I just got a Rachio3, set it all up on my dining table toe ensure I have good internet connection. I then got a solenoid valve 24VAC and connected it to the Master (Dark grey) input. I intend to use an indexing valve. I get power to the solenoid because I can hear it buzzing, but it does not stop buzzing. I would have expected the solenoid to have one click and then stays active until the time to shut the valve.
Am I using the wrong type of solenoid valve, it should be 24VDC?
Help and suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong would be appreciated.
Sounds like everything is working correctly. A sprinkler valve works by energizing the solenoid, which raises a plunger allowing the pressure behind the diaphragm to escape, which allows the diaphragm to open. Power needs to be constantly applied to the solenoid to keep that plunger raised.
Here’s a good video explanation. Different brand valve (I prefer Hunter), same concept.
I have everything connected, My systems consists of a master valve and a 5 zone indexing valve. I ended up replacing the RainBird solenoid I purchased from Home Depot with another solenoid which is suggested to be “required” for the Irritrol 100 series valve. Did that and the buzzing significantly subsided and when fully connected into the system there is no buzzing at all. So now fir the first step all is working - success!
I set up a schedule, set up the zones, water time etc., and everything worked well when manually switching each zone.
As a test I did the “Quick Run” from the zones page. here I have an issue. The quick run was for 3 minutes each zone, but there was no delay when switching between zones, so the indexing valve never switched from one zone to the next. Any suggestions?
This morning I had the whole system run in auto mode, set up 2 minutes between zones for the indexing valve to switch over and everything worked like a charm!
Now that I have the basic function going need to spend time understanding the scheduling. I created three schedules one from each:
Flex Daily Schedule
Flex Monthly Schedule
Set them up for different days
So now I am experimenting how the schedules get modified based on rain expectation.
Alas the Flex schedule types will not work well with Indexing valves, they omit zones which do not require watering at the time, thus your system will quickly go out of sync whereas Rachio is trying to water zone X and instead the index valve is sending water to zone Y.
You could use Flex to gain some water savings, but all of your zones have to be clones of one another (All of the settings must match), this way when Rachio determines that one zone needs to water, they all do. Settings to be cloned ideally are determined from the thirstiest zone (maximum sun exposure, shallowest roots, sandiest soil, etc…).
For best results, you may wish to look into upgrading your index valve to individual valves for each of your zones, this way zone settings can be customized and water savings maximized. Depending on your water costs, the ROI of the upgrade may be as short as a few months.