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


#1

having been a rachio supporter and user for several years, it is getting very old waiting for the software to deal with more than one controller at a time. The aggregation of multiple controllers has been a topic and a promise for years. The promise of it being in the “new” version continues to be just that, a promise with no progress.

I currently have 5 Rachio controllers on the property, mostly 16 channel and 1 new one in a box waiting to be connected up. It has been waiting for months as it seems to be a waste…

We draw our irrigation water from a 2500 gallon tank. If too much is drawn the sprinkler boost pump runs dry, overheats and fails, the repair being 3 hours and $150 each time…

To avoid the pump running dry I have an elaborate spreadsheet to list the 60+ active valves and then do comparison to make sure the run time and flows are never more than the tank and refill rate can handle. Usually get it right. If not I buy another pump.

being able to see and control everything within rachio has been the promise and the goal for years.
It has been promised for the New software (18 months ago) and then the New New Software… and still. No

The lack of progress and even worse nothing being said about this vital feature for the past year is down right depressing.

Did I make a mistake being a loyal rachio supporter and booster to all my friends…???

Please restore my faith in rachio. Mankind too if you can :slight_smile:


#2

How is a pump running dry any controllers fault, sounds like your pump needs a level or pressure switch installed. Your pump could run dry with any use of water.


#3

You are missing the point. Try managing 50-70 stations that have no understanding of each other becuase the software still has no way for them to be available in a global view. The entire reason for a smart controller system is the key word - Smart. I support Franz, I support rachio but I am bored waiting for the features that have been promised. An IoT device that has failed to advance to multiple controllers in over 3 years is not real smart.


#4

What feature are you requesting?


#5

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.


#6

@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.


#7

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.


#8

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:


#9

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


#11

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.


#12

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


#13

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:


Multiple Controllers / Flow Sensors
#14

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.


#15

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


#16

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


#17

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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