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Thread: UK Central Heating Automation - Where to start

  1. #1
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    Question UK Central Heating Automation - Where to start

    Hi,

    I'm an automation virgin.

    I've decided to take the leap into automating my new house and the first thing I would like to do is automate my central heating. By this I mean allow me to be sat in front of the TV and click a button to set a temperature or switch on the heating.

    I have a standard Gas Central Heating system in a 6 month old property with a standard manual rotary thermostat and standard mechanical TRVís on each radiator.

    I would ideally like to replace the thermostat with an automated one and then gradually be able to control rooms on a room by room basis using new automated TRV's.

    I also plan on starting to control lights and other devices in the house, so the technology I use for the heating should ideally be able to control these too.

    Finally I would like the technology I choose to be able to be controlled from a PC.

    Can anyone suggest a way forward with this? I have looked at Z-Wave and X10 but cannot find a thermostat replacement (I can fine Z-Wave TRV's). Which technology do people recommend without having to place wires down?

    Thanks for any help.

    Gary

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    I would have a look at this thread http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbull...ead.php?t=2050
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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    Hi,

    Thanks for the quick response. I have already read this thread, however I could not only do the links to the products to work. From reading the thread it also seems to be a completely different technology to the usual X10, Z-Wave, etc. My concern was that I then would have to do something different with the other appliances (lights, alarm, plugs, etc).

    It mentions using RFXCOM to control them from the PC. Forgive my ignorance, but is this a way to control several different technologies from one interface?

    Thanks again,
    Gary

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    I think you will see that it was only suggested that it would be nice to be able to control the House Heat system via RFXCOM. At present as far as I am aware it can't do it.
    Bringing the control of different technologies together can be done.
    You may want to look at Homeseer or Homevision and the Homevision user group
    xAP is another one that springs to mind, and can be used in conjunction with many other systems such as Homeseer and also Homevision. I don't really know the ins and outs of xAP but I do know that there are many on here that do.
    Another one to look at is Idratek. This will also work with xAP.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  5. #5
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    Default 1-Wire Boiler Control

    Hi Gary

    A few years ago, I put in a 1-Wire relay to control my boiler.

    I had to add some extra wiring, such as cat-5 cable and override cables for power through the time switch.

    I left the time switch in place, in case of failures.

    Currently, I have a Linksys NSLU2 controlling the 1-Wire bus. I also have a web page to enable 20, 30 and 60 minute boost functionality. My time switch only offers 60 minute boost.

    Through a combination of linux scripts, php and a mysql db, I have enabled schedules to control the boiler. I can have many on/off schedules. The time switch only offered 2.

    Using 1-Wire temperature sensors, I can set-up a type of thermostat, to switch the boiler on for 10 minutes, for example, if the temperature goes below 17 degrees in one of the bedrooms at night.

    Advantages: Very cheap hardware. Simple in design and operation.

    Disadvantages: Controller software is home made.


    Current project: Using 1-Wire switch to control an Electric Radiator Valve Actuator.

    Basically control which radiators are turned on depending on the current schedule.

    e.g. Sitting Room does not go on in the morning. Bedroom A does not come on when the occupant is away.


    This is one possible solution.

    Regards

    Gerard

  6. #6
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    Hi Gary,

    The post mentioned in the earlier reply is regarding the FHT / FS20 technology, manufactured by a German company (ELV I think they're called), available in the UK from a number of suppliers including Housetech (more expensive but not branded) and Conrad (cheaper but I think they've got their stuff branded).

    It's the system that I plumped for, and I must admit I've been having quite a lot of fun with it! I've got the system installed on all my radiators now, and I've gotten as far as computer control as well by adding a 30 quid CUL device.

    A few more responses to your specific queries:

    1. If you're going to replace the rooms a local automated valve / thermostat combo, you'll not need to bother with upgrading your thermostat.
    2. You can use the CUL device and the FHEM server to control a lot more than just radiator devices, the server I use supports and devices that use the FS20 / FHT / HMS protocols
    3. Not thought about having a remote control, for me I'm trying to make system contactless, but thinking about it there must be something available!

    Not sure if I'm allowed to post links, but if you want to know about the computer control side of things my blog has quite a bit of info, at http://www.eclipcecreate.co.uk (I know it's an odd domain name - I'm in the process of moving it to something more sensible!)

    Hope that helps,

    Russ
    Last edited by russell_allen; 31st October 2010 at 08:38 PM.

  7. #7

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    Check out all our HVAC articles here for a good overview of recent smart home heating controls...

    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/category/hvac

    M.

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