Rainmachine, the Silicon Valley based manufacturer of connected irrigation controllers has recently added HomeKit support to one variant of the companies devices. Spotted on reddit by u/americansplendorX, the company quietly made HomeKit support known by responding to an inquiry on the Rainmachine forums. Digging a little deeper we found that HomeKit functionality was added via a beta firmware update to the company’s Pro 8 and Pro 16 models of irrigation controllers back in mid May. As with a lot of HomeKit announcements, Rainmachine was not listed on Apple’s HomeKit accessories page, and support was not rumored previously from the company.
The Rainmachine Pro series consist of two models, with the Pro 8 supporting up to 8 watering zones, and the Pro 16 which supports up to 16. Both units feature an identical design, with a two tone chassis where the top portion of the unit consists of a small 1.77” color touchscreen display. For connectivity, the Rainmachine Pro line supports 2.4ghz Wi-Fi as well as 10/100 ethernet, which is a welcome surprise. Despite being designed for keeping up on your outdoor landscape, the unit is only rated for indoor use, and features a standard 1 year limited warranty. For keeping water lines and vegetation safe, Rainmachine also offers “freeze control and heat wave protection”. The Rainmachine Pro line is EPA WaterSense certified, and usage data can be monitored through additional flow sensors that can be wired to the controller.
When connected to the internet, Rainmachine states that the controller will operate based on the local weather, allowing it to self adjust watering times, or completely cancelling any scheduled watering if rain is in the forecast. For weather data, Rainmachine connects to trusted sources, such as the NOAA, MetNo, Weather Underground and Netatmo. The company claims that their weather data is based on more than just a zip code, and uses data that is down to the street address of where a Rainmachine device is installed. Even though the Rainmachine Pro series uses the internet for watering prediction, the company touts that their devices were designed as being “Cloud independent” and says that your garden or home information is not stored on a server and is all controlled locally.
The Rainmachine Pro 8 and Pro 16 models are available now on Rainmachine’s website, or at various retailers such as Amazon, NewEgg, and Lowes. The Pro 8 model retails for $169, and the Pro 16 model has a suggested retail price of $219. Weather data is completely free of charge, and there are no subscriptions at all making the Rainmachine Pro models a nice one time up front purchase. Other Rainmachine devices may receive HomeKit support in the future, with a representative from the company stating that the Touch HD 12 & 16 models are being considered, although the company’s Mini-8 model will not be getting the additional functionality. In addition the Rainmachine iOS App is available to download for free on the App Store.
Comments or Questions? Follow Us On Twitter, @HomeKit_Hero.