Low flow false alarms?

I’ve seen a few other threads related to low-flow false alarms, but I’m still not sure what’s causing the problem on my side.

I have an EveryDrop 1004 which seems to be working well and reports consistent flow data.

A few times a month, I get low flow alerts, but all stations are functioning fine and flowing normally. Even the water “usage” metrics for scheduled watering is consistent.

I have re-run the flow calibration multiple times. Pressurization times are set to 2 minutes and during calibration the flow rate stabilizes within 30-45 seconds for all stations.

That said, it feels like a bug in the controller. The measured water usage (in the Rachio app) for the daily watering isn’t really different between days that alert and days that don’t alert, Any ideas what to do here? I’d like to resolve these false alarms.

To put some data into this, this morning I received a “low flow” alert:

“We detected a flow rate of 0.6 gpm, which is below your set threshold of 1.3 gpm”

The past 5 days of watering on this fruit orchard zone is, in gallons: 131, 131, 132, 131, 137 (today, the alert). Today’s flow was 137 gallons which was 5% more than the prior days and seems within normal flow ranges for the size of drip system I installed. It’s not low-flow at all, certainly not 0.6gpm. This particular zone ran for 50 minutes today, and at 0.6gpm (as reported by low-flow alert) would have delivered 30 gallons at 0.6gpm, not 137 as measured.

Something isn’t right with this alert.

I’ve been having an identical issue, rather frequently at times, and it’s with the Rachio flow-meter. The system is watering fine, but periodically it will indicate a low-flow condition with one or more zones (either 0.0 or 0.6 gal/min on zones that are usually > 5 gal/minute calibrated) And it has once indicated a low flow rate report that included a leak warning (go figure that one out.)

What’s up with this? I replaced the flowmeter batteries, but the ones that came out tested perfect on two battery testers. The incidents decreased but didn’t completely stop. I’ve learned to ignore them since they leave the zones active. It also moves around my 8 zones, some nights 1 zone, some nights 3 different zones.

Anyone else? Any ideas what’s happening?

See my post from earlier this year. I continue to get these false alerts, and this happens on two different Rachios+flow meters. Another data point I’ve noticed is it seems it may miss a real leak developing after it has checked the flow rate. I’m not certain of this because I only witnessed it once, but it sounds similar to my previous suspicion that it’s using a single pair of data points. I really wish the software was open-sourced.

Thanks for that link. It helps to know others are baffled here :wink:

If I can find some time soon, I’ll see if I can read the pulses on the meter with an esp32 and collect some data to see if I can correlate “low flow” alarms with meter readings. Maybe more data will help us figure this out.:man_shrugging:

Either way, I’ll probably be filtering flow alert emails to the trash until this resolves, and that gives me a little sadness because part of the reason I wanted a Rachio was flow monitoring.

To put a bit of extra data into this thread:

  1. The total flow measured seems correct because it matches the estimated flow I calculated when planning the drip irrigation system.

  2. I’m not yet convinced wiring is the problem as mentioned on the linked thread, which seems to infer that the problem could be electrical noise on the flow wires over a long distance run. My flow meter is less than 3ft (by wire) from the Rachio.

@mfuller From the other thread, you mentioned possibly wanting to do your own measurements with a raspberry pi but lack the experience to do that – do you have one already? The reason I ask is that I have one also, and I don’t mind what device I use to measure. If we both have a common device, I’m open to writing code (should I find the time) that works for both of us to see if we can measure this and maybe find some correlating data more quickly.

@devwhack I have a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. I’m willing to give it a shot, though I’m also pretty busy so I’m often unresponsive for days. Fortunately I don’t think it’d be too difficult or time consuming (famous last words). Probably the biggest thing that would slow me down at the moment is its current OS is an old version of Ubuntu and I should really update it to the current Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian).