RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual & troubleshooting

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 1

ESP-ME3 Controller
Advanced User Manual

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 2

Hazardous Warnings
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 3 WARNING
Indicates a hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 4 CAUTION
Indicates a hazardous situation that, if not avoided, could result in minor or moderate injury.
NOTICE
Indicates information considered important, but not hazard-related (e.g., messages relating to property damage).
SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS
Specific safety-related instructions or procedures are described.

Symbols & User Operation

  1. NUMBERS define a series of steps for the user to follow in order to operate the controller.
    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 5 NOTE: Notifies the user of important operating instructions related to controller functionality, installation, or maintenance.
    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 6 REPEAT: Indicates that a repetition of previous steps or actions may be required for further operation, or to complete a process.

Technical Support

Questions?
Call Rain Bird toll free Technical Support at
1-800-724-6247 (USA and Canada only)

Introduction

Welcome to Rain Bird®

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 7

Thank you for choosing Rain Bird’s ESP-ME3 controller.
In this manual are step-by-step instructions for how to install and operate the ESP-ME3.

The Intelligent Use of Water®

We believe it is our responsibility at Rain Bird to develop products that use water efficiently.

ESP-ME3 Controller Features
Feature Description
Maximum Stations 22 (with optional Station Modules)
Master Valve or Pump Start Relay Supported
Start Times 6
Programs 4
Program Cycles Custom Days, Odd, Even, and Cyclic
Permanent Days Off By program
Master Valve Control On/Off per station
Rain Delay Supported
Rain/Freeze Sensor Supported
Rain Sensor Control Global or by station
Seasonal Adjust Global or by program
Manual Watering Run Yes
Manual Program Run Yes
Manual Test All Stations Yes
Short Detect Yes
Delay Between Stations Set by program
Accessory Port Yes (5 pins)
Save & Restore Programming Yes
Station Advance Yes
LNK’WiFi Module Supported
Flow Sensor Supported
Cycle~SoakTM Supported in Rain Bird App via LNK” WiFi Module

WiFi Enabled
The LNK™  WiFi Module allows remote connection to a Rain Bird ESP-ME3 Controller using an Apple® iOS® or Android™
a compatible smart device. The mobile application allows remote access and configuration of one or more irrigation controllers.
* Apple is a trademark of Apple Inc, IOS is a trademark of Cisco Systems Inc, and Android is a trademark of Google LLC.
For more information on the LNK TM WiFi Module and the value this product can provide for your ESP-ME3 controller, please visit: http://wifi-pro.rainbird.com

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 8

Installation

Mount Controller

NOTE: Choose a suitable mounting location close to a 120VAC wall outlet.

  1. Drive a mounting screw into the wall, leaving a 1/8 inch gap between the screw head and the wall surface (use the supplied wall anchors if necessary), as shown.
  2. Locate the keyhole slot on the back of the controller unit and hang it securely on the mounting screw.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 9
  3. Open the front panel, and drive three additional screws through the open holes inside the controller and into the wall, as shown.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 10

Connect Valves

  1. Route all field wires through the opening at the bottom or back of the unit. Attach conduit if desired, as shown.
    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 11 WARNING
    Do not route valve wires through the same opening as power wires.
  2. Connect one wire from each valve to the terminal on the Base Module or Station Module that corresponds to the desired station number (1-22).
  3. Connect a field common wire to the COM (common)terminal on the Base Module. Then connect the remaining wire from each valve to the field common wire, as shown.
  4. To perform a Valve Test, connect the common wire to the COM terminal and the power wire to the VT terminal. This will immediately turn the valve ON. Connect Master Valve (optional)
  5. Connect a wire from the master valve to the MV (master valve) terminal on the Base Module.
    Then connect the remaining wire from the master valve to the field common wire, as shown.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 12

Connect Pump Start Relay (optional)

  1. Connect a wire from the PSR (pump start relay) to the MV (master valve) terminal on the Base Module. Then connect another wire from the pump start relay to the field common wire, as shown.
  2. To avoid the possibility of damage to the pump, connect a short jumper wire from any unused terminal(s) to the nearest terminal in use, as shown.

