Spruce Irrigation - does yours skip watering on sub-32F days?

Hi - have already emailed asking for support at Spruce’s website, but thought I’d offer question here of other users. Have a Spruce irrigation controller and mostly pleased with it. (Controller only, no yard moisture sensors.) Seems like it’s watered reliably, does adjust for rain (have received notices it will skip watering days because of forecast), and allows manual triggering with Smart App just fine. I do have a rain sensor attached but seems like detection of sensor has been intermittent, yet with the internet weather smarts seems like that becomes entirely unnecessary (just hooked it up because we already had one with the controller I replaced).

First ‘real’ issue was this morning - it watered even though it was ~20F outside. My sensor was not shown as triggered in the Spruce smartapp display, athough it’s LED light was on so it clearly was detecting the freeze. Ignoring for the moment whether it should’ve detected the sensor - does anyone else have a Spruce and is the SmartApp smart enough to skip watering on sub-freezing days with no sensor? I’m wondering if having sensor set on superceded the internet temp info, or if it simply isn’t programmed to skip watering on sub-freezing days (although it is, with ‘seasonal correction’ set to adjust watering times up on really hot stretches, supposedly).

Thanks in advance. BTW reiterating been mostly happy with the Spruce overall, seems to do what it advertises at least as far as functionality without the yard sensors, so take this as a ‘minor’ issue right now not a major complaint, just would like to not have to kill the whole system in the winter here in TX where sub-freezing is the exception rather than the rule.

I was just wondering the same thing. Came out to an entirely frozen lawn.

Pretty sure that the Spruce controller SmartApp doesn’t check temperature as a reason not to water.

Maybe it should, but in the meanwhile I strongly recommend that you switch the Spruce schedule(s) OFF once the temperatures head towards the freezing mark - most grasses don’t grow once the daily high falls below 50 degrees F anyway.

Perhaps an opportunity to save a little water - turn the schedules off until the days get warmer/longer.

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For anyone else wondering the same thing, I did get a reply from Spruce to my direct email. Gave them some time in case they wanted to reply themselves here (tolld them about this thread as well) but I guess not.

Two issues. One is a known bug in the smartapp that if the Spruce power goes down, upon power restoration it no longer remembers if it had a rain/freeze sensor attached and the state of that sensor (currently on or off). So…in that case it might water even if the sensor is triggered. Workaround right now is to just push the ‘configuration’ button on the Spruce watering page after any power outage and it should restore that knowledge. The response to me indicated this should be fixed in an update to the smartapp, (v2.51 was the one with the bug) but I haven’t seen that hit yet…guess you need to manually update smartapps, which for the Spruce is a bit of a pain since I assume that means you also need to reset everything (all your zone names, types, watering times, the works). I’ll do that in another month or so just to make sure they’ve had time to release the fix, prep for spring.

Second issue is they do indeed currently only use upcoming rain as their internet-weather derived “don’t bother watering” signal, not freezing temps. HIGH temps in summer obviously factor into their seasonal adjustments, but that’s all they currently look at. They liked the idea of a low temp freeze-sensor-backup “don’t water” trigger as well and plan to incorporate (not taking credit - I’m sure such an obvious idea had to have been offered before), but gave no specific timeline for release.

To @storageanarchy, I’m well aware grass doesn’t grow below certain temps, but as the Spruce does adjust the watering level down for winter already (like by -85%) a couple minutes here and there when temps and lack of rainfall allow help to keep clay soil stable, and keep the roots alive. The whole idea of automation is it’s automated. I was more caught by the first issue bug above, since having a rain/freeze sensor (which doesn’t specifiy, it just sends an “I’m tripped!” signal) should’ve been the preventative measure, not having to deactivate the whole system. We’ve also had 70F days following a freeze, currently it’s going to be a high of 78F tomorrow, after being in the 20’s last weekend. Gotta love TX.

One final note - if you go into the smartapp and make any changes such as ‘disabling watering’ with the main on-off switch on the app, you STILL need to go to the buttons page and hit the ‘configure’ button to push that info out.

Hi There!

I’m just thinking of buying Spruce irrigation controller, and reading topics about it I have some questions.
Are the sensors needed or the controller can operate without them?
My controller would be in a shed in the garden without any climate controll. What is the operating temperature range of this controller? In this shed there could be about -15 Celsius degree in the Winter some days. Should I dismount the controller in the winter time or this freeze couldn’t be harmful?

Thank you very much!

The controller definitely works without the soil moisture sensors - I have none. I just used it to replace a standard type controller. I do have the rain/freeze sensor that came with the old controller, and as my posts here have indicated even it’s utility is sort of halfway right now - but the internet-based “don’t water based on upcoming rain in forecast” seems to work very well.

I can’t comment on the device’s temp range limits. Mine’s in a garage which will get really hot of course in the TX summer; I have no idea from your lack of profile where you are. At their own website there is an operational temp range spec posted if I recall correctly, however. -15C might be pretty cold - there’s no battery or anything in it, it’s just electronics, but perhaps solder joints and such might crack from thermal movement at that low a temp. It’s very easy to remove the main electronics panel from the ‘backside’ that has the wiring to your irrigation system - if you’re somewhere it gets that cold you probably also have to fully drain and winterize your system right? So I’d just bring the electronics head unit inside for those months.

Go to their website and walk thru the installation how-to-guide, or I think there’s a couple good Youtubes out there of it as well and you’ll see what I mean about taking the actual electronics face off.

Despite the issues I’ve had I’m fairly pleased. I do hope they update the smartapp as they’ve stated, so I have a little better freeze protection, and can just ‘set and forget’. But otherwise it’s pretty much just worked.

It is so cool to walk outside, and eyeball the lawn, decide you want to run an extra quick cycle perhaps, pull out your cell and hit a button and have it come on. Yes, I’ve found myself doing it when people are near to see just to ‘show off’. :slight_smile: