Are Sprinkler Controllers Interchangeable? – Yes! But How?

Interchangeable Sprinkler Controllers

Your sprinkler controllers may be an old model or you need to change them. Well, you also may be confused with another thing.

Your query is are sprinkler controllers interchangeable?

The answer is yes. You can change your controllers with a new one. But you have to follow a step-by-step guide to do it properly.

So, are you wondering how to do it? No worries, I am here. I got a guide for you to change the sprinkler controllers. So keep on reading.

Are sprinkler controllers interchangeable?

Changing the sprinkler system controllers of the sprinkler is quite tricky. But here we have 4 steps to make it easy for you. With these 4 steps, you can change your old controller with a new wifi-enabled controller.

Step 1: Decide site details

Decide site details

You should decide which type of controller model you need before purchasing one. There are 2 types of controllers, indoor and outdoor models. The indoor model controller has a power cord to plug it into any common outlet. But the outdoor model controllers are hard-wired.

You should be aware of the number of stations that exist for the system. Check how many valves are being used in the controller’s valve terminal currently. Most of the controllers have four to 12 stations. So buy a controller that contains all of the current and future requirements.

To replace the valve wires, you should label the wires to know which cable connects to which valve. Try to memorize the current irrigation system. It will help you to program the sprinkler controller system once it is installed.

You should take a picture of your old system so you can easily install the new controller and connect the wires to the valves like the old one.

Step 2: Remove the old controller

Firstly turn off the power to avoid any kind of accident. Then remove the old controller.

Follow these instructions to remove the old controller.

Extract the power source from the transformer. Disconnect the cable that houses the connection wire. Now you can easily disconnect from the controller. Then unscrew the boarding screws from the controller to detach it from the hanger.

Step 3: Install the new controller

Install the new controller

When you place the new controller, put up the wires by the port at the rear of the controller box. You should protect the wires with a PVC pipe or a ¾to 1-inch tube if it’s an outdoor controller.

Maintain the cable to the controller box with a male-adaptor and a locking nut.

Then connect the sensor wire and valves to the power supply. Take the wires underneath the control box and secure them with a locking nut.

Connect the neutral wire, 120v wire, and ground wires, from the power supply to the corresponding ground wires on the transformer.

If you are installing a wifi-enabled controller you should mount it within the range of the wifi network.

Step 4: Program the controller

After installing the new controller, you should check every station manually by yourself before programming the irrigation schedule to ensure that every valve is connected and working properly. You should read the manual carefully before programming the irrigation schedule.

What about sprinkler head brands?

What about sprinkler head brands

If your sprinkler head is not working or you just want to change the style then you may be thinking about buying a new one. You should be sure which one to buy.

Now you are thinking if you can change the head brands. The answer is yes, you can change the style and head brands. If the treading type is the same then any brand can be used. Some brands have male threads and some have female threads.

There are many reasons to change the sprinkler head. The reason does not have to be broken. There are other reasons for changing the head.


During the rising process, some leakage is pretty normal between the riser and cap. If there is a huge amount of blowing or

if the head keeps leaking after the head is fully raised, then you need to replace it. Before getting a new one try to pull up the head and hold it there. If this method does not work then get a new one.

Not High Enough

The sprinkler head has to be high enough to get water to the surrounding plants and grass.

If it’s not high enough then some plants won’t get much water while the other plants are flooding.

You should get a new one that is set at the perfect level to cover the whole area.

Not High Enough - Sprinkler System

The Rotator is Not Rotating Anymore

There are two types of heads. One is spray type and the other is rotating type. If your sprinkler is a rotating type and not rotating, you should check the water pressure and clean the dirt. If it doesn’t work you should buy a new one.

And irrigation controllers?

If your irrigation controller isn’t working properly and giving issues, you should replace it. It’s pretty easy to replace the irrigation system controller. Almost anyone can change it.

Before replacing the irrigation system controller, indicate if this protocol is really important. A transformer failure or a blasted fuse could be the matter causing the issue. If the controller has no power, replace it.

To replace the irrigation controllers, you need to remove the old one and install the new one. Here is a full guide for changing the irrigation controllers.

Remove the old controller

Remove the old controller

Here is a step-by-step guide to removing the old controller.

  • Turn off the power of the old controller. Sprinkler timers are normally plugged into an outlet or hardwired to the home’s electrical system. If your system has a plug to the outlet then just unplug it. If it’s hardwired to the home electrical system then turn off the main circuit. The display on the timer should be off before proceeding. Never use a timer while plunged on, it may shock you.
  • Remove the faceplate or access panel of your timer. This panel is generally located at the bottom of the timer. You can pop off the faceplate to open it, if it doesn’t pop off then use a screwdriver to open it.
  • Disconnect the power wires from the system. The wires are generally white black and green. Unscrew the caps which are connecting the wires with the system. Separate every power wire one by one so that you can pull out the timer without damaging any wires.
  • Label the wires with little pieces of plastic tape. Your power wires may be plugged into a numbered section in the system. Attach the little pieces of tape with the wire and write down the section number on the tape. There can be two sections, one is the power section and the other is the station section. You should use different colors of tape to separate the wires.
  • Pull out the wires from your timer. If they are attached with a screw then use a screwdriver to loosen the screw and pull the wire out. If it’s attached with tabs then use the end of the screwdriver to press down the tabs. When you finish disconnecting all wires then pull out the wires from the timer.
  • Unscrew the mounting screws from the timer. It should be in the middle of the top and middle of the bottom. You can use a flathead screwdriver to loosen it. Lift your timer up and off the wall to remove it. But when you install a new timer the top screw will be in place but the bottom one may not be in position.

