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Thread: An Alternative Perspective

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default An Alternative Perspective

    I often read the forum and, having a technical background, I find many of the posts interesting and informative. However I have no need or desire to implement most of the ideas because they do not fit with my requirements.

    I have a well insulated A rated home with an A rated boiler, solar PV, solar thermal HW and a diverter to use excess solar to heat the HW. I also have 2 air con/air source heat pump units. We are at home most days and have no set schedule for when any room will be in use and times and durations of periods away from home are quite random. To get the maximum benefit from this I often need to operate things manually. I have not found any advantage from optimisation and would not anticipate any benefit from the Hot and Cold weather settings and the HW priority will be seriously detrimental for my system. My well placed and accurate external temperature sensor often shows significant variation from the temperatures indicated by EvoHome. Hence I have not asked to be part of the Beta test programme.

    What I do find essential is having individual control of each zone. Before EvoHome I used TRVs and a room thermostat but could not get enough control of each room. EvoHome solved this fundermental problem.

    The improvements that would benefit me are.

    1. Change eco mode to offset mode and allow offsets of say +/- 5 degrees.

    2. Allow individual zones to be switched Off individually (ie set to 5 degrees)

    2. Please, please DO NOT make HW priority mandatory.

    3. Improve battery management for the controller.

    And on the hardware

    4. Improve the reliability of the battery contacts for all components so that they do not need to be “bent” to achieve reliable contact. None of my other battery operated devices require this.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CT1 View Post
    The improvements that would benefit me are.

    1. Change eco mode to offset mode and allow offsets of say +/- 5 degrees.

    2. Allow individual zones to be switched Off individually (ie set to 5 degrees)

    2. Please, please DO NOT make HW priority mandatory.

    3. Improve battery management for the controller.

    And on the hardware

    4. Improve the reliability of the battery contacts for all components so that they do not need to be “bent” to achieve reliable contact. None of my other battery operated devices require this.
    I agree wholeheartedly with all your points except point 2 - you can already do this by setting the zone to 5 degrees, either until a specific time or permanently.

    So I'm not sure what you're asking for in point 2 other than reducing the number of taps it takes to turn a zone down to 5 degrees ? (Don't get me started on that weakness...)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBMandrake View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly with all your points except point 2 - you can already do this by setting the zone to 5 degrees, either until a specific time or permanently.

    So I'm not sure what you're asking for in point 2 other than reducing the number of taps it takes to turn a zone down to 5 degrees ? (Don't get me started on that weakness...)

    I have assumed that “make permanent “ would permanently override the schedule for that day of the week in future not just the current day?

    Also I agree that the multiple taps to change temperature are a pain, especially as the screen is not very responsive.

  4. #4
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    Superb set of enhancements that would benefit us all - being able to turn a zone off with one click would be really good.

  5. #5
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    I am from the camp that actually does not think the battery contacts are to blame. I actually think we feel they need fixing and in doing so reboot devices and hence they appear to work again. I actually believe the weakness is in the radio protocol.

  6. #6
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    I've only had my system installed for a couple of days, so I'm still working everything out. However I do have a few observations as a new user.

    Agree with your point 1 and 2.
    On point 2, I think this would be useful for things like spare bedrooms or other unused rooms, which you want to be usually off but at a quick touch allow it to follow a 'normal' schedule if for example it is occupied by guests etc.

    To expand on that, the whole issue of zoning I find interesting. I'm not sure I ever found a definitive definition of what a 'zone' actually is in the context of the Evohome system, but made the assumption that it was a single or group of heating areas that can have their time schedule and temperature set, independent of other 'zones' (I think I was correct).

    When I first mapped out my rooms and number of radiators it seemed to me that 12 zones was quite restrictive, on the basis that I'd like every room to be it's own zone. I have more than 12 rooms and I'm sure a lot of larger houses will too.
    So I presume the idea of this is to group similarly used rooms together, but without making it so complex that there are too many schedules to keep programmed and up to date.

    Some of these mappings are logical such as downstairs hallway and upstairs landing can be zoned together, and rooms connected via an opening such as kitchen/dining room in my case, which in effect is one large room.
    However once you do this and set up the zoning, it seems you lose any visibility of the rooms within a zone. For example, in 'System Summary' all I see is RADIATOR VALVE. It doesn't tell me that 'Living room' actually has 2 radiator valves in the same room, or that 'Kitchen Dining' is actually 2 rooms with a radiator valve in each.
    I would have liked to see the setup process involving adding each room by name as step one, then grouping these into zones, with the ability to move them between zones (e.g. moving a Guest Bedroom from an 'unused' zone to an 'active' zone)
    I'm interested in how everyone else manages the zoning process?

    Other than that so far so good. A couple of minor things, such as the controller doesn't sit very tightly or securely on the wall-mount kit - it wobbles a bit when you touch the screen, and it can be lifted straight off. I would have liked to see it lock into place, as I have visions of it getting knocked upwards then falling straight onto the floor off the mount.
    Also I have the HR92 set for 'room temperature' display which to me seems preferable to set temperature. However as the bottom part of the LCD is unused in idle mode, it would have been nice to have the 'other' temperature displayed at the bottom too. Don't know whether these devices are capable of receiving OTA firmware updates from the controller?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce_miranda View Post
    I am from the camp that actually does not think the battery contacts are to blame. I actually think we feel they need fixing and in doing so reboot devices and hence they appear to work again. I actually believe the weakness is in the radio protocol.
    I am of the same view. The best example is one you have raised. The HW sensor. If I get error messages in the log it is always the HW sensor telling me contact has been lost. Nothing to do with the batteries fitting properly, although they could be tighter, as without touching the batteries it self rights later and is fine for some time. As it is the only item where I get this report it has to be the signal strength emanating from the device or, as you have found, its orientation.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by G4RHL View Post
    I am of the same view. The best example is one you have raised. The HW sensor. If I get error messages in the log it is always the HW sensor telling me contact has been lost. Nothing to do with the batteries fitting properly, although they could be tighter, as without touching the batteries it self rights later and is fine for some time. As it is the only item where I get this report it has to be the signal strength emanating from the device or, as you have found, its orientation.
    Like you the HW is the only sensor that reports regular loss of comms. This is not a battery issue because it has be occurring on and off since the system was installed. I think the problem is that it is impracticable to mount it away from the HW tank and pipework. I would prefer it to be mains powered and have a more robust radio signal/protocol.

    The issue with batter contacts is seen when batteries are replaced or the valve head moved. Just a gental tap can cause the display to blank and the device reboot.

  9. #9
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    Thoughts on other issues.

    Weather Compensation.

    I have an external thermometer that is carefully positioned to give accurate air temperature. I see several sources of estimated air temperature from the likes of EvoHome, Amazon Echo, BBC weather app etc. None of the internet based services give an accurate indication of current temperature. Even if they were accurate they would not be particularly helpful as some rooms in my house have considerable solar gain and others have none.

    Because my highly insulated house gets too hot in the summer, I have installed air con units, which also act as air source heat pumps when required. In Spring and Autumn a sunny day will give enough Solar PV to run these even when it is relatively cold outside so I use these to provide a quick boost to the heating when available. This obviously does not fit with a logic based solely on external temperature.

    One of the biggest variables affecting what represents a comfortable temperature at any given time, is the level of physical activity. What is comfortable when active is different from what is needed when watching TV or reading a book. This requires manual intervention and I find is far more important than external weather conditions.

    Start up optimisation.

    Our household does not follow a set schedule so the heating tends to be manually turned “on” in the morning and turned “off” at night. Fortunately our high levels of insulation tend to keep the temperature within acceptable limits overnight.

    Even if we followed a set schedule, the lighter sleepers would not want to hear valves operating before their alarm went off.

    HW Priority

    It cannot be said often enough that this should be optional. I suspect many/most users do not have Opentherm boilers which I think I read was one of the reasons for introducing this. As well as a large hot water tank, my house has relatively small radiators that were installed in the days of high flow temperatures. They are just about okay with my new modulating boiler and a well insulated house but do not give the fastest heat up times. I also like to have the heating ticking over once up to temperature and do not want it to shut down for a period while heating the HW.

    Conclusion

    I accept that I am not a typical users of EvoHome, but find the individual zone control is an absolute necessity. I have no problem with all the other clever feature being there for those who benefit from them, but please keep them as options so that I can continue to operate my system in a simple semi automatic way.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by CT1 View Post
    I have assumed that “make permanent “ would permanently override the schedule for that day of the week in future not just the current day?
    A permanent override is just that - permanent. It applies continously 24/7, and is restored after using (most!) actions like heating off. So if you set a zone permanently to 10C it will drop to 5C with heating off mode but revert to continous 10C when you come out of heating off. It won't automatically revert to the programmed schedule.

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