Update? More than 16 zones?

I expanded my yard and went from 10 zones to 20 zones. I would have liked to stay with Rachio, but not if my two controllers cannot work together. For any others in a similar situation, I advise taking a look at the Netro sprinkler controller. Multiple controllers can be controlled together.

@dblagent007, can you link to any info on Netro’s support for multiple controllers? I’m curious as to how it differs to what Rachio is capable of. When you say “controllers can be controlled together”, Rachio does it without an issue. Your account can control unlimited controllers, either yours or those shared with you.

There are few advanced features for multiple controller support that is missing at this time, control is not one of them. Some of the things that would make a multiple controller support a success would be:

  1. Allow sensors to be shared by the controllers, such as flow meter connected to one would report usage when a secondary controller is active. Rain sensor is another example of this.
  2. Remove activation of the master valve, allow a secondary controller activate a master valve even if it is only connected to a primary controller without a need for an isolation hardware.
  3. Schedule combination. Avoid run-time collisions for controllers identified to share same water source.

Others may include to the above list, but that is what I can name of top of my head.

Cheers,
Gene

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@Gene, it is explained here. The answer to the question of what to do if you have more than 12 zones is:

The Netro app is capable of managing multiple controllers. You can link two controllers together. You will need to have at least two “common” wires so that each controller gets one. If there is only one “common” wire, it needs to be connected to both controllers by using a wire splitter.

I’m not talking about how many controllers can be on my account. I’m referring to running more than 16 zones in a unified manner, which is the topic of this thread. For example, if I have 24 zones, I need two Rachio controllers, but they do not sync with each other in any way. The Netro allows me to sync the controllers so they operate like one controller with 24 zones.

Seems like Rachio is no different in that respect, Here is the support article outlining multiple controller use:

In the link you’ve shared, Answer to question: “How do I add the second device to my account?” states that “there will be a dropdown menu on the home page where you can navigate between the two controllers”.

To me Netro is not doing anything more than what Rachio allows you to do already.

@Gene, you’re right. This article led me astray. I emailed them for clarification and it turns out they cannot be used to control more than 16 zones in a unified manner.

@dblagent007 thank you for sharing your research.

Interesting idea. (But I have a 16 and a 12 controller with 28 zones, so no spare zone…) Maybe I sacrifice one zone…

If you have room in your setup for a cheap relay like this (link), you can quickly setup master valve sharing between your controllers. Something like this:

Feel free to take pictures and/or describe your needs further. Challenge accepted :wink:

Gene

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I’ve got 5 bundles for 28 zones. The control valve is in one of the bundles. So at a high level, is this the architecture I should use?


Very much appreciate your help!

You are close, but missing a few wires going to the relay. Keep in mind that terminal numbers are based on the relay I’ve linked to in my previous post. Here is the details of the base labels:

  1. An additional wire from the white common bundle to the relay would need to be made. Connect common to terminal 13 of the relay.
  2. Hookup the wire from the P / M terminal of the 16 zone system to the terminal 14 of the relay.
  3. Connect P / M terminal of the 12 zone system to terminal 1 of the relay
  4. Connect 24V- terminal of the 12 zone system to terminal 5 of the relay
  5. Connect line going to your master valve within your 1st bundle to terminal 9 of the relay.

You should be all set after these 5 steps.

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Awesome! 2nd Rachio arrives tomorrow. And relay switch also I hope. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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So I think I got it all working. Thanks Gene!

In testing it, both systems seem to run independently simultaneously. Is that the correct behavior?

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I have two controllers wired with relays - works OK

Scheduling would be so much easier if there were a hardware or software fix to program all of the zones

I would spring for hardware in a second

PS my company also uses rachio for our buildings we would also spring for new controllers

It isn’t that difficult by two controllers the software allows you to have multiple controllers on one device just name the Zone something different for instance once you reached on 16 and you go to the next song on the next timer instead of name and its own one name its own 17 then 18 then 19 then 20 and name the controllers 1 + 2

I’ve got a question I haven’t seen answered yet. Let’s say I currently have 18 zones and I want the 16-zone Rachio controller. I wouldn’t mind just disabling a couple zones to get down to 16. How do I do that?

Don’t hook them up…

Or, could a couple zones possibly be combined? That is what I did originally to get my old 18 zone hunter down to my 16 zone Rachio. Since then, I have swapped sprinkler nozzles and have been able to combine additional zones, with the plan to add a garden zone or two…

Hi @gene, I updated my original slide to incorporate your complete solution. I’m assuming it doesn’t matter which 24V- I connect to?

The only downside with the setup you’ve described (whereas 24- power is coming from the same controller driving pin 14) is that controller #1 may not see the current draw from the master valve if it tries to activate at the same time as #2. Depends on the controller firmware, it may flag this as a solenoid failure. Driving pins 1 and 5 of the relay from the same controller avoids this issue to some degree.

Other than that, your drawing should work. Good job :slight_smile:

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Good to know. Fixed.

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Sigh. Pretty disappointing. This is one of those things that’s easy to implement up front if you get your domain model right, but harder to retrofit into an existing software / data model. Hindsight is 20/20 though…

I’ve been checking in every once in a while on this, but I guess you’re saying we should stop hoping for Rachio to serve our use case? That’s a bold statement.