Nearly Identical Zones/Settings, Different Irrigation Times

Hello all,

Any thoughts of this? I have a Rachio2, set for Daily Flex Schedule, all zones, using weather intelligence with a local PWS.

The most recent watering occurred a few days ago - first watering in just over two weeks. Two zones are nearly identical in shape and size (one is 100 sq. feet larger). For the most recent watering, all zones watered and all but one zone ran for about 40 minutes. The one zone that did not run for about 40 minutes was one of these two side-by-side, nearly identical zones which only ran for 21 minutes (the other ran for 41 minutes). That one that ran for only 21 minutes now shows very low moisture estimates in Rachio.

Last Run:

Zone 3 ran for 41 minutes, Zone 4 for 21 minutes.

Zone 3 Setup:

Zone 4 Setup:

Zone 3 Current Moisture:

Zone 4 Current Moisture:

Zone 3 Irrigation:

Zone 4 Irrigation:

Zone 3 Expanded Irrigation:

Zone 4 Expanded Irrigation:

Am I missing something in the settings?


Check the advanced tab between zones 3 & 4. The difference will be there, typically root depth or nozzle inches per hour

Here they are … aside from square footage difference, they look the same to me. Thanks.

Zone 3 Advanced:

Zone 4 Advanced:

Looks like z4 was “emptied” of moisture on the 4th? Looking at the graph there’s a gap

Right, it dropped to the depletion line quicker. I did not “empty” it, though.

On the 2nd, the moisture balance was the same for both on 5/21, 6/1 and 6/2. It ran 6/2 but only ran 21 minutes on Zone 3 while running 41 minutes on Zone 3. The result was 0.28" into Zone 4 and 0.56" into Zone 3, which is why Zone 4 hit the line so early.

I am not seeing any differences in the settings between these zones. What could have triggered Zone 4 to run only 21 minutes (0.28")?


Go to more then history and look at the history for around that timeframe. See if there’s anything about soil moisture override

My first thought was perhaps you accidentally changed the time on the one zone. But after looking at the moisture graphs, I see all zones are scheduled for an upcoming 0.71" of water.

So, I wouldn’t worry about it too much yet. As you say, your settings are the same, but the times WERE different. However, ALL zones indicate watering on 6/6 with 0.71" of water (which is the correct amount, based on your Advanced parameters). I’m guessing they will all water the same on that date. I can’t answer why it was different the other day, but it looks like it will be the same on Sunday (provided no rain is received). Sometimes to start the zones have different watering.

You might confirm that by 1) Looking ahead a week or two in the chart to see if all waterings are 0.71" of water, and 2) Looking at how much water the Schedule says it will put down (in minutes).

One other thought: 70% Allowed Depletion is really high, meaning that your ground will really dry out a lot before it’s watered, possibly affecting the roots, and this will also apply a lot of water at one time, which some ground simply cannot accept. I feel the default 50% is a better figure.

Do you have any days in the schedule where it’s not allowed to water?

It is on an even-day only schedule (odd/even watering rules here). And to end before sunrise.

I checked the history:

  • The night before - 9:34 p.m. - there was a power cycle.

  • The schedule is set to use Smart Cycle (Cycle and Soak). It began the first run of cycles (z1 starts, z2 starts, z1 stops, z3 starts, z2 stops until all are run and then it repeats. For this session, the first run (z1) started at 12:54 a.m. It shows z4 starting at 1:47 a.m. but never ending. Then in the second run z4 starts at 3:33 a.m. and ends at 3:54 a.m (the 21 minutes). All others are shown to start and stop two runs.

The entire session (two cycles) ran from 12:54 a.m. to 4:27 a.m.

Because you have days set on a Flex Daily schedule where the system is not allowed to water, sometimes it will water a different amount on the allowed day before the not allowed day if the zone is going to be a 0 and needs watering. Last year I kept most of the year’s watering on a spreadsheet so I could see what was happening. As an example, a couple of my zones normally water for 31 minutes. On Thursday’s I don’t allow it to water as that’s the day the mowers come. I had 2 times last year where on Wednesday those zones watered for a lesser amount, one for 20 minutes and one for 22 minutes. So you may see some discrepancies due to that. With your schedule only being allowed to water every other day, you may see that happening.

Not sure I follow, since prior to the session that one zone was on par with it’s near identical zone as well as all others. The reason it was going to hit 0 is because of this skip.

Why would the software choose just one zone to water less? Why that one?

Seems more like a software glitch, since the History indicates that the first cycle for z4 started but no note of it ending. Then z4 was watered in the second cycle, same time as the near-identical zone.

Either the software did water it properly - both cycles - but did not record the end of the first run (as well as the water which would have accumulated in that cycle) or it did not run the first cycle at all but recorded it as having started.

I just wanted to let you know why the watering times may differ sometimes from the time you expect them to water because of the days the system can’t water.

I agree – the watering times being different for the two zones on 6/2 is a mystery. I can’t make sense of why they are different. Just keep an eye on it and see it if happens again. It may have been a software hiccup.

More weirdness.

