The greatest thing since dumb thermostats
Smart thermostats. We’ve all heard the name, we’ve all heard the hype, and we’ve all heard the oppression against their “smartness” when coupled with today’s high efficient reverse cycle heat pumps.
My smart thermostat journey began when I was tasked with integrating a Nest Learning Thermostat into one of our customers high efficient Daikin ducted reverse cycle inverters – one of our project managers took our famous CMS “can do” approach a little too literally. When he was asked whether we could fit a Nest, his first initial response was “of course, how hard could it be?” After the job was quoted and promises were made, my team approached me (me being the company’s leading controls technician), Nest in hand – “make this work on that system” was how I seem to recall the request.
At first, I eased into the project, head held high ready for a simple integration. Boy, was I wrong! Long story short, this was no simple feat. I was determined and in the end we engineered a solution, but in the mean time, I realised what is really wrong with the internet and it’s users.
I scoured the net looking for help (or a shortcut so I didn’t have to engineer the solution myself) with the thoughts of “surely someone has done it”. Every corner I turned I ran into the same wall;
“Will the Nest work on my system?” asks one user.
“My controller has different wires than the one on the website” stated another.
“I’ve wired it in and nothing happens” seemed to be a trending phrase.
In response to all these questions were equally uneducated statements from the sites peers.
“The website says it works with 95% of systems; just cut the wires and it will work”.
“The Daikin website has a Nest on it – that means it should work!”
I think the biggest issue relating to the smart thermostats is it’s target market; tech savy Gen Y’s who aren’t afraid to rip an extra low voltage thermostat off the wall and replace it with the futuristic smart thermostat, because they’ve read how to do it on the internet, and the internet says it’s easy.
Don’t believe me? Read for yourself help needed, or even INCOMPATIBLE.
The only problem is, Australia seems to lie directly in the 5% of incompatible (for the tech savvy home user) HVAC systems. Naturally, their response is to go back to where they found the ‘easy to install’ information and tell the rest of the world that smart thermostats are dumb.
All in all, after all of the hour’s spent searching the world wide web, I came up with nothing but pages full of either “why doesn’t it work?”, “smart thermostats are dumb” or “for sale – thermostat is not compatible with my system”.
This turned my determination to find a solution into an obsession to find an answer. And I am proud to say I succeeded.
The truths about the smart thermostat
I’m not one to read the internet and make a final decision. I also don’t believe it’s very fair to pass on information to the unsuspecting public, unless you are 100% sure you have all the facts you need.
During the many countless hours I spent designing, testing, failing, redesigning, and being told it wouldn’t work, I got to spend quite some time with these thermostats in hand. I compiled a list of truths about the thermostats to ease the mind of my fellow readers.
“Smart thermostats only control dumb HVAC”
While this is somewhat true, it’s not the wiring system that makes these devices smart, but the algorithms that have been programmed in that provide the smarts. It is just the wiring interface provided for the end user is a little dumb, although with a bit of manipulation we can overcome this issue.
Truth is – these thermostats ARE compatible with Australian HVAC systems. Not “straight out of the box, wire it up and you’re good to go” – but yes they are compatible with a little tweaking. This little “tweak” began as a CMS customer only advantage, however we have now come to the realisation that the rest of Australia are (not just asking, but) pleading for a solution.
We are listening.
CMS are proud to announce that we are currently in the process of manufacturing a DIY integration interface. This interface will allow home owners anywhere in Australia the ability to connect smart thermostat (such as Nest, Ecobee, Tado etc) to their existing HVAC system. All you will need is basic electrical knowledge, or your local HVAC technician to perform the task for you!
First release will be compatible with Daikin ducted SkyAir systems. We have currently been working on other makes, and strive to have them released shortly after. As soon as we finalise release dates and pricing, we will provide an update via the mailing list.
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST TO RECEIVE THE LATEST UPDATES ON OUR UP-COMING DIY KITS
We are also gathering information via a short survey, and would really appreciate your input! You can find the survey here.
Contact our team today to discover what smart thermostats are compatible with your system!
Update 9th January 2019
Wow, this has been a long journey! We wish to sincerely thank everyone for their patience, especially those who have been waiting since the very beginning of this venture.
Our main priority here at CMS is installation of air conditioning systems; this is what keeps our employees paid and keeps food on the table. Our second priority is this smart thermostat venture. The second half of 2018 was our busiest period since we opened our doors 4 years ago, and as much as we want to finalise our smart thermostat project, our air conditioning installation took precedence over everything else.
We are hoping to have the systems available early 2019, although due to the delays thus far, we are reluctant to provide any dates until we are absolutely certain.
We have had MANY smart thermostat enquiries as of late. One common question we have been asked is “Is it possible?”. The answer is yes, we have found a solution to installing the smart thermostats to Daikin systems – our earliest integration board was installed to a Canberra home (Nest Gen 3 thermostat and Daikin AC) since 2016 and proving full functionality. The installation however is very complex and therefore has only been available to our direct customers in Canberra – let’s call this version 1. Our current aim is to release version 2, which we need to be a DIY “plug and play” solution for the rest of Australia. This is something we hope that either home owners can install themselves or their local HVAC contractors can install with ease. DIY VERSION 2 IS NOT YET AVAILABLE. Unfortunately, it has proven more difficult than we initially thought to convert our version 1 board into a DIY version 2. Combine this with some manufacturing and re-design delays and before we know it, it’s 12 months later we are still not ready for public purchase.
To add to the frustration, we have run out of stock of our version 1 boards and will not be restocking these. Sorry Canberra, that means you will also have to wait until the DIY version 2 boards are available in order to have one installed to your home.
Another common question is “What exactly is your product?”. Our product is a THIRD device that will be used in conjunction with your smart thermostat and air conditioning system. The smart thermostats and Australian reverse cycle AC systems ‘speak a different language’, hence why they are not as easily compatible as the American AC units. Our integration board can be described as a ‘translator’ that allows the smart thermostat to talk to the Australian AC system and vice-versa. Please note that the original AC controller is still required for servicing and warranty of your air conditioning system. We generally relocate these controllers to an inconspicuous location in the home (such as a cupboard, garage or even in the roof cavity), therefore it is available for your HVAC service technicians. It does not need to be used for any other purposes.
Lastly – we have been asked numerous times if we stock any smart thermostats. Unfortunately, the answer is no. We do not yet have any deals with Nest, Ecobee etc and therefore it is more cost effective for you to purchase the smart thermostats directly from a third party.
If you haven’t already, please sign up to our MAILING LIST . As soon as we have a confirmed pricing or release date, our mailing list subscribers will be the first to know. Once the time comes, we also hope to offer a pre-sale to ensure those who wish to purchase the integration board straight away do not miss out on the first shipment. You have waited long enough!