Cloud Software sugggestion

I wish you would improve your cloud software that my two rachio controllers are integrated as one. In other words, when the system runs each night, that there is one start time, and the two controllers function as if they are one controller. I have two controllers with 24 stations total. Currently I have to have two different start times, one for each controller. This makes no sense and should be easy to make “as one.”

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You can program your two controllers to start at the same time, provided you have enough main line capacity to have two controllers running at the same time without causing significant water pressure drop. If you don’t, then staggered watering times will ensure you do not have a low pressure situation from two controllers running at the same time.

While what you suggest could be done with programming, but would also add complexity that might confuse some users that do not need such complexity.

Well I do not have enough water pressure to run both at the same time. I like to run my sprinklers so that they start around 11:00 PM and have them be done watering by 5:00 AM. The problem is that with two controllers, I am never quite sure when the first controller will be done watering so that I can start the second controller, so I have to put in a huge buffer between the end of one station’s watering and the beginning of the second. The “Durations” section of “Edit Schedule” of the 16 station unit shows 7h17m of watering, yet usually it is done in 2 hours, sometimes 3, sometimes more than 3. It varies from day to day. I know there are other controller manufacturers that allow one to essentially combine multiple controllers into one. It just seems to me to me that in the setup it would not be too confusing to most people to have the question: “I see you have two controllers. Would you like to treat these two controllers (one a 16 station controller, one an 8 station controllers) as if it were one 24 station controller with a unified start time?” How confusing is that? It isn’t confusing at all, at least for most people. It is just unfortunate when you know people are buying more than one controller that you are not willing to take it to the next level so that the multiple units can be combined, so that there is no guesswork as to when to start the second controller. If they are combined, there is only one start time per day for both controllers, and everything runs sequentially from that one start time.

I see your point here. It would be cool if we can develop a method that allows the systems to “talk” to one another and stack your schedules automatically for sure!

Can you tell me what sort of schedules your are running? I am curious to see why the durations are varying so significantly.

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I have most all zones set for “Flexible Daily” allowing all zones to water “Any Day.” There are 16 stations on my first controller, and I have it set to start watering at 10:00 PM because I want the watering to be done before the start time of my second controller starts, which I have set for 2:00 AM. I would like for all zones to be done watering before 5:30 AM when we sometimes get up in our house and begin showers (no water pressure issues). So there are 16 potential stations that can be watered on my first controller. On Monday August 7 in reviewing the schedule set up by Rachio, watering will begin at 10:00 PM and be done at 12:23AM. On Tuesday, August 8 it will start at 10:00 PM and be done at 10:45 PM. On Wednesday, August 9 it will start at 10:00 PM and be done at 12:41 AM. On Thursday, August 10 it will begin at 10:00 PM and be done at 1:49 AM. On Friday, August 11, it will begin at 10:00 PM and be done at 10:45 PM. On Saturday, August 12, it will begin at 10:00 PM and be done at 10:45 PM, On Sunday, August 13, it will begin at 10:00 PM and be done at 1:07 AM. On Monday, August 14, it will begin at 10:00 PM and be done at 1:00 AM, and on and on. I never quite know when my Rachio 16 station controller will be done so that I can start my Rachio 8 station controller and not wonder if there will be overlap between the controllers. This is especially true since if I look at the watering schedule, “Edit Watering Schedule”, “Water All Zones” and I look into “Duration,” It shows that Rachio could potentially water all zones at once, and the time it would take to do that is 7 hours and 17 minutes. If the two controllers were treated as one 24 station controller by your software in the cloud (it can’t be that complicated to make that happen), there would NEVER be overlap between the two stations, and the watering on any given day for all zones set up by the Rachio watering schedule for both controllers would occur in the shortest period of time. There would never have to be a big gap of time between the end of the first controller’s watering cycle and the second controllers watering cycle to make sure there is no overlap.

I should add that often Rachio sets up the watering schedule for the 8 station controller to last longer than the 16 station controller. Saturday August 5 the 8 station controller will start at 2:00 AM and not be done till 6:05 AM. On Monday August 7 it begins at 2:00 AM and ends at 4:42 AM. On Tuesday, August 8 it begins at 2:00 AM and is done at 4:50 AM. On Friday August 11 it begins at 2:00 AM and ends at 4:52 AM. On Saturday August 12 it begins at 2:00 AM and ends at 4:05 AM… All of these schedules are determined by Rachio, not by me. There is no watering at all on August 9 or 10. Again, if my 16 station controller and my station controller were treated as one 24 station controller by your cloud software, it would make a lot more sense in terms of having all the stations requiring watering on any given day being finished and done in the least amount of time with zero overlap.

I see. So I believe the main issue here is that you probably have several zones with different vegetation types in that flexible daily schedule, is that right? The reason for the different durations is that some zones will be depleted and not others, therefore the system will only run the zones that actually need to be watered, thus the reason for the durations constantly changing. If all of your zones depleted on the same day, then you would probably see a runtime up around the 7.5 hour mark.

The man solution that I can think of at this time would be to stagger the waterings from each device, one running even days, one odd. That way, you wouldn’t have to worry about the schedules from one device affecting the schedules from the other. Plus you could set the schedules for each device to start at the same time each day. We don’t normally recommend adding day restrictions for flex schedules, but every other day should be fine, depending on how delicate your zones actually are.

I believe that another solution would be a “complete schedule before a set time” sort of parameter, which is something I know the dev teams have been toying around with. That way your 7.5 hour schedule would know when to run in order to complete before the schedule(s) on the other device would start. Do you think that this would help?

Yes–multiple areas of vegetation, some with shrubs, some with grass, lots of gradations of shade between the different watering stations. Some areas of grass are mostly shade, others full sun all day. Same for flower beds. Yes, all of your solutions would work, but for your system to run with the most watering efficiency, it would make sense if you made that small software modification to treat both stations as one every day. Some days the watering would be done for all stations in two hours, others in 6 hours, and there would be zero overlap and the watering would be completed in the shortest possible time… It just makes no sense to me why you wouldn’t want to do that sort of software upgrade. You would sell more controllers to individuals who have more than 16 stations, because right now they probably look at your system, and say, "I think I will buy this other controller from this other brand (not Rachio), because I can link multiple controllers together so that they function as one controller. Hunter makes a 24 station controller (Hunter Pro-HC 24 station controller) that does exactly what the Rachio does–predictive water control, web based. Hunter also makes smaller controllers (modules of 4) where one can install a 4 station controller, then one can add modules of 4 stations so that the entire system can ultimately function as one 15 station controller (The Hunter Pro-C Indoor modular controller) without having to buy a new controller with more stations. Rainbird also makes a modular unit where you can tie multiple controllers together to function as one (The Rain Bird ESP-4SMTE 4 station Units). One can start off with a 4 station Rainbird modular unit and add more 4 stations controllers which function together as a large unit (in multiples of 4). This system also has predictive weather technology in determining how much to water each station each day. When it comes to making multiple controllers into one, and to having the ability to do what you do with more than 16 stations, Hunter has you beat, and you are probably losing sales to them. The same is possibly true of Rainbird since the multiple units can be combined into one larger unit for programming purposes.

I should add that the Toro Evolution Series station controller is another one that allows multiple controllers to be linked together to function as one (though without predictive weather programming). They have a 4 station unit and a 12 station unit. One can link multiple 4 station units together to function as a 16 station unit, or a 12 station unit with a 4 station unit to function as a single 16 station unit. If you made this change in your software, you would be competitive with the other modular units from other manufacturers, as well as the units from other manufacturers which do predictive watering. You will have surpassed these other manufacturers on some level.

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