Simpler Scheduling for Spring

All our zones are set to “clay” since we have a dense clay soil. Someone mentioned having to knock the clay off a shovel when digging. That’s us too!


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@brkaus, this how Water As Needed will run…historic weather data used to predict, real time weather data used to skip.

Historical to actual use reports will take some work, but we have some cool ideas in the works.

Estimates for the next week based on forecasts are not currently possible due to the weather check being performed roughly an hour before the scheduled watering event to determine if the watering can be skipped, however maybe the likelihood of skipping could be calculated in the future.

Schedules for the rest of the year based on historical weather data are already built. Sneak peek below :wink: …notice how the interval updates by month.

@mavery76266, sounds like a joy to dig in :grimacing:

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@emil @franz -> Thanks again to both of you for the conversation on the new scheduling. I really appreciate that your willing to engage the community the way you do!

I understand the value to some for the predictable schedule–however, I’d really prefer a system that performs a full watering on the specific day the lawn requires it as opposed to the system adjusting the run-time on a pre-scheduled day (or skipping until the next pre-scheduled watering) based on the calculated need on that particular pre-scheduled day.

From everything I’ve read, full waterings are the best for the health of a lawn (and also leads to the maximum water savings). It’s what drew me to my ESP-SMTe (and generated my initial interest in the Rachio). I would believe that your new method likely comes close in actual effect during use (assuming that the year is similar to historical data)–I just wish you’d leave in the existing method for power users who prefer using the full method. I know you’re grandfathering in existing users–but it doesn’t help a potential new customer like me.

To be candid, I’ll likely hold off on a purchase and continue to follow the customer comments and see what people think of it this year. But likely, the company that will ultimately win my business will be the one that follows the watering method that you had previously implemented.

Thanks again for your time–I do sincerely appreciate the conversation.

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Thanks for the feedback, very helpful. I do have some ideas next year how we provide this feature without using flex as it is built today :wink:

Hope to have you as a customer someday.


As a current, happy, flex time user, I have a LOT of trepidation about the the new schedule. I really agree with @bzimmer. I feel like I’m really being stupid and I know you have smart people working on this, but I’m just not getting it. I’ve just recommended this system to my daughter in Texas. She won’t be grandfathered in to the flex system. I’m sure hoping it goes ok. Sorry, but I was just a happy user with flex.

Thanks for the feedback, appreciated. I would have her start with a water as needed schedule and I bet the performance is going to be right on par. If not, PM me and I can try to work some magic.

For next watering season when flex is officially retired, I do have some ideas with the water as needed schedules to make them work very close to flex, if not the same, we just need to wait until we rebuild the calendar on the actual device firmware :wink:

Hope this helps.


Franz your Denver, CO example is off. We don’t start watering till April which I would think the frequency would be low and in July and Aug it would have this highest frequency and turning off in Nov.

Oh nooooo! I thought existing flex users could keep this feature indefinitely.

For next watering season we will make a few more changes to water as needed which I think will make the transition natural.


Count me on the list of someone that is concerned. I feel like the best direction would be improving the reporting on flex. Flex has all the correct underlying math and making people think about inches/gallons of water. That is a good thing. Something that starts with minutes is a step backwards in my opinion. May make it more “friendly” to new folks, but if I look at what flex is doing for me with the current predicted rains, actual rains, etc… it is doing the right thing.

For those that aren’t comfortable, there are timed schedules or other options… but the flex approach looks best from an execution standpoint. Simpler isn’t always better.

I’m hesitant to try anything new if I can’t go back to flex.

Thanks for the feedback. We will be taking feedback, improvements, etc. from this year and incorporating into scheduling.

Water as needed does take into account most if not all of the flex concepts. I believe after one more iteration we can bridge the gap for any concerns regarding existing flex functionality.

We are definitely listening and will continue to strive and build the most efficient scheduling software.


Yup, I know you guys listen. That’s why I keep blabbering :slight_smile:

As someone now comfortable with flex, in addition to what I suggested above about using historical weather for long term estimation (> 10 days in future), the two other enhancements controlling water application I could suggest is a second (optional) allowed depletion level that it would use if there was rain in the forecast in the next few days. I’m willing to let things get a bit drier if I think it is going to rain. There is probably also some factor for vegetation dormancy that is missing.

Throw a new user wizard for setup on top of it and all good!

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That is really sad. I finally spent the time getting my flex scheduling dialed in and it seems to be working awesome. Just got some rain here last week and I can see it recalculated the moisture level and postponed the waterings…yes it took a lot more to set-up that the average Amazon shopper can or is willing to do, but I think it was moving in the right direction, just needed more fine tuning.

I hope the new rollout offers something more than seasonal adjustments. My old Hunter Commercial box did that just fine.

Sorry if this question has already been asked but under the Water as Needed option will I still be able to input my water restrictions for my town? I am only allowed to water even days either after 5:00PM or before 8:00AM.

Currently no. Restrictions in general (flex, water as needed) don’t really work well with the concept of restricting days that those schedule types can water. For next watering season we will be looking at incorporating that functionality. For now I’d continue with what you have if it is working well for you :wink:


Change is hard. :confused: The engineer in me really loves flex schedules. They are complicated yet intuitive, and scratch the itch of wanting to understand exactly what’s going on under the covers. I can totally understand why flex will never be a mainstream solution, as many folks just want things to work (not necessarily taking the time to understand how they work).

As a relative noob to the system (2 months now), I think the Rachio team has done a great job balancing ease of use with flexibility. I find myself showing off soil moisture graphs to anyone that will listen. While I’ll be sad to see Flex go away at the end of 2016, I’m eager to see what As Needed looks like. It would be sweet if we could have both, but I can sympathize with the need to retain seldom used features indefinitely - it leads to piggy and brittle software. It’s hard to kill features, but that’s often the best course of action at the end of the day. While trepedatious, I’m looking forward to messing with As Needed (as long as I can still geek out over soil moisture graphs :laughing:).

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When I read features from flex were being merged into the traditional schedule I had hoped we would be able to finally get flex like features with restrictions. I’m disappointed that isn’t the case.

I’m restricted to watering Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. I don’t understand the technical challenge of mixing flex + restrictions. I have manually implemented that using a dumb controller for years. I tried to keep my watering durations relatively constant (as much as possible) through out the year, but I increase the frequency.

For example:
May: Mon for N units of time.
June: Mon and Sat for 0.9 x N units of time
July: Mon, Wed, and Sat for 0.8 x N units of time
Aug: Mon, Wed, and Sat for 1.2 x N units of time

I’m looking forward to future updates that will support relatively constant durations + variable frequency + restrictions.

Will these pre-existing schedules be completely editable or have some restrictions? Can I set up a few dummy flex schedules and disable them since I won’t be able to create new flex schedules after 2.5?

I’m a new user and I’m still experimenting and I’m a little concerned that water as needed won’t work for me without being able to restrict days.

If you have a flex schedule, you’ll be able to edit it. However, once you upgrade to 2.5, you will not be able to create any new flex schedules.

If you have restrictions, then the best schedule for you will either be Interval or Specific Days. These schedules have the same smart features as the As Needed schedule, although you set the days it can run.

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Ah! That seems like it would do the trick.

So add/remove zones and the whole deal?