Rachio 3 in New Zealand


#1

Hi there,

I live in New Zealand and bought a rachio 3 off amazon USA.

I managed to get it to work using a plug i bought from jaycar with 24v, 1amp output.
The rachio worked well when turning on zones, but would not work to turn off zones.

I tried using first the the plug input (on the rachio 3) and then the wire input for 24v, to power it. This made no difference with regards to turning off the valves.

I then tried using the american plug that came with the rachio 3 via an adaptor (USA to NZ) and the house blew a fuse & the rachio plug started smoking.

After this the rachio 3 would not turn on. (Likely something fried inside).

Has anyone else successfully used a rachio 3 in NZ?
If so do you have any tips?

Im wandering if i buy a new rachio 3 or go with a brand known to work locally.

Thanks for you help


#2

@wateringcan - are the sprinkler valves in the system AC or DC powered? I seem to remember this behavior if the valves are DC based. Very simple to replace the solenoids to be AC based.

Also, the Rachio 3 has a 900 MHz radio (to communicate with their wireless flow meter) that I don’t think is legal in NZ (wrong frequency). Get a Gen 2 to be 100% legal - I think there are cellular frequencies that are in use in NZ in this band.

The standard Rachio power supply is only 120 V power supply - not a 120/240 auto-sensing power supply.

There are several Aussie posters that are using Rachio down under.


#3

Just to understand you better, your rachio no longer works with which ever plug you bought from jaycar, right?
@DLane is right, sounds like you’ve bought a more common (and cheaper) DC plug which would account for the zones turning on, but not turning back off.

If the rachio is not turning on (with the supply it used to), it is likely that the primary side surge suppressor is blown and would need to be replaced, do you know anyone who is good with soldering and electronics?


#4

Hi guys,
Thanks for your advice.
DLane - the sprinkler valves are AC. Presume NZ an Auz have same power grid set up?

Gene - yes the rachio no longer works with the jaycar plugs, (steering well clear of the rachio plug +adaptor now).
It was a $30 plug like this one linked here; https://www.jaycar.co.nz/switchmode-mains-adaptor-24vdc-1-25a/p/MP3494. What should i have used?
I don’t have any buddies with soldering or electronic skills. Do you know any NZ / Aus companies that are good at fixing side surge suppressors on a rachio?

Thanks again for your time guys.


#5

The second plug i tried was this one https://www.jaycar.co.nz/25w-9-24vdc-switchmode-plugpack/p/MP3318
I set the plug to 24v / 1amp then stripped the wires on this one and put it into the 24v +ve and -ve inputs on the rachio. Same problem as first plug.


#6

@wateringcan - those appear to be DC power supplies. Rachio needs 24 V AC power supply.


#7

Alas, our theory held true, both of the supplies you’ve tried are direct current version, DC is in the name 24vDC.

Here is the version that @MDNZ has found, which was verified to work (note the name: 24vAC):

Can you please take a picture of the transformer you’ve used? It may be useful for future reference.

Alas, I can’t recommend anyone who can do soldering in NZ, being from USA myself. You may wish to inquire within stores which fix phones / computers.

How many zones does your rachio and home irrigation system have? Do you have any spare zones available on rachio?


#8

Cheers guys thanks for the help.
Will see if i can get it fixed and try again with an AC plug.
Would be awesome if Rachio could set up a how to make it work in NZ resource.
Pics attached .

Gene -

16 zone, many spare zones available. Why did you ask?


#9

I see the issue, reason why your power supply and Rachio both released the magic smoke. The transformer you’ve used is nothing more than the plug adapter, switching open socket to another without effecting the voltage. You’ve essentially doubled output voltage of the original adapter to 48 Volts, probably blowing out the surge protector.

I’ll let you know why I’ve asked about available zones in a follow up post, stay tuned :wink:


#10

Looks like the black transformer above is 24V DC not 24VAC


#11

Thanks @Gene, its all starting to make sense now. Hopefully can get the side surge suppressor fixed and try with a 24V AC plug. @MDNZ you are correct, how are you finding yours? Im looking forwards to getting mine up and running.


