With all the rain we have been deluged with in the SF Bay area, I thought it would be a great time to finally get around to swapping out my old irrigation controller with the two Rachio controllers I bought to support my 23 zones of irrigation. After all, if I ran into issues, it would be ok if the system didn’t run for a few days.
I bought a 16 zone and a 8 zone Gen 2 controller almost a year ago, but was disappointed to see there was no support for treating these as one system, which put this on the back burner. But we switched gardeners recently, and they are more high tech that the last ones and would be able to use the app themselves, and since Rachio is working on multi controller support, it was a good time with all the rains to finally get everything installed.
I have 23 zones, fed with 3 sprinkler cables. One cable has 12 zones in it. The 2nd cable has 6 zones in it, and the 3rd has 5 zones in it, all with the commons connected with a wirenut. I didn’t actually notice it was 3 cables until I started taking apart the wiring to the old controller, and after installing the first cable of 12 zones on the 16 zone unit.
This is obviously a problem, since I can’t put two of either of the cables on any single controller and still group them into 16 and 8 zones, without splitting zones from at least one of the cables.
So, I figured it would be fine to just jumper the commons together between the controllers like they were set up before, but then figured I just look this up on the support site, which pointed me to this note: http://support.rachio.com/article/564-how-do-i-share-a-common-wire-between-two-controllers. This looked odd to me, as I’ve never seen use of anything like this before in irrigation.
This appears to try and isolate commons between two controllers, but requires only one controller to be active at once, which the Rachio software doesn’t yet support under software control. The documentation for the isolators (which are not available locally, which means I’d have to order these online and wait a few days to get them) seems to imply there are problems if you screw up and they do both kick in at the same time.
I guess I could go out and get another 8 zone controller, so I have one controller per cable, but that is even more expense and makes coordinating between the controllers even more difficult. I guess I could go buy a second 16 zone controller, and ebay the 8 zone one, but if I cam doing all that maybe I should just replace them all with a controller that supports 23 zones more easily.
What do you all think I should do? I really like the Rachio UI and software - it has a much higher WAF than the system I had before, but I need it to be functional for my configuration.