Hydrawise irrigation controller on home Wi-Fi


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Old 05-04-22, 06:00 AM
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Hydrawise irrigation controller on home Wi-Fi

Last summer, I installed the Hunter Hydrawise HPC wifi sprinkler controller faceplate on our non-wifi hunter controller. This connects to the home wifi via the 2.4ghz band. Our cable modem / router is a the xfinity xFi gateway. Once installed and connected to wifi, you can do setup / programming, etc through phone app. They system worked perfect until this spring. Since starting the system for the season, the controller will not stay connected to the Wi-Fi. The xFi gateway combines the two bands (2.4 and 5ghz), such that there is only one Wi-Fi signal listed. Some devices I have that use the 2.4ghz have connected and stay connected without issue. So for the only time that the hunter controller connects is if I restart the Wi-Fi. Yet even that is hit or miss. I have tried two separate the bands, such that the 5ghz band has the original home Wi-Fi name, and then a new unique name for the 2.4ghz band. Still, this controller will not stay connected. I have rebooted the controller and get same results. I can restart the gateway and there is a 50/50 chance that the controller will connect. If does connect, it does not stay connected. Yesterday I went through the factory reset for the connection. I did this after putting the xFi back to same one name/password for both bands. The controller did connect almost immediately, then a few hours later, it is disconnected. On other sites, some say it could be RF interference. I can not think of anything that was added that would do this.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 06:38 AM
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If other devices connected to the 2.4GHz band are staying connected, but the Hunter is not, that points to the Hunter as being the problem. I have a friend whose Smart TV keeps disconnecting from his WiFi router, although other devices in the home stay connected. While unusual, this kind of thing does happen,
 
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Old 05-04-22, 06:57 AM
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It's funny, when I opted to go for a wi-fi based controller, first choice was a Rachio. Then I found the Hunter Hydrawise, which was basically a "plug-n-play" since it uses the same power / distribution board. And to your point, I have not had issues with other 2.4 channel devices. I am thinking of replacing it. Interesting enough, I bought it off of Amazon for the better price. It is now currently unavailable.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 09:41 AM
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If the HydraWise uses DHCP to get it's IP address, see if you can set a static IP in it. Then tell the router to reserve that IP as static. Might solve the problem.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 09:45 AM
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That was suggested on another site. I am still trying to learn how to try that.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 10:05 AM
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That seems to be a Hunter problem. I worked on one for a customer. The sprinkler installer claimed a bad router. Also an Xfiniti product. I had it replaced. Same problem. Then a range problem was claimed. The Hunter and the router were 25' apart.

The Hunter would connect with DHCP or static and stay connected for 5-15 minutes and disconnect. It would keep trying to reconnect. Sometimes successfully. After a reboot... it connected for another short period. I could not get the Hunter to stay connected reliably. I determined it's a Hunter problem.

Factory tech claimed a router connection. I pretty much ruled that out.
Installer claimed it needed a port opened. Tech said no.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 10:37 AM
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Yes, I agree. Again, with our system, we have many devices connected, and currently, the only ones that will not connect are the hunter and a small cam we have to catch kids sneaking food. The hunter worked fine for a few months, but not since April when I started it back up. Connection could be a 1-15 minutes, longest was an hour, but that short lived. In last several days, I have not had it connect for more than a few minutes. At one point I thought it was losing connection when the screen would time out. I did install a repeater that connects to both channels. It is now located about 25' from the controller, and 30 from the router (router is behind wall the controller is mounted on). Repeater says strong signal for both 2.4 and 5ghz. Controller lists various signal and quality traits, depending on time restarted:
Strong signal, poor quality
low signal, poor quality
strong signal good quality. It's all over the place. I have read other accounts where people had issues right out of the box. Also, saw it was unavailable on Amazon, where I bought it.
If other devices were acting up, I would think the blame lies with xfinity. I am not believing that.

To "Thisoldman" I am reading that the option of setting a static IP for the controller is not an option with the gateway / account I have. But I am still looking.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 10:51 AM
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You can access your xfiniti router directly. It should be "admin" and "password" if it has never been connected to. You can set a static IP in there. I tried setting a static IP and it didn't make any difference.