#12

Alright, now on to the reason for my question about the extra zones. Rachio comes with the surge suppressor on every zone.

Here (link) is a sneak peak (thanks FCC) into what your Rachio looks like on the inside. On page 2 and 3 you will see the side of the PCB with all of the components, the row of components closest to the output connector (blue strip) are the surge protectors. On the PCB they are labeled MV1 to MV18. MV1 is responsible for output of zone 1, MV2 for zone 2… MV16 for zone 16, MV17 for master valve and MV18 (not far from the red connector on the photo) is the primary side surge suppressor, the part that is likely blown on your Rachio.

Having available zones means that someone can take a working surge suppressor from the unused zone (such as MV16 from zone 16) and use it to replace MV18 component without needing to order spare parts. Make sure to mark (and never use) zone 16 as inactive in case you decide to go this route.

Alternately, you could get a replacement part, like this one from digikey NZ (link). In order replace MV18 and/or restore MV16 in case the unit starts operating with the above switcheroo fix.


#13

Thanks Gene,

That’s awesome. You are a fountain of knowledge.

Much appreciated.

Owain


#14

Hi Gene,

Do you know what this is in the photo. It’s blown too. FB1 we think it says. Where can we get one?

Cheers
Owain


#15


#16

It is unlikely that it is blown, as it is a filter coil and should normally show very little resistance (for anything other than high frequencies).

For reference, here (link) is this part blown on the Gen 2 board, unless yours looks similarly charred, you are OK.

Cheers,
Gene


#17

Hi Gene,

Looks like the filter coil blew completely, it’s disintegrated. Just trying to find replacement on digikey but links in other thread seem to have expired. Would you mind linking them again please.

Cheers

Owain


#18

Did you plug power transformer straight to the 24V + and - terminals? In that case, yes the filter would blow up as these terminals are not designed to handle the full power input, please do not try to do so again.

Have you tried using the power input plug since the blowout? In case you were using the terminals to connect the power plug, your surge protector may still be functional.

Good news is that you don’t really need to replace this part with the actual filter, especially in case you are not using any accessories which would normally use 24V power port. You can simply short the pads that the filter was connecting to in order to restore functionality to the power output port. It should work well, unless you are connecting a very long line to the 24 - terminal.


#19

Just out of curiosity, did you ask the Jaycar staff for what you were looking for? Did you ask them for an AC transformer?
A point to note, and not to rub salt into the wound. There are generally two type of transformers: Linear and Switch Mode (sometimes called universal). Many people don’t realize that linear transformers (bigger, heavier, cheaper) are input voltage dependent (i.e. you can’t plug a 120VAC linear transformer into a 240VAC supply…otherwise sparks will fly and you will fry whatever it’s plugged into). Most modern electronic devices (phones, laptops etc.) come with switch mode supplies. We are used to using them anywhere in the world, when we travel for example. It’s a simple mistake. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switched-mode_power_supply).
It’s always a good idea to read the specifications of any transformer noting the supply voltages (usually in very tiny writing). Switch mode supplies will read something like “INPUT: 110VAC to 265VAC”. Linear will have a very specific input voltage like “INPUT: 240VAC”. Often AC is designated using a tilde symbol ‘~’.
Having said all that, I don’t think you can get AC-AC switch mode power supplies easily. They do exist, for changing AC frequencies, but they are very expensive. So once you get the Rachio fixed you need a 240VAC-24VAC linear transformer like this one from Jaycar: https://www.jaycar.co.nz/mains-adaptor-24vac-1a-unregulated-bare-ends/p/MP3032 It should do the trick but it might pay to check the driving current (in milliamps ‘mA’) of your solendoids/valves.
I live in Auckland, have a Rachio 2, and use a DIN rail mounted 24VAC linear transformer that is hard wired.


Hope this has been of some use to you.
Marty