Hey Alexa, tell Rachio


#1

We are looking for some feedback on Alexa, and we were hoping you could help!

How are you using Rachio with Alexa? What do you wish our integration would let you do? What fun and crazy things could we do by combining Rachio, Alexa and your favorite smart home products?

We want to know what cool ways you use the integration now, and where we could go in the future. What better users to ask than our community super users, right?


#2

Thank you for complimenting all of us here as ‘super users.’ With the case of Iro2 and Alexa, for me you’re being too kind. I have two ‘Alexas’ in my smart home - one in the kitchen and one in the master bath. None ‘talk’ to my Iro2 yet.

My family uses the Alexa units a lot. So far the most used uses are:

“Alexa, put on shopping list …” and then it’s all consolidated and ready for display on a smart phone at the grocery store.

“Alexa, set timer for … minutes” while cooking in the kitchen.

“Alexa, play … music” (we have our Alexa units connected to Bluetooth speakers - sounds nice)

“Alexa, what’s the temperature outside”

If I look at my router’s list of IP addresses, my smart home has networked lighting, HVAC (including thermostats & fault detection), sprinkler control (obviously), gas hot waters, fire/CO/NG sensor monitoring, security monitoring, temperature monitoring, and various data logging. (Separate, not integrated systems include the solar panels and the swimming pool equipment control system.)

One of the things I’ve learned is that I don’t need repetition built into an Alexa. I don’t need it to duplicate thermostat functions, sprinkler control functions, etc. There are lots of safety safeguards and complexities built in to things like tstats and sprinkler controllers such that it doesn’t make sense to duplicate them in something like Alexa.

You might say it would be nice to use Alexa for things like lighting control, setting thermostats, etc., and I agree, but, often the technology at the moment is such that another ‘black box’ must be purchased/installed/programmed/maintained - adding another level of complexity that I have learned over time causes tediousness.

An example is my home’s real time monitoring & automation system (HAI/Leviton OmniPro2 processor), that does the lights/fire/security/temps/audio-announcing/fault-detecting/etc. It’s network connected. So is Alexa. But the two can’t ‘talk’ to each other without purchase and programming of a network-connected black box (Homeseer) or a small PC running 7x24.

My hope is for an integration of the Iro2 (network connected) to Alexa (network connected) such that your ‘server in the cloud’ does all of the integration work. It’s doubtful I’ll ever purchase a 3rd device to integrate the two.

If I could ‘talk’ to my Iro2 via Alexa:

“Alexa, pause Rachio for … minutes”

“Alexa, turn on Rachio zone 10 (swimming pool for me) for 20 minutes”

“Alexa, turn off Rachio for … days”

“Alexa, disable Rachio zone …”

“Alexa, enable Rachio zone …”

“Alexa, cycle through every zone … minutes each”

“Alexa, set freeze protection to … degrees”

etc.

IMO, I would leave all of the complicated Flex Daily parameters, schedule details, configuration settings, etc. alone, in the computer/smart-pad/smart-phone interfaces.

It would be nice to do the kinds of things above while remote from the residence.

Hope this helps. Pretty much just thoughts that came to my mind for a few moments while typing.

Best regards,

Bill


#3

Alexa, drench that dog that’s sh****g in my yard and it’s owner! :joy::grin::joy:


#4

I stuck an Echo Dot in my Garage so that I can turn on/off various zones if I am checking for sprinkler heads that are damaged or if I want to throw some extra water on a zone that might need extra. I find the IFTTT type interface kind of awkward at times. It is not integrated as well as my “Samsung SmartThings” where I can simply say “Alexa Turn on the lamp”. I would like to be able to use Rachio in a similar way. i.e. Alexa run zone 1 for 5 minutes". Minor, but it is quite wordy with the existing interface and is sometimes takes a few tries. Thanks for asking!


#5

Add two more examples to the suggestion list:

“Alexa, how long (minutes, hours) has zone … been running?”

“Alexa, what is the highest temperature for the next 3 days?”

Best regards,

Bill


#6

I’m not sure what the other posts are referring to since Rachio does integrate with Alexa today. I have an Alexa echo and 5 echo dots. I have enabled the Rachio skill and I can say “Alexa tell Rachio to run zone 1 for 15 minutes”. One feature would be to use the friendly name you have given a zone. I haven’t checked the Rachio skill lately as I have always asked it do things by zone so this may have been added. But instead of “zone 1” you could say “grass”. But that leads to another problem that I have found with the numerous devices I now control, is remembering all their names. So the Rachio skill should have the feature where I could ask Alexa give me a list of my zones and their names. Some macro Rachio commands like “Alexa tell Rachio to skip watering for 2 days” or “Alexa tell Rachio to run all zones for 10 minutes in sequence” for when you want to see if all your zones are working. I assume some of the posters were referring to the extra two words you need to use “tell Rachio”. I have WEMO light switches and I don’t have to say “Alexa tell WEMO to turn on master” I can say “Alexa turn on master”. I can understand the programming issues if you drop the “tell Rachio” part as you could have named one of your watering zones “master” and now if you tell Alexa to turn on “master” it doesn’t know if that is a light or a valve. I have quite a collection of smart devices (Rachio, firestick, 19 wemo switches, 5 echo dots, ooma VoIP, HUE lights, logitech TV remote w/hub, smart TVs, 2 Ecobee3 thermostats, cameras & MagicHome LED lights. I was a believer in the glue to hold this all together is WiFi so I have a 8 POD Plume WiFi mesh network which covers the house and an Arystone WiFi on the roof for when I am outside.


