So, I think I'm in a bit of an unusual situation. I work at a camp & retreat center that has wifi throughout. I want to put a few switches in the office that can control outdoor lighting throughout the camp. We currently have switches in each of the buildings, but it is a particularly frustrating job to get all the lights on in the evening when it is brutally cold out or we are short staffed.
Most of our staff is not very tech savvy (my boss literally has his wife print out his emails for him each day!!!) so, I'd love to avoid having to set up any sort of raspberry pi or new phone app.
Is there type of 3-way switch that can connect to the wifi, turn on a light in another building AND turn on an indicator light in the office, without having any sort of wire running between the buildings? Hopefully looking for a simple solution without breaking the bank too.
I greatly appreciate any input that you can give. Thank you!
I have a X10 wall switch system and I want to get rid of it. What would be the easiest transition to something more modern and easy to use with either wifi/homekit capabilities? My current X10 controls 3 zones in my bedroom. All zones are dimmable.
Zone 1 is 4 canister ceiling lights. LED bulbs
Zone 2 is 1 canister ceiling lights. Halogen Bulb
Zone 3 is 1 canister ceiling lights. Halogen Bulb
I have an old plug-in remote from Radio Shack and a wall switch with 3 buttons, each controlling one zone. (images attached)
My wall switch has one two wires from the wall. One black, one white.
Is there any solution easy to install without the need of an electrician? Thanks for any feedback.
Good morning all,
I'm working on weaning myself off of being totally Vera dependent. I've installed MSR on my Fedora home server, and I've been migrating luup Reactor rules over little by little. My hope is to use Vera as a bare bones z-wave hub, until I replace it either with Ezlo (not so sure about), or perhaps Hubitat. I'm just tired of zero new development in Vera, empty promises of native device integration, and cloud services that go down and leave my automation hanging.
In any case, I digress. I've attempted to use Gcal3 on Vera to integrate Public calendars, such as Federal Holidays, School Calendars, etc. It use to somewhat work, but more often than not, all I get from Gcal3 is "token error code: HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request". The developer no longer is active, and it's effectively not working anymore.
I'd like to use these public calendars as Entity Attributes or Constraints in MSR. For instance, if it's a Federal Holiday, I don't have to work, and I may want to sleep in, which means lights may not come on as early, window coverings in the bedrooms may open later in the day, etc. Similar idea with a school calendar. If "closed" is in the event, my daughter may want to sleep in, and not want the window coverings opened as early.
I'm aware that Ezlo has integration through NuCal to all sorts of web based services, including Google Calendar, but as I stated earlier, I'm undecided on going down that path. Is there anyway to do this on MSR through any of it's abilities, such as HTTP calls or MQTT ( not experienced in MQTT, so I don't know now it works really).
Has anybody already done this?
Thanks for any advice in advance.
Hello all, I am finally ditching my Vera and moving to HA using a Zooz ZST10 Z wave stick. I have around 50 Z wave devices with a good mix of battery devices, locks, sensors and switches. The plan is to include all the AC powered devices first, starting from the ones closest to my Z wave stick then moving outwards. Once that is complete I will go back and include all battery powered devices in the same fashion.
My question is there any quick way to exclude all my Z wave devices from Vera, or should I just delete all devices without excluding them and factory reset each device before pairing to HA?
Some of you may know that I took at shot at building an alternate geofencing solution for Vera. The core of it was system agnostic, using the OwnTracks application and AWS lambdas to track devices and keep a central data, then disseminate that to the Vera via a websocket-based plugin. It worked with other apps as well, including Tasker and GPSLogger, but of the dozen people that were testing it, most used OwnTracks.
A lot was learned in the process, not the least of which is that the success of any such solution is highly dependent on the phone and its settings. Phone manufacturers love to set things up for the longest battery life, of course, but that's usually very anti-geofencing behavior. In the case of at least one brand, it was unusable and the settings could not be modified. It was also cost-prohibitive to maintain on Amazon, as AWS grabs a dime here and a dollar there and before you know it, it added $100/month to my AWS bill, which my wife deducted from my Scotch budget. Unacceptable.
But it's quite reasonable to use OwnTracks to a local endpoint, and I could pretty easily replicate the functionality as a local application, or maybe even as an additional endpoint built into MSR's API (still separate port and process, but in the package).
So the question really is... would you do it, or would you be too concerned about the security risks associated (e.g., dynamic DNS and NAT mapping in the firewall necessary for the phone to contact the service when not on LAN)?
The Debian Linux machine that MSR is running on, has developed an issue and I can no longer login to it via SSH or directly on its terminal.
It was fine earlier this morning I connected to it via WinSCP to copy all the MSR files down for a backup to my laptop.
Then a bit later I could no longer connect to it. Either in WinSCP or Putty SSH, it now says access denied, even though my password is correct.
