Flex Monthly Confusion


#1

TITLE FORMERLY: Rachio 3 Weather Intelligence Plus is Terrible

Hey guys,

I replaced my Rain Bird Rc1260 with a Rachio 3:
IMG_4840IMG_4858

After initially setting up it asked me to select a schedule type- I went with Flex Monthly. After that, it automatically selected days to water for the month.

Since I installed it (Jul 3), it showed that it will rain almost everyday in Houston the entire month of July- (completely wrong) and selected to water every 5 days. I let it run like that thinking it might change things when it figures out there’s no rain in forecast- but the controller didn’t make any changes and only watered every 5 days. It barely rained once or twice a week- as opposed to Rachio’s “intelligence” stating it will rain 5-6 days/week.

My plants started looking bad and had to manually start the controller to water the zones (quick run).

I wish it was more intelligent than what it is. Had I known that Weather Intelligence Plus is so off and terrible- I would’ve bought the Gen 2 instead of Gen 3.

Is there any way to improve the weather tracking ability so that it knows when its forecasted to rain and when it’s not?

Other than that, I do like that I can control it using my phone and check the app to see when it watered last. It is definitely pretty sleek looking!


#2

As a saying goes, hindsight is 20-20, forecast is yet more art than science. As far as I know, Rachio does not directly perform forecasts, instead relying on their data provider (WU / IBM in case of Gen 3 units) with additional, in house, quality control that is in constant state of improvement.

I’m sure @rachiosupport will be curious to take a closer look at your case, but for now you can switch WI+ from running in a fully automatic mode to using a specific PWS within your area.


#3

Thanks, Gene. Agreed that hindsight is 20/20. I have a hard time believing that most of the weather stations that Rachio pulls data from would be consistently wrong. Does Rachio pull data on a daily basis? Or is it more of once a month?

I’m going to try to switch it from fully automatic as you suggested. Thanks!


#4

To the best of my knowledge, Gen 3 pulls data on an hourly basis.

If you don’t mind me asking, how does your moisture chart look for some of the hardest hit zones? Perhaps the issue is that the zone settings need to be fine tuned to allow better irrigation coverage. We have experts here, fellow rachio users, who can go in depth as to importance of getting your numbers right :wink:

At the end of the day, rachio can make it easy to get started, but, like any smart product out there, it relies on the data we provide.


#5

I’ll have to apologize, but I’m not sure how to pull up the moisture chart. Maybe I don’t have that option as I don’t believe I have any hardware/sensors in each zone to measure/detect saturation/moisture levels. This is what I see on each zone:

You are correct on that we definitely need to provide it data to make it work better- I was just frustrated seeing rain forecasts for eveyday when I know its not true!

Thank you for helping me out!


#6

Actually, it is my fault. I’ve forgot that Flex monthly doesn’t use the full featureset / provide moisture graphs. I would recommend you try changing the schedule to a flex daily and choosing Mon, Thursday as the only options within the Interval setting to recreate your setup.

flexDaily

Adjustments can be made via app.rach.io (link)

You may need to delete your monthly schedule and create a daily one. With daily, even if forecast if off, the moisture levels will be tracked based on actual precipitation and any zone will be watered, if the moisture levels fall too low.

P.S. After converting to daily, moisture charts will be available for each individual zone, on the same screen you’ve showed within your screenshot.


#7

@anirbanc Can you PM me the email address you use for logging into the app? (it seems to be different than your community email address).

Flex daily schedules should provide the “auto” correcting feature due to missing forecasted precipiation. They track daily evapotranspiration and precipitation and will adjust accordingly. I’d start with one or two zones, fine tune it, then apply to other zones if the results are in alignment with expectations.

:cheers:


#8

Thank you so much for this, Gene. I have updated the schedule to Flex daily, with interval on Tue/Thu.

I do see the moisture % levels now- and Rachio has selected the zones with low moisture levels to water during those days.

I’m still not sure how Rachio actually knows what the moisture % is. Would various external factors affect this %? (humidity, sunshine, cloud cover, actual rain, tree shade in different zones, etc)?

Once again, thanks for your help! I know that this will help me more than what I had set up. Thanks!


