Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

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financial.freedom
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Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by financial.freedom » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:10 pm

It seems anytime I have to adjust the sprinkler system is when I don't want to -- when it's raining and I get soaking wet. Sometimes I'm not home when it's raining and cannot adjust my standard system for rain delays. Water is expensive in SoCal, so I think a smart sprinkler would pay for itself in 6-12 months by saving water.

Thinking of getting Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller (16 Zone 2nd Generation).

Anyone have experience with this product or other smart sprinkler?

Thank you in advance!

toast0
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by toast0 » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:22 pm

I've got an irrigation caddy, I have the S1 which is the first revision, I'm not using the cloud firmware or the rain sensor. It's been working great - it had enough zones to replace the existing one, but it is indoor only, so I did have to run a multi-conductor cable from the new location to the old location and connect all the wires there. It's simple to use the browser interface from a computer or a smart phone to adjust things while at home or in the yard. I've also used the api to add it to a shared calendar with my DW so we can see when it's supposed to be running. I run a server at home, so if i needed to, I could use that to proxy into the irrigation controller from away from home.

The cloud firmware looks interesting, but I just haven't had the inclination to upgrade since it's working for me.

Boglehawk
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by Boglehawk » Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:50 pm

I just purchased and installed a Rachio Iro second generation. I have to say that I'm very impressed. I've tested it a few times and the interface is very intuitive and it's really nice to be able to run the controller from anywhere. The installation was incredibly easy. I probably will not start to use it until late May, but I'm really happy with it so far.

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Yesterdaysnews
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by Yesterdaysnews » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:04 pm

So it is easy to replace an existing systems control box with this new one? Sounds really interesting to me.

Boglehawk
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by Boglehawk » Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:33 pm

Yes, it is very easy to replace an older box. I replaced a Hunter Pro-C controller that was a few years old. You just need to make sure you mark the wires for each zone before you disconnect the old box. I actually installed a new outside enclosure when I installed the Rachio. The entire process probably took 30 minutes.

BHUser27
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by BHUser27 » Fri Apr 22, 2016 9:38 am

I have been using the Skydrop smart controller for a little over a year. I highly recommend it. I am an extremely satisfied customer.

I live in the Midwest in area with a full 4 seasons. I have 4 zones in my sprinkler system. There were some early SW bugs, but now I love the Skydrop web interface & iPhone app. It is very clean and easy to use.

It was very easy to install. The smart algorithms work very well.

Early on when they were working out some kinks in the SW, there were some errors in the amount of rain being tracked for my area and in the tracking of watering cycles. I interacted with customer support several times via email and the were responsive and fixed issues lightning fast (less than a week).

NOTE: One of the main reasons I chose Skydrop over other smart controllers is that it has a user-interface on the controller so that my maintenance guy can cycle the zones when they blow out the system in fall. Several other controllers require the maintenance guy to use a smart phone to cycle zones since they do not have a local user interface.

financial.freedom
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by financial.freedom » Fri Apr 22, 2016 7:10 pm

Thank you for the replies! I have to find a system that supports 12 zones, and basically want to "set it and forget it." Will check out those mentioned above.

Boglehawk
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by Boglehawk » Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:08 pm

financial.freedom wrote:Thank you for the replies! I have to find a system that supports 12 zones, and basically want to "set it and forget it." Will check out those mentioned above.
The Rachio can handle up to 16 zones (I have 13 zones in my system). Also, the second generation has manual controls on the front of the unit, which allows an irrigation servicer to run the unit without using the phone app.

financial.freedom
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by financial.freedom » Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:59 pm

Boglehawk wrote:
financial.freedom wrote:Thank you for the replies! I have to find a system that supports 12 zones, and basically want to "set it and forget it." Will check out those mentioned above.
The Rachio can handle up to 16 zones (I have 13 zones in my system). Also, the second generation has manual controls on the front of the unit, which allows an irrigation servicer to run the unit without using the phone app.
Thank you for your reply, that sounds exactly like what I'm looking for. I checked online and has good reviews too.

logos
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by logos » Sat Apr 23, 2016 12:57 am

Just bought a Rachio 2nd generation 8 zone.

Live in the desert southwest. Bought a new house, no grass but a ton of shrubs and plants that are not native to the desert. Hoping it will save a bundle of money as my water bill is absurd during the summer (~$4-500/month). Once monsoon season starts hoping it will start saving money. Our water pricing is odd in that the more water you buy the more they charge per unit (crazy right...what happened to the volume discount?).

That said, even without any evidence of savings so far, its really nice to be able to control the drip system from an app on my phone. It was pretty easy to install. I'm perhaps moderately handy, but basically if you can install a light or do any wiring of anything at all you can install it.

littlebird
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by littlebird » Sat Apr 23, 2016 1:34 am

logos wrote:Just bought a Rachio 2nd generation 8 zone.

Live in the desert southwest. Our water pricing is odd in that the more water you buy the more they charge per unit (crazy right...what happened to the volume discount?).
.
Here in the desert southwest, the volume discount has been replaced by the over-user's penalty :moneybag .

Cindyjrn
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by Cindyjrn » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:11 am

I purchased a RainMachine from Amazon and installed it about a year ago. It immediately got my watering under control and dropped my water usage from the penalty zone to the under budget zone which reduced my bill to about the lowest possible amount it can be for a family of four.

Word to the wise, be careful with other brands that use their servers for weather such as Rachio and most others. RainMachine connects directly to NOAA, not to RainMachine proprietary servers. If RainMachine goes under, no problem as long as NOAA is still in business. If Rachio goes under and their servers disappear your weather based controller won't work anymore. Maybe things have changed since I purchased, but that was the big factor I considered when I purchased.

Cindyjrn
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by Cindyjrn » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:13 am

logos wrote:... Our water pricing is odd in that the more water you buy the more they charge per unit (crazy right...what happened to the volume discount?)....
Not sure if you're being facetious, but that doesn't even make sense. The more water you use, the more you should pay for that water especially in the drought stricken desert southwest.

SunnySeattle
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by SunnySeattle » Sat Apr 23, 2016 9:42 am

We have the rainmachine too. Can connect to it from our phones and when we are away. Very convenient. And nice to know it is using NOAA weather, rather than a proprietary server.

christophertowle
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by christophertowle » Sat Apr 23, 2016 8:42 pm

Second the use of the Rachio.

Replaced my old controller a few years back when I added a few zones - had the same experience as most with the rain sensor being unreliable among other things. Not to mention the user interface was something straight out of 1995 or so.

This units features has come along way in last couple of years ago - the app use to only support iOS, but now supports both Droid and iOS.

Uses NOAA weather to skip watering sessions if rain is in forecast.

Only thing is I wish it had a standard GUI interface through browser in event I don't want to configure it through app.

Watts
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Re: Any bogleheads use a "smart" sprinkler system?

Post by Watts » Sun Apr 24, 2016 1:49 am

I installed the Rachio system in late 2014. It has worked really well over this time, and it continues to improve and get smarter. I have noticed a significant improvement in my water bills, and the system has paid for itself.

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