Wi-Fi Thermostat for smart phone access - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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My house has three thermostats and I would like to make adjustments from my phone. I have air and heat pump heating. I now there are a few options but I'm looking for the most cost wise without paying some kinda service for maintaining a connection. What are your opinions? Thanks, David
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by BamaDave View Post

My house has three thermostats and I would like to make adjustments from my phone. I have air and heat pump heating. I now there are a few options but I'm looking for the most cost wise without paying some kinda service for maintaining a connection. What are your opinions? Thanks, David

I don't have one of these, but I've seen them and owners seem to like them a lot.

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 10:09 AM
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Yep, the Nest would work for you because it has smartphone control. At $250 it's a little pricey (more so since you'd need 3) but it's easy to install and use.

Another option would be a z-wave or insteon thermostat. They run around $100-$150 per thermostat plus you'll probably need a central controller ($179 - $250). They are geared towards home automation, so they cost a lot more because you can do a lot more (add light control, door locks, garages, scenes, etc...) for a similar price to a bunch of nests (or less). Like the Nest, you don't need a subscription to manage them.
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 01:07 PM
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An alternative would be to use a software based system and z-wave thermostats. Pricing would be about ~$60/thermostat plus ~$95 VRC0P serial controller plus ~$70 usb stick. You may have range issues, so you should plan on putting a light switch in between each thermostat and the VRC0P.

http://cocoontech.com/wiki/Premise is the free software I use. Read over the wiki and click on the Z-Wave (VRC0P) linked under plugins to read what hardware you'd need. You'd be able to then access Premise's website with your phone or any device.

Premise, a FREE home automation program. Open-source Z-Wave Premise Module found here.
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 01:45 PM
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Suggestions on this forum are prone to overkill (he came in wanting a wifi thermostat, he ended up nominated for an Electronic House award). Doesn't hurt to consider everything, but most cost efficient there are a bunch of standalone wifi thermostats at or under $100:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_1?rh=n%3A2054378011%2Ck%3Awifi+thermostat&keywords=wifi+thermostat&ie=UTF8

Filtrete 3M50 on eBay

You may need to look into how the various apps support more than one thermostat before deciding.


Disclaimer: I have nothing against encouraging people to seek all the benefits home automation has to offer.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by az1324 View Post

Suggestions on this forum are prone to overkill (he came in wanting a wifi thermostat, he ended up nominated for an Electronic House award). Doesn't hurt to consider everything, but most cost efficient there are a bunch of standalone wifi thermostats at or under $100:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_n_1?rh=n%3A2054378011%2Ck%3Awifi+thermostat&keywords=wifi+thermostat&ie=UTF8

Filtrete 3M50 on eBay

You may need to look into how the various apps support more than one thermostat before deciding.


Disclaimer: I have nothing against encouraging people to seek all the benefits home automation has to offer.
Hey AZ, please stop making sense. This is avsforum and it's in the bylaws that we are only supposed to discuss over-the-top insanely complicated approaches to simple problems. biggrin.gif
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Virtus View Post

Hey AZ, please stop making sense. This is avsforum and it's in the bylaws that we are only supposed to discuss over-the-top insanely complicated approaches to simple problems. biggrin.gif

Great response! The house was previously on Control 4 and one of those thermostats is still in place along with a few light switches which are all useless to me. The prior owner took most of the hardware with him (foreclosure) and I'm trying to get everything sorted out. I'm actually looking for the simplest solution to controlling my multi-zone system. The C4 rep came by and about knocked me in the head with the price, thus my enquiry. Thanks for any help that can be provided guys!
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-03-2013, 02:36 PM
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Have a 4 unit home that I have upgraded to 2 Nests, left the old programmables in place for the lower level. I am very happy with the Nest functions and have noted an approximate 20% reduction in both heating and cooling bills due to the autoaway function built in to the Nest devices. My favorite use is to change the temperatures from afar while Mom is home:)smile.gifsmile.gif.
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 09:34 AM
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Not overkill at all. The idea I gave comes in at about the same price as a Nest setup (+/- $100) and is completely expandable and open. This is the home automation forum after all! Not, the we'll go search on Amazon for you forum and find whatever POS thermostat. Good luck with anything like the 3M50 that that's 3 stars on amazon by the way.

There is no standard protocol for Wi-Fi thermostats. You can't just pick a random Wi-Fi thermostat and have it work with whatever app you want. That said, the first thing to do would be to find an app you like , and then read the apps instructions and get whatever thermostat or gateway it suggests.

Of course, things are still way more complicated than the OP thinks as some thermostats require a common wire and do not. If the old setup didn't have a common wire running to the thermostat, good luck picking a Wi-Fi thermostat at random.

Premise, a FREE home automation program. Open-source Z-Wave Premise Module found here.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-04-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by etc6849 View Post

Not overkill at all. The idea I gave comes in at about the same price as a Nest setup (+/- $100) and is completely expandable and open. This is the home automation forum after all! Not, the we'll go search on Amazon for you forum and find whatever POS thermostat. Good luck with anything like the 3M50 that that's 3 stars on amazon by the way.

There is no standard protocol for Wi-Fi thermostats. You can't just pick a random Wi-Fi thermostat and have it work with whatever app you want. That said, the first thing to do would be to find an app you like , and then read the apps instructions and get whatever thermostat or gateway it suggests.

Of course, things are still way more complicated than the OP thinks as some thermostats require a common wire and do not. If the old setup didn't have a common wire running to the thermostat, good luck picking a Wi-Fi thermostat at random.

Pretty much all of those thermostats come with their own apps. Of course if the requirement is to have a single app for a comprehensive automation system then things get more complicated. Price is not the only consideration it is also time to a working setup which can vary a lot depending on knowledge and ability. Always better to start with the simplest out of box solution and then present more complex alternatives. I've recommended 3M50 to several people and they haven't had any problems, but maybe others have.
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post #11 of 13 Old 07-05-2013, 06:47 AM
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If OP does want to go with the whole automation thing that's cool but the Filtrete 3M50 isn't just some random POS. Their app is pretty decent, lets you control multiple thermostats pretty easily and probably still does all the scheduling that he will need. You can also login from any computer through their website and manage the schedules/thermostats that way.
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post #12 of 13 Old 07-05-2013, 07:17 AM
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It maybe true that the app has improved and that one should simply disregard the reviewers on Amazon that didn't like it. Personally, I stay away from 3 star electronics purchases, but you are exactly right, it is unfair to judge a product I don't own. If you buy something half the people didn't like, odds are you are asking for trouble...

It could be a great thermostat with hack-able options (probably not), but... I tend to only buy home automation products I know for sure I can interface later with other things. This usually means (in order of preference): a published ip based protocol, RS232, or IR. Even better are devices that do not require polling for a feedback response. For $360 (3 of the 3M50's), I would seriously consider a more open platform if that type of info is not available for the 3M50, but that is my opinion.

It's a mute point anyways, as the OP hasn't even said if there is a common wire at the three thermostat locations. I'm not going to read the 3M50 manual for the OP, but a thermostat is usually not a drop in easy install unless you know how to read a wiring diagram.

You simply can't always go off wire color. You must know what type of system you have now and how it's currently wired (stuff like is there a common wire, do I have single or two stage heating/cooling, etc...). It short, you really should know what you are doing and how to use a volt meter.

Premise, a FREE home automation program. Open-source Z-Wave Premise Module found here.
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post #13 of 13 Old 07-05-2013, 11:02 AM
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I'm going to be buying two of these for my next house http://www.amazon.com/Venstar-ColorTouch-Resolution-Thermostat-Screen/dp/B009AVRB1Q/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1373047043&sr=1-1&keywords=venstar. I've read a lot of very favorable reviews on them, and they seem comparable in price to the Nest. The one thing that I don't like about the Nest is that I read that the "sleep mode" (or whatever they call it) is all based upon bodies walking by the thermostat (i.e. if it doesn't detect movement, it assumes that nobody is home and starts dialing down the temp). I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, it's an AWFUL design flaw. Hell, I NEVER walk by the thermostat on the main floor in my current house, as it's in the Dining Room. If it based everything on that logic, it would assume that nobody is ever home!

John
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