NOTICE
The ESP-ME3 controller DOES NOT provide power for a pump. The relay must be wired according to manufacturer instructions.
Only the following Rain Bird pump start relay models are compatible with the ESP-ME3:

Description Note Model No.
Universal Pump Relay 110 volt only PSR110IC
Universal Pump Relay 220 volt only PSR220IC

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 13 NOTE: Connection to pump and external power not shown. Refer to pump installation instructions.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 14

Connect Flow Sensor (optional)
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 15 NOTE: Install the flow sensor in the field according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  1. Run the flow sensor wires to the controller.
    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 16 WARNING
    Do not route valve wires through the same opening as power wires.
  2. Connect both flow sensor wires to the Flow terminals, as shown. Be sure to connect the positive (sometimes red) sensor wire to the red (+) terminal and the negative (sometimes black) sensor wire to the grey (-) terminal.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 17

Flow Sensor Settings
Set the controller to obey or ignore a flow sensor. When set to Sensor ON, automatic irrigation will be suspended per station if the detected flow exceeds learned flow by more than 30%. When set to Sensor OFF, all stations will ignore the flow sensor.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 18 Turn the dial to Flow Sensor.

Press – or + to select SENS ON (sensor on) or SENS OFF (sensor off ).

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 19

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 20 NOTE: When switching from Sensor OFF to Sensor ON, the controller will begin to LEARN FLOW. It will run each station for short period to set the expected station flow.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 21 NOTE: See the Troubleshooting section of the Appendix for Flow Alarms information.

Connect Weather Sensor (optional)

  1. Remove the yellow jumper wire from the SENSOR terminals on the controller.
    NOTICE
    Do not remove the yellow jumper wire unless connecting a rain sensor.
  2. Connect both rain sensor wires to the SENSOR terminals as shown.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 22 WARNING
Do not route the rain sensor wires through the same opening as the power wiring

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 23 NOTE: Rain Bird ESP-ME3 controllers are only compatible with normally closed rain sensors.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 24 NOTE: For wireless rain/freeze sensors, refer to the sensor installation instructions.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 25

Weather Sensor Settings
Set the controller to obey or ignore a weather sensor.
When set to Sensor ON, automatic irrigation will be suspended if rainfall is detected. When set to Sensor OFF all stations will ignore the rain sensor.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 26 Turn the dial to Weather Sensors.
Press – or + to select SENS ON (sensor on) or SENS OFF (sensor off ).RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 27

Connect Power
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 28 WARNING
DO NOT plug in the transformer or connect external power until you have completed and checked all wiring connections.
Installation with Pre-attached Cord 

  • Plug the attached power cord into a nearby 120VAC electrical outlet.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 29

Outdoor Installation with Direct Wiring
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 30 WARNING
Electric shock can cause severe injury or death. Make sure the power supply is turned OFF before connecting power wires.
POWER WIRING CONNECTIONS 120VAC 
Black supply wire (hot) to the black transformer wire
White supply wire (neutral) to the white transformer wire
Green supply wire (ground) to the green transformer wire

  1. Locate the transformer wiring compartment in the lower-left corner of the controller unit. Use a screwdriver to remove the cover and expose the transformer connection wires.
  2. Route the three external power source wires through the conduit opening at the bottom of the unit and into the wiring compartment.
  3. Using the provided wire nuts, connect the external power source wires (two power and one ground) to the transformer connection wires inside the wiring compartment.
    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 31 WARNING
    The ground wire must be connected to provide electrical surge protection. Permanently mounted conduit shall be used for connecting the main voltage to the controller
  4. Verify that all wiring connections are secure, then replace the wiring compartment cover and secure it with the screw.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 32

Station Expansion Modules

Optional Station Modules can be installed in the empty slots to the right of the Base Module to increase the station capacity up to 22 stations.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 33 NOTE: 6-Station Modules are compatible with ESP-ME3 and ESP-Me. They are not backward compatible with the ESP-M vintage controller.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 34NOTE: For ideal station sequencing, insert a 3-Station module after inserting all 6-station modules. For more details see the Station Numbering section.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 35

Install Modules
  1. Verify the securing lever on the module is in the unlocked position (slide to the left).
  2. Place the module under the desired slot between the plastic rails.
  3. Push the module up into the slot until secure.
  4. Slide the securing lever to the locked position (slide to the right).RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 36

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 37REPEAT for additional modules.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 38NOTE: Modules can be installed or removed with OR without AC power connected. They are considered “hot-swappable”.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 39NOTE: It takes about 30 seconds for stations to become available for configuration after installing a new module.

