Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Options For Simple Zoned Heating and Future Lighting/Misc Controls?

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    16

    Default Options For Simple Zoned Heating and Future Lighting/Misc Controls?

    Hi All,

    Firstly, apologies for my ramblings

    I'm very new to all this home automation malarky and thought it best to ask those of you who have made some of these decisions before now and are aware of what is available on the market! I've had a read through a few threads to try and figure things out but with the shear amount of options out there I am getting a bit swamped with it all, so any help and insight will be very much appreciated!!

    I have so far come to the conclusion (maybe a wrong one!) that I think it best to go down the z-wave route so I can handle both lighting and heating effectively using a single protocol with a Rasp PI and z-wave daughter board without too much bother (in theory), but I have some questions before it makes enough sense for any purchases

    I will be starting with the heating side of things first and moving onto lighting at a later date, my home has a conventional boiler with separate storage tank (baxi ga compact 15 / megaflo) with separate heating and water timers and 6 controllable radiators in 5 rooms. I'm ignoring the towel radiator and hallway radiator, neither of which currently have a TRV on them and don't factor into things for me to start with. At some point I'll want to schedule the towel radiator but it can run based on a general schedule for now, the hallway radiator really does seem redundant as it's currently used to regulate house wide heating control with not on/off valve at all and the thermostat 5 feet away.

    One thing I am struggling to understand is what sort of configuration with thermostats / radiator valves I would need to zoned heating with different temperatures in each of the rooms. I am not dead set on any framework yet as nothing has been bought so would consider completely different options but the main requirements for me are:

    • Solution I can host on a single device and develop software against (either like the z-way web service based thing or a more rudimentary API if need be)
    • Ideally something supported via Raspberry PI or my Synology NAS so I utilise an existing device to control everything, either by my own code or using something like Domoticz for example
    • The ability to setup heat zones with separate temperature settings in each at any given time (radiator valve and temp/proximity sensor combo)


    So far I am thinking of the following components to do this:

    • 1 x Rasp PI with Z-wave daughter board and possibly running Domoticz
    • 6 x Danfoss Z Wave Radiator Thermostats (to provide remote AND local manual overrides, not sure they'll do the job as some have had issues?)
    • 5 x Aeon Z Wave MultiSensor (to provide a future proofed set of inputs per room, tad expensive though)


    I'm assuming I don't need any wall mounted dedicated thermostats and that I can set my existing manual thermostat to a max temp for the house as a whole so it doesn't impact anything, and that I can run the main heating control using my existing schedules with the knowledge that valves will restrict hot water usage as desired.

    Is this simple approach an okay one? Should I consider splashing more cash and factoring in boiler controls to manage a boiler schedule? My boiler isn't that clever and it's not a combi so I'm not sure if it's worthwhile and even do-able without lots of money being spent. Not sure why I would need a wall mounted wireless thermostat either, especially if I want to monitor temps in each zone separately and use other components for that.

    Would it be possible to use both RFXCOM (via usb dongle) and Z-wave (via daughterboard) at the same time with Domoticz? Just wondering if later on I decide to use an alternative framework to z-wave when adding lighting or other things I can do so?

    Any thoughts would be very much appreciated and please correct me if I have gotten the wrong ideas about any of this!! And sorry for going on a bit, no doubt I missed some useful info too!

    Cheers,
    Mark

  2. #2
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    16

    Default

    The more I read the more I think I need a solution that handles both z-wave and rfxcom based comms, can this be done with a raspberry pi using the z-wave daughter board and either a USB or networked rfxcom device easily? Can one type of protocol based feedback be used with another through any of the open source frameworks?

    I am starting to think I should bite the bullet and get some of those Pegler i30 TRVs to begin with a get a zoned heating solution working without a controller first then look at getting a controller and other sensors as needed as I go.

    Would they be a good approach?

    Is there anything due out soonish that would change things enough to warrant waiting a bit?

    Cheers
    Last edited by kaivalagi; 23rd November 2014 at 08:41 PM.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    16

    Default

    U-turn!

