Everydrop 1004 EX - wire

Hi,

I ordered a Rachio controller and 2 Everydrop flow sensors and plan to install them next week. I see that Everydrop (as well as other places) recommends to use a shielded cable. How important is it if I plan to run the cable from the crawlspace? I have a bundle of 14/2 electrical cable at home. Can I use this instead of spending another $100 on shielded cable?

Also, any suggestions for installing 2 flow sensors? Can I use the 2 sensor ports or do I need to try installing them in parallel? I do not plan to install a rain sensor.

Thanks!

You definitely cannot connect meters in parallel (or series for that matter). Also, make sure to follow Rachio wiring and connect the meter common to 24VAC - on GEN 3.

All meter and controller manufacturers recommend shielded cable because there are 100s of variables outside of their control. If a meter is nearly impervious to noise but a particular controller is not, then the result is ‘meter won’t read’. (the opposite is true as well)

Rachio has a very good meter interface design that is very noise immune and anecdotally I think few people have used shielded and have not had issues.

But, manufacturers have to make recommendations based on the 20% of the population that is going to do something like route the meter wires in the same conduit as the power supply for their experimental 25 megaWatt EMP rail gun in the back yard and then wonder why the readings are erratic.

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I’d recommend cat 5 cable over 14/2 or shielded. Twisted pairs within the network cable should help filter out noise over long distances without expense of the shielded cable.
How are you planning on plumbing the flow meters? @MeterManSays may be more knowable about use of the meters, but I am under impression that two wired meters (they have to be of the same make & model) can work in parallel (connected to the same port) as long as both of them do not detect flow at the same time (which could potentially lead to at least partial loss of data about the flow).

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The Rachio sensor input is essentially a current signal that creates a pulse at roughly 1.2mA. The Everydrop meters draw about 850uA so 2 of them together would be over 1.2mA and it would never get pulses.

Since paddle meters are inherently dumb devices, they probably draw less current and maybe you could do 2 of those. But, I’d want to check all that beforehand. Also, you would have to know that one of them can’t have its contact closure ‘activated’ where the paddle came to a stop preventing the other from working. Most of them probably prevent this from happening, but needs to be verified on any particular model.

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Thanks @MeterManSays for the insight into how the Rachio’s meter input and the powered flow meters work.

Interesting…thanks for the details!

Any alternate recommendations for residential purpose? Based on the list provided on Rachio website:

Everydrop: 0.5 to 30gpm but can accommodate only 1 meter as explained above
Badger, 228PV15: 5 to 100 gpm (0.5 to 30 FPS)
CST, FSI-T10-001: 0.86 to ?? gpm (0.25 to 15 FPS)
Toro, TFS-050: 1.2 to 12 gpm

CST and Toro look better based on the flow rate. I am inclined towards CST based on the specifications. However, it costs about $250 per meter!!!

Regarding Everydrop, does the unit draw the power all the time or only when water is flowing through the meter? If it is the later, then I should be fine since I will be running only 1 zone at a time.

Did Rachio say that you can’t use S1 and S2 for the 2 meters? If you can do that, then you don’t have a problem. You just can’t connect the 2 meters to S1 only or S2 only…must have separate drivers.

It draws the same power all the time.

No. Based on the previous reply, I thought we cannot draw more than 1.2mA for all sensors together. Guess I am wrong? Is there a way to get someone from Rachio to confirm this?

Let me try to clear this up. The 1.2mA problem ONLY exists when you try to jam 2 wires from 2 different flowmeters into either S1 or S2. (putting them in parallel) From a physical connection and current draw point of view, there is no problem with having 1 flowmeter connected to S1 and 1 flowmeter connected to S2.

The problem is software. Are 2 flowmeters supported? How does the controller know when to use meter 1 and when to use meter 2?

As far as so know, Rachio software will only allow one flow meter to be configured on any one input. The second input will loose an option to add a flow meter once one meter (wired or wireless) was already added.

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Thank you Gene and MeterManSays! I contacted Rachio support and they confirmed the same (i.e. current system only supports 1 flow meter and I need to install another Rachio controller to get 2 flow meters working).

The alternate solution of using 2 controllers does not look so interesting. I guess this is only a software limitation and can probably be supported in a newer software version! (Rachio, I hope you are looking at this!!)

In the meanwhile, if anyone found an alternate solution, i.e. setting up in parallel or using an inexpensive signal combiner, please share!!

Just got a confirmation from Spruce controller support team that they support 2 flow meters!

I think I had an epiphany of how to do this without a bunch of extra parts…hang on and I’ll get back to you by Monday after I take some measurements.

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Thanks! I can hold on for a few days. I will work on fixing the sprinkler heads and leaking drip pipes in the meanwhile.

OK. So to solve the power problem, you would connect 1 meter to S1 and 24VAC - and connect the 2nd meter to S2 and 24VAC -. This gives each meter its own power source. Then you short S1 and S2 together so that when either meter is pulsing, the S1 input will see the pulse and read the flow rate.

In the app, you must disable any accessories on the S2 input. Select the ED meter for the S1 input. Of course, you cannot have flow of any kind in both meters at the same time or readings will be jacked up.

I still wouldn’t call this ideal or an intended use case. But, it is a way to pull this off with a Rachio controller.

I wired my Everydrop up using standard 18/6 sprinkler wire and it works just fine. My wire run is well over 100’.

14/2 house wire is huge for the current draw but if it’s free then I’m sure it will work fine. You might have to wire nut on a pigtail of 16 or 18ga wire to insert into the Rachio terminals. Good to know that the Rachio will only support one meter input to either the S1/S2 ports.

OMG, glad you mentioned. My backyard railgun maxes out at 17MW…was unaware of the larger unit being available. Back to the store for an upgrade!

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