In order to best access the admin settings on your router you need to get the xfiniti app on your phone.

The Hunter self test on reboot showed everything 100% ok.
Signal strength was always good.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 10:59 AM
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Yes, I was looking into the router yesterday and will some more tonight (at work now).

I did the self test about 5 times, maybe 2x it was good, rest were failures. Then again, even though some were good, it still would not stay connected more than a few minutes.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 11:07 AM
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I found the same exact problems. Same unit on same system.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 11:13 AM
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Do you know if there are any other Hunter controllers that install similar to the HPC Face panel? meaning, any other face panels?
 
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Old 05-04-22, 11:23 AM
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I'm not sure. I'm not a sprinkler installer. I was installing a video system at that customers house.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 11:26 AM
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Oh, gotcha.

Well my thought is that if a smart thermostat on the 3rd floor can easily function on the 2.4ghz channel with no down time, then this controller less than 5' away should have no trouble. That being said, I was not aware of any firmware / software updates pushed through the system since it was installed, so that would point to the gateway being updated. Then again, if there were no updates from hunter, not sure how it could suddenly stop working, unless it was xfinity....
 
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Old 05-04-22, 01:48 PM
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This was the first time I've run into a problem like this. The camera system I installed has a native doorbell camera. Like the ring but records locally instead of in the cloud. That kept losing connection. It's an 1-1/2 hour drive for me to get there. When I grilled the tech from the camera mfg she told us that the camera will lose it's address if the router gets disconnected for more than a minute or two. This is a shore house and they do lose power.
The router has a static IP and the mac address for the camera yet the camera won't reconnect.

Is it an Xfiniti issue ? Maybe. Can't make this up.
However.... there was no power issue while I was there working on the system to explain the Hunter and its mystical reconnect issue. I told the home owner that I confirmed no issues on her end. I believe the installer was going to replace the unit. Just uncanny that the problem is identical to yours.
 
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Old 05-04-22, 01:58 PM
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Just dove in deeper. Found lots of information.

You'll need to get into the router. Instead of pulling your hair out I highly recommend you get the app on your phone. I can't do this because I'm an installer.... not the homeowner.
Get the MyxFi app

Known connection issue to Xfiniti routers
Hydrawise troubleshooting manual - pdf
 
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Old 05-05-22, 06:12 AM
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spent a lot of time chatting with xfinity tech yesterday afternoon. One thing I tried was to remove as many devices from the xFi to see if it was just an issue of too many devices. I got it down to about 7. It still would not connect. One thing I find quite interesting. I can log into 10.0.0.1 and see all devices / address connected. Through the app, I can see all connected and those not connected (but had been connected). I searched through all and did not find anything that matched up to the controller. I even found old cell phone that was last connected in January. This tells me that although at times it said it was connected, I do not think it really was. The tech mildly hinted at replacing the xFi, but said there is no evidence that it is the problem, especially since we have had no issues with other devices.

On a humorous note, I was almost happy this am. Today is a scheduled day for the system to run, starting at 5am. I came downstairs at about 5:10 and could see sprinklers running. About an hour later, I opened the hydrawise app and saw that one zone was running. Woo Hoo, I thought, it is connected! Wrong. The app was just showing that it was following the program. I could start a zone now through the app and it would say it was running. Even though it is not connected.
 
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Old 05-05-22, 09:18 AM
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about an hour ago, here at work, 10:15am, I checked the controller on the hydrawise webpage and it was online. I checked again on my app and it was online. I just checked again, 11:15am, both still showing online. makes no sense.
....I may have found the something. Had a device that I was pausing daily on the home wifi, thinking it was a school computer of my daughter. It may be the controller....
.
.
.It was the controller. It is listed as device WINC-ed-14
I am constantly pausing my kids wi-fi privilege's and apparently I assigned this device to my daughter. She has a 15" laptop and a smaller device she uses periodically for school. Me being somewhat new to looking at connected devices on our system, I "assumed" it was an education (school) windows computer. UGH! what an idiot. I just paused it and sure enough, system went offline. I unpaused it and system came back on. I just ran a zone for a second and it worked. Dilemma solved!

