Orbit B-hyve XR Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timer Review
Orbit's next generation of smart sprinkler controllers is designed to help you save money, as well as the environment.
With smart sprinkler controllers, some of the biggest challenges are setting up the device and also finding a Wi-Fi connection strong enough outside where you plan to install a smart sprinkler timer or controller. Orbit has a fairly new device designed to address these two issues called B-hyve XR Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timer. We recently installed the system, and here's our take on how well it worked to tackle these challenges.
What is Orbit's B-hyve XR smart indoor outdoor sprinkler timer?
Orbit's B-hyve XR Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timer is a smart sprinkler controller that helps provide the right amount of water to your lawn, plants, shrubs or any other vegetation in your yard based on weather conditions. The device works on a Wi-Fi connection, 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band connections, and Bluetooth.
You place the timer inside or outside your home near a power outlet as it needs to be plugged in — but there is a weatherproof case for outdoor mounting.
The timer works with an inground sprinkler system with eight or 16 stations. Its design is sleek and much more modern compared to the previous B-hyve Sprinkler controller, which we tested a year ago. (See our review here.) It is also compatible with both water pumps and rain/freeze sensors. We think rain sensors are a good addition as they help your system run more effectively and efficiently. But they're not necessarily needed.
You control the timer either manually using the LED full-color display on the unit or through the B-hyve iOS and Android app. Based on our experience and where the timer is mounted, you will use the app most of the time to control your B-hyve.
Home screen in Orbit B-hyve appGearBrain
Orbit B-Hyve App
The B-hyve app sets up all your zones, schedules, notifications, and more, including alerts when watering is finished, rain and wind delays, freeze warnings, and device mode changes. You can also keep track of your watering history in the app and set up four different schedules, which can involve all or specific zones, the number of days to water, and the start and end times. Through a sliding scale, you can also select a watering budget ranging from 0-200 percent.
As part of the setup process, you need to let the timer know specific information about the area it will be watering on your property, which Orbit walks you through:
Orbit will assist you with each question if you click on the "?" at the bottom of the screen. You'll pull up explanations of each feature to determine the best selection for your system.
Answering these questions will help set the Smart Watering feature, which is how the system can help save money by reading environmental factors and then creating customized water schedules for each of your zones. Orbit will determine how much water to disperse based on soil type, vegetation, nozzle type, and sun exposure. This feature is an upgrade from what we saw in the previous Orbit B-hyve controller.
Like all of Orbit's smart sprinkler timers, B-hyve XR Timer uses Smart Weather Sense and is Water Sense certified, a program designed to help protect the nation's water supply. Members have to meet EPA criteria for conserving water and protecting the environment.
Orbit 57995 B-hyve XR Smart 16-Zone Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Controller, Compatible with Alexa Gray
Installation of B-hyve XR is much easier than the previous B-hyve Timer
Before installing any smart sprinkler controller, check that you have power and an internet connection at the location where you plan to install the unit. If this is the first time you have installed a smart sprinkler timer, we recommend checking the Wi-Fi signal at the installation location. You might need to get a Wi-Fi extender if the Wi-Fi connection is weak. While you can use a Bluetooth connection to control your timer, this will limit your remote control capabilities and could affect the performance for the smart sprinkler timer. That's why we recommend you make sure you have a strong Wi-Fi connection, which the B-hyve app can help you set up correctly.
Tips on Installation
Installing a smart sprinkler system is easy but can be tedious depending on the number of zones or stations and therefore the number of wires you need to disconnect and connect. You need to label each wire to assure your system will work correctly once set up. We recommend you take a picture of the wiring of your existing sprinkler system, whether it's a smart controller or on a timer or not, before disconnecting the wires. Orbit provides stickers for you to use to label the wires prior to disconnecting them.
Once your wires are disconnected, you can remove the old timer and mount the new one. Next, you need to punch out holes at the bottom of the B-hyve XR casing to feed the new sprinkler's wires, which helps keep all the wires together inside the controller. The casing is rather tough so be careful not to crack it when punching out the holes.
