Grobo Review - 6 months in (Verdict: pass on it)

After six months or so of using the Grobo, want to quickly jot down my concerns and why I’ve come to the decision to sell it used after my current grow is over (probably soon because she’s going to die, but more on that shortly).

Pros:

  • Day to day care is automatic. Lights work well, but you need to have some means to confirm they’re working as others in the forum have posted issues (see SmartThings workaround in Cons).
  • I haven’t had any hardware failures, which is noteworthy considering I have the unit in my garage with temp swings from (in the last 6 months) 45-105 degrees (F). Unit never stopped working.
  • Instructions to start your grow are wonderful.
  • The unit looks clean, but definitely stands out. People visiting your house probably wouldn’t comment, but anyone close to you is immediately going to ask “What’s that?”
  • The first grow, when everything was brand new, went off pretty well despite needing a chiller. The product performed as expected, and gave me some quality bud. As soon as there started being problems though, it took a hard turn south (see below).

Cons:

  • No access to data. “It’s coming in a few months” isn’t good enough.
  • Have to buy aftermarket supplies. Two big ones are the water chiller to keep the temp down, and SmartThings to ensure the power is working (and get alerts) plus a 4-in-1 sensor to get light/temp/humidity/motion alerts as well (I have a 1 year old and the lock is unreliable at best, don’t want to get locked out so need to know if it gets opened). Chiller ($450), Smartthings ($100) and the cloud app (InitialState) to visualize the date ($9.99/mo) round the total price for the unit to $2500+ for full functionality
  • No alerts. Period. No app, no alerts, no insight into what’s going on until you open the webapp and browse. Not good for a “set and forget” unit (which this truly isn’t). Good luck around holiday travel times. Grobo, I’m in a very similar industry. There’s countless companies that you can turn an SDK over to and have them produce mobile/tablet apps. I’m sure your software team is doing all they can, but if they’re adding features to a webapp that doesn’t integrate with our lives, it’s a bit like moving around deck chairs on the Titanic.
  • Connectivity issues on a regular basis. I had to buy a new mesh wifi node ($99) and put it next to the unit to alleviate it. Even with it, sometimes during a drain or fill it’ll freak out and take multiple minutes to resync. This is stressful when you have your roots hanging in the air after a drain, or when you’re going to do a quick drain and fill and now your wife is frustrated cause you can’t leave the house.
  • Customer support is slow at best, and not engaged. I’ve had issues for weeks and it still takes days and days to get responses. They’ve finally given me a phone number to help. Guess the Grobo team finally got the memo that in DWC, days are an eternity. Probably going to start a 2-3 week auto-email campaign to get regular updates on my Grobo.
  • Probe issues: First, nothing was said that you need to recalibrate your probe before each grow. This information would have let me get a calibration kit (with fresh storage solution) ahead of time. When drying, it doesn’t tell you not to leave pure distilled water in the tank to keep the probes wet (doesn’t tell you what to do at all - just to dry some herb). Also, when calibrating, the picture in the app looks more like the EC probe than pH. I didn’t check close enough, and wasted (expensive) calibration solution calibrating an EC probe.
  • Shipping for literally ANYTHING from the store is $15. Forgot a bottle of solution? $15. Grobo screwed you over and dosed two bottles? $15. Grobo had the wrong pic of the probe and you need more solution? $15.
  • The notifications you do get are awful, generic, and are in no way linked to the actual grow. Most likely, you’ll get some flowering tips in mid-Veg.
  • Doesn’t tell you when your water level is actually low, despite having 3 water level sensors. Just a generic mid-week reminder to top up your grobo.

If I wasn’t traveling, and hadn’t already started my own grow in a custom built room, I’d probably be more willing to tough it out and see if this is going to turn around. But seriously, for less money I’ve been able to (with the help of 2 friends) build a system which does what Grobo does and more. Were there issues in the new build? Of course. But I corrected them in a week and I’m not selling my product for significant sums of money. Here’s what I’m using in another grow (values from the New Year to today):

Advice for those considering the Grobo: If you understand this can be an expensive hobby, and you know you’re OK tinkering with a machine to get it to work, then this can be a great introduction into growing. If you’re looking to get something that’s truly set and forget, I don’t think the Grobo is there.

If you think it’s worth it still, like I said above, keep a look out. If this plant dies because it’s pH has been off for a month, my unit will probably be posted here for sale in SoCal in the next month. If I somehow save this thing when I get back home, look for a post in ~3 months to offload.

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Fastest response I’ve ever gotten from Grobo just now. Looks like they’ve thrown in the towel as well and fired me as a customer. Providing a screenshot here for a raw look at about how much support I feel I’ve gotten.

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Where are you located and how much are you selling it for?

SoCal/San Diego area. Send me a message with an offer and we may be able to work something out when I’m done with it.

Dang. Nvm. There’s no way I can afford shipping from SoCal.

@Tito,

((#SoVerySorry)): :sob:


Summary

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((#SoVerySorry)): :sob:

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image

bjorn Grobo Team - CEO

((#ForTheWin)): :clap:

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:clap::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::sparkling_heart::green_thumb:


((#HopeYouShareYourNewGrows)): :herb:

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:sob::herb::innocent::sparkling_heart::crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:


((#MeToo)): ((#SameHere)):

me%20too-

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:green_thumb::nerd_face::open_book::eyes::innocent:


I thought that was why Allgrowers has the (SupportSite): :confused::thinking:

(:point_down:)

https://www.allgrowers.com/c/grobo-support

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:scratch_my_head::laughing:


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I’m 4 months in and I love my unit <3

Since this is a new company and a relatively new market, there are gonna be hiccups. Just like anything in life there are areas for improvement.

