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on July 12, 2015
I received the RainMachine HD-12 today from Amazon. I've had several controller in the past... I started originally with a stock Rain Bird unit that was installed with my system. I immediately knew that it was not going to do the job, so a couple years back I moved to OpenSprinkler, a controller I built from a kit. This unit served me well, but the one feature I really wanted was the weather integration, which by the time it was available on OpenSprinkler my hardware was obsolete, which meant I was going have to upgrade hardware to take advantage of it. Since an upgrade was inevitable, I decided to take a look at what else was on the market. For better or worse (worse as it turned out) I decide to go with a Blossom controller. Blossom is fairly new to the market and I though they had a solid product. As it turned out, the hardware was great, but the software was riddled with issues. I sold the Blossom and today, after much research, I received the RainMachine HD-12. What drew me to this unit was the long track record, the open API, weather integration, the fact the unit could be totally controlled from the unit's touch screen (important if you have folks come to maintain your system) and most importantly the unit does not rely on a cloud service to run. If you are reading this review and trying to decide on a controller, in my opinion, this one single point should weigh heavy in your decision. If there is a problem with the service, the internet or the company just plain goes out of business-- where does that leave you? It leaves you with not so smart of a controller.

So, if I love the RainMachine so much way only four stars you may ask. Well, my brand new controller arrived with a defective zone. One of the 12 zones will not activate. I know that things are going to happen, so I'm not so concerned about this one issue. What is more important to me is how a company stands behind their products-- I think that says a lot. I have sent an email to their support and I'm waiting to see how they handle my problem. From everything I've read in other reviews about Green Electronics I have no reason to believe that I will get anything less then stealer service. Once I know more I will update my review.

UPDATE: I was contacted by support within a couple hours and they informed me that I needed to do a firmware upgrade to fix my issue. The upgrade was a simple process that I completed from the Rainmachine app on my phone and only took a few minutes. After the upgrade my issue was resolved. I'm impressed with the quick response from support and my HD-12 is working great now. I'll update my review again once I've used the HD-12 for a while.

UPDATE (9-25-16):
I've been using the Rain Machine for a while now and it still works as well as the day I purchased, no issues. Green Electronics has update the firmware a few times and has added additional features. One I really like is the ability to choose other weather data providers, such as Weather Underground. Weather Underground is a whole weather eco system on it's own, which allows me to get weather data from other user's stations, one as close as a mile from my home. If you pick multiple providers then it averages the data from all your choices. Using weather data to help control the amount of water I'm using has saved me 80% over a conventinal "set and forget" stock controller... and that is a good return on my investment.
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on September 24, 2016
The rainmachine has worked out very well. I've had it installed for several months and 3 criteria were defintely met:
1) Lawn looks great
2) Water usage is way down
3) I can easily monitor activity from apps/web

It's fairly easy to setup once wired. Even though it has an easy & simple touch interface, I primarily use the web and mobile apps (ios & android) to make updates or mostly look at what its been doing, as the unit is in a remote, difficult location in the basement.

I evaluated all of the watering the assumptions used for my old controller. I was able to use a 3 day field capacity versus 2 for most zones, and a short mid-day program for 3 'hot zones' in the sun. This causes it to water much less often and as a result use much less water. I could not have changed this on the old controller, as it had one setting and that was based on the worst case hot weather. The RM uses internet weather data adjusts!

Wiring was my biggest challenge. I have (3) 13-wire bundles coming from the yard, and unfortunately those didn't line up neatly under the RM in a manageable way. In addition, multiple 'Common' and 'Master valve' wires did not easily 'jam' into the RM's small terminals. My solution was to make a terminal wiring box from a Carlon junction box, terminals and a few feet of sprinkler wire... all from Home Depot. While it took a little time, its durable and manageable. Pictures are attached.

Two things to be aware of,
1) You have to have wifi to use the weather updates and mobile apps, and wifi has to reach the RM's installation location. It works without internet, but it will not know it rained, its cooler, etc to reduce watering

2) If you have a master valve or pump, you can use it, but you will lose one of the 16 zones to that purpose (Zone 1 will be configured for pump/mv control).

