Brand new Gen 2 user and the Flex/AN issue


#1

I just want to chime in as a day 1 user of a Gen 2 coming from a Rainbird ESP (so I’m familiar with the idea of “Flex” schedules and trying to manage “MAD”)…

Thank God for your forum!!! I thought I was going insane with the As Needed schedules in the 2.5 software. I have the very, very, very common odd/even city requirement and right off the bat I couldn’t find a way to do it with As Needed. Then I discovered it waters all zones at the same time. This is NOT what all the raves and reviews for your product that caused me to order it were all about. Besides look “forward” capability to see rain in the future via the internet I fully expected your “smart” controller to water zones only when needed but instead I got something that seemed a lot like a “dumb” box that was easier to setup but had even more limitations then my old Rainbird!

You made a GREAT CHOICE restoring a “beta” webpage that allowed me to enter my Flex schedule. In minutes (how can you say this is harder?) I had a brilliant custom schedule that makes your product the 5 out of 5 star product it is and can be! Please, please, please don’t destroy this controller by removing Flex schedules this fall. Even if you make “As Needed” more sophisticated (by for example adding in odd/even scheduling that should have been there day 1) don’t deprecate features in Flex, find a way to include them all.

I want to promote Rachio to friends as I’m the local “Smart Home” guy but I’ll hold off until a more clear future for scheduling at Rachio is explained to end users.

Thanks for being so very active on the forums. I love your product, it was a great setup experience once I found the Flex beta page.


#2

Thanks for taking the time to provide feedback, and welcome to the community. We are aggregating feedback and listening, and will continue to iterate on our software.

Glad you have everything working, and please don’t be afraid to put that 5 star review on Amazon :wink:

:cheers:


#3


#4

Thanks for the response. I gladly will provide that 5 star review once I know the Flex scheduling capabilities will be part of a permanent future for the device. The beta page right now is invisible to new users unless they find it via the forums like I did and I wouldn’t rate the controller 5 stars WITHOUT the Flex capabilities. I have a good feeling that you’ll continue to iterate in the future and find a way to provide both your idea of “simple” scheduling while providing a class leading custom solution like your current beta Flex system. I encourage you to keep the Flex system and add a % increase/decrease for each specific zone to allow users to tweak the custom times Flex comes up with if a particular zone looks consistently dry/wet vs. going straight to root depth, area, crop coefficient etc. Perhaps that can help with your support issues but like I said elsewhere your support issues are because you have a huge hit on your hands and its a huge hit because of the FLEX feature, so don’t lose the magic.


#5

@boldblue737 - I’m a current ESP-SMTe user and considering the switch. I was holding off and now that they have the beta page back, am considering making the leap. Would love to hear how you think the systems compare as you keep using it! Am hopeful with the extra weather data that the system will operate even more efficiently!


#6

Well as noted, I’m day 1 so I can only offer setup comments coming from a Rainbird ESP-SMTe…

Setting up the system myself was super simple although I haven’t obviously hooked up the Rainbird’s old bucket / temp sensor because I assume the Gen 2 Rachio doesn’t support it since it isn’t a simple “Rain” sensor. Setting up the zones is the exact same concept of the Rainbird (soil type, slope, grass type) but done in a graphical easy to use interface on your phone or web that puts the horrible ordeal of the Rainbird controller to shame. Using flex scheduling it appears that much like the Rainbird ESP-SMTe it is calculating for each zone a custom water time including soak times for each individual “legal” opportunity to water (you can set odd/even, day of the week restrictions, and a start time restriction but the Rainbird had even more settings that helped vs. the Rachio) but instead of using “historical” ET figures like the ESP (since it didn’t have a wind/humidity sensor) it is using real time wind/humidity data (plus temp and past rain like we had with Rainbird) PLUS future rain and temperature forecast to modify the values. BRILLIANT! I love it all so far BUT…

This is a big BUT… I wouldn’t have jumped if I had realized that Rachio was changing their ideas behind scheduling so dramatically and in response to their rapid growth and support issues. While I am beyond glad they have put up the Flex beta page and seem to acknowledge that underestimated how many of their users loved the Flex scheduling they have yet to concretely announce that the feature will remain for good. I would wait until we get promises that 100% of the Flex capability won’t disappear at some point in the future, but that’s me. I have a feeling they will and unlike our old Rainbirds the Rachio can change its abilities with smart developers behind it.


