SOLVED! How to fix Rachiio 3 WiFi not connecting first time

This is what I did that solved the WI-FI Rachio 3 controller not found issue for me, hopefully this helps you as well. I was able to get it registered, then success came rapidly after that, got my zones all entered, and now my sprinkler schedule is complete, and I used my phone to test all 4 zones of our sprinkler system with success.

Here’s my steps taken:

1) Since my Rachio 3 controller could not connect to my home network, Let’s see if home network can find and connect to the Rachio 3 access point. I went onto my Windows 10 desktop PC and scanned for Wifi networks, finding the Rachio-C219DE, so I had my desktop PC disconnect from my home network, THEN connect to my Rachio 3 WiFi controller access point, and of course there’s no internet available but the PC is connected to the Rachio 3 at this point.

2) While my desktop PC is still connected to the Rachio, let’s check if we can talk to it, so I used the cURL commands in a DOS/command prompt window, by typing CMD in the windows search bar. cURL is a command line program which sends and receives data between a client and a server or 2 machines connected over the internet.

I then got the Serial # from the bar code sticker on my Rachio 3 controller after removing the magnetic lid, and obtaining the Serial # off the sticker, I entered the following command in my DOS command window, replacing my SERIAL NUMBER below:

curl -k -X GET -H "x-api-key: SERIALNUMBER" -H "Content-Type: application/json" ""

Command entered successfully! I then see output response from Rachio 3 controller that says this in the command window:


3) Next we force feed the my network’s SSID and password to the Rachio 3 controller:

I replaced SSID, SERIALNUMBER, and PASSWORD with my specific numbers with this cURL command:

curl -k -X POST -H "x-api-key: SERIALNUMBER" -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d "{\"ssid\":\"SSID\",\"pass\":\"PASSWORD\"}" ""

After this, I checked the LED bar across the front of my Rachio 3, and BEHOLD! The quadrant that was blinking yellow before was now blue all the way across, meaning Rachio 3 is now connected to my home network.

4) I then disconnect the Desktop PC WiFi connection from the Rachio 3 access point, and reconnect it to my home WiFi network to get back on internet. I look at the status page of my home network’s ATT Uverse router and now it shows Rachio-C219DE as one of my connected devices where it did not before, so now I know we are good to go.

5) Go back out to the rachio 3 controller, and on your smartphone Rachio app, start the Add Location process all over again, enter home address, then scan bar code, hold breath for 2 minutes, and it clears past the finding controller part, and the phone app said the controller was found successfully!

Then the Rachio app on my phone immediately went into the menus to start setting up the zones. Very relieved! I hope this helps you solve your initial connecting issue.


Thanks for this - it indirectly helped me. Thought I’d add my experience in case anyone is in a similar spot.

I couldn’t get the Rachio 3 to connect to WiFi with my iPhone (SE 2nd gen). I found this post with a search and said “it’s worth a try with my MacBook - it can issue curl commands also”.

When I connected to the Rachio WiFi, however, Airport Utility came alive, recognized the Rachio, and asked if I wanted to connect it. About a minute later it was up and running.

So… if you have a Mac on WiFi, there is another thing to try.


Honestly Man…you saved my sanity today. It is hilarious and ironic that I needed to use command prompt to set up a “smart” device!!! This totally worked and you are my hero today. I was about ready to lose my mind with my brand new router and iPhone X “not supported”. !@@#%@#@#$

Awesome, glad to hear you got it running!

THANK YOU JEFF!!! This worked for me. But for the amount of money I spent, you would think Rachio could figure this out without having its community go to these lengths…

The only thing I’ll add for non-tech savy people like myself who want to attempt this:

Use the app Command Prompt. That’s where you can use the codes Jeff provided above. I know he mentions it, but it wasn’t all that clear to me.

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Brilliant. Connected my Macbook Pro to the Rachio wifi and AirPort quickly configured it to use my wifi. Infinitely easier than the hours I spent trying to get the buggy Rachio app to perform this task.

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Big Kudos to you. I was ready to start pulling hair out. Found this post and it worked flawlessly where all others failed. Like others, kind of shocked it had to resort to this but now it’s up and running with no issues. Thanks again. Rachio should pay you for saving customers as this would have been returned if it wasn’t for you.

You’re a freaking genius. I had tried everything and nothing worked. But, I did this and it worked on the first try! Pretty awesome. Thanks for sharing.

It still shouldn’t be this difficult to get Rachio to pair with a wifi connection

Being very non expert computer guy, in the command prompts you show in your post do you actually type a space where it appears there are spaces?

I was also caught in the endless loop. I can confirm that force connecting using the Airport Utility on the Mac works! No command line interface necessary!

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@JeffOstroff Your post helped me tremendously, not directly by solving my problem but by making me think of this as a network problem instead.

I found my issue was that the device would get connected ok to the network and then get a DNS error (response I got from your CMD line query). Without knowing this I thought it was a connection problem. Rachio’s Android app didn’t help identify this as a problem.

For those having a similar issue with DNS, suggest using a network that doesn’t use Pi Hole or other DNS filtering. This was my issue. Even when I connected originally to another network to register/activate the device, then move over to the DNS filtered network, it failed.

Also, for reference the light pattern I was seeing in the 3rd quadrant was 12 white flashes and 1 red. I will put all of this into my own post if I don’t see another DNS issue thread.

Yes it is amazing how many loopholes we can fall through trying to connect through to something on a network.

Changed my wifi password and when I restarted the system for this season, no wifi connection. Followed all steps multiple times and continued to get the flashing amber light, which seems to be Rachio’s version of the spinning beach ball of death. Chatted with support (where the hell is the phone number for a real person?) and was finally given a number to call (844 472-2446). Very pleasant fellow said they had “upgraded” their system and newer iPhones no longer worked ( iOS or hardware, not sure). He told me to use another device and I was able to connect via my iPad mini. Once it was online, which occurred immediately, he said they would download new software to the controller and this should not happen again. Fingers crossed.

Indirectly helped me too!!! I know this is a year ago but on my MacBook Pro I connected to the Rachio 3 via WiFi, the AirPort utility came on and recognized the device, then I was able to connect and haven’t had a problem yet (though only a few hours ago).
So… this is still a problem and the fix is still valid

FWIW, I have a Linksys mesh network. I had read that the Rachio couldn’t connect to a mesh network, but it is currently connected to mine.

Thanks you saved Rachio from disaster. I bought it few months back, last 3-4 days I was reading their manual to solve it with holding button turning lights blue and wait 2 minutes, all the things that can turn someone insane. Now way to return it and Rachio support is horrible. Hope they read this page and fix the issue. :grinning:

My Macbook did not find Rachio but Windows did. :grinning: That sounds like another thread to discuss.

Brilliant it worked. I got a couple of error which i resolved the following way (for others who run into same cut and paste error)

  1. could not resolve host: application

I had to remove the space between Content-Type: and application/json

  1. Then i got the curl error port number ended with ‘a’

after several tries one that worked for me was swapping url part and credential part

i moved “https://…” before -d "

Eventually connected successfully. Thank you.

But this is a device meant even for non IT people. Rachio sending us to this page is not a solution. Update your app by fixing this bug.

Indeed. Rachio: What the hell?!?! That post by @JeffOstroff is over a year old. How can you not have fixed this yet?

In Rachio’s defense, this is not possible to fix by updating the app. The problem is that many controllers were shipped with a firmware bug that renders them incompatible with the Wi-Fi stack in newer versions of iOS and Android. Some of these units are still on retailer shelves. If an older mobile device is unavailable, one must use a Windows, Mac or Linux computer to provision the controller. Once provisioned, the firmware auto-updates and can then be used with the app.

Further in their defense, the updates to iOS and Android that rendered them incompatible occurred after the buggy controllers had been shipped, so the problem cannot be blamed on sloppy design or inadequate testing.

However, Rachio should have made it much easier for the user to correct the problem. They can still do this. For starters, the app can be updated to report the specific issue, rather than displaying “An unknown error occurred”. It would recommend trying an older phone or tablet; failing that the user would be told to visit from a computer with Wi-Fi. From there, they could download a customized script that would provision the controller with no further user input.

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This was an AMAZING thing to find. I almost literally peed my pants when this worked after all else failed thank you thank you