Flow meter calibration problems

Installed a new 3rd system with above Flow Meter (copper lines). I have not yet been able to run a successful calibration for 8 zones, it’s reporting above 25 gpm for some and leaks, but there is no leak. On one zone, we have 17 sprinklers and it shows super low gallons per minute, on another zone with only 3 (different) nozzles it shows double amount of water flow.

Do I have to change some baseline? How can I get through a full calibration? The numbers just seem off and so I feel I can’t trust the flow meter.

Do I need to contact support?

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  1. Lets start with a photo of your installation of the flow meter.
  2. 25 gpm leak is substantial, if it is true. That tells me that you have at least a 1inch valve, due to the volume or you have very high pressure.
  3. Try uninstalling and re-installing your Wireless Flow Meter from your program. In some cases, this helps.
  4. Depending on where you live, it may be beneficial to calibrate close to normal irrigation running hours. (in my area, the pressure varies and is at peak during the pumping station hours from the city. These hours are from 4 to 9am and 5 to 9pm) Each city is different and if you have a well on your property with your own pump then number 4 will not apply to you.
  5. What is your static PSI or water pressure for your system?

@mStudios - yes I’d contact support or @Brad. Flow meters are new, so not much debugging experience. Mine worked flawlessly. One could try calibrating just one zone at a time. Also, do you have access to the actual water meter where it’s measurement can be observed and compared to the flow meter?

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Have you tried increasing the pressurization time to give the zones more time to stabilize? I believe that the pressurization time setting can be found in the flow meter settings.


Thank you for your answer. As I was on the phone, I was unable to verify the number when I wrote my posting, so I was off way off (oops), missing decimal.

So, the high alerts I am getting for 2.4, 3.5 and 3.9 and 6.0 gpm (different zones).

The sprinkler guy who was with me when we calibrated, was astonished that 4 zones showed such low numbers (3.5-4.5 gpm). One zone even only showed 2.1. One zone with only 3 heads seems to fluctuate between 3.5 and 6 (taken from emails I got from the last watering).

I’ll post pictures and more data to answer more specifically to your points.

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Thank you for your input. I believe we have visuals. This coming weekend I’ll get some help and will get more specific numbers. This is a good idea to check the meter while calibrating!

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The first time I calibrated it was set to 1 minute. When I watch, it seems that most zones come up and to full pressure within 30 seconds. When trying to calibrate the 2nd time I set it to 2 minutes, also thinking this might be the issue. The numbers where mostly different, 1 zone still showing it really low (2.1gpm) and the following zone not able to calibrate. I re-run that one, still no go.

I will tinker around more with it this coming weekend.

Thanks for your input!


Do you have the calculations of what you think the zones should produce?

We had a super hot summer with a lot of manual sprinkling and no system. Now we finally have the sprinkler system and it has been raining so much that I am not able to debug the system. I have the sprinkler guy come by next week and I hope that by then I have more numbers and that I can get all of the expected numbers.

Rachio is throwing me another curb ball. The ground shows now 30% moisture but the Rachio still only wants to water in 17 days as we do have a lot of predicted rain (though mostly between 13-40% chances of rain). It almost feels as if I have to ‘force’ Rachio to run a schedule to not dry out the ground too much.

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Can you create a new topic for this (flex daily scheduling)? We can help troubleshoot from there. Thanks!




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Image of the flow meter attached.

As we’ve been having so much rain it is pretty much impossible for me to debug currently.

I don’t know the PSI - sprinkler guy is coming by next week, he might be able to answer that question.

From my observation it seems that the flow varies from 2-4 gpm. So when I calibrate it, it measures maybe at 2 but the next time it will be 3.5.

I water the yard before sun rise and the flowerbed after sun set.

Maybe I need to change the warning buffer and try and hit a happy medium?

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@mStudios The upper and lower thresholds are available for this very reason. We always hope for stable systems but have seen wide variances in pressure and flow rates in specific situations.