Replacing an existing water sprinkler system


#1
Hi forum,

We just bought a house. I’m going to replace my Rainbird system this weekend with the 16 zone 2nd gen Rachio.

<-- Here’s the inside.

<–Here’s the outside.
My question is about the sensors. I see a rain sensor on the side of my roof, but I don’t know what brand it is. I don’t even know if it works or not… I’m assuming it’s Rainbird rain sensor

Honestly, I’d rather replace it with a Netamo weather station and get the wind and rain gauge addo-ons. But first I need to see if the old gauge is broke. Is there an easy way to test the gauge after Rachio is installed?

Thanks for the help everyone. I’ve been reading the forums a lot. Great community!


#2

@hulkvsspawn - As it is a rain sensor to test it pour water on it or submerge it in a cup of water. It may take a little while for the sensor to absorb enough water to trigger. I’d also set the trigger threshold to as low as it will go. I’d also wait until I knew the yard was good and watered. The other thing is just to wait for a rain storm and let the Rachio notifications of the sensor state change let you know it is working or not.

From an electrical perspective, it should be normally closed and then open the circuit when it is wet.

Welcome to the community.


#3

@hulkvsspawn Be sure to move your sensor switch on the front panel to ‘Active’ instead of off!


#4

Hey @hulkvsspawn-

Any luck testing out that rain sensor? Welcome to the community!

McKynzee :rachio:


#5

Howdy howdy,
I had to wait a little longer than expected for my electrician friend to stop by, but the deed is done! I got rid of Spectrum and upgraded to Allo fiber and was able to use the same personal router. My wifi network had issues connecting to the gen 2 rachio. I’m kinda a comic geek, so I reference comics a lot with my network naming convention (It’s easier to keep track of computers named R2D2, C3P0 and BB8 and more fun). My wifi radio was hidden and I had no PW to my ‘un-seen’ wifi network. Well Rachio didn’t like that so now my wifi radio is visible and I have PW.

As far as the rain sensor, we hooked it up like this: https://goo.gl/photos/x4Fuso3rBLTQHzTo6
I have the sensor enabled in the ap. And I also changed my weather station to some bloke a block a away vs the TV station several miles away. Can you believe I forgot to bring over my watering hose when I moved? Oh well… I’ll figure out some way to spray the sensor and let everyone know what the ap reads. In the Gen 1 version at the old house,I’d get a notification saying session skipped or something. I’m assuming it’s no different in Gen 2.Thanks for the help everyone. I’m enjoying this!


#6

My rain sensor is going batty!

We haven’t’ had rain for almost a week, but the rain sensor thinks otherwise. Do you think it’s because of this:


#7

The top cap of that sensor will come off with a slight twist and pull upward. Something (bugs, debris) may be under the cap pushing the micro switch. Take the cap off and see if that message stops. If it does, clean the cap and sensor area inside where the cap came off and put it back on.

If you see the message again, check the wiring.

There may be a wire broke or loose splice between the sensor and the controller. That doesn’t look like the original sensor wire that is connected to your Rachio controller, look for a splice on that wire between the controller and sensor. That may have been why it was disabled on your old controller.


#8

Looks like that spider is having fun with your rain sensor!:smile:


#9

I noticed the color differences too. I’m going to have to borrow a tall ladder to get up there or if someone is willing to hold my feet, I should be able to reach it from the bedroom window. Thanks everyone!


#10

Hey @hulkvsspawn-

Any luck getting your rain sensor back to working order?

McKynzee :rachio:


#11

Thanks for the advice. I checked the wiring and it’s for sure a problem.They used speaker wire and closer examination shows the part of the wire is exposed and knicked. I’d like to replace the wired sensor with a wireless one. I see from the forums that rachio recommends a couple different versions. I’d like to get the netatmo weather station with rain and wind gauges, is that possible to use with rachio directly?


#12

Start with everything new. The controller you have has not been manufactured for many years. Before going with Netamo check the number of weather stations available on the Rachio app. I am lucky to be just two miles from National Weather Station at Wiley Post Airport. It is extremely accurate. But if you are a weather enthusiast then try your own station.


#13

@hulkvsspawn - regarding your question on the netatmo weather station, if directly means wired into the sensor port or over the local WiFi network, then no. If directly means choosing that weather station as a personal weather station for Rachio to calculate forecasts off of and use for precipitation, then if the weather data is sent to CWOP or PWSWeather then yes or if weatherunderground then yes with the WWW.WUFYI.COM site.

But as @Robertokc pointed out the NWS stations are typically better, if they are located close to your location and in the same climate.


#14

Thanks again for the info everyone.

@robertokc I’m not quite sure what’s considered close. I’m using a local TV station that’s about 10 miles away. I changed it from a personal weather station that was right across the street based off of recommendations in this forum (it does seem more accurate).

@DLane I’d prefer to have the weather station tied directly into the Rachio (wired). If the Netamo is wireless only, is there a weather station that will hard wire into the Rachio for data?


#15

@hulkvsspawn - the only devices, that I’m aware of, that can be directly connected to the Rachio are:

  1. Rain sensor - A normally closed senor and when the set amount of rain soaks the sensor it opens the circuit until it dries out enough to close the circuit.

  2. Freeze/temperature sensor - Rachio will think it is a rain sensor, but again normally closed until the temperature set point is reached and then it opens the circuit until the temperature changes enough for it to close the circuit again.

  3. Flow meter - provide a pulse signal for water usage reporting.

The local Rachio device is somewhat limited, as others have pointed out, it is not a full internet appliance - it needs the Rachio cloud to do the heavy calculations on evapotranspiration, actual weather and forecasted weather.

The only way to have any weather station report data for Rachio to use is to get the station data to PWSWeather, CWOP or Aeris.


#16

My advice would be to go with the closest station. If the data from that station appears to be erroneous then pick another station. I’m using a NOAA station at Wiley Post Airport that is 2 miles from my home. It’s been very accurate