Sprinkler controller problem - Irritrol Rain Dial RD-600

My neightbor has a lawn sprinkler system using a Rain Dial controller. The controller won't turn on any of the five valves.
I switch the controller to Run/Manual, swtich to a specific valve, put run time that valve and hit the Manual start button. Instead of turning on that valve, I get a flashing OFF. According to the manual this indicates the solenoid is shorted or there is some other electrical problem.
However, I get the same result on all valves, and it seems unlikely that there is a problem with five valves located in different parts of the yard. It seems more likely to me that something is wrong with the controller itself - a transistor ror diode blown, or something like that.
Another indicator is that the display flashes all the time, which it didn't do before.
The battery seems to be ok - the time is correct, and the battery measures 8.7V on my meter. That should be close enough, I would think.
I guess I'm hoping that someone else here has seen this problem and knows what causes it.
Would it be safe to send 24VAC directly to the valves? The current wiring is: one hot (?) wire going to each of the five valves, and one wire that appears to be a common neutral or ground - this one goes through a rain gauge switch. (I shorted across the rain gauge, but that didn't help, so that's not the problem.) If 24VAC sent to a valve's hot wire and the common neutral makes it operate, then that should mean the controller is the problem. If that doesn't work, then there is some other problem out underground somewhere.
Any ideas?
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Peabody wrote:

Then logic tells me, something is wrong with power supply. Tony
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I'm no expert on sprinklers so do as you will with this info.
Have you put a voltmeter on a solenoid to see if it is getting power? According to RainBird their solenoids are 24VAC so you should be able to power them directly.
Also some installations have a master valve that is in series with the individual zone valves. If you have one of these, sometimes marked MV on the controller, it may be bad. You should be able to open the valves manually to test the plumbing.
Good luck,
Peter

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replying to Tony Hwang, Anon wrote: The cause of the problem on mine was a bad capacitor marked 'C4' on the PCB. Replaced it with a new one of the same spec (220μF, 35v), and the unit now works fine.
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Anon wrote:

A few years agon a batch of hi value lo voltage caps came out and all kinda devices made during that period shared same problem.
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Might be a high impedance connection in the wiring. Mark all of the wires, take them apart and try one at a time, manually. I will bet that all of the commons are tied together if so that could be the problem area.
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I'm not familiar with that brand, but I had not dissimilar problems with mine when the backup battery died, so I would check that.
Peabody wrote:

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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Sprinkler-controller-problem-Irritrol-Rain-Dial-RD-600-13492-.htm Aeroboss wrote: I had the EXACT same problem tonight. Checked all connections, power, solenoids, wiring. Finally saw the one suggestion to change the battery. Sure enough, it was down to 3V. I replaced it, reprogrammed all my stations, hit 'run' and everything works perfect. THE BATTERY!
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replying to Aeroboss, Roll wrote: responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Sprinkler-controller-problem-Irritrol-Rain-Dial-RD-600-13492-.htm Aeroboss wrote: I had the EXACT same problem tonight. Checked all connections, power, solenoids, wiring. Finally saw the one suggestion to change the battery. Sure enough, it was down to 3V. I replaced it, reprogrammed all my stations, hit 'run' and everything works perfect. THE BATTERY! Yes with mine as soon as the battery was replaced it worked fine, thanks heaps for your help
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replying to Aeroboss, ShawnN wrote: Thank you! I had same problem and replaced the battery and now it works! What a terrible design. It should still work if the battery is out. My battery backup has never saved the program settings anyway. Everytime there is a loss of power, I have to reset the programs.
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replying to Peabody, Phyl Smith wrote:

Problem for me occurred on an Irritrol KwikDial KD9-INT -- flickering display + when turned to OFF, a flickering OFF on the display. Another person in this forum replaced the big power supply capacitor on the electronic board (in my case the board was labeled 102-2057 Rev B 22639561) which fixed the problem. Did the same thing on the KD9 -- i.e. the C4 220uf/35v capacitor was replaced and the problem was fixed.
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