Get rid of the external transformer

There are not many things I dont like about Rachio. But lately I have been noticing that some wifi smart controller manufacturers are using a beefed up transformer that is mounted inside the controller box. They provide an outdoor quality plug. Example products that come to mind are: Toro Evolution, Rain Bird ESPTM2, Yardian, Hunter Pro HC. I particularly like the heavy quality of ESPTM2 and Yardian. They feel well made. However, I do not like the terminal strip on Yardian. Also wish Rachio had terminals with stainless steel screws that are more durable.
I have learned that Weathermatic has both 8 and 16 station controllers that provide a free on board wifi air card that enables a use without wifi connection.
(such as HOA or light commervial). Not a fan of Weathermatic, but this is innovative.

I’ve installed many irrigation controllers in my line of work and the ones with the built-in transformer are nice but also cost quite a bit more. Those controllers are usually made for the outdoors and have a cover that is lockable with a gasket for the door to compress when closed. The indoor controllers are usually mounted in the garage and the multi-conductor wire is usually stubbed out or conduited to a location adjacent to an electrical outlet.
That being said I like the ones with built-in transformers and a properly sized cord supplied by me. (They can be hardwired and so they’re sold with just a 7/8” hole for either conduit fitting or cord grip) They are much less likely to catch fire like the external ones been known to do. (I awoke one night to my neighbors garage on fire due to one of those.)I randomly check my R3s transformer for heat issues.

1 Like

Rain Bird ESP-TM2 has an internal transformer and it is definitely not expensive. Toro’s Evolution also has an internal transformer. All of the commercial grade controllers have an internal transformer. My point is that I would like box quality to be up to industry standards. But I think Rachio software is the best on the market. They really should market the software to irrigation manufacturers and expand their technology to the commercial market.Toro would be my pick since Hunter bought that clown box software Hydrawise and Rain Bird has its Lnkwifi.

I couldn’t agree with you more. A rachio in a weather proof cabinet with KOs for signal and power and maybe an upgraded WiFi antenna for those spots just a little too far for the regular one or even a LAN port.
Awesome! Will it happen? I’m not sure that’s the direction they want to go right now.

I have promoted this same idea. So far Rachio has not listened. I’m not a fan of Weathermatic, but they offer a wifi hotspot in their residential Smartline controller, which means the controller can be used anywhere. However, Weathermatic uses onsite sensors to estimate ET.

If Rachio would go this way please ensure that this would work also in Europe with 220V. Right now with the external transformer I can replace the US one with the EU and use it over here

1 Like

I’m confused. A rachio with their outdoor box essentially already meets your requirements. Its what I used to replace an existing Rain Bird ESP.

Yes, get rid of the external transformer. Rain Bird has ditched the external transformer on all models sold through irrigation distributors. it is the same for Toro. My main complaint with Rachio is the quality if its hardware. it looks and feels cheap.

My first smart controller installation back in 2005 was a Weathermatic SmartLine. I have installed many over the years and still do… often. The “free on board WiFi air card” you mention is neither free, on board, nor WiFi. First off it uses cellular so it works in situations where access to WiFi is either unavailable or restricted, like a landlord/tenant arrangement or a commercial site that won’t allow network access. I just installed the one in the photo at a check cashing franchise location. Notice the aircard sits outside the box.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m very fond of Rachio. I install many more of them than WM these days. That being said, WM is “my” personal favorite. There are features in that box that make irrigation professionals smile. It was the 2004 IA product of the year for good reason.

There are customers that “must” have the option to program at the box. WM is my first option for most of them, although I also use RainBird’s ESP-ME3, and Toro’s Evolution depending on the situation.