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Monitor TACO zone controler

Joebif Member Posts: 51
Does anyone know of a way to monitor a TACO zone controller?  TACO says they do not have a set up for this.

The reason I ask is I would love to know when a zone opens and closes on my greenhouse so I get an idea on how much fuel is used for a zone.  Then if I want to test a new idea with a new zone and area in the greenhouse I would know if it was worth it or not to heat it.  Not just look at the total fuel used but would know what zones were opened and how long.

Anyone know of a way to do this?


  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 19,255

    a Kill o watt meter to the relay then the pump to that.

    If it is a zone relay box, wire a 24 v counter to the output so it records how many minutes the zone valve is powered.

    Or if the zone valve fires a single pump connect the Kill o Watt meter to that output.

    If you get one of the newer solar controllers they have a HQM setting. This measures the delta T across the circuit, with two strap on sensors. If you know the flow rate thru that zone you can calculate BTU/ to the zone.

    It depends on what info you are looking for, just run time or an energy calculation.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Joebif
    Joebif Member Posts: 51
    This what I have

    I have a TACO 6 zone controller that has 6 separate TACO smart zone valves and 6 separate thermostats . In the Zone controller the variable speed TACO pump is wired so when any zone needs heat it starts up or goes faster.  

    The zone valves probably get their 24volt power from the zone controller and I am using a 24 volt transformer to power all the aqua-stats except for a room temperature gauge that is run off batteries.

    As far as what I would like to measure I am not sure which way is better but this is what I am thinking and maybe you could tell me what way to go. I am on a 500 gallon propane tank and would love to know what is using all of the gas. I am thinking of getting a gas meter so I can see more details on usage rather than just looking at a percentage gage on my tank and trying to figure it out. There are 4 zone valves that are on Aqua-stats for (2)fish tanks and (2)plant troughs and 1 zone for the Utility room heat would be the total propane used.

    You asked if I knew the BTU flow rate to a zone and it was calculated by an engineer but who knows if this is accurate or if things changed and I have more or less. Plus it is on a variable speed pump and it probably will change up or down based on other things in the greenhouse, like one side might get more shade on part of the plant troughs and fish tanks. This does not have to be perfect but as close as possible.

    The other thing is I want to create a situation were I can test heating an area for tomato plants in the winter using different insulation's. I want to be able to add a zone for a heat coil to that area and be able to see if that is a viable idea or not. I just do not want to set it up and see my gas usage go up and not know what that new zone is using. Then I can make a good business decision on whether it is worth it or not or keep trying better ideas to heat it so that gas usage goes down.

    Hopefully this gives you a better idea on what I am trying to do.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 19,255
    with that much

    trying to do each zone individually would take a lot of data recording. Maybe a gas meter would be less complication. Google them, here is one


    Gas consumption is a moving target, as outdoor conditions change, temperature, wind solar gain, etc so does the fuel consumption. it's a moving target.

    When you do a heatloss or load calculation you pick a design temperature, that being the coldest day and the temperature you are trying to maintain in the space. You will have plenty days above design and some below, but it gives you a starting point to calculate from.near

    If you are trying to warm a greenhouse or plant beds, it could be a high fuel use application, close to heating the "great outdoors"

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Joebif
    Joebif Member Posts: 51
    Not trying to heat a Greenhouse

    I am only heating the water in the fish tanks and plant troughs along with the Utility room. The BTU loss is very low on these.  The loss on the Utility room is about 6500 BTU/hr. 

    The wood stoves are heating the greenhouse.

    If I add a tomato area that is were I would maybe use a lot of heat but

    with the wood stoves I may be able to channel heat to those areas and

    reduce this to a manageable heating requirement.

    That is why I want to monitor the new zone so I can see if it is a viable solution or not.  You said that I could use a 24 volt counter. Is that what it is called?
  • Jay_14
    Jay_14 Member Posts: 39
    Zone Monitoring

    tekmar offers communicating thermostats that can be monitored through a webpage user interface. The thermostats can be wired to any brand of switching relay including a Taco switching relay 406.

    The suggested parts are as follows:

    Thermostat 538

    Gateway 483

    You can find information of these parts on the tekmar website:


    Jay Vath

    tekmar Control Systems
  • Joebif
    Joebif Member Posts: 51
    Question on tekmar

    Hey Jay thanks for the info.

    Because I am new to this I need to make sure I understand you. 

    With the test I want to make I would use any  tekmar tn4 thermostat with the tn4 gateway 483 and hook up that thermostat to my taco 406 zone controller.

    So for air temperatures this works great.  I have a thermostat in my Utility room that O would need to change.

    How can I do the same thing for water temperatures? I have 4 zones that I need to read the water temperatures of 2 fish tanks and 2 other water tanks that have heat exchangers in them. They have TACO zone valves hooked to that same 406 controller. I purchased 4 A419 Johnson controls but think that the sensors are for pipe reading and not water reading and may have to return these unless I can use some other sensor. A well sensor will not work becasue they need to be directly in the water. The fish tank is a pool liner.

    Does Tekmar make something that would work for me with this application?
  • Joebif
    Joebif Member Posts: 51
    Still need help

    I have been looking at counters, sensors and flowmeters but can't find exactly what I need to monitor the zone valves. Anybody have any links?
  • Bob Vennerbeck
    Bob Vennerbeck Member Posts: 105
    I've used these hourmeters on zone valves & circulators

    I bought a handful of these hourmeters and wired them in parallel with zone valves and circulators at the ZVC - then did a paper log of elapsed run time and fussed it into a spreadsheet - not only were more automagic solutions way too pricey, but this forced a physical visit and mental concentration on the data - how's that for rationalization?


    I searched out a LOT of new and surplus meters and settled on these as almost affordable, and very flexible - they respond to any voltage input AC or DC from 10v to 240v - the part I don't like is the counter and display are powered by a potted lithium battery with anticipated 7 year life - then you have to toss the whole unit.

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