Update? More than 16 zones?


#1

Any news? Will Rachio make a commitment to supporting more than 16 zones? 32 zones?


#2

Hey @flythebluesky-

When you say more zones, do you mean a hardware solution or a software solution? To clarify, would you like a physical controller with 32 zones, or would you like to be able to “merge” two physical controllers within the app to essentially create one large virtual controller?

McKynzee :rachio:


#3

Either would be workable for me. I don’t mind having two hardware boxes as long it’s possible to wire them up to the same system and operate them as a single logical controller.

I currently use Rachio for my 7-zone system, but am moving to a new house with 20+ zones. I don’t want to have to go back to an old non-smart controller!


#4

I’m not looking for a hack or a ham fisted patchwork or software and/or controllers. I don’t have time to cobble a half a solution together.

32 zone hardware + software. A complete solution in one 100% integrated package.


#5

I’m not in need of >16 zones, but if it were me I’d probably prefer keeping 16 zone units by modifying them slightly. The goal would be to keep production costs lower (the demand for 32 zones probably isn’t as high as 16 zone units) by reducing model variants and then have a communication cable between the units that makes one of them a slave unit to the other. The primary unit would see the slave as another set of zones to control. Sort of like a zone expansion board for an alarm system. Preferably the comm cable (USB C? Something sort of long term usable and won’t be phased out in a couple years.) would be capable of performing firmware updates on the slave so that the primary would be the only one phoning home via wifi.


#6

@flythebluesky Thank you for the extra insight! In the interest of transparency, a hardware solution is quite a bit more difficult, and the timeline on something like that is much longer. @scorp508 also brought up some great points with the issues of demand, and some alternative solutions to having a 32 zone model. Not saying that it isn’t something the company is considering, but the great thing about being a software company with very flexible hardware is this is something we could do on a shorter timeline through software. Improving our support for multiple devices in our software is something that is on our roadmap, however I unfortunately cannot give any dates. I hope that is helpful.

@wsdavis Don’t go back to your dumb controller! This user’s post talks about their experience with using multiple devices at their home, while it can be improved, people are pleased with how it works today!

McKynzee :rachio:


#7

Rachio, here is an interesting business case: in Texas, we have relatively large properties. City lots with 1/2 or 1 acre are quiet common. At the same time, our water rates exploded. In Austin, we pay 60% more than in San Diego, with people having water bills in excess of $500, into the four figures. The alternative to city water is well water, but this needs to be carefully managed due to high salinity. We need a smart irrigation controller, that can control 32 zones, and optionally perhaps measure salinity (conductance is measured and salinity calculated), and operate a mixer valve. The problem with the two controller solution is that we cannot wire up one flow meter to two controllers. People on well water, might even need two flow meters connected to all controllers, one for city water, and one for well water.

Are there any updates on a > 16 zone controller solution?


#8

Multiple controllers are supported in the app and as long as they have separated commons to their set of valves will work as designed. I can’t imagine that there are controllers that operate mixing valves outside of an industrial solution. Maybe a flow switch on the well line that opens a muni connection where you can adjust the flow/mix. Probably need a pressure regulator not to overwhelm the tank line. Maybe mix muni water in to the tank. As the tank fills from the well, the muni water is added.


#9

We want to avoid mixing due to cost. We are probably using a buffer tank instead.


#10

I am also really interested in having more then 16 zones. Using two independent systems independently is too hard to keep them from stepping on each other for me. I would be happy with a software solution that allowed two independent hardware units to be scheduled as one (preferable with one rain sensor and one flow monitor and maybe one master)


#11

I am REALLY interested in a system that controls more then 16 zones as well. Most importantly would be the software (UI). If the solution is to install multiple Rachio controllers to accommodate the number of stations needed (I need 36), I don’t mind as long as the software (UI) aggregates them into one system. I currently run the Hunter I-Core and would switch to Rachio tomorrow if it was possible.


#12

I’d like more than 16 zones also. I am currently doubling some zones up and while it works, it is obviously sub-optimal. I agree if you could put and 8 + 16 together in SW that would be a good workaround. Obviously it seems unfortunate to have to buy an entire Rachio just for the relays, but without some kind of expansion system (like ICC or OpenSprinkler) there isn’t much else that can be done.


#13

Yes please re more than 16 zones. We have 25. Software or UI improvements would be fine but should be simple. Wiring diagrams for the comm ground would help for the novice.


#14

Please more that 16 zones! I am in Texas as well where we have a lot of clients with more than 16 zones. We prefer your controller software to the other pro smart controllers on the market, however they offer more than 16 zones. I am not sure you need to reinvent the wheel here initially, but a bare bones additional satellite controller to expand zones with would work until the hardware r&d money was available to develop single expanded 32 zone controller. Having to set two separate controller schedules for one property is not appealing and defeats the desire to use a Rachio for its easy to manage and control software.


#15

Anything new to report with Series 3? How would the flow meter work with two separate controllers? I’m surprised there hasn’t been a software update yet to make multiple controllers function as a single logical controller.


#16

I had the same question. Never got a response from support but just found this disappointing answer in the flow meter FAQ.

“You will need one flow meter for every backflow preventer in your system. If you have more than one controller and only one backflow preventer, your system will not be compatible, as Rachio only supports one flow meter per Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller.”

Why in the world is it so complicated to have all controllers know of each other at the app level? Disappointing that this isn’t resolved even in version 3.


#17

Yes, same here. I have 22 zones, 13 for lawn and 9 for flower beds. Solution needs to be compatible with one (wireless) flow sensor, one master valve, and one rain sensor. Could be as simple as having two Rachios communicating with each other over wireless. Disappointing that we have brand new hardware, which is as useless, as previous gens for many homeowners in Texas. Here in Texas we have hot weather (everything needs watering, even small beds), in some areas the highest water rates in the US (micro segmentation to limit waste, depending on plants), and large lots (many zones). All of this combined means many zones for the average home owner. We have a 30 zone controller, with 27 zones populated with modules, and 22 wired.

Yes, pump recovery also important here in Texas for many folks outside the city.


#18

Me too. Could really use 32 zones with a flow meter.


#19

Yes more than 16 zones. I have 48 zones - primarily to balance flow to groups of lawn sprinklers, also to trees and shrubs located in different locations. I bought 3 16 zone v3 controllers and one flow meter. I am new to this product line but I am very interested in using the products. I could use the 3 16 zone controllers as long as they could be tied together either by hardwire, Ethernet, wireless, etc. and function as 1 larger controller ( using 1 rain sensor, 1 flow meter, etc. ), or by software. Your choice - I do think there is a demand and it would increase if you provided that kind of flexibility.


#20

They originally hinted this was in the works 3 years ago, but have since abandoned any serious work on helping us with multiple controllers. Good luck