Understanding the RD600 Irritrol Skip Days feature

Understanding Skip days, “—” for the days of the week, and what the skip day number means

Note:   If you see — when you try to set the day of the week to on or off, it means you’re in skip days mode.  Usually, the LCD also displays “skip days”.    To turn off skip days, set the dial to skip-days and press the “-” button until it says off.  Then you’ll no longer see “—” for the days of the week.

To fully understand the skip-days setting, read the following:

Question: When I set the skip day number to 1 – does that mean it skips every other day?



Hi Bill,

Surprisingly no, it doesn’t.   The Irritrol RainDial RD600 Skip days feature is often misunderstood and difficult to understand, so thanks for the question.  The short answer to your question is no.  setting it to ‘1’ will water every day.   This should help explain why:

The skip days function controls when a schedule will run.  If you were not doing skip days, you would specify the days of the week you want the schedule to run by setting for example Tuesday to “ON” and the other days “OFF”.  The timer would then run the schedule every Tuesday.   In skip days mode you are scheduling the timer to run the schedule every # days where # is the skip days value.

I like to think of the skip days feature as having a daily incrementing counter that starts at 1 and goes to the number you specify and then repeats. E.g., for a skip days setting of 3, the timer’s counter would count like this: 1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3. Whenever the counter matches the skip days number, the watering schedule will run. In this example the schedule would run every 3rd day.   The term skip days is sort of confusing.

Instead of ‘skip days’, think of it as ‘water every # days.’
So if it’s 2, it waters every 2nd day, which is every other day: 1,2,1,2. If you set it to ‘1’, it waters every 1 day, which is ‘every day.’

Although I’ve answered your question, one may ask:  How do I know what today is in the sequence of days?    You determine that by putting the dial on ‘Today.’  It will show you the current number in the sequence.  You can also change the number of ‘today’ by pressing the +- buttons when in programming mode.

E.g., if you have skip days set for 3 and you want it to water tomorrow, set ‘today’ to ‘2’.

As a final note, you cannot set a schedule to start based on the days of the week and skip days at the same time, you have to pick one or the other.  If you have set a skip days setting and put the dial on a day like Tuesday, it will always show “—” and not allow you to change Tuesday to “On” or “Off”.  When this happens, the display typically displays “Skip Days” to let you know why it won’t change.   
To simply turn off the skip days setting and allow the days of the week to be turned on or off, you simply set the skip days number to zero (0) which turns that feature off.

I hope this helped, if it does, consider sending us a high $5, we’d really appreciate it.
Brian – aka the Irritrol RD600 Rain Dial Doctor for Irritrol timers

28 thoughts on “Understanding the RD600 Irritrol Skip Days feature

  1. I have set my controller to A. When I try to program it for the days I want it to water it either shows off or —. When I try to push the + or – it does not turn on those days. If I hold the – button it flashes very fast and does not change a thing. Any trouble shooting ideas? Thanks

    • Hi TJ, It seems like you have it in skip-days mode and just need to get it off that mode. set the RD600 dial to skip-days, switch to set-programs, and press the ‘-‘ button until it says off.

      If this helps, please leave us a donation; if not, let me know and I’ll help further.


      • Unfortunately that did not work. I still can’t get any days to the ‘on’. I even tried going to ‘B’ and ‘C’ and nothing happened. The ‘B’ read once every, then 51 or possibly S1. The ‘C’ setting read once ever, y then 72. A setting reads once every, the C3.
        This is a Irritrol RD1200

        • Hi TJ,
          if the rd600 says ‘once every’ it means it’s in skip days mode.

          I’d recommend you do a factory reset to clear out the memory and set the programming back to a default schedule. Then reprogram it. You’ll find everything you need to know on my DIY troubleshooting page. Look at the section about ‘How do I’ reset to factory defaults. Sometimes power fluctuations to the RD600 timers make them lose their brains and they just need a reset. Give that a try and let me know if it helps. If it does, please drop us a donation.

  2. I wish there was a program where i could say i want valve 2, 3, 5 to come on for 4 hours every 14 days and valves 1, 4 to come on every 30 days for 4 hours and then up popped exactly how to program this thing. I think it is difficult for people who don’t set these things up on a regular basis! Isn’t there a way to make it easier so we are confident we have set it correctly ??!!

    • Hi Mimi,

      I like that idea. It would be a handy thing to have, I agree. They seem like they do something so simple that they shouldn’t be that complicated. But they have to make sure only one valve turns on at a time and with 3 possible schedule with 3 start times in each one, plus days of the week options, it starts to get a little complicated.

      The tips on the programming page are what I’ve found to be the most help. I do think these are much easier to program than some of the other ones.