Install a new timer

After removing the old timer you need to buy and install a new timer. Here’s the process to install the new timer.

  • Buy a timer that contains enough stations for the number of sprinklers you got. The new timer must contain the same number of stations you need or more than that. If the station number is less than you need it won’t work. Most of the unit comes with 6-12 stations.
  • Mount the new timer on the wall. Hang the timer to the screw on the top and tighten it carefully with a screwdriver. Then tighten the bottom screw, it may not be in the right position but you need to manage it. If you need to make a new hole for the bottom screw then make it.
  • Put up the wires through the bottom of the timer and attach them to the station that matches their label. If the new stations have screws then hold the wires under the screws and tighten them carefully until they attach to the wire hardly. If it has a tab connection then press the tab down and put the wires into the port and release the tab.
  • Reconnect all the wires to their stations matching by their color. Twist the edges of the wires matching colors together to run the current between them. Cover the edges of the exposed wires with wire caps on top of them. If the system is outdoor then make sure to use waterproof caps to protect them from any accident.
  • Turn on the power to test the sprinkler if the new timer working or not. Before turning it on completely, the display of the timer may flash for a moment. Turn on the manual system in your controller to check every sprinkler one by one. If there is any problem then turn off the power again and check the loose connection.
  • Reprogram your system schedule on the new timer. Set the current date and times to the timer. Then select the watering periods. If your timer is wifi enabled then use your computer or mobile device to control it. Follow the instructions that came with the new timer.

Can I replace my sprinkler controller?

Can I replace my sprinkler controller

If your sprinkler controller is not working or you need to replace your controller, you can easily replace it. Here’s a complete guide to help you to replace your controller.

  • Turn off the power source of your controller.
  • Then open up the access panel.
  • Detach the wires from the stations.
  • Pull out the wires from your controller.
  • Unscrew the top and bottom screws.
  • Lift your controller and remove it.
  • Mount the new controller on the wall.
  • Tighten the top and bottom screws of the controller.
  • Put the wires through the bottom of the controller box.
  • Reconnect all wires to their stations.
  • Put the wires underneath their station and tighten them.
  • Close the access panel and turn on the power source again and you are ready to go.

How much does it cost to replace a sprinkler controller?

The regular cost to replace your sprinkler controller is $75–$250. The average homeowner pays $212. It includes a $75 hourly labor by professional plumbers.

The average cost of replacing heads is $5-$20 per head, $20-$40 per valve, damaged backflow preventer at $25–$420, malfunctioning sprinkler system controller is about $60–$225 and broken pipes cost $100–$500.


 Sprinkler Controllers Interchangeable - FAQs

1. Are sprinkler controllers interchangeable?

Yes. Sprinkler controllers are interchangeable. You can change almost every controller of a sprinkler.

2. How long should a sprinkler controller last?

If you protect the sprinkler controller from direct sunlight and change the wires and parts every 5-10 years it could last almost 40 years.

3. How much does it cost to repair a sprinkler controller?

The regular cost to replace your sprinkler controller is $75–$250. The average homeowner pays $212. It includes a $75 hourly labour by professional plumbers.

4. Why is one sprinkler zone not working?

If just a zone isn’t working then it’s the damage of the wire of that part of the field or if none of the zones isn’t working then it’s a problem in the valve box. It can be common wire damage or the whole wiring system is damaged.

5. Can I upgrade my sprinkler system?

If your home’s sprinkler system is more than 10 years old, there may be some benefits to upgrading to a newer system. Newer systems are more water-efficient and can provide better protection against fires. However, before making any upgrades, it’s important to consult with a professional about what would be the best option for your property and needs.

6. How do I know if my sprinkler controller is bad?

If you notice any of the following problems with your sprinkler controller, it may be time to replace it:

-Your sprinkler system will not turn on
-The lights on the controller do not work
-The controller does not seem to be responding to commands from your irrigation system
-Water is spraying out of the wrong areas or in a random pattern
If one or more of these problems occur, it is likely that your controller is bad and needs to be replaced.

Bottom Line

So, you got the answer to the question are sprinkler controllers interchangeable

Changing the sprinkler system controllers of the sprinkler is quite tricky. Hopefully, these guidelines may help you to replace your controller. This guide may not contain everything you are searching for but we included almost everything you need to know about replacing sprinkler controllers.

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