Managing 2 Rachio units, in sequence


#1

Hello.

I recently installed 1 Rachio (gen 2) to manage a pump + a few zones for pasture watering. We also have a second set of zones for the house lawn which I am looking to add a Rachio for too. One Rachio controls the pump (“main pump Rachio”), which also feeds the house irrigation line. I am setting up the line that goes to the house as a specific zone on the main pump Rachio. And planning to have the 2nd Rachio (“house Rachio”) manage the zones at the house.

I can’t have both Rachio’s control the pump (via a pump start relay) given the distance + working with what I have. I will likely just coordinate timing between the 2 units independently until there is a better option.

It would be great to be able to coordinate between separate Rachio units. Ideally, what I would like to be able to do is:

(1) main pump Rachio turns on the irrigation pump + opens the house zone line
(2) main pump Rachio notifies the house Rachio that the pump is on + house zone is on
(3) house Rachio runs through its zones
(4) house Rachio notifies main pump Rachio it is complete with it’s zone programs
(5) main pump Rachio continues with other zones. Or shuts down pump and house zone if done

Ideally, there would be some way of chaining actions across Rachios. Maybe too much of a specific use case. But I would imagine a similar setup if someone needed more than 16 zones, had 2 units, and was not able to put a pump start relay in place for both units to manage.

Thanks.


#2

Is your home uphill or downhill relative to your pasture? You may get issues with backflow, in case it is uphill, which may clog up your valves.

Just how far of a distance are we talking about? It sounds like your second controller is within wifi range or you have run an Ethernet cable that far. Considering that standard 10/100 network uses 4 out of 8 Ethernet wires, you may use an available pair to drive a relay. If you don’t have a cable running that distance already, you can get away with a single pair sprinkler wire (more on this later).

Few days ago @DLane and I came up with a way to use dual throw relay to share pump relay between two controllers. Original discussion is here (link).

You can use a single $7 DPDT relay (like this) to control the pump relay and your house zone valve (you don’t have to explicitly have your pasture Rachio control your house valve) both would be controlled off of Master valve terminal of your home Rachio.

Note that SC terminal in this configuration connects to two terminals of the relay. Relay in this schematic is oriented in such a way that pins 7 and 8 are on the bottom.

While this is not as convenient as having the Rachio support functionality you are proposing out of the box, it may be safer (prevents internet going down in a middle of irrigation from having your pump blow out your valves).

Cheers,
Gene


#3

Hey Gene. Thanks for the response.

I set up a wireless bridge to the pump + pasture Rachio. I would guess it is ~2/3 miles between the two. So unfortunately do not have an ethernet run I could leverage wires for.

Yeah the relay would be nice. And one option would be to run a new wire the distance between Rachio units, but that would be challenging given drive way and trees and … Since both units are networked, ideally would be some scripting / programmatic way of coordinating the action of both …

RE back flow, thanks for flagging. I do not think it has been an issue in the past. The pasture is a little lower than the house. But maybe a few feet over the distance, not a huge rise. There is a Rain Bird timer at the house today and I just run the irrigation pump when we have the house watering going. Moving to a Rachio might not be that different than the Rain Bird if I just use it like a simple clock coordinated with the pasture Rachio + pump control. Hoping for better functionality in the future.


#4

Minor uodate. I have decided the easiest way of handling this is to just turn on the house value manually (always on for the pasture side). And just schedule the house Rachio to water while the pasture Rachio is operating. The pasture watering cycles are pretty long so have defined a few 8-10 hour windows in AM when the house Rachio would have water available to cycle through the house zones. The pump has enough pressure to handle multiple zones at the same time, so figured this would be the easiest for now. Once Rachio adds some capability to either water multiple zones at the same time or coordinate between two Rachio units, I can turn the house zone valve (from the pasture side) back to automated and go from there.

Separately, have also found a bug in the iOS app which crashes the app when I try to change the duration of watering each zone. Assume others are seeing similar issue and it will be updated in near future. Have used the web interface to modify the times until the app does not crash.


#5

Just be careful about running the pump while no zones are active (which should theoretically not be a problem if pasture rachio is operating during that time). The pump could possibly create enough pressure to damage your valves if there are no active outlets while it is running.

Basically make sure that house “zone” is not one of the zones that pasture rachio is programmed to run, keep the valve open at all times as you’ve mentioned.

Alternatively you can add a passive pressure release valve as a backup.


#6

Hey @ecarr-

I wan unable to replicate on my iPhone. Are you sure your app is up to date? What OS are you running? Which iOS device are you using?