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New Member


Monday, May 30th 2011, 10:06pm

Rain Bird 100-DV Valve Clicking

Hi everyone-

Today when I tried starting my irrigation system (professionally installed about 6 years ago), I found the fault light flashing on my Rain Bird ESP-12LX+ controller. When the system was blown out last fall the guy unplugged the controller from the AC outlet for the winter. A couple/few weeks ago I plugged it back in to allow the back-up 9-volt battery to recharge. In addition to the fault light flashing, the display would cycle through "short 6", "short 8" and "short 9". When I went to the valve boxes, I could hear a clicking noise coming from the boxes that contain the valves for zones 6, 8 and 9. Since the water had not yet been turned on, I assume I am hearing the solenoids clicking (there was no noise coming from the valve box containing the valves for zones 1, 2 and 3) and I am also assuming they have been clicking away since I plugged the controller back in.

Since there are multiple valves in the boxes and the valves are not marked as to which valve is for which zone, I got out my mechanic's stethoscope to listen to the individual valves to identify which ones are clicking (there should be three). Well, I can pick up noise from five valves, but maybe the noise on two of them are from the noisy neighbor and the stethoscope is sensitive enough to pick it up from an adjacent valve?????

After reading the controller manual and doing a little Googling, I decide to run the RASTER test routine on the controller (I first press the "clear fault" button). The first run nets a different result than the initial fault reading I came across. The first RASTER test shows a short in 9 of the 11 zones....hmmmmmmm. Run RASTER again, different results. Third test is yet a different result. None of the tests gave me a PASS result...I get a combination of SHORT and OPEN and two FAIL (the two fails happened in the third test).

The wiring in the controller looks OK, the wiring in the valve boxes looks OK. My first thought was to buy three new valves and replace the solenoids, but now I'm not so sure.

What I need to know is does the RASTER test need to be run with the water turned on? I still haven't done so, since the fault light was flashing and I had not yet turned on the water. The fault light has not come on again since I pressed the fault clear button (it does illuminate for a second during the RASTER test, but goes out and stays out). Every time I plug the controller back into the AC outlet, the solenoids start clicking again.

Right now I am trying to decide to just try starting the system (I ran out of daylight and didn't try this yet - I suspect if I have to replace valve guts, it will be easier without water in the system), replacing the solenoids, calling my sprinkler guy. I am fairly handy at DIY projects, but have never done any sprinkler repair before. I am now suspecting a bad controller rather than three valves/solenoids failing in unison.

Thanks in advance for any insight and help.


Supreme Member

Posts: 5,341

Location: Metro NYC


Tuesday, May 31st 2011, 7:43am

Running the controller with the water off is unwise - some solenoids need the water for cooling


New Member


Tuesday, May 31st 2011, 12:45pm

That thought has passed through my head. So I can assume I may have damaged multiple solenoids. I guess I will turn on the water and run the start-up test program (2 minutes per zone) and see what happens. I would have sworn the first few years that when it was blown out, the controller did not get unplugged from the AC. I have a new guy doing the blow out (I have always started it up in the spring), and I seem to remember wondering about him unplugging the controller and thinking that it wasn't done previously. Maybe I am just getting old (that is a given) and forgetful (this is beginning to worry me).

I am still confused as to why I get different results with the RASTER test, but maybe the water being off is affecting that.

So, running the back-up battery completely flat once a year does not damage that? Or will it run the clock and memory for 6 months in cold weather?

Thanks Wet Boots.


Supreme Member

Posts: 493

Location: Seattle


Tuesday, May 31st 2011, 11:41pm

To my knowledge ( I could be wrong ) the esp 12 lx doesn't support a rechargable nicad 9v battery.

Just put a regular 9v Battery in, replace it every 2 years. Or voltage test it out ( it should be above 5v to be working adequately)

All the battery does is remember your Date and Time, this is a constant change so time cannot be saved

Your controller does have non-volatile memory. So even if the controller is unplugged, the programming should stay the same. The time should still be there as long as you have back up battery. If your controller is unplugged with out a battery, you loose your date and time . This depends if it's the newer model version LX or the 16 year old model lx

Boots, I do get disappointed in the lack of detail in your responses sometimes. Why post if you don't want to really help out?


To me it sounds like your controller is going out. Do you have a multimeter ( and know how to use it) If so, with the controller off. Touch one lead to the common wire and the other lead ( Doesn't matter which lead) to the zone wire and Ohm out the valves'. A normal operating valve should be around 20-60 ohms.. Below 20 and the valve isn't working then there's a short in the line . If it's above 60 and the valve isn't working then more then there is extra resistance in the wire. ( Like a bad wire splice or a nicked line)

If these all ohm out to a normal operating range you have determined the valves should be in working order.

Now with the controller plugged in. You say it's constantly clicking the solenoids .. Why have you turned on the water, this will tell you if the solenoids clicking are turning on the zon0e. You can also voltage test the zones by voltage testing the common and that particular zone.

Try to manufacture reset the controller . If it's still doing it then your controller is the issue.


New Member


Wednesday, June 1st 2011, 9:09pm

Hey Mitchgo-

Last night I stopped by Menards and bought one Rain Bird solenoid, but it was so unpleasantly windy I didn't work on the issue.

Tonight when I got done mowing I turned on the water, plugged the controller back in (the display was completely blank) and reset the date and time. The programs I had set the night before were still in the memory (non-volatile memory like you said). And by the way, the 9V is rechargeable (I opened the front panel and it states to use only a rechargeable 9V battery on a sticker inside). So it looks to me like the battery is shot since it wouldn't run the clock for 48 hours.

Now, on to the good stuff. I ran the start-up test program and everything tested out fine, except zone 10 won't shut off unless I turn the water off. I get no fault codes on the controller and no clicking in the valve boxes. :thumbsup: and ?( When I was messing around in the valve box that valve 10 is in the other night, I did turn one of the solenoids a quarter turn and turned it back to see if that would stop the clicking. So I thought that maybe I didn't get it turned back off, but that is not the case as I have it turned as far clockwise as I can turn it by hand (and I think it was one of the other three valves and not number 10).

Funny how issues can change so dramatically.

I do have a VOM and will check the resistance in the various lines. Am I doing this on the controller's circuit board or at the wires in the valve boxes? I assume in the controller, otherwise it would not be checking the run of wire for continuity from the controller to the valve.

My system is on city water rather than well water, so it would really surprise me if there was something (like a pebble) causing the valve to hang open. I also assume that a failed solenoid can cause a valve to remain open, correct?

And Mr. Boots...if the controller was set to the "off" position, it shouldn't be actuating the solenoids even if it was plugged in while the water was off. That occurred to me during the work day today after I replied to you. I am still at a loss on the reason for the clicking.

Thanks for the info Mitchgo.


New Member


Sunday, June 5th 2011, 9:45pm

Things just get more confusing (but in a good way).

Yesterday I go out to figure this out once and for all. First thing I do is check the resistance on all 11 zones. All 11 were at just about exactly 30 ohms...interesting. So I turn the water back on and...the faulty zone does NOT come on. It was running when I shut the water off a couple days before.

I open the bleed screw and the zone starts running like it is supposed to. I close the bleed screw and it shuts off. I turn the solenoid a quarter turn counter-clockwise and the zone starts like it is supposed to. I turn the solenoid to the right and it shuts off (this did NOT work the other day). I manually start the zone with the controller and it runs for the prescribed 1 minute I told it to and shuts off. ?(

So I decide to let the program run this morning and everything is just hunky-dory. The self-healing sprinkler system! And no noises in the valve boxes. :thumbsup:


Supreme Member

Posts: 493

Location: Seattle


Sunday, June 5th 2011, 11:12pm

You should still replace that valve.

I use to make the mistake that thinking things were fine after a valve issue magically fixed itself. Sure enough a week later I'm back at their house with an upset customer because I told them it was fine.


New Member


Monday, June 6th 2011, 8:35pm

Yeah, I was a little tongue-in-cheek with that last post. I have learned that lesson a few too many times...nothing fixes itself.

I assume I can just replace the guts of the valve and not have to replace the whole thing, correct?

Mitch, do you know if the insides of the four different 100-DV valves are identical? The 100-DV-SS, 100-DV-NPT, 100-DV-MB-NPT, 100-DV-A-NPT appear to have different bodies that utilize different pipe connection methods.

Thanks again for your help.


Supreme Member

Posts: 493

Location: Seattle


Monday, June 6th 2011, 9:38pm

yes you can gut swap
2 of the bodies are Slightly different , but they should swap out just fine


New Member


Monday, June 6th 2011, 10:05pm

Thanks again for your help. :thumbup:

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