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New Member


Saturday, December 18th 2021, 8:59pm

Pump Relay not starting pump

Good Evening All,

Run into a problem with my controller and pump relay and I'm hoping someone a lot more knowledgeable about sprinkler systems can give me an answer!

This morning, I replaced an older model Rainbird sprinkler controller/timer for a new Orbit B-Hyve unit. Mainly changed because I had the unit off the wall for house painting and wanted to be able to control the unit remotely. Sprinklers are supplied by a pump taking suction from the lake and the old controller supplied a pump start relay to start the pump at the beginning of each zone cycle.

Wired the new unit up and got power no problems and was able to connect to WIFI and all that with only signal issues as a hitch. Tried to run the unit manually from both app and local panel to test and hear a single faint click from the pump relay and the pump doesn't start. After the single click, the panel throws a pump error code and pauses the cycle. Also get the pump fault notification from the app.

Tried calling Orbit customer support and, of course, they aren't open over the weekend. God forbid someone might want to install a sprinkler controller over the weekend...

Pulled up their troubleshooting online and it recommends to remove one wire on the pump relay supply and run a manual cycle to see if the pump code comes up then, or if it tries to continue the cycle. No pump error code and it tries to run the cycle.

I've tried measuring the output from the controller and it happens too quick to register on my multimeter, so I'm only seeing 1.2V before it cuts out because of the error code. Checked the constant output and it is showing 24V, so I know the power supply and transformer are good and getting/giving the right voltages.

Spoke to an irrigation supply place near me and he said he wasn't too good with the electrical side of things, but that he thinks older relays might not be compatible with newer controllers or that they might need to be wired differently. Seems a little weird to me because it's still just a 24V supply to a coil pulling the contacts together and making the connection. Shouldn't be any difference, but of course I could be wrong.

Can anyone shed some light on this and point me in the right direction? If needed, I can post model numbers etc. from the old unit and the new one and any I might be able to pull off the relay, but it is an old unit so might not be able to find that much. Have just laid new sod and don't want to risk losing it because of not being watered for too long. If it comes to it, I'll put the old unit back in place and try to use that one manually, but would rather use the new unit I've just bought and installed!

Thanks in advance!


New Member


Saturday, December 18th 2021, 9:05pm

I should also note that the old pump start relay is 24V supply to close the contacts and the new controller is supposed to be 24V supply for pump start relay, so should be the same result I would have thought?


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,379

Location: Metro NYC


Monday, December 20th 2021, 4:09pm

You need a baby relay to activate the pump relay. This is not a joke. Some pump relays draw too much current for some controllers, so they 'think' they're looking at a short circuit. Enter the baby relay, often called an Ice Cube Relay, because they are often enclosed in clear plastic. Your B-Hyve will now be feeding only zone valves and the baby relay, so no overload.

The power transformer for the B-Hyve may not be capable of activating the pump relay, so your old transformer from the Rainbird controller might have to be employed for the task.

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