Furious with Rachio over Hunter flow sensor support FCT-100


#1

I was an original Gen1 user and quickly upgraded to Gen2 with the announcement of the Gen2 controller with flow sensor capabilities. I ordered and had the Hunter FCT-100 flow sensor installed (over $500 for parts and labor) as this was announced as a supported flow sensor, and was an option in the Rachio iOS app. I waited for months for the flow sensor beta to be released and I was finally contacted about 2 weeks ago. Rachio reset my water usage so that I could see actual usage rather than estimated usage. Everything seemed fine for a week. I checked my usage today and it was over a million gallons for the month! I knew something was not right. I contacted Robert in Rachio support, and I was told that the Hunter flow sensors are no longer supported, and that I would need to buy the CST sensor (another $500 for parts and labor) if I wanted a working flow sensor. Robert passed me to his supervisor Lucas, who was very nice and apologetic. He thanked for me beta testing, and was sorry that my sensor will no longer be supported. I am now in a holding pattern while I wait to hear back from Rachio on what can be done to support my sensor. At this point, it is cheaper for me to purchase a different brand controller that will support the Hunter flow sensor (that Rachio announced to be supported) than it would be to replace the sensor. AT this point, I am almost $700 into the gen2 and flow sensor, but do not have any features that I already had with my perfectly working Gen1. DO NOT BUY THE HUNTER FLOW SENSOR TO USE WITH RACHIO. I truly hope that I do not have to abandon my Rachio controller.


#2

@Trimixcavediver Sorry for any confusion in this process, we did discover that the Hunter system is proprietary.

Please don’t worry, we will make sure to cover these out of pocket expenses and send you a certified CST sensor.

I’m going to personally email you and put you in contact with our Director of Product Development that will take care of everything. Thanks for being part of our community and a Rachio controller user.

:cheers:


#3

@Franz You have restored my 100% faith in Rachio as a company. You and Brad are going above and beyond to make things right with me. It took less than an hour on a Friday night to resolve this unfortunate issue. That is customer service!!
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!


#4

And that’s why I love Rachio, cause it’s not just about saving water!


#5

That is impressive beyond words. Well done.


#6

glad I haven’t bought a flow sensor yet! I upgraded to Gen 2 but will be holding off on buying a flow sensor until it’s fully baked…


#7

Wow, amazing.


#8

I find it hard to believe the Hunter Flow Clik is not compatible with Rachio. It is considered a universal product. Personally, I would not worry about a flow sensor. If you do systen test frequently you will know if there are problems on a residential system.


#9

Not quite as easy if your clients are all drip. Lots of mine are.


#10

It could have helped me out last year when a PVC coupler underneath my cement walkway failed. Water was probably leaking into the ground for several days before it got up to the surface and I noticed it pooling!


#11

That is true. The Hunter flow sensor cannot flows as low as drip. That is,why on commercial projects the Data Industrial/Badger IR220B is specified. It’s cost is out of reach for the residential market, but it can read low flows. Probably TMI!


#12

@robertokc Just to be clear, any controller is compatible with the Flow-Clik system. Basically, there’s a Hunter flow sensor that connects to the Flow-Clik box. I believe with the Flow-Clik you set limits on the box and it’ll shut down your entire controller if you are outside of the limits. However, our controller is not compatible with Hunter’s flow sensor directly connected to our controller.


#13

I have dogs that pull emitters of my drip, and a few drip breakages already this year.

I mostly want it to know I’m about to enter tier 3 billing, but let’s face it, things fail, even within a week after a test.


#14

That is correct, Brad. I worked for a Hunter distributor for eight years. However, that product has limitations. It is good for detecting major breaks but it cannot work with drip irrigation. One must jump up to a Badger meter that has a price too high for the residential market.


#15

Wow! I bought a Hunter FCT-100 last week and was waiting for a few days off to re-do my solenoid riser stack and add the flow sensor. I ordered it because the flow sensor was listed as compatible with my Gen 2 controller. I spent the better part of two days ripping the solenoid riser stack out and putting in a cleaner looking in-ground system. I was surprised when I went to set up the sensor and the Hunter is no longer listed as a supported device. It would have been nice for a customer wide email warning about the removal of the Hunter device from the supported list. I hope I don’t have to rip out any pipe to replace this sensor!


#16

I will get you in touch with our Director of Product Development and we will take care of this for you.

:cheers:


#17

I have a pulse counter and I’ve used it to show pulse output on EKM Metering’s 3/4" water meters, which BTW are low cost at $70. I believe you should be able to use their 2-wire pulse-output water meters for irrigation systems.

For example, I used Monnit (1-input) 2-wire pulse counters and their ethernet gateways to push my water flow data to the iMonnit cloud server. I even rigged up an Arduino Uno and a hall-effect (3-wire) flow sensor to do the same thing, using Monnit’s pulse counter/transmitter and ethernet gateway. The Monnit (4-input) 2-wire pulse counter seems to be a little better, as I suspect but not sure that “pulse lockup” issues may be affecting the 1-input memory registers.

EKM had some similar issues on their earlier v.4 systems whereby the pulse counts would stop if the v.4 meter saw anomalies on the voltage inputs. A power cycle cured that issue.

Recently I just dropped $200 into a Hunter 1in. Flow-Sync and saddle-body tee. A 2-wire system, so I thought it would be plug n’ play. It appears to be proprietary for their I-Core controllers. The drawback is that no flow data gets pushed to the cloud, the data stays in the controller so all the smart decision-making wrt water flow is internal to that device only. Bummer, no SMS text alerts or cloud graphs of flow to check up on! I am guessing that, since Hunter controllers supply 20vdc to the flow sensor terminals to function adequately, that it would be necessary to ‘energize’ the sensor with a little bit of DC to get a pulse counter to test output. If you hook up a pulse counter to 2-wire (red/black wires) from the Hunter Flow-Sync, there is no measurable output. So I’m thinking it needs some voltage to get the signal, similar to 3-wire hall-effect flow sensors(signal, positive and negative) which only need a 3.3vdc supply to push out the pulses to measure.

So could Rachio update their system to supply 20vcd to Hunter Flow-Syncs? I’m thinking that would solve the compatibility issues.