Rain notifications - weather station or sensor input?


#1

Just installed my Rachio two weeks ago. I live in North Texas, where we’ve had a bunch of rain lately, so haven’t needed to use the system this year. I have an 11 zone system with an Irritrol Rain Sensor wired in - I have Connected Rain Sensor ON, Use weather data ON. Via my app, I get notifications of when the system senses that “It’s Raining” or “It’s Stopped Raining” but it seems to be intermittent. A few questions:

  1. Are the rain notifications triggered from my rain sensor directly or from the local weather station data?

  2. Does the rain sensor at my house trump data provided by the local weather station data when determining to enable rain delay or not?

  3. In the upcoming version 2.0, do you plan on including advanced weather/rain analytics - either taking in information from the local weather station data and/or rain sensor?

  4. Is there a preferred rain sensor (better than the Irritrol) that actually provides total rain collected back to the Rachio vs. simply triggering a Rain Delay event?

Appreciate the help and guidance! Excited about the new features I see coming out in v2.0!


#2

Hi @ruzickab, good afternoon! Thanks for your support and for reaching out. I’ll do my best to answer your questions, below:

The rain notifications (“It’s Raining” or “It’s Stopped Raining”) are triggered from your rain sensor only.

Yes. The rain sensor status will always override the local weather station data as the rain sensor is wired to interrupt the common wire.

Could you explain this question in more detail? We currently already use data from local weather stations and rain sensors, but we’re always looking for ways to use this data better :wink:

No, sorry. This can be accomplished by installing your own personal weather station (PWS). I’d recommend the Netatmo with a rain gauge, which would do exactly what you’re looking for.

Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions we can help with.

Best, Emil


#3

Emil,

Thanks for the advice. Based on your feedback, I went ahead and purchased the Netatmo with rain gauge. I think this will be really cool - and I wasn’t aware of the PWS for my home. Looking forward to the integration with the Rachio. And I know my kids are going to love it – they are obsessed with watching the weather and forecast on the news, and now I can talk about the weather specifically at our home!

Thanks,
Brad


#4

@emil, I have setup the Netatmo and the rain gauge. I followed the step-by-step instructions in your link to establish a weather station ID (RUZNWS01) with Meteoware’s Netatmo bridge and PWSweather.com. So now I can view my weather station info on the PWSweather.com Station Map, which is great! I now have some follow-up questions:

  1. Is this all I need to do for my Rachio to now take in my Netatmo Rain Gauge data and automatically alter watering schedules?

  2. Should I now completely disconnect my Irritrol rain sensor from the Rachio and turn off the “Connected Rain Sensor” in Advanced Device Settings? Just so rain delays and any alteration to my watering schedule is completely controlled by data from my Netatmo?

  3. When I turn on “Use weather data from nearby person weather stations”, shouldn’t it detect my RUZNWS01 as the preferred station? Currently, I have the setting set to ON and it still is pulling data from MID_AU165 which is 2.62 miles away from my home?!?

  4. Anything else I should look at?

Thanks again,
Brad


#5

Hi @ruzickab, great questions, answers below in order:

Yep, assuming the Netatmo Rain Gauge is paired with your Netatmo PWS – just make sure to enable the PWS toggle within your Advanced Device Settings (within Iro Settings).

That’s a personal preference. I would just disable the Irritrol rain sensor until you know the Netatmo PWS is reporting rainfall correctly.

Sometimes it can take 24-48 hours for the PWS to show up in our weather services API and then link it to your device. Assuming the Netatmo is setup with the same lat/long as your Iro, it should automatically assign to your device. If you haven’t yet, I’d double check the station ID listed on the Advanced Device Settings page to see if it’s updated. Fastest way to refresh is to simply disable the PWS toggle, wait for a NWS to be assigned, then enable it again.

Just keep an eye on the rain gauge readings after your first few storms. Placement of the rain gauge is important. If you notice any issues, please let us know.

Hope this helps :wink:

Best, Emil


#6

@emil, thanks for all your help on this. I just received my first notification from the Rachio that it skipped my scheduled watering time due to data coming from my weather station. Very cool! Everything is working perfectly from my rain gauge feeding info to my Netatmo, feeding regular updates to PWSWeather and then the Rachio pulling from my station.

Thanks for the great support!


#7

Hi @ruzickab, good morning! Great news!! I’d glad to hear everything is working for you. It’s amazing what technology can do :blush:

If you think of any new features we should add or ever have a question, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We love to talk to our users.

Best, Emil


#8

@emil I’ve had my Rachio controller running just a couple of weeks, and added a Rain Bird WR2 recently. The assigned NWS weather station is just 1.1 mi away, but I’m quite surprised how frequently significant rain will be reported at the station, but no rain at all at home, or vice versa.

Can you elaborate a bit on your answer regarding weather station vs. rain sensor?

I understand that when rain is detected at the rain sensor will interrupt the common wire on the controller, but does that sensor override work in both directions, so that when rain is reported by the NWS weather station, it will be disregarded when there is no rain detected at the rain sensor? If not, I am concerned that common event may lead to excessive watering delays, based on the inappropriate report of rainfall.

I’m on the edge, considering a Netatmo station and rain gauge as a better solution. Aside from the cost, my only concern with that choice is the lack of wind and radiation data from the Netatmo. I wish it would be possible to selectively use the rain and temperature data from a Netatmo station, and the wind and radiation data from the nearby NWS weather station. Is that possible?


#9

@emil I think I may have found the answer to my main question. I was able to finally find the moisture level settings on the Rachio web app, and I saw that the levels increased dramatically on all of my zones in the last couple of days, despite the fact that I have not had any rain at my home nor has there been any sprinkler activity during that period, but the NWS weather station showed 0.09" this morning, and 0.12" a couple of days ago.

That implies to me that the weather station reported rain activity is apparently used during the scenario where there is a rain sensor configured, there is rain activity at the weather station, but no activity reported by the rain sensor. If that deduction is true, I guess I will have to get the Netatmo station to assure that only true rain activity is captured by the Rachio controller.

I’m still pretty new with the Rachio, so I could be completely wrong, and I welcome your comments.


#10

@Emil I bit the bullet and ordered a Netatmo, which arrived today. I had a couple of fits and starts with the install, as their guide is really minimalist, but your links were very helpful, and it is up and running as of this afternoon.

I’m looking forward to get some rain this week (I hope), so I can confirm its detection against my existing rain gauge. The indoor temperature detection is showing +/- 0.1 degrees from my Carrier thermostat setting, and the humidity reading are close, so I’m pretty happy with that very tight correlation between them.

It will be great to have the confidence of knowing that my Rachio is now factoring in the actual rainfall at my home, especially with summer storms that vary so much from one location to another.

The only question I have is whether my Rain Detector is still relevant or beneficial, or if it may become a detriment now that the Netatmo is in operation. If I just deselect it on the Advanced settings on the Rachio, will that disable it, or would I have to actually unwire it from the Rachio? I’m hoping that I could just leave it wired in as an emergency backup, in case the Netatmo ever fails.


#11

My opinion is still having a physical rain sensor can’t hurt since that data does not lie and can have an immediate impact on the system. If there are gaps in data recording (or lag times in reporting) than the physical sensor is a great and inexpensive back up tool.

Hope this helps.

:cheers:


#12

Thanks @franz I think I’ll just leave it enabled based on your expert advice. It sounds like it won’t have any negative impact on scheduling. Kind of like belts and suspenders, I guess.


#13

@vicw, sorry I missed seeing your questions earlier. I just wanted to check in to see how the Netatmo PWS has been working for you? Has the accuracy been to your expectations?

In regards to your question, we cannot split the weather input between different stations. This would be pretty cool, but very difficult to accommodate.

Yes, you can do this to enable and disable the Iro anytime you wish.

I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Best, Emil


#14

Thanks for getting back to me. I may not have been clear, but I was asking if I could disable the WR2 rain detector,rather than the Iro, while leaving it wired to the Rachio, and whether that would just inactivate it, leaving the Rachio to behave as if the WR2 wasn’t there. Actually, I’m not really so concerned about that any more, since I’ve had more time with both of them active, and I don’t think it’s really causing any confusion to the Rachio.

Regarding the Netatmo, I’m quite happy with it so far. Liiving in the the Southeast, we have many Summer rain cells that are highly localized, and I believe the only way to optimize the Rachio is to give it very accurate weather data, especially rainfall.

I’ve only had a couple of rain sessions, but is seems that the Netatmo rain gauge is reporting about 20% less rainfall than my old AcuRite gauge. The two gauges are pretty much side-by-side. I may pick up a mechanical rain gauge to try to determine which one is more accurate. If it’s the AcuRite, I may have to research to see if it’s possible to use some kind of multiplier, to improve the accuracy of the Netatmo rain gauge. Somehow, I doubt that is possible, however.

Overall, I’m delighted with the Rachio and Netatmo combo, and I really appreciate the support.