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The last 10 posts

Sunday, September 1st 2013, 10:07am

by Wet_Boots

It's not just cyber rain alone. It's a Et based or "smart" controller problem overall. I used to have one, and for the life of me, I could not figure out how to tell it to water more, so I took it down. I talked to a city employee who oversees water conservation and he says the city no longer endorses smart controller because none proves to be reliable. He says the Et formula was formulated by some professor based on ideal lab condition, but fails to work in real life situation.

I talk to a professional irrigation installer. He likes his Et based, but he had to spend a year playing with the settings, getting to know the controller and the weather to make it work. I don't see any homeowner would be willing to work with it for a year. It's expensive, it's hard to use, so I don't see it in the consumer market, at least for now.
Pros saw this coming in. In many cases, they flat-out "lied to the smart controller" in order to get it to behave the way it needed to.

Saturday, August 31st 2013, 10:33pm

by scercpio

It's not just cyber rain alone. It's a Et based or "smart" controller problem overall. I used to have one, and for the life of me, I could not figure out how to tell it to water more, so I took it down. I talked to a city employee who oversees water conservation and he says the city no longer endorses smart controller because none proves to be reliable. He says the Et formula was formulated by some professor based on ideal lab condition, but fails to work in real life situation.

I talk to a professional irrigation installer. He likes his Et based, but he had to spend a year playing with the settings, getting to know the controller and the weather to make it work. I don't see any homeowner would be willing to work with it for a year. It's expensive, it's hard to use, so I don't see it in the consumer market, at least for now.

Saturday, August 31st 2013, 1:35pm

by BigAlT


The stats page doesn't help much except to show the percentage of savings on a day it actually waters. On every other day, whether it's scheduled or not, it shows a 100% savings. Your controller is obviously basing its decisions on the " historical averages " ( since, at least for me, I'm not able to uncheck the use historical averages box on my controller web page ) as does mine. Since Cyber-Rain doesn't adjust watering times based on the actual daily weather reports as they advertise it will do, they appear to only use their historical averages which I guess is why you can't uncheck the use historical averages box.
It's possible that the " historical averages " that they have in their system for your address/zip code are incorrect. You might change your address & zip on your controller web page & see if that changes its behavior.
If you read the other Reviews on Amazon & the comments here you'll see that the programming issues on the Cyber-Rain server ( which actually is what is telling your controller to water ) have been going on since they first were released. Neither the controller or the gateway have the ability for remote upgrades. They have to be physically replaced, so I don't believe that Cyber-Rain will have any on board firmware/software upgrades available ( though the did replace my gateway twice to upgrade the firmware due to connection problems ). The problem is with the programming on the Cyber-Rain server. The only response that you'll get from Cyber-Rain is that "their Cloud developer is working on it ". For them to release a product that doesn't do what it's advertised to do and not be able to improve it in over a year to the point it will at least do what they claimed it would when first released doesn't bode well for their future. If they go under, because the controller requires a connection to their server to function properly, you'll be left with a controller that won't even work as well as a simple " stupid " controller.
I've replaced mine with another brand which at least does perform as they claim it will.

Saturday, August 31st 2013, 1:06pm

by Annie C (Guest)

I'm not the only one, believe me - there was a guy on Amazon with the exact same problem. I thought maybe it was user error, lol. And it's not the hardware, it's the software - the statistics page shows very clearly when the system has "saved" me water by not watering according to the schedule. So I have to check my stats daily and make sure it didn't outsmart itself and decide to save water on a zone that needs it. The hardware works great - when it's told to water by the controller, it waters. But the water saving features of the cyber-rain controller software seem to be impossible to override. I'm pretty happy with the system otherwise so I keep hoping there will be a patch issued. Yes, I should call support and go through the motions but I do software support for a living and so I know that support alone is not the answer when the software has glitches - you need program fixes
. And I really don't want to be their beta tester.

Friday, August 30th 2013, 6:58pm

by BigAlT

Cyber Rain

You're obviously having a more serious issue with the controller than I described. My controller would water on any day I set. It would just water an amount based on some type of historical data using the same percentage of water savings each time it watered only changing the percentage once for each quarter. You need to phone Cyber-Rain customer service. You might have a hardware problem. Also, I wouldn't say it works flawlessly if it doesn't water at all on days you've set and you have to run manual cycles to prevent your landscaping from dying. The only time the controller should totally cancel watering is if the forcast shows a 50% chance of rain or you have a rain switch connected ( or you have the rain switch box checked for a normally closed switch installed but actually have no switch installed ) and it has actually rained.

