Rachio is NOT affiliated or authorized by HUNTER, RAIN BIRD, or TORO; the valves and solenoids references before are manufactured by their respective company. This article is intended for instructional and compatibility purposes only.
Battery operated controllers
Do you have a battery operated controller? If so, it is not compatible with Rachio controllers unless you convert to AC solenoids. A battery-operated controller sends a quick DC pulse to operate the solenoid, therefore the battery-operated controller requires a DC latching solenoid to operate correctly. Rachio controllers send an AC current to operate the solenoid, which requires an AC solenoid to operate correctly.
If you attempt to power a DC solenoid using AC power, it will usually open the valve, but cannot close it.
How to convert from DC to AC
To convert your solenoids from DC to AC, you simply need to source replacement solenoids that fit your valve(s). Most late-model valve manufactures offer AC & DC solenoids that are interchangeable with the same valve.
Examples of AC & DC solenoids
HUNTER DC Valve & Solenoid
RAIN BIRD DC Valve & Solenoid
TORO DC Solenoid
HUNTER AC Valve & Solenoid
RAIN BIRD AC Valve & Solenoid
TORO AC Solenoid
Colored wire indicators
Notice the different colored wires coming out of the DC latching solenoid will have one black wire for the common wire and one red wire for the station wire. This can be a good way to identify a DC solenoid if the label on the solenoid has weathered or is missing.
If in doubt, please contact Rachio Support with a photo of your existing controller/wiring and any wiring in the valve boxes.