Rachio 3 Not Responding in Homekit (Again)

Yeah @jseymour, it works for some people. But it doesn’t work for other people. Your point being?

@franz

Email from Rachio Support, July 24th 7:59pm:

Hi Jon,

Let me tell you that we are working on this with our in-house team and the Apple developers to get fixed as fast as possible we are expecting to get it fixed very soon and will let you know when this is fixed so you can get the Homekit connected back again.

Thanks a lot for contacting us.

Kind regards,

Erick H.

Rachio Support

OK, I don’t believe it’ll get fixed “very soon” - I don’t believe this because there’s a chain of postings to the community forum going back around two years about this issue, an issue which has failed to be resolved in all that time. Why should we believe that now will be any different to any other month in the past two years? There’s not been much open communication with us about what has been happening to sort this problem out, so all we’ve got to go on is Rachio’s track record, which for this issue is just plain terrible.

Can you give me a month (and year) when this will be fixed by?

Jon.

By the way, Erick H: “Let me tell you” is not a good phrase to use, it has very aggressive connotations that I suspect you didn’t intend.

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“Let me tell you” is kind of like the “Tell me.” Love these things.

“Tell Me” - A Common Phrase in India, Avoid with Native Speakers of English. In India, “tell me”, or more appropriately, it’s Indian language equivalent is often heard as a typical phone greeting, sometimes before hello or any other greeting is said! To many foreigners, and especially Westerners, this may seem odd.

So just finally got interested in the Homebridge project. Spun up a Hyper-V vm and put it on a Windows Server here in the house. (Yeah, I have some Microsoft…) And upon installing the Rachio plugin, and dropping my Rachio API key in, my system came right up in Homekit. I should have just bitten the bullet and done this a while back. Amazing that this works whereas the actual “certified” product integration is junk and does not.

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I believe port forwarding and a stable IP address or dynamic DNS are required and it’s easy for those that understand the concepts and have hardware/software that can do that. For most, it doesn’t come easy and it is difficult to explain. But yes, Rachio platform on HomeBridge is rock solid with my Gen 2. We’re fortunate Rachio makes webhooks available. That is NOT common with smart devices.

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Do you mean to implement what @TonyPHX has done, or in general? If the latter: Not if you have a flat network, you’re not using WiFi products that muck with MDNS/Bonjour in a misguided attempt to improve network performance or security, and whatever’s supplying DHCP address assignments isn’t brain dead.

The Rachio platform for HomeBridge requires port forwarding and a stable IP address for webhooks to work.

I’ve got a Raspberry Pi running Homebridge and I can’t believe I didn’t think to check for a Rachio plugin. And yes, it’s hilarious that it would work way better than official HomeKit integration.

Thanks!!!

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Took 60 seconds to install the plugin and I now have voice control over my zones again via Homebridge, woohoo!

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You may be right, but I am not doing port forwarding, and I was using DHCP. As a matter of good hygiene I am going to set the HomeBridge server to a static IP so I can always hit the interface by ip number, but so far, all good. It just works… which is more than I can say for the built in Homekit support of my Rachio3.

Exactly. And that’s all I really wanted. When I see birds feeding on new seed, I want to tell Siri to fire off some water at them. : )

Not certain how it could be working, then, being as the plugin’s instructions clearly insist:

It’s a completely different connection mechanism. It’s all manually-configured and static.

The Rachio 3 <-> HomeKit stuff relies on network service advertising/discovery protocols. <broken record>It is my belief that certain kinds of WiFi networks and/or routers interfering with these protocols is at the heart of many, if not most, end-user problems.</broken record>

Now it may be that either Rachio’s or Apple’s implementation of these protocols is deficient–or at least not as robust as they could be. Hopefully, Rachio will soon be forthcoming with both a fix and an explanation.

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I almost feel guilty that since turning off IP6 I’ve only had to add it back in once. It’s flaky as it often shows off-line and then a few minutes later puts itself back online but I can live with that.

If I look in the Home app on my Mac, I see that the Rachio3 has Firmware version 999.999.999 - is this what y’all have?

[and yes, that means that, today, my Rachio3 is online. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe I should make a chart…]

The firmware in our R3 is version iro3-firmware-hk-5-632

@Tzterri, in the nearly one month we’ve had our R3 and it’s been linked to HomeKit, I’ve once or twice seen the legend “off line” for our R3. But it’s always disappeared w/in about the time it took me to notice it.

I suspect there might be some instability in the R3’s wireless networking implementation. Reason I say that is, of all the WiFi-connected devices we have, only the R3, when continuous network ping tests are done against it, will drop packets. Not a lot (like six-twelve out of around 100,000 over a 24-hour period), but still…

However, I’ve still neither seen nor experienced anything like what some users have. Other than those occasional dropped pings and the once-or-twice briefly-present “off line” messages: It’s been reliable.

Agreed!

On your advice I looked at my plugin config. (There are a few Rachio plugins, and I chose to use the lee hendricks authored one.)

The notes state:
External IP and port to receive webhook requests. Forward these to your internal webhook port. Only necessary if you wish to update Homekit in real time when a Rachio schedule is executing.

I left this blank. I don’t care about updating Homekit when Rachio is doing something.

So, I’m going to throw another plot twist into this thing. I’ve been having the horrible HomeKit connection issues consistently as have others after that one iOS update a year or more back. Well, I just changed my wireless routers at home to improve our mesh network. Went from an older Linksys Nighthawk system with an extender to a newer wifi6 ASUS system. Immediately after getting the new router setup (used the same SID’s and passwords so that all devices would just connect automatically), I thought to try to add the Rachio back to HomeKit. To my surprise, the Rachio showed up as a new accessory in HomeKit. Punched in the code and it connected… and… hasn’t dropped even after leaving and coming back home multiple times. It stayed connected for two consecutive days at this point. Cray-cray. My fw is 5.632 which I think is the standard one. Absolutely nuts.

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It’s not nuts, @MastaBlasta. It simply suggests your old WiFi network was the problem.

When you write “To my surprise, the Rachio showed up as a new accessory in HomeKit.”, do you mean it never showed up before? At all? If so: That suggests to me your old WiFi network was not properly propagating network services advertisement/discovery protocols.

The surprise is my HomeKit with Rachio failed right after an iOS update a year and a half ago. Rachio was and is the only HomeKit accessory that stopped working with my old network. So yeah, it is still crazy… crazy that Rachio’s HomeKit implementation is such a cluster F. I was about to return my Rachio to Costco but since it works currently with my new network, I’ll hang onto it to not go through the hassle.

Also, sorry if I seem a little on edge. I truly think Rachio doesn’t have the proper personnel to understand or implement HomeKit. I was patient and backing them up over a year ago. Now, this is ridiculous. I work in IT and have plenty of experience with HomeKit and networking. I’m just a frustrated customer at this point and I know I’m not alone. I guess at this point I’m happy that a positive “side effect” of getting a new wifi network is that HomeKit with Rachio now seems to work. Neat.