Multiple pumps one controller?

I have three water sources and thus three pumps. One for the rain water cistern, one for the gray water cistern, and one for the pond/greenwall recirculating system. Is there anyway to us one Rachio controller to start the appropriate pump when only certain valves are open. For example, if zone one through five draw water from the rainwater cistern using pump 1 and zones 7 through 12 draw water from the gray water cistern using pump 2 and zones 14 through 16 draw water from the pond using pump 3 is there a way to wire one Gen 2 controller to handle this?

@ksheston - This can be accomplished by pairing a SPST NO 24VAC (Single Pole Single Throw Normally Open) relay with each zone (e.g. The parts list would be 14 SPST NO 24 VAC relays and three pump start relays along with some wire and female tab spade connectors. As the SPST NO relay is just under $6.00 US that puts the cost at ~$84.00 US for the relays, which is less than an additional Rachio unit (and two additional units would be needed).

To wire it up do the following:

  1. Connect the M/P (Master Valve/Pump Start Relay) terminal to one side of the pole terminal in all 14 SPST NO relays.
    2a. Connect the other side of the pole terminal for the relays associated with zones 1 through 5 to one of the pump start relay input wires for pump 1.
    2b. Connect the other side of the pole terminal for the relays associated with zones 7 through 12 to one of the pump start relay input wires for pump 2.
    2c. Connect the other side of the pole terminal for the relays associated with zones 14 through 16 to one of the pump start relay input wires for pump 3.
  2. Connect the other pump start relay input wire, or common, for all three pumps to a C(ommon) port on the Rachio. I would wire nut all three pump start relays together or daisy chain from one to the other so that there is just one wire in the Rachio C(ommon) port.
  3. Then for each Rachio zone run an additional wire from the zone terminal to one side of the coil for the SPST NO relay paired with that zone.
  4. Daisy chain a wire from the other side of the coil terminal to each SPST NO relay and connect it to a Rachio C(ommon) port.

How this will work is the Rachio will put current on the M/P port when the Rachio is irrigating. The M/P current won’t go anywhere because it is blocked at each one of the relays. As there will be one zone energized when the Rachio is irrigating, the current from that zone will travel to the sprinkler solenoid to open it up and it will also energize the coil in the SPST NO relay associated with that zone to allow the M/P current to flow to the associated pump start relay which will then close and provide 120 (or 220) VAC current to the associated pump.

Let me know if you have any questions.

@Gene - any thoughts? Did I over engineer it?


I am going to order the relays today. it seems straight forward, if I have any trouble I will get back to you.

@DLane I think you have a good solution, I can’t think of a cheaper way to make sure the system would work.

One idea I did have is to run the return (common) line from the zones within a groups through the pump start relay for that group (this will essentially put the start relay in series with each individual zone within that group). The problem is that would roughly cut the voltage in half (in best case scenario), leaving the zones with just 12VAC which may not be enough to reliably actuate the valves. In addition the start relay will unlikely to match impedance exactly, meaning that zones may get even less than 12VAC further complicating the matters.

So no, while my idea may be cheaper in theory, it would take much more work and luck to make it work.

1 Like

@Gene - Thanks for the confirmation.

1 Like

Thanks for your response and solution to my multi-pump relay situation.
I received the NO relays and I want to verify my understanding.
I’ve attached a photo of the relay. There are 5 ports but the one in the upper left is labeled NL and does not have a post in it.
I assume the other four posts will be the ones I want to use. When you say coil terminal are you referring to the two left side terminals? The upper is labeled NO and the lower is labeled COM.
Does it matter which terminal (the NO or the COM) is wired to the M/P (Master Valve/Pump Start Relay) on the Rachio controller and which is wired to the pump start relays?
If this is the case then I assume the unlabeled terminals on the right side of the NO relay are the pole terminals.
Or do I have the pole and coil terminals miss identified?
Thanks for your help

Don’t worry about unpopulated (NL) terminal, you don’t need it. NO and COM terminals should connect to the pump start relays, while unlabeled terminals should connect to your Rachio.
Polarity does not matter.



@ksheston - No photo, but from my first post.

NO post is listed in 1.
COM post is listed in 2
The left side posts are listed in 3 and 4.

Like @Gene said polarity doesn’t matter, meaning you can put the 1 on the Com port and 2 on the NO port and swap the 3 and 4.

To clear up a slight correction in @Gene’s prior post, one of the NO and COM terminals should connect to the pump start relay, the other to the Rachio along with both of the unlableled terminals will also connect to the Rachio.

1 Like

It works!
I wired it up and now each valve turns on its associated pump.
Thanks for the excellent solution.
Best of times,


@ksheston - You’re welcome. Thanks for posting success with the solution.

1 Like

Thanks for all your help but I have a situation.n

All three relays are activating when I open any valve. The only thing I did that is not covered in your instructions is that I attached the valves to the system. I did this by running a wire from the post terminal that is wired to a zone for each relay and attached the other valve wire to the common.
I have checked and rechecked that everything else is wired as you instructed.
How else should the valves be wired?
I don’t see how power is getting to all three relays.

@ksheston could you take a picture of your setup?

Perhaps it is a little clearer if I reference step three in your initial instructions to explain how I wired the valves.
I did as you say in step 3 but then I ran a second wire from SPST NO relay to the associated valve and then wired the other side of the valve to common.

If you look at three upper left relays for pump 1. You can see a red, a brown and a blue wire going to the Rachio down the middle of the board. Then you can see a corresponding wire going out to the left for each valve

A yellow wire is daisy chained between the three relays for pump one and also runs out the left to go to the PSR.

Here is a closer view of the upper left set of relays. The three labeled POND are the three zones for pump 1

It seems to me that input / output signals connected to the relays got swapped in the confusion.

If I am interpreting your picture correctly, the brown wire connected to all of the relays connects to your M terminal and various yellow cables are your pump control wires / signals.

The connectors to which you currently connect the Brown / Yellow cables in your example photo are the relay inputs, and it seems that they are connected to the pump(s), which is wrong.

What you will need to do is swap the connectors around. Swap brown and White connections around (they are close to each other, so that should hopefully be easy), You will also need to swap where your Yellow wire and your zone wires connect (so swap yellow with blue on upper left, yellow with red on the next one, yellow and orange, yellow and brown zone…).

It’s not clear how you have the four relays wired up on the top right group, can you please take a closer picture there as well.


1 Like

The upper four on the right includes three spares. The other five on the right go to the GW PUMP 3