Rachio Iro Gen 2 (Australian Review & Info)


#1

Being always keen on the IoT devices I was intrigued to get a Iro Gen 2 and see how it goes in Australia. I’ll expand on this thread as I go but here are my first impressions:

  • Buying: This is harder than it should be. No retailer in Australia stocks it and the big US shippers like Amazon don’t ship the Iro to Australia, so it was off to EBay and after a couple of weeks it arrived. I however had no issues buying the Outside Enclosure of Amazon and it arrived first as they have better shipping than the EBay Internal Shipping setup.

  • Power Supply: I knew the included PS for the Iro would not work (and also the internal power point in the Outside Enclosure would be wrong) but figured I would just replace it and mod the Enclosure as required. The good news is that I already had a couple of 240 -> 24v 50hz 1200mA adapters with the correct size plug and it will fit into the enclosure just fine. No issues with this adapter at all as the Iro just powered up. I just need to dremel the hole at the bottom to fit the plug through however that looks like the extent of any mods required.

  • Initial Setup: Boy this was frustrating using my Android Phone. It just could not get past the 2nd Blink Up stage. Tried everything from new SSID, simpler password etc and in the end used my Wife’s iPhone and… it just worked first time.

  • Localisation: There was absolutely no issue with the Iro picking my location and weather station (Sydney Airport).

  • Connections: Simple enough but I did not realise how hard you need to press down on the little buttons to correctly insert the wiring. No issues with triggering my 2 zones. Also I have a simple 2 wire (red/black) rain sensor that in my old unit was in S1 and S2, but on the Iro I’ve put Red on S1 and Black on SC but I’m unsure how to “test” if this is correct.

  • Programs: Set up an initial Flex Schedule so I’ll see how that goes as an Iro Newbie! My wife did like that she could trigger a manual watering from her phone however so it already has a Thumbs Up from her.

Summary: It looks great and it promises much. The initial setup was a PITA but if I could change one thing it would be addressing the physical availability and correct power supplies for outside the US!

Thanks
Nathan


#2

PS - I’ve now ordered a second unit for the Front Yard!


#3

Thanks for this feedback and review, I’ll be sure out product team receives this.

Great to see installations from around the world :wink:

:cheers:


#4

2nd Controller now installed. No issues with this one setting up with the Android Client.

Also no issues connecting to a Ubiquiti dual 5/2.4ghz network. I’m not sure which WiFi module from AzureWave you are using but for (I guess) a 1x1 antenna you get a nice strong WiFi signal with these. This is a pleasant surprise compared to many other IoT devices with poor WiFi reception.


#5

Great to hear! Ya, I was really impressed with the antenna. I had to get a 100 ft extension cable and walk across the street to lose the connection (I was doing some re-connection testing).

:cheers:


#6

After some reading regarding the existing calculated “Water Usage” or adding Flow Meters, I’m with the rest of your users regarding calibrating this measurement using actual reading from your water meter on a per zone basis … I believe it is in the upcoming “Spring 2.5” release?


#7

We are working on a firmware upgrade that will report water usage (if flow meter attached) during zone usage. As we get closer to releasing this will post on the forums.

Hope this helps.

:cheers:


#8

Thanks - Another Q / Observation that may be due to being in a different Time Zone (and Day) to the USA. If you have a look at the attached Pic, you can see that:

  • Watering Schedule says that on the 18th it was due to water from 5:00-5:08am
  • My Yard shows it was watered on the 14th and the next time will be the 19th - I believe this to be accurate

As I write this it is 12:30pm on the 18th in Sydney. It did not water the Zone this morning (and I did not expect it to). I’ve seen this a few times now, and I “think” it is just a reporting thing in the “Watering Schedule” area.

Thanks
Nathan


#9

At first I thought it might be a timezone issue, but it could just be the dynamic nature of flex. Your zone depth of water (how much it takes to fill the tank) is really low (.16 inches - sorry for the US units). Looks like you’ve really modified some of the zone settings. Most crops are anywhere from .5 inches (grass) up to 2 or more inches (trees).