Station Numbering
The controller is configured with “fixed station numbering”, meaning that Bays Two, Three and Four can accept either a 3 or a 6-Station Module. If a 6-Station Module is NOT installed then the unused stations are reserved for future use.
Example of Station Numbering when using two 3-Station Modules. A total of 10 stations are installed.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 40

  • The Base Module is installed in Bay One and uses Stations 1 through 4.
  • A 3-Station Module is installed in Bay Two and uses stations 5 through 7. Stations 8 through 10 are skipped and will be unavailable.
  • A 3-Station Module is installed in Bay Three and uses stations 11 through 13.

During programming, the controller will skip any unused stations, creating a gap in station numbering. The unused stations will show on the display as 8SKIP, 9SKIP, etc.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 41

If the screen displays 20NOMOD where the 20 is flashing, then there is no module installed for that station number.

Complete Controller Installation
  1. Reinstall and reconnect the front panel.
  2. Apply power to the controller and test the system.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 42 NOTE: The electrical connections can be checked even if water is not available. If water is available and you would like to test some or all of your stations, use the Test All Stations feature of the controller.

Normal Operation

Controls and Features

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 43

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 44 AUTO
AUTO is the normal operating mode. Return the dial to AUTO when programming is complete.
During Watering:
The display shows a blinking sprinkler symbol, the active Station Number or Program, and the Remaining Run Time.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 45

  • To cancel watering, turn the dial to OFF for three seconds until the screen shows OFF.

To Manually Start a Program:

  1. Press the Program Select button to select a program.
  2. Press and hold the Hold to Start button to immediately start manual watering for the selected program.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 46

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 47 OFF
Turn the dial to OFF to stop automatic irrigation or to cancel all active watering immediately.
NOTICE
Watering will NOT occur if the controller remains in the OFF position.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 48 NOTE: Manual watering can be started using mobile apps or LIMR when the dial is in the OFF position.

Display Indicators

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 49

Basic Programming

1. Set Date and Time
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 50 Turn the dial to Date / Time

  1. Press RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 51orRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 52 to select the setting to change.
  2. Press – or + to change the setting value.
  3. Press and hold – or + to accelerate adjustments.
    To change the time format (12 hours or 24 hours):
  4. With Day of Month blinking, pressRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 53.
  5. Press or to select the desired time format, then press to return to the time setting.

2. Set Watering Start Times

Up to six Start Times are available for each program.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 54Turn the dial to Start Times

  1. Press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary).
  2. Press RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 55orRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 56 to select an available Start Time.
  3. Press – or + to set the selected Start Time (ensure the AM/PM setting is correct).
  4. Press RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 57to set additional Start Times.
  5. To turn off a start time press- until 12:00 AM (00:00 in 24 HR), then press- one more time for OFF.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 58 NOTE: The OFF Position for any start time is between 11:45 PM and 12:00 AM.

3. Set Station Run Times
Run Times can be set from one minute up to six hours.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 59Turn the dial to Run Times

  1. Press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary).
  2.  Press RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 60or RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 61to select a Station.
  3. Press – or + to set the Run Time for the selected Station.
  4. Press RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 62to set additional Station Run Times.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 63 NOTE: Only assign Run Times in a Program for stations you want to water. If you do not want a specific station to run in a  selected program then set the Run Time to zero.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 64 NOTE: Rain Bird recommends that the maximum irrigation station cycle time be less than the time required for runoff to begin and that there be adequate soak time before the next irrigation cycle of that same station begins again.

