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Can Rachio 3 Work Without Internet? (No WiFi?)

Last Updated Sep 8, 2022
sprinklers

The range of smart devices on the market has exploded in a few short years. One niche market smart device is the Rachio set of products, with the Rachio 3 being the latest. The Rachio 3 is a smart controller that’s tasked with watering your lawn. One of the first questions about this device is: can you use the Rachio 3 without Internet connectivity?

Rachio 3 can work without the internet only in limited circumstances. In order for the Rachio 3 to operate as expected, it must be connected to an internet-enabled WiFi.

The Rachio 3 is a smart device that requires the Internet for most functions, but there are circumstances in which the Rachio 3 can operate without Internet access. Read on to sort out the functionality of the Rachio 3, both on and off internet connectivity.

Internet Connectivity is Required to Set Up

The Rachio 3 is a smart device and is required to be connected to the Internet. As opposed to other smart devices that can be set-up and work without ever connecting to WiFi, such as smart light bulbs and the like, Rachio cannot.

It is a controller and is expected to be on the Internet. The internet-based setup requires you to download the Rachio app, and create an account.  From there, adding in a Rachio device is simple and straightforward. 

However, Rachio says that the smartphone should be connected to the same WiFi network to which you want the Rachio to connect.

So, like it or not, the Rachio controller will connect to WiFi during the initial setup. This of course, is by design.

Additionally, there is no hardwired option for the Rachio 3. Thus, you will need to have a home WiFi network in order for the device to work properly. 

With this wireless-only connectivity, make sure the wireless signal is strong enough to sustain connection to the Rachio controller.

Rachio Will Attempt to Reconnect When Down

What happens if your WiFi network goes down for a few minutes and then comes back? Do you have to go through a reboot on the controller? Thankfully no.

The Rachio 3 has a built-in mechanism that will attempt to reconnect to the WiFi network if it loses connectivity. The unit will attempt to re-connect to the WiFi it’s linked to every 30 seconds for a full 24 hours.

If the linked WiFi network goes through a reset, or if the SSID is changed, the network will not link and you may have to go through a WiFi setup again.

If at the end of the 24 hours, your Rachio hasn’t reconnected, you will have to unplug the Rachio and plug it back in to attempt to re-connect to WiFi.

Depending on your situation, you may also have to cycle power like this with your home router.

Rachio Will Keep Your Schedules and Even Run Them

The Rachio 3 has a small amount of memory to store previous schedules and settings. Therefore, if you lose connectivity, all the settings and schedules you have set up will not be lost & still stored on the smart device.

The Rachio also has a small backup battery in the event that a small power outage occurs. This is so that a short lived power outage will not wipe your schedules and settings from the Rachio.

Any schedules that have been saved into the Rachio prior to losing connectivity will continue to run. This is the only way the Rachio can operate without WiFi. If WiFi connectivity is lost, the Rachio will run your watering schedules indefinitely.

The only exception to this is the flex schedule function. Rachio creates a schedule based on a 2-week forecast that is stored in memory.

If the Internet is disconnected from the Rachio, then the 2-week schedule will continue to run, after which a factory default schedule will be implemented until connectivity is restored.

Updates to and From the Controller Cannot Be Accessed

When the Rachio 3 is offline, all watering schedule logs are still recorded on the device. All offline records are uploaded once the device is successfully back on-line. 

These offline logs still store all the normal metrics such as the time each zone is watered and how much water is used in each watering. However, since there is no connectivity, these records cannot be accessed through the app.

Likewise, there is no way to set new schedules offline immediately. If a change made to the watering schedules from the app, the changes will not take effect until the Rachio comes back online.

Even though the Rachio 3 cannot work without the Internet indefinitely, the company has designed many safeguards in the event that connectivity should be lost for a period of time.

With this feature and others, the Rachio line of products has become an important smart device in the drive for home automation.

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