How I wish my 5 controllers could be one... years later

What feature are you requesting?

IMO, Rachio added a lot of promised features this season. If they have any plan for controlling multiple controllers as one, it’s surely higher up on the To Do list now.

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@aristobrat, I have seen this request a couple times, I am curious, what is the advantage? Are you looking to prevent controllers from overlapping?

It might be worth adding what your real itemized requests are to the suggestion, generic suggestions are really hard to implement unless they are really straight forward.

I only have one Rachio, so I don’t need this feature. I was just saying that Rachio did add several other long-requested features this year (iPad support, well pump delay, ability to pause a running schedule, etc), and that hopefully his long-requested feature is now closer to being worked on.

As for what the advantage is… can you imagine having a lawn so big that you have to use five separate Rachios to water it? Say you want to check your zone moisture levels or watering history. This means you have to go into the app, select your first Rachio, find the data you need, then select your second Rachio, find the data you need, select your third Rachio, find the data you need, select your fourth Rachio, find the data you need, and then select your fifth Rachio and find the data you need. That sounds like a pain in the butt, especially if you’re trying to compare zones that are on different Rachios.

This also means you’d have to manage five different schedules – one per Rachio.

IMO, the advantage to having the Rachio software treat multiple Rachios as a single “mega” Rachio means you could get a single view that shows ALL of your zone data, watering history, etc… and you could possible have one schedule that covers watering all 60 zones.

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Hey @steveTriunfo!

I truly hate to be the bearer of bad news :grimacing: but our CTO, Franz, made an official statement regarding this in June. See below:

Best,
-Lo :rachio:

I think I am appalled - Over the past 2 years I have had multiple conversations with Franz, he always acknowledged the need and desire to make this work and even explained to me what new framework Rachio was going to to enable the features that are needed. In fact I ran into one of your programmers in Frankfurt Airport one day about 18 months ago and we discussed it there to for a moment.

We have a number of programmers on our staff in the USA, Canada and Germany who work with far more complicated database structures that are real time functions and cloud based in Linux on a daily basis. I get the “commercial viability of a feature” has to match the resources it requires to create the backend, and I realize there are many people who would never have a need for more than 16 (OH MY!!!) stations. But the specific reason I chose rachio was the planned inclusion of building out the systems to manage larger projects.

Perhaps I will put someone on this. What ever happened to the API that was discussed.

Sadly Disappointed

Sounds like you guys want a Commercial Version for a substantially higher cost. API releases take profits away from a company. If you really want to do something more, there are really cheap industrial platforms out there, you can make them do anything you want. Everything they sell is very old and basic (Compared to the real players in the Industry, but it works.

automationdirect.com

There are also open projects using the $35 raspberry pi platform.

Have spent the summer trying to keep ahead of the watering. So could not get back to the forum for a few weeks. Oh wait, the rachio intelligence is supposed to do all the work for us… When I had (just as many) manual controllers, I kept an excel sheet of everything to manage all the water usage timings. The Promise of IoT and Rachio was that it would make my life soooo much better. Sadly, Not really so.

For anyone who has more than 1 gen2 Rachio you will certainly know what I am going to say here. When a controller starts a cycle it notifies me. It sends a message that says “Schedule Started” It sends a message that says “Schedule Completed”. It never tells me which controller. So, it is a guessing game. Now add to that the desire to manage the watering days and times and you quickly get to tearing your hair out either jumping back and forth between controller interface screens or you revert to excel to make spreadsheet and religiously keep it up for fear of drawing too much water for the supply or any number of not good things.

I get that decisions have to be made at times for business purposes but there appear to be a lot of loyal rachio users who have more than one controller and I bet they like I would give rachio a review that said 10 for concept, 8 for implementation, 5 for smarts. Sad.

We need a global view. At this point do not care if it does nothing but serve up a webpage that gives us read only info. At least we could start there. Right now it is scraps of paper and a disappointment.

To the person who said that an API takes from Rachio’s profit or value - Cannot understand how you could be so misinformed. I cannot do a darn thing with the API if I do not own Rachio controllers, and selling them is what they have based their business model on. I suppose someone could duplicate the rachio hardware, then extract the firmware and make a copy… seems like a lot of trouble for $200 worth of rachio purchase. I can assure you I have no intent to spin up a batch of PCB’s to corner the market on rachio clones.

Ignoring this part of the market, and worse the loyal existing users (early adopters) this way is how the spiral starts. Honestly, I would love to have home Kit support on V2, but I get that rachio makes money selling hardware. And if there was a way to manage these all globally OR AT A MINIMUM at least se a global view, I might consider to just buy an entire new set of V3. Sadly the current depreciation of the promised feature causes just the opposite desire, which is without a doubt depressing.

