Finished before sunrise scheduling issue?


I may be reading this wrong, but the explanation kind of sounds like it essentially kills much of the purpose I envisioned the complete before sunrise option was invented for.

I would suspect many people were already scheduling the start time of a flex daily schedule to start and finish roughly before sunrise, but we’d end up with the same problem of maybe a couple zones running and being complete a lot earlier than desired compared to if all zones needed to run. Of course changes in sunrise would mean there’s a bit of a shift throughout the seasons.

The explanation here seems like if the system determines not all zones need to run, then we’re still going to still be done way before sunrise rather than just before it, though it should reduce some of the seasonal shift since.

I had suspected the system would do a check 1 hour before Today’s Sunrise Time - Full Schedule Run-time Duration. At that time it would have performed a final determination of how many zones need to run and for how long, if a rain/wind/freeze skip going to happen, then calculate an updated start time something like [Today’s Sunrise Time - (Today’s Total Run-time+15 mins)] so the schedule completes 15 minutes (or some other chosen constant) before sunrise.

Repeatedly I feel like flex daily keeps being the exception to every feature/rule even though it is the one most recommended to use. :slight_smile:


@theflexdude - nailed it

Sounds like the End Before Sunrise option isn’t as intelligent as I thought it would be. It just adjusts the start time by a minute or so each day to account for the change in sunrise time:

[Start Time] = [Sunrise] - [Total Schedule Run Time]

Instead of:

    Foreach [Zone] in [Schedule]:
      If [Zone Moisture Balance indicates zone will water today]:
         [End Before Sunrise Offset] += [Zone Watering Duration]

    [Start Time] = [Sunrise] - [End Before Sunrise Offset]

Something to think about for v3.1 :wink:


Also, I’m still not sure I understand only checking weather “intelligence” once a day on watering days. It might not be windy 1 hour prior to schedule start, but 2 hours later the wind could be howling, right in the middle of a 5+ hour schedule.

Same goes for Freeze check. My poor gold mounds are fighting the good fight, but look terrible since getting watered during a rare freeze we had in Jan. It was 36F at 2AM prior to schedule start but dropped 30F while the gold mounds zone was being watered.

An intelligent Freeze skip would have stopped an active schedule if the temps dropped below the freezing threshold.

I’ve since implemented my own freeze check using Smartthings + WebCore that does just that.


Something we have discussed and are building requirements around.


What is WebCore?



If you’re a Smartthings user, it’s pretty much the only app you will ever need to make your house work the way you want it to :wink:

Here’s my routine to put Rachio in standby if the temp falls:

Rachio keeps pushing back watering even though soil moisture is at 0%?

By definition, isn’t it finishing before sunrise? I fail to see the problem. If it runs at 1am by itself you are unhappy but if it runs at 1am with four other zones it’s magically ok?


Easy tiger… I was providing constructive feedback to the product team about a new feature they rolled out on a forum they set up to capture that feedback. Never said I was unhappy.

If you disagree, then feel free to state that and why you like the feature as is. But your post adds nothing to the conversation.


I’m just asking questions to understand the issue because I can’t visualize what needs to be fixed.

Wasn’t meant to be an attack, sorry.


My understanding is you want to avoid moisture sitting too long during night time hours as it can promote fungus growth. By minimizing the amount of time between completion of watering and sunrise you reduce the chance of this. By watering early morning you’re still getting it done when winds are typically less and giving the lawn its best chance of drying off before the next night time.

I thought this new feature would adjust start times if a single zone needs to run, as opposed to maybe 8 or 10 zones, it would run that single zone as close to sunrise as possible.


This is my understanding as well.


No worries… I wasn’t implying that something needed to “fixed”. In this case, there was a difference between the way I expected the feature to work vs how it actually worked. Good product teams (such as Rachio) usually want to know this so they can better manage customer expectations through FAQs, Knowledge Base updates, and in-app feature screen-tips/documentation.

@franz and @theflexdude confirmed the feature is working as they intended so @scorp508 and I are just sharing potential ways to improve the feature based on our understanding of irrigation best practices.