4. Set Water Days
Custom Days of the Week
Set watering to occur on specific days of the week.
Turn the dial to Water Days

  1. Press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary).
  2. Press – or + to set the selected (blinking) day as either ON or OFF, and to automatically move to the next day.
  3. Press RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 65orRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 66 at any time to move the cursor to the previous or next day.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 67NOTE: With Sunday selected, press the button to enter and activate Cyclic Watering (see the Advanced Programming section). If this is not desired, press the button to return to watering by Custom Days.

Program-Based Scheduling

The ESP-ME3 uses a program-based scheduling method to create irrigation schedules. This means all stations with a run time on the program will run in numerical order.

Common Programming Error

The most common programming error for any program-based controller is to set multiple Program Start Times that cause watering cycles to repeat. As an example: Program A has a 1st Start Time set to run at 8:00 AM. But then a 2nd Start Time has mistakenly been set for 8:15 AM, which means that all stations would water a 2nd time.
In this example, a 3rd Start Time has mistakenly been set for 8:30 AM. This means all stations would water a 3rd time. The desired watering time was 45 minutes or 15 minutes per station. The actual is 2 hours and 15 minutes, which is excessive watering!
Incorrect: Multiple Start Times set by mistake

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 68

Correct: Only one Start TimeRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 69

Manual Watering Options

Test All Stations
Start watering immediately for all programmed stations.

Turn the dial to Manual Watering

  1. Press – or + set a Run Time.
  2. Press the Hold to StartRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 70 button.
  3. Turn the dial to AUTO after the display shows STARTED.
    During Testing:
    The display shows a blinking sprinkler symbol, the active Station Number and the remaining Run Time.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 71
  4. To cancel the test, turn the dial to OFF for three seconds until the screen shows OFF.
Run a Single Station

Start watering a single station, or set multiple stations to water in order.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 72Turn the dial to Manual Watering

  1. Press RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 73or RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 74to select the desired station.
  2. Press – or + to set a Run Time.
  3. Press the Hold to StartRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 75 button.
  4. Irrigation will begin and STARTED will appear on the display.
  5. Turn the dial back to AUTO

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 76REPEAT process as desired to add more stations to the queue. When one station finishes watering then the next station will start.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 77 NOTE: Manual Watering (Test All, Run Single Station and Manual Program) will start even when a weather sensor is set to SENS ON (sensor on).

Run a Single Program

Start watering immediately for one program.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 78Turn the dial to AUTO.

  1. Press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary).
  2. Press the Hold to Start buttonRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 79 to begin watering the selected Program.
  3. Irrigation will begin and STARTED will appear on the display.
  4. Press the Advance Station button to advance to the next station if desired.
  5. NOTE: A maximum of 88 stations can be queued across all four programs.

During Manual Watering (Single-station or Single-program):
The display shows a blinking sprinkler symbol, the active Station Number, and the remaining Run Time.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 80

  • To cancel manual watering, turn the dial to OFF for three seconds until the screen shows OFF.

To add additional programs to the manual watering queue:

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 81Turn the dial to Manual Watering

  • Press and hold Program Select to show the program letter on the display.
  • Press Program Select to choose the desired program (if necessary).
  • Press the Hold to Start button to begin watering the selected program.
  • Turn the dial to AUTO

Advanced Programming

Odd or Even Calendar Days

Set watering to occur on all ODD or EVEN calendar days.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 82Turn the dial to Water Days

  1. Press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary).
  2. Press and hold until ODD or EVEN is displayed.
Cyclic Days

Set watering to occur at specific intervals, such as every 2 days, or every 3 days, etc.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 83Turn the dial to Water Days

  1. Press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary).
  2. On the Custom Days of the Week screen, pressRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 84 until the Cyclic screen is displayed (after SUN).
  3. Press – or + to set the desired DAY CYCLE, then pressRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 85.
  4. Press – or +to set the DAYS REMAINING before the cycle begins. The NEXT watering day updates on the display to indicate the day that watering will start as shown.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 86

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 87 NOTE: See Special Features to set Rain Sensor ON by Station.