    Likely getting a Z-stick and using the Synology NAS I have now and not bothering with a Rasp PI...I am hoping the RFXCOM can be supported via the second USB later if required....also more inclined to go for the Stella Z valves now with the notion to get Aeon Multisensors later or atleast something that provides light/proximity/temp feedback

    No-one want to post, to give me some of thier own opinions? Plenty of viewing but no posting?? I don't smell, atleast not over the internet!

  4. #4
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kaivalagi View Post
    U-turn!

    Likely getting a Z-stick and using the Synology NAS I have now and not bothering with a Rasp PI...I am hoping the RFXCOM can be supported via the second USB later if required....also more inclined to go for the Stella Z valves now with the notion to get Aeon Multisensors later or atleast something that provides light/proximity/temp feedback

    No-one want to post, to give me some of thier own opinions? Plenty of viewing but no posting?? I don't smell, atleast not over the internet!
    I have a more compartmentalised setup whereby I have heating / security / HA as separate standalone systems, that if required, can talk to each other either by RF protocol (ZWave / RFXCom) or Network.

    As for heating, I will go down the Evohome route. Although you can build the controller via Raspberry PI or HA, the TRVs are all pretty much the same price, so after all the hardwork, it might not be as stable as a commercial offering

    Obviously, ZWave will create a MESH network, so that has advantages over RFXCOM depending on your house construction.

    If your going down the route of heating, you might also want to factor in hot water boiler control also (you'll be wiring into the controller anyways).

    I also have a Synology, but not sure how you are planning to interface the Z-Stick into it (other than plugging it into the USB port and running some kind or rooted HA code??)

    Vangelis

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    16

    Default

    Can you share a little more info on how you would go about integrating standalone systems if you needed to have them effect each other? I've always expected the need to have a single system doing all the logic across heating, lighting, AV etc so am thinking a software based solution would be the answer as none of the hardware (in a box) solutions cover everything easily it seems....but I by no means have this all sussed as yet, hence all the questions

    The drivers for the z-stick on Synology are available through the OpenZWave package and software will be one of several open source solutions and/or my own, e.g. OpenRemote, Domoticz or HomeGenie, all of which are simple enough to setup as Python, Java and PHP are supported as are MySQL databases, so if these systems are built to work on Linux they'll work on the NAS.

    I haven't decided what I'll do with the boiler yet, just having the simple mechanical thermostat and pre-programmed timer I have could arguably be enough to determine when the boiler needs to be active to support ANY heating requirements there might be, so long as the thermostat is set high enough and the timer kicks in for periods where some hot water needs to be pumped around e.g. 20C and not the middle of the night for example. I can always think about controlling the boiler later I guess, with a boiler on/off switch driven by controller logic from zone temp sensors, but I guess the existing thermostat and timer would need to be effectively on all the time to allow for z-wave to control things instead? Best leave them in place I suppose just in case!

  6. #6
    Automated Home Guru Vangelis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    131

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kaivalagi View Post
    Can you share a little more info on how you would go about integrating standalone systems if you needed to have them effect each other? I've always expected the need to have a single system doing all the logic across heating, lighting, AV etc so am thinking a software based solution would be the answer as none of the hardware (in a box) solutions cover everything easily it seems....but I by no means have this all sussed as yet, hence all the questions

    The drivers for the z-stick on Synology are available through the OpenZWave package and software will be one of several open source solutions and/or my own, e.g. OpenRemote, Domoticz or HomeGenie, all of which are simple enough to setup as Python, Java and PHP are supported as are MySQL databases, so if these systems are built to work on Linux they'll work on the NAS.

    I haven't decided what I'll do with the boiler yet, just having the simple mechanical thermostat and pre-programmed timer I have could arguably be enough to determine when the boiler needs to be active to support ANY heating requirements there might be, so long as the thermostat is set high enough and the timer kicks in for periods where some hot water needs to be pumped around e.g. 20C and not the middle of the night for example. I can always think about controlling the boiler later I guess, with a boiler on/off switch driven by controller logic from zone temp sensors, but I guess the existing thermostat and timer would need to be effectively on all the time to allow for z-wave to control things instead? Best leave them in place I suppose just in case!

