Can i activate 2 or more stations at the same time on GEN3
You could if you wired those two stations (valves) to the same zone, but then of course they’d always water at the same time, for the same time, and I’m not sure that will be the result you want.
What are you trying to do?
Two stations are connected to misters for summer time cooling. I want the option to control both valves independently. Also, installation guidelines warns about connecting two valves on one station
First don’t let my “Rachio Power User” title fool you into thinking I know all about this stuff! I’m just an interested user. I can see where the manual might not want to have two valves set up on one station; they don’t know what current your valves draw, so I can understand that. Perhaps if you can get a current draw for your valves and an allowable current on the station, you might be able to. Technically, it might work, but actually, it might blow the controller.
Unless the two CAN be connected to the same zone, then 2 zones cannot be operated at once with the Rachio controller (unless you use the Rachio to throw a relay, which in turn can operate both zones).
But you mention you want the option to control both valves independently. So why would you /want/ them connected to the same station? Why not have them to separate stations, and operate them as you need to?
Correct, Thanks. All of the above comments is correct. I wish I could simultaneously turn on two or more misters stations at the same time on a GEN 3 controller. Maybe a future GEN 4 may offer this feature.
@Sophal - there are multiple reasons why Rachio out of the box won’t run multiple zones at the same time.
Current the Rachio must source (provide). It has to power the logic board, potentially a master valve/pump start relay, the running zone and the previous zone (for a little while if the reduce water hammer option is selected) - all from a 1,000 milliamp power supply. Therefore, if there valves take 300 milliamps each, there is just 100 milliamps for the logic board.
As @rraisley pointed out the two zones would need to be idential from an irrigation standpoint - evapotranspiration, precipitation rate and efficiency for Rachio to water them correctly. As Rachio is designed as an irrigation device where each zone can be fine tuned for maximum water savings I don’t see Rachio supporting running multiple zones.
THAT BEING SAID - I have designed numerous work arounds for people that needed to run an injection pump - rust prohibiter or fertilizer - in conjunction with several zones by using relays and an external power supply as needed.
If no other valves will be open (e.g. no master valve or pump start relay) when you want the misters to run simultaneously and there is a spare zone in the Rachio controller I would use a relay connected to the spare zone to provide power to the two zones using power from the Rachio controller. If a master valve or pump start relay is needed - then I would provide power from a separate power supply and you might need a couple more relays to isolate.
So don’t expect the feature in a Gen 4 device (IMHO). Let me know more specifics and I or @Gene can sketch out a simple relay setup (inexpensive) to solve the problem for you.
This said, you won’t be able to run the misters and irrigate at the same time.
Thank you Dlane for the detailed explanation. Bottom line is, two stations can not be on at the same time. I do understand the relay option and have considered that, but still both valve will be on/ off at the same time.
By using a double-pole relay (DPST or DPDT), you can have (for example) Zone 1 runs mister A, Zone 2 runs mister B, and Zone 3 operates the relay, which runs both misters.
Good idea Stewart. I did not consider the A,B and combo option to make my desired options.
I have 3 sprinkler zones wired together because I’ve been too lazy to dig up and re-pipe the system. Rachio can control up to 3 valves at once. If you have a master valve, that means the master and 2 zones, if you don’t have a master, that means 3 zones. But, like the others have mentioned, this means those combined zones function as one.
Master valve would come on with every station that is active. I can see doubling up on a station if the MV was not used. Double up would still “meet” the RACHIO guide lines of two coil/solenoid energy consumption ( MV+station)
The combo set up with zone A and B would send back feed voltage into zone A or B control. Would this harm the controller. Maybe someone from Rachio can chime in.
I don’t have a master valve. I have 3 valves wired together on 2 different zones. Mine has been set up this way for over 2 years, first on a Gen1, now on a Gen3.
If you have a master valve that needs to turn on, you can still have 2 valves wired to one terminal, but they will always run together.
@Sophal - I wouldn’t expect anyone from Rachio to chime in on any non traditional use of their device - too much risk/liability.
I don’t think there is an issue backfeeding voltage - as long as it is 24 VAC - into the Rachio zone terminals.
Howerver, one can use a diode to prevent backfeeding voltage. If one is super concerned about backfeeding then one can use a relay on all three zones. For example:
Zone A goes to the coil on SPST NO relay with the other coil terminal going to a Rachio C terminal, MV goes to the Pole (to provide power, so Master Valve needs to be enabled), and solenoid 1 goes to the NO contact and the common wire for solenoid 1 going to a C terminal.
Zone B goes to the coil on SPST NO relay, MV goes to the Pole (to provide power, so Master Valve needs to be enabled), and solenoid 2 goes to the NO contact and the common wire for solenoid 2 going to a C terminal.
Zone A&B goes to the coil on SPST NO relay, MV goes to the Pole (to provide power, so Master Valve needs to be enabled), and solenoid 1 & 2 goes to the NO contact and the common wire for solenoid 1 & 2 going to a C terminal.
No current will be backfeed into the Rachio using this setup.
This has been a sore point for years with me. The Rachio paradigm is one controller for one house that has one valve box. I have and need a single controller to coordinate 4 valve boxes,13 zones total. I’d strongly prefer to have 4 Master Valves but I cannot. A single valve failure would negate an entire year of water savings. It would be convenient to have a single water source but I cannot get by with fewer than 4. My wish is for a Gen 4 that has an abundant power supply and the ability to operate 2 valves simultaneously for my situation and for others as well. It’s needed. Not everyone fits the planned model.
@purson - this can be accomplished by using some relays to control the desired master valve associated with a specific zone. The relays are fairly inexpensive last time I checked <$10 each.
If I understand your configuration, it would require either 110v at each valve box OR an extra wire to each valve box from the controller. If that is true, it’s far too late for my situation. It’s all in the ground based on the Gen3 output and with the distances, I doubt I’d revisit the hardware to add more. I may lose a valve one day and some water but that is what I have at this point.
Short of a FULL commercial irrigation system, I don’t know any that have the ability to run multiple MV’s based on zone. I had an entry level commercial timer on my house prior to Rachio and the only thing it could do that Rachio can’t, is overlap multiple schedules at the same time. That might seem like a benefit, but with a residential water supply, I had to be careful not to let certain schedules overlap.
I’m not a relay expert like @dlane, but I’m pretty sure the relay system can be accomplished with the current wiring you have in place (assuming you already have the 4 MV’s installed and wired).
@Sophal said: “Two stations are connected to misters for summer time cooling. I want the option to control both valves independently. Also, installation guidelines warns about connecting two valves on one station.”
As you’ve learned, two zones coming on at the same time is doable but as others suggest, with some work-around. Just a thought: since it might be likely to run both misters at the same time, can they be put onto the same valve instead of two valves? If you don’t need to run them both at the same time, then just wire up as two zones and use them one at a time.