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How to attach open/closed smart circuit sensor to boiler to count daily cycles?

If you've seen my recent threads, you know that I lost flame on the coldest days of winter so far. Now that I fixed the issue, I'd like to be able to use a smart home device to count daily boiler on/off cycles, so I can monitor the work of the boiler while I'm away, as I am this week. Here's my idea. I have a Samsung Smartthings hub that measures many conditions and systems in my house, one of which is door opening/closing. I installed tiny little magnetically actuated open/closed sensors on all my doors. When the door is closed, a magnet embedded into the door triggers another magnet in a switch embedded in the door frame. This then informs a sensor assembly that sends a circuit open/closed message to my smart hub and displays a door open/closed notification to my phone. Wondering if I could take one of these door sensor assemblies and remove the door magnetic switching hardware out of the equation and simply hook up the signal-sender to something on my boiler controls that would show make/break? Anybody have any creative ideas? This is essentially for poops and giggles -- nice to know but not essential to know. When I'm away from the property, I can monitor various temperature sensors throughout the house to confirm that the heat is on. But it would be nice to figure out an easy way to connect a sensor to the boiler that would show cycles of on/off. Any ideas?


  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,662
    Easiest way would be to connect a 24 vac relay in parallel with the gas valve(or 120v ac with oil burner motor) and connect its contacts to the dry contact input of your control system.
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,007
    Use the KISS method. The temperature at the thermostat will tell you if the heat is working.

    Or get a camera and you can get a direct "look" at anything it can see. I use one to monitor my sightglass and pressure gauge. All I needed was electricity to the camera, wifi (a tenant's) and the app on my phone. Plus if I need the camera for something else, I can redeploy it.
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
    Here's a 24v impulse counter for 99 cents.
    It needs DC though, so you'd need a diode. If you have a CycleGard it will count all the intermittent level tests, and I'm not sure how to work around that.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,569
    The easiest way would be to put a temp sensor in or near the boiler cabinet. You could probably find a way to position the door sensor on the gas valve so that it triggers when the valve opens but it would be a total science project.

    I log boiler cycles using motor loggers and ct switches all the time. The problem with my way is that it is not real time. I just download the data along with outdoor temps to figure out the actual load on the boiler.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • hank66
    hank66 Member Posts: 3
    I've used the ecobee smart thermostat with good success. While it won't directly tell you if your boiler is firing, it does log a historical view in real time a) when the call for heat starts and ends, b) indoor and outdoor temps. See attached screen shot. I use in conjunction with a webcam on the sight glass and on the pressure gauge.

  • Chris_L
    Chris_L Member Posts: 336
    If your boiler has an automatic vent damper, could you place the open/close sensor on it without interfering with its operation?
  • Motorapido
    Motorapido Member Posts: 307
    Chris_L said:

    If your boiler has an automatic vent damper, could you place the open/close sensor on it without interfering with its operation?

    Brilliant suggestion. Yeah, I could stick a tiny magnet to the shaft that exits the automatic damper and rig up the switch sensor body so that the turning of the shaft causes the magnet to trigger the sensor switch body. Great suggestion. I bet the tech who comes for the next scheduled cleaning will roll his eyes at what Mr. Wizard the tinkering amateur has installed.
    I will give this suggestion a go.