I get that many users will never need more than 1 controller. But there is a problem here with the vision or the blinders.

I would love to hear from others - agree or not, however for anyone who would like to flame me because I am obviously a spoiled brat, well, I guess I just have higher expectations for what IoT really is now and what it will be moving forward.

So here is the gauntlet being thrown down. Franz, as we spoke of in the past, I get to Denver many times a year. In fact last week and again Thursday I will fly in from the west coast for meetings with a major client. If not this week, then in a few weeks, Coffee? because I want to believe in the promise. And the Promises made.

OK Off the soapbox.
steve

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I standby my initial post on this topic (below), even more so after recently looking in our database at the % of customers that have > 1 controller associated with their account. The data is what I have to put faith in. The software development costs (and lost opportunity cost) do not make financial sense. As a business owner yourself I’m sure you appreciate these tradeoffs of building a viable business versus chasing opportunities that aren’t sustainable. I’d be up for coffee sometime in the future. Not to discuss this point further since it is not on our roadmap but I do enjoy meeting customers especially with varied backgrounds. We can coordinate through franz@rach.io if you’d like.

:cheers:

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Add me to the list of homeowners who would like to integrate more than one Rachio into a 17+ zone unified system. Seeing as how its not going to happen with Rachio, I’ll look for other options to expand beyond my current 16 zone Rachio3. What is especially concerning is Franz stating how hard it is to integrate expanding more zones into one controller. Open Sprinkler has been doing that since inception, for much less money, and they appear to be a couple of college kids. I’m in the software business as well, and IMHO if the software was designed from the beginning to scale, modularly, this would have been an easy add on. Incorporating additions would not require re-writes of everything involved, domain/DB, server and client changes, ouch. I get why you’re not doing it, but I don’t get why it was suggested this functionality was coming for years then suddenly abandoned.

And not to sound too negative, because I fully get the thought process that goes into the ROI of a development effort for new features vs the potential revenue they would bring, looking at existing customers who already own multiple Rachio’s seems odd to me. That’s not your total addressable market, I’m not even sure that is a market given that they already own the devices, there isn’t new revenue associated with them. I only own one Rachio, but rather than buy a second one which won’t integrate, I’ll consider a different device that will scale as my needs evolve and I plant more areas of my landscape. That situation would not have shown up looking at the data of existing multi controller clients. But specifically, if the Rachio platform could scale to larger integrated deployments, then the entire commercial marketplace becomes your addressable market and that ROI should easily pay for the integration.

I really like the Rachio product, but whether by hardware or by software, adding zones shouldn’t be that hard. I’m not sure what I’m going to do to add my zones immediately, but if I stick with Rachio, given that I will have two separate schedules to manage which aren’t integrated, I may very well just go with something less expensive that will scale.

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I don’t think looking at existing data of how few Rachio owners own more than one controller leads to correct conclusion that it’s cost ineffective to develop a greater than 16 zone controller. With Rachio’s intended market being 16 zone or less, it makes sense that few customers own more than one controller.

I think the data to look at is the number of commercial and municipal controllers out in the market place that control more than 16 zones, and whether or not that’s a market that Rachio wants to go chase. Right now it looks to me that it’s a conscious decision on Rachio’s part that the answer is ‘no.’ That investment cost (actual s/w, actual h/w, company structure, competitive pressures and everything else) to compete against the ‘big boys’ in the commercial world is more than Rachio wants to put on its plate at the moment.

It would seem to me that the commercial marketplace is lucrative, but tough if not well executed. Looks to me that Rachio wants to excel at ‘walking before running.’ Nothing wrong with this now that it’s clearly established that at this time Rachio controllers will remain as 16 zones max.

Kind regards,

Bill

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@steveTriunfo, just out of curiosity, is this a commercial farm you are working on? Can’t fathom a residence with 60+ active zones…

Very good question.
No. It is not.

I have 2 (two) zones for grapes.

20+zones for decorative roses, and another 20± for ornamentals. The rest are lawn and misc planters

80% is drip irrigation.

Yes it is a large property. One that has ben very carefully designed to limit water usage to be as sustainable and water wise as possible.

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I share the mistakes with Siri

Most people with more than 16 valves is going to buy a different system and won’t be in your database. I have 19 valves and I’ve doubled up 3 of them but still have two valves off your system. I contemplated getting a second Rachio controller but there’s no support for it. if it were my company I’d discontinue the 16 zone system and replace it with a 24 zone system and charge an extra $50 for it.

