Help with or recommendations for initial setup

Hello all. I’m entirely new to the Rachio product so please bear with me. I’m trying to determine what settings, if any, I should adjust on my current setup. So far I only set up one schedule (flexible daily) for my 9 zones. I have adjusted the nozzle types to reflect estimated (published) precipitation rates based on the rotor and nozzle utilized. I conducted a mason jar type soil test and input the soil type (sandy loam) in each zone. I have not touched any of the other settings.
I assume something is amiss. We had about two inches of rain over the weekend, and rachio intends to perform watering of all zones (except shrubs) on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of this week.
I’d be happy to provide additional information (e.g., zone maps) upon request, but does anyone have any pointers or recommendations on what I should change, research or just accept?

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Hi @Dclumes, I am another recently started Rachio user using Flex Daily. Did the rain happen before you setup the Rachio and associated it with a weather station? If it did, then I went through basically the same thing. We had a ton of rain a day or two before I setup my Rachio, and the system does not look at historical precipitation data upon first setup. The system seems to start with “assume empty” and will fill your zone to 100% moisture levels upon first watering.

If you open the application and tap on a zone you should see a moisture level %. What is it reporting for percentage? Tapping that brings up a chart and tapping ‘more detail’ in the chart view will expose any data the system is using to make decision on when to water.

It’s a little weird and I don’t like the “assume empty”, but it’s what we have and seems to err on the very cautious side. In the moisture chart you can click Adjust and then ‘fill’ a zone if you know it’s still very saturated from your recent rain.

I’m sure others will chime in and hopefully correct anything I may have misrepresented. I’m still learning this system as well.

The rain actually occurred after I set up the schedule, and it’s reflected in the weather station and moisture levels. We got 1.78", raising the moisture level to 111% per the moisture chart.

I am also confused as to why it would program a full watering on all lawn zones on a back to back schedule. I can’t imagine that all the moisture provided on one day would be completely gone by the next day as to require back to back watering.


I have had mine up and running 13 Zones on daily Flex for about 6 weeks so still somewhat of a newbie myself. I find the “predicted” calendar very unreliable in terms of when the systems was actually going to water. Mine said was not going to water for 2 weeks and then started the next day. Not sure what time you have it set up to start but might be worthwhile to see if it actually runs on the days predicted (also you will get an alert on your phone if it starts). If it does start and you think it does not need to you can stop by selecting the blue round icon at the bottom of your smart device app or in the lower right corner of your web app.

In the set up did you set that you could water any day? or do you have days restricted?

Also on your setup you may want to consider slope and shade if you did not include. But these should not significatnly impact the days to run. The moisture content down to 0% is what should trigger the cycle.

Hope that helps.


Thanks for the reply. I am just surprised it anticipates so much depletion such that it would water one day after another.
I allow it to water on any day.
I did consider slope and sun levels and adjusted appropriately, thanks.
Do you have any experience tweaking or determining available water and the other advanced options?

Not much. Just start out with the standard options and thought would observe for a while. Lots of good info on the advanced feature in the community space. Get fairly technical but very interesting.

BTW I love my daily flex. We have had a lot of rain in the area and it has not watered in like 3 weeks. Tried to water Monday morning because I had the next 3 days as restricted days, but I stopped it. Expect rain by Friday. I just took a look at the rain delay that I “think” I could have used that would have delayed it to see if the rain came. Like I said I am still figuring this out, but the potential is incredible.


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I have seen this behavior if the root zone is set too low or if the te coefficient is set too high. If you post screen shots we can take a deeper look.

I’ve attached two screenshots from today. Notably, the system is currently running, and though I have smart cycle turned on, it is not performing this function. the last time i ran the system, it did run in cycles, so not sure what changed or why. second, it anticipates watering the next three days. is this normal?

I have not performed a catch can test; do you recommend I do so?

If you have a drip (emitter) zone in the same schedule the smart cycle will not work. [quote=“Dclumes, post:8, topic:8065”]
second, it anticipates watering the next three days. is this normal?

I’m not concerned about that yet, let’s see what actually happens, you did get 5 days since the previous watering and that is not bad for cool season turf depending on your temps.

If you are not certain about your pr, this is a crucial step, if you pr is set to high, rachio will not apply enough water per run (it thinks more is coming out than the actual) so your turf will die out, if set too low you are wasting water.

I don’t have any drip zones - everything is either rotar heads or fixed spray nozzles.

Catch cans should come in Friday, and hopefully i’ll have time to run the test before the weekend. I just used the PR based on the manufacturer’s data with the nozzles used.

so this current run didnt soak? what is your pr currently set to?

Right, the run that occurred this morning did not cycle. I went outside earlier and two of the zones are very saturated with some mushrooms, so I opted to fill the moisture levels. the hunter PGP rotors are set at .45 - they have the red 7/blue 3 nozzles (3 gpm) and at 70PSI (measured w pressure gauge), I estimated (using Hunter’s nozzle charts) them to be putting out .45. The spray rotors are set to 1.61PR.
I have not measured root depth yet, but was hoping to do so today. I also did not adjust the sq footage of the zones, as from what I understand, that only affects the water usage estimates and does not affect run times or frequency.

I was planning to check the nozzles on all the rotors and adjust gpm as suggested elsewhere in the forums (I believe what was recommended was 1.5gpm for 45 degree arcs, 3gpm for 180 arcs and 6gpm for 360 arcs. thoughts, or should I hold off?

you need a catch test. i have a feeling .45 is too low. i have the same heads with heavy overlap between all heads and my pr is higher.

in my opinion, i wouldnt do this without catch tests. it seems like a lot of work to adjust your flow rate of your heads before you know what you are dealing with. i peronally would only adjust a rotor to help increase your efficiency

you are just gunning for uniformity and an accurate measurement of reality.

Thanks. Per your suggestion, I will hold off on any changes. The schedule is set to run again tomorrow - would you recommend I delay this until I am able to conduct the catch tests?

is it trying to run the same zone again tomorrow that ran today?

Yes, it wants to run all zones again tomorrow and then again Saturday. Looking at calculated moisture levels, it shows drops from 111% to 67% the following day to 8% the following day. Seems a bit odd to deplete so quickly, no?

Also, any idea why smart cycle will not work (since no forbidden emitters in any of the zones)?

A pr of .45 is close enough to your soil types penetration rate so It’s possible a soak Is ignored. The know the display says .4 but may the value is more precise.

Second, if a zone is emitting this low, it might disable soak for the entire schedule, as if emitters are on the zone.

I’m askin @franz to confirm or deny this…

As for your frequency, it doesn’t feel right…what are your daily temps looking like?

Oh wait, did you stop the zone showed in the screen shots from completing its run? Or did you adjust the depletion rate for the zone after that screen shot? That would explain it…