Rachio 3 controller freezing randomly

My Rachio 3 controller goes off-line maybe once a week - completely off-line and unresponsive. There are NO lights visible on the front and can only be recovered by power cycling. I contacted support and they sent a new Rachio 3. Sadly the replacement has the same issue.

2 units with similar results makes me want to look elsewhere for issues. Power surges might be throwing the device into protection mode?

That could be the cause, but the Rachio would have to be particularly sensitive as none of the other 20 IOT devices I have on HomeKit etc show any issues. I suppose I could try putting it behind a surge protector. Another issue could just be a bug in the firmware.

I suppose anything is possible, but I don’t know why it would be isolated to your 2 units…@gene is our resident guru when it comes to the inner workings of the Rachio electronics. He might be able to weigh in on the sensitivity of the electronics and the possibility that the unit is going into a protection mode.

How quickly does the power cycle recover the frozen device? Do you unplug it for just a second, or do you need to keep it disconnected for some time? It’s much more likely that the issue is due hardware / environment, since if it was part of firmware and caused a weekly freezing for even a fraction of a %, support lines & community would be full of reports similar to yours.

How are your schedule(s) setup? Is there a particular zone that is activated shortly before the unit goes offline? Also, where is your controller installed? If it has a direct sun exposure & otherwise in a hot climate, it could trip a protection circuit, though it should recover once cooled down later in the day.

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The device recovers once the power is cycled. I unplug for just a
second and it immediately boots up as normal.
Initially Rachio support suspected the power supply, and they sent a
complete new unit. I was careful not to mix old/new power supplies
when replacing things.
The device is in a relatively cool/dry place in the garage.
It does not seem associated with a particular zone activation.

Get yourself a multimeter & attach two unconnected wires to 24V+ and - terminals (so that it would be easier to measure 24v rail). Next time unit shuts down, measure the voltage across these two wires to see if the unit is getting any power.

Mine did a similar thing. The trigger was each time the schedule switched the solenoid, the system shut down. A power cycle restarted it each time. I had a local company look at it and they determined that a capacitor on the power input had blown. Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller 8ZULWC Turns off randomly, fixed repair - YouTube

All good now. I reported this to Rachio but they stopped responding.

The part that was replaced was an MOV, a surge suppressor.


It was replaced with a capacitor, which is fine, as long as you understand that you no longer have a primary side protection. Next time a surge happens, you’ll have more then an MOV to replace. The part likely failed if you’ve ever tried to use an original supply with 220v input, now that you have a good alternative, it is unlikely to happen again. You have 8 zone unit, a similar MOV is protecting each of the zones, if you are not using all of your 8 zones, then you could move an MOV from an unused zone to where a capacitor now resides.
What county are you in? If need be I can try to provide a local source for these.

HI , thanks for all the help. I am in the USA. It just went offline again, but this time was not completely dead. Was showing two glowing bars and needed a power cycle. The previous offline event on 9/2 was not associated with any schedule as the unit was “dark”.

Hi Eugene,

If you could advise of the MOV details I’ll just order another from RS components or similar rather than remove an existing one.

I’m in Australia



Here is the digikey part from Australia, not sure about RS components, you’ll likely be able to find a similar component.