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Confused by advertising


schata
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Hi Fibaro Team, 

 

I bought a Fibaro Intercom and am a bit confused after reading the manual. 

According to the product page it withstands rain and heat. The manual shows explicitly NOT to mount at places where rain can hit it or direct sun. 

 

I took temp. measurement with an IR cam and even in free air it reaches temp. of 46°C. Attached two pictures of the front and the side (heatsink). The manual shows max. operating temp. of 40°C.  Mounting it in a wall will exceed it by much.

 

Our walls are equipped with thermal insulation and the Intercom needs to be mounted in. 

 

My questions: 

 

1. Is it possible to mount it into wall insulation?   How can I do it safely?

2. Does the device have over temp. protection?

3. Why is it getting that warm in free air at 20-21°C ambient temperature?

 

Thanks

 

Alex 

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Nice pics and very good questions.

 

11 hours ago, schata said:

According to the product page it withstands rain and heat. The manual shows explicitly NOT to mount at places where rain can hit it or direct sun. 

 

This was mentioned in another topic. My personal opinion? "withstand" means it will not get destroyed, but it may malfunction or degrade. Rain and sun on the lens, image quality... UV degrades plastics...

 

11 hours ago, schata said:

I took temp. measurement with an IR cam and even in free air it reaches temp. of 46°C. Attached two pictures of the front and the side (heatsink). The manual shows max. operating temp. of 40°C.

 

Surprising temperature measurement indeed...

 

In general, I'd say manufacturers specify "ambient temperature" and as long as the device temperature meets certain criteria (I think 80 °C for a device in a wall is acceptable in Belgium, but do not quote me on this) it is up to the device manufacturer to decide what is an acceptable device temperature. I bet Fibaro has done some calculations + verification of component temperatures.

 

I do not know if they take into account an "insulated wall"... I'd say, if the insulation material surrounding the unit goes above 40 °C then you are exceeding the operating temperature. That is the one million dollar question. BTW brick walls have some insulating properties as well (with respect to free air, unrestricted flow). I'd love to hear an answer from one of the Fibaro officials.

 

Does that spot feel hot, say, like "bathroom temperature", so you can confirm it is about 40 °C? If not... what's your IR emissivity set at? Is it possible it is registering too high? I am not suggesting you are wrong, I'm merely being skeptic. I'm always a bit skeptic with IR measurements on shiny surfaces (I usually stick a bit of black tape onto the object).

 

Thanks for sharing this...

 

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  • I first measured the temp of a calibrated heating plate to make sure the readings will be correct and did not measure at shiny surface of the device which is the steel ring actually only. 

    The temp was measured at black anodized heat sink. It doesn’t reflect any surrounding heat which may effect the readings. 

     

    I run another test. With help of a CO2 laser i built a piece of an insulated wall of padding foam. Not the same but in terms of insulation pretty similar material to real wall insulation. 

    The temp raised to 57 degree after about two hours. 

     

    My my wife asked me a pretty clear question after also reading all available docs about this device. “Will it burn down my new house when mounted into insulation?”  

     

    What is the max. temperature the black heat sink can get without damage the device? 

    Is there a thermal shutdown to prevent it from start burning as a result of overheating?

     

    Thanks

     

    Alex

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    That is a very nice test & report! 

     

    5 minutes ago, schata said:

    I first measured the temp of a calibrated heating plate to make sure the readings will be correct and did not measure at shiny surface of the device which is the steel ring actually only. 

    The temp was measured at black anodized heat sink. It doesn’t reflect any surrounding heat which may effect the readings. 

     

    Excellent and thank you for your detailed explanation. I hope I did not offend you by being skeptic, I forgot to tell I always try to write my posts for a very broad audience, some of them have not yet done IR measurements.

     

    7 minutes ago, schata said:

    The temp raised to 57 degree after about two hours.

     

    This is a question for Fibaro...

     

    I hope you do not mind... I am going to ramble a bit, because your question "stimulates my brain" but I do not have clear-cut answers.

     

    Is this acceptable or not. My opinion? That's pretty hot... Like I said, I think 80 °C for a device in a wall is acceptable in Belgium, but do not quote me on this. Would I mount it like this? Maybe not without confirmation from Fibaro... The manual says it is rated at 5 W and if it cannot dissipate that through the wall and only through the front panel, I wonder about hot spots in the device. I'd say 5 Watt is not a lot in free air and is acceptable in a brick wall, but with all that insulation. But if the heat sink really dissipates most of the heat, then it would work. 57 °C is hot for humans, not for electronics. I did some tests with NTCs in wood (in a cavity) and it is possible to dissipate 5 Watt, but it gets pretty toasty, but everything stays in spec.

     

    21 minutes ago, schata said:

    What is the max. temperature the black heat sink can get without damage the device?

     

    If that is the "limiting factor" then you can have a clear answer. I'm not sure they are going to publish it on the forum.

     

    22 minutes ago, schata said:

    Is there a thermal shutdown to prevent it from start burning as a result of overheating?

     

    This not proof, but I can say they take their designs seriously and they also meet all kinds of regulations. Unfortunately I am not an expert and the only thing I could find is "Hereby, Fibar Group S.A. declares that FIBARO Intercom is in compliance with the essential requirements and other relevant provisions of Directive 2014/53/EU."

     

    I toy with lot's of electronics and I'd say it is hard to find modern electronic components without any temperature protection. The voltage regulator would shut down and probably cycle on/off, based on the internal chip temperature. But you probably know that. This is not the whole story, some discrete active or passive component might overheat locally, so it is a valid question.

     

    I hope you get some expert answers instead of my "rambling".

     

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  • I´ll try to run another test as IR light also produces a lot of heat. So temp will go up in the night view mode. The general temp. within and insulated wall doesnt change much between day and night. So my concern is that when IR produces additional heat in the night the temp will go even higher as I measured yesterday as the wall material wont dissipate the heat better in the night as in the day.

     

    A clear statement from one of the officials would be very nice. Otherwise I´ll have to send it back as I´m not going to use a device which might or might not be safe to use in insulated environment. 

     

     

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    1 minute ago, schata said:

    I´ll try to run another test as IR light also produces a lot of heat.

     

    Interesting thought. I like the way you think ;-)

     

    I was about to ask "Is this even worst case performance"?

     

    So, maybe you can measure input current and voltage as well?

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  • Sure, I could do all the measurements. Equipment is all here. :) 

    My job are lasers and everything surrounding them . Thermal management is one of the most critical points. So I could do almost every thermal test. But thats not my job. 

     

    I think what we all need is a clear statement from Fibaro. 

     

    What are the absolute max. rating of the device body(heat sink temperature?

    How about mounting into an insulated wall? 

     

    The manual doesnt give any information.

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    The integrated image processor (i took apart broken intercom once, and wrote somewhere down the type ... somewhere hehe) can get really "hot" regards to data sheet, the other part will work till 85° with no issues at all.  

     

    40° operating max. means the 45°-50° inside  (typical temp when mounted) + 20°, so it should work for you.

    If you still worry about, just add some copper ring, i did it for one of our customers due to insulated house, it reduced the temp by 5°.

     

    Of course you can monitor the temp: the intercom does have internal temp sensor, com.fibaro.intercom.sensors.temperature.getTemperature, which can be (currently) used only with modified plugin or with installer API tool (available for your Fibaro certified installer). I can't publish my plugin / plugin uploader, as this opens (the uploader) potential security risk for customer (one can easily upload something, what will make your HC2 not working anymore), so you have to wait till Fibaro have released updated plugin, or use any other external gear (raspi) to get the data and forward to HC2 (via update of e.g. variable on HC2 via HC2 API).

     

    I'm on the way to Light & Building, will be there the whole week together with Fibaro on their booth, so can't give you now the complete Intercom API procedure to get the temp via 3rd part device. In principle one can take any HC2 firmware, unzip it, and check how the plugin is login in into intercom, and add then one line with "com.fibaro.intercom.sensors.temperature.getTemperature" - that's all.

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  • Thank you very much for this clear information. 

    85 degree makes me feel much more comfortable. 

    The Intercom will go back anyway. There are blurry spots in the image. Lens is clear. Looks like bad lens. 

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    @Schata,

     

    Experiencing the same problem:
    The intercom gets REALLY hot, especially on the metal tab the temperature reaches 48°C (test setup in living room).

     

    Did you already examine the intercom functionality?

     

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    Well, without knowing the thermal design, the temperature of the heatsink does not tell us a lot...

     

    For silicon devices, the chip itself usually can run at 125 °C. You have to know the thermal resistance between that chip and the heatsink, to assess the performance. If you have very good thermal coupling, 80 °C or more for a heatsink is possible. But depending on the package, mounting of the heatsink and so on 60 °C might be too hot.

     

    If an end-user can touch the heat-sink, which is not the case hare, a designer might fit a bigger heatsink because you do not want to burn your fingers. I already hinted at safety regulations.

     

    Then there is the issue of the temperature inside the device. For standard components, a case temperature of 85 °C is allowed. And aging of components. Standard electrolytic capacitors: 85 °C case temperature. Capacitors of different materials can change value and age depending on ambient temperature.

     

    How much can it dissipate through the ring and the front? My gut feeling says... 5 Watt is not a lot, it should be possible to keep temperature inside under control. Unless you ignore the warning and direct sunshine hits the device... that can add a few watt, and maybe that happens in summer, when ambient is already 30 °C (does not happen a lot in Belgium)?

     

    But I think, in the end, only the designer can answer, whether it is OK to put this device in (very) insulating material.

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    39 minutes ago, schata said:

    It would be nice when Fibaro could make a statement.

     

    This is mainly a user support forum, though the forum admins can hear you and sometimes they step in ;-)

     

    You can try to ask [email protected] to get an answer (in private) - it is a different department. I'd say it is worth trying.

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  • Thanks for the advise. I already sent them an email and hope to get a reply although in the past it didnt work well. 

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  • Fibaro support replied. 

     

    "It is not safe to use the device when the temp. raises above 50°C."

     

    Well, when this is true, then the device needs to be pulled from the market. It got 46°C in free space at 20°C ambient temp. The IR light wasn´t on. The difference between IR and no IR is 10°C after 4hrs in free space. 

    Taking this into account the Fibaro Intercom cannot be mounted into any wall at all as (doesnt matter what type of a wall/material) there always will be some thermal insulation what will heat the device up even more. 

     

    So my Intercom is going back to the seller. 

     

    My summary: 

    • not acceptable thermal issues
    • blurry spots in the image
    • unstable connection
    • ring function stops working even at the intercom itself (no ring sound)
    • 50% of the ring events are not sent to the iOS devices
    • WiFi and LAN shows both the same issues
    • no iPad app and flipping iPhone app when running on the iPad
    • extreme delays in video and sound transmission and even longer when establishing a video connection after a ring event

     

    Thats a sad story as the Intercom is super cute and the features are great (on the sketch at least). But the software behind all this is far away from being usable and reliable. 

     

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    On 20.3.2018 at 4:34 PM, schata said:

    It would be nice when Fibaro could make a statement.

     

    As I'm responsible for Fibaro Technical Support in Germany, i thought it might be good idea to validate that statement, this is what the Fibaro Dev Team / Product Owner told me: Fibaro Intercom has been designed to fulfill the UL60950, which specify (simplified) that device need to run at 40° ± 2 °C ambient temperature for 21 days with no issues. The heat sink itself can get even up to 80° - 85° (and more if exposed to extensive direct sunlight), above that the Intercom will turn off some internal modules to reduce the temperature, and if that still didn't work it will turn off completely till the temperature dropped down to secure level. Simplified that means, the Intercom will start to reduce temperature when ambient reached ~ 55°-60°, these "40° ambient" value is based on the UL60950.

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    @tinman thanks for the clarification. I tried to find a clear definition of "ambient" in this context, maybe my google-fu is lacking... My naive interpretation is "average temperature of air or another medium in the vicinity of the equipment" but that leaves an ambiguity in this case... Is the device mounted as intended for this test? In either brick or insulating material? Or is it free-standing in a temperature chamber, set at 40 °C? I mean: my Fluke bench meter is intended to be used on a bench, it has plenty of ventilation holes and free air cools the device. So, you test it in free air conditions. No ambiguity here... If I were to cover the holes, or put it in a confined area, the manufacturer would argue that it is not meant to be used in that way. But putting the intercom in insulating material seems plausible to me.

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  • Hi!!

     

    Thanks for your post. This is way more explaining as what I got from the official support. They simply told me not to use when it becomes hot. It detail: >40°C at the heat sink. 

    So the hardware doesnt seem to be a problem. But there is huge problem witrh the software. It doesnt show ring event very often on iOS devices, there is no iPad app. An intercom display is usually installed in wall. Shall I nail my iphone to wall??? 

    Using the iPhone app on the iPad ends up in horrible resolution and the screen rotates automatically from horizontal to vertical mode and I have to tilt my head to see whats happening on the screen. 

    In rare cases where the the ipda or iphone rang there was no stable connection and the sound was very very bad. The video quality like the sound, unstable, froze several times within a 10s call. 

     

    The bahavior was the same for WiFi and LAN. I tried it on two different network with completely different configurations (hadware). 

     

    And reading all the posts here, it doesnt seem to be a malfunctioning device. It seems like the software even didnt reach the BETA status before it was released. 

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    Ambient is normally „ambient as specified by manufacturer for the use case“, in this case with the whole installation box within wall. Insulation materials are always problematic, but i wonder only how someone wish to mount it in insulation material teft protected? When using kind of glue to mount it into insulated wall, everything should be fine as well.

     

    The ipad and android apps, they under development just now, so very soon the disadvantage for mounted devices will be gone.

     

    WiFi and LAN, well, hard to say what other issues users have, but with enought bandwidth no issues for us, we sold / supporting lot of customers here in Germany having FIBARO Intercom. Of course when using it remotelly, one need sufficient uplink, which seems to be sometimes problematic to understand, as most people mixing „i have fast internet“ with slow uplink. Sure, when streaming mjpeg to NAS over WiFi, and trying to speak from outside simultaneously, together with slow uplink and childern / other equipment draining WiFi and Internet down, nothing will work. But that‘s different story / problem. 

     

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