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You are here: Home > Sprinkler School™ > Parts and Components > Controllers or Timers and Remotes > How To Install An Irrigation Controller
How To Install An Irrigation Controller

How To Install An Irrigation Controller

Controllers - Parts and Components

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Before you begin anything make sure you have the appropriate power connection within 6 feet or less. A controller can be mounted inside or outside and can be placed just about anywhere that is convenient for the homeowner. Choosing a location that has a view of the yard can make it easier to check the operation of specific valves or zones.

When selecting a location, choose a flat, stable, vertical surface on which to mount the timer. Make sure to allow enough clearance for electrical conduit and connections at the bottom of the timer case.

Before you mount the timer, mark the field wires by number using masking tape, so you can keep track of them according to which station (valve) they control. (Tip: Strip wires 1/4") There should be one common wire plus a colored wire for each station (valve). Only use wire that is code-approved for underground, low-voltage use.

Now follow the mounting instructions that were included with your controller. Simple instruction as below.


Tools Needed to Install Irrigation Controllers / Timers


  1. 3/8" electric drill, cordless or with cord

  2. Masonry bit, if drilling holes in stucco.

  3. Metal center punch. If drilling into wood, the punch isn't necessary.

  4. Wood type drill bit - to drill holes through the timer cabinet

  5. Black sharpie or felt-tipped marker

  6. A hammer

  7. A level

  8. Screws, with matching plastic wall anchors

  9. Screwdriver


Differences in installing an indoor controller vs. an outdoor controller


Sprinkler system controllers come in interior or exterior models. Indoor sprinkler system timers plug easily into an electric outlet. The interior models have a power supply or transformer that converts 110/120 volts of standard house power to the 18-24 volts required for sprinkler system operation. Exterior sprinkler system controllers are housed in sealed weather-resistant cabinets. The exterior controller has a transformer inside the cabinet, and must be hard wired into the power supply.

Indoor irrigation controllers can also be installed outside. Weather-resistant cabinets are available separately, to convert indoor controllers to outdoor use.

Mounting an Indoor Controller to a Wall (Illustration below):


  1. Select a location as close as possible to a standard electrical outlet that is not controlled by a light switch. The location should be protected from moisture and direct sunlight.

  2. Remove the front panel by pulling down on the hinge release (Varies by brand and model). Removing front panel will ease installation of the controller.

  3. Place the controller at eye level. Use the hole at the top of the controller as a reference and secure one 25mm screw (A) into the wall. Note: Install screw anchors if attaching to drywall or masonry wall.

  4. Align controller with the screw and slide the keyhole (B) on top of the controller over the screw.

  5. Secure controller in place by installing screws in the holes (C).


Mounting an Outdoor Controller to a Wall (Illustration above):

  1. Select a location that is conveniently close to a power supply.

  2. Make sure to abide by all electrical and installation codes when attaching to an external wall.

  3. Remove the front panel by pulling down the hinge release (Varies by brand and model). Removing the front panel will ease installation of the controller.

  4. Place the controller at eye level and align keyhole (A) on top of the controller and mark the spot as well as the other holes (B) on the bottom of the unit.

  5. Drill a 6 mm hole at each mark.

  6. How to install a controller on a wall
  7. Install screw anchors (C) into holes if attaching controller to drywall, masonry, or plaster walls.

  8. Holding the controller cabinet, line up the holes in the cabinet with the wall anchors or pilot holes.

  9. Drive a screw through each hole and secure but do not over tighten.

Standard Wiring Setup


Recommended Supplies:

  • A bundle of wires which consists of multiple color wires and one white wire know as the common wire.Note: Use 18-gauge wire, this gauge that is approved for underground usage.

  • Waterproof connectors called "Grease Caps".

  • Plastic electrical staples to secure the wire bundle along walls, joists or other surfaces.

Bring the bundle of wires above ground at the place you plan to install and wire the timer/controller. Secure the bundle of wires along the walls or other surfaces with plastic electrical staples. Leave the controller/timer unplugged and turned off until after you have completely finished the installation.

  1. Connect one end of the control wire to a numbered station terminal on the timer's terminal strip.

  2. Connect the other end of the control wire to the station (valve). Either valve wire can be used for this connection. Tip: when connecting wires, we recommend using grease caps prevent rust and corrosion.

  3. Connect the station (valve) common wire to the "COM" on the terminal strip.

  4. Connect the remaining station (valve) colored control wires to the numbered terminal strip. The color coding of the wires makes it easier to identify at the controller/timer. Make a reference to which station number goes to which circuit.

  5. Route the common wire to all of the stations (valves) - completing the connection.

TIP: Purchase wire with extra strands for future expansion to your irrigation layout.


Example of how to wire an irrigation contraller

Refer to the illustration shown above to wire the Controller/Timer correctly.


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