Spruce Irrigation disappointment now excitement

project_irrigation

(John Crouch) #1

I am completely disappointed with the Spruce Irrigation system and after two weeks I would have to give this system a negative review and recommend that people not purchase this system at this time. I will most likely rip this system out and put my old timer based system back in. I am a ST enthusiast and have so much of my house automated so this is completely frustrating that I would spend nearly $400 and the system is killing my grass.

Background: Set up was easy enough and I was excited to have my irrigation system automated. I installed the sensors - then moved the sensors and then moved them again as they continued to communicate inconsistently with the spruce controller. Ok - I finally placed two of the troublesome sensors line-of-site with my garage where the controller is and things seemed to communicate ok for a few days. After 5 days updates stopped on one of the sensors but it took the controller 3 days to let me know it wasn’t getting any updates even though the message stated it’s been 12 hours since the last communication. Well, not that big of a deal I guess. I went out and moved the sensor – again.

I waited for the soil moisture to drop and see the “smarts” start - after a few days my front yard moisture dropped to 30% then 26% then 24% then 22% … still no automated watering and my grass is visibly dry so I had to start the watering process manually. Spruce support suggested I turn off the “learn” mode which I did. So much for the extra smart part but at least I’m getting accurate soil moisture feedback and my system will water as needed — except now I have another sensor that is not reporting back to the controller and I discovered this just by checking the status of the sensors myself. The logic that alerts you no sensor data is being gathered is broken.

Anyway- Learn mode if off and the system will just water as needed but now when the system trys to fire off its automated routine it just gets stuck in Pause Mode saying: Waiting for Spruce to complete before starting schedule. And there it sits for 8 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours – still no water – and I am still having to do everything manually. Two days now and I cant get past this Pause Mode. Im going on vacation in a week and this mess has me all worked up.

I do have a friend that installed his system 2 months ago and everything is working ok for him – we have gone over and over my configuration – theres nothing special on mine so I have once again email Spruce Irrigation but this system should not be this difficult to get to functioning correctly.

I hope this feedback can be helpful for anyone who is considering purchasing this system.


(Jason) #2

Hi John,
I think I read on the forums of someone else having this exact problem a while ago. Anyways there is only two ways to get stuck in “Pause” Mode. The message you have is from the “Sync Controller” option. Which I am pretty sure you didn’t mean to turn on. In the watering app, go to “Valve and Contact delays”. At the bottom is “Controller Sync: For multiple controllers only” This “Select Master Controller” option got set to your Spruce controller, which is easy to do, and it is stuck until you set it back to empty. You will also want to make sure in that same page that “Contact delays” is also empty as this is the other source of getting “Pause” message. Hope this helps.


(DanG) #3

I don’t have the Spruce controller because I basically made my own manifold using 120v solenoid valves and some modified zwave outlets. But I do have the Spruce moisture sensors. I followed the instructions on pulling the tab out to engage the battery. When I did that it pulled part of the o ring out, (which they warn you about) and shoved it back in. Placed it into the ground and it worked for a day before it stopped reporting. Twelve hours later it started reporting on its own again, but after another day it stopped and didn’t come back. I pulled it out of the ground and opened it up only to find the o ring completely off on the opposite side of the battery pull tab. Clearly it wasn’t installed incorrectly from the factory. It is a bit of a pain in the A$$ to get the o ring in place but got that handled.

I think the main problem for me was the metal tabs that touch the battery were not very tight. I bent the tabs out a little bit and reinstalled the battery. I has been working without problems for five days now.

Because the sun makes this device get really hot it could be just expansion and contraction causing it to loose battery connection.


(Charles) #4

Sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble. I wouldn’t suggest anything new at this point, except you did say you were likely to throw it all out. If you really do get to that point, I suggest:

https://community.smartthings.com/t/smart-sprinkler-system/3076

It cost me about $60 in parts and has been a champ. It does not use rain sensors, but NWS input on rain, actual and forecast.


(Ash (www.smart-dots.com) / Ashutosh Jaiswal) #5

I can imagine your frustration and it is true that some times issues like this occur with Spruce. We are a smart home solution provider in DFW area and use Spruce as our exclusive sprinkler solution. So far we have installed more than 10-12 of these and every customer of ours love it. We did come across issues like yours but were able to resolve it by checking various things and working with @natec007 from Spruce. Things like the reliability of your zigbee network, placement of hub, number of zigbee routers between hub and each of the sensors, signal strength, potential interference from WiFi, configuration of the spruce system etc are all some of many things that we check to ensure proper operation. How many more powered Zigbee devices you have in your house? Where is your hub located with respect to the sensors and the Spruce system? If you are in DFW we may be able to help.

A testimonial video from one of our customers who also talks about spruce. He has 5 Spruce sensors and its about ~4000 sq ft home with a big yard. @rangelsammon


(Nate) #6

@John_Crouch

Sorry for the disappointing experience, @lightnjac is correct and I believe we responded to a support ticket request this morning that resolved the issue for you.

We also added a Wireless range support page to help address any issues with controller or sensor response. This is often overlooked but as @ashutosh1982 has mentioned can make a big difference in network performance.

Thanks and please do get in touch with any issues.
Nathan


(John Crouch) #7

Thanks for the feedback - I have recieved additional information from Spruce Support and they have been very helpful in getting me up and running.
The issue with the Pause State has now been resolved by removing the multiple controllers setting. The settings should be left blank if you only have 1 controller I can confirm that the schedule is firing automatically as expected now. Yay !

I did purchase a ZigBee protocol plug from amazon yesterday to hopefully assist with the sensors not communicating consistently with the controller since it also acts as a Acts as a ZigBee repeater.

I got it setup last night but at first I wasn’t getting any new information but I know from other support articles the sensors will start going into sleep mode if they can not successfully communicate and sure enough around 1 am I started getting consistent and regular updates from all my sensors. Yay again !

This has been a helpful article from Spruce on troubleshooting and gave me the information I needed that its ZigBee protocol instead of Z-wave - which would be why my other devices in my house aren’t helping with the mesh network.

So at this point I would go back to suggest the Spruce platform is GTG for others.