WiFi enabled thermostat - which one for my application - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 07-05-2012, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all, I'm building a theater room in the basement (link is in my signature). I've been researching WiFi enabled thermostats such as Nest, Ecobee, 3M and want some opinions as to which is best for me. The thermostat will be outside the theater, and it really will only be on when we are in the theater or when we are exercising in another part of the basement in the summer. The basement system is on a damper system with the main floor zone. My HVAC guy is also going to be hooking up a relay between the thermostat and an inline fan which will function as the return vent for the theater. My main requirements are as follows:

1) Controlled by iOS apps (I know they all do this) so that I can adjust temp and turn on/off from the theater or exercise room
2) Can be locked so that my son cannot change the temperature (Nest has a lock range of temp feature which can be overriden by the iOS app, 3M looks like it has a lock feature but can't tell if it can be overridden by the iOS app)
3) Ease of installation - do I need a Control wire for all of these to make it worthwhile? I think (but am not sure) that the relay switch will require a control wire in any case, and running one will not be really difficult as everything is exposed in an unfinished portion of the basement. I have seen some issues with the Nest installation in some reviews - any experience? Can't seem to get much info on the nuts and bolts of installation of the Ecobee but perhaps I need to dig deeper on their website.

Any thoughts? Help is greatly appreciated! smile.gif


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post #2 of 29 Old 07-05-2012, 03:27 PM
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Nest is excellent in my opinion

you can lock the nest thermostat
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post #3 of 29 Old 07-05-2012, 03:59 PM
 
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The 3m, you can get the Our Home Spaces radio for it, vs. the RTCOA, along with the app is more robust. Yes, you can lock it out from being changed on the face, or also limit control through the iOS app via not giving out the password. The ecobee is a lot more robust, same for the Prophylix thermostat. There is also the Honeywell Prestige line. It really depends on how much in features or cost you are looking at investing.
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post #4 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

Nest is excellent in my opinion
you can lock the nest thermostat

I was all set to buy the Nest, but some of the reviews are lukewarm. There is some stuff out there about the battery running down easily and mucking up the system. But I suppose if they ran a control wire to it to provide power it would solve that problem?


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post #5 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

The 3m, you can get the Our Home Spaces radio for it, vs. the RTCOA, along with the app is more robust. Yes, you can lock it out from being changed on the face, or also limit control through the iOS app via not giving out the password. The ecobee is a lot more robust, same for the Prophylix thermostat. There is also the Honeywell Prestige line. It really depends on how much in features or cost you are looking at investing.

The OHS radio is an add-on? Meaning it's a better radio than the one that comes with the unit?


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post #6 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 09:55 AM
 
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Yes. The radio that comes with the 3m from RTCOA is a POS. I have never had any problems with the OHS radio, since I have had it for over a year now. The app to control is free, but to do certain functions like timed hold, etc it is a one time $1.99 fee. Only draw, is that there is not a droid app yet, but you can control from the website.
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post #7 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Yes. The radio that comes with the 3m from RTCOA is a POS. I have never had any problems with the OHS radio, since I have had it for over a year now. The app to control is free, but to do certain functions like timed hold, etc it is a one time $1.99 fee. Only draw, is that there is not a droid app yet, but you can control from the website.

Cool thanks. Would you recommend getting the OHS radio to add on to the CT 30 or is that radio better. With regards to the power supply - it says that you can power it with a standard 12-24 transformer - how do you connect that to the thermostat?

Also, the other three thermostats in the house are in finished areas, not real easily accesible to pull new wires to. If I wanted to change out and get WiFi thermostats, what would be the best way to power them?


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post #8 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 11:06 AM
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rs691919, Intersting thread as I just installed my first Wifi thermostat in my Theater room. I was looking at the Nest and the 3M Filtrate and decided to go with the less expensive 3M (3M-50 or CT50 V1.94) since I didn't want to do anything fancy. I only use the thermostat when I'm in the theater (room has its own zone) so all I needed was to turn it off/on, raise/lower temp etc. I use the iRule app on my iPad2 to control it (via the API) and the itunes app when I'm away from home if I need to turn on before I get home - again nothing special. I don't know if the RTCOA radio is a POS yet but it seems to be working fine for me now. The good thing is you have a choice to replace it with the OHS if you want. To install, I already have a 'C' wire so installation was pretty easy - I do believe you need the 'C' wire for wifi. If you don't have a C wire then the install guide says The 3M-50 can be externally powered with a power source rated from 12V to 24V, AC or DC, at 300ma or greater. If used, connect to the C and RH terminals (no polarity). I think you can order a transformer online somewhere. Anyway, good like with your choice...