Seasonal Adjust

Increase or decrease program run times by a selected percentage (5% to 200%). As an example: If the Seasonal Adjust is set to  00% and the station Run Time is programmed for 10 minutes, the station will run for 10 minutes. If the Seasonal Adjust is set to 50%, the station will run for 5 minutes.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 88 Turn the dial to Seasonal Adjust.

  1. Press or to increase or decrease Seasonal Adjust for all Programs.
  2. To adjust an individual Program, press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary). Press or to increase or decrease Seasonal Adjust for all Programs.
Delay Watering

Suspend watering for up to 14 days.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 89Turn the dial to AUTO.

  1. Press and hold the button to enter the Rain Delay screen.
  2. Press or to set the DAYS REMAINING. The NEXT watering day will update on the display to indicate when watering will resume.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 90
  3. To cancel a Rain Delay, set the DAYS REMAINING back to 0.
    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 91 NOTE: When the delay expires, automatic irrigation resumes as scheduled.
Permanent Days Off

Prevent watering on selected days of the week (for Odd, Even or Cyclic programming only).
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 92Turn the dial to Water Days

  1. Press Program Select to choose the desired Program (if necessary).
  2. Press and hold Program Select, then press to set the selected (blinking) day as a Permanent
    Day Off or press to leave the day ON.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 93

Special Features

  1. Turn the dial to the desired position indicated below for each Special Feature.
  2. Press and hold RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 94andRAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 95 at the same time.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 96

Options

Reset Button
If the controller is not working properly, you can try pressing RESET.

  • Insert a small tool such as a paper clip, into the access hole and press until the controller is reset. All previously programmed watering schedules will remain stored in memory.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 97
Remote Accessories

A 5 pin accessory port is available for Rain Bird approved external devices, including:

  • LNK™  WiFi Module
  • LIMR Receiver Quick Connect harness

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 98

Detached Programming

Program the front panel remotely on battery power. The front panel can be removed from the controller and programmed remotely using a 9-volt battery for power. Settings can be programmed for all 22 stations regardless of which Station Modules are installed in the controller.

  1. Remove the front panel.
  2. Install a 9V battery in the battery compartment.
  3. Program the controller.RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 99

    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 100NOTE: Program information is stored in nonvolatile memory so it is never lost if the front panel loses power.

  4. Replace the front panel (refer to Complete Installation in the Installation section).
    RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 101NOTE: After the front panel is re-installed, any station that does not have a corresponding Station Module installed will function as though the run time is zero.

Battery Life

If the display repeatedly shows “– — — — –”, or there is no display when using a 9V battery for remote programming, replace the
battery.

Appendix

Troubleshooting

Error Detection
The ESP-ME3 controller has built-in error detection that can automatically generate an ALARM caused by an essential programming error or if an electrical short condition is detected.
The ALARM LED light on the ESP-ME3 controller front panel will light up to indicate an alarm condition:

Programming Errors (blinking LED)
Error ALARM LED Error Message On Display
No Start Times are set BLINK NO START TIMES
No Run Times are set BLINK NO RUN TIMES
No Water Days are set BLINK NO WATER DAYS

The error will go away when the station is successfully run after the condition is corrected.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 102NOTE: The dial must be in the AUTO position for an ALARM message to appear on the display.

Electrical Errors (non-blinking LED)
Error ALARM LED Error Message On Display
Master Valve short SOLID MASTER VALVE SHORTED OR HIGH CURRENT
Station short SOLID STATION “X” WIRE SHORTED

When an electrical error is detected, irrigation for the affected station is canceled and watering advances to the next operable station in the program. The controller will attempt to water the affected station again at the next scheduled watering. Completion of a successful watering will clear the error condition associated with that station.

Flow Alarms

Error ALARM LED Error Message On Display
Flow Sensor -High Flow Condition Solid HIGH FLOW ALARM STATION
“X”
Flow Sensor -Low Flow Condition Solid LOW FLOW ALARM STATION
“X”

When a flow sensor is in use the ESP-ME3 monitors for a High Flow of 130% above regular learned flow. This percent limit can be adjusted in the Rain Bird App when used with LNK TM WiFi Module. If a High Flow condition is detected, a “High Flow Alarm” is shown at the display and the red alarm LED comes on. To clear the alarm press the “Hold to Start” right arrow button during the alarm message.

