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.

Follow the steps for either A or B below based on what timer you have.

A) describes what to do for Older timers (If it doesn’t work for you, do B)
B) for Newer timers

A) 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 (white or yellow board with all the screw terminals) by holding the gray ribbon cable close to the back terminal board and wiggling it off.  It’s a press-fit connector that should be relatively easy to remove
  3. Wait 3 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 will 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.
  7. If this doesn’t work, you may have a timer that has newer internal circuitry but the older case.  Try following the steps below for the newer controllers.

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

B) 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. Set the dial on the current Time.
  3. Place the Function switch in the Set Programs position.
  4. Place the Program switch to select program “B.”
  5. With AC power connected, carefully disconnect the control module ribbon cable from the back PC Board by grabbing the ribbon cable close to the back terminal board and wiggling it till it comes off.
  6. Open the battery compartment and disconnect the battery.
  7. Press and hold the Manual button in and KEEP HOLDING IT IN while performing the next step.
  8. Reconnect the ribbon cable, then release the Manual button. Note: The display should now show 12:00 AM indicating the controller has reset. If it does not, repeat the procedure as necessary.
  9. Reinstall the battery.
  10. Reprogram the controller.

How do I know if it took the reset or not? 

If the reset worked, the Time will say 12:00 and schedule A will have a default schedule of: Start time of 7:00AM, Every day (M-Su), all valve run times set for 10minutes.  If you don’t see this then carefully re-read the steps and try again.

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 can’t get the reset to work, contact us about a repair.

Contact us – we’ll send you repair details.

Good luck,

(c) This material is copyrighted

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

  1. We just bought a house and it has a sprinkler system the slim dial irritrol but when we bought the house the sellers told us they were not sure if they worked how can we check of they do work and if not what can we do?

    • Hi Gaby,
      Congrats on the house! I’m not sure what you mean by a slim dial irritrol, but I’ll give you some instructions for the RD timers.
      If you just want to see if it works, try going to the timer, putting the middle dial to Station 1, the lower switch to the right for “Run/Manual”, press the plus button a few times, and then press the manual button in the lower right. (if the screen isn’t showing anything, then the timer isn’t getting power and it’s not going to work.)
      If something turns on, hooray! It works! See This Page for a 7 minute video on how to set up your timer!
      If not, there’s a lot of different things that could be why, and I don’t know enough about the situation to tell you what…


  2. Brian.
    I have a rain dial irritrol rd-600 int.
    Recently I have noticed my screen flickering so I replaced the 9v battery which helped for a day or so but went back to flickering. So I did a hard reset on the unit. Again helped for a day but went back to flickering screen. So my question is do you think I need to replace the entire unit or do you think only the transformer plug in needs to be replaced. Or if you have other suggestions to fix this issue, I am open to trying them.

    Best Regards

    • Hi Chase,
      This is a very common problem in these timers, and indicates failures in the power supply components. When the timer can’t supply enough power to operate the stations, it pulls power from the 9V battery to help. This is why the 9V goes bad quickly, and why the timer screen is flickering.
      Is the screen flickering the only problem, or is it also not operating correctly, etc…? When you say it’s flickering, what do you mean- is the screen fully shut off and then flickers on and off, or is it sort of “wavy”?
      It’s possible that there is a problem related to the transformer, but it sounds most likely to be a problem in the timer or backboard.
      I’ll send you an email as well, easier to communicate that way.

  3. Hi
    After about 5 hours of power outage, I noticed the sprinkler didn’t work at scheduled time. when I checked the display is stuck at 10.59PM. tried setting time / moving dial etc but nothing makes the display change. its hangged /frozen at this time. I tried unplugging for few minutes but no luck.
    would factory reset would help? for now I just unplugged it.

    • Hi Ron,

      Yes, I would try a factory reset, especially if you have a -R model. We have reset instructions here. If that doesn’t help, let me know.


  4. I have a Junior Max which is about 7 years old. I have set two programs to begin at an earlier time than I have used in past years. Problem is that the old timestrigger the unit as well as the new times I have entered. I tried removing the battery;unplugging the unit and pushing the reset button (holding for a minute) and reconnecting. No change. I see in your reset instructions you advise removing the “ribbon cable.” Cannot find such a thing. I even took the back off the unit but did not find any ribbon cable. How do I erase the old programs?

    • Hi Richard,

      The instructions I have here are for the RainDial RD600 etc sprinkler timers, sadly I do not have any experience with these Junior Max ones. I did some poking around and I found this page which looks to be the instructions for a Junior Max: Link
      From those instructions, it looks like you need to press the reset button to clear out your previous program, and then put in your new one.
      If that does not work, you are correct you have no ribbon cable but you can just disconnect the power from the unit entirely by taking out the battery and unscrewing one of the screw labeled 24 VAC and sliding out the wire, then wait about 30 seconds, and replacing it. Be careful to not touch the wires together.

      There’s a good chance that you inadvertently programmed schedule B, instead of clearing and reprogramming schedule A.

      Let me know if you get it working,
      Brian – aka the RainDial Doctor for Irritrol RD600 Irrigation Timers.

