New Rachio 3 will not start sprinklers

I’ve emailed support about this but have not heard back yet. I figured in the meantime it might be worth checking the forums to see if I’m a massive idiot and did something silly during setup.

I just purchased and installed a 12 zone Rachio 3, and cannot for the life of me get it to actually start watering. Setup itself went fine, and it’s connected to my wifi. When I start a zone the light on the rachio switches to blue (which seems to mean the solenoid is getting power?), but no sprinkler heads actually pop up and no water starts flowing. It does this in the zone test and if I try to do “quick water”. I went to the valves and also could not hear/feel any valves start flowing.

I came from a Rain Bird ESPM with it’s own wireless weather sensor. As far as I can tell there is no inline rain sensor (other than the rainbird wireless that I removed), and I have no main valve. If I hook the old one back up, it works fine.

Photos of both setup here:

I have tried setting the advanced settings in the rachio to “Neither” for the main valve, but to no success. I did also try wiring only one zone to see if that would work, and it didn’t.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Is it possible there’s some other issue with my system that the rainbird somehow bypasses?

To try to understand what I am seeing, I looked up the manual and noted page numbers below: &

  1. 1st picture, upper-left: p45
  • terminals left to right . . . from transformer: power, power, ground; two sensor wires
  1. 2nd picture: p42
  • Top Row: VT (valve test when connect to MV, nothing connected), MV (master valve, none as nothing connected), COM (valve common wire)
  • Bottom Row: Valves 1-4 and continuing on next module valves 5-7 (7 nothing connected)

Is that correct? Which wireless weather sensor are you using? At least some sensors on some controllers go between the controller common terminal and the valve common wire(s). I cannot tell from the pictures nor from the manuals that I have found. Do you have a multimeter, which might help with diagnostics?

The weather sensor was the WR2RFC, though it doesn’t break the common wire. It wired directly into the Rain Bird controller, and would dictate whether or not it should run. When I hooked the rainbird back up I hooked it up without the weather sensor and the zones started without issue.

I do have a multimeter and can test the solenoids, though I’m not entirely sure how as I have never worked with an irrigation system until buying this house.

Try this video for an explanation:

Actually I just finished messing around with it. I’m pretty sure I got a dud. There’s no voltage across any of the zones when I use the rachio, and it’s totally fine when I move back to the Rain Bird. Just to rule out a weather sensor I also rewired common to a spare wire in the sprinkler box (so common is now black). After doing that I saw no change on the Rachio, and the Rain Bird still worked just fine.

I suppose I’ll exchange it and hope the next one actually works.

Just wanted to close the loop here. I did in fact receive a lemon, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise! While I was troubleshooting the unit I discovered the main valve has a slow leak and one of the zones was also leaking at the solenoid. I got that fixed, and replaced the Rachio at Costco and now everything is golden!

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Glad you found those leaks while troubleshooting. Better to find them as a slow leak and early instead of a fast leak and finding quite a bit of ice (if you are in an area that freezes).