Rain Dial Rain Sensor Wiring Information

This page is in response to a questions Joseph had about compatibility of the Rain Dial RD600 series timers and several Rain Sensors .  The wiring diagrams in this link help explain how the rain sensors are wired into systems that are made for them or how you can add a rain sensor to a system that doesn’t support them automatically.

Happy reading…


Hi Joseph, Thanks for the question. I don’t get many rain sensor questions in Arizona :-).

The RS500 and RS1000 and probably almost any rain sensor is compatible with the Irritrol RD600 series units with some minor caveats.

If your back connector or screw terminal board has two terminals marked something like  “Sensor + and -” your timer is a little more capable to work with a rain sensor. If not,  I describe what to do later. To install the sensor, follow the directions that basically have you do this (See figure 5 in this link.):

  1. Connect the sensor wires to the “SEN” or Sensor terminals.
  2. If you have a sensor switch on the back terminal board, set it to “active” and not “bypass”
  3. If there is a wire jumper that is connecting the two sensor terminals together, remove that wire, it’s not needed when you have the sensor installed.

If your terminal board does not have sensor connection terminals, don’t worry, you can still wire in a rain sensor.  The only real difference is that the a pre-wired timer will display when the sensor is active so you know, otherwise there isn’t much difference. Follow the example shown in figure 6 of the this link.

This works great.  Note that the Irritrol RD600 will not even know the rain sensor is there and will continue to operate and try to turn on the sprinklers like there is no sensor connected, but the sensor will “over-ride” the timer and stop the valves from turning on when rain is detected..

Note that some connector boards do a place for the sensor terminals, but the screw terminals and switch themselves were not installed at the factory to reduce cost.

You have several options depending on the controller model and connector board you currently have.

Here’s the diagram:


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2 thoughts on “Rain Dial Rain Sensor Wiring Information

  1. GM – My Rainbird stopped working awhile ago! What’s the besy way to dignose/fix mit, pls – in order of Likelyhood? Havent seen any error msgs either. My system is the Rain Dial Plus, ~~ 1998?

    • Hi Curt,

      There is a ton of troubleshooting info on the DIY Troubleshooting page. Work your way through the topics that apply; most of it applies to your model as well as the RainDial series.
      If it’s helpful, please leave us a donation 🙂

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