Saddle up, here we go again. BLUF, Rachio still does not have a simple GPM override in 2023. I submit most people do not care about (nor want to understand) available water, crop coefficient, root depth, allowed depletion, etc. I believe 99.9% of your customers who bought Rachio care about the following metrics:
Does my zone look the way I want it to?
How much water am I consuming to maintain my zone?
How much can I lower my zone time, and thereby my water usage, to keep it looking the way I want?
Projected weekly/monthly water consumption based on my current settings, increase/decrease from last setting.
Past usage over time
To get us there, Rachio creates estimates for measurements that only a very seasoned landscaper, gardener or hydroponist would care about or understand. Allowed depletion? Seriously? Every one of these “advanced” measurements are uncertain, if not misunderstood. Even the most basic off-line calculation you can offer to overcome your unnecessary complexity can be uncertain (square footage of irregular yards). Meanwhile, the only “certain” measurement is GPM measured at your water meter. Please please don’t say cups, cups are not meant to measure GPM of a zone, they’re primary job is to provide data that helps ensure even distribution of water in a zone.
For me, you make a clean user interface which is reliable for remotely turning zones on and off at certain times on certain days, but everything else is a headache and not worth the hassle. Every time I look at your Usage and Saved statistics, I laugh and shake my head because they are highly questionable and lack confidence. I’ve seen all of the responses over the years about GPM/GPH that said “we agree this would be great” and “we will look into this”, but the only response from Rachio is crickets. I’m sure this drastically simple approach is not popular with the staff subject matter experts and software developers because their intuition is to make things more complex than they need to be (Full disclosure: I work at a software development company). I’m not suggesting that Rachio do away with the advanced setup and configurations, I’m sure that is helpful for a minority of your users, but it should be able to be over-ridden by a much simple approach (check box for GPM that grays out everything else, enter GPM) that better meets the needs for the vast majority of your customers.
You are 100% correct. Catch cups are meant to measure how much was is ACTUALLY getting applied to your yard, and in what efficiencies. Regardless of what you think, catch cups are the best way to find PR of a zone. Using GPM method, unless your system is brand new and perfectly installed, you will have leaks in the system, whether it be a fitting somewhere, a sprinkler nipple, or a sprinkler wiper. Meter GPM is a quicker way to calculate nozzle PR, but certainly is not “the best” solution.
I’m sure you have your reasons for needing this, but at the end of the day, if you want a green lawn and beautiful plants, you put down what you need to put down, whether that is 5 gallons or 50,000 gallons to do it. So I personally don’t understand the sticking point here.
I mean everyone is entitled to their opinion. Rachio has the most advanced scheduling of the “smart” controllers, and it takes some more advanced settings to do that. If at the end of the day, all you want is remote capability and “it rained, don’t water” capability, there are other, simpler options out there. But set up Fixed Schedules with weather intelligence and you have that as well. You bring up RainMachine. They are hiding more and more of their “advanced features” behind a subscription now. No thanks.
The primary sticking point it’s a feature this community has been asking for a long time, Rachio has agreed that it’s a worthwhile feature in multiple threads, yet it never happens. I can’t imagine it’s difficult to implement.
If the sprinkler system is laid out well, a well-executed catch cup audit can certainly be accurate for PR, but it is very time consuming and its not ideal for measuring zones using drip systems. I mostly see them used by people to improve dry spots. And even if you had a perfect test, it doesn’t uncover non-noticeable leaks you describe. As I mentioned in my post, I’m not proposing the current implementation be removed, but that GPM be added and perhaps serve as the primary metric for many users. Perhaps they should both be collected and contrasted in Rachio software to best identify system issues and water usage?
Just for context, I’m a tech savvy user who is knees deep in the smart home tech world with my whole house automated via home assistant, node-red, and zigbee and zwave products. I absolutely love to tinker with tech and collect data on all aspects of my home purely for the thrill of being able to display things on a pretty graph. For someone like me, the Rachio app should be a walk in the park but it’s an over engineered, unnecessarily complicated interface that doesn’t give me the info I’m looking for not does it allow me to program things in an intuitive manner.
The OP is 100% correct. I should not have to do a cup test, use community provided spreadsheets or get a degree in agriculture just to program my Rachio. I have drip irrigation, I know exactly how many GPH each emitter puts out. I should be able to input this into the Rachio app and have it calculate for me how long to run each zone and how often.
The fact that Rachio does not do this is so disappointing and frustrating.