#7

@bzimmer, just realize their intent is to ditch flex, so although they will let you program it now, they have stated it will go away by Nov.

So, buyer beware, the whole advantage of the Iro is (at least now), a short-lived feature. Flex was perfect. Just to see how ridiculous the situation is … they PLAN TO TAKE AWAY ENTERING WATERING RESTRICTIONS… for a SMART CONTROLLER - and in fact they have removed this feature unless you go through their temporary reprieve page.

I would not buy this now and I would advise you not to either until/unless they change their approach.


#8

That’s a bit harsh steve28 since they recently RESTORED the ability to create Flex programs (via the beta page) and have admitted that they underestimated user desire for the Flex capability as we as need to add some features to “As Needed” like odd/even and day restrictions, and per zone watering. That said I would monitor the situation and hopefully we can get reassurance that the Flex features will remain a permanent part of this smart controller in the future.


#9

@bzimmer I was also a Rainbird - SMTe user, and switched to Rachio on the recommendation of a landscaper I use. Using FLEX, I found that it did a more accurate job of watering (my old Rainbird watered too much, which my Landscaper also complained about Rainbirds). My landscaper loved it so much that he became a certified Rachio installer a little after we put mine in. If they end up keeping Flex, I would definitely get it. I’m hoping they will make that decision.


#10

The great thing about our company is that we learn and listen. This might provide some context as to our decisions and directions moving forward.

:cheers:


#11

I switched from Flex to As Needed a week ago and my first watering under AN was last Sunday. After that watering, the schedule showed my next watering was set for the following Friday. On Monday night through Tuesday night, we received 4.21" of rain. My recollection is that under this scenario under Flex, the watering schedule would have been altered immediately shifting the next watering to a later date (we also got smaller amounts later in the week prior to the next scheduled watering). Instead, it wasn’t until one hour before Friday’s scheduled watering that I received word that a rain delay had been activated. But the reason cited was not because of all the rain that we received during the week. Instead, the notice said the delay was because rain was predicted later on Friday. Based solely on the message I received, it does not appear that all the rain received last week was taken into account. If it was, I would have expected the watering schedule to have been altered much earlier than one hour before the scheduled watering. If the Flex schedule would have addressed this, I would also be in favor of its return.


#12

@jgcaldwell If flex was working for you, please continue to use it. If you accidentally removed, please use https://flex-app.rach.io and you can add back.

We are building a solution that I believe will work for everyone.

Thanks for your patience.

:cheers:


#13

@franz Good to hear you are building a solution. I have been using Flex since they went into beta and I love those schedules. I turned on my system yesterday and decided to setup new As Needed schedules to try them out. Not a fan at all. In fact it makes my smart controller a dumb controller with the ability to avoid watering when it rains, which I have a rain sensor for.

In fact I have been looking at getting my own PWS so I can have even better data for my system to work off, data which I know will be accurate but if the system only changes monthly then the system is basically worthless to me. Especially since weather changes so fast and can vary so much in a month’s time.

So in the end my request is PLEASE keep the Flex schedules.


#14

Glad and disturbed to have found this thread. I just ordered the Rachio Gen 2 based solely off the FLEX functionality. Also coming from a Rainbird ESP-Me. Had intended to install the Rachio this week. So help me FLEX functionality will be discontinued. Might as well have ordered a Rainmachine.


#15

@Miles267 Flex scheduling will be fully re-introduced into our next software release

And you can still create them here https://flex-app.rach.io as well as edit them on any of our latest software.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

:cheers: