Ideal Weather Station for Flex Scheduling

I’m considering moving from my current Rainbird ESP-SMTe to the Rachio V2. What originally drew me to the SMTe a few years ago was the managed allowed depletion method of watering and on-site weather station. The main downsides are that the system does not measure solar radiation, it can’t look at future forecasts during scheduling, and there’s no mobile access. I’m hopeful that the Rachio can help bridge these gaps.

If I switch, I’d like to still have the benefits of an on-site weather station again. I live in Nebraska—so rainfall can vary quite a bit over a small area—so it seems having a way to measure actual rainfall on-site is important. There is an airport about 10 miles from my location, so I assume that is where current conditions would come from if I didn’t have a PWS.

As I read about the different weather station options, I see that some report more information than others. For the flex scheduling to work properly in my situation, how important is it that I choose a station that can measure solar radiation for the ET calculations (such as Davis Instruments Pro2)? If I go with a cheaper option that doesn’t include this (say Acurite or Netatmo), how much less accurate do the ET calculations become?

Would certainly appreciate any thoughts you all have on my situation! Thanks in advance.

If a PWS sends Solar radiation data we use it, if not we can get close.

We definitely use forecasts for scheduling.

We allow you to choose any PWS in the nearby vicinity. Sometimes these are highly accurate and you don’t even need to purchase yourself.

From my personal experience it won’t be that much of a factor when you look at all of the other variables that go into the equation. If we don’t get it we have an equation that derives based on latitude and time of year. I think it would all average out.

I don’t think it will be that much less accurate.

For our Spring software release we are moving towards a much simpler schedule to setup. It will be the best of both worlds from our flex and fixed schedules. It will adjust frequency and duration each month (water as needed), while also skipping schedules due to precipitation OR we look at ET and see if it can get to the next run.

Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions or feedback. There will be much more information as we get closer to the software release. We currently have fixed schedules, or flex which waters when soil moisture is depleted. We are refining this and making it easier to setup and monitor for our next release.