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Thread: What would you like to see in evohome? (have your say)

  1. #151
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    Wishlist:

    1) Per zone boiler demand display on the controller and phone app. Now that display of local HR92 override has been adressed this is the most glaring remaining omission in the user interface/experience. There is still no way to see on the controller or phone app which zones are currently calling for heat, or indeed whether *any* zone is calling for heat. The only way to be aware of a heat demand is to watch the LED on the BDR91 or OpenTherm bridge. Sure, you can guess by looking at the set point versus the measured temperature for each zone, but if you are in the +/- 1.5 degree TPI proportional band the conclusion you can draw is very murky indeed as it bases the heat demand not just on temperature difference but also temperature trends etc. Also secondary HR92's in multiroom zones cannot be evaluated this way - they may be calling for heat when the temperature reading of the master HR92 in the zone causes the controller to indicate that they would not be.

    The reason per zone heat demand is so important is that without it many users will find it difficult to "trust" the system completely when they see their boiler coming on for "unexplained" reasons. Sometimes there is a genuine issue such as a binding error, or it could be a syncronisation error with an HR92 (bug #1 above can lead to "unexplained" boiler firing) but in all cases there is absolutely no practical way for the end user to troubleshoot the issue, because the controller simply does not provide the necessary information to diagnose the problem. This leads to lots of trial and error and hocus pocus rebinding incantations in an attempt to solve the issue. The only true way to debug inexplicable boiler firing down to an individual zone at the moment other than very long winded trial and error is with an HCI80 and custom software, or the latest domoticz plugin - which is really not acceptable.

    We know the controller has access to the boiler demand from each zone because the HR92's send that demand to the controller which then aggregates the demand and sends it to the boiler relay - so *please* just display this information on the display and in the phone app. Even something like a small flame in the corner of the set point line for each zone with say 3 sizes based on low, medium or high demand would be an order of magnitude better than the complete lack of information we have now. I think it would greatly reassure those users who are a little bit "iffy" about the inscruitable boiler control of the Evohome, and allow any problems with spurious boiler demand to be tracked down and solved in minutes instead of hours or days.

    2) Make the Heating OFF action really be heating off! In Heating OFF mode HR92's can still be turned back up manually to call for heat and thus turn the boiler on, but there is no way from the control panel to either prevent this or know that it has even happened, because not only is there no heat demand indicator for zones (item #1 above) the word OFF also replaces the set point so you can't see that the set point has been changed. For those that don't know how the OFF action works behind the scenes, it simply suspends the normal scheduled set point changes and then "politely" asks all HR92's to change their set points to 5 degrees (or whatever your OFF mode is configured to) at the next scheduled 4 minute communication window, and then relies on all HR92's in the house to do so and individually cease calling for heat. So it can be several minutes before the boiler goes off for the last time. If you turn one of the HR92's up manually this is not indicated on the controller but it calls for heat and the controller passes that call for heat through to the boiler relay despite clearly saying OFF for every zone displayed. It's no wonder users get confused about phantom boiler firing when the user interface is basically lying to them in this scenario.

    I can think of two potential solutions to this problem, although I'm unsure which might be best:

    a) Because the controller must forward on heat demand requests from HR92 zones to the boiler relay, if the controller is in Heating OFF mode, it should simply ignore the heat requests from the zones and directly tell the boiler relay to stay off. To ensure that frost protection continues to work, an exception should be made for any zones with an indicated temperature equal to or lower than the OFF temperature setting. EG if a zone reports 10 degrees and is calling for heat when the heating is "OFF", ignore it, however if it reports 4 degrees allow its heat demand to be passed through to the boiler. An advantage of this approach is that when you turn the heating OFF it will go off immediately instead of with some random delay up to 4 minutes and the user can be very confident that off means off and no antagonists like small children can turn the boiler back on by twiddling with a radiator valve... A disadvantage is that I sometimes find it useful to turn on an individual zone manually when the rest of the heating is ostensibly in OFF mode. It would no longer be possible to do this.

    b) Send the 5 degree heating off set point to HR92's as now, however if any zone is later turned up and starts calling for heat, replace the word OFF in that zone with the actual set point (and heat demand per wishlist #1) on the screen to make it very clear that although the rest of the heating is off, someone has turned that zone back on. In effect that zone is no longer in OFF mode and will function and be displayed normally.

    3) Advance mode. Conventional timers have an Advance button that will fast forward the schedule to the next on/off change and then resume from there. Extremely handy for situations like getting up early, going to bed early, leaving for work early or arriving home early. In short its an indispensible feature that people use all the time. One of the biggest culture shocks switching to an Evohome system is the complete absense of such a feature. Arriving home early for example means manually and tediously turning up every individual zone, with the only possible alternatives being to use the Day off or Custom quick actions, neither of which may be suitable for what you want. (I sometimes use Day Off mode as a workaround but Custom is more or less useless as it is too limited)

    Obviously because every zone has its own schedule and that schedule is set points not just on/off, a simple advance to next on/off schedule button can't be done, however a function to advance to a user specified time most definitely could be. For example say you had the downstairs rooms configured to go off at 11pm and you wanted to go to bed at 10am. You could just choose to "Advance schedule to 11pm". All the set points would then change to what they normally would be at 11pm and then hold there until 11pm actually came and passed, then it would resume the normal schedule. The time which the schedule advanced to would need to be intelligently chosen in relation to your schedule of course, but that is not difficult and could be done as part of the schedule programming. There could be the option to set the time with the standard time adjustment controls on an as needed basis, or perhaps some user customisable preset times, (at least 4 to 6 of them) so that when you press the advance button, the default is to advance to the next time among the presets that you have defined but the time can then be overridden with the time adjustment control. If you had advance time presets for early bed, early rise, early leave for work and early return home you could basically get the exact same functionality of a conventional advance button.

    4) Quicker ways to override temperatures of one or more zones. Making a significant override to a zone via the controller using the little up down arrows is very tedious, lets face it. If you're changing a single zone from 20 to 21 degrees its quick and easy enough, however if you're changing a zone from 20 to 5 degrees before going to bed that's 30 presses of the down arrow or about 15 seconds holding it down for it to slowly step down which is rather painful. Multiply that by several zones and you have a very un-userfriendly experience. An HR92 can be turned down from 20 to 5 in about 2 seconds with a twist of the knob (but careful not to accidentally set it to OFF) and a DT92 can be set to 5 degrees by holding the power button for a second, but there is no quick way to do this on the controller, and no way to do a batch change of temperature on multiple zones.

    The custom quick action can sort of be used to solve the "going to bed early" problem by setting the custom schedule to 5 degrees before your earliest bed time and enabling it for all non-bedroom rooms, but because you can only specify the custom action to stop at midnight its no use if you go to bed after midnight. A better solution would be to have the temperature control bring up a pop up overlay that shows the current temperature, up and down arrows end time, and a row of about 6 preset temperature buttons. These could be commonly used temperatures such as 5, 12, 16, 18, 20 and so on which you have configured in settings previously. So if you are just wanting to turn the zone off you can hit temperature, hit the 5 degree button then OK, all in about a second instead of 30 tedious presses on the down arrow. Furthermore, instead of simply an OK button to press after selecting the temperature and override time, there could also be a "Multiple Zones" button that you can press that will then bring up a list of all zones (like the zone list in the custom quick action) where you can very quickly tap multiple additional zones to apply the change to before pressing OK. This would *greatly* speed up the process of getting multiple zones turned off or on to the same temperature manually.

    Continued...
    Last edited by DBMandrake; 3rd June 2016 at 04:00 PM.

  2. #152
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    5) Option to disable boiler demand for a zone to properly support an electric heating zone using a zone relay. At the moment it is almost possible to use a sensor such as a DT92 in combination with a BDR91 configured as a "Zone Valve" to provide TPI control of an electric heater or some other type of relay controlled heating that does not require the boiler to fire up. The issue of course is that it will fire up the boiler unnecessarily, potentially with the boiler piping its entire output through the bypass loop as all radiators may be closed. It would be *so* easy to simply add a "Boiler Demand Yes/No" option in the zone configuration to allow for such a scenario. Or it could perhaps be done by creating a new type of Zone which does not call for heat rather than mis-using the "Zone Valve" zone type. I see many people asking for this option.

    6) Ability to set minimum on time and number of cycles per hour for S plan boiler control, and zone valves. This is a bit of a no brainer really - those who have to use an S play relay configuration are forced to accept the default minimum on time and cycles per hour, which may be completely unsuitable for their system.

    7) Away mode should only *reduce* (cap) the set points to the away temperature, not increase them. Otherwise a zone scheduled to less than 15 degrees such as a 5 degrees unused spare room will likely have its radiator turned on by going into away mode. For me this makes the away mode more or less useless because I do not want an unused room that has fallen below 15 degrees to actually come on when I am *leaving* the house. The away mode temperature should act as a cap so that any zones that are above 15 degrees are brought down to 15 degrees, but any zones that are already below 15 degrees are left as they are. In addition Away mode should be able to be used as a starting point for a house wide set back - currently when in away mode you can not manually override any zone set points from the controller, but you can from an HR92 or DT92 - why ? I can see no reason why a manual override could not be made on top of away mode. Artificially restricting the users control like this doesn't make sense.

    8) Allow the time period for Away, Eco, Custom etc to be set more granularly. At the moment you can set Eco to hours but not days, and Away and Custom can only be set to the nearest day (always ending at midnight) which is extremely limiting. The OFF action cannot be scheduled at all - why ?

    9) Allow the eco mode offset to be adjustable in setup, and fix/remove the 15 degree cap. Personally I find a 3 degree set back too much so I don't usually use Eco mode. However if I could configure it to 1 or 2 degrees I would probably use it for house wide set back.

    10) Allow Day off Mode to be used concurrently with other modes - It's not currently possible to use the day off action in combination with other actions such as Eco mode.

    11) Allow more than 6 set point change intervals per day. Although it is enough in most cases I have found myself butting my head against the 6 set point limit in both bedroom and bathroom zones where I would like to do something a bit more "clever" than normal.

    12) Remove the rediculous rounding of temperatures towards the setpoint and optionally show the full 0.1 degree temperature precision. (The latter in an advanced mode perhaps ?) I don't mind the rounding to 0.5 degrees so much but biasing the reading towards the set point really irks me and I can see absolutely no valid reason to do this.

    13) Add an outdoor temperature reading which pulls its temperature data from the same source on the internet that the Phone app uses. Now that the controller is wifi connected this should be easy.

    14) Return the ability to turn optimal start on/off per zone.

    15) The system summary currently does not indicate which zones have a wall stat such as a DT92 and which are using HR92's as temperature sensor - only evohome/remote is indicated. Seeing what type of device is being used as the temperature sensor (instead of just "remote") would help to ensure the system is correctly bound when making changes.

    16) Others have already mentioned it, but don't allow an H92 to be turned 'OFF' so easily. Probably not possible without an HR92 firmware update but we can wish... I've had to explain to my other half on more than one occasion why the HR92 should be set to 5 degrees not "OFF" when turning it off, otherwise it won't come back on again the following day...

    Final comments:

    I don't want to make it sound like I'm slamming Evohome or Honeywell, in fact I absolutely love the system despite some of the shortcomings and bugs identified above, (most of which don't affect me on a daily basis) and still think its the best system you can buy for a residential installation. It's clean, simple and elegant, and for the most part easy to use, and has some very sophisicated control algorithms behind the scenes that I really appreciate. While some other systems may improve on the user interface in certain respects, I don't think they have nearly the same underling sophistication when it comes to actually controlling your boiler and radiators. I'm still building out my system and will be getting more HR92's, a couple more DT92's and possibly the hot water kit in the months to come - which I wouldn't do if I didn't believe in the system and wasn't overall satisfied with it.

    Nearly all of the points above can be addressed by a controller firmware update, (aside from wishlist #16) so I remain optimistic that some of the suggestions fed back to Honeywell by users will get implemented at some point, and that hopefully some of the bugs will be addressed as well. I have had both email and a phone call from Honeywell staff in relation to one of the issues I previously reported on the forum, with one of Honeywells engineers offering to visit my house to look at the problem (coincidentally I live only a few miles from Honeywell) which I would have taken them up on had we not been expecting a newborn baby at any moment, and had the problem actually reoccurred. (which it has not so far)

    I think the main challenge Honeywell faces with the Evohome is that the interface needs a little bit of a revamp to allow for additional functionality - its very good in most ways but is showing its age in others, (it can't help but betray its Window CE heritage) and it seems like some functionality is missing or not as good as it could be simply because the layouts on the screen would not allow room for it - for example the 6 set points per day limit seems to be due to the fact that there is no more room to fit more than 6 set points across the set point editing screen without adding scrolling or additional dialogues.