Finally, if you are an advanced technical user, the API is very thorough. I have an ISY home automation controller with Nodelink, and use it to push alerts to me when programs run and for how long. I also use it to drive my 'hot zones' program so that it runs only when needed. I also have a Hydreon rain sensor on the ISY, and use readings from that to push delays into the RM's 'Snooze' so it doesn't water.
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on July 12, 2017
Pros
- Better IMHO than Rachio. I bought a Rachio and Rain Machine to test them side-by-side. I looked at a few others, too. I like Rain Machine best (even though it doesn't yet support flow sensors nor HomeKit (see below)).
- Easy to set up and use from the App or the web interface.
- I use two on my property now and will be adding a 3rd. App and website easily manage multiple devices. (The wifi irrigation devices I've looked at can only run one zone at a time, but my well system can operate 3 zones at a time, so I've plumbed my property to allow for 3 irrigation systems).

Cons
- Sad that it doesn't support Apple HomeKit. Rain Machine, please add HomeKit support. I can control the rest of my house with Siri, and it would be great to add Rain Machine to that. 5 Start when you do.
- Doesn't support flow sensors (I'd like to install one so I can measure water usage, and see when the system is leaking).
- Not sure if it is reading my rain sensor. I have a personal weather station with a rain sensor that is connected to wunderground, Rain Machine says it has successfully connected to that weather station, but the sprinklers came on during a pretty decent rain the other day. The RM instructions say it can use a PWS rain sensor, but I can't find where rain machine says it is using the rain sensor of that station.

Feature Requests
- Add HomeKit
- In setting schedules, I would really like to set the _stoping time_ to a set time or relative to sunrise (or sunset). Right now, I can set the _start time_, so I have to look at the duration, then do the math to sunrise.
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on May 13, 2017
Home Automation - That's my new theme for 2017, primarily because I am now disabled and need to automate.

One of the smart devices I bought is the RainMachine Touch HD-12 and it replaces my Hunter Pro-C controller.
Installation - A breeze, probably took 15 minutes (Please follow the installation instructions it will save you time).
Make sure to use "first" connector on this device for the master pump if you have a master pump on your current controller.

I set it up while sitting on my kitchen counter sipping coffe, I highly recommend you do that too. After completing setup on the kitchen counter I went to the basement and disconnected the wires from the old controller and attached them to this new controller. Power it on and go back to your kitchen counter.
Do install the smart phone app, you don't really need it but you can make all changes from the app on your phone or from a browser when you sign in to rainmachine.com

It is pretty easy to setup and I love the app where I was able to take pictures of the yard at various watering zones.

One of the reasons I changed to this from the Hunter Pro-C controller is because that had 7 zones and to add more zones the controller parts and stuff was going to cost more than the RainMachine. It was a no brainer to buy RainMachine
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on January 16, 2017
Definitely an upgrade for me over the old Rainbird system. Setup is as a snap (5min!). Provides your wifi signal strength so you know which to connect to if you have more than one. Smartphone (my iPhone) remote control is what I wanted and from what I can tell provides mostly the same functionality as the panel. Waiting now for the firmware update (promised in Jan) to add soil condition etc to the algorithm. For some reason, it doesn't tell me how much rain we're getting, even though it's supposed to rain in the next few days. I wish there was an option for the display to stay on so I could eyeball it 'remotely'. I also wish there was a single button on the app to stop all. Otherwise, I integrated it with Alexa and it works fine (through IFTTT - no native integration). Would love HomeKit integration.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on May 3, 2017
My main complaint regarding this is that I bought it due to Alexa support and Alexa is not recognizing the device. I sent tech support a detailed message with exactly what I have done, and they were not at all helpful, closing the support request without a real answer. I reopened it, and will update the review if they get this fixed.

Update:
After this message, I heard back from tech support. Alexa is now working with it.

It is too soon to fully evaluate this as I haven't had it long enough to evaluate things like how its built in adjustments of watering times work, but it looks like there are ways to adjust matters if any problems. It does have the advantages of being flexible in allowing programming, control from pc, phone, and Alexa, and still having full controls on the unit. Presumably it will also be controlled based on weather, but I have not had it long enough to actually witness this.

As this is programmable with intermittent software updates, there are a few things on my wish list (which are not essential):

Enter time to conclude sprinkling as opposed to time it stops. As it is now spring and not very warm out, the program runs for a shorter time than I entered for summer. Currently I have it calculated to finish based upon the full summer program. I would like to have it turn off at a certain time, starting later at present, and then adjust the start time earlier as the sprinkling time gets longer.

A simple pause button on my phone (and Alexa command) to have it pause watering, and then pick up from where it left off.

