Could the unused zones be used to control low wattage landscape lights?
I wish to do the same thing. If the software allows for multiple schedules, as
I expect, a second schedule could be set up to only enable the lights (also assuming that the program delay time allows for hours of zone enabled time). The rachio team would need to comment officially however I doubt that the box could drive the lighting directly, therefore you could add a relay switch enabled by the Iro. I plan on using this rely to turn on my 120 VAC transformer that drives the low voltage lighting,
Total Cost of operation/ownership
That actually leads into another feature request; automatic sunset/sunrise times so the sprinklers (or whatever gets connected to the output) can be set to run at sunset or sunrise, automatically updated by location (Belkin WeMo does something similar). There’s been a few requests that want to only water at night to avoid any ET; this would tie in there.
I just installed Iro yesterday. I love it. And I have it controlling my landscape lights as well.
In the outdoor enclosure next to the AC outlet, I installed a 24V relay that is triggered by the channel 16 output. The relay switches the AC supply to the low-voltage lighting transformer. I created a separate watering plan that turns on the lights every night at 7:00. The maximum settable during for a zone is 3 hours, but this can be bumped up using the seasonal adjustment control in the app.
Here’s a pic:
This works perfectly for me. I can control watering and lighting from one app!
I would like to see Rachio incorporate a separate control for landscape lighting in the app and possibly add a relay option as well. Regardless, this is great technology.
@rj_bauman That is awesome! I will add those requests to our backlog. If we get enough hybrid systems it makes sense to have non-watering zones.
If you want to PM me with your address and t-shirt size would be more than happy to send you a Rachio t-shirt.
Love the hack.
I like the idea as well. My question is would this skew the history and reporting information? If for example you use one of the zones to run a landscape light relay for 10 hours, it would appear that you’ve used 10 hours worth of additional watering on the report when you’re really not correct?
@landru That is correct, didn’t even think of that When we get around to allowing you to differentiate between zone ‘types’ we can ignore that for reporting data.
+1 for including a landscape lighting feature.
It would be nice to integrate outdoor controls into one application.
I would like to stick a 24VAC relay in a NEMA4 box and control the lighting in my chicken coop during the winter months. Building a custom lighting schedule for the chicken zone would be very cool. Currently, I use a Christmas light pin timer…which has been somewhat unreliable.
I would also like to control the outdoor lights on my shed. I considered trenching in conduit and running a hard switch to my house, but the low voltage route would be much, much easier to do.
This little relay looks like it may be the ticket…under 20 bucks on Amazon:
I think lighting control would be a feature that would be easy enough to extend and add value over the competition.
Anyhow, I am delighted with your product. I also appreciate the fact that it is reasonably priced, and is developed and produced in the USA. Very well done!
@PhillV I’ve captured those requirements in our software backlog, they do make a lot of sense and technically isn’t that difficult. It’s just weighing our priorities at the moment.
We are very proud to have everything designed, coded , manufactured, and assembled in the USA (right now it’s all in Colorado)
Have a great weekend!
I have done the same thing and more. Although I currently don’t have Rachio yet, my current system controls not only all the weather based irrigation but also my pool (lights, fill, empty, heating and pump) as well as the Christmas and landscape lights. I used an Orbit irrigation box (Home Depot or Lowes or…) with a bank of OMRON G7L-1A-BUBJ-CB 24V relays built in. The controller feeds into the relay box and turns on whatever is needed. The current controller also has a wireless remote so I can do everything from the couch. What I don’t have is a web based system and the Rachio would be a perfect transition to. The only drawback is the limit of 16 zones. Once you embark on controlling other hardware besides the irrigation the number of channels grows quickly.
One more reason to have a 24, 36 and 48 zone Rachio. I don’t quite understand what’s so hard about that.
You can accomplish your sunrise/sunset feature using IFTTT.com’s recipes. Sign up there and link your Rachio and create a recipe using Weather (which includes Sunrise/Sunset) and your Rachio account. It’s easy.
This is going to look like a lot of steps, but it’s actually not and the automation benefits are worth it. Until Rachio gets the Sunrise/Sunset feature in their app, here’s how you can accomplish it:
- Create your desired watering schedule in the Rachio app (you can put
any time in the schedule because it’s not going to go off of
Rachio’s schedule, but rather the IFTTT recipe)
- Label the schedule (I chose Sunrise), then disable the schedule (this will take away
Rachio’s attempt to run it at the scheduled time)
- Sign up or sign in to your IFTTT.com account.
