There are a couple of scheduler issues I’d like to mention if Rachio Engineering is here
I see the cofounder(s) are sometimes here so hopeful someone inside the company can shed some light on some quirks. By the way, the schedules for my Rachio 3 are Fixed and I turned off the smart features except for Freeze and Seasonal Shift.
The first thing is that it feels l like the scheduler doesn’t support the desert well and maybe this was just a use case that wasn’t front and center. Where I am, in the Phoenix area and the Sonoran desert, temps often peak well past 100 from June to Sept, and July is reliably hotter than June. However, Seasonal Shift sent me an email that it was decreasing my water on July 1 from 1h 20m down to 1hr 10m.
One other random thing is the scheduler has a start and end date, but it requires a year. What if you lived somewhere usually hot but you didn’t need to water your trees during the cooler months of Nov to April each year?
Also, is there a good reason I can’t change my interval from Mon, Weds, and Friday to Even or Odd days? I feel like maybe there was a scheduler create API that had this field, but it didn’t make it into the update API for some reason.
The second thing is I guess there’s an asynchronous scheduler update between the cloud and the app. When I called support about my duration being reduced for one of my zones they told me to delete that particular schedule and recreate it which is an acknowledgment there are unknown bugs, but I guess that’s okay. So that change worked at first, but when I renamed my new schedule to the name of my deleted schedule it apparently changed my duration from 1h 30m to only 51m and there was no notification of this. That’s the sort of bug that’ll kill your plants if you don’t happen to catch it where I live. I am not 100% sure if this is why my duration was reduced so much, but I didn’t do it myself.
Another thing I noticed is that changing my schedule name doesn’t take effect right away in the app which is another hint that maybe there’s an async scheduler that runs in the cloud. I see weird things like renaming the schedule and going back to the previous screen and not seeing the update. An async update between the app and the cloud and (possibly) the device could introduce subtle bugs I suspect, such as a database update failing after the user has already left the app.
There are a number of us that are in the Phoenix market.
I personally like, and would recommend the Flex Daily schedules. They take more time to set up correctly (making sure your zone settings are dialed in), but work very well. I’ve been using Rachio in Arizona for almost 6 years now with really good success.
This has been a strange summer. We had a very mild June, and normally, by this time of the year, we are full swing monsoon season, temps drop a bit, we get rain showers, etc., but not this year. I think that is why the seasonal shift is a bit off for you. It takes into account years of historical data to figure out weather patterns by season. However, I will also add…I just had this conversation with @azdavidr, when we have these CRAZY stretches of intense heat, no amount of water will keep a plant from showing signs of stress. Most every plant found in the valley isn’t native and isn’t ok with the intense heat for long stretches. I have a number of trees and shrubs that have physically burned foliage, that again, no amount of water can help with. Hibiscus for example, I have a few in my yard for whatever reason. No amount of water on a hibiscus in this heat (full sun) is going to keep them lush and flowering. They are definitely in survival mode right now!
There are some parameter or operational changes that you can make that won’t be effective for actual operations until synced to the mother ship (and perhaps back to the app running on an additional device), but those local parameters and instructions that you’ve changed should be properly refreshed for display on the local device immediately in all windows. Rachio software frequently fails to update local screen displays properly for changed data, like seeing a Zone name not propagating to another screen (ie: not being updated with current data). The Zone name has been changed, whether or not synced. If you navigate elsewhere in the app and return, it will sometimes correct the presentation. If you restart the app or your device, it always will. That could reasonably be called a bug.
Again, those schedules that rely on seasonal shifts are relying on a long historical data cache, and as you are probably aware, by this time of the year, we are full swing monsoon seaon and temps are around 105 and more humidity, so it totslly makes sense that a seasonal shift for July would dial things back a bit over June (hostorically hotter and dryer).
What I see is a couple of bugs not just one, so I don’t want to respond to every comment about an individual issue, but no, July is historically the hot month in Phoenix and Scottsdale AZ
Average Temperature in Scottsdale
The hot season lasts for 3.7 months , from May 29 to September 20 , with an average daily high temperature above 97°F . The hottest month of the year in Scottsdale is July , with an average high of 105°F and low of 84°F .
Like @tmcgahey, I have lived here for years and have never experienced a heat wave such as this. Historically, June is the driest month here in the Valley, so a seasonal adjustment makes sense. Flex schedules work great for the lawn and a zone with ground cover. For my veggie garden, fixed schedules have been working great for quite a few years.
However, with the current heat wave and lack of monsoon storms, plants are going to be stressed. Even the Mexican Fence Post cactus in my front yard is showing signs of sunburn and stress. This is a cactus known for it’s durability in the heat.
All we can do is hope the weather cools soon. A 50% chance of storms is predicted for the weekend.
Let’s pause this so I can hear from Rachio Engineering about the scheduler if they’re reading this?
There is a lot of conjecture about what may or may not be the historical 10-year or 30-year weather patterns and a few guesses about things and this is making it hard to get my voice heard from the people who actually can do something about fixing it.
I realize people intend to be helpful, but you just don’t have visibility into the scheduler code to debug why my duration jumped from 1hr 30m to 51m for no valid reason, for example.
Like @sunny and @tmcgahey, I’m I’ve had Rachio on Flex Daily for 7 years, and once dialed in it’s a wonderous thing. That dialing-in thing isn’t want you want to be doing right now of course. You might want to check it out in the fall though!
It’s like @tmcgahey said, all the water in the world won’t save some vegetation, any more than it would save me if I had to sit in it all day. Walk around your neighborhood and you’ll notice it throughout.
BTW, you might try the support desk if you want detailed questions about code, etc.
