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Thread: Quick question - heater control

  1. #1

    Default Quick question - heater control

    Hi All,

    First post, and I am new to home automation, so please be gentle.

    I took the plunge yesterday and ordered a tado kit to control my central heating and hot water as a first toe dipped into HA. While I wait for that to ship I have another need that should be easy to address, but haven't yet found the ideal solution....

    My kids have a "den" above our garage. This is separate from the main house and is heated by an oil filled radiator. As they are kids, they tend to just leave the thing on full blast all the time - which obviously eats energy. I want to monitor the temperature in that room and control the heater to heat to a set temperature point as well as program a time schedule for it.

    Some time ago, I built a PID based control unit for home brewing that can do this just fine, but it's a bit of a clunky solution and isn't remotely controllable.

    So....is there a simple wifi controllable 240V socket with a built in temperature sensor that I can buy for this application? Or even separate temperature sensors and 240 socket?

    Then, what software to use to monitor and control? Our house is all Macs, so it will need to be OSX compatible.

    Many thanks on advance!

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    There is the Belkin WeMo system, but this seems to have a few security issues. Then there is this energyEgg thing that was showcased on dragons den.
    There are GSM controllable sockets that have temperature sensing, such as this one I know its an EU socket but you could use one of those UK to EU adapter sockets if they don't do a UK version. You could send them an email to see if they can do a UK version. All you would need is the cheapest pay as you go card, as you only send it SMS messages. It can be programmed to send out SMS messages when certain conditions are met. Also you can set on and off time as well.
    Assumption time so I might be wrong. Programming normally with these type of things is done via sending a string of SMS messages. Also you will need to turn off pin required to unlock card, as it won't work in the socket.

    Hope this helps.
    Just remembered this site for network attached power switches, they also do wifi versions.
    Last edited by Otto-Mate; 25th February 2014 at 05:51 PM.
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  3. #3

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    Thanks for that. The energyEgg looks interesting as at least it would turn the heater off when the kids weren't there, however it doesn't give me the temperature contra I need. As for the GSM plug - although that does have temperature it seems kind of a clunky solution. Ideally, a combination of both of those would be what I want.

    However - after reading further into this, it seems it might be time to buy a home automation gateway of some sort and maybe use a separate temperature sensor and power socket - maybe with an IR presence sensor to test for people in the room. That way I could presumably script the behaviour so that between the three they do exactly what I need.

    It looks like z-wave might be the way to go for me - maybe a Vera Lite hub as a starter and then mix and match a z-wave power socket, temperature sensor and IR sensor. Any thoughts on that?

  4. #4
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by adm View Post
    Thanks for that. The energyEgg looks interesting as at least it would turn the heater off when the kids weren't there, however it doesn't give me the temperature contra I need. As for the GSM plug - although that does have temperature it seems kind of a clunky solution. Ideally, a combination of both of those would be what I want.

    However - after reading further into this, it seems it might be time to buy a home automation gateway of some sort and maybe use a separate temperature sensor and power socket - maybe with an IR presence sensor to test for people in the room. That way I could presumably script the behaviour so that between the three they do exactly what I need.

    It looks like z-wave might be the way to go for me - maybe a Vera Lite hub as a starter and then mix and match a z-wave power socket, temperature sensor and IR sensor. Any thoughts on that?
    Z-Wave is a pretty good solution overall, I've been slowly migrating a lot of my legacy Home Automation devices and systems over to Z-Wave during the past 3 years or so. Vera 2 was my choice of controller (after a brief dabble with OpenZ-Wave, which at that time was a little too immature to use in anger) and I've recently upgraded to a Vera 3.

    I find that the flexibility of the Vera is one of it's key benefits, it can integrate all manner of other technologies using plugins - there's a massive developer community over on the MiCasaVerde web site.

    For power sockets I tend to stick to TKB on/off (Everspring are a bit cheaper, but they have reliability issues). Temperature sensors there's many to choose from, I like the Aeon 4in1 as an all-in-one temperature, humidity, light and motion sensor. But I also have the RFXCom based transceivers that can pick up 433MHz Oregon Scientific Weather Station Temperature Sensors (there's a Vera plugin for the USB RFXtrx433 device too). The O/S sensors are great value at under 20, cheaper still on eBay from time to time.

    For I/R I am fortunate that I already have Logitech Squeezeboxes in every room and they can be configured to pass-through any infra red commands to the SqueezeCenter server software (and in my case, onto the xAP network). I don't need to be able to "send" any infra red commands to control any equipment here, since most of my A/V equipment nowadays is network connected and has accessible APIs to allow control over tcp/ip.

    Hope that gives you some food for thought!


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