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Heating Panel


Question

In my HC2 v4.130 I see the Heating Panel where zones can be created and rooms attached to each zone that will control times and temperature. 

 

My question is what does this panel actually control as I can see nowhere to link devices?  I have fibaro multisensors that show temperature in each room and was thinking of a relay module to control the boiler but do not understand how to associate these devices to the Heating Panel.

 

I do not want to write pages of LUA as surely the Heating Panel is there to avoid this?

 

Any advice welcome. 

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5 answers to this question

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Do I understand you correctly that you are controlling already the temperature of the boiler with a relay? Is the relay integrated in the Z-Wave network and linked to the HC2 as a temperature controller (not temperature sensor as you describe!)?

I use Danfoss LC-13 heating thermostats (TRVs) and when I create a heating plan I can select them and create different sections/rooms. So there is no need to write a LUA script.

 

Sorry for my english...

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@dirkg173 absolutely right!

 

@15green I see you are new to heating systems...

 

I've been around here for a while and I think "temperature control" is a tough subject. Much tougher to grasp and understand than electricity. It is more difficult to measure stuff...

 

I do not want to underestimate you... I just want to start at the basics to make sure everyone is at the same level of understanding by the end of this post.

 

This is copy/paste with some rework from my previous posts on this forum... I'll keep repeating and improving the explanation until everyone understands it... To my knowledge, no one on this forum has attempted to explain heating systems... until now. So please bear with me... I am not a heating specialist, but an engineer and passionate about HA so boiler control and temperature is part of my hobby.

 

Let's get some things straight.

 

  • The FGT-001 is a THERMOSTAT. Popp, Danfoss Living Connect (aka LC-12 and LC-13), Eurotronic TRVS, they are all THERMOSTATS. Technically, they are not "valves", they are "thermostatic heads" attached to a valve. It is customary to refer to the assembly (head + valve) as a "Thermostatic Radiator Valve" or TRV.
  • I will use TRV if I refer to some sort of thermostat to control water flow. I will use FGT or FGT-001 when I talk about the "Fibaro Heat Controller". I will NEVER refer to the FGT as the "HC" because that abbreviation is used quite a lot on this forum to reference the "Fibaro Home Center". If I accidentally use HC in a topic about heating, I mean "Home Center". I'll try to avoid that...
  • They do NOT use your controller, to regulate temperature. They do not use any sensor measurement of your Z-Wave system. They contain their own sensor (or sensors!) and the FGT has an optional external probe. That probe is not Z-Wave, it is Bluetooth Low Energy and it is specific to the FGT-001. But since the probe measurements are transferred to your controller, you will get (accurate) temperatures from the FGT. An FGT-001 without such a probe does not report measured temperature and this is by design. The Danfoss LC-12 and LC-13 do not report temperatures either. Popp does report, because it uses a modified firmware version on Danfoss hardware. But the sensor values are inaccurate because the TRV is not in the right spot to measure room temperature. They can be used for reference.
  • You tell the TRV to go to some set-point, for instance, 22 °C and it does that for you! It does not need a controller or a temperature reference, nor does it need a room thermostat and you also do not have to buy the external probe... It is an autonomous system. It uses hot water and a battery to control room temperature. You do not have to use the "heating panel" and you do not have to write any Lua code. If you take it out of its box, mount it on a TRV, it starts controlling temperature, even when it is not included on your Z-Wave network.
  • The FGT-001 can either use its internal sensor or the special extra bluetooth low energy "button" external probe. The extra sensor can be in a more optimal place: the right height, no direct sunlight, nearer to the spot where you want to control temperature. With this probe, the FGT starts reporting temperature too. It reports to the TRV every 10 minutes. To conserve power and reduce network traffic, the FGT only sends temperature to the controller about every 2-3 hours when the temperature readings differ by 0.5-1 degree from the last report.
  • You can turn the KNOB (or push buttons) to change the set point. No magic involved. For instance, on the FGT-001, turn the ring until it displays "cyan" and it will regulate the valve, until the temperature averages 18 °C. It does not need the extra sensor, because there is one (actually two) and the device itself has an algorithm to go to the set temperature. It also does not really need a controller, all magic is performed by the micro-controller in the TRV.
  • Your TRV does not need a connection to a controller to do its job. You can install a TRV, set the thing to 24 °C if you like that, and it will start to open and close the valve. So you can check the performance of your TRV by leaving it excluded, so you can be sure it is not influenced by code or "something on your controller". This way you can be sure it is not a communication problem, or a script changing the set-point. Of course, this degrades it to "a mechanical thermostatic head" - but we managed to live with that kind of control, did we not?
  • You get more interesting possibilities, with a Z-Wave controller. You can send temperature settings to the controller via your app, or using the browser interface. Like: "go to 23 °C for 4 hours". Because FGT-001 is a FLiRS (frequently listening routing slave) device, roughly one second after you change the temperature, it will take into account your new target value! So there is no "wake up" interval (and delay) like ordinary battery operated device. Older TRVs are not FLIRS so they kind of "request settings at regular intervals" - otherwise know as "wake up interval". To my best knowledge, the only other FLiRS device on the market is the "Spirit Z-Wave Plus". Danfoss has announced the LC14, it should be FLiRS based but I don't think you can buy one yet.
  • Some part of slowness of the "older TRVs" comes from the wake up interval. The FGT-001 has eliminated that. It will respond to commands "almost instantly". Older TRVs ask the controller at regular intervals "what is my set-point" (target temperature). It is recommended to set wake up > 300 and < 900 and set each older TRV wake up with 10 seconds difference to avoid collisions. FLiRS devices  do not have such a setting because they do not need one (they are nearly instant).
  • So, you have your TRV connected (included, added) to a Z-Wave controller? Then from now on you have a "remote control" for your thermostat. It still does not need your controller or a temperature sensor to control the temperature. Sometimes, it is more convenient to use your phone or a tablet. But it's not real automation (yet). Communication is bidirectional: the controller can set the TRVs set-point and the TRV will report the set-point if someone turns the knob. If you change the setting on the TRV, it sends that information to the controller, so you can immediately see in your app or on your browser... set-point has changed. You'll notice a timer too, this is something interesting to talk about but not right now. Just keep in mind changing the setting on the TRV acts as "an override with a timer" (it requires more explanation, I know...). The FGT-001 also reports temperature if it has an external sensor. It DOES NOT report sensor data without external sensor. To me, this makes totally sense, because the sensor is not in a good spot to measure room temperature. I have dedicated a separate topic to this. Popp is a modified Danfoss TRV. It reports temperature, but depending on your house and position of the TRV, its temperature reporting will not match the temperature at a key point in your room... If you want to know more, please read my other topic... 

    Please login or register to see this link.

  • The next step would be to use "the heating panel". The heating panel is nothing but a scheduler. It contains time/temperature settings (pairs). And all it does is send the schedule to the TRV. Again, the FGT or Danfoss is fully autonomous after it receives the schedule. Older thermostats get only a set-point change. The FGT-001 gets a complete schedule. The effect is largely the same. You can override the schedule by turning the knob, or by using the app. You get manual override and holiday mode as a bonus. You need to understand the concept of zones and rooms and maybe take into account that one FGT remote sensor can send temperature to three FGT-001 heads. It might be a little bit more complex than I suggest... one thing that trips people is how "time" plays a role in overriding the schedule.
  • If this still isn't enough control, you can use Lua to send a set-point to the TRV. Even in this case, you still do not need an extra temperature measurement... The FGT is FLiRS and responds almost instantly to your commands. The older valves get a setting at the next wake-up (typically set to anything between 5 an 30 minutes). Of course, you can use some sensor in the room to estimate the performance of the TRV and nudge the set-point up and down, to compensate for the fact the TRV is not in a good position to measure room temperature. I do not present scripts to do this... You can use Lua with or without the heating panel,. If you want to make your own scheduler, you can do that, no need to configure the heating panel.
  • The setting "The main thermostat:" on the  "room settings tab" can be used by Lua scenes, but I do not think it is used in any other way.
  • The setting "The main temperature sensor:" on the  "room settings tab" selects the sensor for the temperature gauge in the top left corner of a room (app + browser) for display purposes. It does not in influence temperature control, unless you use or write Lua scene(s).
  • All the TRV needs is... a steady source of hot water and battery. And this brings us to the issue of room thermostat and boiler control. The boiler should take care of the hot water problem. It has a boiler thermostat, and possibly some settings and maybe an external probe. You see, I do not mention a "room thermostat" when I talk about boiler control, this is intentional. I might discuss this another time.
  • For sake of completeness... other TRV systems exist. If you are interested in a mains operated, completely silent actuator (not a thermostat!) look up "thermoelectric actuator". notice: "actuator" is not "thermostat"... You need a thermostat to control that kind of actuator. It is something to keep in mind: all Z-Wave TRVs make some noise!
  • There is one rather peculiar device on the market, which causes a lot of confusion: "Danfoss RS 014G0160 Thermostat". On a HC 4.160 you can use this as a kind of remote control. It does not act as a real thermostat, because the device does not control any output (on a home center). You can use Lua to intercept "value" and "timestamp" as with any other thermostat.
  • Also for sake of completeness...You can turn a sensor and a switch (relay) into a basic thermostat using "linked device". It only works with a relay, not a thermostat. I am not a big fan of this setup, if communication fails and the relay gets stuck "open" or "close" your room might get very hot or cold. You can by thermostats with a relay instead.
  • FGT-001 has issues, we are waiting on a device specific firmware update.

