I flex - you flex - we flex


#1

If anything I figured the catchy tune would raise some attention of some old TIMERS. Lol :grinning: (stolen from Plainsane)
I have an interesting situation I began using the controller back in may manually while running a simulated flex schedule in the back ground that was disabled, until I, you, we, us worked out all the kinks.
Went live on flex schedule in August on a 3 day fixed schedule and it worked very well. So on the 20th of August I decided to cut the umbilical cord and try FREE FLEX.
It works great BUT heres what I am running into pros and cons:

  • Watering every single day not all zones
  • Watering some zones for 2 - 9 minutes a day certain zones
  • No more deep watering cycles
  • Stays within the moisture graph
  • Watering History shows correct watering date. My Yard does not correct date.
  • Flex times run shorter than noted
  • Don’t see a seasonal adjustment for weather variations

I know that in the very beginning before I entered all the data and made all the necessary tweaks and made the necessary adjustments. I had applied a scientific equation to the Flex timing of the zones to be watered and the term was called SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guessing) which got me to this point. :blush:

My question is do I continue on this path?
Is there a way to recalibrate Flex? I did zero all Moisture charts before I began to Flex
Do I deactivate Flex and create a new Flex schedule?

Don’t get me wrong its not broken. it just seem like it could be a bit more efficient I think. :joy:


#2

I think you’re still locked in to how non-flex schedules work. I had the same problem when I went to flex.

There’s no such thing as a ‘seasonal adjustment’ for flex schedules. That because the Iro is using the weather data such that every single day is an (incremental) seasonal adjustment. Once you grasp this concept the rest gets easier.

I’m flying along with one flex schedule with no limitations - it can water the zones included any day/time it wants to, starting at 12:15 AM every day. On hotter days I get more water than on colder daysl

The other flex schedule is limited to two specific days per week. It’s working fine too.

The one ‘bug’ that I’m aware of (and acknowledged) is that a forecasted rain event that doesn’t actually occur takes 3 days to recover from. Once the s/w fix is put in place this will be reduced to a 2 day recovery period.

Best regards,

Bill


#3

Hey Bill are you running everyday different zones different minutes.

To clarify i have set my schedule to start at 5:00 am and thats the only time time it runs. Otherwise I would be arrested by the water police. :open_mouth:


#4

@JNotar, digging the tune! I think we’ll need to get you and @plainsane to write us a jingle :wink:

Thanks for reaching out to us with your questions related to Flex Schedules. I’ll do my best to answer them below:

Flex Schedules run only as needed on a per zone basis. Each Flex schedule is setup to run on Allowed Days at a defined Start Time. On the Allowed Days the schedule can run, we perform a weather check to calculate the moisture balance in each zone roughly 1 hour before the scheduled Start Time. If any of the zones are predicted to reach a 0% moisture balance, the Flex schedule will water the zone(s) for the duration of time configured in the Flex schedule. It’s important to remember that Flex schedules will adjust the frequency of waterings, whereas Fixed schedules will not.

Zone watering durations are user defined. For details, please refer to this support article on how to setup a Flex schedule; you may have missed the zone duration selection. You can adjust the duration of watering by selecting one of the 5 watering levels by tapping on the rain drop icon.

Do you have Smart Cycle enabled on the Flex schedule? If so, are the watering durations long enough to justify cycle/soak? For details, please refer to this support article on Smart Cycle.

Yep, this is how Flex schedules know when to water :wink:

Could you elaborate on any inconsistencies you’re seeing? i.e. a specific zone? Screenshots would be helpful if you have any to review. Please post them here or email to support@rachio.com.

Are you referring to Flex times running shorter then Fixed times? More details would help us to review this.

As @a0128958 mentioned, There’s no such thing as a ‘seasonal adjustment’ for flex schedules. That because the Iro is using the weather data such that every single day is an (incremental) seasonal adjustment. Flex schedules adjust the frequently of waterings to account for daily seasonal adjustments.

If you have Water Budgeting enabled on a Fixed schedule, it will adjust the duration of the waterings on a weekly basis, but not the frequency.

Flex schedules are dynamic to all zone changes and weather data recorded. You could create a new Flex schedule, but it won’t change the way in which it’s currently working. Instead, I’d recommend reviewing this support article to better understand how you can adjust your existing Flex schedules to operate the way you’d like them to.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on ways to make Flex schedules more efficient. We’re always looking for ways to make the Iro better :smile:

Hope this helps to address your concerns.

Best, Emil


#5

No. You’re still thinking in terms of non-flex schedules.

I don’t tell my flex schedule which zones to run, nor do I tell each zone how many minutes. The Iro figures it out automatically. Which days watering is done, which zones are included, how many cycles are needed, how many minutes per cycle, and how many soak periods are all managed by the flex schedule. All I do is tell it what kind of soil, what kind of plants, what’s the slope, how much sunshine, etc.

The hard thing to get used to is to then let it run on auto. What will happen is flex schedule will carefully use weather data to custom ‘season adjust’ every day’s watering details - which zones, # of cycles, minutes, soak periods, etc.

The harder thing to do is then make incremental adjustments. You’ll find some zones aren’t getting enough water, other’s too much. Now you’ve got to figure out what to adjust. The interface for doing this isn’t easy to understand (% depletion, % efficiency, % overall adjustment, changing plant material, changing soil, etc.

