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cdavis

Unregistered

21

Friday, June 21st 2013, 2:38pm

RE: cannot get a hold of anyone there

i ordered one of the residential units, i think it was $499. I was shocked at how expensive it was but told myself that a good product doesnt come cheap. I waited about a week and did not hear anything from them, so i sent an email, no response, i then decided to call them, no one ever answers a phone, every option in their phone menu ended in voicemail. I decided to leave a message for sales, inquiring about my order. Within an hour someone from the company called and apologized that no one had reached out to me but that there is a shortage of radios and the product should ship the following friday. I said no problem and just assumed i would wait, well when that time passed, i waited another week and again tried to reach out to them both via email and then follow up with a phone call. I again left a message and no one ever called me back. This company would appear to be run out of someones garage, and they have some real issues communicating with customers. I would caution buying anything from them and maybe look at some other product.


I've been dealing with these guys for the better part of a year now on an issue with their cloud products.

If you pay close attention - you'll find that they don't water according to the weather based information at all. I've found over the last 18 months that most of the time the system just fails back to what their support calls "historical data" and doesn't use the weather underground or weather.com data.

I've worked with their support folks for months and months and have been told time and time again that their "cloud developer" will get this fixed. Yeah...I believed that a year ago. Now that i've heard it multiple times over multiple months i've filed a BBB complaint against these folks.

I doubt it'll do any good, but I feel like I have to do something to alert people that they're spending $500 on a cloud based controller that just doesn't work as advertised.

scercpio

Active Member

22

Friday, June 21st 2013, 3:14pm

Give BlueSpray a look. I'd recommend it.

tomt

New Member

Posts: 4

Location: San Fernando Valley, CA

23

Monday, August 19th 2013, 11:07pm

Cyber Rain is having some issues...

My unit worked great until about two months ago. Then it feel back to historical data even though the web app was showing good data from weather. This, of course, caused it to start watering much more than it should...

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...

19August 2013:
"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…
Tom

25July2013:
Tom,
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."

BigAlT

New Member

24

Wednesday, August 21st 2013, 10:45pm

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.

Annie C

Unregistered

25

Friday, August 30th 2013, 11:13am

Cyber-Rain

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!

BigAlT

New Member

26

Friday, August 30th 2013, 6:58pm

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.

Annie C

Unregistered

27

Saturday, August 31st 2013, 1:06pm

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.

BigAlT

New Member

28

Saturday, August 31st 2013, 1:35pm

Cyber-Rain

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.

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "BigAlT" (Aug 31st 2013, 1:52pm)


scercpio

Active Member

29

Saturday, August 31st 2013, 10:33pm

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.

Wet_Boots

Supreme Member

Posts: 3,870

Location: Metro NYC

30

Sunday, September 1st 2013, 10:07am

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.

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