You are correct, the Rachio scheduling for the desert is inadequate at best and Rachio simply doesn’t listen. I’ve contacted them for years re the Mohave Desert (Vegas) and they simply think they’re smarter than everyone else.
Allow us to be dumb and just give a MONTHLY scheduling ability including a MONTHLY SEASONAL ADJUST feature and let us figure it out. Rachio’s smart scheduler had us using over 2x the amount of water we normally use. I have ditched my Rachio controller in favor of Weathermatic’s PL800 unit as my daily driver. It allows a set-it-and-forget-it scheduling feature for the desert that complies with the Las Vegas Valley Water District irrigation restrictions here. I only use the Rachio for troubleshooting using its WiFi capability.
Rachio logic may play well in wet parts of the country, but not the desert. If they can’t add some basic logic to their controllers, I hope Weathermatic can step up their WiFi & mobile app capability.
There are a number of users on here that have successfully set up a Rachio in desert climates, myself included (I’ve personally set up about a dozen for friends and family). I’m sorry that you were never able to get yours up and running to your satisfaction.
I was an early adopter and I bought my first unit years ago. It was easy to recommend to friends back when I lived in a moderate Mediterranean type climate because it just worked for my situation.
At this point, I assume there are no Rachio engineers on the forum and no ongoing development with the controller or the app. A look at the empty Rachio jobs page sort of confirms that. In the forum it’s customers with badges and hyper-master product people announcing the newest thing.
I still feel it’s not a bad product, but if your time is worth a lot it might not be the best pick.
Anyone can “successfully” create a desert schedule under the current Rachio limitations, even me. The question is can the Rachio scheduling be more efficient in “our” situation and I have demonstrated that answer to be a resounding Yes by comparing the metered water use resulting from using two different controllers. If you’re happy with your schedule, no one is asking you to change. We’re just asking Rachio to expand the manual scheduling by adding a simple MONTHLY SCHEDULING feature with a MONTHLY SEASONAL ADJUST. Til then, I can’t recommend it for anyone living in Las Vegas since you can use far less water and save money by following their guidelines and avoiding fines for watering outside of their publicly posted restrictions which are strictly enforced here.
I hope you get whatever answers you are looking for…
If you look at the top of the page, this is the Rachio Community. Yes, there are Rachio employees (mainly the CO-Founders @franz and @chris, and Rachio employee @dane ) that poke around the pages from time to time, but it is a community of members helping out other members. But you have no interest in any of the customers with badges and hyper-master product people helping you out. All of which live in your own city.
And why would an “empty” jobs page lead you to Rachio not having any ongoing development of hardware or software? Strangest connection I’ve ever seen.
Hey all, good conversation and I appreciate everyone’s contributions here. @jheirtzler, as mentioned above, this is a community created to provide a convenient space for members to interact with each other and help one another out. It’s not necessarily a product and engineering support site, but some of our folks do try to stay in tune with it. We’re not able to respond to all threads, at least not as quickly as I know people would like. Our product development team is fully staffed and continuing to build and launch products (quite a few over the last 18 months).
There are definitely improvements we can make to our smart schedules and zone setups. This is good timing. We’re going to begin improvement work this offseason on both and we’ll be conducting customer interviews starting next month. While we can’t commit to including every feature or update folks want, we know there are some general fixes and improvements that will solve issues for many customers.
If you’d like to participate in those interviews, DM me and we’ll get you on the list.
@tmcgahey is correct that our seasonal shifts use 10 year historical data (including temp, dew point, humidity and wind) and July trends lower in overall evapotranspiration, historically.
Things are becoming a little less predictable out there, so we need to think about how best to use historical data in our schedules going forward. Currently, we’re not great at adjusting for unexpected heat waves, unless you’re pretty dialed in with a Flex Daily schedule as members above have mentioned. Flex Daily isn’t for everyone, so we know we have some opportunity to improve our Fixed and Flex Monthly schedules here. We’ll be working on them this fall.
Chris, thanks for taking the time to respond. Unfortunately, you appear to be cherry-picking the horse to ride in this thread, specifically @tmcgahey since he appears to be supporting your view. I personally feel dismissed by your response. The request that @jheirzler and I are asking for is really a simple programming/scheduling feature that would not impact your vision. It would serve to fill a void. Real or not, at least two of your customers are sounding off here and I’m confident there is a silent number of prospective customers that are simply turning to your competitors to get the feature we’re asking for. I’ve made it clear that I bought a Rachio unit and subsequently purchased a Weathermatic PL800 unit. That may seem laughable to you based on the “old” tech, but it actually saves a noticeable amount of water here in the desert over the Rachio logic. I know because I have compared both. So consider humoring us and add the basic manual scheduling logic to the Rachio product, you may get additional sales.
If you want really valuable feedback I suggest making the argument why it’s a good use of someone’s time if you want high-value people to engage. Is this a 1-on-1 call with an actual decision-maker? You’re not selling the value proposition here if we’re a busy professional @chris
For instance, we get customer sat surveys all the time that we don’t usually have the time or energy to fill out because the suspicion is that it goes into the void. I mean, now that you mention it, I can think of one that doesn’t do this, but it’s sort of a minimum bar for the industry for a long time.
How is @chris “cherry picking a horse to ride in this thread” by confirming that I can read, and confirming how they programmed Seasonal Shift to work? It isn’t my view to support.
I’m pretty sure this is the second time that a Rachio team member has made a comment admitting that the historical data approach has some flaws when major heat waves roll through. If @chris says a look into options is on the agenda, I’d tend to believe him. Rachio relies on the feedback of the forums (even though they may not respond) and customer surveys and interviews (I’ve done a few in years past), but sometimes people are too busy for those.