It might not be needed, but just in case the amount of time it shortens cycles isn't what I want for this time of year, a command to have everything run x percent longer or shorter than the standard length. As a workaround, I'm thinking of setting up some alternate programs in which there are fixed durations.
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on May 6, 2018
Would give it 6 stars if I could. I am picky. This thing exceeded my (high) expectations. The installation was straightforward and surprisingly easy to set up once installed. The user interface was clearly designed by a team of people that actually *thought* about how users need to understand what is presented and enable users to do things without frustrating them. The website wiki answered the two questions I came up with (how to find the MAC address and how to link to a personal weather station). The remote access (from phone and web browser) was *very* easy to setup (you just enter your email and then hit the confirm link in the email you receive). The app is good and the website is even better (and has the full feature set to finish your setup)--well worth using in addition).
My setup is a good example of the system's capabilities. I wanted to leverage using my personal weather station's data to inform the irrigation system's operation. The system is very smart about how it integrates such information and has very useful settings that allow zone-by-zone accounting for shade, soil, and wind differences that affect irrigation needs (in addition to adding custom names so my wife can turn zones on to scare wildlife out of a specific section of our lawn).
My only super-minor grip is that the display control is not "snappy" in response to entries. But I assure you this is not problematic, or is it consequential once you're using your phone or computer to manage your system.

I am impressed with how the how the system is accounting for the two inches of rain I got today (it has determined to skip tomorrow's watering) and how it has reduced the planned percentage based on the expected mild weather this coming week--and it will adjust further based on actual rainfall amounts (as reported by my weather station (or NOAA's local station otherwise)). This sophisticated algorithm was so far above my humble desire to get a wifi enabled controller that would hopefully at least use my personal weather station as as an old-school on/off rain sensor.
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on June 24, 2016
I almost never review a product with 5 stars but RainMachine Touch is well worth it. I used it to replace a Rainbird controller that the contractors had installed. Rainbird is ancient tech and a constant headache to program. Frankly, Rainbird deserves to be out of business given how difficult it is to program let alone the total lack of network connectivity.

By contrast, RainMachine installed in minutes and the software set up was flawlessly guided by the units start up wizard. The app works well on both Android and iOS plus the unit automatically tracks the NWS (and other sites if you want) to make allowances for any precip that may have fallen. I've found no bugs or glitches at all. It has a very easy to understand user interface - both on the controller's touch screen and via the app.

Great job of engineering (hardware and software - plus I think the host OS is actually a variant of Android) and extremely practical design. I've tested it out in extreme heat with no failures. I've cut power to it many times and it correctly comes back up with no loss of programming. It even tracks NIST time servers and allows automatically for daylight savings time.

The positive reviews I read prior to purchase are clearly well justified.
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on September 8, 2016
As an engineer who designs user interfaces for medical data products, I am generally pretty critical of the user interfaces found in consumer products. I was VERY pleasantly surprised by this device, where I found the interface to be attractive, intuitive, and logical. Someone put a LOT of thought into this software. It requires almost no explanation, has all the needed functionality, and works very well. It connected to our wide area mesh network immediately, and has remained solidly connected since installation. The device works exactly as described, and has been reliable and effective. Setup proceeded without any problems exactly as described in the simple instructions included in the package. My installation is somewhat unusual; I am using it in a greenhouse with 16 zones, some of which involve multiple valves. I did not need all of the weather functionality (it does not rain in a greenhouse) and as I had hoped, the "smart" functions are easily customized. I had no trouble connecting to the unit from our iPhones and iPads; the setup required only the identifier and a password. The iPhone and iPad apps were also logical and intuitive and did not require any explanation or detailed instructions. The choice of this unit was driven by two things which I thought were very important: (1) It is cloud-independent, and once the unit is installed, you are not dependent on the manufacturer for its functionality, and (2) It has its own touch screen, so you can control it without a smart phone or computer. As someone who values his privacy and does not carry his smart phone everywhere, these issues were important to me, especially in the greenhouse application. I have only two very small complaints: (1) In order to have pump relay or master valve control, you have to give up one of the 16 zones. I would like to see a separate connection for the master/pump function. (2) The choice of weather stations is somewhat limited. We have a local weather station, and would like to have the ability to connect to that. Other than these two small issues, this device is nearly perfect, and I will be installing several more on our 7.5 acre property for the landscaping and bamboo gardens.
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on April 14, 2017
I can't say that I am in love with the device. If you want to be in the driver's seat, then set-up is a bit complicated. If you'll just go with the wizard installation and click next-next-next, then it's super easy, but it will "suggest" using way more water than I was comfortable with. Weather override settings are overriding things in several places in the UI, so if you want to disable them you'll have hunt down all "hidden" checkboxes and settings. That part of UI could use a redesign. Other than that it works pretty well. It is also surprisingly compact.
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