Wifi down, plants dying

So… we got a rachio (ec-1360) to save water, but we also turn our wifi off for several days at a time (teenager and chores issues). I thought it would keep watering on the existing schedule with wifi off, but it seems that our thyme is dying, and come to think of it, our peach crop is awful small.

Is underwatering on long wifi outages normal?

I’m curious about this. Will our Rachio 3 water normally w/o Internet connectivity? Will it water w/o a WiFi connection?

Btw, @dkegel: You shouldn’t have to deprive your entire household of WiFi due to your child. Get a WiFi router or access point that allows multiple SSIDs (so it looks like multiple WiFi networks), allows you to set a separate schedule for each SSID, and, of course, put a different password or pass phrase on each. Give the kid his or her own WiFi access :wink:

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This depends on the type of schedule you are running. A fixed schedule should run ok (without weather intelligence) without wifi, but if you are running a Flex schedule, which is a dynamic schedule, it will need regular wifi connectivity.

So, flex schedules have the undesirable property that if the wifi goes out, your plants die?

Seems like the feature could use a little work.

(I do have a separate SSID for the kid, but it’s hard to turn that on and off; the power button on the router is much easier. So the obvious solution is to get a separate router for the Rachio. I hate to do that, but it may be the only way to keep the plants alive.)

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Flex Daily needs daily weather updates for scheduling. No internet, no weather updates. THough, I agree that it should be able to continue running for at least a few days based on the information it had received.

There are modern routers that make individual device management very easy. For example Google WiFi allows you to form your devices into groups and then turn internet access on/off for each group with a push of a button on its phone app.

@dkegel - Not exactly. The local Rachio device always has two weeks (14 days) of forecasted weather downloaded to it. If internet (WiFi or ISP) is lost the local Rachio will continue to use the cached weather information - so if it is hotter or wetter than forecast Rachio won’t take that into account. After 14 days of no internet on a Flex schedule, Rachio will transition to running every three days.

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Sorry, I should have been more clear. @DLane nailed it. There is a cached schedule with Flex Daily, but if weather changes, which it notoriously does, it won’t be “accurate” anymore. Fixed schedules can run indefinitely without internet though

At the end of the day, this is a smart IoT device and requires internet to function the way designers intended.

@dkegel, I don’t know how you punish yourselves by cutting out the internet like that. My house with all its smart devices would self destruct without internet! :joy:

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I should confess that I am also a computer security person at heart, and worry about what happens if the internet (or part of it) is unavailable. It is really important that life go on, and things not die, in that case.

Running every third day may not be an ideal fallback. Is that configurable?

But it’s only after 2 weeks has passed. Surely any internet issue would be fixed by then?

Depends. A ransomware or denial-of-service attack on Rachio, or a large earthquake, might well knock it out of action for longer.

Device manufacturers should plan for their devices to be functional during long outages, too.

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Comet, 40 day flood, etc. Then why buy anything that uses the Internet at all?

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It depends. How crucial is it? If it’s something like an EV charger, or even the lights in your house, then you sure as hell want it to work without internet.

Look into a synology router. They have awesome management for what you’re trying to do.

I need three access points, and would like to manage them centrally, so ubiquiti ap lite is probably a good choice.

But back on the rachio software side: after an internet outage, the app seems to have confusing output. I guess I should post separately about that.

Do you need three APs for coverage, or for access control? Because on our EnGenius EAP1300 it’s just as easy to log in, go the the WiFi settings page, and enable/disable one of the supplemental SSIDs as it would be to log into a separate AP. Furthermore: Multiple APs covering the same area will induce additional RF noise into the environment, degrading the performance of all of them.

N.B.: I am a retired systems and network admin with over twenty-five years of experience in designing, provisioning, and maintaining LANs, WLANs, and wireless networks in business environments.

For coverage. It’s a big house. Having a single console to control all three access points would be a real plus.

If you have the cash and a little bit of network knowledge, the Unifi stuff is hard to beat. I have their full package at my office of Security gateway, cloud key with AVR, a couple PoE switches, and 6 AP’s covering the main office and 30,000sq ft warehouse, and 2 acre outside yard.

If I get around to wiring my house, I’d drop Unifi stuff in there as well. For now, my Orbi mesh system is working flawlessly to give me coverage around my house, guest house, shop, and at least some wifi signal around my whole 2 acre property. The app is pretty basic, but does everything I need it to do at my house…

Most routers available today have parental controls for that purpose. My netgear doesn’t of course but the phone app allows me to pause/resume connectivity on a per device basis, not ideal but easy enough. Or if your router allows guest networks you could have your kids device connect to the guest network and have that network turn off on a schedule. Another option is to set your kids device to a static IP and if the router allows schedules based on specific IPs then you can go that route.

I always use the same SSID for all radio bands, much easier to manage than keeping everything separate and don’t need multiple APs. Even if you need extenders or have a mesh system I recommend using the same SSID, just not for a guest network.

Unifi’s lite router seems pretty cheap. My current routers do allow scheduling the guest network, I think, but I need to be able to push a button when chores are finished, and that means unified management over three or four access points… something that most routers don’t do.

I ran ethernet in the crawl space to put in jacks and routers to handle the ground floor and yards, use moca network adapters to repurpose old coax to reach the 2nd floor, and still use powerline modems to reach a couple places (though less and less, as they suck). Should be easy for me to pop in 3-4 unifi routers and be happy.

I have undyingly happy that I used ethernet to reach the solar inverter. That is so much more reliable than wifi.

Regardless, vendors like Rachio have an obligation to fall back to a usable mode when internet to the house, or wifi to the device, are down. Buying devices like the Rachio should make us more resilient, not less.

You should look into getting a mesh network instead then, at least depending on wall/floor permeability of your place. You could use the same SSID, parental control or guest network, without the hassle of APs. Like you I prefer wired, I ran cat5e in my house years ago, but wifi is getting powerful. I’d need to run cat7 now to compete with the wifi speeds my router provides. Bothering with powerline and moca, unless you have no other option, is more hassle than its worth now too.