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simple thermostat monitor?

bradslees
bradslees Member Posts: 34
I want to know how often and/or for how long my thermostat is calling for heat. I was wondering if there is some sort of device I can wire between my thermostat and the boiler that either keeps time when the loop is closed (calling for heat) or counts the number of times the loop closes and re-opens.

Does anyone know of anything like this? I know there are fancy thermostats that will do this and let you download it to a computer or something, but I'm hoping for something cheap and easy!

thanks.

Comments

  • vvzz
    vvzz Member Posts: 39
    I don't know if there's any off the shelf device that does this, but if you are technically inclined, you can use something like arduino controller with on of its discrete ports wired in parallel to the TT terminals on the Aquastat or the Thermostat. Arduino can then log this info on your computer or even onto internet.
  • bradslees
    bradslees Member Posts: 34
    i was thinking much simpler than that. like an electromechanical counter or something like that.
    this sort of thing:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/390756173685?lpid=82

    i'm not electronically inclined (though i follow directions like a champ), but i was thinking either an off the shelf version you just wire in, or some simple board I could make.

    totally ignorant about it, though...
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,777
    If you want to tie it into the low voltage control side of things, you need to find a 24 volt AC model. The one you found would work if you tied it into the 120 volt side of the system. It could be wired in parallel with the primary circulator.
    Carl
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,777
    edited November 2014
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Most new thermostats have a mode that shows hours calling for heat. Usually tracks present day, previous day, and total for the year. Not very pricey either.
  • Condoman
    Condoman Member Posts: 76
    Just an FYI for my approach to a similar issue.

    I have a time lapse camera I bought last summer to capture the addition we had put on. I set this camera to take a picture every 10 seconds between 6:00AM and 10:00PM. The picture captured shows the Taco ZVC with two active zones; #1 heat and #4 priority DHW. Also in the picture is the digital boiler temp on the Honeywell L7224A and a cheap analog 110VAC clock wired across the burner 110. The clock lights up and the second hand moves to verify the burner is on. It takes some time to review all the thousands of frames I upload each morning and afternoon. Today I caught the short cycle I had heard that prompted this research.

    During a heat call the temp went over HL 160 and the burner went off. The heat call was not satisfied yet so, it kept dragging the BT down till it went below 150. The burner fired again and the call was satisfied. The burner was only on 8 seconds. Apparently once the call is over and the BT is above LLD 130, it is off, no matter when it came on.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    From the "Institute of Low Technology", if there is only one circulator and thermostat that you want to log, just get a cheap clock that reads in more than 12 hour intervals and wire it into the circulator. Whenever the circulator runs, the thermostat is calling, and the clock and circulator will be running. Just be sure to log it every day for how long it ran. Or buy a more advanced clock.

    That's worked for me.

    If you're in the habit of looking for useful junk, (like me) you might find something.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Ahh but that circulator will run when the burner is not firing coming off high limit, and initial purge before burner lights off on the call for heat also. So if your clocking gas usage you need the metering device on the gas valve.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    edited November 2014
    I guess the first question on this subject should be why you want to know this and what are you trying to accomplish? You could simply sit in front of the boiler and see when it fires and when the circ shuts off.
    Gordy
  • bradslees
    bradslees Member Posts: 34
    hey all-

    thanks for the good discussion. my motivation was really just to get an idea about how frequently and for how long my boiler was running. I've been a bit amazed so far this year how infrequently it seems to be running to keep the house warm, even on the few cold days we've had. i wanted to get some numbers, but nothing that needed to be super exact (or expensive!).

    in the end, i found this:
    (ENM Item # E6B64GN, E6B Electrical Counter)
    on eBay for 6 bucks. wiring this in between the thermostat and the boiler (it's a direct wire, no relays or complicated controls) will be my first attempt. if that works, i'll grab a cheap hour meter and try that as well.

    so, now the question is how do i wire this thing in?
  • bradslees
    bradslees Member Posts: 34
    ok, so i also tried to post a reply to this thread three times, but i think the fact that i included a link to the website for the counter was causing it not to post. it worked once i removed the link. i apologize if at some point 3 more versions of that same reply show up...
  • bradslees
    bradslees Member Posts: 34
    sorry! clearly my posts got all messed up -- sorry for the message bombs.

    i actually do want to re-query you guys about how I should wire this thing up. I just got it today. it has two black, unlabeled wires coming out of the back. my thermostat is just wired up with one red and one white wire.

    thanks.