The hardest thing is to work around still some bugs. For example you’re going to get confused when the forecast calls for rain, it doesn’t rain, and it takes 3 days for the Iro to recover, assuming you can hold yourself back from diving right in to make manual adjustments.

I start watering at 12:15 AM, every day, and 'let ‘er rip.’ Some day I hope for an already requested ‘don’t water when the sun’s out’ enhancement so that if watering is continuing at 7 AM, flex schedule momentarily pauses until 7 PM, then resumes. Right now flex schedule just keeps on rotating around, unwilling to pause for anything.

Give me another 12 months, and I’ll have all 13 months of this chart filled out, to show exactly how flex scheduling works: http://www.welserver.com/perl/plot/WEL0343/Sprinkler1.png . Here you can see that for the last month and a half I’ve been flex scheduling, the amount of watering varies significantly by day, as weather patterns change, different plants/trees/grass/flowers need water at different times, etc.

Best regards,

Bill


#6

I’m plainsane, and I approve of this title!

Will lol again +1

Completely agree. It’s very foreign.

Yea, for me at first this was true. But if you find yourself needing a very small adjustment to time, I have found success by tweaking the percip rate via a custom nozzle.

I only recommend this once you have triple verified in a double blind study that all your information is correct.
I have 1 zone that has needed this treatment because, the builder installed my pos system and that is the last zone left for me to overhaul.

The thing I struggled with most is getting flexies to wait longer before between waterings…I like to dry out my root canopy. I never really made progress here and just kind of live with it for now and watch for disease instead of hot spots. I’m at the end of my season, so I’ll play with it more next year.

But all in all, this is my first season with the device and I’m most pleased with flex schedules. I have had a few issues with it watering when it shouldn’t (iftt recipe bandaids that, need a pws to fix percip amounts) and not watering when it should (data outage, not rachio’s fault).

Remember, triple check your setup…and read up on mad because it never fails to blow my mind coming back to it once a month.


#7

Here is my flex schedule observation, I find that flex schedule do great except in 1 scenario.

I have seen that when their is forecasted rain that doesn’t happen (which is very common here) leads to brown lawn. Over the last few weeks their has been no rain forescasted and flex ran and my lawn is great.

But the month before that it was supposed to rain daily, but rarely did, and it lead to a browner lawn.


#8

This is exactly what I’m talking about. And not have this incremental watering 2 minutes here 3 minutes there. But rather have a normal set schedule 20 minutes every third day or wherever it may fall in the range.

The way Im set up now I could grow Orchids. :dizzy_face: Lol Hey there is an idea. Not


#9

well, it is my understanding that flexies will not add increments to the runtimes, it instead runs the zones for their configured times. any natural percip will postpone the schedule until mad dictates the zones be run again.

this is an assumption of mine.

and when i say between waterings, for clarity im referring to the number of days between cycles not the numberr of minutes between water smart cycling.


#10

I did have smart water on at the very beginning and that turned out to be a cluster so I did turned it off.

But to answer your question yes it does cut down the run time of the zones.

And whats more frustrating its like the roll of the dice as to what your going to get the next day.


#11

wow, i have not seen this yet. the only thing i have noticed is that sometimes a zone will get 3 6 minute cycles and sometimes it gets 3 6 minutes cycles. but overall watering time has not moved since i set it up.

so if i understand it correctly, even though i have configured my flex schedule to water zone 1 for 18 minutes, you are saying that it could water for 15 or 20 minutes?

im looking through my history and i dont see this type of behavior. i absolutely do not want something “like” seasonal adjustments occurring in my schedule.

and i find nothing in the flex documentation that explains any type of runtime augmentation.

is this correct @emil?


#12

We have adjusted down forecasted rain, hopefully this will help in these scenarios.

60% chance of rain or greater, we take forecast at 100% face value.

Less than 60% chance of rain we take the forecast at 50% face value.

Still trying to find the optimum value(s)

:cheers:


#13

Correct, we do not adjust the watering times, only frequency. :wink:

:cheers:


#14

Hmmm so could it be that I’m having a problem because I had smart watering on at one point?
And since I have installed the unit I have been running a disable flex while I tweaked the manual settings until they were just right. Then moved on to a three day Flex schedule and that was fine then I turn it loose. Watering times have changed. :flushed:


#15

The only time they will not run as is set on the schedule, is if there are restrictions in place (i.e. M/W/F) and let’s say it’s Wednesday, and we know our next watering day is Friday, we might top off the zone to get us till Friday.

:cheers:


#16

Yes but I took off all the restrictions.

Should I disable this schedule and recreate a new one?

Due to how many changes have been made?


#17

It couldn’t hurt. Unless zone attributes or the nozzle have changed, the flex schedule run times will be static.

:cheers:


#18

This is great to know! I think it’s working much much better!


#19

I think you can make a simple adjust to your zone attributes, which when used with Flexible Scheduling, will allow the upper portion of the soil column to dry out more to help avoid fungus problems. Simply increase the depth of your root zone. This should cause the flex algorithm to increase your base duration and reduce the frequency of irrigation. This deeper, less frequent watering will allow the top portion of the soil column to dry out a bit more. (It will also tweak your moisture balance a bit, which I think is not a big deal.) Someone please correct me if I’m wrong here.


#20

No I totally agree.
I have bark sitting on top and this constant few minutes here and there don’t allow for adequate drying.
Would prefer a longer water cycle and gap.
I tweak and tweak and I keep tweaking.
Maybe what we need is a new plant category between Perennial and warm season grass. But thats just my thinking. :hushed: