Hands on with the Elgato Eve Aqua HomeKit-equipped smart watering system

Posted:
in iOS edited June 21
The newly released Eve Aqua is a HomeKit equipped smart water controller that tries to make lawn and garden maintenance easy with scheduling, remote control, and even Siri support. AppleInsider has spent a few days testing it out during the latest heat wave.

Elgato Eve Aqua


Faucets and sprinklers were added to HomeKit as part of iOS 11. It has taken nearly a year from the release of iOS 11 for the first products taking advantage of the new spec to hit the market. One of the first, if not the first is the Eve Aqua from Elgato.






What Eve Aqua allows you to do is control your outdoor spigot from your phone. It can be scheduled and automated, as well as toggled remotely. This makes gardens and lawns much more hands-off, and owners never have to worry about leaving the water on again.

Eve Aqua is also able to show you estimated water consumption, which can give a good idea at how much it is costing to keep your lawn green and gardens blooming.

Elgato Eve Aqua Watering


We set the Eve Aqua up in two different scenarios -- with a sprinkler and with a soaker hose. We tried it with our lawn, as well as our budding vegetable and herb garden.

In our short trail so far, it worked well, though we found it was best used with the Elgato Eve app over Apple's Home app. This isn't on Elgato, though, as Home has a few limitations, making it not ideal.

Elgato says soon a sizeable update will be coming to the Eve app, adding even more functionality than already exists.

There were a few oddities that we noticed shortly after getting going. Again, not at the fault of Elgato, but Apple's HomeKit implementation. Sprinklers cannot be included as parts of scenes, or included in any automation being configured. It is a really odd limiting factor, but is good that the Eve app helps make scheduling possible.


Elgato Eve Aqua Review



One thing we were worried about out of the gate, was connection and reliability while outdoors. This will clearly vary based on individual homes and spigot locations, but it was able to work reliably for us. Additionally, schedules created in the Eve app are transferred to the Aqua, allowing it to run completely independently of any connection.

Eve Aqua is a really neat piece of hardware, and we will be spending much more time with it over the next week or two as we work on our comprehensive review. Days of data will be needed to see how the graphs display, how reliability holds up, as well as what new functionality arrives with the Eve app update.

Elgato Eve Aqua


While we were happy with how the Aqua has worked so far, we really need to put it through its paces to see whether it can beat out traditional "dumb" timers people have used for years.

Luckily, Eve Aqua is now shipping, just in time for the summer gardening season. You can find more about it over on Elgato's website.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    ToomuchToomuch Posts: 3member
    Couple reason why this wouldn’t work for me: 1. Replacing batteries will be a pain - since it is outside, why not add solar and lithium recharging batteries? 2. Water adjustment - needs a way to adjust the flow of water.
  • Reply 2 of 14
    I’m waiting for water valves I can connect permanently into an existing line, as opposed to ones that connect inline between a faucet and hose (like this one).

    I’d prefer to have them indoors and powered off AC (no batteries) before connecting to the external faucet/sprinklers.
  • Reply 3 of 14
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,331member
    Toomuch said:
    Couple reason why this wouldn’t work for me: 1. Replacing batteries will be a pain - since it is outside, why not add solar and lithium recharging batteries? 2. Water adjustment - needs a way to adjust the flow of water.
    Solar plus a backup battery would seem to make the most sense.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 4 of 14
    Toomuch said:
    Couple reason why this wouldn’t work for me: 1. Replacing batteries will be a pain - since it is outside, why not add solar and lithium recharging batteries? 2. Water adjustment - needs a way to adjust the flow of water.

    Why on Earth do you need to adjust the flow of water? The quantity of water delivered will be regulated by how LONG the water is on for. Plus many sprinklers simply do not work properly unless provided water under full pressure/flow.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 5 of 14
    ToomuchToomuch Posts: 3member
    Toomuch said:
    Couple reason why this wouldn’t work for me: 1. Replacing batteries will be a pain - since it is outside, why not add solar and lithium recharging batteries? 2. Water adjustment - needs a way to adjust the flow of water.

    Why on Earth do you need to adjust the flow of water? The quantity of water delivered will be regulated by how LONG the water is on for. Plus many sprinklers simply do not work properly unless provided water under full pressure/flow.
    It is not common to have a sprinkler system in the mid Atlantic. We get a lot of rain. But during a dry spell, I want to be able to either water my flower beds or grass. If it is the former, I need the water flow to be strong so the water can reach the flower beds. Some plants are more drought tolerant than others. 
  • Reply 6 of 14
    Toomuch said:
    Toomuch said:
    Couple reason why this wouldn’t work for me: 1. Replacing batteries will be a pain - since it is outside, why not add solar and lithium recharging batteries? 2. Water adjustment - needs a way to adjust the flow of water.

    Why on Earth do you need to adjust the flow of water? The quantity of water delivered will be regulated by how LONG the water is on for. Plus many sprinklers simply do not work properly unless provided water under full pressure/flow.
    It is not common to have a sprinkler system in the mid Atlantic. We get a lot of rain. But during a dry spell, I want to be able to either water my flower beds or grass. If it is the former, I need the water flow to be strong so the water can reach the flower beds. Some plants are more drought tolerant than others. 

    My lawn, flower beds and shrubs all have separate sprinklers on their own "zone". This way I can water each independently as each requires a different amount of water.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 7 of 14
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 312member
    Toomuch said:
    Couple reason why this wouldn’t work for me: 1. Replacing batteries will be a pain - since it is outside, why not add solar and lithium recharging batteries? 2. Water adjustment - needs a way to adjust the flow of water.
    Connectivity for communications is via Bluetooth, so power consumption is not significant. Replacing batteries is not likely to be a frequent activity. 

    You can add a valve, or even a manifold with multiple valves on the business end of this thing, and then adjust water volume to different sprinklers, hoses or whatever. 

    I have one of these on order, and my main concern will be consistent communications connectivity. The device retains programs onboard, and won’t stay on longer than four hours at a time, so inadvertently hemorrhaging water while away on vacation is less of a concern, which is good. Still, if connectivity is less than reliable, not being able to toggle it remotely as desired could get annoying. We’ll see.
  • Reply 8 of 14
    trinkotrinko Posts: 1member
    My main concern is whether or not the Bluetooth will have enough range. As I understand it unless the unit can connect to my Apple TV I won't be able to control the unit if my phone is outside of bluetooth range. While my back hose is one wall and 30ft from my apple TV my front hose is 4 walls and 50 feet away from my apple TV. Any info on the working bluetooth range for this unit?
  • Reply 9 of 14
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 4,913member
    I’m waiting for water valves I can connect permanently into an existing line, as opposed to ones that connect inline between a faucet and hose (like this one).

    I’d prefer to have them indoors and powered off AC (no batteries) before connecting to the external faucet/sprinklers.
    This is one that looks interesting:

    http://www.phyn.com
  • Reply 10 of 14
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,099member
    Apple really needs to lift its game on connectivity. It has never played well with others I guess. Not really a problem when you are clearly ahead, but this is not so much these days.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    ToomuchToomuch Posts: 3member
    AppleZulu said:
    Toomuch said:
    Couple reason why this wouldn’t work for me: 1. Replacing batteries will be a pain - since it is outside, why not add solar and lithium recharging batteries? 2. Water adjustment - needs a way to adjust the flow of water.
    Connectivity for communications is via Bluetooth, so power consumption is not significant. Replacing batteries is not likely to be a frequent activity. 

    You can add a valve, or even a manifold with multiple valves on the business end of this thing, and then adjust water volume to different sprinklers, hoses or whatever. 

    I have one of these on order, and my main concern will be consistent communications connectivity. The device retains programs onboard, and won’t stay on longer than four hours at a time, so inadvertently hemorrhaging water while away on vacation is less of a concern, which is good. Still, if connectivity is less than reliable, not being able to toggle it remotely as desired could get annoying. We’ll see.
    Tell that to my August lock, I have to constantly change the batteries. I will probably replace it soon.

    I love HomeKit but It has a lot of issues. The biggest one is not able to connect to devices when I am away from home. Apple needs to fix this shit. Their QR teams suck.

    I also have lots of issues with eve light switches. I keep getting no response. I have to manually reset them. Since the switches are on the same level as my Apple TV, this should not be an issue. This devise will probably have the same problem. 
  • Reply 12 of 14
    grifmxgrifmx Posts: 27member
    just hooked up Wifi Sprinkler controller. Couldn't be happier. testing sprinklers to fix them used to be a huge 2 person wet messy pain! now I open an iPhone app, turn on that valve, shut it off, replace head and I'm done! a really useful tool! purchased Orbit B-Hive 6 valve Wifi
    Alex1N
  • Reply 13 of 14
    guerroguerro Posts: 4member
    Why on Earth do you need to adjust the flow of water? The quantity of water delivered will be regulated by how LONG the water is on for. Plus many sprinklers simply do not work properly unless provided water under full pressure/flow.
    Many irrigation systems use the Zimmerman Scale. I couldn't find any links to the formula, but here is a paragraph from the system I use: The weather-based adjustment first uses your location to query for real-time weather data (available worldwide). It then calculates a % Watering value which is applied to all station water times. The percentage value is calculated based on your local temperature, humidity, and precipitation (rainfall), and varies between 0% to 250%. The value is updated every few hours. For example, low temperature, high humidity, and/or considerable rainfall all lead to reduced watering, thus saving water usage.
    Alex1N
  • Reply 14 of 14
    peteopeteo Posts: 310member
    trinko said:
    My main concern is whether or not the Bluetooth will have enough range. As I understand it unless the unit can connect to my Apple TV I won't be able to control the unit if my phone is outside of bluetooth range. While my back hose is one wall and 30ft from my apple TV my front hose is 4 walls and 50 feet away from my apple TV. Any info on the working bluetooth range for this unit?
    Same here. There is no information anywhere on the distances this needs to be so it can talk to apple TV or home pod. Also the announced a Bluetooth extender at CES 2017 but it never came out so its probably be canceled. Their Connected Weather Station gets mixed reviews due to issues with bluetooth distance.


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