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varuscelli

New Member

Posts: 13

Location: Pearland, Texas

1

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 2:00pm

Rainbird ESP-8TM Troubleshooting or Replacement

Hi,

We had a sprinkler system installed about 6 years ago with a Rainbird ESP-8TM controller. It has worked fine up until sometime this week.

The LCD panel shows only PR OFF. Rotating the programming dial does nothing, pushing buttons does nothing to change what's on the LCD panel.

I tried some rudimentary troubleshooting, including the unplugging the power for a while and putting in a fresh CR2025 battery. I even tried a different outlet via a heavy duty extension cord (with no results as far as power).

There is definitely power to the outlet that the transformer is plugged into and the transformer itself is slightly warm to the touch when left plugged in. However, unplugging and plugging in the transformer does nothing to change the display. It shows only PR OFF at all times, except when I remove the internal battery (after which the LCD goes blank).

I'm wondering if there are any likely things I can check before calling someone out to look at the system. I'm sure I could replace the controller myself, but if the trouble might lie elsewhere, I hate to go through the steps of replacement only to have to call someone out anyway.

Any suggestions for further troubleshooting...or thoughts as to whether (from the symptoms I have described) the trouble is likely in the controller itself?

Thanks for any help. :)

Al

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 5,288

Location: Metro NYC

2

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 2:22pm

If you have simultaneously unplugged the controller and removed the backup battery, and waited several minutes, that about covers what you can do on your own, except for a check on the transformer by seeing if it alone can power a zone, or activate a solenoid, bypassing the controller.

varuscelli

New Member

Posts: 13

Location: Pearland, Texas

3

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 3:16pm

Thanks, Wet_Boots.

And yes...I tried simultaneously unplugging the controller, removing the battery, waiting a few minutes, then replaced the battery and plugged the controller back in. No change to anything doing that several times with wait times varying from a couple of minutes to over an hour. I went to the extreme of unplugging the controller and removing the battery and waiting overnight last night, too (just for the heck of it), but still not apparent change (LCD display remains as PR OFF).

I'm assuming the symptoms seem to indicate either a problem with the transformer or within the controller itself (?).

Again, thank for the reply. I sure appreciate the feedback. :)

Al

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 5,288

Location: Metro NYC

4

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 3:46pm

No shame if the controller gave out. Still give it a check to see if the transformer is really putting out any power. Getting warm isn't enough. Even a voltage reading isn't enough.

varuscelli

New Member

Posts: 13

Location: Pearland, Texas

5

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 5:11pm

Ahh, OK. I took a voltmeter and tested at the two 24VAC terminals where the transformer connects to the controller and got no reading at all. Unless I'm misreading the situation, it looks like I need to find a replacement transformer. :)

Thank you once more... :thumbsup:

varuscelli

New Member

Posts: 13

Location: Pearland, Texas

6

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 6:12pm

Hmmm...this being the transformer I've got, I wonder how difficult it's going to be to match it?




Three wire...red, blue and green.

The closest thing I see to it on the Rainbird site is the ESP4MIXFMR.

I'm guessing I won't have any luck at the Big Box stores that sell Rainbird products.

Central Irrigation

Supreme Member

Posts: 371

Location: Central Minnesota

7

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 7:03pm

An FYI...transformers are not brand specific. Even a 2 wire transformer will work.

mrfixit

Moderator

Posts: 2,315

Location: USA

8

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 8:12pm

You sound like you know what you're doing so this probably isn't the case.
With this controller if it was manufactured in 2008 or earler there's a fuse that might need replacing.
2009 and later no fuse that I could find in the manual.
Page 25 shows where the fuse is.

varuscelli

New Member

Posts: 13

Location: Pearland, Texas

9

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 8:21pm

An FYI...transformers are not brand specific. Even a 2 wire transformer will work.

Thanks, I appreciate that. As I was looking through related threads on this forum today, I had read in another thread a cautionary statement that Rainbird controllers might occasionally be a bit finicky about specific transformers.

Older thread from 2005, but what I had read (for what it's worth) was:

Make sure it is the same brand as the controller, in this case Rainbird. Most generic transformers will work as long as they are 24 VAC, but for some reason the Rainbird controllers seem to have some issues if you use something other than a Rainbird transformer.

That aside, I am happy to try another readily available transformer. My local Home Depot has Rainbird transformer replacements labeled as Rainbird UT1. Hopefully one of those will do the trick for me a $15 (the only option I saw).

Thanks again. :)

varuscelli

New Member

Posts: 13

Location: Pearland, Texas

10

Tuesday, August 11th 2015, 9:22pm

You sound like you know what you're doing so this probably isn't the case.
With this controller if it was manufactured in 2008 or earler there's a fuse that might need replacing.
2009 and later no fuse that I could find in the manual.
Page 25 shows where the fuse is.


Dang it, there is a fuse in this one. I looked at it when I replaced the battery and thought that it might be a dummy fuse (could see nothing but glass and end caps). Something I had read in one of the manuals led me to believe that this one didn't use a fuse and for some reason I assumed it might be there as a placeholder or dummy as part of a holdover in the design of the housing (however illogical that reasoning might sound). In looking more closely, I can see that there is a very fine filament in it (nearly invisible to my eyes) and it is indeed broken.

Given that this one was installed in 2009, I'm guessing it must have been one of the 2008 (or older) models.

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