Intro & Zone Question


I just wanted to introduce myself as a new owner of a Rachio controller and I have a question.
I bought the Rachio3 as a replacement to a Rain Bird controller during the course of troubleshooting a zone that isn’t working.
I’ve installed the controller and the zone still isn’t working but I’m not getting a zone fault notice. Should I be? The app says the zone runs during the default watering schedule. However, I know it’s not because the grass is dry in that zone after the run. i also can’t run the zone from my app.
I’ve replaced the valve and my novice electrical troubleshooting is telling me I may have a short at the valve. It’s raining today, so I can’t check my theory, but I’m near certain it’s an electrical issue and it doesn’t seem to be a line break but a short based on the ohm reading I’m getting for that station.
My main question is why isn’t the controller giveing me a zone fault alert for that zone?
Thanks in advance!

Definitely check the wire connections at the new valve. I’m just wondering if they are only wire nutted together or have a waterproof connector. It really sounds like a problem w/ the common going to that station.


Thanks for the feedback, gaustin.
The connections have grease caps. But I’m going to cut and re-strip all the connections and test them with the multimeter.
There are two valves in this valve box. There are separate wires for each valve but only one common wire and then a “jumper” wire (???) to connect the other wire to the common.
I re-wired them exactly as they were previously wired.

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As long as they both have a good connection to the common ground wire, you should be fine.

The zone that isn’t working, can you manually operate the zone at the valve by either turning the solenoid or bleed screw?

Yes, the bleed screw turns on the zone. I didn’t know turning the solenoid also can turn on the zone. Thanks for that tip.

I was going to reconnect the wires using the Rain Bird Waterproof Wire Connectors that look like wire nuts with silicone gel inside instead of grease caps. They seem like less of a mess. Will these work as well as grease caps?

You should be fine with either, but I’ve always used, and had good luck with the basic wire nuts w/grease.

Can you try this? Can you shut off the water supply, and swap the solenoids around in that box by unscrewing and swapping to the other valve? If the valve not working moves, then you might have a bad solenoid. When you try to run that faulty zone, do you hear any noise at all from the solenoid when it is triggered?

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At the controller , what are your ohm reading for those valves?

@SoonerFan did say he replaced the valve … so then both the valve and the solenoid?

How about checking for 24 Volts and testing the Zone wire and Common in the field.

Turn on manual in your app. Multi-meter to those wires.

Also, does the valve have "Flow Control? Check to see if the Flow Control is open. There would be a Cross in the middle of the valve. Right is closed Left open.

I recently had a valve with a bad solenoid reading of 6HMs… Zone tctivated and wouldn’t run… I had replace the solenoid 1 year ago :open_mouth:

Heard solenoid chatter, with no flow detected…found flow control closed, opened flow control normal read… Normal Operation.

Hope this helps! :smiley:

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@ProWater, is correct I have replaced a valve and found the flow control turn down all the way which will still did not allow the valve to open correctly. If that’s not it, in lieu of a multi-meter you could just switch the wire on the controller to a station you know works(I’ve had controllers where a station output doesn’t work).

Thanks for all the feedback. Much appreciated.
The new valves don’t have flow control. That’s what they told me at Ewing.

I should mention I have two valves iin this box. I replaced both. They are Zone 9 & 10.
Zone 9 is my bad zone.

Here are the field readings.
Both solenoids tested at 42-43 ohms.
Common to 9 = 3v
Common to 10 = 4v
These wires are all 12 gauge and work on all other zones fine.

Those readings are low but this may be my problem.
The 1 ft. Common jumper, 12 gauge wire read 0.1 ohm.

I’m going to get another jumper and try again.

Any other suggestions and feedback are appreciated!

What is the jumper for? If they are in the same box, just wire nut the common wire from the Rachio to both solenoids. If you need a bigger wire nut, they make them in all sizes…

I’m not exactly an electrical whiz kid. But neither was the person who did the wiring before me.
I just figured out I could wire the common to both solenoids. So it did and then I tested the two other wires with both valves.
One wire works fine on both valves and the other one doesn’t work at all.

So, the wire for zone 9 is bad.

I’ve reached the limit of my meager troubleshooting skills after replacing both valves and the controller on weekends over the past month. I’m waving the white flag and surrendering. I called a nice sprinkler repair man who lended me his fault finder last week. He’s coming by tomorrow to try to find the break (he thinks it’s been broken by a tree root and that’s why I’m still getting a small electrical signal) and fix it or run a new line to the controller.

I really appreciate the help from everyone.

Not sure if you tested as I indicated.

Sounds like you ohm tested each Solenoid at the solenoid in the field.
If you did it at the controller I’ve never had an OHM reading with a short, or wire insulation scraping or intermittent wire break and separation read normal. Almost always a milliamp read.

I’ve had Rachio send a signal on sites to confirm issues, etc.

Your Voltage test isnt clear to me but heck its been long day in the feild…At any rate they’re very low if you tested again, as I indicated to do.

If in fact Zone 8 fires off on 4V than awesome but both wires then in my opinion are damaged and eventually will fail.

I have no time but I am interested to bench test your valve. Please let me know what is specified and I’ll get one to Test on a rainy day.

Keep us posted, it’s always fun to diagnosis and repair the quirks in a system. When, you have a new issiue and then you find a solution it’s the best ataboy you can have! Good Luck @SoonerFan

Keep us posted! :clown_face:

I have seen this before and once it was the solenoid and the other time it was the diaphragm in the valve. The controller will only detect a direct short which is what happens most of the time

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All stations at the controller tested at 27-28 volts.
I had a sprinkler company come to the house to help diagnose. Best guess is that the wire is broken by a root. Due to the location of the zone, controller, concrete, etc. It was easier to connect it to the next zone than to run a new wire to the zone. I have one less zone but all zones work now.
If I have more electrical issues in the future I’ll probably have new, stranded wire run through the whole system. It will be cheaper in the long run than fixing the old, 12 gauge wire that’s getting brittle. I’m still just getting 4 volts at the last zones.
The house is on a corner lot with several mature trees (roots) a circle drive and walkway wiring would have to be routed through. To go all the way around the house from the controller to the last zone it’s probably 400 feet.
Thanks again for all the help!

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If the voltage is more at the first closest valve than the last further valve the wire connections at the valves may need to be repaired. If the wire is broken or cut there is a device that can locate the break