Not everybody's yard is big enough to justify an underground irrigation system, nor can every homeowner justify that big of an expense. For those of use who water the good old fashioned way—with hose in hand, or at least appended to a screwed on sprinkler head on the ground—the Melnor Raincloud is your way to make your lawn watering a little smarter. The Raincloud valve piece attaches directly to an outdoor house bib, providing four valves to run hoses from. Raincloud's controller unit then connects to your router via an ethernet cable, where it can be accessed remotely with Melnor's smartphone app or directly on the controller's interface.
Beyond the basics, different parts of the Melnor Raincloud system have yielded different reviews. Primarily constructed of plastic, users often bemoan the somewhat fragile hose valve ends, highly susceptible to breaking when stored with any water on it through the winter. Melnor sells optional sensors that can measure your soil moisture, giving a constant guard against over-watering. Each Raincloud unit can only support one such sensor, however, so users with their hoses spread out can only have one zone respond automatically to rain. Users can use this data, however, to know when to turn the other zones off manually, done easily through the accompanying application. You can even pair the Raincloud with an Amazon Alexa, having Alexa handle all of your irrigation requests directly through voice command.
The Melnor Raincloud, despite presenting some issues for longer term users, remains a good smart sprinkler system for hose-only irrigation. If, for whatever reason, this doesn't meet your smart irrigation needs, there exists a plethora of alternatives to peruse here on Bot Database.
This is a great product. Works exactly as described, easy to install and configure. Works fine on my Windows PC and my Android tablet.
I bought this unit hoping to water some new sod and seed. This unit would not work with my router. I really wasted money with this expensive "plug n play" timer.