Random Extra Wire

My Iro replaced a very old Rainbird timer (rotary dials) that was broken when I moved into my new house. As it was poorly documented it’s been a bit of trial and error to figure out what goes where. I’ve mostly accomplished that, but I’ve got one wire that doesn’t seem to belong anywhere.

My system appears to have eleven zones (the Rainbird went to 12)
I have 10 red wires and 3 white wires at the controller.
I guessed the common wire on the first try because hooking that up plus a random red wire got a sprinkler zone to come on.
Every red wire plus the white I plugged in to common activates a different set of sprinklers.
One of the 3 white wires activates a zone, so they clearly ran the wrong color to at least one of them.
This leaves me with a single white wire that I cannot figure out what it’s for.
Plugging it into zone 12 and turning that zone on puts the Iro into an error state (wifi blinks red and amber and Iro drops offline until I unhook that wire and reboot the Iro)
I cannot find any more sprinkler heads in my yard.
Every other sprinkler head works just fine with the single common wire I have installed.

Does anyone have any idea what this other wire is for?

@willyt3 Congratulations on your new Iro, excited to have you as part of the community.

Linking in one of our wiring professionals, @emil, if he can’t resolve this it would surprise me :wink:

Thanks and have a great day.


Hi @willyt3,

Do you happen to have any photos of the original wiring? Also, do you know if the Rainbird timer was hardwired? If you know the model of the Rainbird timer, I’ll do some digging and try to find some wiring diagrams we can cross reference.

Assuming everything works with the 12 wires, I would cap off the extra white wire until we can figure out what it goes to. This will keep it from shorting out the Iro again.

Feel free to post the photos here or email to support@rach.io.

Thanks, Emil

I unthinkingly did not take any photos of the original wiring. The wires were connected to a harness that plugged into the Rain Bird.

I don’t have the model of Rain Bird either unfortunately. I looked up the model online just long enough to figure out how to take it off of the wall. It was a pea green device that had a bunch of dials for setting the time. It was hard wired into 120 power.

I have the one while wire capped withe the Iro working fine. I’m ok leaving it this way, I just want to make sure I’m not missing anything important.

The Rain Bird was completely analog. I believe it was put in at the original building of the house in 1980.

@willyt3, does this look like the Rainbird controller you had? http://www.rainbird.com/documents/turf/man_RC.pdf

Yep, that was it.

Probably the next best step would be to track down where the white wires go out in the lawn. Do you know where the valve boxes are? If so, some photos of the wiring inside would be great. Since the system is up and running, this isn’t anything you need to do right away, but it would help to better understand where the missing wire ends.

You might just have an extra zone wire that’s crossed somewhere down stream from the Iro that was never used before.

I know where some of the valve boxes are. Now that I have the zones mapped out, finding all of the valve boxes is my next priority.

What does ‘crossed’ mean in this context?

‘Crossed’ in this context means that the extra white wire might be connected to or simply touching another wire on accident.

When you mentioned

Did the error state occur instantly or only after activating zone 12?

Only after activating. I ran through the zone setup for it, and it dropped into error mode. From there it stays in an error state until I both disconnect and reboot the Iro. Just rebooting the Iro doesn’t reset it.

Hi @willyt3,

Thanks for the clarification. I’m pretty sure we have a crossed wire or a bad solenoid. Are there any zones or parts of the yard that aren’t getting watered? Might also be a drip zone that hasn’t been working in a long time and the old Rainbird system didn’t receive the same feedback as the Iro does.

I can’t think of any areas of my yard that aren’t being covered, but I will go over the map I put together of the sprinklers to make sure.

I have little cylindrical boxes in the ground for some of the solenoids, but there are quite a few that I cannot find. I will have to go rooting around for them I guess.

Feel free to send photos as you find the valve boxes and I’d be happy to help you troubleshoot further. Assuming all of the active zones (that you know of) are working, I think we’re in pretty good shape until you have time to locate all of the boxes.

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime you have a question or concern.