Automating my heating

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I want to automate the heating in my house.

I have a fireplace insert that throws a lot of heat on one area of the
house.  This makes it difficult to rely solely on a thermostat to keep my
house comfortable, for example at night the heat from the fire keeps the
thermostat from turning on the furnace (thus the bedrooms get cold).

Having computer programming experience, I can envision writing a "smart
software utility", to do things like...

- Keep the bedrooms warm at night
- Conserve oil by leaving the bedrooms go cool during the day
- Conserve energy by turning on fans to circulate heat as required
- Perform in different ways based on "outside temperature", "home
occupied/not occupied"(based on last motion detected), etc...

I can use X-10 to turn on fans as required (maybe a floor fan or two placed
in strategic areas).  I'm sure there are some in-line duct fans available
somewhere, which could be connected to the existing ducts in my hot-air
system, (that could be turned on seperately from the furnace controlled fan
via X10).  There are currently times when it's too warm in the living room,
near the fireplace, and too cool in other areas of the house.  So, instead
of relying solely on the furnace to warm the bedrooms (while also making the
existing hot areas hotter) my software can control these fans (maybe also
with X10 controlled dampers) to direct heat to the needed areas of our home.

Question A :  My software will need to know temperatures of various areas
(three or more) of the house at any given time...  Can anyone recommend a
product that can be polled for the temperature (and not restricted to the
vendor's proprietary software, but from my own application or via X10
commands)

Question B :  Can anyone recommend a line of products for directing my
furnace heat to certain areas of the house, such as X10 controlled dampers
or X10 controlled in-line fans....

I know I can google for such information.  In the past this is how I got my
information, but I have ended up with a lot of obsolete product that I've
wasted my money on that doesn't do exactly what I thought it would.  So I
thought I'd start here for recommendations, and try to get the right
products and the right plan the first time.  Thanks a million

Dave




Re: Automating my heating

>
> I want to automate the heating in my house.
>
> I have a fireplace insert that throws a lot of heat on one area of the
> house.  This makes it difficult to rely solely on a thermostat to keep my
> house comfortable, for example at night the heat from the fire keeps the
> thermostat from turning on the furnace (thus the bedrooms get cold).
>
> Having computer programming experience, I can envision writing a "smart
> software utility", to do things like...
>
> - Keep the bedrooms warm at night
> - Conserve oil by leaving the bedrooms go cool during the day
> - Conserve energy by turning on fans to circulate heat as required
> - Perform in different ways based on "outside temperature", "home
> occupied/not occupied"(based on last motion detected), etc...
>
> I can use X-10 to turn on fans as required (maybe a floor fan or two
placed
> in strategic areas).  I'm sure there are some in-line duct fans available
> somewhere, which could be connected to the existing ducts in my hot-air
> system, (that could be turned on seperately from the furnace controlled
fan
> via X10).  There are currently times when it's too warm in the living
room,
> near the fireplace, and too cool in other areas of the house.  So, instead
> of relying solely on the furnace to warm the bedrooms (while also making
the
> existing hot areas hotter) my software can control these fans (maybe also
> with X10 controlled dampers) to direct heat to the needed areas of our
home.
>
> Question A :  My software will need to know temperatures of various areas
> (three or more) of the house at any given time...  Can anyone recommend a
> product that can be polled for the temperature (and not restricted to the
> vendor's proprietary software, but from my own application or via X10
> commands)
>
> Question B :  Can anyone recommend a line of products for directing my
> furnace heat to certain areas of the house, such as X10 controlled dampers
> or X10 controlled in-line fans....
>
> I know I can google for such information.  In the past this is how I got
my
> information, but I have ended up with a lot of obsolete product that I've
> wasted my money on that doesn't do exactly what I thought it would.  So I
> thought I'd start here for recommendations, and try to get the right
> products and the right plan the first time.  Thanks a million
>
> Dave
>
>

Dave,

For Question A --- go to www.dghcorp.com and look at the D1300 Thermocouple
modules. I'm using three of these to monitor temperatures in our second
home. I wrote the monitoring program in Visual Basic (I'm a programmer). The
modules can be daisy-chained to a single RS232 com port. But, they're NOT
cheap. If I recall, you're looking at about $325 each plus the thermocouple.
I believe they also have digital outputs, so through your program you can
set these to a 0 or 1 to control a relay to start/stop your fans depending
on the temperature reading at a particular module. There is no X10 involved
in my setup, but if you have a second com port on your PC, you can write the
code to send X10 commands. I've done that just to see if I could do it, but
if I remember correctly, it was a 3-six-pack effort. I'm sure that I have
the code for that experiment around somewhere.

Email me for more details or any questions.

John S.




Re: Automating my heating


http://www.resconsys.com /

They carry zone controllers and thermostats.

Check out the controllers, the commstar, you can wire your thermostats
directly in and keep them off your x-10 (might be noisy), but the commstar
also has a pretty advanced scheduling to keep your heater from turning on
when certain x-10 devices are on.
.

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Re: Automating my heating


On Tue, 7 Jun 2005 22:07:55 -0700, "Jvert" <Jhenigin 'at' cawmcast.net
(cawm=com)> wrote:
Look into one wire programming devices and Labjack.  The one wire
devices used to be made by Dallas Semiconductor, now I believe carried
by Maxis?  

Search on One-Wire weather station for a start.    Embedded Data
Systems provides a $15 US RS-232 serial controller chip (HA7S) that
can poll and control up to 255 devices on a two wire bus (ground and
power/data) for basic monitoring and control.  One-wire devices
include power controllers, temperature and humidity sensors,  A/D
converters, etc.   THey are very economical, easy to "interface" via
the HA75, and can use a simple text-based scripting language.  Best
part is that many of the devices are in TO-97 or 8-pin flatpacks -
This means that they can be embedde in other items such as
thermostats, etc.

The LabJack device is another method for PC control that is relativly
cheap ($80 US) Pligs into a USB port, adn provides analog and digital
I/O ports on a PC
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