- Go to “My Recipes”, click “Create a Recipe”
- For “this” choose the “Weather” module and for the trigger choose “Sunrise”
- For “that” choose “Rachio Iro” module and for the trigger choose “Start watering time (schedule)”
- From the dropdown, choose your disabled schedule you created earlier
(the one I labeled Sunrise)
- Last, choose whether you want to be notified and click “Create Recipe”
Wake up the next day at Sunrise to watch it all take place or check your history in the Rachio app.
I am considering adding landscape lighting and having it controlled by my Iro.
I see how @rj_bauman wired the common and zone wire to the relay, but what are the black & white wires coming from the relay wired to?
The common and zone wires connect to the relay coil. The other wires are connected to the relay contacts which switch the 120VAC that powers the 12V landscape transformer. You could alternatively switch the 12V output of the transformer.
I had an Irritrol system before converting to Rachio Iro. The conversion went seamlessly with the exception of landscape lighting. My system has a Torro relay which activates just like a normal zone. My lights come on and turn off just fine.
The problem is that I cannot really dial in a proper schedule. In my Irritrol system they had created a lighting zone that did three things: 1) it accepted sunrise and sunset as options for start and stop; 2) it allowed for very long times (over 3 hours); and 3) Irritrol allows one other zone to start or stop while the lighting zone is on.
I see no reason why Rachio cannot offer the same flexibility in the software.
I have used IFTT, however, the recipe does not allow me to specify more than a one hour period for keeping the zone on. I did create a disabled schedule to turn on the zone for 4 hours daily (see Fisher Family above), and then ran the schedule at sunset through IFTT. That seems like it will work. I published the schedule here: Rachio Sunset Lighting Recipe
Any other ideas? I really hope Rachio adds a lighting zone and allows for sunset/sunrise timing in the next update (hint hint).
Why don’t all of you ppl trying to stuff a round peg through a square whole just go out and buy a nest, wemo, z wave or blink system. It will provide much more flexibility than any irrigation controller could ever hope to meet and it will provide you with a future path as well.
Rachio does a beautiful job communicating with many different services, and allows for communication with Nest as well. It offers an excellent plug and play replacement for existing irrigation controllers, and because of this, I bought it. While it is true that I can achieve the functionality that I am after using IFTTT or just playing with my Rachio scheduling, the suggestions on this thread are intended to offer more value add to Rachio – making it better at what it is designed to be. Controlling landscape lighting is a common feature on higher end controllers, and because Rachio is a higher end controller, I think (as many of the commenters do as well) that the feature should be added.
I do not believe anyone on this thread is suggesting that replacing the Rachio with a Nest, Wemo, Z-Wave or Blink System would be a better alternative. I happen to own additional systems (Lowes Iris® and a Z-Wave controller) for controlling my home, and none of them do as good of a job as an irrigation controller.
In sum, my suggestion for a feature is as follows:
- Create a zone type called “Lighting.”
- Allow for sunrise/sunset times for start and stop for zones (if I choose sunset as start, allow sunset or x hours/minutes for stop).
- Allow other zones to run concurrently with the Lighting type zone(s). I realize there may be a limitation on the number of zones the 24v controller can activate at once – but at least one lighting and one other zone should be able to run concurrently.
Of course the suggestion is contingent upon an individual installing an appropriate low-voltage relay to turn on the lighting transformers, but all irrigation systems which control landscape lighting require this in some form or other.
@surfpup, we can do this , but it will take some configuration.
- Setup a watering time (or should I say “lighting time” ;)) for your light zones
- Go to the webapp and extend your durations from the 3 hour max to up to 10 hours
- Setup a recipe on IFTTT to turn on the watering time at sunset.
Feedback on your feature requests below, in order:
- You can do this by renaming your zone name
- I think this would be pretty slick for watering times and will pass this along to our product team for future review.
- This is a hardware limitation pending the amount of power your “light zone” needs…we can run up to two valves at once, so I’d assume we could do the same with light relays.
Hope this helps. Let me know your thoughts.