Once your holes are punched out, feed your sprinkler wires through the hole and start connecting them to your timer. Orbit makes it rather easy to Insert the wires to their respective ports, especially when compared to the previous model's design. You don't have to loosen or tighten screws, and each port on the XR timer can be pushed in to open and allow the wire to be inserted. Once the wire has been inserted, you can release the button, and your wire should be secured.
After testing the new B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler Timer for a month, we found it an improvement over the previous model. Setting it up was easier, especially inserting the wires into the ports, and we also liked the Bluetooth connection, which helped us get the timer up and troubleshoot any issues. The internet connection was about the same as the previous version, but this timer works on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections which is nice. Also, setting up each zone was more intuitive than before. Overall, this improved over the original B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller.
Smart Home Integrations.
Orbit B-hyve XR works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices. You can easily set up these integrations through the B-hyve app and use voice commands to turn zones on or off, skip a station, turn your timer off or on, and set modes. We tested both integrations using Amazon Echo and Google Nest Mini devices, and everything worked as expected, plus the setup was quick and easy.
New app allows you to adjust weather settings for your XR controller.GearBrain
Difference Between B-hyve XR Smart Sprinkler Timer and B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller
As we mentioned, last year we tested Orbit's B-hyve Smart Sprinkler Controller finding it a good smart sprinkler controller made by a company with expertise in irrigation products and services. The device was also in its infancy stage, with the company building new features to help people save even more money and water.
What we really liked about this controller was how the system scheduled the watering of zones. Instead of selecting a specific amount of time, the system breaks up watering to compensate for runoff so you don't over-saturate the soil. We haven't seen any other smart sprinkler system do this. Which is what we think makes Orbit's controller better.
Over the past year, Orbit has updated it system again for the new Orbit B-hyve XR timer. The timer setup process is easier, plus we like the futuristic and sleek design of the timer, which looks better on the wall. The smart watering setup is also simpler to follow.
Use Orbit app to select type of landscaping is majority of the zone.GearBraiin
But with all smart sprinkler controllers, two key issues are still hard to get right. One is how to set up smart watering for a zone when you have multiple types of plants. And the other is, do you know how much water each zone uses?
Orbit is one of the few manufacturers of smart sprinkler controllers that gets into the weeds (no pun intended) when selecting the type of plants for each zone. The new B-hyve XR timer and app provide more guidance they any other manufacturer on selecting the right type of plant but it's still difficult to get it right if your zone has multiple types of plants, such as grass, bushes, and trees.
And how do you know if each zone provides the right amount of water? You need to do a catch-cup test, which involves placing catch cups in specific areas of a single zone and turning your sprinkler on quickly so water is caught. The water in each cup helps determine the exact amount of water coming out of each sprinkler head, which helps the system disperse the right amount of water for your landscape.
Smart sprinkler controllers make educated guesses regarding precipitation rate and water distribution because they're missing key data from your sprinkler system. In the new B-hyve app and with your XR Timer, you can easily conduct a catch cup test during setup. You can learn more about this test by visiting our article on catch cups, the keys to a green and healthy landscape, and we highly recommend doing this test. It's easy and will save you money on your water bill.
Users can help their system by selecting the type of soil. GearBrain
Orbit B-hyve XR Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timer costs $149.99 for eight zones and $179.99 for 16 zones. It's available on their website and from Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot, and other retail outlets.
Overall, the new Orbit B-hyve XR Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timer greatly improves over the B-hyve Smart Indoor/Outdoor Irrigation Controller. Its design is more appealing, and the setup process has been made easier. B-hyve XR works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices if you want to use voice commands.
But while this is a step up, the B-hyve app still doesn't let users know how much water they're saving. The app does have a watering budget you can use to select what percentage you want to water in a particular zone or zones. However, you will need to monitor your water bill to see if you are spending too much money, while some competitors will keep track of this for you in their app.
If you are looking for a good smart sprinkler controller/timer, you must look at the new Orbit B-hyve XR Smart Indoor/Outdoor Sprinkler Timer. It's made by experts in the irrigation industry who understand what it takes to provide the right amount of watering to your lawn/vegetation that helps save the environment and your wallet. They make it easy to set up and run a smart irrigation system in minutes. And depending on how adventurous you want to be, they can show you how to get the perfect irrigation customized for your home at an attractive price.
Orbit Catch Cup How-Towww.youtube.com