The RainMachine replaces your traditional sprinkler controller and waters based on weather forecasts.

The RainMachine checks weather forecasts every six hours and adjusts watering according to humidity, wind, rain, and temperature.

You can’t exactly buy rain on Amazon but you can buy the RainMachine. This weather forecast sprinkler controller talks to the NOAA weather satellite service to find out about the coming weather and changes the amount of water the different areas of my garden get accordingly. It replaces my old traditional sprinkler controller that watered the same way, day in and day out.

How does it know what my garden needs?  It knows me. The first thing I did was connect the RainMachine sprinkler controller to my home network. Then on the display’s keyboard I entered my zip code, named the different zones in my garden (eg. Rose Garden, House North, Front Lawn), and typed in how much I want to water each one of those areas on a typical sunny day. It also let me enter any days that I’m not allowed to water according to my local community rules. (It really annoys me when I see people overwatering their gardens. For our lawns, I selected a “Cycle and Soak” setting, which means it will water a certain amount and then stop for a bit and then water again, to give the water enough chance to soak into the ground rather than just run off onto the sidewalk.)

I mounted the RainMachine controller on the garden tool room wall where the old sprinkler controller went and connected the same old wires – just transferred them over. And now I can see which zone is which, spelled out on the display. On the RainMachine app on my phone I found my RainMachine and the same information I had just entered, even played around with turning the sprinklers on and off from my phone manually. It’s password protected, so I could enter a whole different setup for my rental property.

I’ve been using the RainMachine for about a week now and  I’ve already saved water. We had an unexpected few days of humidity. On my RainMachine phone app I looked up “History” and sure enough, my watering duration was reduced during those days.  So I just let the RainMachine do its thing. And if the WiFi goes down, it has a week’s worth of NOAA weather forecasts stored for my particular 1.5-mile area and stores local historic weather data too.

The RainMachine is not just a gadget, this is for real.  I can go on vacation and not worry about changes in the weather and how my garden will fare. (Why is it that weird weather always happens when I’m gone?) Inside the pretty little white RainMachine sprinkler controller box is a WiFi Android computer and that’s what lets me check in from anywhere in the world.  It’s available on Amazon and has a free app. Prices range from $179 for an eight-zone to $275 for a 16-zone sprinkler controller.  www.rainmachine.com

 

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