How to Hook Up a Sprinkler Timer

Irrigation Sprinkler Timer image by zoomcityzoom:


Automatic sprinkler systems use a variety of components to control the flow of water. Plastic or galvanized piping connects the water supply to electronic valves and the system's sprinklers. These valves remain in the closed position, holding back the water from the sprinklers until a 12-volt signal from a timer triggers them to open. At the heart of this system is a sprinkler timer that allows you to control when and how often the 12-volt signal will activate these valves and turn on your sprinkling system. Installing a timer is moderately easy.

Step 1

Locate a 110-volt standard electrical outlet where you will install your timer. The timer will plug into this outlet. Pick a location that is close to the irrigation valves in your system. Connect the valves to the timer via a "low-voltage insulated cable approved for buria,l" according to Dan Vandervort, author with A location close to the valves will decrease the length of wire you will require.

Step 2

Install the timer on a flat surface on the wall above the electrical outlet. Each timer comes with a separate set of manufacturer instructions and supplies to enable mounting of the timer.

Step 3

Run the irrigation wire from the timer to the irrigation valves.

Step 4

Find the two wire leads that protrude from the top of each valve. Take one of these wires (does not matter which), and connect it to one wire from each adjacent valve. The valves will all connect together through one of their wires.

Step 5

Connect the wire leading from the timer to the wire leads on each valve. Irrigation wire consists of several individual wire strands of various colors sheathed in a single insulated cable. Each wire configuration will include one white wire (common wire) and a variety of color wires depending on how many valves you are connecting. The white wire connects to the bundle of wires connecting all the valves together in step 4. Connect the color wires to the remaining wire protruding from each valve. Use one color per valve.

Step 6

Find the wire connection ports on your timer, and connect the irrigation wires. Locate a notation for the common wire on the timer, and connect the white wire to this port. The remaining color wires can connect in any order. The timer will number valves 1 to 4 (if you have a 4-valve timer) and will turn them on in the order you connect them to the clock.

Step 7

Set the timer for the time of day you wish the sprinklers to turn on and the length of time each station will run.

Tips and Warnings

  • Turn off the electricty prior to work on the electrical connections.

Things You'll Need

  • Irrigation clock
  • Irrigation control wire
  • Waterproof wire connectors
  • Phillips screwdriver


  • Wiring Sprinkler Control Valves. Dan Vandervort.

Who Can Help

  • Rain Bird Do-It-Yourself: Installation Guide
  • Toro Do-It-Yourself Installation Guide
Keywords: sprinkler timer, electronic irrigation valve, irrigation wire

About this Author

Don Masters started writing professionally in spring of 2008, and enjoys conveying interesting tax topics to his readers. He is a partner in an accounting firm in Arizona and enjoys writing about business and tax. Masters is a certified public accountant, and has a master's degree in business and a bachelor's degree in accounting.

Photo by: zoomcityzoom: