Just Installed Rachio, Considering My Own Weather Station


#1

Just replaced an old Rainbird with Rachio 8 station controller and it was pretty easy. I’m now considering getting my own weather station. Do the weather stations have to be hard wired to the Rachio or can they be a weather station that Rachio can get online? I’d sure like the latter. Easier to install.

Another concern is hail, because we occasional get some. The weather stations I look at online look like they’re made of plastic and could easily be damaged.

I was looking at the following stations on Amazon:



The last one is getting quite pricey. It would have to have something to justify that price. Are any of these weather stations compatible with the Rachio? How do I hook them up? I presume they require wired power.

I’ve started to read some of the posts of weather stations and my head is spinning. I’m a nerd, but not a high level functioning nerd, so any advice or help is much appreciated.

I do want to say that the Rachio was a breeze to install and the customer support has been excellent.


#2

@jangell2 - 1) The weather stations are not hard wired into the Rachio.

  1. Rachio picks up the weather data from internet sources. Therefore, the weather station needs to upload data to CWOP, Hamweather or PwsWeather for Rachio’s weather provider to pick up the data.

  2. If the weather station only uploads to WeatherUnderground you can use the process described here (start around post 126 and look for Gene) Using WUnderground.com to integrate Personal Weather Stations to integrate the data from your weather station’s data being posted on Weather Underground and being posted to PWSweather.

  3. There is a device that one can connect to some weather stations that will feed the data to multiple places on the internet.

  4. Normally, one gets what they pay for related to quality.

  5. Bad weather data in = bad irrigation settings out, the old GIGO problem.


#3

@jangell2 So far you are considering one manufacturer: AcuRite. Out of the three options you’ve listed, only the first one (10057RM) comes with a smartHUB, which is required to get data to the internet and to the Rachio. The lightning detector which comes with the most expensive version (01024M) will not provide Rachio any additional data it can could use.

Not sure what to recommend about the hail, don’t think there are any weather stations which are specifically designed to survive a nasty hail storm. There are stations which are better build than AcuRite, but they cost far more and could still be damaged if the hail is big enough. AcuRite is somewhat modular (you can replace the top part which may be damaged) and you could buy probably about three of them for the cost of one of the better build stations.

AcuRite does not support the weather networks which are supported by Rachio. You will need to setup upload to the Weather Underground on the myacurite.com website, and link the data to pwsweather.com to make data available to Rachio. More information about this can be found here (link), note that if you are using your own pws, you would link your own weather underground station instead of looking for a good one in the area (which you could try prior to buying a pws of your own).

Cheers,
Gene


#4

I followed the thread below last year and ended up getting an Ambient Weather WS-1400-IP from Amazon.

http://community.rachio.com/t/i-did-it-ordered-a-pws-question-about-wind?source_topic_id=8452

Just last weekend, I finally installed it. My Rachio had been pointing to another relatively close (and accurate) weather station, but it recently went off-line.

The Ambient will report readings up to weatherunderground.com on its own, but Rachio doesn’t pull weather from there. I use @Gene’s awesome wufyi.com service to copy the readings from weatherunderground.com over to PWSweather.com, which Rachio does see. It’s only been a few days, but everything has been working perfectly!


#5

I notice this is solar powered, I presume it has a battery so it keeps on running thru the night. Do I still need weather snoop with this weather station?

I forgot to mention I’m using an iMac.


#6

Right, the outdoor unit comes with three AA rechargeable batteries.

The setup works like this:

I’m running on a Mac, too. The box came with one of those mini-CDs, but I went to the Ambient Weather site and downloaded their “Mac IP Tool”. This tool will find the ObserverIP box on your network and let you update the firmware. After you’ve done that, you can use Safari to configure the ObserverIP and to view live readings from the outdoor sensor.

I use the awesome tool @Gene created to sync the data from Weather Underground over to PWSweather.com. It doesn’t require that my Mac stay on 24/7.


#7

Yeah, I see that now. Once you’ve setup everything, the weather stations uploads to the Weather Underground and then it’s synced to PWSweather all without a computer. I like that. Any subscription fees involved in this?


#8

No, it is free. You will need a free developer API key from Weather Underground, hope they never decide to start charging for it.


#9

Well, all without your computer. :slight_smile: If you read about @Gene’s service, it does require that the sync command be run every three minutes, but he recommends a free web service that allows you to set that up happen automatically.


#10

Where may I read about Gene’s service?

Edit: Never mind, I think I found it. Now I just need to get past the WAF (wife acceptance factor).


#11

Here (link) is the original introduction, probably way more information (such as source code) then you were looking for.

Here (link) is a more friendly introduction to wufyi.com, a site where I host the above mentioned source code. You can use it for free (without setting up your own web-host).

Cheers,
Gene

P.S. Saw your edit as I was about to post, decided to post anyway. Glad you were able to find the info.


#12

Post 130 in the Using Underground thread seems to sum it all up with a couple added links. When I get by the WAF, that’s where I’ll start.

Thank you, Gene. Thanks to everyone posting here. This is a welcoming site.


#13

I have the 5-in-1 Accurite and it works like a champ with Gene’s script and my Rachio. However rachio support says it doesn’t report forecast data so the rachio won’t preempt a watering based on forecast. Not sure if this is true or not as my system has never preempted before as I’ve never had a forecast that should cause it to.


#14

I also have 5-in-1, and I also use my script :wink: From what I see, forecast seems to work without issues.

Cheers,
Gene


#15

To illustrate my knowledge of PWS, can these things really predict? I know they gather data but I have been presuming that Rachio would use the data from the PWS to know what happened and from the official forecasts to predict the weather. I’ve been wrong many times before.

Gene, how well do you like your Accurite? How’s the build quality


#16

I love my accurite and it’s been hailed on, held up to 70 mph winds. The thing is stout and does a great job reporting.


#17

Yeah mine shows Forecasting too. I wonder why the Rachio support chick said otherwise. Anyhow, I am curious what the forecasted data has to be for the Rachio to say, “Nope, I’m not watering today”. Is that something that the user can change?


#18

@jangell2 Overall I’m very pleased with Accurite, mainly because I discovered a better calibration procedure for rain sensor, which is the most important data a PWS can provide to Rachio. Other (more professional) stations make it difficult to calibrate their rain sensors, leaving it up to their customers to trust that factory calibration was correct and will remain so.


Build quality is sufficient for my needs, outdoor sensor is compact and from what I can see, serviceable (worn / damaged parts can be replaced). Overall, due to cost, I can afford to get a new one at least a few more times (if needed) before the cost would match something which is better built.

A PWS, by itself, is not designed to be a good forecaster. By nature a forecast needs to compare data from different locations to detect weather fronts, pressure differences and historical trends. One station will not know how the local data compares to the surroundings and weather forecasting is usually done on a very powerful servers / "super"computers.

@BuddyL33 There is some info on that here (link):

How does Rain Skip work?
Rain Skip checks the weather 1 hour before your watering schedule starts. Anytime the rainfall threshold is met using observed + forecasted rainfall (rainfall in the last 24 + future 24 hours), the watering schedule is skipped.


#19

I see it says how it works but it doesn’t say how to change it manually if you want. Just that you can, yet I haven’t found that feature anywhere.


#20

I think it can be disabled (unless you are using a flexible daily schedule), but not actually adjusted.