The system watered again this a.m. as part of the schedule (Rachio2, set for Daily Flex Schedule, all zones, using weather intelligence with a local PWS, Smart Cycle (water-rest to soak-water again), set to even day watering when needed … no changes to settings above.

So, it watered this a.m. per schedule and I checked to see if all zones watered as they should. And they did. But zone 4 shows 101% soil moisture while the five other zones show 61-62% (see image):

Checking zone 4, it shows that in addition to following the schedule, another ODD DAY session ran on 6/5 (remember, the only schedule I have set up is for even days only):

Which also shows up in the History:

So, 101% soil moisture would make sense, right? Except it NEVER HAPPENED. I know, because I was working in the yard yesterday from about 9 until 1 p.m. The Rachio NEVER IRRIGATED ANY OF THE LAWN yesterday. It did, however, as it is programmed water all zones early a.m. on 6/6.

So, just reboot they system? Clearly there is a software glitch that is throwing out bad reports.


A couple of things could be messing with things. I just noticed that your schedule is set up to end before sunrise. That could be messing with some things since you are on an even only schedule. Why don’t you look at your total duration for all your zones should they water all at once, and set a start time instead? I’m guessing, but it looks like your duration is probably under 6 hours? Just backup from when you’d really like it to end and set that start time. Maybe something like 1 or 2am. I stay totally away from “end before sunrise” – it just causes too many issues. Better in my opinion just to set your own start time.

Also, something squirrelly might have happened since the controller was offline for more than 24 hours.

The fact that you know it didn’t irrigate when it said it did is strange. Wouldn’t hurt to power the box off and on.

Just a double check — can you manually start zone 4 and see it watering? Just wanting to make sure something else isn’t happening with that zone. Might be dealing with more than one issue – Murphy is often alive and well!

When asking questions about soil moisture percentages, please post your moisture details like you’ve done before. Just seeing the overall number isn’t enough info to try and figure anything out.

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Thanks, Linn.

I checked all zones today and all are working.

Here is the zone 4 soil moisture:

It indicates that on 6/5, deletion was down to 0 (which was caused by the 6/2 Rachio irrigation - it should have watered twice during that event as part of the Smart Cycle; it shows that the first event started but does not record it ending so it either never happened or it happened but irrigation was not recorded). The 6/5 event did not occur, despite what the Rachio indicates (both the event and the irrigation amount).

I can set the start time or end time - I used the “End before Sunrise” setting because that is the recommendation by the software when setting up the schedule.

If I power off and power back on, do I lose information?

Thanks, again.

Just a gut feeling, but I think something might have gotten funky with the unit being offline and when it came back online and zone 4 got caught in it.

You won’t losing anything from powering the unit off and back on. Like any of these electrical devices, leave it powered off for 30 seconds to a minute before plugging it back in. You won’t lose any information because it’s all stored at the Rachio servers.

Thanks, I will hard boot it.

It was offline because the router with the 2.4 g was unplugged. But the unit itself was on as that was when I was getting screen grabs for part of this and could access it from where I was (another state).

The original hiccup occurred prior to the 24 window when the 2.4 g router was unplugged.

Troubles continue. There have been a couple more times when history shows that a zone never completed.

But today’s issue is bigger. The software claims the cycle ran early morning and it simply did not.

Not a single zone was irrigated … all six zones were DRY, DRY, DRY.

It last ran per the Rachio schedule on Friday the 18th, the third even day run that week (we were in unusually hot weather - '90s - with no rain in two+ weeks. But we got about half-an-inch of rain on Sunday. I did change the WiFi to stronger network, I believe since that last run but it may have been during that week of three runs.

So today when I saw that it did not run as scheduled early a.m., I manually ran it beginning around 6 a.m. and each zone works properly with a manual run from my phone, so this is not mechanical and it would seem that the WiFi is working.

Here is what the system told me this a.m. (NOTE THAT ZONE 1 shows 3% because I grabbed this after I started the manual irrigation on that zone):

Here is the history from this a.m. (partial screen shot … but it claimed that all zones got hit twice):

Here is the schedule:

Here it is, zone-by-zone, AFTER it claims to have run early this a.m. (but did not).

Zone 1 (NOTE THAT ZONE 1 shows 3% because I grabbed this after I started the manual irrigation on that zone, which is the 6 a.m. last watering time noted as well):

Zone 2:

Zone 3:

Zone 4:

Zone 5:

Zone 6:

I am traveling today, so won’t be able to get back to this until early next week.

Any ideas appreciated. This Rachio 2.0 has been solid for me since I installed it, aside from my mistakes, until this year. First, when I powered up in the spring the rain sensor started throwing errors every few seconds (never an issue before), so I disconnected it. Then it ran fine for a month or so until the issue that started this thread. Now this.


In the history it shows that there was an offline issue. Wonder if this caused the schedule to go wonky. Do you have spotty Wifi or intermittent internet issues?

I changed over to a better WiFi network recently.

However, whenever I receive alerts from the Rachio about connectivity issues there is a note about, “Don’t worry - the schedule will continue even while offline” or some such language. Is that not the case with Rachio?

Here is the complete history of what Rachio claims happened but did not happen (I checked all zones, they were dry):