My well pump is very far away from my Rachio controller so I cannot run a wire to it. I can buy a WiFi pump relay to turn the pump on and off. How do I get the Rachio controller to turn on the pump when a watering cycle happens?
Very good question, one that I am interested in finding what others have to say. The only thing that I can think of is having some “sensor” (relay) that “reads” the 24VAC from the pump line on Rachio. I have been looking for such a device for a little while now (mine would be 9VDC) that can tie into one of my smart platforms (e.g. Google / Smart Life or Tuya) that I am currently using. Then, I can use that as a trigger for another action. I could see that working for you, if the Wi-Fi pump relay is also smart. Otherwise, you might have to write your own interface or something.
As I think about it, it might not be all that hard if you have the ability to interface to the Wi-Fi relay. For example and trying to be rather basic in my explanation:
- The 24VAC triggers a relay
- The opposite side of the relay is connected to power & input pins of a Raspberry pi or Arduino
- Which reads the pin telling it went high
- and sends off the Wi-Fi command to the pump relay
Because of thinking more about this, I found that Tuya now has the ability to interface between a Arduino so it might work in my application.
Actually, it’s even easier than that, but I was hoping for a Rachio native solution. You can do the whole thing without any additional hardware.
I plan on turning the Rachio just into a slave unit. I will have either Home Assistant or Alexa start my watering cycle and turn the pump on. Since I know that a cycle lasts 114 minutes in my case (Rachio tells me that) I will just run my pump for that amount of time.
If I get really creative I suppose I could write some code in Home Assistant that would monitor the Rachio and turn the pump on whenever Rachio is running.
Anyway I was just hoping that the Rachio could send a software call to the Tuya based pump relay to turn it on.
It seems like monitoring Reaching and turning the pump on would be better especially if using any flex schedule and/or weather intelligence. It would be nice if Rachio could make some Tuya calls, but do not think it interface.
I do something kinda similar with Hubitat. I have 3 valve sections; 1 in the backyard with 4 valves, another on the other side of the backyard with 3 valves, and 2 valves in the front. I setup the Rachio controller to control directly the 4 valves. Then installed Zooz Z-wave relay controllers at the other two stations to control those valves. Hubitat has a native Rachio driver, so I created rules to control the other stations. When Rachio turns on a specific zone, Hubitat will command that relay to trigger that zone. I hope that makes sense.
I’m sure you can do something similar with HA.
Never heard of them, would you mind posting a link? What does it mean that it has a native Rachio driver?
Hubitat is a home automation platform similar to SmartThings, Home Assistant, etc but main benefit is everything runs locally with no cloud dependencies, except when an integration such as Rachio requires the use of a cloud based API:
Hubitat is comprised of apps/rules that automate things based on events and conditions and drivers that define what a device is and what capabilities it has. There is an inbuilt Rachio integration that leverages the Rachio cloud API to start and stop watering zones. You mentioned using Google and it’s worth mentioning there is an integration there too to automate devices on the Hubitat hub.
Great, I presume they have pumps, sprinkler valves, etc. that can be controlled through their system?
An alternative to controlling the pump directly from the Rachio would be to make the pump run automatically. A pretty standard well pump arrangement is to pump into a pressure tank - those big, often blue, metal tanks that have an air-bladder inside - and have the pump operate with a Pumptrol pressure switch set between 30-50psi (on at 30, off at 50). Use a tank sized for about 1 minute of pump operation (GPM) and precharge the tank to 5-10 psi below the lower pressure limit. Then it will just work - and you could even add a hose bib and that would work.
Unfortunately you need to choose two out of three, easy, cheap and clean
For cheap and clean (thought not easy), I could help outline a system whereby you’d be able to use pi zero (or similar) low power compute module or a docker container on your NAS (if you have one) to run Node-red, inject Rachio’s webhooks and transform them into the wifi relay control signals, but it’s not the simplest solution and will fail to work while offline. May be the cleanest with no additional hardware needed at the rachio or the distant relay.
Another cheap and clean way to do it, would be to find a way to run a physical wire.
For easy and clean (not cheap), you can find a variety of exiting RF solutions for HVAC systems, such as iO-WR (google it). It would take the 24VAC signal input and transmit it to the receiver capable of running a pump relay.
Another easy and clean (not cheap) appoach would be, as @rossta0825 has suggested, to put an expansion tank (you don’t need a huge one, just outdoor rated) and a pressure control switch on your pump.
Finally easy and cheap way would be to set everything onto a fixed schedule and run rachio and wifi relay independently without being able to water on demand (may as well use a dumb controller at that point).
I dont like the expansion tank idea. It causes the pump to cycle on and off too much.
How about this idea. Can I buy another Rachio device and use it to control the pump? I can buy a Gen3 to be my primary, and move my current Gen2 just to control the pump.
If you have multiple Rachio devices do they link together? So if one is running the other will drive the pump circuit.
None of the current Rachio devices are linked together. It might be possible with IFTTT or Home Assistant, not sure.