Netro does not use the rainfall amount from connected weatherstations

Richard
Updated at 2024-01-07 22:48:08 UTC
Topic: Smart Watering

UPDATE 8/1/2024

I can confirm that the system is working well. The system forecast about 25mm of rain for yesterday , but we had 34mm based on Weatherflow. This morning, the system had corrected the amount in Netro. Well done to the dev team for rolling out a fix so quickly, once the problem was identified.

I can now say that Netro is a smart watering system!


UPDATE: 5/1/2024

Netro have been fantastic. They have updated their system already to make Weatherflow work as you would expect. However, I am yet to see the results of this.

Rain is anticipated tomorrow (7/1/2024) and the following day.

I will monitor the system to ensure that the correct rainfall amount is in the database early enough for the schedule to be adjusted by their algorithms.


UPDATE: 4/1/2024

I have been working with the Netro techs to isolate the problem.

The issue is that yesterday's rainfall is not being calculated using the local time zone. Instead, it is using UTC midnight to midnight and an offset of 1 day. This means that the data can be 1.5 days out for someone like me who is GMT+11.

There may also be an issue with the timing of when then the rainfall for yesterday is retrieved. The Weatherflow API needs to be called just after nidnight so that the Netro scheduling can adjust, ready for early morning watering.



ORIGINAL:

I thought I would write an article to explain why Netro is not a smart weatherstation.


I have two Netros and 7 Whisperers, and use them in all aspects of watering - to water lawn, vineyard, fruit trees, vegetables and even to fill our bird baths.


But the most frustrating aspect of Netro is that is does not use the correct amount of rainfall, even when connected to a smart weatherstation such as Weatherflow Tempest or WU (I have my Tempest send data to WU).


Why is this a problem? Because the rainfall estimate provided by the forecasting models do not predict how much rain your specific area will receive. They provide two numbers: a percentage chance of receiving rain, and a minimal amount of rain that you will receive, if your receive rain at all. What does this mean?


If the prediction is that you are 60% likely to receive rain of 10mm, this does not mean that you will receive approximately 6mm of rain. It means that you are 60% likely to receive rain and 40% likely to receive no rain at all. If you receive rain, you are then likely to receive a minimum of 10mm.


Netro mistakenly combines these values to tell the system that you received 6mm of rain. And then might not water. This can lead to plants dying, as was our case, when rainfall was predicted every day for a week and we did not receive a drop. Other areas around us received varying amounts of rain.


The frustration is that Netro has a connection to both Weatherflow and to personal weatherstations via Weather Underground, and therefore has no excuse as to not use the correct value of rainfall.


Their solution is to use the Discover feature to correct yesterday's (and today's) rainfall manually. I would recommend 100% to use this feature.

https://netrohome.com/forum/posts/357


Unfortunately, Netro still applies a percentage to the corrected number which means that the amount of rainfall collected is still less than the actual amount received.


I have solved this problem by automating this process via Home Assistant, which knows yesterday's rainfall from my Weatherflow Tempest and sends the value to Netro via their API. This has resulted in a much more intelligent watering regime.


So, to Netro and their techs, well done on a great system, but it won't be truly great until you implement the most important aspect of any smart watering station - the ability to know how much rainfall fell on a client's land, and therefore how much to water.


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Wency Pan
2023-12-29 07:27:14 UTC  
Dear customer,

Thanks for reporting and I will forward this issue to our R&D. We are looking into it.

Thanks,
Wency
Netro Support

Wency Pan
2023-12-29 07:47:12 UTC  
Dear customer,

The coefficient we apply is used to calculate the rain runoff rate, and it's determined based on the soil type. It has a small impact on the total rainfall. Could you please take a screenshot of the Tempest's total rainfall for the next three days – today, tomorrow, and the day after and send it to support@netrohome.com? If you notice any discrepancies, could you please notify us. This will help us check the data on our end.

Thanks,
Wency
Netro Support






Richard
2023-12-29 20:50:38 UTC  
Thanks Wency. This has been covered before. Same questions. Same answers. The discrepancies are huge. mm's per day. Plus and minus. Netro does not use the Tempest values.

Richard
2023-12-29 21:08:32 UTC  
The simplest example is that Netro says there has been several mm's of rain when Tempest reports zero. This is the example I used above. Netro says it rained when it didn't. Plants die.

Richard
2023-12-30 22:01:35 UTC  
Unfortunately, Netro Discover does not allow previous monthly data to be displayed at a day level.

Here are recent months (before I began correcting the data in December):
August Netro: 13.76 Tempest: 30.4
September Netro: 11.31 Tempest: 19.0
October Netro: 19.50 Tempest: 56.2
November Netro: 24.76 Tempest: 34.4

You can clearly see that the two systems are not aligned, even allowing for run-off.

What you cannot see is daily variability. The monthly sums do not give a clear picture of this.
In November, there were only four days of rain: 5, 16, 4 and 10mm approx. The other days nothing, but Netro was reporting rain. This caused the system to not water.

I think the numbers above clearly show that Netro does not use Tempest data.
Wency Pan
2024-01-02 07:45:02 UTC  
Hi Richard,

We've responded to your email through our support email as it contains sensitive information, including the device ID. We look forward to cross-checking the data with you.

Thanks,
Wency
Netro Support

Shady Trails
2023-12-31 23:56:08 UTC  
Appreciate your solution. However, i can't connect it with Alexa.
Wency Pan
2024-01-02 01:52:13 UTC  
Dear customer,

Could you please send the specific issue to support@netrohome.com? We will look into it.

Thanks,
Wency
Netro Support

Richard
2024-01-03 20:46:12 UTC  
I have been working with the Netro techs to isolate the problem.

The issue is that yesterday's rainfall is not being calculated using the local time zone. Instead, it is using UTC midnight to midnight and an offset of 1 day. This means that the data can be 1.5 days out for someone like me who is GMT+11.

There may also be an issue with the timing of when then the rainfall for yesterday is retrieved. The Weatherflow API needs to be called just after nidnight so that the Netro scheduling can adjust, ready for early morning watering.

Richard
2024-01-06 04:18:48 UTC  
Netro have been fantastic. They have updated their system already to make Weatherflow work as you would expect. However, I am yet to see the results of this.

Rain is anticipated tomorrow (7/1/2024) and the following day.

I will monitor the system to ensure that the correct rainfall amount is in the database early enough for the schedule to be adjusted by their algorithms.

Richard
2024-01-07 22:48:14 UTC  
I can confirm that the system is working well. The system forecast about 25mm of rain for yesterday , but we had 34mm based on Weatherflow. This morning, the system had corrected the amount in Netro. Well done to the dev team for rolling out a fix so quickly, once the problem was identified.

I can now say that Netro is a smart watering system!