Rachio 3 power problem

I’ve had my Rachio 3 for about 2 weeks, purchased from Amazon.com. It was working great, but now it does not power on. I have checked the output from the AC adapter and it is 30VAC (which seems high considering it is supposed to be 24VAC). I’m within the Amazon return period … is it better to return to amazon or deal with Rachio for a replacement?

Also, this is the 4th irrigation controller that has failed with 3 years (3 were of another brand so I decided to try another). I’m suspicious of power issues causing this, but the power here is generally very reliable. What is a bit unusual about the setup is that the controller is in my shed that is fed by a 220V circuit (12/2 NMD90 2-wire + ground, no neutral). It then gets 110V by using an AC-AC converter (this unit: Amazon.com: Seven Star SF500 500W 110v/220v 220v/110v Step Up/Down Automatic Transformer Adapter : Electronics). I had placed a smart WiFi surge suppressing power bar between this and the Rachio controller. I have also measured the power output and it is 110VAC. When the controllers from the other vendor failed, it appears that both their AC adapter and unit both failed. Prior to purchasing smart irrigation controllers there was a Hunter controller that worked without issue.

Are all the failed units just coincidence … any thoughts? I’m considering pulling another 110v power line to my shed, but this is quite a bit of work/cost.

4 failed units from different brands doesn’t seem like just a coincidence to me…

1 Like

@GHT - I have to agree with @tmcgahey here. The old electromechanical units, I’m assuming that was the prior Hunter controller, are very tolerant of power issues. Not knowing how long the run it, if it is above ground or under ground there could be several issues (e.g. lightning strikes) - including the linked transformer.

With the wiring situation described, I would wire a 110 VAC plug using one wire from the 12/2 NMD90 2-wire for the hot side and then use the ground for the neutral side. When the wires go back to the circuit breaker box the ground and neutral wires are actually tied to the same buss. The Rachio transformer doesn’t have a ground prong anyway, so no use to wire up the ground side of the plug. And not use the transformer/adapter.

1 Like

To add to what @DLane said, the way it is run, you max out at 20amp 220v anyway. Do you have anything in the shed that is requiring 220v? I would do like mentioned above and break out one of the wires from the 12/2 and create a 110v plug and try that and cap off the other hot lead. I suspect that that cheap Amazon transformer might be what is killing the more sensitive electronics of the newer electronic controllers.

Great suggestion … I hadn’t thought of that wiring option and i think I’ll go for it!

Thank you.

Yes, there is a pump relay that feeds my 220v submersible irrigation pump that is in the lake. I’m not sure why they wired it like this. The shed was actually a detached garage but then converted to a shed when they tore down the old house. The garage used to be wired for 110v (lights, receptacles, etc.) but that seems to have been abandoned with only one LED ceiling light left + the irrigation controller & pump relay. Hmmm … I wonder how they powered that light (it does not go through the transformer) … likely using the method DLane suggested, which begs the question why they didn’t use the same approach for the irrigation controller? I assume this was all done by an electrician, but perhaps it was an afterthought by the company that installed the irrigation system.

Thanks again to both of you for the replies!

So I rewired as DLane suggested. I just put a receptacle into the feed that went to the LED ceiling light. What surprised me is that they had actually run it as 240V! Good thing I checked the junction box before plugging anything in. After switching it over to 120V the ceiling light still works (so I guess it accepts 120-240V) and I now have a (hopefully) reliable 120V receptacle for the irrigation controller.
Now to get a replacement irrigation controller …

A number of those plug and play LED lights can run on multiple voltages…

Let us know how the new wiring situation works out. I’m betting by getting rid of that adapter will fix the issues going forward!

1 Like

@GHT - I actually blew up a soldering iron when I plugged it into a 120V outlet that the contractor connected to the 277 VAC overhead lighting circuit getting ready to solder a coax connector before hooking up a computer. Needless to say we hurried checked every outlet in that newly completed area with a multimeter - I think it was the only one that was mis-wired. Glad you checked, as @tmcgahey mentioned, newer fixtures handle high (240) and low (120) voltage on their own.

Best of luck in the new configuration.