First rain with Rachio, some questions about behavior

So it rained last night after the sprinklers had already started. Not Rachios fault as I don’t think the odds of rain were very good at all. But I’m curious why the sprinklers didn’t shut off once the rain levels hit a certain percentage. I have my account linked to my PWS and we got over half an inch in a short period of time. I logged into the app to watch it while it rained and the sprinklers just kept going. At one point all zones (even the ones yet to run) where showing 110% moisture. I think they were around 40% before the rain started. So it seems like they knew it was raining, but didnt shut off. I eventually manually shut them off last night before going to sleep.

Fast forward to this morning (6 hours later) and the zones are already down to 66% and the system is planning on running tonight. Do I have something setup wrong? Pre-Rachio half an inch of rain would let me shut the system down for the rest of week.

Not sure what schedule you are running, but Rachio checks just prior to running, but doesn’t check during a run. It will account for the rain in the moisture calculations. If you need the real time rain sensing, you can add an external rain sensor.

As for the fast depletion, I can’t tell you if you have some settings off or not. If you have very sandy soil that doesn’t hold moisture, it is very possible that you drop that fast.

Post a screenshot of one of your zone settings, both standard and advanced and lets take a look.

I’m using flex daily.

I guess my real question is this. If using a PWS does the system indeed know that it’s raining? Like I said the moisture levels all shot up to 110%. Is 110 a maximum number? It rained a while after and never exceeded 110. If the system does know that rain has hit it seems like some simple coding could be instructed to shut down. Like if moisture reaches 100% shut her off. Not super important to me as it rarely rains here, but would be a nice feature since it takes 8 hours to run through all my zones.

What bothers me most tho is the system still wants to run tonight when it doesn’t seem to me that it should need to.

Not knowing where you are, I’m assuming that you went to the Web Soil Survey site to find your soil type…

Other than that, the only thing that I see as a potential issue is that it looks like you might have left the default PR for the Rotor head, which, with the MASSIVE variety in rotors on the market, this setting could be off just a bit…

Otherwise, seems like it might be OK…I’m in Arizona, and it is 108-113 degrees this week, and my grass watered this morning, so the zone is sitting at 110% today, but will be 65% by tomorrow, 22% Saturday, and scheduled to run Sunday morning…

I’m in S NM, so very hot here as well. Hanging around 100 every day so maybe that sounds about normal. And yes I did the soil survey and came up with Loam. I guess I wont worry about it. I can manually add a delay which is much easier than it used to be with my dumb controllers lol.

Like I said, the only thing I can really see in question then is the nozzle inches per hour setting. Chances are, that 1"/hr might be a bit low…seems most rotors are slightly higher than that. Do you know the make and model of your sprinklers?

Rainbird. Don’t recall the model but I wanna say 5000 series? I ran a cup test and I agree with you that the water per inches is low, but the zone I showed you are all halves. What I did for the full zones was drop that number in half so they run twice as long. The halves run 37 mins and the full zones run 74 mins. Rachio has been running about 3 times a week so far. Before Rachio I used to water 5 times a week with total minutes being about the same as what Rachio is doing 3 times a week.

Halves, meaning 180 degree rotation?

If you did the catch cup test (which is the BEST way, nice job!) and did everything correctly, you shouldn’t have to cut anything in half. The catch cup tests should have accounted for overlap from both the 180 and 360 rotors.

Yeah halves as in 180’s. Some of the 360 zones have too many sprinklers on the zone so coverage is not ideal, thats also why I increased their run time. So far seems to be working out ok.

1 Like

Yes, 110% is the maximum moisture level, no matter how much rain you get. The logic is that the soil reaches a saturation point and then the precipitation just runs off.


This is why I still have a mechanical rain sensor connected that will override everything and let the math sort itself out later.

I might add one maybe. Will any sensor work?