Oh, one tip-off was when I googled that device name, someone on reddit said that they had a device that was like a smart utility meter or something (water or gas meter). That got me thinking about mine....
 

Last edited by HerContractor; 05-05-22 at 09:45 AM. Reason: more
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Old 05-05-22, 01:42 PM
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Interesting but not the same issue here.
Only 8 devices shown in router list and only three were actually active.

I'm due to go down next week. I'll play some more.
 
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Old 05-05-22, 01:44 PM
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The key for me was being able to identify each device listed. I could not understand why I had no history of a device for the hunter...
 
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Old 05-05-22, 02:44 PM
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Hi H-

Wow – that is something else !!! I think the ed-14 is part of the MAC address for the device. Those would be the last 4 digits of the MAC address. For example: the MAC address shown by my router for my Roku device is:

48-D8-90-62-19-2D

So in your case when they concatenated WINC- with the last 4 digits of the MAC address for the device (which probably ends with ed:14) to come up with a name for the device, it resulted in:

WINC-ed-14

And “ed” would certainly make you think of education.

It appears that’s what happened. What bad luck – “ed” was totally random. Don’t play the lottery for a few days –lol (just kidding).

I think WINC means “WiFi Network Controller” . Looks like maybe that’s what the hydrawise controller calls itself in the protocol. Could be wrong but I think a good chance that’s correct.

I have a “Tablo” and a SMART TV and they always show up with Device Name <unknown> in the Attached Devices list. Makes no sense to me. I’ve had in my to-do list for a few years now to look at the protocol and see exactly where these names come from. One of these years I’ll get to it – lol!
 
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Old 05-06-22, 07:17 AM
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I like things that make sense. Some devices I have use easy to understand names.
TCL Roku TV is called 65TCLRokuTV
Honeywell Tstat is called Honeywell Lyric T6 Pro Wi-Fi
Eufy homebase is called Eufy18010
Roku Player is called RokuPlayer
 
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Old 05-06-22, 11:06 AM
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Hi H-

If I interrogate my Roku Streaming Stick it tells me its MAC address is AC-AE-19-A5-20-20.
When I look at Attached Devices on the router I see that MAC address is associated with:

device name <Roku Streaming Stick >.

If I interrogate my SMART TV and it tells me its MAC address is DC-A2-66-09-61-6D.
When I look at Attached Devices on the router I see that MAC address is associated with:

device name <unknown>.

If I interrogate my Tablo it tells me its MAC address is 48-D8-90-62-19-2D.
When I look at Attached Devices on the router I see that MAC address is associated with:

device name<unknown >.

So my SMART TV is not identifying itself by NAME. And my Tablo is also not identifying itself by NAME. But my Roku Streaming Stick does identify itself by NAME.

As part of the DHCP protocol, in which a device when it connects to a network sends out a broadcast asking for any DHCP server to give it an IP address, there are multiple steps and messages sent back and forth during the entire process. The device should identify itself with a NAME during the process.

The router(or Gateway) would capture that name during the process and thus be able to use it in the Attached Devices list. But apparently the NAME is not absolutely necessary for the network to work properly.

There might be a menu item on your hydrawise controller that would display its MAC address. But looks like you don’t need it anyway you already know its derived name.

I’m with you- I like meaningful names. Can save an awful lot of time. But it looks like that hydrawise controller actually has an Atmel WiFi Internet Controller embedded inside. That controller would handle the WiFi and would identify itself with a name WINC nn-mm – which the router would see. I don’t think there would any way for the hydrawise software to override that name with something like “HydrawiseController” or something like that. I think the hydrawise software would just be a user of the WiFi Internet Controller. I guess just the complexity of modern technology .
 
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Old 05-06-22, 03:04 PM
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I like to see mac addresses. That is a positive confirmation for me.
The Hydrawise unit uses a modified mac address.
The doorbell camera I'm working with uses a serial number as a mac.
 
 

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