Low Flow conditions are also monitored. The limit for Low Flow is 70% below the learned flow unless changed in the Rain Bird App. A Low Flow alarm is shown at the controller display and the red alarm LED comes on.
To clear the alarm press the “Hold to Start” right arrow button during the alarm message.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 103NOTE: Turning the flow sensor feature off and then back on will cause the controller to learn new flow levels and ignore previous error conditions.
RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 104NOTE: If the flow sensor measures flow when the controller is not scheduled for watering, a “HIGH FLOW ZONE” alarm is shown on the display and the red alarm LED comes on. To clear the alarm press the “Hold to Start” right arrow button during the alarm message.

Watering Issues

Problem Possible Cause Possible Solution
The display shows a program is active, but the system isn’t watering. Water source not supplying water. Verify there is no disruption to the main water line and that all other water supply lines are open and functioning properly.
Wiring is loose or not properly connected. Check that field wiring and master valve or pump start relay wiring is securely connected at the controller and in the field.
Field wires are corroded or damaged. Check field wiring for damage and replace if necessary. Check wiring connections and replace them with watertight splice connectors if needed.
Loss of AC power. When there is a power loss and a 9 volt battery is installed, the system does not irrigate but programs show as remaining active.
NO AC message on display. No Power was detected. Check the circuit breaker and that unit is plugged into a socket or properly connected to a power source.
The controller may be plugged into a GFCI outlet or an outlet that is wired to a GFCI outlet. Check power to the outlet or reset the circuit breaker.
It just rained and
the alarm light is not illuminated, why?
This is a normal operation. The ESP-ME3 does not consider the interruption of irrigation due to rainfall as an alarm condition. This is a normal operation.
Programmed schedules do not start. A connected rain sensor may be activated. Set Rain Sensor to Sensor OFF to ignore the rain sensor. If watering resumes, the sensor is operating properly and no further correction is needed.
A connected rain sensor may not be oper- acing properly. Let the rain sensor dry out, or disconnect it from the controller terminal strip and replace it with a jumper wire connecting the two SENS terminals, or set to Sensor OFF.
If no rain sensor is connected, the jumper wire connecting the two SENS terminals on the terminal strip may be missing or damaged. Move dial position to Weather Sensors and set to Sensor OFF.
Too much irrigation Multiple Start Times in the same program. Separate start times are not required for each valve. A program only requires a single start time in order to run all stations in that program.
Multiple programs are running at the same time. Review programming to assure that the same Station is not active in multiple Programs.
Valve is malfunctioning. Check to see if the ALARM light on the controller is lit solid, then repair or replace the valve if necessary.
The Seasonal Adjust setting is too high. Set Seasonal Adjust to 100%.

Electrical Issues (solid LED illuminated)

Problem Possible Cause Possible Solution
The display is blank or frozen, the controller will not accept programming or is operating abnormally. Power not reaching the controller. Verify the main AC power supply is securely plugged in or connected and working properly.
The controller needs to be reset. Press the Reset Button. For details see the “Reset Button” section.
An electrical surge may have interfered with the control- let’s electronics. Unplug the controller for 2 minutes, then plug it back in. If there is no permanent damage, the controller should accept programming and resume normal operation.
Automatic error detection indicates a problem by ALARM LED and an error message on display. Short circuit or overload condition in valve, master valve or pump start relay wiring. Identify and repair the fault in the wiring. Refer to compatible pump start relays. For details see the “Connect Pump Start Relay” section.
LED is flashing or solidly illuminated but I see no message on the LCD. Dial not in AUTORUN position. Turn dial to AUTORUN position. Push the Reset button or power cycle the controller.

