URGENT: Need fix to multiple Rachio units so they work as one system


I know I’m late to this party, but had a thought that I hope may be helpful. Unless you really need to run both Iros every day, could you set one schedule to run on odd days or M W F.and the other on even days or S T T S? Flex schedules should adapt to that restriction on days and keep moisture in each zone at an acceptable level.


many reason why this does not work. For example, currently, water restrictions are such that we can only water once a week.


And only water at certain times.

Last year for me (Dallas area): one day every other week, midnight to 10 AM, 6 PM to midnight.

This year (lots more water available): two days every week (Tue. and Fri. for me), with each of the two chosen days midnight to 10 AM, and 6 PM to midnight.

Best regards,



I like rachio a lot, and I sure hope they listen and change their tone and stance very quickly indeed.


I’ve got 35 zones on my IROs (2 16 zone and 1 8 zone), and while it would be nice to see them all as one unified controller it just isn’t that big a deal for me to manage them separately. I’ve got 3-4 separate programs on each one anyway, with different days and times for drip vs non-drip, roses vs trees vs lawn, etc.

I replaced 3 existing controllers, 2 cheap 8 zone hardware store controllers and one very nice, but old, 24 zone Irritrol unit, so having to manage multiple separate controllers was an existing issue.

I haven’t converted to trusting the IRO smart scheduling, because I’m intentionally underwatering due to drought restrictions right now, so when I move to that maybe I’ll notice the pain more.

Unifying multiple controllers into a single “virtual” controller for all the zones would be nice, but isn’t a big deal at least to me.



Is there anyway to get users to vote on requested features like this. I have a feeling there are enough of us interested.


I don’t know. You get up into the area of 17+ zones and you’ve traditionally been looking at commercial controllers only.

Additionally, existing systems already have wire and valves buried. It’s a fair amount of work to add zones for things like flowers.

Overall, for existing residential sprinkler system owners, I think the market it small for 17+.

I don’t know what the market opp is for new residential systems where it’s now wise to separate things more granularly, like flowers and shrubs, causing zone quantity to increase.

Best regards,



im currently at 8 and have plans to add 2 more zones in my yard next year. so, for a sample population of 1, i would say 17+ zones is unrealistic. now, in commercial applications i would assume 20 zones is often not enough, but i have no idea.

personally i think expansion concepts like rainbird and hunter do where you can take a controller out to OMG number of zones seems like a better hardware design when excluding cost and is closer to what i want.

now im waiting to see what iro 2.0 looks like if we can get a glimps over the winter before i make the decision to add another 8 zone or buy the larger unit.


The best way to do this is to “like” a post in the community. It’s the little heart to the left of the reply button.


Are you suggesting there is a new hardware revision on the horizon?


dude, i have no idea, but i see the problems they need to solve and how the solutions have been received and i think to myself, there has to be another hardware revision at some point, else the will fold up like a cheap suit.

but im not a business owner so im speaking directly out of my anus. but i honestly do not see how they will survive without a few additions to the hardware:
flow valve
soil moisture sensor
a touch screen would be nice for a lot of users
maybe some local storage to hold transient events to survive a power cycle.
some ppl have their panties in a wad because the iro is not all home kitty, this seems to require some hardware change (again, speaking out of my anus on this one).
god i hope they put a wired enternet adapter on the device, i hate wireless with a passion (made easier with ubiquiti).
if they build a commercial solution, nothing about the current iro’s hardware is attractive imho.

so i wish i had some inside skinny, then i could come on here and look like a god, but i dont so i cant.


This limitation is a real problem for me… I am replacing two Weathermatic 24 zone controllers with 37 zones… Looks like I’d end up having to install 4 separate Iros. It would be a real mess trying to make sure that they don’t collide. Can you really control 100 zones and not have them schedule on top of each other? Will I continually have to juggle times and days for all the controllers? For example, if I want to change the daily interval, will I then have to juggle all the controllers to make sure that they don’t schedule on top of each other? And if I use weather based programming, how will I know when one controller has finished to allow another to begin? Will I have to examine 4 different history logs? 4 different interfaces to the Wink? 4 different IFTT recipes?


I think this would be 3 controllers total (16 + 16 + 8), and yes would be difficult to manage that there were no schedule collisions.

Yes, there would not be one logical view. So each would be controlled as separate units.

IMHO this might not be the ideal setup for you.



bummer… this really is a big problem. Weathermatic has 48 zone controllers, Open Sprinkler allows any number of extensions to be daisy chained, etc. I might point out that larger

I like what I see from Rachio, and I it seems like you have some pretty good software. But why you have engineered your product into this limitation seems like a huge goof to me. I too think that one way out of the irrigation problem is to have finer granularity in our zones. For example, I have a area that is shaded in winter but not in summer…it makes sense to break that into two zones.

What about a Plan B workaround? I will be doing my own water flow monitoring (.1 gal/1 sec resolution vs my current hundred cubic feet/mo from my water district meter), and am planning a separate monitoring program. Could this program come in through the REST interface and do something to make things work? If it set rain delays on the contending controllers, could it just wait until the first controller finishes to remove the rain delay on the next in the queue? Could this be done via IFTT?


Think this might be a good place to interject the Topic “Flex Schedule Potential issues with Multiple Controller on Site” Because Flex Scheduling is just that, Flexible, one needs to be able to manage a time slot for the schedule, not just a start time.

