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Thread: Rainbird sprinklers sometimes comes on. Please help.

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  1. #1

    Default Rainbird sprinklers sometimes comes on. Please help.

    We just purchased our home 4 months ago, and recently I noticed some days the sprinklers will come on, and other days it will not. Not even manually. The rainbird has 8 zones, and is set to watering 7 days a week. We have a raingauge which I had disabled to make sure it was running properly. I called a rainbird expert, and he thinks I needed a new box. The box wasn't displaying any error messages, and he wanted too much money for it. I ordered one myself on the internet, but when it got here, the sprinklers started working again for about 2 consecutive weeks. When it did not turn on yesterday, I wired in the new box, and it still didn't work. Wired back the old box, and tried manually to turn it on. Didn't work. Later on that day, tried manually and it worked this time, and all 8 zones. This morning, didn't work.

    I'm thinking it is a loose wire somewhere between the box and the first zone. I checked the outside of the house, but the wires are fully covered by tubes running into the ground. Has anyone experienced this sort of thing before? Any remedy? Sorry about the long post. And thank you in advance for your advice to help me fix this.

  2. #2

    Default Short

    Quote Originally Posted by investor27
    I'm thinking it is a loose wire somewhere between the box and the first zone.
    I agree. Most likely the common wire, which I believe is the white one.
    Most likely places to check for this loose wire are the ends--control box and first zone valve.

  3. #3


    Verdeboy. Thank you for replying to my call for help so quickly.

    I don't see a white wire, but I do see a wire that half-white one, which splits into two. I believe it runs the other half runs to the raingauge. As for the first valve. Are you talking about the green boxes in the ground near the controller? My controller is in the garage, and the opposite of the wall, on the outside, are where the green boxes are. I had looked inside the first green box that is underground, and all I see is a black plastic tube sticking half-way out of the ground, inside the green box. On one side of the black tube, there is a small plastic lever that said turn "this way" to turn it on. But I don't see any room at all for the lever to turn left or right. How do I go about trying to find the wires connected to this black plastic tube? I digged around it, and didn't see any wires, so I hope I am discribing the correct valve location. Thanks.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Yakima WA


    Each valve has two wires connected to it. One is the common or ground wire comes from the common or ground lug on the controller, and is daisy chained from valve to valve. It is usually a white wire, but a DIYer may have used some other color or colors. The hot wire comes from the individual posts on the controller and each valve has it's own wire. I don't know what you have found in the box you looked in, but it doesn't sound like a valve box to me.

  5. #5


    Here's what the valves should look like:

    Check all the valves for loose wires. You may have to remove the wire nuts, since it probably won't be obvious.

    I think the valve with the lever is just a ball valve that is in the "on" position. This ball valve probably lets you shut off water to the irrigation system.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6


    It definitely does not look like that. Are the valves supposed to be in these green boxes underground with circular lids on them? If not, where are they usually located? I have eight zones, and on one side of the house I can see 6 circular lids lined up. The other two are in the back and the other side of the house. I'll try to take a picture of them and post it here tomorrow on my off day. Thank you again for your help, guys.


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