Switch from rainbird to rachio - Some zones not working

I recently made the switch from a RainBird ESP-M controller to the Rachio Gen 2 controller. I had 9 zones total active on the Rainbird. I matched the wiring from the RainBird to the Rachio but zones 1, 2, 3, and 9 are not working. All of the zones that are not working are in one wire bundle sharing one common wire (white wire). I have attached photos of the Rainbird and Rachio wiring. Any idea what I am doing wrong?



@chrispantelis - it looks like the wires were moved correctly. I’m a little concerned about the wire in the left most C terminal. It doesn’t look like it is making a good connection, may not be in there straight. I’d try to gently push in the button to remove the wire and re-insert that wire. Or move that wire to the far right C terminal.

Another suggestion would be to wire nut all three common wires together and just have one common wire going into the unit.

If you have access to a volt/ohm meter the resistivity could be checked down that line. As the issue is limited/related to one wire bundle I think it will revolve around the common wire.


I agree with @DLane, when you look at the release button on the first common wire, it doesn’t look like it is seated in the contact (button raised up just a smidge). I’d try removing it and re-inserting it…Capture

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Thank you for the reply!

Tried Re-seating and also moving the one C Wire to the far right open connection… sadly neither resolved the issue. Next will be wiring them together to see if that resolves the issue.

I have managed to finally circle back and give it a try wiring all 3 common wires together and then running them into one port on the unit. I got the same result. All zones work expect for 1 - 3 and 9.

@chrispantelis - Do you have access to a volt/ohm meter to test the wiring?

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All good troubleshooting steps above.

Now you say, just 1,3,9 are not working? That means 2 is working now?

If so, look for any crimps or breaks in the wire from the controller to the outside.

Is there a splice box outside the wall where the multistrand wire changes over to single strand? If so, check the common splices.

If that looks good, locate zone 2 control valve and resplice the common wires.

I do. but I have to admit I am a rookie with the tool. Let me google it and give this a try too.

I will see what i can track down with these steps as well. My only confusion is that the system worked fine before switching controllers. Wouldn’t it be crazy for some of the other issues to arise at the same time the controller was changed out?

@chrispantelis - a couple of tests then.

  1. Swap the wires for zones 4 (working) and 3 (not working). Does zone 3 now work when in zone 4 - could be a Rachio device issue. If zone 4 works when in zone 3 and zone 3 still doesn’t work then it could be a wiring problem with that zone. If both zones now work, then it was a connection problem going into the Rachio.

  2. Place the ohm meter to measure resistivity, if there are multiple ranges then a low range. Pull the wires out of the Rachio for common and zones to be tested. Put one lead on the common wire bundle and the other lead on the zone wire (1, 2, 3 and 9 - individually) and record the resistivity for each wire. It doesn’t matter which lead goes to which wire. If the resistivity is high, then there is a wiring problem.


No, sir! I see it happen all the time out in the field. Others on this forum experience this too. You’re not alone!

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Ok latest rounds of testing results are outlined below.

  • Moved Zone 1 wire to Zone 4 port on the controller. Zone 1 still did not work and line tested to 28.34v

  • Moved Zone 4 wire to Zone 1 port on the controller. Zone 4 did work and line tested to 28.47v

  • Moved what I believe to be the Zone 1 wire through the Zone Ports 1, 2, 3 and 9 testing each port. None of the tests resulted in the Zone working and each line tested around 28v.

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@chrispantelis - those test seem to indicate the Rachio is working correctly and there is voltage on the terminal.

I think this moves the error domain to wiring. I’d check the common wire connection for these zones as a bad connection there could lead to multiple zones failing. I’d use the Ohm setting to see if there is continuity/resistivity down zone 1 wire and back through the common wire.


Thank you for all your help with this.


I wanted to followup that I have identified the issue with my system was in fact a wire issue from the Valve to the Rachio. I am still unsure how installing the new controller impacted the wire. Thank you all for your help with this.


Was the issue in the run of wiring, or at one of the connections?

Murphy’s Law. :cheers:

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