disconnecting ribbon and battery for 1 hour. Put on ground wire, It resets as you describe. I reset time, checked settings, but am not able to get it to turn on MANUAL. When I slide bar to right and set on station 1 for 5 minutes, push “Manual” , the display blinks a bit, and then reads “OFF” ,blinking on and off. Dialing back to Current Time, the time is now blinking on and off, as are all other readings. When I try to manually turn on all other stations, in either A or B or C mode, same thing happens. I tried adjusting setting, but still can’t get the manual operation to work. Strange thing, during the night, I not that all the stations how been on, as the ground is wet. Any ideas how I can get Manual to work so I can check lines for cuts and leaks?

    • Hi Bob, thanks for posting. Unfortunately those are the symptoms of a failing controller. Your best bet is just to mail it in I’ll fix it and get back to you. If you have any other questions about the warranty or the timeline just drop me an email using the contact us page. Thanks, brian

    • The RD timers don’t have a “beeping” mechanism. You’ll have to explain in more detail what you’re seeing, or email me at and send a recording or video of it. I’m anxious to see it 🙂

      Brian – aka the Irritrol RD-600, RD-900, RD-1200 RainDial series controller “doctor”

  5. I have a KD9 system and I’d like to wipe out all pre set times and start over, what’s the best way to do that?

    • Hi Scott,
      I added the KwikDial user manual on the manuals page. Look on page 2 and 3; there’s a connector that you need to connect briefly to wipe out the existing settings.

      Let me known if that helps.
      Brian – aka the RD600 series Rain Dial Doctor

  6. Hi! we have a Rain Dial at the house of the parents and we don’t know how to start it. Seems like the water is shut off from somewhere and we don’t know where to look for. I notice a box in the loan where are 3 black valves with plastic switchers on-off but doesn’t move in neither way. What should I do ?

    • Hi Elena,
      The black valves usually have an on/off indication on them. On most models, you turn the entire solenoid (the part with the wires) about 90-180 degrees. It should turn on the valve when you do that. If it does not work, look for a valve near the house, usually where the water line enters the house. There’s usually a valve there that shuts off all the water to the irrigation system.

      Let me know what you find out.

      • the +/- buttons don’t respond on my irrigation controller? do you know why? the irrigation controller has power.

        • Hi James. The buttons on RD600 series controllers sometimes fail, but usually the get a little intermittent before they do, and it’s unlikely for both + and – to fail completely on the same day. I’d suggest checking the run/set/manual switch is in the right position and try wiggling it around a bit to make sure it’s in the right place.

          For more help, you’ll have to tell me what you’re trying to do and what the switch positions are when the buttons don’t seem to work.

          Let me know if that helps, or post more info about it.
          Brian – aka – the RD600 Rain Dial Doctor

  7. We have a Kwikdial and for some reason it will not run on auto. When I checked all the zones on manual they all run. Everything was ok when I shut the water off in the fall, but now it won’t work on auto. It was installed in 2013 i before I bought the house…thanks

    • Hi Gerry,

      I don’t work with the KwikDial products very much but I suspect it’s just a programming issue. If the backup battery died it may have default programming in it that you’re not expecting.
      I’d try a good power down and battery removal for several minutes and then retry.
      Let me know if that helps.

  8. Hi Brian, my RD-600 has a strange problem.
    The AC power is ON and the transformer is OK because I’ve checked its voltage with a tester. But the display still stays OFF! If I insert the 9V battery the display lights up!….I remove the battery and the display it’s off again.
    So, it seems like it’s not getting current from the AC power but I’ve checked the transformer and it’s working regularly at about 26volts. I’ve tried the reset procedure, but still not working….What could be the problem? Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Jo,

      You’ve done a good job troubleshooting and provide enough information that the system has failed and just needs to be repaired. I do that all the time and would be happy to help if you’re interested. If you really want a detailed soldering job, contact me via the contact form and I’ll let you know more.

      Otherwise, I’d send it in; I typically repair the RD600 series and have it back in the mail to you within the day. Let me know what you plan on doing and contact me before sending it just to make sure everything I need is included.

      Thanks for posing, let me know.


  9. Hi Dave
    My system is saying OF 7, intermittently
    Is this a power issue, and if so do how do I repair?
    Thank you

    • Hi Dave,
      I don’t believe it’s a power issue, usually just a user mis-step while using it. Look at my DIY Troubleshooting page for the item that mentions OFn or something similar. It’ll guide you where you need to go. If you still suspect a controller problem after reading that, just let me know and I’ll send you Irritrol RD600 repair info directly.

