Wiring help rainbird rc 7bi

Hello, I’ve looked through other related posts but I can’t seem to figure this out.

Going from rc 7bi to gen 3 unit. The original unit worked but now that I’ve dismantled the whole thing i can’t get it to run at all.

I have field wire with 6 wires, 4 of which are spliced/split into that crazy maelstrom of wires. Luckily they are labeled and there is a diagram on the old unit labeling things.

I hooked everything up, including the 24v transformer and master pump, but no dice.

I read to buy a new wire (thicker single wire) but have no idea where/what I’d connect those to.
I’m attaching photos. Thank you if anyone can help. If not I’ll hire someone I suppose.

@caseyhand - looks very similar to the Rainbird that I replaced with my first Rachio (Gen 2).

Disconnect the 12 plug disconnect and everything towards the old controller is not used. The remaining wires on the disconnect are labeled as you mentioned.

DO NOT hook up the line input or XFMR wires from the Rainbird. Those are replaced by the white Rachio transformer. (Just making sure here).

The wire labeled Common (I think that is what Rainbird labeled it on the field wire) goes to the Rachio C terminal. Wires labeled Station # go to the Rachio numbered terminals.

What are the labels for wires from the disconnect that are connected to something from the gray field wire?

Also, these older systems may have had a rain sensor wired in series with the Common wire. If it has rained since the system was tested, it could be that the rain sensor is keeping things from running. Is there a rain sensor visible anywhere?

Do you have access to a multi-meter (AKA volt/ohm meter)?

Does the blue bar on the Rachio light up?

I did snip all the wires from the rainbird. I might have followed the old post that was yours? To get me here.

My old unit had a transformer. I did keep that. Should I take that out?

I have power to the unit. App works.
I do have a multimeter also.

@caseyhand - disconnect the two wires in the 24VAC + - ports!!!

Go to the four orange wire nuts for the wires going to the gray wire. What are the labels on the wires they are connected to?

I would disconnect wires at the wire nut and put that wire directly into the Rachio.

Lol I disconnected. The alarm in the triple ! Had me moving.

They are labeled common, zone 1-3

I did try this earlier with no effect but I can try again.

I don’t know much about this system. Was installed mid 90s, we bought the house 2.5 years ago. Didn’t even know it worked the first summer. Second summer we had a massive landscaping effort done and found out this worked.

Thank you for helping to try to get this thing going.

@caseyhand - sorry for the scare, I wanted to make sure there was no current coming from those wires (now I don’t think there was, based on where you cut the wires).

Glad to help, I think we’ll get it going shortly.

Get the multi-meter and set it to Ohms. Measure (when disconnected) the resistance between the Common and any one of the zone wires.

The latest picture looks correct.

Tried the field line direct with no luck

Multimeter reads 1.5 with black on common, or 0.25 with red on common.

@caseyhand - I was expecting something around 25 ohms when measuring the common and a zone (it shouldn’t matter which lead (black or red) was connected to the common wire). Or an infinite resistivity/open circuit result. Was volts measured or ohms? And was it measured with both wires disconnected from the Rachio?

Is there a rain sensor for this system?

I am not seeing a rain sensor, but could be wrong. The third picture (showing the wires in the gray sheath coming in from likely the sprinklers) looks like three zones. I think I see four orange wire nuts, but cannot tell where each wire goes. Because of this, I would just have to guess that the very last photo you posted looks pretty good. However, the ohms listed measuring on the zone wires (not controller) does seem low.

No rain sensor im aware of.

Low ohms would mean…the field wire is cut? I suppose that’s possible, I haven’t run this in a few weeks. That would be really unfortunate but thank you for trouble shooting. It was immensely helpful

Are you getting low ohms on from common to each of what looks like three zones? It is possible that wire nut(s) have come loose or otherwise does not have a good connection.

@caseyhand - low ohms could mean a short, the path of least resistance. Is a digital or analog multi-meter being used? If digital, did it auto scale to a larger scale (e.g. x 1,000)? Was the meter zeroed out (i.e. crossing the two test leads and setting to 0) before the test?

Normal resistance down a line through the coil on a solenoid and back should be in the 25 - 30 +/- range (I think).

Since it has bee a few weeks since the old system was run, does water flow when a zone valve is manually opened by turning the bleed screw (just checking that the water is still flowing to the system)?

I need to figure out how to manually test that. I (un?)fortunately never had to manually do anything.

I redid my ohms check. At the highest setting (2m), I get the previously mentioned numbers in all zones + C.

If I turn it down to any lower setting it reads OL.

@caseyhand - depending on the valve either turn the solenoid a quarter turn (counterclockwise ???) or there will be a separate screw on the top of the valve body that will be the bleed screw - turn it. To close the valve reverse the turn.

I’m thinking there is an open circuit on the common wire or a cut line. I’d recheck the wiring connections at the valves. Logically, the connection closest to the controller is suspect - or there is a cut in the wire between the controller and the first valve.

Found this today:

So turn the valve and retry everything?

@caseyhand - I can’t quite tell the make of the valve. See if there are directions embossed on the top of the valve. It may be turning the center piece a quarter of a turn. What we we’re trying to test is that there is water pressure to the valves. If water comes out in that zone when the valve is manually activated, then we need to track down an electrical issue.

This looks to be zone 3 based on the green wire. Another test would be to undo the two wire nuts, separate the wires, run zone 3 from the Rachio app and use the multimeter (set to AC volts) to measure the voltage across the white and green wire in the valve box - it should be 24 VAC when disconnected from the solenoid.

Tried turning 1/4 turn of both top and bottom knobs. No luck. Water must be shut off…no idea where to look for that now?

Only thing I can think of is hvac came out and replaced water heater earlier this year. Maybe it was turned off then? More detective work to do.

1 Like