The guys from RainMachine have sent over the Mini-8 for an honest review and I went through the install and setup today.
The RainMachine Mini-8 Smart Irrigation Controller is an EPA Watersense certified WiFi sprinkler controller that will skip waterings when it rains. The unit can be controlled with an iOS, Android or web device and also integrates with IFTTT (If This Then That), which can wire up with other smart services like Amazon’s Echo.
SETUP & INSTALL VIDEO
The RainMachine Mini-8 comes with a nice little template that allows you to mark the spot where you need to drill holes to mount the unit. That went easy and the unit felt very sturdy when it was mounted with the included screws.
From there I put the wires into the bottom of the device. This was a little tricky, as you really need to push the zone wires in deep to make them stick. Three out of the five wires I pushed in weren’t pushed in deep enough when I tugged them to double check.
I plugged in the power with another couple of wires and the unit booted up. The first boot took a while to fully get going, I was a little worried.
Like most WiFi sprinkler controllers, you download the device’s companion app, point your phone’s WiFi to the device, hop onto it, then open the app. The app does its magic and finds the controller and you choose your home WiFi network and put in the password.
My initial setup of the Mini-8 failed. That had me worried for a minute, but I just hopped back onto the Mini-8’s WiFi and ran the setup again. It worked the second time. It’s possible I put in the wrong password for my home WiFi, but if that was the case it should have failed a little more gracefully.
From there I went in and tested my zones. I renamed them and set their plant type (lawn or flowers).
I had forgotten that RainMachine doesn’t do a fully automated watering schedule like Rachio and Blossom. I have to set up a baseline schedule and then it tweaks it after that based on rainfall and temperature. I’m not a fan! I really, really want to input all the data I can about soil and sun exposure and then have the app worry about it. For me, those are the big benefits to a SMART sprinkler controller.
I’ve used the RainMachine app before when I reviewed the HD-12 and I really like it. We’ll see how she runs and I’ll be back in two weeks with a review.Check it out on Amazon