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Sunday, May 8th 2016, 6:13pm

Installed new controller and cannot control individual zones


I recently purchased a new home and have been having a ton of issues with the sprinkler system. When I first bought the home, the well pump wouldn't work, my brother and I pulled the pump and it spun off the pipe, simple fix and for about a month the sprinkler system worked well.

Last week, my rainbird controller box start spitting out errors, I called rainbird and they stated the model was old and needed to be replaced. I got a new outside controller and installed it today and now I am unable to control individual zones. I wired it up exactly how the old controller was wired, I took notes and put labels on all of the wires before installing.

Now when I manually turn on the sprinklers, all zones turn on when no matter which zone I choose, except nothing ever comes out of zone 4. I went out to the valves and I can manually turn on each individual zone by tweaking the valves. I'm at a loss here. Another odd thing is that they had a jumper from zone 3 to zone 4 on the old box but perhaps that is how they are able to control zone 4, I'm no expert lol.

Advice would greatly be appreciated. I spent all day out there trying to get the system to work properly, I'm at a loss.




Sunday, May 8th 2016, 6:15pm

Sorry, one more thing I forgot to mention. I also set the schedule to see if each zone would turn on automatically but what happens is that when zone 1 turns on the pump relay, all of the zones turn on (except 4). When zone one finishes, the pump relay turns off for zones 2-4, so nothing comes out of the sprinklers because the pump isn't getting power.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,294

Location: Metro NYC


Monday, May 9th 2016, 5:11am

This sounds like operator error, so go back to square one and check your wiring with resistance measurements, and try to run one zone at a time by way of connecting one wire at a time to the controller output.




Monday, May 9th 2016, 7:13am

HI there, I just double checked all the wiring and everything is setup how it was with the old controller. None of the zones work unless zone 1 is plugged into the controller. From the looks of it, zone 1 is the master valve and without it plugged in, none of the zones work.




Monday, May 9th 2016, 8:00pm

Alright, so I had some time to play around with the system this evening. I have narrowed it down to zone one having a bad solenoid. After looking at some youtube videos, I noticed that whoever owned this house before me did not have the controller setup properly.

I found that the white wire is actually the common wire and black and pink wires are coming from the pump relay. I put the wires from pump relay into common and master and put the white wire in common. From there, I manually ran the system and without any zones plugged in, the front and side zone were constantly running. I took the red white and touched zone 1 and the controller spit out a no A/C error.

I reset the controller, ran manually and took blue wire to zone one and the zone turned on no errors, did the same with the yellow wire, no errors. When I touched the red wire it spit out the no a/c error, so I suspect that's why zone one is always running.

I checked the valve that is connected to the red wire and noticed it was leaking and the others were not, I hit the nozzle to rule out that maybe it was gunked up and it wasn't. Tomorrow, I will get a resistance meter and check the resistance on the solenoid, which according to rainbird that error states it's bad solenoid.

I hope this helps anyone who has run into the same issue.

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