Rainbird Wi Fi Controllers

Discussion in 'Irrigation' started by ArTurf, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,343

    Anyone used these yet? If so how are they compared to Rachio & others?

    Comments
     
  2. kawasaki guy

    kawasaki guy LawnSite Fanatic
    Male, from USA
    Messages: 16,255

    Was wondering the same thing.

    I think it is a module for the ESP-ME, right?
     
    Ron Wolfarth likes this.
  3. SoCalLandscapeMgmt

    SoCalLandscapeMgmt LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,129

    I have one at my shop plugged in and sitting on the bench. I've been watching it and playing with it for the last couple of weeks. We'll be installing a couple of them next week. So far it seems pretty solid. The big plus that I can see over the Rachio is that you're controlling a controller that you are already familiar with and you aren't stuck with a plain white box on the wall with no physical controls. No matter which Rain Bird controller you use you can mount it outside so you don't have that issue like with the Rachio. Setup on the thing is stupid easy.... anybody who can work a smart phone can configure one of these. I will say that while the programming from the app is simple and well thought out I really feel like they have dumbed down the automated adjustment portion of the app. Instead of configuring each station with it's specific information (soil type, exposure, percip rate, etc etc) you are only simply allowed to dial in the max amount of run time that the station would need during the hottest art of the year. This may work for homeowners but for pros I think it's really lacking in flexibility. I'm really hoping that at some point additional programming features will be added for the automated runtime adjustment setup. Perhaps we will see this if the SMT is ever upgraded to work with the WiFi stick. The auto adjust does seem to follow the weather pretty closely. I programmed our test unit with some common scenarios that we have on most of our sites and I've been watching the forecasted run times and they seem to be right on the money. I do wish that the system would provide a log of historical run times and dates when the auto adjust feature is being used. Hopefully this will be an upcoming feature. I would also like to eventually see a web portal where you can log on and manage your controllers instead of having to use a smart phone app. Price wise I think it's a great, inexpensive upgrade that you can sell to your clients who like this kind of stuff. I think that once we get past the point where all of the distributors sell out of their non-compatible stock of ESP-Me there should be no confusion as to which controllers it works with. I would hope that they eventually add the ESP-SMT and maybe the LX-Basic controllers. I think that overall it's a great starting point and I hope that Rain Bird continues to invest in this platform and continues to develop it.
     
    irrig8r and Ron Wolfarth like this.
  4. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,343

    Can both the homeowner and contractor have access?
     
  5. Ron Wolfarth

    Ron Wolfarth Sponsor
    Messages: 997

    Yes.
     
  6. ArTurf

    ArTurf LawnSite Platinum Member
    Male, from Ark
    Messages: 4,343

    Is the RB system designed with the contractor in mind as far as managing multiple customers? At some point is there a cost involved?
     
  7. Ron Wolfarth

    Ron Wolfarth Sponsor
    Messages: 997

    I will let others respond also, but yes, it is designed to manage a large number of accounts. (I will have to check tomorrow to see if there is a limit.) And no, there is no on-going fee. We feel strongly that there should not be a fee like that. Now, I can't predict the future and at some time in the future I suppose that could change, but today we don't see that happening.
     
    irrig8r likes this.
  8. zman9119

    zman9119 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    My thoughts:


    Pros:
    • Basic programming from the faceplate is the same as every other RB controller you have used.
    • On the physical controller (at least the TM2 that works with LNK (as that is all we could get from our vendors for testing), the display is nice compared to other RB controllers.

    Cons:
    • It is app based and not web-based.
    • In typical RB logic, every time you hit back or change pages, the app has to poll the controller for data, which slows everything down (must be a carry over from the $&#( IQ programming).
    • The set-up process is a pain (unless you are used to home automation type stuff; It failed). I've tried two separate complete units (controller and LNK units) on multiple networks and it fails set-up every time (cannot connect because you are using a 5ghz network error message, even though I know the networks are not).
    • Not a fan of the app layout (and have heard that from others in our office that have tested it too).
    • No reports or data export, etc.
    • Very very basic.


    In the end, does it work? Sure.
    Will I use it? No.

    Does it live up to what I expect from RB on a professional grade product that they want contractors to sell \ use in general? No.
     
  9. erp2863

    erp2863 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 85

    Generally agree with your assessment after testing it also.

    Another Pro is that you can set different Seasonal Adjust values for each program, which I could see come in handy.

    The fact that it is app based means that if you get a new phone or reset the OS, you are stuck manually adding each controller back to the app. If you only have a few, not a big deal, but again short sighted on implementing something with contractors in mind. Very easily could host a database with usernames and passwords that has a listing of all associated controllers that the app calls when you sign in.

    Also a bit skeptical on the auto adjusting of time. On my test unit it has seasonal adjust set at 40%, but really should be 20% with current conditions. Like zman said, there is no log to see what has happened in the past, so a bit hard to understand what it has been doing.

    This online solution from RB really is only good for contractors if you have customers that really want to turn zones on/off via phone but don't want the complications of doing automated ET adjustments. Or if you you plan to offer a service where you as the contractor log-in periodically and manually enter the seasonal adjust setting based on 3rd party ET info.

    It also operates as a nice remote.
     
  10. Irripro

    Irripro LawnSite Member
    Messages: 87

    For those complaining that the system can only be run via a smartphone rather than on the web. Have you looked into the Hydrawise controllers which Hunter now owns? You can run the system on your desktop and there is a portal for the contractor as well as one for the individual homeowner. I don't have any hands on experience with them yet but I did have a Hunter rep walk me through the entire system on desktop. I've never been much of a Rainbird controller fan so the Hydrawise controllers are intriguing.

    Also this is my first post so hi everyone and I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of me.
     

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