Using soil moisture sensors/Rachio

If the Rachio used wifi/cloud based soil moisture sensors (assuming these exist, etc…and I know this on the list of a future update), would you even need to calculates ET from weather stations or use historical ET values?

Seems like using moisture sensors would really simplify things and make for easier setup. Couldn’t the Rachio just get moisture data from moisture sensors, a rain (yes/no) type signal from a rain sensor, and weather forecasts from the local weather station? If you had those 3 things, it seems like the Rachio would become extremely accurate, and easier to setup. What am I missing?

BTW, I’m thinking, if the forecast calls for rain thus skipping irrigation but it doesn’t rain, the moisture sensor would show less moisture therefore the Rachio would irrigate the next day knowing it really didn’t rain.

Seems like this would be the way to go. I could see a wifi cloud based sensor in each irrigation zone.


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Full disclosure – I currently don’t own a Rachio (holding off for the 8 Zone Gen 2)… but my understanding is the Rachio will check the weather an hour before a scheduled watering. If it detects rain in the forecast, it skips the watering that day?

Couple of additional questions, I felt should go in this topic:

What if the forecast shows no rain, but it does rain? This question is a little more tricky because the Rachio would need to input data on an interval to determine if it should water. I wonder if the Rachio should have the option to poll for external sensor data if it exists to determine what it should do before it executes what was previously scheduled.

Would a rain/moisture sensor or other sensor’s input override the water schedule and determine if it needs to water or not?

I’m sure there are things I’m missing, or these questions may have been answered before.

Yes, this article helps explain what our system does before the schedule runs. For next year we want to start calculating this 24 hours in advance, tracking every hour until the schedule runs. Imagine the possibilities :wink:

Great concept, we want to build the functionality where we could actually look back in time and see if forecasted precipitation did actually occur. If not, run the schedule. In our thoughts and backlog, so we are thinking of this now. Don’t know when it will get built.

If you have a physical rain sensor and it is activated, we will not water. We don’t work the other way around, largely due to forecasted data.

Hope this helps, great discussion.


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I have one because my micro climate misses big time from the weather station a few miles down the road. The rain sensor has save me a few times now. I have an ifttt recipe that sets the virtual rain sensor for 2 days when my physical sensor trips to allow the actual percip rates to cathup. This has helped a bit too.

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I think my thread got hijacked. Thanks!

Assuming you had soil moisture sensors that reported some data, then ET would not be required. There’s two types of smart irrigation controllers; ET & SMS – to learn more, please see to this community post.

Yes in theory it becomes a closed loop system. Installation of the sensors is an important step that can result in good or bad data getting sent to the controller.

I haven’t seen any affordable, durable outdoor options yet, but we’re keeping a lookout for them. If you know if any, please let us know.

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