Suddenly started reporting 0 gpm flow on random zones

I installed a flow meter at the end of last year and calibrated. For 5 months it seems to be working perfectly, no warnings ever. Suddenly last week I started getting warnings of 0.0 gpm flow on random zones (so far, 5 of 12 active zones). An average of roughly one of those warnings per watering cycle. When I test the zones manually they seem to work fine, and the valves are in different areas so a wiring issue seems unlikely.

Battery reports Good and signal strength Excellent. I’ll try bumping the pressure time from 2 minutes to 3 to see if that helps, but 2 minutes seems like long enough to pressurize from what I’ve seen, and 0.0 gpm seems odd. I’m not understanding why the sudden change.

This symptom continues and has even extended to more zones. Increasing the pressure time did not make a difference.

I’m now up to 10 zones (of 12 total) that have given the low flow alert, always 0.0 gpm. It seems to give me a few of these on every watering day now. I can’t be certain that the zones worked correctly, as it is running overnight, but when I run tests during the day they always seem to work as expected.

Full disclosure: I have had a problem with 2 zones where the valve did not open. But I’ve tracked that down to a specific bad electrical connection that only impacted those 2 zones. I “think” those are now resolved.

Any suggestions, or similar issues out there? It’s odd that this started so suddenly, and so widely/randomly. Any chance the 2 bad zones could lead to messages being issued for other zones?

What is the ‘normal’ gpm of the zones that are not working?

Do you have a master valve or a pump relay by any chance? What you are describing sounds like the issue is effecting a common denominator. I would also pay particular attention to your common line. Often connection may degrade with many wires sharing the same wire-nut.

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Thanks MeterManSays and Gene. Normal gpm ranges from 7.6 to 20 gpm (10 different zones, so everything in between, with most in the 8-14 range).

I don’t think there is a master vale or pump relay, but the common line is a good point. I believe the wire causing the known issue was a common line leading to the last two zones in the system. I’m not sure how this could affect any other zones, but it is a possible common denominator.

I’ll watch for further errors now that the two bad zones are (probably) resolved. Perhaps that was somehow the cause of all the warnings.

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I’ve collected a bit more data. The failures seem to come in groups; once it starts failing with the “0 gpm” message, multiple zones give that same error. At some point during the schedule the errors stop, and may or may not start again later (again in a group). Weird. I guess I’ll need to run it when I’m awake so I can confirm what is actually happening when those messages are issued.

Is there any way to know how long that condition was detected? When the error is issued I’m not sure if that means those entire cycle had no observed water flow, or whether it was just some portion of the cycle.

Here’s an example of the history (in reverse) from one night’s watering:

9: Front Right Shrubs completed watering at 04:22 AM (PDT) for 6 minutes.
Daily ran for 202 minutes.
We detected low flow in 9: Front Right Shrubs at 04:19 AM (PDT).
5: Front Right Upp… completed watering at 04:16 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
9: Front Right Shrubs began watering at 04:16 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 5: Front Right Upp… at 04:15 AM (PDT).
4: Front Right Low… completed watering at 04:13 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
5: Front Right Upp… began watering at 04:12 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 4: Front Right Low… at 04:12 AM (PDT).
3: Front Left Lawn completed watering at 04:09 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
4: Front Right Low… began watering at 04:09 AM (PDT).
3: Front Left Lawn began watering at 04:05 AM (PDT).
Soaked 9: Front Right Shrubs for 5 minutes, completed at 04:05 AM (PDT).
13: Rear Right Lawn completed watering at 04:01 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
Soaking 9: Front Right Shrubs for 5 minutes, started at 04:01 AM (PDT).
12: Rear Mid Shrubs completed watering at 03:56 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
13: Rear Right Lawn began watering at 03:56 AM (PDT).
10: Front Left/Mid… completed watering at 03:51 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
12: Rear Mid Shrubs began watering at 03:51 AM (PDT).
9: Front Right Shrubs completed watering at 03:46 AM (PDT) for 6 minutes.
10: Front Left/Mid… began watering at 03:46 AM (PDT).
7: Rear Mid Lawn completed watering at 03:40 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
9: Front Right Shrubs began watering at 03:40 AM (PDT).
6: Rear Left Lawn completed watering at 03:35 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
7: Rear Mid Lawn began watering at 03:35 AM (PDT).
5: Front Right Upp… completed watering at 03:30 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
6: Rear Left Lawn began watering at 03:30 AM (PDT).
4: Front Right Low… completed watering at 03:26 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
5: Front Right Upp… began watering at 03:26 AM (PDT).
3: Front Left Lawn completed watering at 03:23 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
4: Front Right Low… began watering at 03:23 AM (PDT).
15: Flowerpots completed watering at 03:19 AM (PDT) for 16 minutes.
3: Front Left Lawn began watering at 03:19 AM (PDT).
14: Rear Right Drip completed watering at 03:03 AM (PDT) for 82 minutes.
15: Flowerpots began watering at 03:03 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 14: Rear Right Drip at 01:44 AM (PDT).
13: Rear Right Lawn completed watering at 01:41 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
14: Rear Right Drip began watering at 01:41 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 13: Rear Right Lawn at 01:40 AM (PDT).
12: Rear Mid Shrubs completed watering at 01:37 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
13: Rear Right Lawn began watering at 01:37 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 12: Rear Mid Shrubs at 01:35 AM (PDT).
10: Front Left/Mid… completed watering at 01:32 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
12: Rear Mid Shrubs began watering at 01:32 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 10: Front Left/Mid… at 01:29 AM (PDT).
9: Front Right Shrubs completed watering at 01:27 AM (PDT) for 6 minutes.
10: Front Left/Mid… began watering at 01:26 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 9: Front Right Shrubs at 01:24 AM (PDT).
7: Rear Mid Lawn completed watering at 01:21 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
9: Front Right Shrubs began watering at 01:21 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 7: Rear Mid Lawn at 01:18 AM (PDT).
6: Rear Left Lawn completed watering at 01:16 AM (PDT) for 5 minutes.
7: Rear Mid Lawn began watering at 01:16 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 6: Rear Left Lawn at 01:13 AM (PDT).
5: Front Right Upp… completed watering at 01:10 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
6: Rear Left Lawn began watering at 01:10 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 5: Front Right Upp… at 01:10 AM (PDT).
4: Front Right Low… completed watering at 01:07 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
5: Front Right Upp… began watering at 01:07 AM (PDT).
We detected low flow in 4: Front Right Low… at 01:06 AM (PDT).
3: Front Left Lawn completed watering at 01:03 AM (PDT) for 4 minutes.
4: Front Right Low… began watering at 01:03 AM (PDT).
3: Front Left Lawn began watering at 01:00 AM (PDT).
Daily will run for 202 minutes.

This problem continues, but not every watering cycle. Once it starts giving warnings it seems to give the same warning on several zones in a row.

But the thing is, it’s doing it now as I’m monitoring it, and as I’m getting these 0 gpm warnings I’m seeing normal operation. It’s watering, so I can’t see how it can possibly be 0 gpm!

So Rachio… any ideas what I can check? Could this be a software problem? A physical problem with the flow meter? Not understanding what is going wrong here.

I’d suggest reading this thread:

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Thanks MeterMan. It’s not clear to me whether this is the same issue but it could possibly be. The users Olliesshop indicated a problem with two zones, and that the problem seemed to follow the zone when he changed the wiring. But it’s also unclear at this point how intermittent the issue is and how many zones might be affected in the future. I’ll have to keep an eye on that thread.

In my case I’m getting [false] no flow errors on almost all zones, but intermittently and always in a series of multiple alerts.