Friday, August 30th 2013, 11:13am

by Annie C (Guest)


Funny that you all have a problem with over-watering! I have the opposite problem - its 100 degrees plus this week and even though I have set every single thing I can on the Cyber-Rain to prevent the system from under-watering, it just decided my flower beds didn't need any water this week. So I am running a manual cycle.. yet AGAIN. I put the cyber-rain system in this May and I have struggled ever since to get it to water according to the schedule I set. I am not in a rainy area - I am in Southern California - and so the weather sensitive features only matter to me for the Winter months. So far I've managed to keep the Cyber-Rain from killing anything but it's required far more oversight than I expected. I've set it to ignore weather, I've set it so my "usual" daily temp is 100+, I've set every water-wasting feature possible and it still just up and decides certain zones don't need water.

On the plus side, the user interface is easy, the controller has worked flawlessly, I like the stats page and I found the set-up to be a snap. Now if I could just the %$^#@ software to water my plants every day I ask it to!

Wednesday, August 21st 2013, 10:45pm

by BigAlT

Cyber Rain Doesn't use the downloaded Weather Data

I've had a Weather Trak, a Weathermatic, an ET Water Smart Controller and for the last year, a Cyber Rain Pro Cloud Controller. The Cyber Rain seemed to work well and support was responsive. After I read the above review I checked my Stats Page and discovered that the controller wasn't using the daily weather to adjust watering times at all. Since July 1 it was watering at 100% every time it watered. I called Customer support and was told the same story about the problem only happening since June 1. I then checked my Stats going back for a year and found that it never adjusted the watering times based on the daily weather but using some type of formula changed the watering times on a quarterly basis ( Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep and Oct-Dec ) using the same watering savings during every watering cycle in each of the quarters. The controller never ever actually watered according to the daily water savings reflected in the weekly weather forcast. I have lost faith in Cyber-Rain. I fear that the computing power necessary to compute daily water savings for each of their controllers ( which is supposed to be done by their server ) isn't available and therefore the controller defaults to the rather primitive quarterly based historical data. This is the Achilles Heel of any remote server based system. If the remote server is not powerful enough to handle the volume of calculations required for daily weather calculations for an increasing number of controllers or the server goes down or the company goes out of business, you are left with a not so Smart Controller.
Because the Cyber Rain doesn't actually change the watering times on a daily basis based on the daily weather forecasts it receives it doesn't perform as it is advertised to do.
As a result, I've removed it.
I then did an internet search regarding Internet controlled irrigation controllers that adjust watering automatically based on local weather forecasts. The one I found that seemed to have the best combination of features and was reasonably priced was the RainMachine.
I ordered one via Amazon for $259. After my order was shipped I found them being sold directly on EBay for $249. I E Mailed customer support and the immediately mailed me a $10 refund check.
The controller obtains a weather forcast for my local area from NOAA for the next 5 days ( it updates several times a day ) and shows the percentage of what you set as the watering time you would water during the summer that it will water that day based on that days weather forcast. I have checked the time it actually waters and verified that it's actually watering the percentage of the watering times I've set that it says it will.
It has several other features that I find appealing. It downloads the weather forecasts and does the necessary calculations on board so no remote server is necessary. It has a built in browser which can be accessed via either an iPhone or Android App or directly from a local computer browser.
The apps take a little while to access the controller and could use some tweaks but you can program the controller via the apps, a browser or directly from the controller via it's touch screen.
All in all, it works well, looks good, has 12 zones ( or 11 if you configure zone 1 as a master pump zone ) and will continue to function without requiring a connection to a remote server other than those operated by NOAA. The company can also upgrade the firmware to improve operation or add new features by an automatic download and install.

Monday, August 19th 2013, 11:07pm

by tomt

Cyber Rain is Hit and Miss over the long run...

As of May 12, 2014:

I have the Pro, cloud based, 16 station version of the
Cyber Rain in the outdoor enclosure. It was easy to install and program,
and took me something like 2 hours all together. (I'm using 13 zones at
my house.) I did have a problem with the Internet Gateway when I first
got it but the technician at Cyber-Rain actually dropped a replacement
unit off to me on his way home! Great customer service! It has been
flawless since.

