Display says OFF or Blinks

RainDial display blinks OFF or flashes when you try to turn on a valve

Three notes about this  topic are worth mentioning

  1. A flashing display may indicate that the power has been interrupted at some point, but more often it’s an indication that the timer needs repair.
  2. Flashing Off when trying to turn on a valve almost always indicates the timer needs repair.
  3. Occasionally, the flashing is caused by a bad valve solenoid, but usually, this happens with older timers.

This page will guide you through determining what the problem is likely to be.

First do some simple checks:  You may want to read the rest of this page to be sure, but in general:

  1. If the problem happens only when turning on one particular valve and not with every valve, it may be a bad solenoid. (read further)
  2. If it happens with multiple valves, the timer likely needs repair.
  3. If you experience low water pressure, clicking, or chattering valves, the timer needs repair.

We’d appreciate your business if the following troubleshooting information suggests it needs repairing.  Thanks!

The rest of this page provides more detailed troubleshooting on how to check for a bad solenoid.

Bad solenoids are usually indicated by the FUS message, but on rare occasions, it will blink off.  Try turning on a valve manually (by selecting a valve, adding minutes with the + button) and the LCD just goes back to OFF, it’s typically one of the following:

  1. The controller is failing.  The good news is that we can help. This is a problem we repair frequently (the cornerstone of our business).  The repair is solid and well worth doing. Simply send it in for repair and we’ll have it back, working better than new (you shouldn’t ever have the same problem again).  Repair information: link.
  2. The controller is overloaded with a shorted valve solenoid or wiring problem.
    1. Newer systems indicate a shorted solenoid by displaying FUS and a little valve number on the top of the display.  You may need to put the dial in the Current Time position to see the message. Some older systems don’t show the message and just blink the display.
      1. If you see the FUS message and a number on the top row of the display that number usually indicates where the problem is.  Follow the information on this page to solve the problem.
    2. Older systems may show blinking/flashing displays but not show a FUS message when the dial is in the Current Time position.  The problem may still be a bad solenoid; here are some suggestions:
      1. Try to manually turn on each valve, one at a time.  If you find one valve that does not turn on, then that valve is probably causing the timer to blink. Read the troubleshooting tip below

Troubleshooting tips: Is the valve a problem or the controller?

A good way to tell the difference is if the problem occurs with more than one valve.  If more than one valve shows the problem then it’s a problem with the controller.  If only one sprinkler valve exhibits the problem, you can try these things:

  1. Disconnect that wire to that valve’s screw terminal that causes the timer to blink when you try to turn it on. The blinking problem should not return.  After you replace the solenoid (see below), reconnect the wire.
  2. You can also try swapping the screw terminal wire of the suspected bad valve with one that seems to be working.  If the “problem” follows the valve’s wire, it’s a bad solenoid.

If you determine the solenoid is bad, they are fairly easy to replace.  I usually take a photo of the valve to a local landscape store so they know what I’m looking for.

We hope this was helpful – if it was, use our services or consider a friendly donation.  Thank you.

Click here to contact us or here to see How do I send it in for repair?

69 thoughts on “Display says OFF or Blinks

  1. Hi, I have a RD-900-R and try’s to push the water through the sprinkler heads but just pulsates and a little bit of water forms at the sprinkle grade but they do not pop up or spray water. I can feel the water pipe pulsating. I have turned the system on manually at the solenoid and the heads pop up and spray water. Any ideas as to the problem?

    • Hi Paul,
      that’s a classic symptom of a problem I can repair. I’ll send you an email with the repair details although you can see most of them by looking at the menu option shown above. It’s a solid fix; you’ll never have that problem again and I warranty it the same as a new timer.

      Thanks for posting,

  2. I have an RD 600. The time would flash and then go off. I replaced the 9V battery and now it works. But off course it starts flashing when the battery dies.
    I am just done with overseeding, means can not afford without watering daily!
    How long it takes to repair?!

