Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23

Thread: Automating our boiler; a beginner's query.

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    1

    Default Automating our boiler; a beginner's query.

    Hi there!

    My partner (DB) and I are home-automation newbies and we'd really appriciate some guidance.

    Background: We are both recent graduates from IT related degrees; DB is very software capble, I'm working in computerised-education/eLearning. So, we're pretty technology capable, but new to the home automation scene, particuarly to the hardware side.

    Situation: We own our home (a 1930's terrace) and we are slowly modernising it, so running cables and working with basic electrics is within our remit. We have a Windows server in the loft, a iDevice each and several laptops in various states of operation! Remote access to the server is set up, with vpn and remote desktop. Our wifi is strong and reliable throughout the property.

    As our first step into home automation, we would like to hook our boiler up with the intention of basic programming the of heating (on at 7am, off at 9am, on at 1630pm etc) and to be able to turn the heating on/off remotely.

    The boiler is a Worcester combi gas boiler from 2006. We have no plumbing experience, so we don't yet know how to fit a normal thermostat, much less a wifi one. But we are willing to learn! : )

    We'd prefer to interact with the thermostat on our own network, rather that pay a subscription to a web-portal.

    I've trawled these forums, and a couple of others round the web (that I've found). I haven't found one that fits the bill perfectly. Our budget is flexible, depending on the features available, but we'd like suggestions from the whole price spectrum. We may look later at including lighting etc into our system.

    Does anyone have any suggestions, or entry-level resources you can point me to?

    Thanks!
    P

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    North Lancashire
    Posts
    1,670

    Default

    just a thought, but it might be good to think more comprehensively on this - piecemeal automation might take you into an undesirable cul de sac !

    these might help - in raising issues, if nothing else :

    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbull...ead.php?t=1922

    http://forums.automatedhome.co.uk/showthread.php?p=9624

    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbull...ead.php?t=2701

    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/vbull...ead.php?t=1660

    http://www.gumbrell.com/archives/hom...ation/2006/01/

  3. #3
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    501

    Default

    You might like to consider a WebBrick for this application (http://www.webbricksystems.com/produ...style=mainlist). I can't find the datasheet I was looking for but ISTR that the WebBrick can support a 1-Wire temperature network (to take the place of conventional thermostats) and also includes mains-voltage relays (for the boiler switching).

    Often it is simplest to leave the existing boiler controls as-is and tap into the switched outputs from the thermostats and time clock unit. That way, it's relatively easy to revert to "standard" controls when you come to sell the house, or if you rent it out, etc.

    If you want to spend a bit more money then CBus and Idratek would be my top two to look at. Either way, also have a look at xAP (www.xapautomation.org) as a community-developed, independent control layer to span all of your devices.

    HTH,

    Tim.
    Last edited by TimH; 24th January 2011 at 01:37 PM. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Near Alicante Spain
    Posts
    2,010
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    North Lancashire
    Posts
    1,670

    Default

    adding to Tim's xAP thoughts ...

    http://www.phaedrusltd.com/pages/html/netiom-xap.html

    BTW, anyone know of a WebBrick link that actually tells us something about how it works & how it's used ... their web-site is one of the most frustrating we've visited, in terms of promising to tell us something & actually not ! ?
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 22nd January 2011 at 10:13 AM.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    501

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    BTW, anyone know of a WebBrick link that actually tells us something about how it works & how it's used ... their web-site is one of the most frustrating we've visited, in terms of promising to tell us something & actually not ! ?
    Yes, I found it frustrating too, particularly as I remember seeing "real-life" examples on there (a simple temperature controlled fan idea, and an ajax / shockwave(?) user interface, etc.).

    I did a bit more digging and I think that sort of stuff has now moved to a forum: http://community.webbricksystems.com/

    I haven't checked through there very much but it seems to be the sort of useful information we'd be after

    HTH,

    Tim.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    501

    Default

    Of course X10 can do this too, see the link below for an example;
    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/Insta...croModule.html

    HTH,

    Tim.

  8. #8
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    19

    Default Vendor support

    I think that you should also consider that how many companies do support the platform.

    When you choose a system that is provided only by one company then you find yourself in the situation that is called a vendor lock-in.

  9. #9
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    North Lancashire
    Posts
    1,670

    Default

    then again, single supplier situations can often mean fewer problems & better support ...

  10. #10
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chris_j_hunter View Post
    then again, single supplier situations can often mean fewer problems & better support ...
    Well, letís look it from the another angle.

    Today we get it granted that we have different devices we can use to play the content on TV Ė VCR, DVD-player, Blu-Ray player, NET-streamer, SAT-receiver and so on and so on, you name it. Would we have it without a common and standardized local AV delivery protocol?

    I think that you can already imagine where Iím pointing. Would you prefer the Sony video player that can play only on Sony TV and only Sony media?

    Home automation is not different.

    Another thing is the specialization. With common protocol it is possible that one company does make one part of the system very good and another does some other part and I can take the best (or one with the most reasonable price). This also allows more niche products. One company just canít make everything or everything good.

    Finally there is support. Companies tend to come and go. Yes, there are some really big and old companies but they also tend to discontinue some of their product lines when they find something more profitable.

    With common and open protocol there is a bigger probability that in the future somebody still does make a replacement product. And with home automation we are talking about years, tens of years even maybe.

    Now Iím not saying that single company cannot provide a good support. But I think that it cannot be taken axiomatically. Single company can also fail miserably with it and it is possible for bigger group to provide excellent support with some common supporting entity.

    So this is something to consider when you make the choice.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •