Rachio’s Generation 2 smart sprinkler controller has arrived and it’s time to get it installed and setup.
The original Rachio Iro was the best-selling WiFi irrigation controller on Amazon, and the second generation device took that crown shortly after its release.
On paper, the Rachio Generation 2 checks every single box that a modern sprinkler controller should: Weather-based schedules, control from any device, watering history, beautiful design, slick dashboard, push notifications and API integration. But I’m not giving it the crown until I put it through some testing over the next couple weeks.
INSTALL & SETUP VIDEO
The Rachio included two screws and it was easy to mount the device to my backing board. The device feels really, really sturdy and looks beautiful even with the cover off.
Installing the wires was actually a little difficult. You have to push the wires into the unit with some force to get them to engage. Part of the problem was the identifying stickers from the Blossom still on the wires.
After I got the wires connected I realized I had not routed them through the under side of the unit. Whoops. So I had to remove all of the wires and start over.
It took me a couple seconds to find the power adapter port as well, even though it is clearly labeled.
Once I plugged the unit in it fired right up.
Rachio requires an iOS or Android smartphone for setup. I downloaded the app from the App Store and registered an account easily.
My phone found the Rachio unit almost immediately, and it took about 45 seconds for it to fully connect and get running.
After that it was an easy run through setting up my zones. The zone setup wizard is very nice. It asks you a series of questions about the type of plants you’re growing, the type of soil you have, the slope of the zone, how much sun hits and what type of sprinkler you’re using. It’s incredibly thorough and makes me feel that I’ll be able to set it and forget it without any hesitation.
After setting up the zones I created a watering schedule using their “Flex Schedule” system. When I finished the process I was quite surprised that it was going to water each zone for more than an hour. But I soon realized that would be the total elapsed time of watering because Rachio will pause to allow water to soak into tougher soils and then restart.
I’m very excited to test out this device to see if it can stand up to it’s lofty reputation. I’ve already received my first push notification that watering has begun, and I love that kind of communication.
The app is slick and easy to use. I’m about half way through my first full cycle and I’ve used 617 gallons of water. That’s not an exact tally, just an estimation based on the info I provided, but it still seems like a ridiculous amount of water. Since I have no concept of how many gallons I’ve been using all these years, this is quite a wake up call.
I’ll continue to test the Rachio Generation 2 over the next couple weeks and report back with my full review.Check it out on Amazon