    • Hi Shami,

      I sent you an email directly; if you don’t get it, let me know. Where are you located?
      We usually get it in the mail the next day after we receive it. The DIY Troubleshooting page has information on how you can water manually while it’s being repaired if you are concerned about the delay. It’s pretty easy to turn on a valve manually, which is much easier than trying to use a garden hose 🙂 See that page for more information.


    • Hi Daniel,

      I believe that model has the same basic message and function as the RD 600 series timers. Look at the DIY Troubleshooting page for the FUS message information.

      Please post back if it helps so I know you got what you needed.

    • Hi Todd,
      We have some information here about the “OF” message. Go ahead and have a read – it should answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

      Meghan – Rain Dial Doctor in Training

  3. I need the a decal on the controller box front for new home that has your rain dial controller. the box front is unreadable. can I get this decal from you?

    • Hi Larry,
      We do not have any labels, but I would try contacting Irritrol directly to see if they have any. Here is their website.

      Brian – The RainDial Doctor

    • Hi Donna,
      I have information about that on my DIY Troubleshooting page item 4. It should help you get your timer working again.

  4. I have an RD 600 and at first it wouldn’t work manually. The time would flash and then just go off. I replaced the 9V battery and now it works, but all the solenoids are making a clicking noise when on. The sprinklers seem to work OK for now.

    • Hi Mark,
      That’s a classic symptom of a problem I repair. I’d suggest sending it in; I usually turn them around in a day. See the other page on my site that summarizes the repair process, or drop me an email at rainDialDoctor@gmail.com

      Brian – aka the irritrol RD600 series rainDialDoctor

  5. I have a RD1200 that the display is always blinking. I does not work in manual mode, semi automatic mode and now the sprinklers did not come on when they are scheduled to. I replaced the 9 volt battery less than a week ago.

      • Tony,

        Just bring it by or mail it in – I’ll have it back in the mail the next day and working like new.


        • Hi Brian, We are in Sonoma County, CA. 95472 – – – I would like to mail in our 1200 controller, and have your amazing expertise give ‘er a tune up! 🙂
          Just blinks with a single lower case short horizontal line… wont’ take or hold any functions. BUT I can’t tell where to send it, how to send it, how much you charge for replacing the solinoid (if that is the issue…) or how much you charge for repair. Please advise, thank you!

          • Hi David,

            That’s not a very common problem so I’m interested in looking at it. Information can be found at this link

            If you have any other questions, just use the contact-us form; I typically respond to those within a day.
            Thank you for the business, I appreciate it.

            Brian – aka the Irritrol RD600 series “doc”

  6. I have this problem, and it is corrected by replacing the battery. But I see from reading this thread that it’s really a power supply problem. Can you tell me what part I need? I can solder. Thanks.

      • Hi Christine, It sounds like a typical problem that we can help with. I’ll send you a separate email with additional information; thanks for posting.

  7. I have the RD600-EXT-R model. today I noticed that the sprinklers did not turn on per their schedule so I tried running it manually and they work but seem to turn off after a minute even thought I set it manually for 10 minutes. Now I can’t even get them to start manually at all. Everything seems to be working on the display. Could it be something as simple as the fuse?

    • Hi Xavier,

      I’d definitely check the fuse, but it’s usually not that. With that model, there’s another problem that I repair often. It will likely be intermittent as it’s failing and is often temperature dependent too. I’ll send you repair info separately.


      • Can you send me details too I have the 600 ext model and the time blinks when I try to start it manually. I don or have a fuse on my box and when I put the battery in, it fixed the blinking and attempted to start. Is there a longer term problem?

        • Hi Patrick,

          I’d be happy to send the info to you. Most if it is on the “how to get it repaired page”. If you don’t get anything in the next 30min, let me known.

          Brian – aka the Irritrol RainDial RD900, RD600 series “doctor”

  8. When I try to manually run zone #1 on program A the display will show either M:15 or A:15. It has never done this before and when I press start the timer goes but the water does not come on. Just wondering how to fix. I’ve already tried to restart the entire box.h

    • Hi Zach, it will show M:nn when you manually turn on a valve and have the dial pointing to that valve.
      If you see A:nn, it means that the valve (the dial is pointing to) is currently on per schedule “A”. Those are both normal behaviors.

      Tell me what model you have (e.g., RD-600 or 600-R) and I can advise you further.

      brian – aka the RainDial doctor

      • Model is RD 600 R. The Stations 2 and 3 still work normally when I run them manually but station 1 just will not produce water.

        • Hi Zach, that’s good news because we know the transformer is good. Based on the description, it’s a problem that I repair often. I’d suggest mailing the module (the part with the dial/LCD) and the back connector board in for repair. I’ll send you a separate email with all the details… thanks,
          Brian – aka the RainDial doctor

    • Hi Brad,
      Typically 45 for rd600, 55 for a 900, 65 for a 1200. I pay return postage.. It should never be more than that.


  9. hi. i have an rd600-ex-e and the problem is that the solenoid valves are creaking on either manual or program mode and are not living any water to pass. this happened with all valves. i switch them to other channels bud nothing happens.
    the voltage on the Channel output (when the channel is on or manual) is 8.5v when no solenoid valve is connected and 3.5v when is connected.
    what do you think is the problem

    • Hello,

      Thank you for posting. The problem is caused by a failing power supply circuit inside the controller. If you reply to this post, I can send you additional information. Repairing it would require soldering skills and replacement parts.

      Thanks for posting –
      Brian – aka – the RainDial Doctor for Irritrol RD-600 RD-900 and RD-1200 irrigation timers

  10. Irritrol Hardie RD-600. When I turn dial to schedule or valve run times the LCD screen displays “Off.” I can’t set time

    • Hi Emily,

      I’d try doing a reset (see the DIY page). If that doesn’t work (I doubt it will), you should probably just send it in for repair. It’s likely that a switch or other internal component has failed. If it’s not repairable, or is, but should probably be replaced anyway, we have replacement options. Note the orange banner notice at the top of the page; you’ll probably want to send it by tomorrow…

      Thanks for posting,
      Brian – aka – youre RD600 series RainDialDoctor

  11. I have a rain dial plus outdoor unit that has a blank screen. I’ve changed the 9v battery, the slo-blo fuse and verified that I have 24 volts coming from the transformer. Any ideas what else I can try?

    Jerry Sanders

    • Hi Jerry,
      It sounds like you’ve already checked the main things. You might try powering everything down for a few minutes – no battery, and no 24VAC; See if a good reset will wake it up again. Otherwise, you can mail it in and I’m happy to take a look. Send both the module with the LCD and the back connector board so I can check everything.

      See the other page for instructions on how to send it in for repair.


  12. Hi I have an RD 600 Irritrol and the LCD display is not working at all, There’s power to it . Can you tell me what is wrong?
    Thank you

    • HI Sergio,

      I’d need a little more information to help. Try resetting it and then the “Testing the transformer” sections of the DIY Troubleshooting page. Let me know how it goes and I’ll help more.


      • Hey Brian
        Thanks for your fast response, OK I’ve seen your video about testing transformer. Now how do I reset the unit? Id like to try that first.
        Thanks again Brian

        • You’re welcome – The reset instructions should be on the DIY Troubleshooting page – there’s a little different procedure for a -R model, but they’re both described there. If you don’t see it, let me know.

  13. I have a RD-900 and it flashes when I try to turn it on manually. The numbers flash quickly then goes back to just blinking nothing happens.

    • Hi Robert,
      That’s a classic symptom of a failing controller – I repair them all the time. Look at the “how to get it repaired” page on my RainDial Doctor site an send it in. I usually get them fixed and returned in the mail the next day.

      Thanks for posting,

      • Oh, one more thing. If you see that problem with only one valve, it could be a valve issue. Try swapping the valve wires around (e.g., the wires on screw terminals). If the problem follows the valve, look at replacing the solenoid for that valve. They’re easy to replace.

        If you see that problem with more than one valve, it’s definitely a problem with the controller that I repair.

