I had 2 nonworking zones when i installed it. They worked on the 20 year old system. Rachio customer service said it is the wiring wasnt sending enough signal from the solenoid which is utter nonsense because the old one worked. After 40 minutes they said the system would have to be rewired. To Rewire the whole yard is $1000s. Does anyone have a better idea than rewiring the whole yard?

Photos are helpful here, how is your new controller wired? if you have any of the old setup, even better.

@krowles1 - do you also have access to a multi-meter to test resistivity (ohms)?

Yes on multimeter.
Thank you.

Zones 2&5 are the non responders. Zone 1 works.
The graphic is how they are wired for the old acclima acc-sys-0012 that works.

@krowles1 - can you measure the resistivity down zone 2 wire and back up a common wire. Then repeat for zone 5. I take the wires out of the Rachio for the test to isolate what I’m measuring. As there are two common wires, test with one then the other. I think the resistivity should be in the 25 - 30 ohms range. A higher resistivity may indicate a bad connection or solenoid.

I get OL for both zone 2 and zone 5 for resistance (keep in mind, my multimeter skills are 2/10 so this could be user error). I do get readings for the other zones.
If I check continuity I don’t get a beep for either zone 2 or zone 5. I do get beeps for the other zones.

How could this wiring have worked with the other controller?

I do not understand the wiring diagram you’ve drawn up. The wires from 5 and 2 go up into nowhere, how are they connect to blue and yellow wire?

1 Like

@krowles1 - If you got readings on some zones, but not others I don’t think there is user error there. Are zones 2 and 5 in the same area? When the common wires were tested, did you keep a list of which zone went with which one of the two common wires? If a common wire did pair up with any zone I’m wondering if a wire got swapped - zone 10 looks similar to the common wires?

Just like @Gene, I couldn’t make sense of the zone drawing.

In the physical world how do zones 2 and 5 relate to other zones as the common wire runs to all zones if zones 2 and 5 are at the end of a run I would look at the common connection at the solenoid just before them in the valve box.

I can’t answer how the wiring would have worked with the old controller. If you still have the old controller I’d hook up zones 2 and 5 with the commons to see if they still work (I’m guessing no).


  1. Yes, the old controller still works with Zones 2 & 5 hooked up as is currently wired. But when I hook them up to the Rachio 3 controller Zones 2 & 5 no longer work.

  2. If I use the multimeter to check resistance on each of the zones with the common (at the controller), I get readings for each of the colored wires and the common and for zone 1 and the common, but not for zones 2 & 5 with the common. I’ll see if I can get help with the multimeter.

  3. In the drawing it tries to show one box with 3 valves/solenoids in it for zones 1, 2, 5.
    There are 3 bundles of wires coming into the box. The bundle at the bottom of the drawing are just the colored wires for each zone that go to the Rachio 3 controller. The two bundles at the top of the drawing (each bundle has a red, black, gray) come into the box from the yard.

Zone 1 works on the Rachio 3 controller as it is currently wired with the zone 1 solenoid hooked up to a small red colored wire that goes back to the Rachio 3 controller and the other zone 1 solenoid wire connected to both gray wires coming from the yard. Those grays are also hooked up to the zone 2 & 5 solenoid so it is junction of 5 wires.

Zones 2&5 are the problems. You are totally right, the small colored Yellow and small colored Blue wires that come from the controller just bypass the solenoids for zones 5 and 2 and connect to big red wires that go out to the yard - I have no idea why.
What if I just hooked up solenoid 5 to the small blue colored wire that goes to the controller and solenoid 2 to the small yellow colored wire that goes to the controller while maintaining their other solenoid connection to the grays (junction of 5)? It would disconnect the current zone 2 & 5 from the black wire coming from the yard and the small yellow and blue would be disconnected from the red wire coming from the yard.

Making it even more confusing is that in all the other zones, the arrangement is different. In all the other zones each valve/solenoid is by itself. In all other zones, there are a bundle of 3 wires coming from the yard: red, red, black. For each other zone, each solenoid is hooked up with one wire to the black (this is just an extension of the small colored wires going to the controller so it makes sense, I think?) and the other solenoid wire for each other zone is hooked to both reds. So in all the other zones, the reds seem to be the commons. But in the box where the issues are, the wires are different with red, black, gray.

I so appreciate your help. We are making progress thanks to you.

I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of this, you definitely have an interesting layout which is not common on these forums.

Are you sure that the valves in question are for zones 2 and 5? Have you tried to manually run it to confirm that the right area is being activated? You should be able to manually run most valves by a quarter turn (unscrew) of the solenoid (part to which the wires connect) from the valve body.

I’m also interested in color switch. Within Rachio your common is white, zone one is black (instead of red), zone two is blue (which goes out, and comes back on a different bundle?) and five is brown (instead of yellow). Can you locate where the two wires are interconnected or better yet provide photos of all of the valve boxes?


Also, if you could maybe pull out all these extra wires and take a photo so we can gauge what’s going on here, that might be helpful as well.

I had a similar issue in going from an old >25 yr old rainbird system to my new Rachio this year. I had 3/15 zones that the old controller would operate that Rachio would not and all 15/15 worked on the old system and 12/15 on the Rachio. For me, it was not the wiring, but the OLD solenoids. The old system had lots of juice from the power supply so those old solenoids had no issue firing, but the electronics of the Rachio uses a much less powerful power supply. I don’t have the Watts/Amps with me, but both 12 volts but more power in the old system. Anyway, I replaced the solenoids with new ones and 1 valve had to be replaced entirely, but all underground wiring remained intact and fine.

In my case, You could put your hand carefully on the valve/solenoid and when someone triggered the zone on the old system you could hear/feel it fire, but it struggled with the Rachio. Cost be about $50 in parts to bring it all up to working, the old solenoids and valve were probably on their last legs as they were over 40 years old.


I’ll throw out a couple of possibilities:

  1. Zones 2 & 5 have extra wiring in their circuitry loop that add to the cumulative resistance of the circuit (but why does the multimeter read OL instead of a high number?). Old controller puts out much more power and activates solenoids 2&5 while the max current of the Rachio 3 is more limited and doesn’t have enough power to activate those solenoids as currently wired. Your proposed test of wiring those two solenoids directly to the wires coming from the controller instead of the wiring bundles leaving at the top of the box could confirm this.

  2. What is the resistance of a red/black pair in the box that go out into the yard? Wonder if these go to another distant solenoid related to zones 2/5, or could have been initially designed as separate zones and then combined with 2/5 for some reason.

Did you draw the graphic with zones 1/2/5 or was that left by a previous owner? Wondering about the color coding of that blue and yellow wire at the bottom of the diagram. Also curious about the non-connected yellow wire in the picture of the old controller (appears in front of zones 10 and 11), and I don’t see that wire in the foreground of the Rachio controller picture.

It worked. I went with the basic colored wires from the controller (blue and yellow) to solenoid and solenoid to common and got rid of the red and black coming in from the yard (possibly for old moisture sensors) and it worked.

I made a donation to the American Red Cross in honor of everyone that pitched in ideas to help me.