Have you walked over to your lawn sprinkler controller and seen the word “error” on the screen? Well, if you haven’t yet, you may sometime in the future, especially with all the thunderstorms we have had recently in Middlesex County NJ.

This “error” message may be followed by a number telling you the zone or circuit where the error is happening, if your controller has this capability (usually the average controller does not).

The 1st and most common cause is a faulty solenoid on the electric valve for the zone having the error.

The solution, replace the solenoid.

The 2nd most common cause is in the wiring, whether it be a loose connection or bad connection to the common wire. Most wiring problems are found in the valve box where there is a bad splice or a corroded wire due tolack of water-proof splice kit.

A loose or corroded wire may be repaired by re-splicing the wires (after they have been traced) and re-doing the connection. Make sure to use a water-proof protector on the connection.

Yet another possibility could be that the lawn sprinkler controller, it is not as likely, but still possible. To repair this, you will need to replace the controller, but before you do, try and do a reset on your controller. In order to reset the controller, cut off the breaker or power to the controller. Disconnect the battery if applicable. Lastly disconnect the ribbon that connects the digital face to the control panel on inside of the controller. allow to sit for about 10 minutes, reconnect ribbon and turn power or breaker back on. Reset program. To rule out if the problem is in the controller, disconnect all valve wires and run the controller on a test cycle.

If the controller runs fine, reconnect all wires and retest. If you are still getting the “error” message after running with no wires and a reset, then your controller is bad and needs to be replaced. If after the reset and running with wiring connected you still have the problem, you will need to go and check all wire connections in the valve boxes and solenoids.