      Let me know if it helps,

  10. My RD 900 doesn’t work this spring after not being used all winter. I followed your return to factory reset with no luck.
    I can set the time and program it completely.
    The numbers I can see in the display are fading in and out, but not completely. The numbers are also not blinking on and off.
    After programming, I try to engage the unit, at that point the numbers sort of blink on and off very quickly and the the screen reads off or reverts back to the time.

    Can you help?

    • It sounds like you have done a good bit of troubleshooting already. Based on what you describe, I believe the controller needs to be repaired. I am happy to help and will send you an email to your corrected address. Thank you for posting!

    • Hi Rick,
      Thanks for posting. The controller does not have a speaker or buzzer or anything that should “beep” If you’re hearing noise when a valve is “on” then it could be the valve chattering like they do when the Irritrol RainDial controller starts to fail. If it’s not a valve noise, it could be the power supply circuitry failing. If you have an RD-600/900/1200 that seems to be failing, I’d be happy to repair it.

      You can set it to factory defaults by following those instructions in the DIY tab of my website. If you have trouble finding it, just post here again to let me know.

      If it doesn’t help, or still misbehaves now and then, give me a little more info on what you’re seeing and I can help more.

    • Hi Dave,

      That means the pump circuit is on. Most people don’t have a pump, so it doesn’t matter if it’s on or off. You probably just got it changed accidentally.
      There’s more info in the user manual, but here’s an excerpt from it.

      Thanks for posting,

      The Pump Control feature is generally used in conjunction with the
      Station Delay feature, enabling the pump/master valve to be turned
      on or off between consecutive stations during a watering cycle. For
      example, a system with slow-closing valves may require an auxiliary
      pump to remain on throughout the watering cycle to assist valve
      closure. Alternately, a system utilizing a well-water supply source
      may require the auxiliary pump to be off when an extended delay
      period between stations is required for adequate well-recovery time.
      1. Place the Function switch in the Set Programs position.
      2. Place the Program switch to select A, B or C.
      3. Turn the Dial to the Skip Days – Special Functions position.
      4. Press the Manual button (repeatedly) to display P:OF (Pump Off).
      5. Press the +/- button to toggle between P:OF and P:On
      6. Return the Dial to the Current Time position.
      7. Return the Function switch in the Run position.
      Pump Control Option
      By default, the pump control circuit is activated simultaneously with
      any automatic or manual valve station operation. When pump operation
      is not required for specific valve stations; e.g., drip irrigation,
      the pump control circuit can be easily disabled as needed.
      Note: The Pump control option applies to the selected valve station
      regardless of its Program assignment.
      1. Place the Function switch in the Set Programs position.
      2. Turn the Dial to select the appropriate valve station number.
      3. Press the Manual button: P:On (Pump On) will be displayed.
      4. To disable the pump control circuit from the valve station,
      press the button to display P:OF (Pump Off).
      5. Repeat steps 2–4 for additional valve stations as required.
      6. Return the Dial to the Current Time position.
      7. Return the Function switch to the Run position.

  11. I have a total control 12 station controller. I had two valves hooked up to a terminal on another controller and it worked for years then it flashed short. I bought another controller and the same thing happened. I have replaced the wire to both valves and solenoids. I moved one of the wires to another terminal and am still getting the short sign. How do I reset this unit and is it salvageable?

    • Hi Duane, Thanks for the question. When you replaced the controller, did you also replace the connector/terminal board? If not, that may be part of the problem.

      Do you see the shorted condition with both valves or just one? I’d double check the wiring – perhaps they got misswired when you replaced the solenoids – this happens some times. Try disconnecting all the solenoids and run the timer without any connection to see if it still says its shorted. Then connect one valve, then the other. Miswiring usually happens in the underground valvebox so check there and try disconnecting them there too.

      Do you have a multimeter that can measure resistance (ohms)? If so, you could measure – just google for typical sprinkler solenoid resistance to get expected values.

      Let me know what you find and I’ll try to help more.

  12. Hello, I have a new Irritol Total Control. I set it up, programed it,and everything works fine. the problem I have is after the program is finnished it starts over again. It does not shut off. What am I doing wrong? Thanks for your help.

    • Hi Hank,

      That usually means there is a programming error. Most of the time (at least with the Irritrol RD600 models, there’s an overlapping of the schedules. E.g., you have a second start time that “hits” before the last start time finishes. You need to make sure that the total run time of all valves when you add them up does not extend into the 2nd start time.

      If you’re having troubles, try removing all the start times for all the schedules and then add one schedule in at a time and test it.

      Let me know if that helps,

    • Hi Mike, Can u explain a little more? If u hit the + button enough, it shoule advance till 11:59 and then to 12:00 and the am/pm will change. Do you always see AM?

