Outdoor Installation


#1

Continuing the discussion from Dante's Garden:

I have gardened for years here in Satan’s Hangout and our Gen 1 is installed on the outside block wall that faces south. The Hubs constructed a custom wooden box that also houses the pool timer and an electrical outlet. We have had no problems when Satan turns up the heater.

We grow veggies year around, so we don’t winterize this controller. We have another in the high desert in the next state and that one we did bring indoors for the winter.


#2

Contractor here in So. OR , have installed several indoor Rachio’s with no problem. Installed my first outdoor Rachio the other day and spent hours with client trying to get it to link up with no success. My client is unhappily purchasing a wi-fi amplifier so he can hopefully use his new timer. I wonder how many others have experienced this problem?


#3

No problem here going through a few walls and stucco, but with Wi-Fi there are many variables. I could see potential problems based on distance from router, router range, metal obstructions, etc. I assume you used a non-metal enclosure? I used the Rachio enclosure.


#4

Yes it was the Rachio enclosure which I found to be very easy to use. The issue was the distance of the router, which is to be expected. Unfortunately the client hadn’t considered this, and like a few posters on this forum, had assumed that Rachio would solve every problem he had and program itself. It is an amazing product that I’m heartily recommending to clients, but the Rachio does require a bit of upfront attention to get it dialed in.


#5

No doubt about that. The more time you invest in it the more amazing the results. I’ve found that it has actually gone beyond just the scheduling aspect. I find myself taking control of my landscaping in general, caring more about the vegetation I have, what it really needs, and how to best deliver it.

I have my home pretty automated, and I must say I really dislike WiFi. I went into my attic one year and routed Cat5 (for wired ethernet) to my home theater, kitchen and master bedroom so I could relieve myself of the majority of WiFi issues that I’d have otherwise. For lights, sensors, pool pump and water heater scheduling, I use z-wave. It’s quite a bit more reliable and lower power, but wouldn’t work for products like Rachio or Nest that demand a much higher amount of data throughput. Fortunately those WiFi repeaters aren’t too expensive and are fairly easy to set up. Hopefully your client finds success with it.


#6

Here’s a cool android app that will let you track Wi-Fi strength. It should give you a good idea whether your Wi-Fi will be decent enough at the area where you want to install the Rachio.

Mike


#7

I know my WiFi pretty much drops when I walk outside. What is the cost of a WIFI amplifier? My unit is in my garage, so I don’t have a problem. The customer needs to realize that WiFi has limitations in a residential setting.


#8

Interesting. Can you explain a little more about how you can use another channel?


#9

After researching back in 2014, I bought a Netgear AC 1200 Desktop Extender from Amazon for $98. I had updated my provider and router then and had to install it a floor away from my desktop computer. Luckily, the router reaches to my outdoor Rachio just fine, but I had to have a way to directly connect the desktop, and it also extended the wifi to my screened in porch on the other side of the house. Very easy to set up, and worth doing to have the signal extended. There may be better ones out there now.

I bought a Netgear N300 Extender in 2015 that is just a small box that plugs into an outlet where it picks up good signal and extends it from that point. It was only $30, works well and gets good reviews.


#10

WEll said! I agree 100%! I’ve been dabbling with gardening for years but never cared about my lawn before. I keep learning more and more, and I’m loving it!


#11

This type of device @Linn mentioned is what I was referring to @robertokc. You just plug it in, log in, and walk through assigning it to your network. I name mine {mynetworkname_EXT}. That way I know when I’m specifically connected to it versus directly to the router. There are a bunch of similar ones on Amazon. Just make sure to buy one that had at least all of the same protocols as your main router (ex. 2.4 and/or 5.0 GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)


#12

Great to know. I learn a lot in Rachio Community. Good to know the price is reasonable, too.