I just found yesterday morning about the availability of a new feature Valve Monitoring. I knew Rachio 3 can alert for over current situation to protect itself and this is an extension of that. I decided to get it and thought I would post my experience with it. More information can be viewed at Valve Monitoring or in the smart phone apps only.
It is a premium feature, meaning that there is a one-time cost per controller, $30. This seems to me to be a little high, but maybe not as I think about it. I figure it can save a bunch of money, for example, on dead grass should a wire accidentally get cut, break, or loosened or a solenoid go bad on me. In other words, this helps tremendously diagnose the issue without pulling out a multimeter, disconnecting wires, etc. and I would get immediate notification before the grass even starts to think about dying.
The first thing that happened was an update to the controller firmware through the app. No changes to anything else in my system (uses my existing valves). Within the app, I enabled the zones and took a “base reading” on each which took about 15 seconds each with the water coming out the sprinkler heads for less than 10 seconds (4 minutes for 16 zones, 4 of which are not connected yet). That is all and it was done.
The range of my valves are 167-177 mA (most were 174), a Pump Start Relay (or PSR which is a water feature on a zone) 229mA, and four not connected yet 18 mA (open line). Everything was in the good or expected range.
In the advanced settings, I can set my low current threshold (25% default), high current threshold (25%), valve type (generic), and number of valves (1). The thresholds are used for the email notifications if enabled (true) for zone valve monitoring within account settings. The valve type is for a future possible feature to automatically try to calibrate valves automatically based on the brand. I have changed this to Hunter on most of them and do wish that it asks me what most of them are so I can just change the few that are not. It has a good list of valve types and if something is not listed, it would be generic. I kind of wish it had Antelco, Other, and maybe where I can list a PSR.
I do not have a master valve/pump at this time, so I do not know if it monitors that as well. I will have to see what it does over time. I do not see a place to view a graph over time, which seems like it would be nice for an overall trend. I am not sure if a valve will go bad over time or if it suddenly dies. I also have not seen it in the API, so would guess that it is not available at this time.