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what's new in remote system control

Bob Bona_4
Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
I was wondering what's been working well for you guys as far as remote system controlling for vacation homes..brands?negatives? positives? Thanks so much! 


  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    I like ENV by Climate Automation Systems...

    They are the new kid on the block, but I like their schpeal appeal.

    They were at the RPA conference. One key feature that I find really interesting is the ability to be PROactive thru their internet connection to the National Weather Service.

    In other words, a room on the east side is calling for heat, and based on the local weather datum, they know that the sun is going to be shining soon, and the high for the day is expected to be in the mid seventies, so they hold off on sending a full charge of heat to the east facing zone that is calling.

    So, essentially, their logic is based on real time, modified by a proactive view of the coming weather patterns. Sure, it's not "perfect", but it's a lot further ahead than the current offerings.

    Their web site is located at

    Check them out.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    edited May 2010

    Dbl Trbl...
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    thanks ME

    will check it out! :)
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Just to clarify....

    CAS is the company that writes the software. You provide the hardware. Hardware consist of a PC (any dual core processor PC), the input and output card(s), communication links (internet connectivity) and control relay's. They will then custom design a logic to fit your wishes, wants and customer needs.

    The "dashboard" of their logic is quite simple and straight forward. It does require the use of a specific thermostat that is compatible with their system, but from what I can tell, that is the only limitation, if that even is considered a limitation.

    As soon as I get a reliable internet connection in the mountains, I will be installing it to control Hydronicahh, and will probably even put it into my home here in town when I retrofit it with the windows.

    It takes any sensor, which can then be scaled into the process. That is appealing to me from the stand point of being able to control my windows, and using one electric power circuit, I can rotate "ON" times of the windows and take the energy potential of one 120 V circuit and spread it around the house. The only wear item at that point are relays, which are easily replaced should they fail. They will write a program that dictates on time based on deviation between glass temperature, room temperature and dictated set points.

    Very flexible.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    here's the ting...

    I hope and dream there is a system out there that will let conventional t-stats be used, or at least, let those stats reside on the wall for normal homeowner intervention, and have the remote controlling done behind the curtain as redundancy. This way, no exotics to deal with, wider choice of mainstream setpoint controls...
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Mixing old and new technology is going to be tough...

    Your existing thermostat is a switch. The new controls wants to see an thermistor and a potentiometer. The pot would be the knob the consumer turns, and the thermistor is the feed back to the control telling it what is going on in the room.

    If you happened to be so lucky as to have a 3 wire thermostat cable in place, you could set two thermostats, one for minimum and one for maximum and then be able to switch between the two remotely, but you could do that with a less expensive off shelf control logic with telephone interconnect abilities. Those logics are extremely limited as to what they can do, but will fill the bill as it pertains to remote control. Seeing two thermostats is kind of ugly, IMHO, but it gets the job done.

    Mixing analog and digital controls can be done, but it takes a lot of function away from the control, and makes it essentially, an expensive bang bang control. Your customer deserves more than that :-) But I also understand, that WYSIWYG, and you have to work within those limiting parameters.

    Good luck in your adventure.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Anchorage
    Anchorage Member Posts: 11
    Try the Ecobee Wifi thermostat/monitor

    Check out the Ecobee wifi thermostat. Johnstone supply was running a special on these recently. I installed one as a home monitoring device in Alaska and it works like a charm. Continious monitoring, with alarms messages sent to mobile phones as text messages, or email etc for high and low temp limits. Easy to program. Control from your IPOD or Itouch or any connected PC/MAc. The neat feature is it records all the temp history and graphs it....this information has never been easy to obtain as it required a data logger. Now I can refer to it any time, from any where and check out a single hydronic zone.

    It will soon allow you to monitor/control other zigbee connected devices like flood sensors, intruder or glass break sensors etc.

    Bang for the buck and ease of can't beat it!

    You will need broadband and a basic wifi/dsl router.......but hooking up the thermostat as a monitor or controller takes only minutes.

    Rgds RD
  • Dave Yates (GrandPAH)
    Dave Yates (GrandPAH) Member Posts: 281

    Looks like we're seeing two separate paths: wired; and wireless with hybrid combinations too.

    We've installed a number of the Ecobee stats. Nice that only 4-wires are required at the wall-stat, which makes this a drop-in for systems with A/C already in play. Been using them for our geothermal installations too. Multi-stage heat/cool & lots of nice features. Customers like the illuminated touch-screen with the local weather display. I like the ability to brand the stat and send messages that will appear on screen. If an issue arrises, the display can be set to show your company name and contact info.
  • Tim Potter
    Tim Potter Member Posts: 261
    Does the house have wired internet?

    If there is a cable modem/DSL or any wired connection, you can use BayWeb

    Price is right 200 to 225, plus you can connect a wireless motion detector, becomes your security system, sends a text to your cell or emails you on an event. We got rid of land line, & went strictly Internet and use our cellphones, saves us a ton of $, and I can monitor temps anytime I want.

    We use at our Lake cabin, and at Mountain Cabin

    I really like it.

    as a side note, you can track your heat usage - like a real time heat loss.

    My situation, 150,000 btu cast iron non mod-con at 9000'

    Maximum usage 25% one time at 30* below, usually in the 5 to 15% usage at normal Fraser CO 10* to 15* below temps.

    Mark E. you were right, I'm WAY OVERSIZED, looks like a 60K TT is in my future.

    Any other Q's feel free to contact.

    Winter Park, CO & Lenexa, KS
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    how about tn4

    How is tekmar's offering looking to you guys? Something along the lines of the 402 House control, with a 313 doing boiler duty?
  • Anchorage
    Anchorage Member Posts: 11
    edited May 2010
    Tekmar are certainly good but very complex and very expensive for a home owner!

    Tekmar stuff looks fine, but they have missed the point when it comes to "keep it simple" and cost. The two methods that allow a home owner to control the system via the internet are a) prohibitively complex and involve setting up either an apple Imac, mac mini computer or similar device as a dedicated server (not a pc) , or one of the extremely expensive after market home controls. The USB interface 483 gateway adaptor alone and the dedicated mac mini computer make it a non starter in my opinion for the aforementioned reasons. Likewise the 482 Gateway adaptor that allows a TN4 network to be controlled by either a crestron, AMX or Elan system....again you are talking about M$ home controls for super high end homes only.

    Another's all proprietary and all the devices, thermostats, controllers have to be Tekmar TN2 or TN4 compatible.

    The other products mentioned in this thread (ecobee for example) provide very similar capabilities for 1/10th to 1/50th of the cost and are plug and play simple with existing control systems.

    Your choice...

    Rgds Ryan
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