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post #9 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jidelite View Post

rs691919, Intersting thread as I just installed my first Wifi thermostat in my Theater room. I was looking at the Nest and the 3M Filtrate and decided to go with the less expensive 3M (3M-50 or CT50 V1.94) since I didn't want to do anything fancy. I only use the thermostat when I'm in the theater (room has its own zone) so all I needed was to turn it off/on, raise/lower temp etc. I use the iRule app on my iPad2 to control it (via the API) and the itunes app when I'm away from home if I need to turn on before I get home - again nothing special. I don't know if the RTCOA radio is a POS yet but it seems to be working fine for me now. The good thing is you have a choice to replace it with the OHS if you want. To install, I already have a 'C' wire so installation was pretty easy - I do believe you need the 'C' wire for wifi. If you don't have a C wire then the install guide says The 3M-50 can be externally powered with a power source rated from 12V to 24V, AC or DC, at 300ma or greater. If used, connect to the C and RH terminals (no polarity). I think you can order a transformer online somewhere. Anyway, good like with your choice...
jidelite

Thanks for the info! That's pretty much the same thing I'm going to be using the basement thermostat for. I'm also going to use iRule, but I'm just getting to learn the terminology and basics: how do you set it up to control the 3M-50? I think this will be a good and cheap solution for the basement. I am a bit worried about controlling things in the cloud (what if company goes under, etc?). I think I would want the other three thermostats controlled by IP; when I built the house, the company that installed the alarm system had done some pre-wiring for future automation of the thermostats and some lighting control so I'm having them out to the house next week to see what they can offer.


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post #10 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 12:40 PM
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rs691919, To control the 3M-50 with iRule, you can go to iRule Builder and import 3M Filtrete WiFi Thermostat & 3M Filtrete WiFi Thermostat Query devices. Maybe this post from the iRule community can help get you started - https://getsatisfaction.com/irule/topics/feed_back_not_working_for_some_devices

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post #11 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Yep, I'll bookmark that one, thanks!


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post #12 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs691919 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

Nest is excellent in my opinion
you can lock the nest thermostat

I was all set to buy the Nest, but some of the reviews are lukewarm. There is some stuff out there about the battery running down easily and mucking up the system. But I suppose if they ran a control wire to it to provide power it would solve that problem?

I have not seen any battery problem with the NEST: I had a conventional thermostat and installed NEST in its place: no additional power supply or wiring is needed

I tried the Filtrete tstat but the wifi setup was terrible

Control 4 and (I hope) RTI will soon provide drivers for NEST integration
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post #13 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 02:22 PM
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markrubin, You are right, the wifi setup wasn't that great - my biggest problem was my wired desktop couldn't find the adhoc network from the tstat (3M-50) during the initial install. I had to use my laptop (or iPad) that already had a wireless connection to actually connect to the tstat. Once I figured that out, everything was ok. As far as the radio itself, I guess I'll have to wait and see.

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post #14 of 29 Old 07-06-2012, 09:36 PM
 
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I have recommended to others to purchase the OHS radio over the standard Wifi-G radio that comes with the 3m-50 & 80 thermostats. For some reason after the move to the new company that RTCOA uses, the radios went to crap. Even before that the RTCOA supplied radio would go tits up for no reason, and the company would blame it on people's wifi equipment, network settings, not their equipment.

