Frustrated with Iro

@ghctim, if you haven’t created new schedules in the last 24 hours, I’d recommend doing so and seeing how the watering durations change. We’ve made some updates to our data tables that I think will help refine your watering durations.

Perhaps you could email us a copy of the spreadsheet to review? The # of nozzles are taken into account with the precip rate. For more information, please see this support article on calculating your precip rate.

Thanks, Emil

I am going to buy catch cups and do the calculations. But maybe I am missing something. In a well designed sprinkler install shouldn’t the perception rate be very similar in each zone regardless of sprinkler head?

supposed to be, but based on other ppl’s post here, doesnt seem to be as common as i would have expected.

edit: i do believe as smart controllers become more popular, symmetry in zones will become less popular. nothing requires percip rates to be the same in each zone, as far as i understand it, is more of a practice than a requirement as it makes dealing with 20+ zones, easier to manage from a manual point of view (from what i can gather).

but for me, i have mad symmetry because im pedantic.

@ghctim Way out of my league, @emil would know more, but I think a lot has to do with pressure. Assuming farther away zones have lower pressure(?), but this is way above my pay-grade.


@ghctim, good question. Flow rate, head placement and nozzle selection (for each head) all play a role in calculating the precipitation rate – which is the amount of water put down by a sprinkler zone in a certain amount of time. It’s measured in inches per hour. The reason we care about it is because we want all of the heads on the same zone to have ‘matched’ precipitation rates. You want an area to be evenly watered, not soggy in one spot and dry in another. Some beds or turf areas are irregular in shape, varying in distances to be covered. Varying radii of sprinkler heads are therefore required within the same zone.

I often get asked, “Could these two types of heads work together (in harmony) on the same zone?” The answer is sadly no – they were never meant to be together. Why? They have different precipitation rates. Rotors have a much lower precip rate (I’m going to start saying ‘precip’…that’s how us sprinkler guys talk), which means it takes a lot longer for a rotor to put down the same amount of water as a spray head would in the same area. So if you have rotors covering a large section of lawn coming on with sprays covering a smaller section- one section will always be too dry or too wet, depending on the run time. That’s why well designed systems have the same type of heads on individual zones.

Zones with spray heads can be even trickier to configure if you’re using variable arc nozzles, or VANs. The arc (part of a circle…think of a pie wedge ;)) can be adjusted from just a sliver of a few degrees to almost a full circle. These nozzles work good for angles less than 90 degrees, and curved edges that are a few degrees short or more than common fixed patterns. The problem with VANs is their precip rates are higher than regular nozzles. More than double in the case of an 8′ half circle. According to Rainbird flow charts, their regular 8H nozzle has a flow of a half gallon per minute at 30 psi (pounds per square inch; the measurement of operating water pressure at the nozzle), and a precip rate of 1.56 in/hr. The 8′ VAN nozzle set to half circle at the same pressure is 3.58 in/hr! This would be handy if you needed extra water in a spot, but would make it soggy if you didn’t.

Sorry to ramble on, but I thought it’s important to address the many variables to a sprinkler zone that impact it’s watering schedule. As you can see, there’s many moving parts to get it fine tuned.

Hope this helps.

Best, Emil

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This is awesome info! This is truly great and you all are awesome! Both you and Kevin (and everyone else of course) have been super.

I have to say, it was all my fault! :cold_sweat: I had the setting wrong for soil type for that one zone! Kevin figured that out and pointed that out to me! Man, all my fault :hankey: :sunglasses:


catch cups ordered! More fine tuning on the way.

thank you guys for pointing out that it was all user error on soil type :wink:


@ghctim - as a customer from nearly the beginning of IRO, I have to say thank you for manning up and acknowledging what this company has helped to figure out. My experience with them from the beginning has been nothing but industry leading customer support. Everything from overnighting a DOA IRO, to solving problems via these forums, to their constant attention to detail and improvements, their response and interaction on EVERY question or issue posted. I have not found another company that is as attentive and responsive as these guys.

I’m sorry you had the initial learning curve and bump in the road. I have been enjoying my IRO and look forward to version 2.0 of the software.

BTW, if you haven’t explored setting up a weather station, do so! It’ll give you even more control. I setup a weather station using my Netatmo setup and now find that I’m saving more water as it is preventing irrigation schedules due to recent rain activity at my property!


Thanks @SteinyD - they are super. This community is the best form of support!


This is the same document I used! I have Rainbird 1800 sprays and rotors. I used 10 minutes for sprays and 20 for rotors. My rates are: Rotors 1.00 and sprays 1.75. Process was straight forward and very accurate. It’ll also tell you how uniformly the grass is getting watrered.


No worries, @ghctim! I’m glad @kevinro was able to track down the issue for you. That’s what we’re here for. If ever in doubt, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

Thanks @SteinyD, we just believe in treating customers as we’d like to be treated. It’s sad that customer service isn’t a priority at all businesses.

@Adam9997, just curious, do you think you were over or under watering before you had an Iro? We get many users that have always used default times their neighbors, landscapers, or prior owners used with no science behind the actual run times. I’d love to hear anyone’s feedback on any learnings/takeaways from setting up their Iro.

Difficult to tell, I was under watering my lawn mainly due to clay soil. Anything over 20 minutes would runoff, so to compensate I would water every other day (every day on hot days) with not so great results. Iro and the smart watering cycle solved that. I water every 3rd day with breaks between zones there is no run off. This will improve the root growth.
Additionally, the combination of rain sensor and Netatmo rain station already saved me 4 waterings automatically. Over a longer period of time, I will be using less water and my water bill should reflect that.

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@Adam9997, awesome feedback. Thank you for sharing this with us and the community. I’d be interested to know your water savings at the end of the summer :smile:

Best, Emil

@franz I got my catch cups. It seems like this is a little more work then i thought to calculate the precipitation rate. It seems like if you added GPS nozzle position to each zone you could make it easier for people to do this.

For example, You could have people walk a zone and “mark” each sprinkler head. You could then guide someone to place the catch cans.

Just an idea, I am sure it would be a good deal of development and I know Flex and 2.0 are higher priority. But I think this is something you could have a wizard for in the future.

I also think having a zone geo-zone would allow you to do smart things with soil sensors in the future. This would allow you to better understand hydration for the entire zone.

The verdict is in…
My 2014 summer bill was $595, same period this year $350. Rachio paid for itself in 1 summer!!. The lawn looks great despite a dry summer. Thanks for a great product, support, and community.
Cheers :beers:


Awesome thanks for the feedback, we will be dialing in things even more next Spring :wink:


Dude, super stoked for next spring. I was a sad panda when I flipped my unit to off…

I bet you’ve never played with a sprinkler controller like you have with Rachio. :slight_smile:

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No, I wanted to take my 12 gauge to my old pro c, now I come home and whisper sweet nothings to my rachio…yea, it’s creepy…

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See ya next Spring, we’ll be busy at work building out new and exciting features.

“Time to make the donuts!”


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