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There is more room to go even at 24 valves. Some of the houses I install controllers in have 36 valves and up to 90 valves.

I would be nice to see something modular in the future that would allow banks of 12 or 24 stations to be added at a time.

In the mean time, in order to get 24 zones, you could use a 16 and an 8 or go to Costco and get 2 of their 12 station Rachio controllers.

I just bought a 16 zone controller and it works well. I needed a 24 zone controller and had planned on buying another 8 zone thinking they could be linked together. If you can’t link them, at least create controllers with more zones.

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I want to add my handle to the list of people clamoring for a more integrated solution based not only on past promises, but more importantly on current and future needs. I get the business argument—most of us do. I also get the “fight we can win” vs. “one we can’t” idea of avoiding the commercial big boys. That said, no risk—no reward.

I’m in Central California. Here our “farmers” fly their own jets off their private airstrips. Farms bigger than counties—even some states—in the east. R-e-a-l m-o-n-e-y.

There is not a single one I’ve talked to that wouldn’t love to convert to Rachios, and I talk to lots of them. But it’s not scalable. Soooo… there’s another voice for modular development and scalability. If you want to see if there really is a market, take a booth at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, CA. The largest Ag expo in the world. Ask them yourself, face-to-face. Get a feel for it. Of course, that’s just ag, no golf, education, parks & rec, etc.

Current data only tells current stuff—it doesn’t tell you what the potential is. Then again, not every company wants to … Rule The World! :wink:

7

Well, glad to hear there is a need being voiced. Us little grape farmers with a handful of acres who jumped on rachio 4 years ago and installed 60+ station worth of rachio (and added more later to deal with low pump pressure and tank capacity = many valves) are still waiting.

I wrote in this community topic ~2 years ago. The result was I was BLASTED by Franz because while he promised for way over a year of posts and messages the future with multiple controllers being managed as one was coming soon with the new software code base, yet when I asked about it I was told in no uncertain words that it did not make business sense, implying that my 6 (now 7) controllers did not matter and that it would not happen. No “I’m sorry for leading you all on”. No “we will keep trying”. Just a body slam.

Now that is customer service. not.

For the fist 2 years I owned 4x 16 station controllers I told everyone I knew in the sprawling residential areas near my property how GREAT rachio was. After being told to piss off by the co-founder, I stopped speaking about the product or the brand. Period. I still use it. I restored it after the Woolsey fire burnt through my land and my vineyard saved my house. Replaced melted valves, wiring and controller boxes. But I am still not flying the flag for rachio. Why? Go back to that customer service topic above.

I hope someday I will again want to sing the praises. it isn’t even about the multiple controller management that was “the plan”. It remains about the way it was handled from the top. Was expecting to be treated as early adopter - IE ever hopeful, not like the “marks” who spend a lot of money and then were pushed to the curb.

PS - Franz, I have gone to Denver every month for the past 2 years. You invited me to come visit way back when the company was new and the promise of combining controllers was “the plan”. Somehow I just don’t see the reason to come by. My loss.

Add me to the list who would like to link multiple controllers or even just a controller with 24 zones. I purchased one Rachio a few years back at the recommendation of our landscaping company. They installed it for my home which has 18 zones. They combined 1 zone with another, and then put a separate “dumb” controller on the final zone which was added in later years. They just installed a second controller so I would have control over everything, but they were not aware of the limitation on having multiple controllers. I am now in the same boat as many others. I live in a neighborhood with around 25 homes, with almost all of those having just as many zones or more than me. I am the only one with a Rachio controller, but I bet more would be customers if this zone limit was addressed.

I understand looking at your existing customer base to determine how to allocate R&D, but it might be erroneous to do so as you might not be taking into account potential new customer base if you add this feature, especially at a higher cost than existing units. A similar scenario to compare could if Amazon had said 10 years ago that they weren’t gong to put any resources into its third-party sellers platform because it made up such a small percentage of its overall revenue (now it makes up around half), or if Amazon or Microsoft decided 10 years ago not to invest in cloud resources because it is such a small percentage of overall revenue. That would have been a lot of lost revenue potential for each company. Those examples are extremely different scales, and I’m sure there are much better examples others could come up with. Hopefully my point is clear.

I really like the product, the general ease of use, but really could use a 24 zone controller, or at least the ability to integrate my two existing controllers.

I agree that this feature needs to be added. I have 2 Rachio controllers, a 2 and a 3. I just added #3 since I needed more zones for my yard. When will Rachio provide the merging of 2 or more controller schedules together as 1 combined schedule?