Exact water usage using flow

My worst zone is 108 ft^2, it’s a long narrow piece or grass between the sidewalk and street and the irrigation installer did not design the most efficient zone. Per my meter the zone uses 8.1 gpm, backing out the PR from that gives you 7.2 in/hr which is far higher than what my lawn actually gets measured from catch cups (1.6 in/hr). If I set the PR for this zone to 7.2 the usage information is very accurate, however, the default watering times are way off. They’re too short because the systems uses 7.2 in/hour to calculate the times (among other variables).

Caveat - the above information assumes I don’t mess with the efficiency and leave it at or near 100. You’re right, given the poor design the efficiency is way off. Through trial and error I’ve found the actual efficiency to be closer to 54% and then everything works out.

There are a lot of variables you can play with as you’re all well aware. My whole point is that simply adding a gpm input for more accurate usage data will likely cause you to have to mess with other variables, like efficiency, to get the calculated watering times in the ballpark, depending on your unique system/installation. In my experience it’s a bit time consuming to move the sliders, create new schedules, see how things changed and repeat as necessary. I’d like to input the variables of my yard, as precise as I can measure/determine them, and have the iro spit out ‘good’ numbers (usage, time, frequency). If you use an accurately measured PR for the watering calculations and then a ‘dumb’ usage variable in GPM you could easily get accurate usage information without having to tweak other variables.

Worth noting that it’s very nice that they’ve provided so many tweaks because no two systems are alike and I love the flexibility, just a pain to use.

To get both accurate PR and GPM from the app, use your 1.6 in/hr precip rate from catch cups, and 8.1gpm. Then your calculated area is 487 sq ft. Input this into the app settings for the zone. Your sprinklers must be spraying over quite a bit, which is reflected in the higher sq ft. Area of the zone is only used for calculating usage, so will not affect run times or frequency.

I would guess that your efficiency is actually not that low. You are over-spraying, but the amount of water the lawn is receiving is probably very even.

If your sprinklers are only applying water to the lawn, then there may be another problem, like a leak.

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the efficiency setting accommodates this problem which you acknowledge…

makes a really good point.

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That is a great idea, calculate the ‘corrected’ area. I’m going to have to play with that later, it should work. They are spraying over a bunch, way too much, someday I’ll be reworking that zone. Thanks!

+1 to a GPM per zone. Then make sure we have an option so the gallons calculated and displayed as saved or used in the dashboard uses it. and only it.
The parade of parameters and nozzle configurations are pretty sophisticated and cool for some scenarios. I dont think you should ever take that away.
Just suggesting to add a simpler GPM option 'instead of"
That really is all the metrics I want to see and track.

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I can’t believe there is not a GPM incorporated yet for each zone. It’s like working with the government, they just don’t get it. Please, please add this feature!!!##

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This can be completely done today (flow for each and every zone) for $500 for an 8 zone controller, or $600 for a 16 zone controller. Including:

  1. sending out alarms via text message or email
  2. perpetual data storage in spreadsheet format so that you can historically look at anything or troubleshoot anything at any time.
  3. a Web site where you can get fancy and draw a picture of your system and have real time information presented to it (this effort not required though)
  4. charts to show your real time, daily, weekly, monthly, annual usage in whatever format you want.

Plus, not required is any:

  1. flow sensors or installation expenses of breaking into each line to do the installations
  2. field wiring needed, out to where the flow sensors might otherwise be, or anywhere else in the field (that would also serve as antennas for surges coming into your Rachio)

This works for ver 1 or 2 or ver 3 Rachio units.

You will need:

  1. an Ethernet connection - it’s doable with WIFi but you’ll have additional expense and effort to implement a WiFi-to-Ethernet capability
  2. to determine in advance the GPM flow for each zone - easy to do at the water meter using a clock.

Steps:

  1. Purchase 3 items from http://www.welserver.com/store.htm : WEL ($395), WEL-PWR ($11), and one or two WEL STAT-8 ($95 ea).
  2. Mount WEL STAT-8 box(es) near Rachio unit.
  3. Mount WEL box near an Ethernet connection.
  4. Connect WEL STAT-8 box 2 to box 1 (if applicable - same wire as in next step).
  5. Connect WEL STAT-8 box to WEL box using minimum 3 conductor alarm cable (lease expensive is fine; 22 AWG)
  6. Connect WEL box to Ethernet - standard CAT5 cable with standard Ethernet plug on each end.
  7. Plug in WEL-PWR unit. The WEL box is an Internet Appliance that produces its own web pages and it’s own IP address. Verify all is in order.
  8. Configure WEL unit for STAT-8 box.
  9. Connect STAT-8 box to zone wires connected to Rachio - one wire connects WEL-1 to Rachio-1, etc. Plus one wire from WEL-C to Rachio-C. Verify all working fine.
  10. Obtain GPM flows for each zone. Sit out by the water meter with a watch. Run each zone for 5 minutes. Note start and stop gallon numbers. Determine gallons for a five minute period from meter. Divide gallons number by 5 to obtain GPM. Calibrate WEL box with GPM numbers.
  11. Set up charts.

You’re done. Complete. With information to your heart’s content!

The price is compelling, but, there are some footnotes:

  1. This is a hobbyist level, DIY project. If this isn’t you, you won’t succeed. There’s nothing complicated about it but an ability to pay attention to detail is fundamental.
  2. This is a safe project. Nothing more than doorbell voltage.
  3. There’s no programming required. But, you need to be comfortable filling out screens to put in configuration data.
  4. There’s no networking skills required. You’ll be able to view your web site information anywhere you’ve got access to an Internet browser (including phones and tablets).

