Expanding the Bounds of Rachio Controller

Hi there… most people with technical chops know that sprinkler controllers are very handy and highly programmable 24V relay controllers, essentially.

I am super impressed by Rachio’s software, and I’m about ready to retire my Orbit and switch entirely over to Rachio for everything, except I’m unsure how I can get my Rachio to control my landscape lighting.

I currently have a 24V relay controlling my landscape lighting power transformer (note: do not try this unless you have electrical technician-level skills, in fact if you are not qualified don’t mess with electricity, ever). In my orbit system, I am able to set it up for 2 hours watering time, and adjust only that particular channel for an additional 200% to get 4 hours of lighting, which is more or less okay.

Is there a straight “time only” option in programmed zones on my Rachio? I love the fact that it is so good at catering to my landscaping, but with so many zones, it is useful if there would be support for “Other uses” and allow setting up just time for running it.

Note that this is also handy for controlling Fountains and the like, and given your integration with HomeKit I really hope that there is a way that this can happen and I just haven’t discovered it yet…

Thanks in advance for your help.

Some very good questions. Based upon the following, I will likely not do lighting through Rachio:

  1. I have a zone to control a water feature, but it does not regularly come on. In the matter of fact, it is not on a schedule at all, so I only turn it on when I want to.
  2. I only have the wires in with no lights (I have not found the lights that I might want, probably LED, at a decent price). I set it up so that I would likely have lights in zones.
  3. Rachio cannot have more than one zone on at a time (any combination of sprinklers/drip, water feature, and lights).

I presume what you are trying to achieve is having a schedule consisting of the one lighting zone, coming on at a specific time each night (or at sunset might be better), turning off after 4 hours, ignoring all weather, and never running at the same time as any other zone. If so, I just created this schedule with 5 hours and you should be in business as long as I understood everything.

This is some great feedback. Let me be very specific as to what I am trying to do:

Zones 1-9: Various sprinklers and drips, running whenever needed (tied into Rachio’s Weather ML system, most likely running in the morning?)

Zone 12: Wired to a relay controlling a single transformer driving all of my landscape (LED) lighting, programmed to come up at 7PM and turn off at 11PM, every single day.

Being new to Rachio, I’m not sure how you can have some zones responding to weather and turning on as needed, and the other ignoring weather and everything else and just coming on on a regular basis. Any tips you have how to program this would be appreciated, but admittedly that is somewhat lazy on my part as I have only just started setting the system up.

If what you say is true and that it is possible to have one lighting zone coming on regularly, then I am even more delighted with the Rachio system than expected!

Rachio supports serveral schedule types & you can have more than one schedule with certain zone(s).
You’ll want your irrigation zones on flex type of schedule, where weather can influence the runtime, and add seperate fixed schedule(s) for each of the preset times. Disable any weather intelligence and keep holding plus button to set the duration (of any length).
So, in your example, you’ll want the fixed schedule with your light zones to run at 7PM for four hours.
As per the @Thomas_Lerman’s point, while your lights are ON, you’ll not be able to run the fountain (for example), if you have it set as such.

Hi Gene

I’ve messed around with the app and I’ll be damned if I can figure out how to get it out of its landscape watering mode and into a straight timer mode. Pretty disappointed that I can’t find any tutorials on this, and even the one tutorial that I did find doesn’t actually load the video. That and the Chat engine with customer support seems broken… those are all the marks of a company that is going out of business or really doesn’t want to talk to customers…

What is going on at Rachio? Are they financially sound? Why is it so hard to get customer support or find anyone to talk to?

Getting worried about my purchase, and I’m a few days away from packing it up and returning it to Costco… A new customer spending hundreds of dollars on a sprinkler controller shouldn’t have to rely on a forum to get support, right??

If you create only Fixed schedules, it’s basically a timer.

If you want it to be nothing but a timer, also turn off Rain Skip, Freeze Skip, Wind Skip, Saturation Skip and Seasonal Shift.

You can reach Rachio support at 1 844 4RACHIO (1 844 472 2446). Cut them some slack for Covid.