#9

Thank you for reaching out, Franz. Just sent you a message. Yeah, I had misunderstood- I was on flex monthly and figured it would adjust automatically. I assumed that Rachio would know that downloading a month’s worth of forecast is very unpredictable, so it would adjust accordingly when the forecast didn’t line up with actuals.

I stayed away from Daily because the app mentioned it requires advanced configuration- so decided to stay away from it.

But so far, thanks to @Gene, the advanced configuration doesn’t appear to be as technical as splitting an atom, so I’m going to Flex Daily now.


#10

Couple flex daily “tips”.

  1. If there is any way to let it run “wild” (no restrictions) I would do that. The concept around flex daily is only watering when absolutely necessary (depleted). My guess since you have chosen Tue/Thur restrictions is that it will water every Tue/Thur since on Thursday it will project (sometimes/most of the time) that it can’t make it to Tuesday and will want to fill the buckets up. If you are required to have those restrictions to be honest a fixed schedule with weather intelligence (rain skips, wind skips, climate skips, temp skips) might be your best option.
  2. If you really want to use flex daily I’d start with one or two zones and see how it behaves.

We derive a “depth of water” for each zone based on chosen characteristics. For example my grass zones are .45 inches. We then water your bucket up to “full” (.45 inches) and then derive evapotransipiration each day (how much water is depleting each day from that .45 inches). When that reaches zero or negative we water.

This is a fun article on some of those concepts.

:cheers:


#11

Thanks for the feedback @franz :slight_smile: As someone who uses an unlimited daily schedule from the day I’ve first installed my Rachio, I’ve became curious after your post if there are any real downsides to running daily, instead of monthly, schedule.

I understand that running a daily schedule with an aggressive schedule limitation, such as a long delay between Thursday and Tuesday watering, will practically grantee that the daily schedule will trigger and water unless the forecast is saturated with predicted rain, but how would Monthly schedule differ in this regard?

In cases where two types of schedule determine that their zones need to be watered prior to big break, would a daily schedule take into account the moisture levels and water less, when compared to a flex monthly which does not show (use?) moisture levels?

Thanks :slight_smile:


#12

Probably less since flex daily will be more efficient if there is precipitation. Flex monthly is mostly static per month to a fault.

:cheers:


#13

It’s this static nature of Flex Monthly is what threw me off and got me frustrated. Especially when I see in Rachio app the rain forecast but actually its all bright and sunny!

But thanks to you (@franz) and @Gene I went to Flex Daily and hopefully it’ll make adjustments as needed on a daily basis.


#14

If you can allow for watering to occur on almost all 7 days, just 'let ‘er rip!’ on flex daily, with all the bells and whistles turned on (smart watering, soaking, wind speed, etc.)

Then allow yourself some time to make incremental adjustments. You’ll get to the point where you can leave your controller unattended all year long.

This is what the controller was designed for - near optimum water usage, unattended to.

Kind regards,

Bill


#15

The Gen 2 isn’t much better. Mine initially over watered to the tune of a $1000 water bill (here in CA where they dump water into the ocean so they can over charge consumers). I went to a set routine (some plants twice a week and some just once a week) and I let it adjust the times monthly after I set up acceptable timing. This works reasonably well.


#16

I bought the Gen2 thinking that factoring in the weather using WEATHER BUG that my Control4 system uses would be great. This Rachio seems to be worthless. When the forecast is for 100 degree weather for the next 10 days and only has 2 water days out of 10 scheduled…my lawn will die. I do not know what the mission statement is for Rachio…but it is not to incorporate weather patterns, temperature, type of grass in my lawn into an overall plan so that my plants/lawn prosper. Not happy at all with the Rachio product.


#17

Hi @stereoguy!

I’m so sorry for the frustration and confusion. I’d love for you to take a look at this article on how exactly our Weather Intelligence works and let us know if you have any questions. It can be an in-depth process so I want to make sure you get the best information possible :slight_smile:

-Lo :rachio:


#18

This is why we built flex daily schedules, they adjust dynamically every day. Have you tried one or two zones on this schedule type?

:cheers: