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Thread: Low cost automation for ancient oil and coal fired system

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2017

    Default Low cost automation for ancient oil and coal fired system

    All of my ramblings on here so far have been to do with a system upgrade and Evohome install in my son's house which is now complete.

    Time to turn my attention to my deceased parents house which I currently occupy pending its sale at some point.

    Its a barn conversion conversion and the heating system was originally an open fire with back boiler and a few radiators . As you can imagine my father soon tired of attending to the fire daily and had a Camray oil boiler installed together with a Dunsley neutraliser, and an extra pump to circulate water round the radiators. The hot water is heated by a cylinder coil gravity fed from the neutraliser.

    Regrettably the only control system was a time programmer and boiler temperature control. The neutraliser was monitored by listening to it boiling, the hot water determined by the boiler thermostat.

    Which means that when the oil boiler is on it constantly cycles water through the neutraliser wasting vast amounts of oil.

    The ideal solution would be to put a motorised valve and tank/pipe stats to control the hot water temperature but that is out because the system vents through the gravity feed to the tank and I cant be bothered to replumb it.

    Step one was to buy a Sonoff S20 smart plug, flash the firmware and have it talking to both home assistant and Smartthings. and plugging the programmer into it set to constant. I also bought an Xionomi (?) temperature sensor and with this I can now both stop the boiler cycling and only have it on whilst calling for heat, and be able to turn it on and off remotely from my phone.

    This represents a major advance and is failsafed by the boiler stat and keeping the room stat in circuit set at 22 degrees which is higher than the Smartthings set point.

    This is where I am at now.
    Last edited by the crooner; 9th January 2018 at 11:19 AM.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2017


    I want to return the Smartthings hub to my son to be sold as surplus to requirements which means that I need all my future devices to talk MQTT.

    For this I have 2 Sonoff TH16 switches, one to control the boiler and circulating pump, and one to control the heating circulating pump.

    I also have two nodemcu chips, one to interface with a bme280 for room temperature purposes, and one to interface to two one wire sensors to obtain tank and neutraliser temperatures.

    I then intend to glue the whole lot together with Home Assistant and update the whole system so it is safer, more efficient and less costly to run.

    I will update as progress is made if anyone is interested.


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