Rachio Smart Hose Timer (Delay in Schedules)

I noticed that there is quite a lag between the scheduled watering times for the Rachio Smart Hose Timer. The lag from the scheduled time to when it actually starts is anywhere from 2-3 minutes.

In addition to this, when the watering actually starts and the app shows the countdown, the app displays the countdown as if it started at the actual scheduled start time. (Example: 4:30am scheduled watering for 1 hour. Actual watering doesn’t start until 4:33am due to a 3 minute delay. However, when countdown finally displays on the app, it starts counting down the 1 hour as if 3 minutes has already elapsed.

Are developers aware of this and is there an upcoming fix?

I’m running 3 different smart hose timers to 1 wifi hub. I’ve scheduled each smart hose timer to run sequentially one after the other and never at the same time. I was aware of some lag/delay between the on/off of each smart hose timer, thus, I also purposely scheduled a 5 minute break in between the end and start time of each smart hose timer. But the inaccurate countdown on the app also seems to be problematic and frustrating.

I just got mine in the mail to play with, and was hoping to get it set up this weekend to start tinkering with it, but my schedule got the best of me.

How close is your wifi hub to the hose timer? Again, I haven’t set up mine yet, but is there a signal strength meter anywhere to see how well they are communicating?

Distance from WiFi Hub & all the hose timers is about 50ft to 70ft apart. FAQs state that they have a range limit of 200 ft with no obstructions, but what is considered an obstruction? Stucco and drywall? Is the hub supposed to be left outdoors? Quite a silly statement.

It seems most of radios and devices measure in ideal or unobstructed conditions. It is very difficult to say what kind of distances allowed for the various types of obstructions as the permutations can be quite high. For example, thickness of stucco, what is under laying it and what kind of wire is used, the type of insulation and framing, how thick the sheetrock is, if there is concrete or brick or Rock somewhere, where the electrical wires are, appliances, etc. They are supposed to be inside with the timer outside. I think you knew that and were joking. I think the thing to do is just try with whatever obstructions you have. In the worst case, you might have to move it.

In my case it takes about 15 seconds for the hose timer to notice a signal to turn on - one wall and and 25 feet away from the hub. So 2-3 minutes seems unusual. It is definitely possible that obstructions are reducing signal strength and causing the hose timer to miss a clear signal to turn on in a timely fashion. A quick test can be done to see if it’s distance and obstructions. Bring the hose timer indoors near the hub or plug the hub as close as you can to the timer and do a quick run. You should hear a click & see a blue light once the timer turns on. Hopefully in close proximity it responds faster. If you can’t move the hub, I suggest adding a few minutes to your schedule to compensate (unless it also stops a few minutes late; I’m not sure if the timer gets a run time or if the hub has to tell it to turn off).

Stucco is a wifi sucker. Under the stucco front, there is a mesh of chicken wire material over the foam. That metal wire sucks up wifi signals. Not saying that 50-75’ is too far, but there are also a lot of variables at play. What frequency? 2.4ghz has a longer range, slower speeds. Fine for most IoT devices. 5ghz is blazing fast, but shorter range and affected by more obstructions. Also, the power of your wifi device. Some routers will have a more powerful signal starting off…

But, being that the hose timer is also battery operated, I suspect that it goes into a bit of a “sleep” mode to preserve battery life when not being called on.

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I was being facetious with my remark about the “obstruction”. I’m aware of how homes are built and the differences between WiFi bands.

I’d like to note that initiating a manual quick run on each valve results in only a few seconds of lag time (5-10 seconds) compared to the longer lag time that I’ve originally mentioned when the app is cycling through my sequential schedules. This leads me to believe that the app/hub is bogging down from trying to turn one valve off while turning another one on.

You can see this when trying to quickly make adjustments on the app such as “skip upcoming runs” or toggling on/off multiple schedules. Often times the app will give you a prompt stating “app is syncing, please try again in a minute”.