Wiring help - Setting up a 8 zone Rachio (Gen 2) Outdoors


#1

Hello all! Seasoned home automation geek here. I just redid my entire yard with an irrigation system, a well, and new sod. I am not happy with the current system that was installed for the irrigation system and have found my way to purchasing a Rachio 8-zone (Gen 2) device. I’m very excited to start up with it!

When trying to change out my system, I was getting stuck with the wiring, specifically for power. I read through the rachio support pages and couldn’t find anything specific to my situation.

My fundamental question is…how do I deal with the power? My hardware doesn’t seem to match anything I’ve seen online already. When disassembling my current system, I took pictures of each layer with my smart phone. The last little leg of the journey was the power. I came across this power transformer. What do I do with it? I searched online and couldn’t find anything so I just reassembled my current system again and wanted to post here to see if I could get any help/guidance. Could anyone give me advice on how to wire the power? Here is an album of pictures from my setup:
Album with captions


#2

@der182 - using the Rachio waterproof enclosure ( http://www.rachio.com/store ) there will be a connection for 120 VAC power for a plug that the Rachio transformer will plug into. The source for the 120VAC power would be the wires on the other side of the circled transformer in the current setup, also accessible via the access cover on the 90 degree fitting at the bottom of the current controller box.


#3

Thank you for your response. But since I’m very new at this, what do you specifically recommend I do? I already have the outdoor enclosure and see there are the 3 wires (load, ground, hot) in the screw-out box. But how do I hook it all up?


#4

Hi @der182,

Congratulations on your new Rachio purchase, and welcome to the family! We’re excited to have you.

For help with installing your Rachio outdoors, I recommend you check out our Knowledge Base article on the subject:

How do I install a Generation 2 (Gen 2) Rachio outdoors?

There you’ll find detailed step-by-step instructions for hooking up your existing hardwire power wires.

If we can be of any further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our Support Line at 1-844-4-RACHIO !


#5

I looked into that as I tried installing the rachio originally. I don’t see the transformer in the description. Is it correct by saying I take the transformer block off and use the wires south of the block to hook inside the rachio enclosure box? Is that plastic 90 degree fitting just a fancy box that has normal wires inside? I didn’t want to disassemble my current unit to the point where I wasn’t sure how to put it back together in case I ran into a “bump” in the process (which I did).

Thank you for your patience. I’m a first time home owner. The only electrical work I’ve done was setting up smart switches all throughout my home (3 way and 4 way). So outside electrical work is more of unchartered territory for me.


#6

@der182 I am not an expert in these electrical things like this either, so I feel your pain. I think the issue is we need to get rid of the square box circled in your fourth picture, and see what wires are coming out of the rectangular box in that same photo. I think the wires coming out of that will be what connected inside your outdoor enclosure.


#7

@der182 - I completely understand. That 90 degree box should have a removable cover on it. When the cover is removed I’m expecting there will be two wires leading into the “south” side of the transformer with wire nuts to wires leading back to the circuit breaker (there could be a third ground wire in there too). As those wires will be hot with 120 VAC, be sure to turn off the circuit breaker feeding those wires. Once the wires going to the circled transformer are disconnected, connect those wires to the Rachio outdoor enclosure.

Feel free to post pictures if what is being seen is different or confusing and we’ll get it figured out.

To be clear, the transformer from the current situation is not needed. Rachio provides a plug in transformer that performs the same function for their installation. If you replaced 3-way and 4-way switches without shocking yourself, you should be able to handle this - just turn off the circuit breaker to this branch.

Also, I’m an end user just like you - not a licensed electrician (standard disclaimer).


#8

From the looks of it, the transformer has an adapter built in to which the 90 degree box connects. I think it may be easier to remove that 90 degree box all together since you don’t really need it.

If you can’t salvage the conduit fitting (which can be seen on the very bottom right of the first picture), you can find another one at your local hardware store, from the looks like you have 1/2 inch conduit so something like this would work:
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Southwire-1-2-in-Liquid-Tight-Connector/3615572

I do not know how flexible you are with your sprinkler cables, looks like they are already short, but what you may need to do is to extend the conduit a bit further so that it reaches the power connection of the Rachio’s outdoor enclosure. You may need to get another length of conduit and power cable and use an adapter like this (link), unless you wish to replace the whole run (entire conduit with internal cable from the junction box, what you’ve labeled with red arrows on the last picture).

As @DLane already outlined, you don’t need to worry about saving the old transformer, just need to run the conduit right into the rachio’s enclosure (kind of like what ever device has the conduit connected in the middle of the last picture)

Feel free to keep asking questions :wink: We’ll help if we can.

Cheers,
Gene


#9

The situation looks rather simple here and I agree with what others have said so far.

You don’t appear to have much room to the right of the current box without interference. The Rachio outdoor enclosure only allows bringing the mains power in from the left underside side of the enclosure. (Note to Rachio, making that internal hard-wire bay reversible to handle retro-fitting existing installations would be nice a nice touch.)

If it were mine I would be extending the electrical conduit further along the wall. Far enough so the distance between the center of the existing irrigation wire conduit (Is there any? Hard to tell from the shots) and the center of a new upwards facing the power conduit outlet is the same distance as the Rachio outdoor enclosure expects. A photo from 5-10 feet away of the whole setup would be helpful to see what you’re dealing with.

The other challenge I see is your irrigation wires have that gnarly PVC end cap hanging out there. I suspect it is to keep the irrigation wire bundle off the EMT (Electric Metallic Tube) running along the wall. Is there enough room behind that PVC part and the siding to extend the same style electric conduit behind it without interference? If not, it may make extending the power conduit just a touch more challenging unless you bend it around that PVC cap. You can usually bend the rigid plastic outdoor electrical conduit with a little heat. If it were me I’d come up with a cleaner way of keeping the irrigation wires off of the EMT that allows for extending that other conduit. The way they left it for you now looks really unfinished.

I would open the box where that electrical conduit currently goes back to and fish new leads to the new Rachio enclosure once you have it in place. You don’t want to get into adding another junction box there for such a small extension. Any outdoor wire junction you can eliminate is one less that could corrode over time and cause trouble.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, but from the post so far you don’t sound comfortable working with household electricity. If you aren’t 200% sure what you’re doing, especially outside, please call an electrician. :innocent: :slight_smile: They could bang this out for you in moments.


#10

Thanks so much for your response (and the responses of others!). I do now understand how the power and everything works for the Racchio. I agree with the few that have helped with input on this thread that the more difficult part is dealing with the current wiring that was already cut for my system.

I do hear you on possibly calling an electrician. It’s frustrating because I called an electrician once to do a simple job and I was so disappointed when I saw I could have definitely handled the job myself and save $150. I’m trying my best to avoid the electrician, but am definitely open to it. I figure with anything outside of my comfort zone within reason, this is a good learning experience as a new homeowner.

Here are some pictures that might make things a little clearer. The PVC pipe is just there to guide up wires from the ground. It doesn’t have anything to do with blocking any contact with the EMT from my solar panels.




#11

It doesn’t look like anything overly complicated, I’m sure you can do it :wink:

I think first thing to check would be: How much give (slack) does irrigation wire bundle has? See if you can lightly tug on the wire at the bottom of the PVC pipe and see if there is any slack. If so, how much?

You may even be able to modify your outdoor enclosure to swap where the power and irrigation wires are coming in (more on this later).

Overall it seems like a pretty straight forward setup, with an irrigation pump relay and a wireless rain sensor (in case you choose to continue using it, it’s not essential).

Gene