Sprinkler controller testing

More advanced Rain Dial wiring and valve checking:

Before doing more advanced checking always verify these first:

Remove the battery; make sure the controller display still shows up. If not, the controller is not getting 28V and is just running off the 9V battery.  Thus, there is a power issue; check these:
  1. fuse
  2. breaker
  3. make sure the ribbon cable is all the way in.
You can prove that a valve is likely the problem and not the Transformer or controller by doing this check to bypass the timer.

Important: Make sure the water it turned on to the valves.  People often spend hours troubleshooting the system, only to find out that the water had been turn off to it.  Typically, there are valves near the back-flow near where the water enters your house.  

You basically connect one valve wire directly to the 24VAC screw terminals.

    1. Unplug the timer’s ribbon cable from the back of box.
    2. Disconnect (unscrew) one of the valve wires (e.g., connected to screw terminal #1 of the back of the connector board that sits behind the control module)
    3. Touch and hold it directly on the right-most of the two 24VAC screw terminals (touch it for a several seconds, long enough to notice if the valve 1 turns on or not).
      (Note: do not let it touch both 24VAC terminals at the same time.)
    4. If the Rain Dial Transformer and valve are good, the valve should turn on within a few seconds.  If it comes on, you know that the valve and wiring are good and the timer and/or back interconnects are likely the problem; send it in for repair.
    5. If the valve still does not come on, you can moving both the valve wire and the common wire to the 24VAC terminals, this connects the valved directly to the transformer; the valves must come on, or the transformer, valve, or valve wiring is broken.

A note about the fuse: See the Checking the Fuse page for more info.  Note that the controller will still receive power, even if the fuse is bad (open).   The fuse only protects the common terminal to the valves.  You can always move the VC common wire to the left-most of the two 24VAC terminals, and then repeat the test above.  Be wary though, the fuse may have blown for a reason, and you’re bypassing the protection it provides. (see disclaimer at the top of this page).

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