It has been in operation for nearly two years now and has done a good
job of adapting to the weather and watering just the right amount for my
yard. I previously had an Accurate Weatherset smart timer which had
become flakey (they are out of business now it appears) and the
Cyber-Rain does a better job of adapting and watering the correct amount
than it did. I also like the very comprehensive usage stats that the
system compiles, You know exactly what has happened and when. The most
important part, however, is that it has reduced my water usage by more
than 35 percent and the yard still looks great! And this is over and
above the reduction produced by the smart weather timer I had been
previously using!

I installed an optional rain sensor that I already had (a mini-clik) and
also an optional water flow meter that I found on Ebay for $45. I love
being able to monitor and record both the water flow, water usage, and
current flow because they have alerted me to problems with the system a
few times over the last year (a broken solenoid wire, a defective vale,
and a leaking pipe and head). The fact that it will email me an alert
when there is a problem is very convenient.

A little pricey (Sprinkler Warehouse has it cheapest) but I'm very happy
with it. The LADWP rebate made the final price far more palatable...

P.S. I should point out that this is the newer cloud version of the
system and does not require a computer to routinely operate. It uses an
internet gateway that connects to an Ethernet port on your network and
then talks to the actual sprinkler controller wirelessly. You only new a
computer to initially program it and this is done via a web page in
your browser. After that, it automatically runs on its own exchanging
data with the internet, weather service, and its cloud server as
necessary. You only need a computer after that to make changes or view
the numerous reports, stats, and usage logs.

You can also control it and run valves and zones manually from a free
app for your Android, Blackberry or IOS device. That feature is very

Update on April 21, 2014:

The controller (or more correctly, its required cloud service) has been
more or less working the last 6 months though there continue to be short
periods of outages or odd responses or odd entries in the logs...

However, I still can't get any response from Technical Support anymore
(perhaps I have been blacklisted)... It does not make me feel good about
the long term viability of the product or the company... It really is
too bad as it has the potential to be one of the best systems out

Update on January 9, 2014:

My experience since my last update has been hit and miss. Sometime it
works fine, sometimes there is nothing in my activity and usage logs
though it did run, and sometimes it gets no weather data and falls back
to its internal schedule. The problem appears to be that their cloud
service for the controller is unreliable. Also, apparently they are
tired of hearing from me as tech support will no longer return my
emails... These days there are a number of other E.T. based sprinkler
controllers available and if I was doing it over again, I'd likely go
with one of those given my experiences. It's a great idea with a flawed
execution and marginal tech support... Based on everything to date, I am
changing my rating to two stars.

Update on August 19, 2013:

Cyber Rain is having some issues...

My unit worked great until about two months ago, properly reading the
weather data and adjusting its schedule accordingly. Then it feel back
to historical data even though the web app was showing good weather data
and watering need calculations. This, of course, caused it to start
watering much more than it should and without regard to the actual

I exchanged emails with their tech support folks and got a reasonable
response at first. However, then it changed to something much less
encouraging... I've included an abbreviated synopsis of the later
exchanges below in reverse order. My latest one has not yet received a
response... Until this is definitively resolved, I can no longer
recommend the Cyber-Rain and must drop my rating from five stars to two


"OK, so what is the solution then? I, and I assume many
others, bought the system based on its ability to control watering predicated
on local weather conditions. Not only do we now have essentially a very
expensive semi-dumb sprinkler controller with only a basic historical lookup
table, but we are spending much more on water since it is watering based on
worst case conditions and therefore over-watering appreciably. I'm
sure you can appreciate that this is not an acceptable condition and not what
we spent a not-insignificant amount of money for... So, the question is,
when - and even if - this problem is going to be resolved. It sounds like
the situation is controlled by parties over which you have limited control and
this is not encouraging for the future of your product.
I'd like some assurance that this issue will be resolved and a
realistic timetable as to when that will happen...




No update. The problem is on our end and has been going since June. Our
developer is not working on it right now because he says there's not
enough documentation on it, despite numerous users
complaining about it. We have to reproduce the problem here. We did, but then
the developer said we reproduced it on the wrong server- we reproduced it on
the live server, the one every customer is using, as opposed to our development
server. When we tried to reproduce it on the dev server, we were met with many
errors after trying to configure a Gateway and Controller. We e-mailed the
developer about these errors and have yet to receive a response. This is where
we are stuck."

Friday, June 21st 2013, 3:14pm

by scercpio

Give BlueSpray a look. I'd recommend it.