I then connected a monitor and keyboard up to the Debian box and I cannot login to it directly either, I put in the username and hit enter and I am not given a password prompt to enter it and something I could not read flashes up on the screen very fast and then disappears. I had to record a video and skip through it to capture what is says, see screen capture below.
I tried logging in as user root and my own username same thing happens, it does not even give me a prompt to enter a password.
If I boot the box in to Debian recovery mode instead I am able to login as the root user OK.
Any ideas how to fix this?
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SOLVED Looking for ideas on how to implement an automation.
Looking to all the dev's and tinkerers on this community for ideas on how to implement a solution to my problem. Kind of a long intro, sorry.
I have a geothermal heat pump that has a loop that is slightly undersized. During the cold weather months in the Pacific Northwest (one or two months of the year), the loop can get below 32 degrees. If it goes on for a few days, it can generate significant frost heaving in my yard and under the flagstone deck, Actually fixing the issue is cost prohibitive.
I have DS18B20 tied into Home Assistant and monitoring the temp of the fluid coming out of the loop and if it drops below 35 degrees, MSR triggers a Fibaro Implant to add a resister into the external temp circuit and fool the Venstar to think the outside temp is below 32 degrees and issue a Heat Pump lockout and switch to AUX heat. While this is working fine and the AUX heat is only coming on once or twice a day, I would like to simplify the setup so it runs on something other than HA and MSR. I think they are overkill for my issue. Also want this to be independent of anything else in the house so it can stay behind if I am not around to maintain.
I only have two inputs and one output:
Inputs: Loop temp, Furnace running
Outputs: Switch relay to drop resistance to external thermostat connection on thermostat.
Logic is super simple:
If temp is below 36 degrees and furnace is running, turn on relay
If furnace stops, turn off relay.
I am sure even I can figure that out on Python.
Trying to determine the best platform for a set it and forget it black box that works with as close to zero maintenance as possible.
Options I have thought of are:
- Pi zero with a GPIO controlled relay
- ESPHome (Not very knowledgeable about that platform, but willing to explore)
- Anything anyone else suggests
Any ideas are appreciated.
@rogero Having owned and operated a commercial data center, when things needed to be uber-reliable, we ditched the PLCs and went straight to relay logic. There's no school like the old school.
Since your heat pump is likely already making 24VAC for its controls and the thermostat, I'd go with that as a design voltage. A thermostatic switch can close and power a relay that closes the resistor into the external temp circuit. Something like this:
I've shown a Sensasys 2511L007-2132 here, which is normally open and closes below 35F, to control the relay coil. The relay is a simple SPDT type (C form), easy to find in 24VAC.
Assuming I've understood your use of the resistor correctly, in the circuit as shown, one leg of the temperaure sensor is wired to the common contact of the relay. When the relay is de-energized (temp switch open), the temperature sensor is passed through (NC contact). When the temp switch closes and the relay is energized, the resistor is put in series with the temperature sensor (resistance increases) via the NO contact.
Since it helps to know what things are doing without dragging out your meter, I recommend getting a relay with a built-in LED or mechanical indicator so you can see when it's energized (or not). Some also have test buttons to close the relay mechanically. Such a beast is this (there's also a socket for it to make wiring easy, highly recommended).
Sometimes the best smarts are the dumbest.
therealdb last edited by
This is probably doable with a thermostat as well, maybe the ones you could find for refrigerators, that kicks in every time the temperature goes below a certain level, to power a motor, and stays on unless the temperature is lower than your threshold.
toggledbits last edited by toggledbits
@rogero Had another though about this... since the thermostat is signaling the heat pump to use compressor or aux heat, manipulating those signal wires directly, rather than "fooling" the thermostat wire a resistor on the temperature sensor, is likely a better option.
I wrote the Venstar ColorTouch driver for Vera and Hubitat, so it's the model I'm most familiar with, so I'll base the rest of this on that model (can be modified as needed for other models if they work differently). The ColorTouch's will use W1/O/B to signal heating or cooling, Y to run the compressor, W2 to call for aux heat, and G to run the fan. As usual, R and C are 24VAC supply and return.
All we need to do is activate the W2 (aux heat) wire instead of the Y (compressor) wire when the temperature is below 35F. That can be done like this:
In this version of the circuit, if the temperature is above 35F, then if the Venstar calls for heat by its Y connection, the relay is inactive so the Y (compressor call) passes through to the heat pump. If the temp is below 35F, when the Venstar calls for heat, the relay is activated, and the Y signal from the thermostat is rerouted by the relay contacts to the W2 (call aux heat) wire to the heat pump, so even though the Venstar is calling for compressor heat, the heating unit will see a call for aux heat.
This is much simpler wiring, too. The relay can be mounted inside the heat pump enclosure next to the control board, and all of thermostat wires come in there anyway so they are easy to intercept and connections will be short and sweet. The snap disc switch can be mounted anywhere (i.e. epoxied to the loop output plumbing) on the end of a long wire pair (I didn't draw in a fuse on that circuit, but probably a good idea). Other than the override from compressor to aux, it does not interfere with the operation of the thermostat.
Thanks Patrick and theraldb for your input. The issue I have is that the fluid in the loop stops circulating as soon as the furnace switches to AUX heat. In Patrick's system (either version) the furnace will switch back and forth between HP and AUX several times in one heating cycle. I know because I originally had a thermistor attached to the loop pipe inside the cabinet and connected to the external thermostat connections on the thermostat. So I do need a rudimentary logic engine of some sort.
The MSR logic is this:
If temp is below 36 degrees and furnace is running, turn on relay
If furnace stops, turn off relay.
Once the relay trips is has to stay tripped until the heating cycle is finished. I am sure that could be accomplished with relays but I really don't want to muck around inside my heat pump. I already made a stupid mistake with the Venstar 7900 that fried the external temp measuring circuit and had to replace it. (if anyone needs a nice T7900 that doesn't have the external temp circuit but otherwise works fine, let me know)
@rogero Here's a version that latches on once tripped and resets itself when the thermostat stops calling for heat.
In any case, this was a fun distraction. And really, this is minimal mucking. I know it looks daunting, but probably the worst you can do if you screw it up is (a) it doesn't work right, or (b) you blow the cheap 3A fuse on the 24V circuit in the unit (just replace it). If you've blown a thermostat with the resistor version, you've already done worse and more expensive than you are likely to do with this.
You can do this simple logic in an ESP32 or ESP8266 quite easily. The problem you always have with such things is getting them powered. You usually end up with a wall wart that's prone to failure. And since the micros are 3.3V volt with low current handling on the I/O pins, you need an interface to drive a relay (more parts or a board that carries both the I/O interface and relay), and you need some kind of enclosure to mount the pieces in, connectors to bring the wires to, etc. IMO, it quickly becomes more complicated than the relay alone. But for sure, you have to what's comfortable for you.
I like that design. Actually don't even need to muck around inside the HP. Can intercept the thermostat wires where the come into the furnace closet. need to measure the pipe diameter in the HP and see about getting one of these. http://senasys.com/product/2570l211
They sell that temperature switch on Amazon.
Elcid last edited by
Hi, would it not be simpler to add a second external thermostat on the return loop, which mimics ( connects to same wires) the external stats functions. So if loop goes below set point it switches to aux heat
Depends on what you mean by simple. Since he's measuring the temperature of a water loop, it would require a temperature sensor external to the thermostat on (attached to) that plumbing, so right there, you've reduced the number of available thermostats for the job to those that support external sensors, and that remaining set is likely a bit costly. And you still have to get 24VAC power to that thermostat. Still wiring, really all the same wiring, in fact. An expensive sensor and relay with a front panel, is all a thermostat is, so on net, I think you're paying a lot for a UI you don't need.
therealdb last edited by therealdb
Elcid last edited by Elcid
There are plenty of 24v thermostats with remote sensors here in UK (about £30). The OP wanted "Trying to determine the best platform for a set it and forget it black box that works with as close to zero maintenance as possible."!
So my thinking is thermostat in tandem with external sensor, A little wiring job done. You could also probably use a shelly 1 with temp sensor addon if you want feedback.
akbooer last edited by
You could also probably use a shelly 1 with temp sensor addon if you want feedback.
Now you're talking!
Appreciate all the discussion. I like Patrick's third diagram, however, looking at discs available I haven't found any with a 5/8 inch diameter connection. Additionally, they are not super accurate according to reviews on Amazon. I might use an ESP32 board with a DS18B20 probe and a DPDT relay in place of the snap switch unless I find one available in my search.
So, I have looked into the snap disk thermostats that are shaped to connect to a pipe and found, for the one that meets my specs, that the minimum order is 100 units. Additionally, comments in the interweb indicates that they are not all that accurate. Have been thinking about my design and have come up with this.
I plan to connect a 24VAC to 5VDC step down buck converter to the Venstar common and Venstar Y wires as shown in Patrick's second drawing. Using that to power an ESP32 board connected to a DS18B20 sensor and a relay controlled by GPIO on ESP32.
Logic on this design is pretty simple: Monitor loop temp and switch via relay to aux heat source when temp falls to trigger temp.
Remain in AUX mode until thermostat shuts off and powers off ESP32.
Next time furnace starts, relay defaults to Heat Pump mode until temp drops to threshold again.
Questions for those of you with HVAC and ESP32's:
- Will the 24V AC powering the thermostat supply enough power to run the ESP32?
- Are the ESP32's able to withstand multiple power cycles without getting corrupted?
Input's to my design are welcome.
The typical fuse on 24VAC control circuits in residential HVAC systems in North America (lot of qualifiers there, sheesh) is 3A, so you're good. I don't think the power cycling will be a problem for the ESP, but YMMV on your buck converter.
Thanks, at 4 for $15, I can replace them cheap.