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Using Alexa Routine to control Rachio Controller via SmartThings

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First time poster here .. I searched for Rachio posts, but there are only 2 of them and neither one addresses what I finally figured out today.  So, forgive me if there is another area where this post really belongs.  My fiance and I are both handicapped, so we have a huge SmartThings implementation and use Alexa to perform voice control of our SmartThings devices.

Somewhere in the setup below is a step where you have to give the Alexa access to your Rachio account. I believe I was prompted for my username and password during these steps somewhere.

  • First of all .. do NOT install the Rachio skill.*
  • Add the Rachio controller to SmartThings.
  • Use Alexa's "Discover Devices" to add the Rachio zones as devices to Alexa.
  • A[fter running the "Discover Devices" your Rachio zones should now be devices which can be used in Routines.
  • That's it for the setup.

Here is a Routine I created to use Rachio to stop my dog from his occasional excessive outdoor barking:

Name: Soggy Doggy Backyard
When You Say: Alexa Soggy Doggy Backyard
Alexa will:
  • Back Yard (power on)
  • Wait 15 seconds
  • Back Yard (power off)

That Routine will turn on the Rachio zone named Back Yard for 15 seconds and then turn it off.  This is much easier to use than the Rachio Routine verbiage where you have to "tell" Rachio to run a specific zone for a certain mount of time each time, and I don't think that less than one minute is supported.

*Note, you may have to use the "What did you hear" and check the Activity tab in the Alexa app if you have trouble with this.  What I found is that this works best if you use the same spelling for the "When You Say" that Alexa actually hears in the Routine when you create it.  For example .. I originally used the word Doggie instead of Doggy.  The Routine did not work until I changed the spelling from Doggie to Doggy.

Unfortunately, if you install the Rachio skill, the Rachio Skill will cause some kind of conflict with the Rachio smart home devices.  I brought this to the attention of Rachio support today.  They are currently working on improving the SmartThings Rachio implementation, so they added what I found to their bug list.

With a little imagination, you can see that you "could" use Alexa Routines to create custom watering schedules, and it will work.  This is something not directly supported either in the Alexa app or the SmartThings app.

I hope this helps some of you!  Enjoy!