The OHS radio is a Wifi-B radio, and works very well, and never have I had any issues like I did with the RTCOA radio. The RTCOA radio, you can roll your own, due to the API is open source at this time. As for the setup for the OHS radio, you just plug it in, put back in the batteries, flip the power back on the furnace, and then go to the OHS website at my.cloudbeam.com and plug in the MAC of the OHS radio, and that is it. Very simple setup, compared to RTCOA's setup.
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post #15 of 29 Old 07-07-2012, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Interesting, buried on the Nest site is a list of panels that require a common wire. I'll have to look at the model number of my zone panel.

http://support.nest.com/customer/portal/articles/260327-heating-and-cooling-systems-that-are-incompatible-with-nest


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post #16 of 29 Old 07-07-2012, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rs691919 View Post

Interesting, buried on the Nest site is a list of panels that require a common wire. I'll have to look at the model number of my zone panel.

http://support.nest.com/customer/portal/articles/260327-heating-and-cooling-systems-that-are-incompatible-with-nest

if you are concerned about the inline fan, the HVAC installer would just wire that off the fan relay: that might not require an additional thermostat wire
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post #17 of 29 Old 07-07-2012, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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My zone panel is the Honeywell HZ311, which is incompatible with Nest unless you run a common wire. It'll be easy enough to run a common wire to the basement thermostat, but the three others will be difficult.. I'll look into the Honeywell prestige line and see if they need a commone wire too. It's also possible that ethernet was run to each of the thermostat locations -- I'll have to look into that.


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Anything that has a wifi radio, will either need a transformer supplying the 24volt, or a Common wire. If there is a wire at the stat locations, that is not hooked up, use that for the C wire.
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post #19 of 29 Old 07-07-2012, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Anything that has a wifi radio, will either need a transformer supplying the 24volt, or a Common wire. If there is a wire at the stat locations, that is not hooked up, use that for the C wire.

Turns out there is Cat6 running to each of the thermostats from the unfinished basement, right where the component rack of the theater is going to be. Can I use the Cat to connect the C terminal to power transformers remotely in the basement?


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post #20 of 29 Old 07-07-2012, 06:38 PM
 
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I used Cat-5e when I put in my 3m-50, due to I was too lazy to run to the hardware store, plus when I did search at the hardware store for 6 pair Bell wire, I could not find it, so ended up using some of the cat-5e I had laying around. See no problem with you doing the same. As long as the wire connects back at the control board for the furnace, you would just connect to C at the board.
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post #21 of 29 Old 07-08-2012, 12:09 AM
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Proliphix also works pretty well.

"I'm just a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it"
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post #22 of 29 Old 07-08-2012, 01:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Not available any more, are they? I see one for sale on ebay, but I would need four.


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They are available, but you have to have someone in the industry purchase them.
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post #24 of 29 Old 07-09-2012, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Ah, I see. Interesting. How does one usually find someone who has access to them?


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Are the RTCOA thermostats compatible with any remote sensors?


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post #26 of 29 Old 07-14-2012, 04:00 PM
 
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Are the RTCOA thermostats compatible with any remote sensors?
No there is no ability to do so. They are considered the basic of the WiFi enabled thermostats.
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post #27 of 29 Old 07-15-2012, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

I have not seen any battery problem with the NEST: I had a conventional thermostat and installed NEST in its place: no additional power supply or wiring is needed
I tried the Filtrete tstat but the wifi setup was terrible
Control 4 and (I hope) RTI will soon provide drivers for NEST integration

There was a Control4 driver for the Nest for a brief period of time before the company offering it got a cease and desist letter from NEST. Hopefully they change their tune but at this point they don't seem open to the idea of integration.
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post #28 of 29 Old 07-16-2012, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markrubin View Post

I have not seen any battery problem with the NEST: I had a conventional thermostat and installed NEST in its place: no additional power supply or wiring is needed
I tried the Filtrete tstat but the wifi setup was terrible
Control 4 and (I hope) RTI will soon provide drivers for NEST integration

There was a Control4 driver for the Nest for a brief period of time before the company offering it got a cease and desist letter from NEST. Hopefully they change their tune but at this point they don't seem open to the idea of integration.

Yeah I saw that too: such a shame: they could sell thousands more of these thermostats if they offered open integration: even with a reasonable license fee for software
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post #29 of 29 Old 07-16-2012, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah I saw that too: such a shame: they could sell thousands more of these thermostats if they offered open integration: even with a reasonable license fee for software

What do you expect -- they're all Apple disciples! They want total control over the device. I'm sure the equivalent of a jailbreak will be available at some point. That being said, I've all but decided to go with the Nest for the basement zone. I found that there's a common wire already pulled to the stat location, so it will be easy to hook up. Eventually, I'm going to tackle whole home automation (to a degree) which will include all the thermostats -- so I figure I will use the Nest for a single zone till I'm ready to the whole thing.


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