Wiring Help - 2 Zones run 2 valves but are wired separately

I just purchased a home with Rachio gen 1. I have 12 zones setup in the app, mostly drip irrigation but some grass as well.

It’s been 115 here in Vegas for two weeks and I noticed one set of plants was clearly not getting enough water, so I started troubleshooting.

  • I figured out that there are sprinklers for grass that run at the same time as the drip irrigation for this zone. I had that set to 7 minutes vs 30 minutes for drip.
  • I then determined that zone 1 and zone 3 in my setup are the same and run the pumps described above.
  • I looked at the wiring and figured out there is a yellow wire for the sprinklers and a green wire for the drip. I traced it all the way from the pump to the Rachio and as best I can tell, each is individually wired to either yellow or green.
  • There is a yellow going into 1 on the rachio and a green going into 3 on the rachio.
  • So I figured I’d remove the green wire and see what happened. I removed it and ran Zone 1. It watered both the drip and sprinklers. I tried Zone 3 (which was disconnected) and nothing ran.

My landscapers said the problem was Rachio, but I think it’s something in the wiring, but I can’t figure out how both pumps are running at the same time on Zone 1. I can figure out how 2 wires on different inputs on rachio could both control 2 zones in the yard.

Any help is appreciated.

If I am not mistaken, you are referring to valves or solenoids when you are talking about “pumps”.

In any case what happens when you try to reconnect zone 3 (green wire) and run it? Any pictures you can provide (of the rachio connections, pumps and valves) should prove helpful.

Zone terminals on the rachio to which the wires connect are actually outputs, ideally each output would control just one zone.


Here is a photo of the wiring at the rachio-

Here is what the green wire connects to. This then connects to the solenoid

Here is what the yellow wire connects to. This then connects to the solenoid

And finally the mess that is the wiring in that box-

I reconnected green at the rachio and it ran both drip and sprinklers just like it was doing. I followed the wires anywhere I could see and they are consistent in the coloring and don’t appear to be connected.

The white wire connects to all the solendoids in the box if that matters.

So I just disconnected the green wire at the solenoid (grease cap). The zone runs on just the one solenoid / valve when green is disconnected… Reconnected it and both 1 and 3 at rachio run those two valves. I can’t figure out how the two are linked together…

It sounds like there may be a short somewhere. If you have a multimeter (or can get one temporarily from your local home improvement store), I would disconnect Yellow and Green cables from your Rachio and test impedance (Ohms) between them, it should be relatively large (10+) and larger than from either wire to the Common (white) cable.

From the looks of it, you may have a spare cable in that bundle (I see an unused wire, wound around the outer insulation of the wire bundle). It’s possibly a gray wire or perhaps a purple one.

If there is a short somewhere, you could potentially use that possibly unused cable instead of either yellow or a green one.

So you have two options, either try to get a hold of a multimeter to test if there is a short or try finding if there is an unused wire in that bundle which you can use instead of one of the affected cables.

Thanks for the photos,

1 Like

Thanks- ended up that one of the wires was shorting. I was able to wire one drip to a different zone combined with another zone.

That will work for now until I can get it fixed.

1 Like