      Anyway, thanks for the comment; I’ll keep an eye out for some sort of App…


  3. Hi, My name’s Alex. In running position Timer is blinking, beside the time it also shows – ” OF 1″. How I can turn off “of 1”

    • Hi Alex,

      I responded to your email as well. The answer can be found on the DIY Troubleshooting page; take a look there.

  4. I have RD600, I turn on A, an make B and C off, on program A have 3 zones, each zone program to watering for 5 minutes. Issue on zone 1 should run off after fisrt 5 minutes, but it’s not, it keep working till finish the 15 minute, and some time take longer than 15 minutes till I shutdown the main water.

    • Hi Ali,

      I would suggest doing a full factory reset (See my DIY page) just to make sure the system has everything cleared out on B and C.

      When a station is ‘on’ when it should not be, put the dial on that station and note the preceeding letter; it will be A, B or C. This will tell you what program is running. then you can confirm the program settings…

      If the water is on, but the timer indicates it is off, read the appropriate section in my DIY page.

      Does that help?


  5. I had my irrigation lines redone ( no new timer as it was 1 yr old). Ever since the installation the skip day function is not working. I use zones A,B and C. A and B do not come on the scheduled day or time, but zone C does. i can manually start the zones, but again they do not automatically come on the scheduled day. here’s my program:
    Zone A. Every 3 days for 2 hrs. (Shrubs). Start time 2 pm
    Zone B Every 4 days for 3 hrs. (Trees). Start time 6 pm
    Zone C. Every 3 days for 2 hrs. (Shrubs). Start time 4 pm

    The guy who installed the system has been out and set it again. He did not seem all that familiar with the skip day function. I have read the manual several times, but I think we are missing something. I note in your comments you say the days of the week should say “_”. Mine say off.

    I just think its strange that one zone works but the other 2 don’t come on automatically but you can start them manually or use the semi automatic button to turn them on. Is it possible the timer is defective? The timer was working before, but I was using the days of the week function. The upgrade was done to to put all the trees on a separate zone.

    PS: I live in Phoenix AZ. Hence the long water times. In Oct I will switch to zones A and C for 1 hr once per week. Zone B will water every 15 days for 5 hrs (they need to be watered deeper but less frequently.

    • Hi Juli,
      A, B, and C are schedules, not zones- you can run any of your valves with any of the schedules. It sounds like you have everything set up right, but when you mentioned the days of the week say “OFF” instead of “—” or something similar, that sounds to me like the skip days function may not be activated on A and B but it is on C- Could you check and compare looking at the days of the week, switching between A, B, and C, and see if potentially C has the “—” as expected and A and B do not?

      If so, Skip days is not set for A and B, and you should poke around with that a little.

      Let me know how it goes!


  6. When I schedule the system for 2 skip days, do I need to set a time for the watering to take place on a skip day? If not, how do you know what time it will run?

    • Hi James,
      You have to set a start time for the schedule that is set for skip days. Go ahead and read my writeup about skip days here and see if that helps.

      Brian – RD600 RainDial Doctor

  7. Hi Doctor,

    If today is Monday afternoon and I want my rain dial to start watering every two days but start that sequence tomorrow being Tuesday what settings do I use?

    • Assuming you want it to water very other day, you’d set skip days to two and set ‘Today’ to one.

  8. Hi
    I am a little confused. So, if I put skip days on 3 does this mean that the valves will act like : close, close, open, close close, open …. ?

    • Hi Kamran,

      I updated the text above to help answer your question and better explain the skip days functionality. Read through it again and if it doesn’t answer your question, let me know.

  9. I set my skip days to 12 on program B, however the valves open at 7 days on program B. Rebooted, all power off – battery removed, but it still does the same thing. This controller was new about 4 years ago. What is wrong?

    • Hi Ron,

      it’s likely that program A or C is setup and causing valves to come on. Are you thinking that because the switch is on Schedule B that it only runs schedule B? Take a look at my programming tips page, it’ll help explain it.

      Let me know if that helps or not,
      brian – aka the RD600 series Irritrol Rain Dial “doctor”

    • Hi Robert,

      Yes, you can have three different skip days settings, one for each program (A,B,C). The RD600 series timers will let you use skip days on one program and days of the week on another, or all skip days on all three.

      Thanks for posting the question,
      Brian – aka the irritrol RainDial RD600 series “RainDialDoctor”

    • Hi Scott,

      When using skip days, the individual days should show you ” — ” and not have on/off as a choice. Hopefully you’re seeing that 🙂

      Brian – aka the Irritrol RainDial RD600 series “doctor”

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