Local manual control at controller until wifi (internet) is available

Hello, I’m researching if it’s possible to manually control the Rachio Gen 2 at the controller without activating the controller via wifi and an internet connection.

We are building a house and are 2.5 weeks away from moving in. Our irrigation system was installed yesterday, complete with the Rachio Gen 2 controller. My problem is the house will not have internet until August 4th when we move in. I will also not have a local wifi network setup until August 4th. My problem is our sod will be laid July 31st. For 5 days I will have fresh sod and a new irrigation system, but I fear I won’t be able to run the irrigation system to water the sod. Not good in the middle of summer.

I’ve researched and found individual zones can be turned on for 3 minute using the local buttons on the controller. However, I believe the Rachio Gen 2 needs to be configured before the local buttons can be used. Is that correct? Is there a way to manually turn the irrigation system on prior to setting up the controller using the app and an internet connect?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

@deewan - one option might be to get a mobile hotspot for internet service for the Rachio between now and August 4/5. You could get a previously owned unit so you wouldn’t have to pay full retail for the device and then go month to month for service. I don’t think the Rachio uses much bandwidth.

Is there a new neighbor with WiFi signal strong enough to reach the Rachio that you could meet and borrow their service for a few weeks?

Thanks for the info @DLane. Because I only need to bridge 5-7 days between when the sod goes in and when the internet and wifi are setup I would prefer to not buy a mobile hotspot unit (new or used) or pay for even one month of data. Our new home is in a new development and the closet house is 3 lots away. I will check using my phone, but not sure a neighbors wifi is strong enough to reach our lot or the Rachio inside our garage.

I just wasn’t expecting that the Rachio would be completely ‘dead’ until it could be setup with internet access. I was hoping there was a manual override at the controller. I would have guessed my situation is not that rare and Rachio would have some method to kick on a zone prior to full internet setup. Even if the irrigation company wanted to test out the zones using the unit and didn’t have the app. In my neighborhood a lot of homes have the sod laid 1-2 weeks before the buyers move in so by the time they move into the house the sod is a few weeks away from growing roots into the soil. With that situation, no new homes would be able to use a Rachio Gen 2 controller to keep their sod alive before closing and builders wouldn’t be able to install a Rachio then list the home for sale.

Seems like a great improvement for the controller. Simple manual hard-button controls to bridge the gap of when the sod goes in and the owners move in (or internet is installed).

Thanks again for the info. I’ll keep trying or buy some garden hoses and sprinklers to water my yard for a week.

Your irrigation valves will likely have a manual on/off, so if you are at the home, you could turn the water on at each valve box.

I do believe the controller DOES have a manual option - see here: http://support.rachio.com/article/475-buttons-gen-2

As long as you a) don’t mind going by the house on a regular basis until you move in and b) are OK with a 3 min run cycle which you have to activate per zone each time.


Thank you for sharing. I ran across that link. I don’t know if that process is possible without the initial controller setup using the app and internet. I don’t mind going to the house and staying there while I water a few times. Just as long as I have the ability to start the sprinklers.

Pretty sure once you have the wires connected, thats what you need for the manual portion. Everything else is to allow you to communicate with the controller via the internet and phone app.

Thank you @ssindelman. I’ll give it a try a few days before the sod goes down to confirm and then report back.

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On a gen2 there is a way to set up limited schedules http://support.rachio.com/article/476-limited-schedules

1 15 minutes Every 3 days
2 30 minutes Every 3 days
3 45 minutes Every 3 days
4 15 minutes Every other day
5 30 minutes Every other day
6 45 minutes Every other day
7 10 minutes Once per day
8 20 minutes Once per day
9 30 minutes Once per day
10 5 minutes Twice per day
11 10 minutes Twice per day
12 15 minutes Twice per day


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

this link and the link above it give this message: The page you were looking for doesn’t exist

I want to set up a schedule of on for 1 minute every hour. would this link tell me how to do this?

I just discovered the manual cycle and soak capability so I think I’ve got it

It seems that they took the page down and that would only run each zone up to two times per day. To schedule that I would set a fixed schedule, for specific days, starting at a specific time. Select an hour and set the zones for how long you want them to run. You will have to set up a schedule for each hour that way. Depending on how old your system is and what types of heads you have you may need more time. If you have rotating heads it may take 3 or more minutes to sweep across the entire area it needs to cover. Good luck.

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