Rachio settings are a hot mess. Go to Apple UI school!

For a few years now I’ve begged the company, and its founder, for god’s sake why have you made adding or reducing water to a zone so damn difficult.


Yes I understand that’s not the “right” way to do it, it depends on plant and soil type etc. etc. but WHO CARES-- Adjusting those paramaters is too complex for more users and often does NOT give you expected outcome. I’m an advanced engineer and still can’t get what I want out of Rachio. Almost ready to go back to a dumb Rainbird where I never had plants dying of over and under watering constantly.


The UI has always felt like it was designed by the devs focused on making the smarts of the product and not by someone focused on a positive and intuitive user experience.

I’ve been on that side myself. Only after getting a UI team involved did I realize how poor my UI design choices were even though they were “correct” from a tech viewpoint. It’s a hard :pill: to swallow. :slightly_smiling_face:


It’s great to have access to all the underlying irrigation factors. Definitely leave them in. But for vast majority of users who don’t/can’t get into minutiae, allow the simple UI to do the most BASIC function of all irrigation systems-- + and - to watering time. (!)


Adjusting the amount of water applied per watering could be as simple as changing the setting for how much the sprinkler heads put out.
Most of my zones are set to the default for rotary heads… 1” water per hour.
If I want more water on a zone, I can change the setting to 0.75” water per hour.
Doing so would have the system spend more time watering that zone.

1 Like

Yes there are many ways to accomplish/hack this outcome via the crazy complex settings. My point is to make it simple.

Make it Rainbird simple for those who simply can’t/won’t/don’t want to get headaches over this.

This is so obvious I’m getting a headache trying to explain this. Hey Rachio, you would sell a lot more if you just did this.


Great topic everyone, we are working on these exact issues for next season. Please stay tuned!




I like the “smarts” of the system, but I don’t like that they aren’t explained.

Even just adding some “help bubbles” next to each field, so you can click it to get an explanation of what that feature is, and how changes will affect your schedules.

Example: Root Depth could have a help bubble next to it that says, “increasing the root depth does A, and decreasing the root depth does B”.

So you could quickly figure out, hey, I want less frequent watering, so change this… but I also want longer watering, so change that.

1 Like

@Tyber, absolutely! @starmanj, I’m an engineer too, and it got so confusing that I wrote these notes for myself:

• To increase watering time without affecting watering interval:
	○ Decrease drip rate (DR)
• To increase watering interval (water less often) without affecting watering time:
	○ Decrease ET (automatically calculated, per the weather, from TUS national weather station)
	○ Decrease crop coefficient (K)
• To increase both watering time and watering interval:
	○ Increase soil water capacity (AWC)
	○ Increase root depth (RZ)
	○ Increase allowed depletion (AD)

• Watering time calculations:
	○ Added moisture (AM) (in) = AWC * RZ * AD
	○ Watering time (mins) = (AM / DR) * 60
• Watering interval calculation (days): 
	○ Moisture balance (MB) after watering = previous MB + AM
	○ Iterate daily until MB reaches zero: 
		MB = MB - (ET * K ) + precipitation
	NOTE: when MB reaches zero, watering takes place per watering formula.  NOTE: since watering interval is affected by the MB after watering, it is affected by AWC, RZ, and AD.
1 Like

@dmcr that is good stuff.

It would also help if while editing a zone, there was some kind of side panel or sub panel, showing any schedules that zone belongs to. So as you make a change, you can instantly see the resulting schedule changes, without having to back out of the zone, and drill back down into the schedules or calendar.

Example: If I change the root depth, I would instantly see the effect on the watering time and interval.

1 Like

I wrote to complain that I didn’t buy a Rachio to become an amateur agronomist. I just wanted a sprinkler controller that I could control over the internet. I had a Rainbird system that worked fine but had no ability to be controlled remotely so I switched it out to a Rachio controller. I was happy to just look at whatever I was watering and add or decrease time as needed. Rachio as it is makes that virtually impossible but I am glad to see that the developers are listening.

1 Like

I too bought the Rachio for the remote capability. I’ve written on this subject before, but didn’t get an answer. Give me some defaults based on some simple parameters and some simple ability to fine tune amount or water delivered…Rachio for Dummies? BTW I continue to struggle to use the sys but two of my neighbors have returned theirs. Thanks, John

Watering interval can also be calculated by dividing the total inches of water per week (ET for 7 days) and dividing that by the water applied at one time (AM in the above). This of course assumes no rain and a constant ET.

Our goal was not to make everyone become agronomists :wink:

We are working on reducing the complexity around schedules. More to come!


1 Like

Neither do we all want Apple computer/table/phone interfaces. I find iOS extremely illogical, from an Apple II with no indicated way to eject a floppy, to today’s iPhone, without a Back button or other expected features. Of course, that’s me, an Android/PC guy.

But I’m sure you can find a happy medium. Don’t forget my offer to playtest! :wink:


It would be so easy for another controller manufacturer to come in and improve you interface. Better fix it fast.

1 Like

First, there is an easy way to increase water time, just go into the schedule and do it there.

Second, it might be better to make the settings table to people. Like, ground is moist, but plants not doing well. Or ground not moist enough. Things of that nature that could change the root depth settings and water table settings. But in terms that people would better understand.

1 Like

@rraisley, your comments are correct, but the intent of the top part of my tips was to provide a simple cookbook for when I needed to change watering time, watering interval, or both, without having to think about how it works each time.

The second half of my tips explain the underlying calculations. Not sure why you refer to weekly data, but my schedules are all Flex Daily, so I wanted to remind myself what the Rachio 3 did every morning.

Hopefully @franz will provide a nice upgrade in usability in the near future, but until then, my tips are my watering bible. :smiley:

My sentiment is that I have always loved the product but generally disliked the UI. And with the excessive advertising now for products I don’t use it is less than ideal. And I talked my 80 year old dad into
A controller and he struggles with the Ui all the time.

1 Like

That would be great. I’d love to help you out and beta test the updated UI.