Certifications

Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity
47 CFR § 2.1077 Compliance Information
Unique Identifier: ESP-ME3 (ESP4ME3)
Responsible Party – U.S. Contact Information
Rain Bird Corporation
9491 Ridgehaven Court
San Diego, CA
92123
Ph. (858) 268-2650
FCC Compliance Statement
This device complies with Part 15 of the FCC Rules. Operation is subject to the following two conditions: (1) This device may not cause harmful interference, and (2) this device must accept any interference received, including interference that may cause undesired operation.
Note: This equipment has been tested and found to comply with the limits for a Class B digital device,
pursuant to part 15 of the FCC Rules. These limits are designed to provide reasonable protection against harmful interference in a residential installation. This equipment generates, uses and can radiate radio frequency energy and, if not installed and used in accordance with the instructions, may cause harmful interference to radio communications. However, there is no guarantee that interference will not occur in a particular installation. If this equipment does cause harmful interference to radio or television reception, which can be determined by turning the equipment off and on, the user is encouraged to try to correct the interference by one or more of the following measures:

  • Reorient or relocate the receiving antenna.
  • Increase the separation between the equipment and receiver.
  • Connect the equipment into an outlet on a circuit different from that to which the receiver is connected.
  • Consult the dealer or an experienced radio/TV technician for help.
  • Changes or modifications not expressly approved by Rain Bird could void the user’s authority to operate the equipment.

ICES-003 Compliance Label
NMB-003 CAN ICES-3(B)/NMB-3(B)

Safety Information

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 105 WARNING

Special precautions must be taken when valve wires (also known as station or solenoid wires) are located adjacent to, or share a conduit with other wires, such as those used for landscape lighting, other “low voltage” systems or other “high voltage” power. Separate and insulate all conductors carefully, taking care not to damage wire insulation during installation. An electrical “short” (contact) between the valve wires and another power source can damage the controller and create a fire hazard.
All electrical connections and wiring runs must comply with local building codes. Some local codes require that only a licensed or certified electrician can install power. Only professional personnel should install the controller. Check your local building codes for guidance. The outdoor controller shall be permanently connected to fixed wiring by a flexible cord, and have a cord anchorage. The cord anchorage shall relieve conductors from strain, including twisting, at the terminals and protect the insulation of the conductors from abrasion.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 106 CAUTION Stationary appliances not fitted with means for disconnection from the supply mains having a contact separation in all poles that provide full disconnection under overvoltage category III, the instructions state that means for disconnection must be incorporated in the fixed wiring in accordance with the wiring rules.
This appliance can be used by children aged 8 years and above and persons with reduced physical, sensory or mental capabilities or lack of experience and knowledge if they have been given supervision or instruction concerning the use of the appliance in a safe way and understand the hazards involved. Children shall not play with the appliance. Cleaning and user maintenance shall not be made by children without supervision. For controllers not provided with supply cords, the fixed installation must include a disconnecting device for all three poles suitable for overvoltage category III protection.
NOTICE
Use only Rain Bird-approved accessory devices. Unapproved devices may damage the controller and void the warranty. For a list of compatible devices go to: www.rainbird.com Changes or modifications not expressly approved by Rain Bird could void the user’s authority to operate the equipment. Date and time are retained by a lithium battery which must be disposed of in accordance with local regulations.

RAIN BIRD ESP-ME3 Controller User Manual  & troubleshooting 107

The Intelligent Use of Water®
LEADERSHIP · EDUCATION · PARTNERSHIPS · PRODUCTS
At Rain Bird, we believe it is our responsibility to develop products and technologies that use water efficiently. Our commitment also extends to education, training, and services for our industry and community. The need to conserve water has never been greater. We want to do even more and with your help, we can. Visit www.rainbird.com for more information about The Intelligent Use of Water®.

Rain Bird Corporation
6991 East Southpoint Road
Tucson, AZ 85756
USA
Tel: (520) 741-6100
Rain Bird Corporation
970 W. Sierra Madre Ave.
Azusa, CA 91702
USA
Tel: (626) 812-3400
Rain Bird International
1000 W. Sierra Madre Ave.
Azusa, CA 91702
USA
Tel: +1 (626) 963-9311

Technical Services for U.S. and Canada only:
1 (800) RAINBIRD
1-800-247-3782
www.rainbird.com

® Registered trademark of Rain Bird Corporation
( 2020 Rain Bird Corporation D41274 15JA20

FAQ


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