      • Brian, Thanks for writing back so promptly. First, you link was to the manual for the Junior Max which I have. Unfortunately it does not tell one how to re-set the program although it does note the re-set button which I have tried a zillion times, plugged in, unplugged, battery out, etc.
        I tried your suggestion and removed one 24 VAC wire. No success. All of these things force me to reprogram “year/date/time” but the running programs remain.
        I use both programs A and B, distinguishing between drip lines and my lawn sprinklers. Thus, I am sure I have not programmed my drip lines on both schedules.
        If you have any other ideas I would be most grateful.
        Thanks, Richard

        • I did more digging in the manual, and I found this on page 6:
          To RESET Run Time back to “OFF”: Press BOTH +/ON and -/OFF for a few seconds
          until OFF is displayed.
          Reference that section at the bottom of page 6 for more info, but I think this might be what you need. Again, I’m out of my depth here, but I hope this works!


    • Brian, Thanks for your continued analysis for me. I found on page six of the manual the “re-set” instruction for the run times. As you know my problem is with the “start times” not the “run times.” Nonetheless, I applied the technique described in the “run time” instruction. That is, pressing “on” and “off” simultaneously to clear the “start time” schedule. I think it worked! I think my mysterious second watering has ended with the clearing of the memory. Well done. Please accept my gratitude.

      • My pleasure Richard!
        I’m glad to hear I could help. If you’d consider making a donation to Meghan and Ben’s college fund, we’d really appreciate it.


  5. Good morning

    I have a Rain Dial -R Irrigation System Controller. Just turned it on for the season.
    Everything works OK except the watering only stays on for each value for 3 minutes even though it is set to run 30 minutes on each section.

    Read through trouble shooting but nothing is listed to correct this problem.

    Can you be of any help


    • Good morning “HWG”,

      I’d try performing the reset sequence for the Irritrol RainDial to put it back to factory defaults. Let me know how it goes…

      Brian –

  6. Thank you, this fixed my problem! The “day of the week” suddenly stopped showing up on the display but every other feature was working. Reset and now it’s fixed, thank you!

  7. I have a rd900 controller. Power went off for 9:00 hr. have tryed to reset at least 4 times. Turned main power off, pulled Ribben cable, removed battery.every thing was off for 20:00. put every thing back in place. System indicated 12:00. Set actuators for 30:00 min. Set for A system. Set days to come on. Set day of week. System still on in at 7:00 am as well as days set ??? And I even turned the system to on.

  8. Dear sirs,
    I am using an Irritrol RD-1200.
    I tried to start manually valve no 5 from the timer, by first setting irrigation time to 15 minutes and then by pressing the “Manual” button.
    On the screen it shows no 5 correctly.
    Unfortunately it starts valve no 4 instead of 5.
    I tried the same process several times, but still the problem remains.
    I even disconnected completely the unit and I also disconnected the battery.
    I tried again the same process, but the problem remains, exactly the same.
    Any suggestions?

    • Hello Andreas,
      That’s an odd problem. I would disconnect the wire for valve #4 to see if it still happens. It should not, because it will be disconnected from the timer. Try that and let me know how it goes.

      Meghan – RD600 RainDial Doctor in Training

  9. Is there a way I can restart the Rain Dial Plus after manually shutting it off in the middle of a program?

    • Hi Richard,

      No, I don’t believe you can continue where you left off. Sorry..

      Brian – aka the RainDial Doctor for RD600 series timers.

    • Hi Ray,
      We have a link for paypal on our website, located here. Thank you so much! Your donation helps the RainDial Doctor’s in training, like me 🙂

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  10. My 2003 Irritrol Total Control 12 station controller decided not to operate any longer!
    After researching the online questions and answers, which were many, I finally had brains enough to follow some of the great advice given by your company online.
    My solution was to simply tighten the screws to the wiring inside of the unit and “voila”
    all returned to its normal operating status. What a great product. it just needs some simple tuning and maintenance occasionally.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for posting; sometimes simple solutions are the answer. Just keep an eye on it, because I suspect that’s just a symptom of a larger problem to come; if it gives you any more trouble, keep us in mind.

      Brian – aka the RainDialDoctor for Irritrol RD600, RD1200 and RD900 timers

  11. RD-1200-R model number. When the timer turns the water valves on electrically by the timer or by manual set each water station, the watering heads start jumping up and down for each setting, like the timer is turning the valves on then off by each second (like seconds on the clock). I use all 12 control settings on A (4 times/week), B (14 day skip setting),C (two times per week) Would a reset cure this ailment of the timer? The timer has a date of 6/24/2010. Or, do I need to replace the timer control module?

    • Hi Ed,
      Thanks for the inquiry, I appreciate it. Unfortunately a reset will not fix the problem you are having. If you send it in for repair, I am confident we can fix it. I will send you an email with more detailed instructions.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

    • Hi Josh,

      First a question: When all the valves are on, what number(s) do you see on the top of the timer display?

      I would try disconnecting a couple of the station wires at the timer and see if it stops them from coming on. This will tell you if the timer is causing the problem, or if it’s more likely a valve or wiring problem.