    There also seems to be a little bit of "Apple like" obsession over keeping the interface as simple as possible for new users but in the process limiting or omitting features due to this, so perhaps the suggestion of an "expert mode" made earlier in the thread would be a good compromise, with more advanced features hidden unless enabled.
    Last edited by DBMandrake; 3rd June 2016 at 03:52 PM.

  3. #153
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    1. I believe the most important issue is that of wi-fi communications. What's needed is a dedicated Evohome repeater to exend the reliable wi-fi range.

    2. At least one, but preferably two or three more custom schedules.

    FB

  4. #154
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    You can use any WiFi extension (repeater - access point etc) with evoHome - they all work. I think you're meaning a repeater for the evoHome RF protocol on 868Mhz and if so I'm in full agreement that we need a repeater - or a way of better linking (merging) controllers via Ethernet.

  5. #155
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    Default 868Mhz repeaters for Evohome

    Many thanks Kevin

    Kevin - Thank you, you are of course correct - what I would like to see is a dedicated repeater for the evoHome RF protocol on 868Mhz.

    I have seen it suggested that there are 868Mhz repeaters available, particularly for security systems. Has anyone tried to
    use a third party product of this nature?

    FB

  6. #156
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    A repeater needs to be protocol aware, and be able to store and forward messages.

    It's no good just receiving weak 868MHz signals and dumbly repeating them else you end up in a feedback loop.

    Likewise, even an intelligent repeater needs to somehow 'tag' the re-broadcast messages so that it doesn't see its own output.

    I did a fair bit of work trying to get one working, but got bogged down with other tasks. However, I suspect I was going about it the wrong way. It would almost certainly be easier to add this as an option to the existing Domoticz / HGI80 code.

  7. #157
    Automated Home Legend paulockenden's Avatar
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    I'm starting to get battery warnings (gradually replacing mine with lithium). It's a real pain, though, that the warnings on the controller only identify the zone. I've several zones with multiple paired components (One has three radiators and one room stat) - it's such a pain to then have to go round trying to work out which one of them is reporting the low battery level.

    Maybe that's something that can be thought about for the next revision - naming devices within zones.

  8. #158
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    I know this has been said before - but why can't the Evohome system run with 2 (or more) BDR91 relays to manage the S Plan Plus system serving two distinct circuits - one zone valve feeding upstairs and one zone valve downstairs. I understand the logistics of each radiator having its own TRV control theoretically rendering multiple zones unnecessary but we have 22 radiators (plus 2 not on Evohome) plus 3 towel rails in a decent sized house all fed from the one boiler relay. The feed pipes underneath floorboards upstairs are running with CH water throughout the day which to me seems wasteful.

    Yes- the present setup works but what exactly prevents Honeywell using the S Plan Plus on the Evohome system.

  9. #159
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    Quote Originally Posted by killa47 View Post
    I know this has been said before - but why can't the Evohome system run with 2 (or more) BDR91 relays to manage the S Plan Plus system serving two distinct circuits - one zone valve feeding upstairs and one zone valve downstairs. I understand the logistics of each radiator having its own TRV control theoretically rendering multiple zones unnecessary but we have 22 radiators (plus 2 not on Evohome) plus 3 towel rails in a decent sized house all fed from the one boiler relay. The feed pipes underneath floorboards upstairs are running with CH water throughout the day which to me seems wasteful.

    Yes- the present setup works but what exactly prevents Honeywell using the S Plan Plus on the Evohome system.
    I'd agree with this as well. Honeywell know that larger homes are the ones most likely to benefit from an EvoHome system and that these homes are required to deploy S Plan+ heating systems nowadays. I wouldn't think it too hard to implement 2 BDR's connected to EvoHome.

    I have a S Plan+ system today with EvoHome and have 2 x BDR's. I bound both at the same time to the EvoHome, which works, but does seem wasteful.

    Roy.

  10. #160
    Automated Home Legend paulockenden's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by killa47 View Post
    The feed pipes underneath floorboards upstairs are running with CH water throughout the day which to me seems wasteful
    There shouldn't be. If none of the rads are open in that 'circuit' then there shouldn't be any hot water flow into it.

    P.

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