How do I install a Generation 1 (Gen 1) Rachio outdoors?
Rachio controllers can be installed outdoors, inside a waterproof enclosure.
The Rachio Generation 1 controller is not waterproof. If your location calls for outdoor installation, we require the use of a waterproof enclosure. You can order the Rachio recommended enclosure on Amazon. (The Generation 2 model - also not waterproof - has a custom-designed enclosure available.)
Do NOT directly hard wire your Gen1 controller. Hard wiring the Rachio will void your warranty.
Rachio recommended enclosure specs:
Also, it's important to make sure you have a strong WiFi signal at the controller's location. If you have a smartphone handy, set it onto your home network and see how many bars you have at that outdoor location. We recommend at least 2 bars for consistent operation.
Below is a detailed step by step process on how to install a Rachio Generation 1 outdoors using the enclosure listed above. Please note that your installation and site conditions might be different so this is just an overview of the parts included; possible additional parts/tools may be needed as well as advice/suggestions on best practices.
REMEMBER: Turn the off power to your controller's circuit when wiring your controller. Injury from electrocution is possible if you do not do this.
Note that some additional parts/tools may be necessary for outdoor installation.
- Wire Cutter/Stripper
- Waterproof Wire Nuts
- PVC Pipe (You will want to buy the correct size, so make sure you know what that is)
- PVC Cutter (Or any sort of saw that could cut through PVC pipe)
- PVC Pipe Hub & Trap Adapter
- 16 Gauge Wire (If you believe your wire will not be able to reach the box & the controller, you may need some
- Industrial Strength Velcro Strips (The enclosure comes with Velcro so this may not be necessary)
The images below show all of the parts of the outdoor enclosure. Each one is explained individually.
Bottom of Rachio enclosure. There are three openings for all of the wires to enter; zone wire(s), common wire(s), master valve/pump wire, ground wire, rain sensor wires, AC power wires and any additional wires.
Inside the Rachio enclosure. The AC Panel Cover is where the AC power wires and ground wire will be connected and where the power adapter to the unit will be plugged in. This process will be outlined more in depth later. There is also three holes for screws to mount to the wall. Additionally there are two black fabric fasteners to Velcro the Rachio to the enclosure.
Enclosure with AC Panel Cover removed.
AC Panel Cover. You will have to remove this cover to connect the necessary wires to it and to thread the other wires to the Rachio.
Bottom part of AC Panel Cover. There are two plastic coverings that are attached with small screws. These plastic coverings are not necessary to have so it is up to you to put them on once you have wired everything. There is a Caution Warning regarding electrocution so be advised.
AC Panel Cover with the plastic covering removed.
The slots in outlet terminal will be explained later, but the wires to power the unit and the ground wire are connected to the outlet terminal, shown below.
- Begin by removing the old controller. Be sure to take a picture of the wiring, or number the wires. You will want to make sure you know what wire goes to which terminal in your controller.
- Disconnect all of the wires from the old controller. In the image above we removed Stations 1-5, green ground wire (bottom middle), and the two orange 24VAC wires (top). Once these were all out, we removed the three screws that were attaching the controller to the wall. (Two screwdrivers from the top and one from the bottom.)
- Make sure to thread all of the wires out of the old controller and remove it. The image above it what our wires looked like after removing the controller. Note that we removed the PVC pipe from the left side, to make sure that we would be able to feed in all of the wires from an even level. (This may require some planning. PVP pipe may need to be cut and measured to enable the wires to feed into the three holes at the bottom of the enclosure.)
- Next we feed the zone wires through the left hole in the bottom of the enclosure, and feed the brown housing connector through the right hole. (Note: We removed the rubber barriers from the bottom holes that way it was easier to feed the connectors through.) One we feed the adapters through, we screwed an adapter nut to hold these adapters in place. This also completely solidified that everything was waterproof. Screw the enclosure into your wall using the three holes provided. Two are directly above the black fabric fastener, and one is centered below the black fabric fastener.
- We cut the zone and common wires down to make sure there was not too much slack. This can be done with a wire cutter. Once we did this we stripped the plastic off of each wire to make sure we would have a good connection once we inserted them into each terminal slot on the controller. (Note: We advise stripping about a half inch of plastic off, this will provide enough wire.)
- We then took the Velcro that comes with the enclosure and connected it to the back of the Rachio. We advise attaching the Velcro as displayed below. This will attach the unit securely.
- Next we inserted each wire (zones and common), into their appropriate terminal slot. We used a small screwdriver to push down the tab above each slot to make it easier to get the wire fully inserted. (Note: Zone 1 is the bottom left green slot and each slot moves sequentially up until Zone 8, Common and Master Valve/Pump. If you have a 16 zone Rachio controller, zones 9-16 move from top left to bottom right on the right side of the unit.)
- Next we had to add some additional wires to our AC power wires and our ground wire to make sure we we able to connect them to the outlet terminal on the AC Panel Cover. We simply cut three equal length wires and attached them to their corresponding wire (based on the color), using waterproof wire nuts. (If you need to buy extra wire we advise buying the same colors as the wires that you will need to extend to avoid any confusion.)
- Next we attached the two AC power wires and the green ground wire to the outlet terminal on the AC Panel Cover. Please note the following:
- There will be two black sections with four inserts each.
- One of the black sections will have White inscribed. This is the neutral insert, so in our scenario the white wire is placed in the upper right insert. (Neutral wires are typically white)
- The other black section will be blank. This is the "hot" insert, so in our scenario the black wire is placed in the upper right insert. (Note that your "hot" wire may be a different color. Typically they are red or black.)
- The green wire will be wrapped around the green screw, ground, and the screw will be tightened. The green wire may need to have some extra plastic stripped off to make sure that only the cooper is wrapped around the screw. This can be a little tricky
- Attach the AC Panel Cover to the enclosure. (Note: We removed both plastic coverings from the back of the AC Panel Cover to allow for more room for the wires.
- Plug in the power adapter to the outlet and attach the front panel of the Rachio to the wall mount.
- Plug in the power adapter into the small hole on the right side of the front panel. If the wiring to the outlet terminal worked properly the Power status light will illuminate green. (The power adapter cord will have a lot of slack so wrap it up with the twisty tie and place the wire in the best spot.)
We added some PVP pipe to the left side and added an adapter that we feed through two of the holes in the enclosure. The brown housing unit on the right side has our AC power wires and ground wire enclosed.
We suggest attaching the unit to the far left side of the black fabric fastener, that way there is room to put extra wire and the power adapter cord to the right of the Rachio.
After the wires were connected we closed the brown housing unit.
From here the only remaining steps are to register your Generation 1 controller to your Rachio App. These steps are provided here.
If you'd like to source your own enclosure, the dimensions of the Generation 1 Rachio are: 7.25"H x 7.25" W x 2.075"D, not including the transformer.
Alternatively, you can purchase the Orbit enclosure, available at Home Depot for $30ish + tax. Please see installation instructions for more details.