Once I moved into my new home just a few years in the past I purchased a Blossom sprinkler controller as a result of I journey fairly a bit and wanted a strategy to hold the garden inexperienced with out overwatering. Final yr I examined the Rachio three system and it’s recurrently rated probably the greatest accessible. The Rachio three can also be a bit dear at $229.99, though if you depend within the financial savings on watering it pays for itself over a season or two as effectively.
When the PR people for Orbit reached out, I informed them I used to be fairly happy with my present system and the $88 Amazon worth probably meant I might be taking just a few steps again if I switched out the Rachio. After greater than a month of use, I used to be flawed and now consider the Orbit B-hyve Sprinkler Timer could also be excellent for almost all of people that need to have full management over their sprinkler system.
Additionally: Rachio three Good Sprinkler hands-on: Clever watering managed by your telephone
A few years in the past, CNET took a have a look at a B-hyve unit and awarded it a 7.eight/10 score. Since that point, there have been some main software program enhancements and I actually can not discover something lacking on the Orbit compared to the Rachio. Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the , software program, and every day utilization experiences.
I used to be despatched a six zone indoor/out of doors timer to guage since I’ve three zones in my small yard. My sprinkler wires are routed by my storage wall so I can mount my controller contained in the storage. Some controller methods require that you simply buy a separate enclosure to mount it outdoors, however the Orbit unit has the enclosure built-in into the system. This implies there’s additionally a key and lock included so you’ll be able to hold your sprinkler safe whether it is mounted outdoors.
Opening up the surface locked cowl reveals what seems to be an older sprinkler controller with a monochrome LCD display, 4 buttons, and a central dial. The display, buttons, and dial allow you to manually setup the system so you do not want a smartphone to regulate your sprinkler. This can be a good choice when you could have community or telephone points.
Launch the clasp on the best facet of the show and you may then entry the internals that present the wire connections and energy supply. A small screwdriver is included within the retail bundle so you’ll be able to loosen after which tighten the screws after inserting the right wires into the opening beneath every zone label.
After your whole zones are related, shut the show and the outer cowl after which plug the ability cable into an outlet. Your controller is now prepared to connect with your smartphone.
Obtain the Orbit B-hyve app to your Android or iOS machine to proceed with the setup and operation. The primary time you launch the app you can be walked by the setup course of for the Orbit B-hyve. As a way to use the Good Watering performance it’s good to undergo the zone setup course of that features naming the zone, together with an precise picture of the zone, selecting the soil sort (clay, loam, sand), plant sort (cool/heat turf, timber, annual flowers, and many others.), sprinkler sort, solar/shade protection, slope, sprinkler head depend, and even superior particulars. Superior particulars allow you to enter very particular knowledge on the zone that can assist you absolutely optimize the Good Watering course of. These particulars embrace utility fee, effectivity, plant issue, microclimate issue, discipline capability, root zone, allowable floor accumulation, and extra that I needed to examine so as to perceive. The software program permits you to enter the parameters after which exhibits you the computed outcomes beneath so you’ll be able to be sure to have absolutely outlined the zone precisely.
In the event you faucet on current zones you’ll be able to see what the calculated soil moisture is predicated on the climate and when your sprinklers final ran. That is attention-grabbing to test from time-to-time.
After your zones are setup and examined, it is then time to arrange your watering schedule. Program choices allow you to particular a begin time, determine particular days to water, arrange an odd and even day schedule, select your individual interval, or allow Good Watering to let the system determine the most effective frequency primarily based in your zone definitions and native climate. There may be additionally a water budgeting slider so you’ll be able to additional management the quantity of water getting used. There are 4 program slots so you’ll be able to have a Good Watering program, odd day program, or different custom-made program and simply change between them.
To the far proper in this system is the Settings button and inside this space you’ll be able to handle your B-hyve account, add different controllers (useful if what you are promoting has many controllers to handle out of your telephone), view the small print of your watering historical past, allow and handle notifications, and extra. If you wish to see which hyperlocal climate station is chosen on your house or enterprise by default you’ll be able to faucet on machine particulars to see extra. I manually chosen a neighborhood faculty climate station that’s nearer to my home as a result of we’ve got climate that may be very particular with regards to rain protection. That is an superior functionality and I’ve actually been blown away by the aptitude of this sub-$100 sprinkler controller system.
One other performance that I’ve not been capable of finding on another sprinkler system I’ve examined is the flexibility to run a system early within the morning after which later within the day. There are literally a few methods to do that with the B-hyve; setup a program with a number of begin instances or run a number of applications in your system.
Each day utilization and experiences
Once I first began utilizing the Orbit B-hyve I began with Good Watering. Whereas two zones made sense and did effectively, my yard zone watered for over an hour. The yard is a big zone, however an hour is simply method an excessive amount of for my yard. A pleasant characteristic of the B-hyve is the way in which the system waters one zone, strikes to a different, and continues all over the zones earlier than coming again and watering the primary one once more. This sequential technique of watering lets the water settle into the turf so you do not waste water with runoff.
I’m at present making an attempt to change the yard zone to attempt to get a extra affordable time for Good Watering, however within the meantime I simply setup that zone with a guide watering schedule. There may be an unbelievable quantity of customization skill on this Orbit system, whereas it can be so simple as choose one thing and go.
The calendar view may be very helpful as you’ll be able to faucet on a day and see what the watering schedule is whereas additionally seeing what the climate forecast exhibits for that day. Tapping the middle distant icon exhibits you what’s coming subsequent whereas additionally supplying you with one button entry to rain delays. Rain delays of various instances might be set with easy faucets in your show.
The Orbit B-hyve works with each Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant so I set it up and may simply activate a zone with just some spoken phrases round my home. That is helpful if it’s a significantly scorching day or the children need to play within the sprinkler.
I have been extraordinarily impressed by the aptitude of this cheap system and have been recommending it to all of my neighbors. Our new neighborhood was constructed with a requirement that everybody have a entrance sprinkler system, normally with a minimum of two zones, so it is helpful to have one thing just like the Orbit B-hyve at every home. As a daily enterprise traveler, I should have this management or my yard begins to look horrible and should even get into an HOA violation situation with out ample watering.
Pricing and availability
The Orbit B-hyve Good Sprinkler controller is out there now for $87.99 on Amazon for the 6 station unit and $108.99 for the 12 station mannequin.
The Blossom 7 is right down to $74.99 whereas the Rachio begins at $229.99 and Rainbird fashions begin at $138.