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If you don’t mind me asking what kind of smartthings are you running to get that information. (models)

SmartThings hub + Zooz 4-in-1 + Wifi smart plug all visualized under Initial State.

Update
@bjorn @Stephen

Decided to stop feeding the monster and go with other nutrients to stop the never ending pH bullshittery of 2019. Did a drain and fill… then did some cleanup because the fill never stopped. Had to kill the Grobo to get it to stop, then clean out some water manually because the drain pump doesn’t work now.

No problem, right? Things happen and just open a support ticket. Here’s what I opened with:
"My grobo overfilled itself last night and poured water all over the place. It now doesn’t drain, I just hear the motor run without anything coming out. Wondering what else could be water damaged.

How do I get the pump and any other items broken from water replaced?"

Here’s the reply:

Wow, didn’t even read the reason I emailed in. Good to know she found a problem with my pH probe since the 16th…

Additionally, during this disaster my Grobo went into transition. My plant isn’t ready because she hasn’t been getting proper nutrition due to Grobo’s broken pH system. I moved the plant back to Late Veg and still the lights are on 12/12. Now to wait ANOTHER day of 12/12 lights and then herm my plant back to 20/4 to bring it back.

This is the Grobo experience. I’m out over 3 months of time, wasted money on pH calibrations I didn’t know I needed until it was too late, my plant is going to at best be stunted and probably herm if it even lives, and @Stephen’s best answer is “Good luck man, let me know how it goes dumping this product”.

Unacceptable.

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Just pull all the bottles, make sure roots aren’t growing into drain and fill hoses, and make sure your water level sensors(black floaty things on back of res) are properly snapped in and functioning properly. Only put in 2 1/2 gallons into the res after you have ph’d your ro water to say 6.1-6.2. I would only add ph’d ro water this time to make sure things work, then next drain and fill either add your own nutes, or plug grobo nutes back in. I’ve been manually feeding and ph’ing my unit pretty much since I got it :joy::joy::+1::v:

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On your advice that’s what I was trying to do! The sensors are all installed still and they move freely up and down. If I could use my own nutes and just let this thing sit in mother for a while I would. The damn thing can’t even drain or keep the lights on right now.

That’s fucked. Mine is starting to have drain issues as well. I’ve had to unplug the unit to stop it from just sucking air for ever​:joy::joy:. Doesn’t matter, I’ll get another couple few grows out of her, and by that time I’ll have my new sick tent setup going and I’ll just toss the unit. Gotta say, I sure am glad I’d been growing prior to buying the unit as I was able to read the plant telling me she was none too happy hence my going manual. :+1::v:I feel your pain bruh

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I’ve heard of several other drain/fill issues on this forum too. Auto drai/fill and dosing are the two biggest things you pay for in this thing, and it consistently seems to under deliver. Guess I will need luck to resell this one.

Friends and I have about 4 plants going now while we keep working out kinks. I’ll be sticking around the forum and probably be more active since I’ll have a lot more free time soon. Good to see you’re still here!

These problems have helped me learn quickly in a short period of time, if there’s a silver lining.

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@ohh_shteve :+1: Guess you’re a better customer than me. Maybe if I saw “Beta” somewhere, or it said it’s in some kind of regular development I’d sign on, but it’s a complete product. Yea it’s partially software defined, which btw everyone means if Grobo goes under ALL OF YOUR BOXES ARE 100% USELESS WITHOUT THEIR BACKEND, but the problems are spread through the company, customer service, hardware, and software.

Remember this is marketed as a truly set and forget high quality grow product. Browse the forums some and see if you get that vibe.

Well that lasted long!! Ha!
I hope they can figure out why your unit didn’t stop filling!! I’d be a very sad puppy if that happened to me in my basement.

@Tito - My deepest apologies for the experience you’ve had so far. I just sent you a DM with more details but I’ve updated your lights to 20/4 and put you back on Day 1 of Stage 3.

The response from support is not correct or acceptable. I know that the team was discussing your ticket this morning so I’ll meet with them tomorrow to dive into why you got that response since it makes no sense.

If you need anything else tonight, just let me know. We will definitely get this all sorted out for you though!

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I think the person answering support tickets needs to spend some time reading every post and topic on allgrowers and actually have a presence on the site to get familiar with your customers, it would make for better solutions and camaraderie.

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@Bplatinum9 - Thanks for the feedback. It’s something we’ve been discussing internally as we work to scale up our customer success team.

We used to read every post and I know that @Stephen still tries to read as much as possible but there are just too many posts and tickets for one person to go through in a day. Right now we’re working to create more training guides so that we can expand our support team. The goal is to increase our support hours so that we can react much faster to any tickets that do come in.

You’ve given me some ideas though and I’ll look into if we can somehow link up Zendesk and AllGrowers to help facilitate that flow which could be super helpful.

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It really helped me! I don’t think there is a post I haven’t read on allgrowers. I learned a lot!

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I would agree with a statement that was made…in four of my last emails a question was asked in each one but not answered. I thought that was an odd departure from past customer service

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