Just throwing my two cents in… I have 14 zones that water for just under 1 hour each if they were to all water at once. Obviously, I never want them to ACTUALLY run all in the same day since it would mean watering from sunset to sunrise. I have the zone settings just different enough from each other to basically assure that this never happens. Unfortunately, the “before sunrise” feature feels that it is possible, however, and always wants to start watering at 9 p.m. Though I was excited to see this feature added, I am sadly unable to use it.

I’d love to see this feature adjusted to always end close to sunrise, but I understand that was not what was intended.

As a side note, I’d also love to have a “maximum zones per day” setting to make my life easier :grin:


I also just started using the end before sunrise setting instead of a fixed start time. I believe that the app calculates the total running time for that evening in advance and don’t really understand why it cant calculate backwards a start time to achieve this goal. It has all the information there in advance and certainly knows when sunrise is by one’s location. I guess the kinks need to be worked out.In my neck of the woods, the winds generally die down during the deep night. Nice feature if it could work.


For now I have created an acceptable workaround for my situation. I split my single Flex Daily schedule in to two, using the odd/even interval days. This moved my start time from about 1:30 am to 3:45 am, getting much closer to sunrise. Luckily I do not have watering restrictions, so this was an option for me.


I have this problem as well. I get that Flex is tricky but I also believe it can do better. In my case, I have 14 zones which makes the schedule something like 12 hours.

So… on a typical day it may schedule 2-3 hours and run it from 4:30 PM to say 7 PM. It’s beginning near the hottest part of the day, definitely not the best time to be watering, and a time when we’re still using our yard, and not watering overnight at all.


This is my conclusion as well.

I’ve set it to start watering at 4 AM instead of “end before sunrise” and it seems to be a lot better even though it isn’t ideal.


Todd, how did you ‘split your single Flex Daily schedule into 2 schedules’? I need to do the same (for the same reason you stated), but not sure how to do this. Thanks!

Start Time Determined Backwards From Sunrise

I split my zones into two groups (I did plants and grasses) and then made two flex daily programs and set them on even and odd interval days.

Any zone can only be in one flex program, so you have to remove them from any existing flex schedules that you have.

Good luck, let me know if you have any additional questions.


Just adding my observation to this as I too was expecting the “end at sunrise” feature to calculate a start time for the zones that would result in a finish at or very close to sunrise. At the time of this post, sunrise is 6:02 AM. Tonight the Flex schedule has 3 of the 8 zones identified to run from 11:26p to 3:05a. I’m not sure how or why it chose those times. The weather forecast is hot (100F days) with no wind or freeze. The coolest part of the day is 5a to 7a at 78F.

Anywho, as a work around, I set it to “End Before a Specific Time” at 6AM, thinking it would calculate a start that would align with a 6a completion. Now the same schedule will run from 11:22p to 2:04a. So, I set to to complete at 9a and now it will run 2:27a to 5:09a…close enough. 10a setting will run 3:22a to 7:10a.

As a suggesting for future release, how about a “let Rachio choose” setting which calculates the best times based on the suggestions in this thread (wind, coolest temp, freeze, lowest fungus risk, lowest evaporation rate, etc). and then adjust the calculations for “end at sunrise” and “end at (time)” to be intuitive.


@theflexdude I had to read this like six times. :smiley:
Is that max durr. for all zones in the schedule, or only the zones scheduled to run that day? If all (which is what you wrote), I see why a single zone would start so early on any given day. Would it make more sense to create a unique Flex sched. for each zone? This way the max. durr. is only one zone. Or, if done on your end; scheds within scheds.

Honestly, I’m trying to understand how a max. is calculated considering the variables you mention. Of course I don’t see the full scope. Not expecting an explanation either, just typing my random thoughts. :stuck_out_tongue:

As for end-time; maybe not make it “firm”. Meaning, the ET may go over the desired based on actual run-time or other variables. Personally, I don’t really care if the system stops watering at exactly sunrise, or not. I’d think that a ~30-60 min. buffer is fine for most people. We’re only looking to reduce “night soak”. Obviously Freeze Skip is important too, better checked @ each zone start rather than only prior.

Keep up the good work. Cheers!