    • Hi Becky,

      Thanks for the question. What you’ve described is a problem that suggests it’s a circuit problem inside the controller that I repair quite often. I’ll send you a separate email with all the repair details, although most of them are on this site already. You may even see the same behavior in the video that I have on the site. Look at the DIY Troubleshooting tab, then scroll down and look at option 5.

      Thanks for posting.

    • Hi Don,
      The RD600 RainDial Timers by Irritrol have a rain delay feature – look on the diy Troubleshooting page and look for the topic that says OFn in the message. It’ll tell you all about it.


  14. Hello,
    I have a Rain Dial RD-600. When trying to manually start any of valves it just blinks and goes to off after selecting the minutes. Can you give me a price and info on how to get this fixed please.

    • Hi Ted, Thanks for posting. I’ll send you a separate email with RD600 series repair info. Thanks again,

      • Hi. My raindial is doing the same. Display flashes and will not turn on manually or when it on set days. How much does it cost to fix it

        • Hi Holly,

          Thanks for posting. It sounds like a “typical” problem that I repair often. The cost depends on the model; I’ll send you a complete email with all the details shortly.

          Thank you,

  15. I have an RD900ext. I am getting a flashing OF6. does is need repair or replace or even something easier?


    • Hi Jeff, thanks for posting. Look at the DIY Troubleshooting section, item $4. It should help; if not, post again.

  16. I am having the problem of the system defaulting to OFF when attempting to manual water. What is a ballpark cost for this type of repair if it is sent in?

    • Hi Carl,

      Thanks for asking. If it only happens with one valve and not the others, it’s probably a valve problem, so check that first. Otherwise just send it in – I’m currently turning them around same day or next day which is faster than normal.

      I’ll send you a separate email with price details.

  17. Brian, Same problem as above, the #9 station faults to “off” when I turn it on manually, so if I just disconnect the solenoid wiring and it faults to OFF then I need to send it to you as the controller is faulty? Right?

    • Hi Rick, Yes, you’re right — send it in; we’ll get it right back to you. I’ll send you a separate email with all the details; thanks for posting.

  18. I have been having a problem with the RD600 unit where the timer keeps flashing. When I replace the battery the unit will work until the battery is no longer any good. what could be the problem? I was looking to replace the unit…thank you. Ralph

    • Hi Ralph,
      Thanks for the inquiry – I appreciate it. This is a common question I get (I actually answered an email about it 2 minutes ago. The flashing is usually an indication of a power problem such as a power outage where the timer had to operate only on battery for some time. There is a problem related to this that I repair frequently and I’m happy to help. For the non (-R) models with the mostly gray “sticker” on the face of the controller itself, this usually means a part in the power supply circuit is failing. The controller will be intermittent for a while until it fails completely. This is very frustrating because people will play with it and it will seem to work, then later quit again. The 9V battery is able to compensate for the problem for a while until it can’t make up the difference. That’s why it drains quickly.
      Anyway, I hope that answers your question. Besides this problem that I repair and warranty, they’re excellent controllers, easy to program and operate and well worth the effort to save. I’ve repaired one as old as 1994 so they have a lot of life in them.

      I’d recommend you send it to me for repair; I can have it back shortly and if it’s not repairable (rare) I even have new ones you can purchase. Let me know what you decide to do.

  19. How do I know if a valve is causing my short? I replaced a solenoid recently and it worked fine for a while . Then the timer started blinking and turning to off when I tried to use it manually

    • Hi Joe, Thanks for the question. It’s uncommon for more than one valve to go bad at a time, so a good way to tell is to swap valve wires around. If one valve is always causing a problem, it’s probably a valve issue. Valve problems usually result in a FUS error along with the valve number shown in the top of the display. Since you’re not seeing this, and because I’ve seen this symptom in hundreds of units, I’m confident it’s a problem in the controller that I repair often. Try the wire switching technique. If that doesn’t yield any conclusions, the controller simply needs repairing. I hope this was helpful and you’ll think about sending it in. Use the contact us menu to let me know; I’ll send you repair details. Thanks for asking.

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