Worcester-Bosch have announced a new controller called the Wave that can be programmed and adjusted via a smartphone. Few details are available yet, but there’s a bit more here than is given on WB’s own site. The launch date* for the Wave will be 15th September.
The good news is it works with WB’s proprietary boiler control system, Heatronic 3, and so can control the boiler parameters more accurately. Most other smart controllers simply replace the on/off thermostat control function. It promises weather compensation but using the internet weather reports rather than an external sensor.
It fails my criteria for a true smart controller, however, as it doesn’t talk to individual TRVs, you have to set those yourself. There is a project to reverse engineer the Heatronic 3 interface and so there’s hope that some of the open source projects can extend the functionality to make it truly smart.
*Update: Well, it has missed September and the latest I’ve heard is that it will be “out in the near future.”
I’ve been doing a bit of research to try and find the cheapest way of creating a zoned heating system. The baseline is the commercial products from the likes of Honeywell and HeatGenius. The Honeywell evohome with the special offer on a pack of four wireless TRVs will set you back £415, maybe less if you shop around. The HeatGenius will be an eye-watering £489 and that’s without fitting costs.
So how to do it cheaper? Looking at Open Source solutions it seems there are a few options. OpenHAB is a good software solution that can be run on a spare PC, laptop (low power netbook with a SSD would be suitable) or a NAS box, no need to buy new hardware. This needs a suitable wireless dongle for communication with the TRVs and the Aeotech Z-Stick USB at £41 looks like a good solution.
The cheapest wireless TRVs I’ve found are the StellaZ, which work on the Z-wave protocol and can be found for around £48 each. This is often a significant factor in the cost of multi-zone systems, the incremental cost of adding another zone is that of the TRVs, one for each radiator in the zone. So for four zones, assuming one TRV per zone, would come to just £280, significantly cheaper than the evohome and HeatGenius. Of course, setting this up will be harder than the commercial offering and probably only suitable for the hobbyist, but at least on paper it is possible to do it cheaply.