As Needed (now Fixed Monthly) | Scheduling Tips & Feedback

Thanks, I’ll verify the sprinkler types when I get home, I may have missed that. I’m still not sure why it watered, though. I was planting stuff in it yesterday after work, and it wasn’t dry.

Edit: sprinklers in that zone are Hunter Pro 12" Fixed Spray Heads w/ Pro-Spray Fixed Arc Nozzles.

Pretty simple. After the characteristics are entered for a zone, but before the changes are committed, inform the user of the impacts of their change(s).

“Schedule ABC is currently watering Zone 1 for X minutes with a +/- Y user offset. Your changes will result in a new watering time of Z.”

Repeat for each schedule that uses the zone.

Now that I write this I’m even more confused by the move to As Needed. Seems people would buy a smart controller so they didn’t have to calculate/adjust the exact number of minutes per zone.

Flex had this right, which is why zone changes could immediately be observed in the schedule.


One thing I do like about the new As Needed schedules is that multiple zones can be tied together in some way. That way, if I do a bit of manual watering, it doesn’t throw two adjacent zones off like on Flex.

It seems like it is best for zones that have overlapping sprinkler heads to run on the same days so the half-waterings that the between-zones area add up to a full deep watering and don’t ever get split onto separate days (resulting in two half-deep waterings on different days).

I know tying together very different zones is problematic, but similar zones that are adjacent ate perfect for this bug/feature. :slight_smile:

All the tips given in this thread seem to be more indicative of the problems that as needed presents rather than demonstrating how it is implementing improvements over flex :confused:

How do I find the Flex schedule on the web app? Other users have said that they can still use it, however I can not find Flex sxhedules anymore. Since changing the the As Needed schedule, my watering has become shorter in duration and occurs more often. Doesn’t that kind of ruin the goal of building deeper roots in all of the plants? Thanks for your help!

Sorry for the confusion. We’ve created an older version of the webapp for creating flex schedules. Still working through our longer term plan. This has a link to the special webapp. (

Please have confidence we are diligently working on what our next software release contains :wink:

We are still using zone attributes to set the initial values for As Needed schedules. I think the difference is that we let the user tweak their schedules by minutes, instead of digging into and researching zone attributes. The idea behind the new schedules was also not to abandon flex, but take some of the best ideas and pull them into more predictable schedules that can be edited by minutes. We will continue to iterate

I think this hits the nail on the head. Yes, make it so we can directly change the schedule minutes in FLEX. That was indeed a difficult proposition–guessing how to set the parameters to get the results we wanted. But don’t abandon the things that made FLEX great–visual feedback of the future schedule, intelligent watering of grouped zones, etc. You can even use the 30 year historical averages if you wish. Probably you know better than we how accurate those are for predicting current weather.


I’ve reverted t my FLEX schedules. WAN simply does not work, at least in Southern California. This week the temperatures will be in the low 70s. Last week they pushed 90. But the 30 year average would be 68 degrees. So this week the garden might be watered correctly but last week (if it had been using WAN) it would have been parched. Maybe on average, it was “correctly” watered but too bad about the plants that died:(

By the way, these temp fluctuations were predicted by the weather service, but not a month in advance, Weather models are just not that accurate here.

FLEX knew what was happening and acted accordingly because it reacted daily.

Can’t use WAN on my lawn either. I have watering day restrictions for it.

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Some more feedback on WAN ease of use.

I have finished reading the article “How do I fine tune As Needed Schedules.” Seems like they are just as convoluted to change as FLEX were. Yes, changing the watering time is much improved–just set it. But changing the interval is still the requires either deep knowledge of plant mechanics or a trial and error methodology. Seems no better than tweaking FLEX schedules.

We recommend you test small; 10% +/- increments and then navigate back to the calendar view to see the actual affect.

How many Iro users really know what the crop coefficient “should” be for a crop mix? For those of who do not (and don’t really see any reason to become experts) why not show the impact of the change while the adjustment is being made? For most of us the whole purpose of changing the crop coefficient slider is to change the interval. And of course, the reason we are using this slider is that it was what is suggested in the article. It might even make more sense to simply allow that interval to be changed directly as was done for watering interval.

No, I don’t believe this is what @stonecliff is referring to. For example, we have two sites that have two rachios each: Example_Controller_1-16 and Example_Controller_17-32. This is awkward for a variety of reasons, but primarily in setting up run-times vs. watering windows over variable watering needs.

It would be great to be able to ADD a controller to a controller group, and run the group under the same programming set.

So why is my drip zones running every other day? I understand my the vegetable zone does, “when I drip you drip we drip” wants to run every other day at 30 minutes. This is way overkill during April, flex did,this,during peak heat of August.

I tried WAN and went back to flex. Didn’t have time to follow the discussion last week and missed your post. It’s been a week since I set up the WAN and ran up against the 3 hour limit as well. But, once you get the schedule done there was a total run time at the top of the screen if I remember correctly. I was able to add time to the total time on top and it adjusted the individual zones below. Not ideal but maybe a short term fix.

what about creating a simpler way to tweak FLEX schedules by percentage? my old “smart” Rainbird ESP controller did many of the same calculations of ET, MAD, etc. (without having the look forward/internet/smartphone capabilities) and calculated which zones needed to be watered and how much as a custom number each “allowed” watering day. I could modify root depth, soil etc. to tweak the numbers but it also had a zone specific % increase system where if one zone was always just a bit brown looking or wet looking I could modify the times (still calculated individually for that specific day) by 5, 10, 15% plus or minus. It was a great way of easily tweaking a zone that was always a bit too wet or dry with the Rainbird calculation and would be simpler for the end user who didn’t want to modify stuff like root depth, moisture level etc.

maybe this would help with your support issues (they could just tell a user to increase/decrease by percentage for that zone until it looked right) without losing the magic of your product. you are trying to scale rapidly because you have a hit on your hands, its obvious, but what made it a hit WAS your flex scheduling.


