I am trying to manually cycle through my sprinkler zones with my Rain Bird ESP-6 controller (from 1996), but the membrane button to manually cycle the zones does not work. In fact, none of the 4 membrane buttons work. But the dial works fine and the system still runs when it is supposed to for how it is currently programmed.
I have tried taking out the backup battery, unplugging the power to the controller, and re-plugging the controller without the battery, but it did not work. I also completely dismantled it, cleaned it out and inspected it. There were some insect carcasses inside the controller and a bit on the circuit board, but nothing that appears to have caused any damage or short-circuiting. I don't see any indication of burn marks or overheating nor do I see capacitors that look (visibly) blown.
I do remember that the last time I was cycling through my zones, about 3 months ago (just to inspect them and adjust the nozzles) I had some minor issues with the manual cycling button. It worked, but I had to press a bit harder, and sometimes it didn't register. I don't know if the other 3 buttons had identical issues at the time, I had no need to press them.
Is it safe to say that I need a new controller, or, in the least, need a replacement circuit board? Now that I have reset the controller, I currently cannot program it for the hot weather coming. I'll just have to manually open bleed valves until I can remedy the situation.