Here’s my implementation: http://www.welserver.com/WEL0343 . I put in even less time than what I outlined above. Didn’t bother to get GPM flows at the meter - I’m comfortable with just the amount of time. Only implemented the capability for one zone (10) and for the Master Valve zone. I do have a couple of alarms configured that send notes to me via text and email (i.e., no watering to any zone for a 7 day period or more tells me something’s wrong. Watering for more that 8 hours tells me something’s stuck. Etc.)

Hope this helps.

Best regards,

Bill

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Can I get an amen for Commuterfisher.

I bought this system to have complete control over watering the garden and to track my exact water usage. Tomatoes get watered for so long at a certain interval, as do the peppers, berries etc. Everything is on a drip system. I know exactly how much water is being used because I built it. 24 4/gph emitters on one station that runs for 15 minutes means I’ve used 24 gallons; 9 1 gph emitters on another station run for an hour means I’ve used 31 total gallons. The math is simple. Rachio, however, believes I’m using hundreds of gallons more per day than I am because I have no clue how to set the zone up when my only option is inches per hour.

I don’t want to have to convert gph into inches/hr or vice versa. I shouldn’t have to. I should be able to tell Rachio how many emitters are on a zone and what their flow rate is. Rachio can then figure how much water I’ve used by how long it ran the station. Super simple, especially for a controller as sophisticated as this one.

So how about it Team Rachio, when are we going to have a gph option? It’s a win/win. I get to set up my zones in gallons and see how many gallons I’m really using (because I’m charged by the gallon, not by acre feet, inches per hour, or cubic feet per second) and Rachio can show more water saved because it gets accurate data.

I love this controller, but it’s truly ridiculous that it won’t let me set a zone up with gph drip emitters.

You can fix this @MrDallas. The calculator I developed will come up with an area number that will make the total gallons calculated be accurate with respect to run time and the GPH of your drip heads. I agree that an out of the box solution would be preferable, but thought I’d let you know that you can make it happen now.

Drip Emitter Calculator for Precipitation Rate & Area

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Thanks for the amen! Mr Dallas. I love the control of this controller. Unfortunately the numbers are way off and based on pure estimation. Therefore their gallons saved is pure b.s… a pipe dream.

Come on Rachio get with it so we can get actual accurate data on water usage. I cannot fathom why this is not first on the list. Exact reason why companies go out of business. Not making life easier for the end user. It really pisses me off! First one to come along with a similar format, easy to use, and actual water usage. I am gone. And I will publish it on this forum.

Their solution is to give me a complicated calculation to calculate actual usage! That is why I buy a product and an app in the first place to do all that shit for Me! They don’t get it!

More Rachio b.s… They are going to lose this battle to another developer. I cannot believe their lack of attention to this.

I’m not a Rachio employee. If you don’t like alternative solutions that’s fine by me, but is it necessary to insult one user that’s trying to help another?

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Obviously it was directed at Rachio not you. I edited my post. And at best it is just an estimate still.

Not so obvious since you replied to my message. Happy 4th.

I started this thread over two years ago. You haven’t made any effort other than ‘it’s in the pipeline’.

Would I have a recommended and stayed with Rachio two years ago? Yah.

Will I stay with Rachio when I upgrade to additional valves? No.

Will I install Rachio when I redo my neighbor’s sprinkler system? No.

This is ridiculous, putting it mildly…

Wouldn’t an easy way to get a flow rate is to perhaps just allow input for the # of nozzles/sprinklers in a particular zone.

That would make it rather easy to maybe guess the GPM on the percip per hour for a # of nozzles in a zone. Else, for the zone have a GPM right in it.

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Just chiming in here to voice my support for the addition of a GPM input field for each zone… seems like a no brainer. Many of us have access to much more accurate data than your weird estimations by using readings from our water meters, and your lack of incorporating this metric into each zone is obnoxious, frustrating, and highly suspect rachio team. It’s been over 2 years since this feature was requested!!!

Are you worried that making this addition will somehow lower your water saved “statistic” and thus hurt your rep? Please do the right thing, update the app with the ability to add this more accurate data, and please your clamoring customers.

I couldn’t agree more. There is no way this estimate can even be close. If Rachio knows the type of nozzle and percip in GPM of the nozzle, then it should simply have an entry in the zone for # of nozzles.

But even then, I have Hunter PGP nozzles with different flow rates depending on the coverage. Sometimes 5-7 nozzles in a zone; some can be 1.0, some can be 2.5, which are huge. It might just be easier to allow the user to override and use a user entered “GPM” per zone. Sometimes just knowing the GPM of a nozzle isn’t enough either as that can even vary wildly by your water pressure.

Same here - please add a GPM field for the custom zone. It’s such a simple proposition… I ran each of my zones for 15 minutes ensuring nothing else was running. I noted the meter reading before and after. That is all that I need mathematically. I can always covert to GPM. Here are the fields I have in an Excel sheet and examples for a couple zones below. If I could simply tell Rachio the GPM of the zone, Rachio would know.

Zone Name
C1 - Garden Area Hedges
Meter Read Start
445644
Meter Read End
445660
Duration (MIN.)
15
Used (CU. FT.)
16
Water Used (GAL.)
119.68
Gallons Per Minute
7.978666667

Zone Name
C2 - Garden Area Downslopes
Meter Read Start
445660
Meter Read End
445667
Duration (MIN.)
15
Used (CU. FT.)
7
Water Used (GAL.)
52.36
Gallons Per Minute
3.490666667

Old thread, but I too really would like to be able to manually set GPM per zone!! It is pretty easy to look at the meter in front of my house and note the current amount, run a zone for 5 minutes, then read the meter again and divide differency by 5 for GPM. I don’t want to have to buy and install a Rachio compatible flow meter when the solution is so easy.

Please add manual GPM per zone settings!!!

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