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Thread: Looks like Wiser is catching up with Evohome

  1. #1
    Automated Home Legend paulockenden's Avatar
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    Default Looks like Wiser is catching up with Evohome

    https://www.automatedhome.co.uk/revi...uch-wiser.html

    Interesting read.

    I think Evohome still has advantages, but Wiser seems to have caught up (and even overtaken) in some areas.

    P.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulockenden View Post
    https://www.automatedhome.co.uk/revi...uch-wiser.html

    Interesting read.

    I think Evohome still has advantages, but Wiser seems to have caught up (and even overtaken) in some areas.

    P.
    Not exactly a glowing review, (especially the price increases on the TRV's) but it's good to see there is one more system that is roughly comparable to Evohome, more choice is better.

    If I was to move house today and leave the Evohome behind, (which I think I would, as it is too deeply embedded to remove without having to replace it with something else to leave a usable heating system) I'm not sure what I'd buy. It's a difficult thing to research though - reviews are all very well but I don't think you can truly get a handle on a system until you have had it in your house for the winter...

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    Automated Home Legend paulockenden's Avatar
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    I agree that long-term usage is important in making decisions, but that's exactly what that review covered!

    What's interesting to me is that Wiser is starting to pick off many of Evohome's (previous) USPs. And has some things that Evohome lacks, particular range extenders.

    Of course Evohome's big plus factor is maturity. And that still counts for a lot. But there's serious competition out there now, and that's got to be a good thing, if only to keep Honeywell on its toes.

    Evohome needs to keep evolving if it isn't to become the AltaVista of smart heating controls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBMandrake View Post
    Not exactly a glowing review, (especially the price increases on the TRV's) but it's good to see there is one more system that is roughly comparable to Evohome, more choice is better.

    If I was to move house today and leave the Evohome behind, (which I think I would, as it is too deeply embedded to remove without having to replace it with something else to leave a usable heating system) I'm not sure what I'd buy. It's a difficult thing to research though - reviews are all very well but I don't think you can truly get a handle on a system until you have had it in your house for the winter...
    I am still firmly on the fence. My new home (box) has 15cm Ecotherm insulation in the walls and floor, and rolls and rolls of loft insulation. I hate the three ESi controls (yes, 3 because the installer has put a separate programmer onto the hot water zone). Wiser looks to be a good option except for the fact that I am in the 20% that doesn’t have the standard wall-mounted timer/programmer. The wiring is in a standard recessed wall box with a surface blanking plate. I am not sure that my re-wiring skills are up to the job of fitting the Wiser box.

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    Another firmware update would be nice to make us believe that Evohome isn't dead. Again we recently had the situation where the Panel showed Heat off but clearly someone had manually turned up a rad knob. And I couldn't tell which.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce_miranda View Post
    Another firmware update would be nice to make us believe that Evohome isn't dead. Again we recently had the situation where the Panel showed Heat off but clearly someone had manually turned up a rad knob. And I couldn't tell which.
    I keep hoping that there might be a new product in development that will address many of Evohome’s limitations, and put clear distance between Evohome and its rivals.

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    Automated Home Legend paulockenden's Avatar
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    I suspect any new product might be "rip it out and start again". I don't think Evohome can cope with OTA firmware updates for things like HR92s and BDR91s, for example. It's all baked-in.

    (it'd be nice if I was wrong, though!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulockenden View Post
    I agree that long-term usage is important in making decisions, but that's exactly what that review covered!
    I know it's a long term review, but I meant it's hard to judge a system until I've used it myself long term. Reviewers may focus on things that aren't as important to me and miss things that are.

    For example as you know precision of temperature control, avoiding temperature overshoots with step changes in set point, and doing both those things well despite changes in weather is a point of particular interest and concern for me, but may not be something that the average reviewer would even consider or test, especially if they're used to the woeful temperature control of traditional TRV's - any electronic TRV is going to be an improvement over them, but some more than others.

    Was the reviewer comparing the regulated room temperatures against an independent thermostat ? Probably not. Were they monitoring graphs of room temperatures to see how the system copes under changing conditions ? Probably not. Evohome performs well when it comes to room temperature control but I haven't seen any reviews for other systems that would show how they compare in this regard.

    Features I can glean from reviews but some aspects of performance are going to be suck it and see, but by then you've bought the system so it's difficult to back out if it "works" but you're not happy with the performance, especially if you're coming from another system like Evohome.
    What's interesting to me is that Wiser is starting to pick off many of Evohome's (previous) USPs. And has some things that Evohome lacks, particular range extenders.
    The wireless comms used by Evohome is frankly the biggest millstone around its neck, and what worries me about future improvements in the system the most. Missing features such as better smart phone control, graphing, proximity detection (via smartphone proximity to the house) etc can all be added by either a new controller or software updates or a bit of both. I'm sure a new model of controller running a new OS will come out sooner or later that will talk to existing devices, and if the improvement in functionality and UI is sufficiently appealing I will probably get it to replace the wifi controller model I have now.

    But the fundamental over the air wireless protocol is unreliable, unencrypted, fairly inextensible and quite frankly antiquated. It was good when it was created 15 (?) plus years ago but these days it should be using some sort of IP protocol which fully supports acknowledged/confirmed message delivery, is fully extensible for all possible future needs (not hard to do these days) and supports an optional mesh mode or repeater units.

    It's crazy that in 2018 I have a smart heating system which from time to time still "loses contact" between my controller and zone valve BDR91's - which are only 6 metres apart with only one solid wall and a glass door in between them, for long enough to show the big scary red warning. Or that my hot water temperature still from time to time overshoots because a temperature reading from the wireless thermostat doesn't come through. Or that my boiler occasionally runs on for 20 minutes after I've turned the heating off because a heat demand message from controller to BDR91 was lost or clobbered and the controller is none the wiser because it wasn't expecting an acknowledgement. Or that when I turned the living room on by itself the other day the HR92 opened the valve but the boiler never came on because the heat demand message from the HR92 to controller got lost. (Confirmed on the heat demand debug screen on the controller...)

    It's simply not good enough for the wireless comms to be this unreliable and vulnerable to interference. I've spent a lot of time troubleshooting the system (especially the hot water sensor) and have come to the conclusion that there just isn't anything else that I can do about it due to the design of the protocols where so many messages are sent without expectation of an acknowledgement, and the system relying on the messages being idempotent so that when a later retransmission of a similar message does get through the "harm" of the lost message is undone. (For example a 0% heat demand message to a BDR91 being resent every 20 minutes so eventually the message gets through)

    I've had plenty of experience with wireless equipment and protocols as well. I've designed and built wireless networks right back to the early days, including some long distance outdoor 802.11a point to point links spanning as much as 6 miles for business grade broadband way back in 2003 when it wasn't an easy thing to do. At the moment I manage the wireless network for the company I work for as well. So I'm not a muppet when it comes to understanding and troubleshooting wireless comms issues and I still can't get the comms to be fully reliable in my Evohome system. Acceptably reliable, yes I suppose, but not fully reliable. I still get errors, warnings and lost comms that shouldn't be happening, that cause various strange operating quirks such as phantom overrides etc.

    In short they need to ditch the Rameses II protocol and start again in 2018 with a clean sheet of paper. My fear is that Honeywell will be too scared to make a clean break with the next generation system as it would obsolete all the old accessories like HR92, BDR91 overnight as they wouldn't be compatible. It's a much harder sell to have to replace every device in the house instead of just fit a new controller. (But I would gladly leave the old system behind and buy the new system when moving house)

    At some point it is simply going to have to happen if we're to ever see the range and reliability problems solved, and other missing functionality like over the air firmware upgrades to radiator controllers etc. Never mind a new multitouch controller with more powerful processor and OS, we need a new wireless protocol!

    Some of Honeywell's competitors have the advantage of coming to market much more recently and thus aren't burdened by over 15 years of protocol and device backward compatibility. They can implement robust, encrypted, secure modern IP wireless comms systems that are extensible for the future and allow functionality like repeaters or mesh communication as part of the original protocol design.
    Last edited by DBMandrake; 15th October 2018 at 05:02 PM.

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    Automated Home Legend paulockenden's Avatar
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    Spot on. (I need to write something else because apparently that's too short).

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulockenden View Post
    Spot on. (I need to write something else because apparently that's too short).
    If you recall I sent back my Tado because it was all controlled by the cloud; Wiser is not. The only thing that held me back from going Wiser was less support for wet underfloor (I don't have any yet, but expect that I will - but wouldn't be surprised if Wiser end up supporting it).

    Evohome still feels abandonned (when I originally posted that before I went tado the torches were out!). It does work, which is the fundamental of any heating system, but with just a bit of polish it could be truly excellent.

    Best wishes
    James

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