Unwrapping and Experiences with Installing Devolo Home Automation Thermostats

As my first (rather small) home automa­tion project I decid­ed to install remote con­trolled radi­a­tor ther­mostats. (This is also known as a cen­tral ther­mostat and comes with most mod­ern apart­ments, but then my new Berlin apart­ment is rather old and charm­ing. It has no cen­tral ther­mostat, mak­ing me run around the apart­ment every morn­ing to man­u­al­ly adjust the sev­en radi­a­tors.)

I chose Devolo’s “Home Con­trol” ther­mostats and con­trol cen­ter. This is an afford­able entry-level pro­duct into the space of home automa­tion, though the total of sev­en ther­mostats and one (pro­pri­etary) con­trol cen­ter set me back about EUR 600. 

The con­trol cen­ter and the ther­mostats com­mu­ni­cate via the Z-Wave pro­to­col, which makes me hope­ful that I can lat­er replace the rather sim­ple con­trol cen­ter with an Open­HAB or the like open source based hub. More about cen­tral man­age­ment in the next blog post. Here I will focus on the unwrap­ping and instal­la­tion of the ther­mostats.

Eyes on the price! This is what I was up again­st.

The ther­mostats seem fine. They have the expect­ed plas­tic exte­ri­or. When com­pared with pack­ag­ing, adver­tise­ments, and oth­er Devolo prod­ucts, the col­or is off, how­ev­er. The ther­mostats do not have the clean white col­or of non-glossy clean plas­tic but rather have a glossy egg-shell white col­or. I would have pre­ferred a clean white but this more nat­u­ral white blends into its envi­ron­ment quite nice­ly.

The ther­mostats come ready for deploy­ment, which means bat­ter­ies are includ­ed. They were not par­tic­u­lar­ly high qual­i­ty, as I had sev­er­al that broke at the edges when I put them into the thermostat’s cas­ing.

Instal­la­tion was easy, though not entire­ly triv­ial. Make sure you have the tools at hand to unscrew the old ther­mostats, I had trou­ble get­ting two of the rings that fix the old ther­mostat in place off the radi­a­tor.

I had bought my ther­mostats in two batch­es, and even though the order was only about two months apart, the mod­els had changed. On the out­side, they look the same. Their behav­ior was dif­fer­ent, how­ev­er. The old­er mod­el was eas­i­est to install by first putting the new fix­a­tion ring onto the radi­a­tor, then screw­ing on the ther­mostat, and then press­ing the but­ton on the ther­mostat that will open the valve and fix­ate the ther­mostat. With the old­er mod­el, noth­ing hap­pened elec­tron­i­cal­ly until I had put it in place and pressed the main acti­va­tion but­ton.

The new mod­el dif­fered in that as soon as I had put in the bat­ter­ies, it switched itself on and tried to open the (non-yet-connected) valve of the radi­a­tor. As a con­se­quence, I did not suc­ceed in putting them into action by fol­low­ing the process above (as described in the hand­book) but I first had to screw the ther­mostat on the fix­a­tion ring and then had to screw the assem­bly onto the radi­a­tor. After this, I could press the main acti­va­tion but­ton, which would unac­ti­vate the device. A sec­ond press would reac­ti­vate it and make it open the valve prop­er­ly and gain con­trol of the water flow.

This is how beau­ti­ful new tech and old tech can look togeth­er!

3 thoughts on “Unwrapping and Experiences with Installing Devolo Home Automation Thermostats

  1. Pingback: Installation and Configuration of Devolo Home Automation Control Center | Software Research and the Industry

  2. Steven @ TheTrustCompass

    Great work! It is impor­tant to have cost effec­tive inno­va­tion in the field of ther­mostats automa­tion. We need more inno­va­tions like this in the future to trans­form automa­tion ser­vices.

    Reply

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