Cellular connectivity option

I installed the Rachio for my home at the beginning of the summer and it cut my watering down significantly. My yard looked the best it has ever looked. I’m on our HOA board and we would love to install Rachio for our entrance landscaping as well as around our common areas. We spend a lot on water every year and this could save us a lot of money. The problem we have is we don’t have wifi available at either location. I would recommend an add on that enables cellular connectivity so we can install in areas with no wifi available.

At the very least external wifi antenna that would allow you to connect some directionals.

@Jason, great to hear! Out of curiosity, how much water did you save year over year (percentage wise)?

Great idea. Will pass your idea onto the hardware team for consideration. Assuming this functionally comes with a cost for cellular service, would the HOA be willing to pay a monthly fee for service?

@plainsane, if you know of any examples we should consider, please send them out way :smile:

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Sorry, I mean a connector to hookup an external antenna, like http://www.amazon.com/ask/questions/asin/B003LLS5JI/2/ref=ask_dp_iaw_ql_hza#question-Tx1THYSQLRRI7DH
They have some real reAch out an touch someone power.

@plainsane, that antenna is a beast!

Would be fun to test out sometime. Let me know if anyone is interested :wink:

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I need one!



Yea a friend of mine is going 1 mile with those on top of 2 mountains in Costa Rica.

I’m pretty sure they could go more, that was his application.

@plainsane, I think your friend needs to let us in on his secrets to escaping to Costa Rica :wink: Hopefully you get to go visit.

I also run an HOA and ran into the same problem you did. I solved it by putting a T-mobile Wifi hotspot in a weatherproof box with the Rachio. The best part is that T-mobile offers 200 MB of free data per month so we don’t even pay anything for it. Here is my earlier post describing what I did.


@dblagent007, that’s an awesome hack! Thanks for sharing with us. Looks like you can buy the T-mobile hotspot for $50ish on Amazon. Is that about what you paid?

Just curious, are you running one Iro off of it? Or multiple Iros? Wasn’t sure how big your HOA is…

I bought mine used on Ebay for $15 (looks like they are selling for around $30 now).

I should note that if you go to T-mobile’s website, it says the free data for life plan only works with tablets. However, it used to work with tablets and some wifi hotspots including the one I bought. I figured I would take a shot at buying one of the old compatible wifi hotspots and see if I could get it to activate. Well, it did!

My backup plan was a karma router. (https://yourkarma.com/). It costs $150 upfront and then you pay for the data you actually use at a rate of $14/GB. The only downside to this is that the Karma router uses a captive portal to login and the Rachio doesn’t work with a captive portal. I contacted technical support at Karma and they said they can add the MAC address of the Rachio directly to your account so you can avoid the captive portal.

Any tricks to activating the hotspot that we should be aware of?

Interesting. If you ever decide to test out a Karma router, please let us know how it works. Maybe someone else here can comment on the setup process.

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[quote=“emil, post:12, topic:2530, full:true”]
Any tricks to activating the hotspot that we should be aware of?[/quote]
No. I found instructions for setting it up and adding it to the free data for life plan by searching on the Internet. I can’t remember the specifics, but I recall connecting my tablet to the hotspot and using it to set it up. I also set it so that it would always be on (i.e., it never goes to sleep). I’ll go take a picture of the setup so you can see what it looks like.

It’s been a while since I looked into the specifics, but I know I was confident it would work. It would be interesting to see someone else give it a shot and confirm that it will work.

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Here are some pictures of my setup. I put a high voltage sticker on the enclosure hoping it would scare away would be vandals.

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That’s beautiful :wink:


@dblagent007, I’m digging the sticker! We might need to make that a standard requirement :wink:

Thanks again for all of your advice and feedback on the hotspot setup. This will be useful information come spring time.

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