Installing the RainMachine HD-12 was quite simple and it probably took less than 10 minutes to go from a dumb sprinkler controller to a smart one.
After taking a photo of my zone setup, I used the small flat-head screwdriver that came inside the box to disconnect the wires from my RainBird controller. I zipped out the existing screw holding the RainBird unit in place. Then popped the unit off the wall and removed the second screw.
I mounted the RainMachine in a different spot, so I had to cut some scrap wood into a brace between two studs. The unit came with a screw template which made it really easy to mark where I needed to drill holes. I drilled the first screw, put the RainMachine in place, and then screwed in the final two screws.
From there I connected my colored zone wires and looked at the reference photo to get it right. Then I hooked in the A/C adapter while it was unplugged. Then I plugged it into the wall and the controller came to life.
It took a minute to boot up, but once it did I was easily able to set a password, connect to my WiFi network and add my address. Then I programmed a simple routine for watering every zone every day for 25 minutes.
I tested all four zones and everything worked great from the controller’s screen.
Then I installed the iOS app from the app store and connected to the RainMachine unit without a hitch. I just had to use the password I set during the first minute of setup. Once I was in I tested each zone with the app. I also changed my routine to water odd days instead of every day.
The weather forecast says rain for the next few days so there are no scheduled waterings yet. I will continue to play with and test this unit for two weeks and then do another write up and video review.
If you’re not sure what smart irrigation system you want to get, head over to the Big Ole WiFi Sprinkler Comparison and check out the bullet points on each unit.