Flex checked this morning and even though it thought it might run, there was significant precipitation so it decided to skip to the next day. I think the precipitation you are seeing is the only thing that is not making it run everyday…since your daily ET levels will almost always be greater than the settings you have picked for the zone (which derive how frequently to water).

That’s one of the great things, and difficult things about flex is that when you change dials and settings, it is hard to see how the levers affect each other, since daily weather is dynamic. One of the reasons we are releasing this new scheduling soon that will be the best of both worlds.

Hope this helps.

:cheers:


#10

Thanks - I’ll play some more. I did radically adjust some of the leavers to try to get a schedule that looked “right” in terms of frequency and duration.

Also one day you guys will catchup with the rest of the world in regards to Metric! United States, Liberia, and Myanmar (Burma) are the last three to convert and Myanmar has recently announced they are converting. :slight_smile:


#11

Ha, yes agreed.

Ok, flex works really well for a lot of situations, but the fine tuning is where it can be difficult.

With our next release, and future releases, we want to abstract more of that away. We have a lot of great ideas around how to do it.

:cheers:


#12

Hi Jmone,

I’m Australia based as well - I’m just wondering whether you can confirm if there are any power issues outside of the transformer post you made earlier. I appreciate the transformed supplied would be 110v but if we purchased (like you found) a australian 240v transformer 24v 50mhz transformer it will all be fine?


#13

The have been working perfectly, no power issues at all!


#14

Hi,

Another Australian about to click buy - Can you let me know what solenoids etc you have - anything specific that I need to look out for to work with Rachio gen 2? Bunnings etc carry the Toro brand 24V units etc - I’m stepping up from basic black poly-tube watering to a controller and not sure where to start.

Probably want to add a flow meter and rain sensor also. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Shane.


#15

I had an existing system so really just replaced the controller… I did get another solenoid from bunnings for a new run and it just worked. I aslo have reused the rain sensors but I’ve no idea if they add any value with a smart controller like Rachio and would not bother with these up front. Sorry for the breif reply but I’m away typing this on my phone.

Both are going very well!


#16

I too want to add a flow meter bit the look expensive for what you get … So I’m waiting to see how this and also the weather station integration goes


#17

Here’s an example of what I’m doing now using the capabilities of the current Gen 2 firmware:


and

Both obtained simply by monitoring the Rachio’s pump terminals (total water usage) and the Zone 10 terminals (pool usage). Outside of the Rachio I’m subtracting Zone 10 from pump terminals to arrive at Sprinkler Usage.

Obviously I’m limited to reporting in terms of time (accumulation of hours of running). Still, on a 13 rolling month basis the feedback is useful to see progress being made saving water.

This is all Flex, with 10 zones total. I don’t have any limitations configured, nor any default values overridden. Type of soil, slope, amount of shade are all accurately input. Plant Type is the only thing I’ve changed (buffalo grass = Trees, zoysia grass = Shrubs, St. Augustine grass = warm season grass, any zone with flowers = annual plant type).

Best regards,

Bill


#18

Good review and pretty much my own experience. The only advice I’d offer is that the adapter must be AC/AC. I started with an Australian AC/DC adaptor which was fine to power up the device and set it up, but it would drop out after triggering a solenoid and so the solenoid would stay on. You can get the AC/AC version here: http://www.jaycar.com.au/mains-adaptor-24vac-1a-unregulated-bare-ends/p/MP3032 for $25
Cheers Simon


#19

Gents,

Just pressed ‘purchase’ on a rachio 8channel from Amazon. should hopefully arrive here in Sydney In a fortnight.

This is a fresh irrigation install - main pipes have been laid to each garden bed but need to install all the valves, poly line etc.

I’ve cat 5 cabled (underground using external cat 5) to the backyard shed and will be running a secondary Unify AP from that location which should provide a stable connection for the rachio.

Simon - cheers for the heads up re the power supply. Will head out and pick one of those up so I e ready to go.


#20

OK my Rachio is now fully installed. Fantastic stuff.

Also ended up picking up and successfully installing it using this solenoid valve box. Made everything super easy.

Hope this helps others.

Shane.