How to make Flex Schedules and Weather Intelligence work

Hi everyone. Madrid Rachio 3 user here. After some trouble and playing around, thanks to the tip posted by @championc I think I have managed to set a Flex Daily Schedule, with Weather Intelligence Plus, working outside of US/Canada.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Find a city in US/Canada which has similar weather to yours, all year round. Weatherspark is useful, as it shows a graph with the average temperatures, as well as precipitation, and you can add several cities to the graph to compare. Try and find a city which shares as many geographical features with yours, then use weatherspark to compare:

  • Erase any schedules you have on your Rachio. You don’t need to completely reset the Rachio, you can keep the zones if you already configured them, just erase the schedules.

  • Change the Rachio’s location to that “twin” city in the US/Canada.

  • Choose a PWS close to that city.

  • Create a Flex schedule adding all the zones you want. Then allow for a few minutes for the system to calculate everything.

  • And finally, change your Rachio’s location to your real city, and choose the closest and more reliable PWS. After some minutes, the system will adjust to the new climate history/forecast, and from now on it should work just fine.

You might need to fine tune each zone’s advanced settings and/or soil moisture settings so that the watering is right, but I guess this is what happens with all flex schedules. The good thing about this trick is that from now on, it does use the weather data correctly when adjusting the schedule.

Hoped that helped!


The main thing to point out is that the system will NOT auto-calculate the time required to fill to 100%. You’ll have to guess an initial duration for watering and then adjust it downwards if you are up at 110%.

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Well done both you and championc for documenting and sharing this workaround for international users with us all, very much appreciated!

Whilst this is a huge step forward for many non USA/Canada users, I assume it won’t work in the southern hemisphere as the seasons are the opposite way round to the northern hemisphere?

So it sounds to me like the Rachio only downloads the average historical weather data once, when you first set up the Rachio?

I’d be interested to know what Rachio actually downloads? 12 monthly datasets, 52 weekly datasets? I wonder if Rachio would consider providing the facility to manually enter/edit the historical weather data, which would allow users worldwide to benefit from the seasonal shift features, assuming they can find the necessary historical weather data, which I imagine would be quite easy to do…? Wouldn’t that be nice!

The soil moisture thing is indeed an issue. My zones, as they reach depletion, don’t turn back to 100% after watering and remain at 0%, and hence they keep being added to the daily schedule.

The soil moisture curve keeps saying that the next day, after watering, it will replenish. But it never happens.

Any ideas?

@Spanish-garden it’s hard to tell what is happening from the graph. Can you select the “More Detail” and add a screenshot of the resulting chart. The information in the chart will show in much more detail what is happening.

Yes, here you go.

It says irrigation today was 0.1 and tomorrow will be 3.1, but earlier today that zone got 20min worth of watering and tomorrow it is scheduled for another 20min, so I don’t understand what’s going on.

@Spanish-garden - so it looks like there was a little bit of watering on May 16 and May 17 and Rachio wants to water quite a bit on May 18. But I don’t understand why given the low moisture balance it didn’t water more on May 15 or 16. Perhaps on of the Rachio “wizards” here will be able to advise. One question - what’s the allowed depletion for this zone?

But on may 16th it was 20 minutes, same as it is scheduled for today.

Water depletion is 50%.

Here is the watering history for that zone as well as it’s settings.

What type of schedule are you using - Flex Daily, Flex Monthly, or Fixed? And what is the duration for that zone in the schedule. In the example below I have a zone called Deck Back Yard that has a duration of 37 minutes.

I ask because it almost seems as if there is a little bit of watering every day and that is enough to prevent the longer watering from happening. But again, others here will probably know.

Flex daily. That zone has a watering duration of 20min. And no, it doesnt have a little bit of watering every day.

Well the last couple of days the table you posted shows that Rachio thinks it has gotten a little bit of water the last 2 days - The 4th line down shows irrigation. Note that it shows on May 16 0.1, then on May 17 0.1 and then on May 18 it is forecasting 3.1. The 0.1 of irrigation doesn’t really increase the moisture balance which is not typical. And the forecast of 3.1 is based on the zone settings so why is it only watering 0.1 on May 16 and 17. I’ll stop commenting and wait to see what others here think.

@rraisley, @DLane, @tmcgahey if you have a moment could you take a look at @Spanish-garden issue he posted this morning?

@Alturia - thanks for the shout out. I’m not a Flex guy (my city only allows twice a week watering - if I want to follow the rules/law - so I run a Fixed schedule. Electrical wiring or installation - now that is a different story.

@Spanish-garden - have you received any notices from Rachio about skips - i.e. wind skip or forecasted rain - that would have prevented the system from watering on the 17th?

3.1 cm is the correct, calculated amount of water at one time for the zone shown. I can’t tell how long that would take because the screen shot doesn’t show the Nozzle Inches per Hour. The schedule times say 20 minutes for 5/16 and 5/17, yet the chart only shows 0.1 cm water applied during that time; 3.1 cm would therefore take 31 times as long, which is ridiculous. And with no rain forecast, I don’t understand why watering more hasn’t occurred. It is very rare that Rachio waters less than it’s normally calculated amount (3.1), and when it does happen I don’t really understand why. But something funny is happening here.

Thanks everyone. There have been no rainskips and, as you can see on the other screenshot, that zone was watered for 14min on the 12th, and the for 20min on the 16th and 17th. It is scheduled for another 20min tomorrow, the 18th. But the soil moisture remains at 0%. It’s as if the watering isn’t affecting the soil moisture calculation.

That’s because Rachio thinks it is watering only 0.1cm not the 3.1cm that it is calculated to water. The 0.1cm isn’t enough to raise the moisture level above 0%. The mystery is why Rachio thinks it is only watering 0.1cm. Is it because that’s all that it is really watering or is it really watering 3.1cm but not reporting it correctly. As @rraisley points out it should be watering 3.1cm every time the schedule runs.

When you go to the zone is the soil wet? Can you provide a screenshot of the zone advanced settings that includes the nozzle inches per hour?

The soil feels wet and before having the rachio I had a “regular” controller on a fixed schedule which watered for 20min every day (except when it rained and I manually stopped it), that’s why I set the watering duration for 20min, as when I first set the flex daily schedule it automatically programmed much less (around 2 min I believe).

Here are two screenshots with the complete advanced settings for the area.

OK - a Flex Daily schedule it works best if you let Rachio calculate the duration based on the zone settings. In the forecast for May 18 Rachio wants to water 3.1cm. But you appear to have modified the duration so that it will only water 0.1cm.

If a zone isn’t getting the right amount of water - either too little or too much - it works best if you modify the settings a bit rather than the duration. And the nozzle cm/hr is a critical setting - how did you verify that is really the amount of water being applied?

@rraisley can you take a look at the most recent information @Spanish-garden provided?

I didnt change the nozzle cm/hr, I manually changed the watering duration on the schedule settings. And I changed it to more, from 3min to 20min, when I created the schedule. The system keeps saying that after watering for 20min the zone’s soil moisture will rise, but it doesnt even though it waters for the scheduled 20min.

@Spanish-garden yes I understand. There are 2 problems.

First, you set the duration to 20 minutes. This only adds 0.1cm of water to your zone. That is not enough water to raise the moisture level above 0% so Rachio tries to water every day. But because you set the duration to 20 minutes Rachio will never water more than 0.1cm and so the soil moisture will not increase.

Second, based on what you said, the nozzle cm/hr is the default setting. I can almost guarantee you that the water being applied by your sprinkler doesn’t put out 2.54cm per hour. If you want to use a Flex schedule it is pretty critical that you determine the cm/hr that is actually being applied. If you do a Google search of “rachio calculating nozzle inches per hour” you will find lots of information.

@rraisley can you take a look at this and see if you agree?