Soil Sensors - Take Two

I am recreating this topic because the thread has been closed and the request was to open a new one if there is an interest.

Short history - Well after months of trial-and-error, I hit a rough spot in that my program went haywire and Rachio watered 2 days at 4+ hours of water, consuming over 1000+ gallons of water each. This draws the attention of the local water district office, which subsequently issued me a citation for over-usage. It’s ironic to spend all of this time and money to get sophisticated on watering, but ends up with a citation. They visited us, and told us that we need to go back to water 2 days a week, bypassing all of the great software Rachio offers… but they leave a door open. That is if we can tie a soil sensor to the system, then we can use Rachio anytime. I am not ready to go back to the simple watering method because it’s just wasting water to satisfy a bureaucratic law. There is so much runoffs from our neighborhood, and I don’t want to be another contributor to this nonsense.

I am not sure where this effort is with Rachio R&D team for cloud-to-cloud sensor feature. From the previous thread, it seems that some may have found a solution to tie in a soil sensor. I am investigating and working with a local soil testing company on this topic. I will share with everyone what I find, if any. In the meantime, if anyone has been successful with this, I would love to hear your feedback. Thank you.

Hey @Tinkeringeek-

I am sorry to hear you ran into an issue with your controller, and even more sorry to hear it resulted in them taking you back to those restrictions. What went wrong that caused this issue? Did they change your restrictions when this one hiccup occurred? Seems like an extreme punishment for a one time mistake.

Do they have certain soil sensors that are eligible, or can you use any soil sensor? Does it need to be intelligent, or can it function similar to a rain sensor (interrupts watering when you hit a moisture %)?

Any improvements we can make to make smart watering more effective and accessible to all users are ideas that are on our horizon, so soil sensors are absolutely a topic of discussion. In the meantime, we do work with wired soil sensors in a similar way we work with rain sensors. When it is triggered, you will simply bypass scheduling. In my opinion, this isn’t the smartest option, but it may allow you to avoid those restrictions. However, someone did recently post that Edyn now works with IFTTT. I think there is potential here to create some more intelligent triggers that are less black and white than the current soil sensor support.

If you could give me some more info on your restrictions and this soil sensor option, I can do some more research and see what we can do to work around your restrictions. I would also love to get this info to our team as this is the first time I have heard of this option to bypass restrictions with a soil sensor. Would love for others to chime in if they have similar stipulations in their restrictions…

McKynzee :rachio:

Thank you for your feedback mckynzee. I am constantly tinkering with the program because I am using Rachio to patch a not-well-layout sprinkler system that doesn’t water every zone as efficient as it could. Emil is pulling data for me between March and present (April) to help me identify what I did.

In the meantime, I am thinking that I have a case of ‘garbage-in, garbage-out’, much of this is self inflicted. It was much simpler when there was only a lawn. Hindsight, adding in-ground planters and plants without changing the sprinkler layout was a mistake. At some point, I would have to admit that patching won’t work, and that a whole new layout is needed. In other words, segregate lawn from shrubs from vegetable garden; re-zoning everything correctly and have each zone on a separate manifold. While the algorithm is good taking into account soil and weather, all of it still is a guess work if the zone is not populated with the correct sprinkler heads. It is unfortunately a large undertaking project, which I am so not looking forward to doing.

I will meet with the local company on soil sensor, but I think I should fix my issue at the root cause than continue investing in patch work. Will keep everyone updated.