No, what I was referring to is the ability to run multiple controllers as one single controller if so desired. For example, if one has 32 zones but is constrained by water pressure to only run one at a time. Right now, the only way to solve this is to allow the schedules to run on opposite days.

And if you really want to get clever, you could give the multi-controller schedule a max GPM to allow multiple zones to run simultaneously.

I’m a new user as of a couple of months ago. I set up with FIXED 1st, as I found FLEX a bit intimidated, and wanted to try AS NEEDED first, hoping for an easier experience. Here are my impressions. Keep in mind that I’m not one that had a pre-disposition to FLEX as I hadn’t even set it up, and my comments are truly meant to be constructive. I believe in what you guys are doing, and can comprehend the difficulty of doing it well without complicating the process.


  1. I ran FIXED for a couple of months. I just replicated my Hunter PRO-C setup.
  2. I set up AS NEEDED the day it came out.
  3. I gave FLEX a try tonight, after having played with AS NEEDED for the last week.


  1. AS NEEDED was more complicated than I was expecting. I still had to set up nozzles, soil type, slope, etc. Once I did that the intervals came out as expected, which was great, but setting the duration that I needed has been a problem due to the max. duration limits currently imposed. Since I live in the desert, my duration needs to be much larger than the 59m cap in the app., and larger than what 3hr cap. in the web interface. Although I’ve since been shown how to override them, it took quite a bit of investigating into what my target duration should have been, since the cap. in the app. was masking it. I can see the need to cap. so people don’t inadvertently flood their yards if they put in bad data, but some sort of message to the user on what the existing settings are suggesting would be helpful, with the allowance to override the cap if the user agrees it’s OK. If I had blindly accepted the 59m duration in my app. I would have had a lot of sad looking vegetation.

  2. Desert watering of shrubs with 1GPH emitters is common in Arizona. The associated run times are anywhere between 3h 45m to 8h for my yard, depending on who you listen to. As needed gave me initial run times of 59m every 6 days (see #1 above), and FLEX suggested 1h 55m. I adjusted to the max. duration possible in web app. for FLEX, but the highest I can get to is 2h 53m. How can I push this higher ?

  3. Per #1 & #2, perhaps a button in the user settings that removes or increases caps if users select ‘desert’ or ‘arid’ climates ?

  4. Living in a place with fairly predictable weather patterns, I like the idea of using historical data if it can help your algorithms. It provides a nice baseline. However, in the desert, as in many climates, extremes can be had in the short term and in unpredictable ways. As I mentioned in another thread, we’ll almost certainly have streaks of 10+ days over 110F, but which week in a 3-month span those spells will hit is not predictable. Furthermore, one summer may have more of them than others. If AS NEEDED doesn’t adjust accordingly, but FLEX does, my preference is FLEX.

  5. I needed to go through the trouble of figuring out the right soil type, nozzles and slope, setup on AS NEEDED to see intervals and durations (caps excluded) that I expected for our climate. Once I did that for AS NEEDED, FLEX was no more difficult than AS NEEDED. I see the barriers to entry of the correct setup to be equivalent on each.

  6. The problem is complex for the average consumer and being an engineer, I sympathize with the challenge of Rachio developers in trying to simplify it. I think that’s the Holy Grail here. Putting aside the differences between AS NEEDED and FLEX, perhaps a step-by-step GUI that leads the user through picking nozzles, soil type, slope, etc. is the answer? If the data entry was easier for me with a step-by-step guide, and I didn’t have the cap. issue, it would have been quite a bit more straightforward regardless of AS NEEDED or FLEX. Without users entering the right data you’ll always be facing a support nightmare. On that note, this is an example of what I’m talking about ( It’s missing the soil type, but if you could somehow include the soil survey info. into an engine like this you’d have the data that could be fed into the zone setup. I’m sure that it’s not an easy feat!

Again, my comments are intended to be constructive, and not critical. From what I can easily tell you guys care about your customers and are working quite hard to do your best and do what’s right. For now, I’m sticking with FLEX mostly because of it’s apparent ability to adjust quickly to our temperature patterns here (#4 above). Thanks, by the way, for providing us that option! I could use some help, however. How can I push my shrub duration higher than the max. I seem to be able to get on my setup (#2 above).

Thanks for your time!

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I like the idea to adjust the calculated zone watering parameters. I would suggest these 3 - the cycle time for each soak cycle, the interval/frequency between waterings, and the total watering time.

This provides different remedies for problems of runoff during smart cycle, zone drying out before watering is scheduled, and over or under watering.

Similar adjustments could be added for weather data if the frequency in all zones needs an adjustment.

I agree - the most recent software changes make me want to rip your system off my garage wall and reinstall my manual controller… I HAD 100% more control over water my grass. Now, I have an over-engineered watering approach that is not effective at all…

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NNMark: go back to flex with their beta page until they sort it out.

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Ok, it’s official, I just ditched wan. I’m back to flex. Wan is way to damned aggressive. Wan was reporting another watering for my entire turf zone on Friday, who way, no how. Wan wants to run my drips every other day with an extra 10 minutes run time compared to flex which is pushing more than a week for most zones.

Man, I’m trying to keep the wife and county happen, not piss in their face…


Thanks for your patience everyone, please understand we are listening.


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