New User Experience May 2016-Gen 2 16 zone

Hi, I purchased the Rachio generation 2 16 zone controller. The product is great! It is simple, flexible, the software is really well developed and the app is awesome.

But, the hardware needs improvement in the hookup termination area. I used 18 awg solid wire which was from my prior Hunter controller. The terminal area and actuators are extremely fragile and hard to use. I installed the wire the first time and decided that I wanted to improve the looks by redoing the strip on the wire end. But getting the wire out from the wire termination area ended up damaging the terminals and the actuators. This should be a screw termination instead of a small and fragile finger actuator. This would allow for much easier installation and re-installation. My unit is actually damaged, working, but damaged to the point where I am going to return is and request a replacement.

Also, my wife like to be able to control the unit from the wall manually with the buttons. There are manual controls on the unit but they are covered up by the cover. Also, the zone numbers are covered up by the cover as well. I would suggest offering an alternate cover that had holes to allow users to see the zones and work the manual controls.

Hardware definitely needs to be more refined for the price range on this. I get trying to make it small but the terminals are way too small and it’s not like the box couldn’t get a little larger based on where these are being place.

Hope to see some improvements


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Gentle suggestion. Retrain the wife. Very gently. I have a Gen 1 controller. Not one button on it, and it’s outside my house. It was scary at first just looking at this pretty little white box with just a couple of lights on it. But once I discovered what the phone or web-app could do, it was all over. WAY easier than the buttons on the box. Let your wife know that she no longer has to be physically at the box to do something, she can control it from the other side of town while she is out shopping. Plus, once the Rachio starts working it’s magic, she should rarely, if ever, need to do anything manually again.

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Not sure why options can’t be available. Sure, I get it but why have controls that are covered up in case your phone is dead or you are just in that area. I wouldn’t have suggested if I though it was as simple you suggest.

I just setup my 16 zone Rachio last week with my new sprinkler install but I almost bought the Rain Machine Touch HD instead mainly because of the nice design and touch screen it had with it and it’s similarly priced. I agree once you start using the app you probably wouldn’t need it but Rain Machine also had the app so I don’t see why Rachio couldn’t add much better interface to it’s unit.

The value is,in the cloud, not the hardware, the rain machine,can’t get that close to,flex daily in my opinion.

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I have a Rachio Gen 2 and have been obsessed at looking at all the competitive products out there. I have come to believe Rachio is the best of the bunch. But I do agree with you there should be some buttons on the front for simple things like system test or contractor access. I know about the smartphone access for contractors but don’t think they will understand. I did not have any problems with wiring but if someone had large hands the wiring setup could be a problem.

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It really is like magic. With other competitors you guess at your run times and the controller makes adjustments. I looked at one product but it had no way to enter information about the zone (slope, sprinkler type, sun exposure, soil type and plant type ). These make a huge difference. So Rachio is like magic because it creates a customized schedule for every zone without guessing about run times.


The issue with wire size comes up on removal. I can bet it wasn’t tested during development. I agree the software is great, but you may possibly damage the terminals on removal of the 18 awg solid wire. The terminals grip onto the copper and won’t let it out of the termination area…

Like you, I wish the wiring terminals were coventional stainless steel screw terminals like Hunter and Toro standard controllers. But that is just a wish for the future.
One of Rain Birds standard controllers (ESPLXME) has modules with similar wiring as Rachio on the modules and they are a pain. For now just be careful when wiring up Rachio. I believe every single Rachio competitor has the same wiring style.