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advice on home thermostat project

post #1 of 4
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Hi Guys,

I live in a small apartment. I have a single air conditioner window unit that you switch on and off manually. There is no thermostat or other temperature control in my apartment.

My idea was to design one that turns the air conditioner on and off according to the temperature target i set. I imagine this would require a temperature sensor and possibly an arduino or other circuit board.

I don't know much about programming, any thoughts?
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post #2 of 4
Sounds like a fun project....

Unless you are just really wanting to do it yourself, there are options out there:

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/digital-temperature-switch

These are a little limited in range, but they work well: http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators-TC-3-Thermostatically-Controlled/dp/B0006U2HD2

Just some ideas! thumb.gif

Also did a quick search on some circuit diagrams.. you had me curious! lol1

This one looks pretty complete...http://www.learningelectronics.net/circuits/heating-system-thermostat-circuit.html

This one is extremely simple, and would need a relay added to switch the actual power: http://www.zen22142.zen.co.uk/ronj/hyt.html

I haven't done any board level design since the 70's... so I am way out of sync with modern circuit design. Keep meaning to get back into it.
Edited by cgipson1 - 4/14/14 at 8:42am
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post #3 of 4
I want to do the same thing. Just haven't got around to it yet.
It should actually be relatively easy. A thermostat is an incredibly simple device, it's just a relay that's operated by a thermometer.

What kind of development experience do you have? Arduino is a good choice if that's what you're familiar with. I've done some successful experimental work with a lpcxpresso ‎dev board. But that's not what I'm going to use anymore.
My new weapon of choice is the .Net Micro Framework. It's an ultra-compact, open source version of the .Net Framework that runs on 32-bit ARM CPU's. I like the ARM Cortex-M3 chips, they are ultra-cheap and ultra power-efficient, but they are 32-bit and have some decent processing power (unlike most competing chips that are 16-bit or even 8-bit). It's the same chip that used in many modern smart watches.

Check out .NET Gadgeteer as a good starting point. Some of the kit pieces that are available are a bit pricey, but they have everything you'd need to build something like this, and it's super easy to put them together into a working product.
You'd need the core cpu/board, a thermal sensor, and a relay board, and that's it. And maybe a display screen, and maybe a network connection...

And since the dev work would be entirely C#/.Net based, it's actually really easy to take this to the next level. Rather than just switching on and off at a particular temp target, you can make it smart by having different temp targets depending on the time of day. Heck, there's nothing preventing you from adding a network connection to the thermostat, and controlling it/configuring it from your PC or smartphone. Or go really next level, you can have your smartphone automatically switch the thermostat on when you're home, and off when you leave, use your home wifi connection as the trigger for being home or not.
Or take it even further than that: Have it switch off automatically when you leave the house. Then set a trigger on your phone using the gps, so that when you are within X miles of your house to switch it back on before you get home, so it's nice and cool by the time you get there. That would be Epic.
Some of this might sound crazy, but it's actually surprisingly easy.

Once you have the working hardware in place, the software can be updated/improved over time.


This is the dev board I plan to use for experimenting/testing/dev: FEZ Cerb40 II. Then if I want to build any actual products based on that, the chip itself can be bought from digikey for fraction of the price.
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post #4 of 4
Ubiquiti mFi. Hands down the best and easiest to use building automation tech out there.

http://www.ubnt.com/mfi
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Heisenberg
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