Connecting Rainbird electromechanical timer to Rachio


#1

I am attempting to convert my old rainbird electromechanical timer to Rachio. I bought this house with system installed, so don’t have innate knowledge about the set up. I believe I have 8 zones (despite 12 zone timer). I think I have a set of valves for the backyard and a set for the front yard. I assume this is the 2 sets of wires coming from the ground to the timer. I am confused as to which are my zones and commons (I assume white wire is common on larger bundle of wires). Should I have 10 total wires? I will try to include pictures. I appreciate the help and apologize for my ignorance.


#2

Take a picture of your existing wiring in the old box. Next rwmove the old controller. Mount the Rachio. Place wires into the Rachio. There are some good videos online about this.


#3

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#4

@jsgehring - Last year I upgraded to Rachio from the little brother of your controller.

On the back of the Rainbird box is the wiring diagram:

This is the power cable for the Rainbird that you won’t need as the Rachio has it’s own power supply:

This appears to be the zone wires that runs to the field valve boxes:

The white wire should be the common wire and will go to any C port on the Rachio. See the wiring diagram on the Rainbird box mentioned above for which wire is zone 1 (brown), 2 (red), 3 (orange), etc.
Connect these to the Rachio zones as desired. Any wire not connected to the Rainbird obviously doesn’t need to be connected to the Rachio.

I have no clue as to what these wires are doing as I can’t see where they’re connected, etc.

If you haven’t already disassembled/cut the wires on the Rainbird, I’d also recommend taking tape and a pen/marker and marking each wire - so if you have to put Humpty Dumpty together again you can match up the wires easier.

Welcome to the community.


#5

Thanks for the reply. I too am confused about the second wire, and was thinking it went to a second “set” of valves. I was also confused about one of the possible zone wires coming out that has multiple colored wires going to one wirenut (it has the green/white, blue/white, etc going to one wirenut). I will likely do as you suggest and label everything and give it a go. Thanks!


#6

Seems that the wire bundle connected to separate RED & BLACK cables (including the green/white, blue/white calbes…) are all common. They should be connected to one of the C terminals of your new Rachio (disconnect only the solid white rainbird wire from the bundle, add a new wire from the bundle to any of the C terminals). The white / orange cable connecting to GREEN & YELLOW cables is a master valve (you seem to have 1 or 2 master valves) and should be connected to the M terminal of your new Rachio (again through a new wire, leave bundle mostly as is, but with rainbird white/orange wire disconnected).

Connect other zones (wires) directly to your Rachio. @DLane did a good job outlining what you should do.

Cheers,
Gene


#7

Thank you very much for the information. I will label everything carefully in case I have to put the Rainbird back together, but I will give this a try. Thanks again.


#8

When I remove the white wire from the bundle and the white/orange from the other bundle, should they just be left unconnected in the new set up? Thanks again for everyone’s time and advice.


#9

I think I see that those wires being disconnected just go to the harness cable, so that makes sense. I need to get back home to look at it in person. Thanks again, and I’ll update once I’ve tried.


#10

Wow, @DLane and @Gene you two killed it. Sounds like they have you taken care of @jsgehring, but let us know how it goes when you get home.

PS- Make sure to enable your master valve when getting set up in the app :slight_smile:


#11

Thanks!


#12

I finally have a day off, and was about to do the wiring. I physically checked that I have 8 zones. If I do the above wiring suggestions, then this only leaves me 7 wires to hook up to my zones. The wires don’t color match the zone wiring diagram which I figure is not a big deal, and I could reconfigure later. My concern is where is my 8th zone wire. Is it possible that either the common or master valve above could actually be a zone? I will include a couple more pics to try to clarify. Thanks in advance for the help. I was excited about the prospect of completing this project today.


#13

@jsgehring - OK, I think I got it and we may be close. Here it goes:

1st picture with the four wires with blue tape that don’t go anywhere - easy. Leave them be.
3rd picture with seven wire nuts, it looks like the wires coming from the controller have “station #” printed on them. Find the wire that says “station 1” and put it’s partner wire in the wire nut in the Rachio zone 1, etc.
4th picture with three wire nuts, looks like it has your 8th zone/station wire. The other two wire nuts are the line input (power) which the Rachio will provide with the barrel plug adapter, so leave those be.

Now the fun and the guess (hey I’m being honest):
2nd picture - the wire nut with black, red, white/green, white/blue, white/red and white wires. This looks like a bundle of common wires. If you follow the white wire back to the Rainbird, I’m betting it goes to the common connection. If the connection and wire is unlabeled, white is usually the common wire color. Either cut the white wire where you can use it to connect to the Rachio or replace the white wire in the wire nut with a wire so there will be only one wire going to the Rachio common port.

Now, the remaining wire nut with green, yellow and white/orange wires. The white/orange wire coming from the Rainbird looks like it has M-V which is Rainbird’s standard for Master Valve wire. Just like the white common wire, either replace it in the wire nut with another wire or clip it to connect it with the Rachio’s M connector. Don’t forget enable the Master Valve option in the Rachio application like @mckynzee mentioned - it is under advanced (I believe). As there are two pairs of wires going to the master valve(s) (black and red along with green and yellow) I believe that is why @gene was thinking there are two master valves in play. If there are any issues, we might need to have pictures of where that wire bundle terminates.

Go wire it up!


#14

Thanks! Sounds like a plan. I’ll give it a go and keep you posted. Thanks again!


#15

Success!! Hooked wires up as above. All zones work! Now just need to fiddle around with the schedule. Thank you so much!!


#16

Woohoo @jsgehring! Glad to hear it!