    The reasoning for keeping my critical systems separate (Security / Heating / Lighting) is in the event of a catastrophic failure in one system, the rest are unaffected. There has been alot of 'chatter' of some HA users coming home to a 'Dead House' and having to return hardware to vendors on a 4 week turn-around!!

    When looking at my systems, I made sure they can communicate with each other. For instance, my hardwired Security System has a ZWave module that allows me to use the hardwired sensors to act as say 'Presence Detection' for the lighting. I can also SSH into systems and monitor log events and use these as triggers for other systems.

    At the end of the day it usually comes down to cost, and there are no hard and fast rules of how to go about things. I know one user was looking at the Raspberry Pi impemeting the CAN-BUS architecture (used in cars), which has priority channels built in. These would act as Nodes all around the house.

    Vangelis

  7. #7
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    16

    Default

    I hear you Vangelis, I will be making sure there is a fallback state for my heating if things go wrong, and I am not going near door locking mechanisms!

    Just a quick update on things here

    Tried to build domoticz for my Synology NAS with no success, the build process had issues with libraries I suspect are down to the version of DSM and the model and to be honest I wasn't going to spend forever trying to understand what needed messing with to make things work!

    What I have done now is build a chroot debian environmnet on the NAS so I can install applications as if it's a debian server, so I compiled domoticz just fine within chroot and have it running and accessible on startup of the NAS...this has opened my eyes up to the possibilies of what I can now run on my NAS with little effort! For anyone wanting to do the same here's a good step by step guide on chrooting debian on synology: http://www.rooot.net/en/geek-stuff/s...bootstrap.html

    Also, speaking to a plumber friend and digging a little more I've decided I also need to get a z-wave boiler receiver to remotely control my boiler and have checked the honeywell timer I have and the wiring is all there to do a direct swap with a Secure 2 channel receiver no problem! Looks like I have an S-plan circuit in my house

    So that'll be another 60 added to the price list though I think I'll have to just go with USB adapter, trv's and boiler receiver for now and put the sensors and some light switches (assuming I don't need to strengthen the network straight away) in later.

  8. #8
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    18

    Default

    Just wanted to say thanks for these thoughts........I am interested in peoples thought processes around HA, given the total chaos with standards and the future being so unclear

    I am a long time user of X10....reasonably techy savvy....and I have some neat control of bits of my house. Lights and a simple on/off of my very old heating system. I also use X10Commander for iphone access to the basic switches

    I have recently had to increase complexity and I added a Pi and a temp sensor that use X10Commander to trigger an electric panel heater in our loft room.......Everytime I invest more in X10 (had to get a new CM19 as well recently) , I keep thinking I should make the jump to z-wave but I can't bring myself to spend either the time or money give the lack of clarity of what is happening.

    Does anyone have views on how apple's ihouse will impact the HA world?

  9. #9
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    16

    Default

    I'm not a great fan of apple products, I refuse to get swallowed up it the whole thing, linux and open source through and through me, even though I develop on windows in my day job most of the time! The fact is both apple and google (with nest) will not be allowing us to get under the hood any time soon and for that reason alone I'm out

    Z-wave really does look like it will be there for ALL requirements in due course, for now I am happy enough with the devices available to get me started on my heating and basic lighting...I just wish some of the devices were a little more aesthetically pleasing and had more finishing options but I can't justify spending mega bucks on fancy looking kit that does the same job as the more decently priced bits! Starting on the HA bandwagon now I have to say the z-wave "way" is a no brainer when compared to other equally priced standards, I will endeavour to keep to just z-wave for all my HA needs where I can and so far I think I'll not need an RFXCOM device for other things....yet....maybe LightwaveRF will deliver on it's promises for more devices and better protocol comms but for now it's all z-wave for me I think.

    Now, I need to get around to buying some bits!

Posting Permissions

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