Are you still with me?

 

Any questions? Go ahead! There are no stupid questions... I learn from people asking questions, either because it makes me formulate the answer or makes me aware of things I do not know! Thats good!

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  • Inquirer
  • @dirkg173 I am not yet controlling the boiler with a Z-wave relay, but that was my idea when I came across the Heating Panel.

     

    @petergebruers Thank you, you have answered many questions.  I was aware of the TRV and its usage, but they are expensive and my idea to start a basic system was to use a temperature sensor already in the room to control the boiler as a replacement for the   existing roomstat and timeclock. I realise this would be a "one zone" affair but by getting the HC2 involved I would have the advantage of a more sophisticated scheduler and the ability to change settings remotely via internet.

     

    It seems this is not really the purpose of the Heating Panel and that I should start saving for some FGT-001 devices as I have 12 radiators!

     

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    4 minutes ago, 15green said:

    @petergebruers Thank you, you have answered many questions.

     

    I'm glad it helps...

     

    5 minutes ago, 15green said:

    my idea to start a basic system was to use a temperature sensor already in the room to control the boiler as a replacement for the   existing roomstat and timeclock.

     

    Yes... but boiler control is an entirely different topic. The advantage of your idea is you get nice app & browser control over temperature in one room, but not in the other rooms. Also, if your scene fails, or you have a communication failure, or you reboot your HC, that room might get very hot or very cold... Personally, I prefer to use "thermostats" for temperature control, not relays. But it is possible and other users report success and also confirm the problems I have mentioned.

     

    I hate to say it, but "boiler control" is an even tougher subject than TRVs. But if you want me talk about this... I can do that. But then I have to know: is your boiler less than 15 years old and do all your radiators have a TRV (mechanical, electronic, or Z-Wave)? 

     

    But I have to warn you, I am one of those guys on this forum, who say: "I do not have a room thermostat". I leave boiler control to my heating system (aka "weather compensation control") and this is something which is a very tough topic.

     

    12 minutes ago, 15green said:

    It seems this is not really the purpose of the Heating Panel and that I should start saving for some FGT-001 devices as I have 12 radiators!

    If you have TRVs on all radiators, you can replace them in batches. Of course, you do not get day/night control with mechanical valves, so you might need some form of boiler control as a compromise. At the moment, FGT firmware 4.0 has bugs so I recommend you wait until they release an update (estimated: march 2018).

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  • Hi @petergebruers

     

    Unfortunately my boiler is 20 years old with mechanical TRVs on most.  I like the look of the Honeywell Evohome system and I thought I already have an HC2 maybe I could make this do the same thing but your advice would seem to say leave heating controls to specific heating control devices!

     

    The weather compensation is of interest, what make/system is your boiler?

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