Why did Rachio decide to have no dials


Hey @spscoutenPhD!

Thanks for the feedback :slight_smile: Just wanted to shoot over a note about manual controls on the Rachio controller. You can start, stop, skip, or pause a run right on the controller. Here’s a support article with more info!

-Lo :rachio:


A lot of the car manufacturers are finally moving away from buttons and back towards dials for things like volume, temperature, and radio tuning. People seem to find them more intuitive and almost satisfying to use. I for one welcome the return of our dial overlords. :cheers: I wouldn’t mind a nice dial on the Rachio that can be pressed in to select and lets you move through some basic functions.


Great point @scorp508! There’s also something quite satisfying of turning the volume dial to hit an even number (or maybe that’s just me :woman_shrugging:)

Just out of curiosity - what kinds of controls would you be looking for here?

-Lo :rachio:


I’m pretty sure this is the only dial we need.



Yeah, most of the landscape companies waste an enormous amount of water. But there needs to be a open minded look at dials and buttons.


I love the manual feature on the Gen 2 and Gen 3. Way better than the Gen1 which had zero interface other than with a smart device. lol


SO glad to hear it Steven :slight_smile:

-Lo :rachio:


I answer with full understanding Rachio probably prefers to keep the HW costs down, functionality in the app, and isn’t catering to irrigation companies which have (hopefully) minimal interaction with a controller throughout a season.

Our irrigation company issues flip phones to their employees. Yes, those still exist. I’m more than happy to share our controller to them, but that isn’t happening with a flip phone. :slight_smile:

Today physical interaction with the Gen 2 (what we have, in our 2nd season with it) is moving through zones and start/stop watering which gives 3 minutes of watering. That may or may not be enough time to inspect an entire zone. For our house this results in one guy standing at the Rachio and one guy walking the zone checking things. When paying hourly I don’t want a guy needing to babysit the controller due to lack of options. :slight_smile: Previously when using our Hunter Pro-C they connected a wireless remote they carried around to every home and walked around the yard with a remote. Dead simple and needs no smart device nor access to a local Wi-Fi network.

I’d love a small LCD display with a rotary interface and select/back buttons. The buttons could be the two halves of the pie inside the rotary. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The rotary dial would be used for moving up/down or left/right within menus or increasing/decreasing values depending on what area of the UI you were in.

It wouldn’t allow for absolute manipulation, the app would continue doing that, but I could see exposing certain elements that make certain tasks easier for irrigation companies and other tasks good for the controller’s owner. If you continue making it difficult for irrigation companies used to doing things the way they do them today they’ll never warm up to Rachio. I know our company aren’t a huge fan when they come over to our house yet they service most of the homes on our street and immediate area. You want companies like them on your side. They were pleased Gen2 had some buttons at all, but keep referring to “With the Hunter we can just this and that…”

Some things I’d consider exposing in a UI.

  • Pause schedule(s) for X hours/days.
  • Pause indefinitely.
  • Resume.
  • Winterized mode on/off. (No annoying rain sensor or weather skip alerts while winterized, that’s just dumb to have. :slight_smile: )
  • Water zone X for Y minutes
  • Water all zones for Y minutes each
  • Set zone off/on or off for X days.
  • Run master valve (and config master valve off/on)
  • Sensor status and on/off config
  • Set delay between zones

Stuff that’s currently a pain you could make easier for the controller’s owner.

  • View/Change Wi-Fi Network
  • Reset Controller
  • View controller information (serial #, firmware, Wi-Fi signal strength)
  • Zone fault messages
  • Set LCD/LED brightness

Some informational stuff when otherwise idle could rotate through the display.

  • Last watering date/time/duration
  • Next watering date/time/duration
  • Water saved this month
  • Gallons used this month
  • Rain sensor status

You could get really cute with the interface if you wanted to showing water levels filling the display when running a zone or other silly stuff. Anyone remember how higher end aftermarket car stereos with OLED screens had screen savers of dolphins swimming and other weird stuff? Inspiration. Sometimes being able to relate and go “awww” is what it takes to help non-geeks accept technology their better half spent a bunch of money on. Right now it’s kind of a plain box with aggressively bright blue light, but minimalist may have been the intention to keep costs down.


If I want to isolate if outside and no wifi, we have a master lever/valve on the system after the backflow preventer.
Yes rachio will keep operating, but there will be no water delivered to the system