I mentioned making it possible to create “Water Windows” for Flex or Fixed schedules. This would help manage multiple controllers on one site and might be easier to create in the software (Maybe) than other solution. Each controller would have a different time frame in which it would allow a schedule to run, not just a beginning point. If the window is exceeded there would to be an alert to tell you what got bumped.


Another +1 here. I have 20 zones and the existing systems were in 3 different locations around the property. Otherwise the system rocks.


I was at an irrigation store today, asking about smart controllers. The salesman told me that the Iro was “extremely limited” and “couldn’t be expanded.” He suggested Rain Bird.

I’m really trying to like Rachio, but I have my doubts about it’s engineering. I doubt that I will be able to run my sprinkler cables through the tiny cable run (my landscaper used large, well insulated wires, apparently the Rachio advice is to add a terminal strip to sit outside the box to route them in. For only allowing 16 zones, the Iro takes up a lot of real estate in an outdoor box.

It’s not a good sign when the sales staff dump on your product.


they are comparing apples to oranges. i do wish that you could add additional zones via modules, but oh well. and plus i must defend my purchasee to myself as well.

i personally think the iro is targeting the simple home user, not commercial user, which is where i think a majority of this problem stems. maybe rachio will have a pintrest moment of revelation and see a majority of their users are not what they were targeting and switch gears…i dont know, i dont have those numbers.

btw, how much does a rain bird cost that uses local weather data and provides software updates to handle new methods of efficiency?

so i can understand the ignorance behind the sales person’s statements, but would just like to highlight the main benifits of iro.

ifttt integration (still somewhat limited but useful none the less). i personally was able to augment scheduling of my iro with this feature and has already proven useful, can rainbird do that?

last time i checked, rainbird nor hunter was able to add a completely new scheduling system to my existing hardware.

so, you can either view this system as a test to see if you can drive the irrigation business in software or do you still need older smarter controllers. for your case, i guess not, for my case absolutely.

sorry for the rant, but the sales person’s statements seem highly obtuse.


@sailortom, just curious, which irrigation store gave you this feedback? If the answer was in regards to finding a controller for 48 zones, then they were correct in that the Iro isn’t a good solution for you. If the answer was in regards to software and intelligence, I’d question if they have ever used the product.

@plainsane is spot on. The Iro’s software is capable of handling more than 16 zones, but the hardware is not. A user can control 24, 32, 48+ zones using a combination of 8 and 16 zone Iros, but they will operate as standalone units. This can impact the ease of scheduling (i.e. needing to manage two 16 zone schedules versus one 32 zone schedule), but the remote accessibility and intelligence are still available. A simple work around is to schedule one controller to run in the mornings and the other in the evenings, or if you have long watering durations odd/even scheduling might be easier. If anyone has more creative ways to utilize the Iro for 16+ zone systems, I’d love to know what you’re doing :smile:

Please note, there are substitute products in the commercial space that will allow you remote access of your sprinklers. The cost is higher, but so is the hardware costs and cellular subscription fees to communicate with the hardware. We understand this is a limitation for some users and apologize for any inconvenience caused by misunderstanding. We appreciate your interest in our product. We’ll review our messaging to ensure this is corrected going forward.


As I said, I want to like the Iro… I just haven’t swallowed the Kool Aid yet :smile:

I challenge the notion that more than 16 zones pus it into a “commercial” class. For example, I have a orchard that I water with a drip system. It has a mixture of citrus, avacado. To the Iro, these are “Trees” on “emitters” with “clay/loam” soil. However, the avacado has vastly different water demands than citrus, depending on time of year, ripeness of fruit, etc. No amount of “intelligence” in a single zone is going to be able to deal with this difference. A $25 trip to Home Depot and another valve and some wire solves the problem, all I need is another place to plug in the zone.

I have another lawn that is shaded by one set of trees in the spring and summer, and another later in the season. I have Tipuana shade trees that loose their leaves in February and regrow them in August, causing weird shade patterns on the same lawn. Calling this lawn “somewhat sunny” in the Iro ET algorithm and averaging out the water for the year is not going to solve the problem. Splitting the lawn into multiple zones (maybe 3) is the way to do it. But I need to add more zones to the controller.

So, greater granularity of my irrigation system seems to be a huge win, water wise. I’m not that excited about having the 10 parameters per zone when I don’t have the zone control to do the watering.

The chances of all my valves, sprinklers, and drip emitters working as planned every time is pretty slim. I’ve had two pipe ruptures while on vacation that have cost me $2000 in water bills. There is a huge difference between putting numbers into a controller and what actually happens… this can only be understood by measuring the flow of water, which I understand is not on Rachio’s horizon.

This is a bit like running your furnace by saying, “A panel of experts has determined the proper number of hours per day that you should run your furnace, based on very precise measurements of your lat/long/altitude, number of windows, insulation, number of people in the house, number of hours you run your oven.” Our furnace controller also allows you to fine-tune these parameters with the latest intelligent software." Even the cheapest thermostat creates a closed loop control system, eliminating the need for expert heuristics and whatnot.

Iro runs open loop - we can argue about the futility of soil moisture sensors in a separate topic - so, without flow measurement feedback, it’s like our furnace being run by a expert committee than adaptively by looking at what’s happening.