      Let me know what you find and I’ll help further,
      Brian – aka the Rain Dial Irrigation Timer Repair “Doctor”

  12. Hi I have a RD6-pro EXT and the box doesn’t seem to work when I try to manual start a station. When I push the buttons nothing happens. The dial works fine I just can’t seem to get a manual station to run. I can’t even change a setting.

  13. My kwikdial system comes on after a power outage even though it is in the off position. How can I stop this as I want it to remain off.

    • Hi Nicola,
      First try turning off the power to the sprinkler timer and see if that stops it from coming on. If it doesn’t then it’s a valve problem, not a timer problem.
      If it does stay off, the it’s likely that the sprinkler timer is not detecting the ‘off’ switch position, or the program is still running. I don’t work with the kwikdials very much so I’m not as familiar with them. I’d also suggest doing a factory reset or at least removing power and any batteries to the timer for several minutes and then give it a fresh power-up.

      Other options would be to simply program it not to come on – such as setting the durations to 0 minutes or removing start times. You can also try sending it to me for repair; if you’d like to do that, contact me via email at

  14. I have a problem with rd600, everything is set , time schedule but it doesn’t come on, even when I push Manuel, I even changed the battery , and set the timer 2 min after to see if it’s gonna come on but it doesn’t

    • Hi Yazin,
      Thanks for commenting. Try a factory reset first and see if that helps. I have instructions for that on my website here. Does the timer indicate that it has turned the water on (does a small number appear on the top of the screen when you turn it on)? Or does the timer not indicate that it has turned on the valves at all? Let me know and we will figure out what the issue is.

      Meghan – RainDial Doctor in Training

  15. I have a RD600 and I am getting the error message FUS. It flashes back and forth between the time and FUS. I did everything said about resetting it and nothing worked. I have 2 zones set and no numbers are on the display with the FUS error but when I try to run manually the numbers 1 and 2 shows up with the FUS display. When setting it for manual I can add how many minutes I want to set but about 3 seconds later it will say OFF. This happens to both zones when setting it for manual operation.

    • Hi Michael,

      I have an exhaustive description of what to do with a FUS error on the DIY Troubleshooting page, take a look there and let me know if you have further questions.

  16. I have the Irritrol 600Rd-R and lately it has been acting up. I have 2 programs running. Program A runs zone 3 every day for 10 minutes. Program B runs zones 1 and 2 for 10 minutes, 2 days a week. But Program B repeats it self, it goes through both zones and then it runs them again. I did a factory reset, but that didn’t seem to change anything. Any suggestions.

      • Hi John,
        I have an exhaustive description of what to do with a FUS error on the DIY Troubleshooting page, take a look there and let me know if you have further questions. Also let me know if it was helpful or not 🙂


    • Hi Tom,

      What model of timer is it? If it’s indicating that you have a short-master-valve, then the solenoid to your master valve is probably bad. If you replace it, the problem should go away.
      Just take a photo of the valve and take it to the local irrigation supply store; they can get you a replacement. It’s probably <$20 and the job (not including travel) is about 10 minutes if all goes well 🙂 Let me know what you find out? Regards, Brian p.s., if we've been helpful, consider making a donation, this is purely a volunteer and donation driven service... Thanks.



  18. RD-600 Doesn’t run on time.
    Current time and day checked. Start time checked. Day on. Water times set. Run/schedule switch ON. Battery in place. All on sched. A and all B&C are off. Manual mode works. Maybe need to reset. Can’t find circuit card to unplug. So far I can’t find transformer or circuit breaker. I did find the valve terminal panel. Unit is dated 022597.

    • Hi James,

      I’d definitely try following the reset instructions first. When you say Manual mode, do you mean you’re able to use the manual button on the timer, or are you referring to manually turning on the valve at the valve itself?

      Let me know and I’ll advise more.

  19. My KwikDial KD9 keeps showing a battery symbol with a line through it. Where is the battery and why does it need one if it is plugged into an outlet?

    • Hi Jessica,

      The battery is in the back of the unit on the top, look for a compartment that would hold a 9V battery.
      The battery just keeps the clock and programming during a brief poweroutage. It usually lasts about a year, but if you have a lot of poweroutages it could be less.

      Brian – aka the RD600 Irritrol Rain Dial “doctor”

  20. I have the RD-600 (irritol) … suddenly it stopped the scheduled watering … I’ve tried the manual as well and nothing. I looked at fuse-looks ok … I unplugged, took fuse out, unplugged ribbon, unplugged unit to reset but it did not return to factory settings …
    any thoughts ?

    • Hi Bruce,
      Sorry for the delay – had a hiccup on my notification emails and didn’t know you had posted.

      For the reset question: it could be that you have a newer RD600 that has teh gray label, but newer internal circuitry. Try following the reset instructions for the RD600-R instead.

      Let me know if that doesn’t work and we’ll address the other programming items. It’s likely that there is a problem with the timer or back terminal board; we can discuss that if the reset doesn’t work.

      Thanks for posting,
      Brian – aka the RD600 series rainDialDoctor

  21. one more thing…Tried ‘fooling’ the controller by resetting the time, to see whether the normal watering occurs.

    It didn’t work. No water!

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