I had to return a RainMachine because for all it’s intelligence, it couldn’t do this one thing that my 30 year old RainBird could do with a simple dial. So let’s check the Rachio …
I have 9 zones, 5 in front, 4 in back. The 5 in front run from city water … no problem. The 4 in back run from a lake pump. So I need to control my pump from a MV (Master Valve / Pump) terminal. But I only need the pump on for zones 6 - 9, not 1 - 5. On the old RainBird, you can set each zone that needs the Master Valve / Pump turned on. On the RainMachine, you can’t do that … it comes on when any zone is activated, no good for me. Back it goes.
So can the Rachio handle this setup like the RainBird could? Or is this intelligent controller probably running an ARM CPU, gobs of memory, and some cut-down Linux, too stupid to be able to do this as well?
Short answer is no, Rachio currently can’t support multiple master valves on one system.
Longer answer is that you can accomplish what you need using about $35 worth of additional parts.
About a year ago, I’ve helped @DLane and @aristobrat come up with a similar master valve override for a rust removal system, it was based on this interface relay module:
Instead of Orbit relay shown, you’d want to use a DPST relay, such as:
NO output would be connected to the power of the pump (should be able to handle 8A/250VAC by itself), while NC would connect the master valve output to the valve controlling the city’s supply.
I understand this is not an answer you were hoping to find, but here is a solution never the less.
Just one master valve / pump. Yeah, this seems like a simple thing in software … does the zone require master valve activation.
I’ll pass, thanks. Might put my RainBird back up.
I suspect the people that built these things like Rachio and RainMachine spent zero time looking at what the existing low-tech ones already did. They probably assumed they are more simple than they actually are.