Wiring issues after cutting all zone wires accidentally

I accidentally cut all my 6 zones wires outside while working and removing tree roots etc. I have put them by ack together but have no idea which is which.

Having some issues and need some help.

All readings are fine with with controller including resistance and voltage.

Have a 6 zone system and trying to identify the master wire since all of the wires are colored red except for the common.

I disconnected all the wires at the controller and tested each wire in the master connection. I opened up bleeders in 1 zone out front and ran the zone and another zone that I didn’t open up the bleeder ran instead.

Any idea why this happened and is there an easier way of identifying the master wire as well as the other ones?

Just to make sure, you have 6 red wires and a different color for common? If so, how did you know which red to connect to which red?

Good question!

Yes. Actually 7 red wires including the master valve (which I’m not totally sure how to identify it) and a white common wire.

I just connected them and thought I would troubleshoot at the controller and switch wires as needed.

Here is a picture of the backflow box and a valve box right in front of it, then another one a few feet more ahead. Then another one ahead to the left( to the left towards the yellow flowers). I am not sure which of these is the master valve if they even are.

If I turn the bleeder valve on the first one right next the the backflow it turns a zone in a totally different area across the driveway. I found it strange. If I turn the bleeder valve on the other two valve I get a little water coming out but that’s it.

I’m a little confused at this point to say the least!

Oh yes, 6 zones + master = 7. My mistake. What if you manually turn the bleeder for the master valve and turned on one zone at a time from the Rachio, putting them in the “correct” order. Ideally, you would get the six done and the last one should be the master. That would seem easier to me than trying to find the master first.


Like @Thomas_Lerman said, I’d manually turn the master valve, and then hook each wire up to Rachio zone 1 and do a quick run and see what turns on. From there, you can label and re-attach per you zone setup in Rachio after you identify all wires.

The problem is I am not sure where the master valve is specifically located and since I don’t know I’m not sure if I have the right red wire connected to the master at the controller. I would think it would closest to the backflow but when I turn the bleeder on it turns on a zone on the other side of the driveway but nothing nearby. Why would a zone run when it’s plugged into the master valve connection?

If I turn the bleeder valves on the others close by shown in the picture I get a little water coming out but not a lot. I get more activity with the first valve box closest to backflow.

Oh, not sure where the master valve is physically located. That throws another wrench into the matter. Are you positive you have a master valve?

When you say you turn a bleeder on, it turns a zone on the other side of the driveway. Does that mean the sprinklers put out water? If the master valve exists, it must be turned on to let water through.

If you turn on one bleeder where the small amount of water comes out, is that with all the other bleeders off (including the one you are thinking might be the master?

Did you get this figured out yet? i Can think of a way to determine all the wires…

Please feel free to post. If it has been figured out, maybe someone else will have need at some point.

Hi all,

I apologize for not responding to questions. It’s been a brutal week at work and have not had a chance to be online much.

I have not had a chance to work any more on the sprinkler system.

Thomas you mentioned you might have some ideas on figuring out which wires are which?

I will try and provide more details this morning and perhaps some more pics that may help.

Welcome to the forum Bman.

The valve right in front of the backflow box is usually the master valve (MV). Open that bleeder and then do what @tmcgahey says to do. The one that doesn’t activate anything is likely the MV wire.

1 Like

Thanks I’ll try that again. The last time I opened the bleeder valve on the first valve box with a wire in the the master valve port on the controller I had one of the zones nearby start working and I had no other wires connected to the controller except for that one wire. The zone that started working was zone 4 and no wire was in zone 4 port on the controller.


That’s because the master valve port activated zone four like it was the master valve. Keep putting wires there activating them and label them. The one left over or the one that does nothing will likely be the master valve wire.

@Thomas_Lerman @Sprinklerman

Sorry for not responding until now. Been a busy month.

I have made progress and now getting water but now I have zone that runs no matter what zone I run. Here is the rundown when I run each zone:

Zone 1- some on zone 1 trickles, zone 4 runs
Zone 2-only zone 4 runs nothing on zone 2
Zone 3- 4 runs, nothing in zone 3
Zone 4 runs
Zone 5- 4 runs only, nothing on zone 5
Zone 6- 6 runs low pressure. 4 runs

I’m going to assume zone 4s valve is stuck but not sure where the valve box is located and how to find it. Not sure where to go from here. Thoughts?

You are better to start with simply two wires now, and connect them into the Master and Zone 1 connectors

Label the wires 1, 2, 3 … 7

Start with 1 & 2, then 1 & 3 … 1 & 7, 2 & 3, 2 & 4 … 2 & 7, 3 & 4, 3 & 5 …, there’s only a max of 21 combinations to test.

If you Quick Run Zone 1 for 30 mins, you can just keep swapping cables in and out.

When a zone works (other than zone 4), you then have the Master and Zone pair. Changing a new wire into the Zone 1 connector should then activate another zone. If not, then the Master was the cable in the Zone 1 connector, so just swap them over.

@championc thank you. Could you clarify one thing? Is there a reason why zone 4 is always running when I select a different zone? Are the wires connected wrong or do I have a stuck valve?

It sounds like zone 4 is stuck, but I could bet wrong

If valve four bleeder is not open, you may have valve four wire in the master valve terminal. If that is the case, it will run every time you activate any zone. The master valve has power at every activation, no matter what zone is activated.

Not sure about that. Surely the Master is upstream before all 6 zone valves, so the Master would have to be open and powered constantly too as well as Zone 4.

So I really don’t know as to what is going on there

1 Like