#7

That’s a great IFTTT idea leveraging Smart Camera or RING doorbell technology as the “sensor”!..

I love it.


#8

Using just the basics - asking Alexa to ask Rachio to water a particular zone. Most often used to get extra water in flower bed we see while sitting at the dinner table. Makes it even easier than opening the app.


#9

Guess I’m not smart enough (yet) to connect my Alexa to my Iro2.

I’d like to simply say: “Alexa, turn on Rachio zone 10 for 20 minutes.”

It looks like from above comments I can do this today. I sure would appreciate it if someone would comment here what the few steps I need to do are to accomplish this.

Thank you and best regards,

Bill


#10

I have three alexa units including the newest Echo Spot with the screen. I have not found a reason to integrate Rachio into the alexa skills, I find using my phone is just fine, I don’t see a benefit using the alexa unit for that.


#11

I have alexa integrated w/ Rachio. My favorite thus far is the ability to water less than a minute for a specific zone. I usually use it for spraying the kids in back yard as a joke. Fun for guest when they bring their kids over as well. I wish I could give it a command like “Make It Rain” and have the ability to turn on a few zones in backyard at once. Of course this would be just be for fun with the kids. My favorite integration is actually with my harmony hub; it controls all of my TV settings and HDMI ports, .etc but it can control almost anything as well. I love it and highly recommend it for any Alexa user.


#12

So what do I need to do to be able to get action when I say:

“Alexa, turn on Rachio zone 10 for 10 minutes.”

(I feel kind of dumb now seeing that everyone else is doing it. I’m pretty sharp with some things but this subject’s failing me. All I’ve ever done with my Alexa unit is plug it in to the power - my network Access Point found it just find and connected it to my LAN with no fuss.)

Thank you and best regards,

Bill


#13

https://support.rachio.com/hc/en-us/articles/115010378847-How-do-I-use-Alexa-with-my-Rachio-

After you buy an Alexa device you can use this article.

Enjoy!


#14

We have 8 Echo’s. Six of the new Echo2 units and two of the Echo Show’s. We use them for everything and have a connected home from the 5-big ass fan, front and side garage doors, all of the lights, Two nests, 8 Nest protects, the garage door and the Rachio.

As far as Rachio, I use it to get the cat inside. Alexa, ask Rachio to turn on zone 2 for 1 min. Ok. Cat flys through the food at warp speed and then I close her in.


#15

I have to agree with it would be awesome to have RACHIO skill recognize the “name” of the zone vice zone #. Alexa, tell rachio to water Front Grass. would be ideal – I have 8 zones and half the time I can’t remember what zone number is which – which degrades the usability of the alexa skill since I have to go into the Rachio app on my phone to figure it out…


#16

Handle more than one RACHIO.


#17

Other than to play with the Rachio integration I haven’t used the Alexa functionality too much. If I’m going to consider watering differently than my schedule I usually check the app first to see why the lawn might be dry. At that point I’m in the app so I just start it there.

I’d like Alexa to be able to tell me ‘if Rachio watered today’ and ‘the next time Rachio is scheduled to water’. If you want to get fancy it would be nice to know that it didn’t water today because it’s supposed to rain, etc.


#18

I have connected my Rachio Second Gen sprinkler system to Amazon Alexa. The functionality to ask Alexa to tell Rachio to water individual zones is nice however I would like to be able to ask Alexa to tell Rachio to run one of my preset watering programs for a certain amount of time.


#19

I TOTALLY agree with being able to start a zone by its Friendly name - “Alexa, tell Rachio to water the Front Bed for 10 mins” Also - being able to tell Rachio to run Schedules. I use schedules since I cannot group zones into logical areas like Front Yard. So I setup schedules with different names aka Front Yard, Back Yard, Dry Zones – Being able to say "Alexa, water “Schedule Name”


#20

Overall Alexa controls are pretty good with one exception: there is no way to pause watering. On the app you have a pause button. But if I say to Alexa to pause watering I get a rain delay which effectively cancels the running program.

Basically I want to say “Alexa, tell Rachio to pause watering for five minutes,” which would allow my dog to go out. :dog2: Then after that time it picks up where it left off.