      • It is very difficult to see if the display shows a P or an A when setting the time. The leg of the LED that forms the letter A, versus the P without the leg, is tiny and is easy to miss that this portion is showing. Try going forward and back from 11:59 to 12:01 and see if you can see the difference between the A and P.

        • Yes I agree. This is one of the few complaints I have with the Irritrol RainDial Series. They did improve that in the later -R models, they have a full AM and PM show up separately so it’s a little better.

          Brian – aka the RainDial Doctor

  13. I have the R600 my fus keeps flashing I tried to reset following in the instructions still flashes now what is next

    • Hi Alan, The next step is to disconnect all the valve wires and try to clear the message. If it appears again, you need to send it for repair. If it doesn’t, re-connect one valve wire at a time until you find which valve is causing the problem. If the FUS message appears intermittently, it needs to be repaired. I’ll drop you a separate email about how to get the Irritrol RainDial repaired.

      Thanks for the question,

  14. Hi
    Used your reset operation from your post and it seems to be working now .

    Thanks for posting this information.

    • Hi Ed, That’s great, thanks for letting me know. If it starts giving you trouble again, keep us in mind; it could be related to a problem we can help with.

  15. Hi
    I have a model R-1200
    Approx 10 years old
    The time is flashing with code OF7 and the current time.
    The manual operation will turn irrigation on and off .however I can not get the unit to work on automatic setting.
    Any ideas?

    • Hi Joan, thanks for the inquiry, I appreciate it. If you watch the display when it tries to turn on automatically, notice what happens. If it just changes to “off” it indicates a typical problem I repair frequently. If you want to give me a little more information about what it’s doing I can try to help more, but I think your best option is to send it to me. You may have to give me a little more information about what it’s doing (what happens when automatic mode “doesn’t work”) etc. My best guess from what you’ve told me is that it just needs repairing; I’ll send you some details on that separately if you don’t reply here shortly.

  16. Do any of the Start Times values need to be set in order for the Skip Days schedule to work? For example, if I have Skip Days set to 2 days and Start Times set to Off, will the sprinklers turn on, or does a time value have to be set? If it does work without a Start Time value set, what time of day will the sprinklers turn on? Thank you!

    • Hi Brent, Thanks for the question. Skip days just sets how many days are skipped between running a schedule (schedule A, B or C). That schedule still needs to be defined (start times/run times, etc.) So yes, you have to set start times and durations for each zone that will run for that day so it knows what to do. Does that help?


  17. Hi Ron,
    My 2006 RD-900 will not power up when reconnecting the ribbon after attempting a reset. The screen remains blank. when I connect the battery, the screen displays the time. I verified the transformer is working (27 volts).

    After the unit was off for several months, I cannot get any stations to power up. It seems to be a circuit board issue. Is it repairable given its age? Thanks for your comments.

    • Hi Dan,

      I’ve repaired ones that date back to 1994 with happy customers, so a 2006 unit has a lot of life left in it. It’s definitely worth repairing, and a straight forward repair. It sounds like you’ve done a great job troubleshooting it already and narrowed it down. I’d suggest sending it in. Just select Store from the menu above and choose repair services and the model you have. All the repair details are there. I pay for the return shipping. Thanks very much.

      Brian – aka – the doctor

  18. Tried removing battery and unplugging ribbon cable. Unit is about 12 years old. It was acting “weird” for some time, then I cleaned the circuit board contacts for the dial. Now the valve “run” times won’t set. If I use semi-auto mode, the sprinklers come on for the time that was last entered….i.e. 6 minutes per valve. The time lcd shows “dashes”, like no time has been entered, but pushing the “plus” or “minus” buttons doesn’t do anything.

    • Hi Ron, thanks for the comment, it’s a good question. The dashes can appear when “skip days” mode is enabled. Try changing the dial to skip days and hit +- until it says off. The other possibility is that you’ve somehow gotten the dial set incorrectly when you re-assembled it and it’s stuck in skip mode.

      Definitely try your resetting. You can try the DIY troubleshooting tab and look for the reset instructions; you can try the reset for both types of controller.

      If you don’t have any luck, just send it in and I’ll get it fixed for you.

      Let me know what you find out,

      • Hi Brian,
        I left the unit disenabled (no battery, bar plug unplugged) overnight. This morning, I activated it, and it’s working perfectly! Go figure….Thanks for your help. I don’t know why it did what it did, but resetting it overnight worked. You saved me the $$ I would have spent on sending in a perfectly good unit for repair.

        • Hi Ron, I’m glad a good (although longer than thought necessary) reset worked well, hopefully others will try longer resets too. Keep a close eye on it; sometimes they get a little flaky as they’re failing. If it gives us any more trouble, please keep us in mind 🙂 Thanks for letting us know.

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