Uneven flex watering

I bought the rachio controller because of the smart flex/weather based programming.

It does not work consistently. I have areas that are watered by multiple zones.

Rachio decides to drop a given zone when watering which results in uneven watering.

I have double checked the zones and they all have identical settings.

The soil moisture captured is not consistent as well.

For example south street 1&2 and evergren/south are supposed to be paired and track each other.
They don’t.

Using the fill/empty settings does not allow me to fine tune the moisture setting to bring everything back to equilibrium without disturbing efficient watering.

There should be an option to make fine adjustments even though it should not be required which is the idea behind using flex.

rachioflex.pdf (583.8 KB)

I also have a grass area that is watered by two zones. The zones have identical settings. Yet, occasionally one zone is watered on one day and then the other zone is watered the next day.

The two zones really should always water on the same day, since the zone settings are identical and the two zones cover one single grass area.

I’ve tried to get the two zones synchronized by selecting a manual empty on both, but eventually they get out of sync again.

How do I sync up the zones to water the same? All 4 of the zones have exactly the same settings down to the decimal, except for the precipitation rate, which will have no effect on the amount of water applied only the duration.

My neighbor is having this issue too. The zones watering.

It should be watering 0.51” for

37 minutes
37 minutes
22 minutes
21 minutes

It is instead watering

37 minutes
38 minutes
23 minutes
21 minutes

However, 3 of the 4 zones are being watered 0.52”. The SE Front Lawn is the only zone applying 0.51" of water.

This causes a slow drift in the schedule. They need to be running on the same days for “head to head” watering across overlapping zones.

I have this same issue, so I hope it will be properly addressed soon.

@ECOBEARD Do you have Minimize Water Hammer turned on, under Controller Settings?

@ECOBEARD, you say all the zones are exact, except for precipitation rate. I believe this all comes down to rounding. Rachio waters for full minutes, it can’t do partial minutes. This, especially when talking different PR’s is going to cause a zone to ever so slightly get out of whack. Over a period of time, it might end up pushing a zone back a day, or ahead of others as the flex daily schedule deems necessary.

The only way I could see Rachio fixing this is allowing users to “lock” two bordering zones together. With programing, I have no idea how you could do that, because it would require an override of the Flex Daily algorithms for the purpose of staying in sync.

My $.02.

How does that affect watering?

My house has both water hammer and master valve set to off/none and my neighbor’s had both on. I just turned his off, but I’m not sure why that matters

I can see where he is going with it…water hammer on will run the follow zone for 10 seconds or so before shutting off the previous. It is possible that could throw times off by those 10 seconds as well…

But I still stand behind my theory of basic rounding…

I actually think it might be the water hammer setting, especially with cycle and soak. I’ll keep you posted in a couple days now that I have the water hammer setting turned off at my neighbors.

I don’t know for sure if it’s the water hammer setting yet, but I turned off the setting this morning before my schedule ran, and now, after the two zones ran, the soil moisture reading is identical for both zones, where as in the past I think they were always slightly out of sync.

Time will tell if this is a true “fix”.

However, I will miss not being able to minimize the hammer effect.

As someone with some database programming experience, I can say with certainty it is possible to modify the algorithms to “lock” or “pair” two or more zones together. It may not be a trivial effort, but it is certainly possible.

In any case, I’m interested to learn if the water hammer setting is what’s causing the zones to gradually drift out of sync.

Also, make sure the advanced settings are truly identical among the zones. Notice in the picture below that Efficiency displays as 80, but when you click on the field to edit it, the actual value is 79.5. For display purposes, the value is rounded off. Rounding may apply to the other values as well, so I suggest checking them all.

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I don’t doubt that it is possible with programing, but at times people think it is a couple keystrokes to alter some programing code, but changing one parameter like this would most likely require an overhaul of other aspects as well…

I agree.

That’s what I meant by “it may not be a trivial effort, but it’s certainly possible.”

Hi all,
I am trying to convey the issue to support but it is taking a while …
I do not use the water hammer feature and my dynamic crop efficiency is set to dynamic (locked) - it was static before and the issue was still there.
As others have suggested it could be a rounding bug somewhere but at the end of the day the foundation of rachio is efficient watering. If a lawn area with multiple zones does not run in the same day watering will be uneven. It defeats the purpose of having a fancy weather based smart controller.
Will keep you posted on how the support iterations go.

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It appears that turning the water hammer feature OFF solved the rounding drifting issue.

I hope that Rachio can fix the water hammer rounding bug, so I can turn the feature back ON without messing up the schedule.

The theory here about water hammer and calculations not adding up makes sense. I’ve posted a while ago in another thread that I was seeing weird behavior with calculations. I had all zones with the same settings and advanced settings and one zone would be some percentage point(s) different. I too have water hammer on. I don’t recall actually having bad water hammer when this option was off, but in theory I can see the benefit of having another zone opened for a few seconds while the next is starting up.

Previous thread where I discussed the calculations as being off: Evapotranspiration forecasts - #13 by Gerardv514