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programmable thermostat

USB beer cooler + Microcontroller = Programmable Thermostat
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

Of the total energy consumed in USA, half is consumer in space conditioning, i. e. home/ office heating and cooling. (see my blog at http://savingenergy.wordpress.com )

So if you are paying $300 in utility bills, your air conditioner is taking about $150 out of it. Any saving done on air conditioner can save you a lot of money.

One way is to use programmable thermostat, which will raise the set temperature automatically in office when there is nobody, and thus save energy spent in cooling. But many times you can't find a thermostat that fits your existing system, and buying a whole new one is big headache.

Look at this gadget


You can connect this to micro-controller to be turned on/off at specific times. If you leave this close to your existing thermostat sensor (which is nothing but a thermocouple), then you can fool your thermostat thinking things are cooler than they actually are. Thus it will turn of A/C. When it is turned off, the thermostat will read the real temperature and start cooling. (The bottom side of this gadget becomes hot, so you can use this to heat thermostat in winter.)


kgskgs, Oct 09 2007

[kgskgs]'s Links As Links http://savingenergy.wordpress.com
The blog... [lostdog, Oct 09 2007]

Second Link http://tinyurl.com/yfjwv2
The gadget. ([kgskgs] - this free service is provided to you with the proviso that next time you check out the [link] button just underneath this link) [lostdog, Oct 09 2007]


       I can't believe it's that hard to buy a progammable thermostat. Alternatively, just buy a regular thermostat and a timeswitch - you could easily rig up a combination which would achieve what you want.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 09 2007

       (+) for sheer ingenuity, though.
jutta, Oct 09 2007

       Heath Robinson would be proud.
Texticle, Oct 09 2007

       Heath Robinson would have used more propellors.
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 09 2007

       Problem is not buying programmable thermostat. Problem is fitting one in your existing system. Many home system today are too old. The retrofit thermostat needs lot of modifications in existing system. All this adds cost. Thus we need something that will work without making any change (and generically will work for any system)
kgskgs, Oct 09 2007

       With timeswitch, you can turn things on and off at say 7:00 am at morning and 6:00 pm in evening. But it does not give you control to turn things on or off over say weekend or holidays.   

       Programmable microcontroller like Basic stamp could do that. Timeswitch will cost around $25, Micro controller will cost around $100. But considering that you will use this thing for several years, it is worth extra investment if it lets you optimize stuff.
kgskgs, Oct 09 2007

       Hmm. Maybe I misunderstood, in which case my apologies. I would have thought that the thermostat just had to sense the room temperature (and the time of day, if programmed to do so), and then switch the power supply to the aircon on and off. Is this not so?
MaxwellBuchanan, Oct 09 2007

       Instead of pansying around with a second thermostat-fooling cooler, you could simply flick the switch.
marklar, Oct 10 2007

       Good one.   

       But this would have the advantage of being programmable.
BJS, Oct 10 2007

       Guerilla HVAC.
wagster, Oct 10 2007

       [BJS] I'm not sure how. It's USB powered, but there is no indication that you can do anything else with it, unless you are suggesting writing a bit of low level code to cut and restore power to a specific USB port at certain times.   

       And of course this would all mean duct-taping a laptop to the wall. Still, you could make it part of an e-home.
marklar, Oct 10 2007

       No we do not need it to keep in company of laptop. The computer will be required only to program the microcontroller once. After that all we need is a power supply to keep the microcontroller running.   

       To marklar, yes we could flip the switch. But that's not the point. Many people keep the a/c on the whole day because it takes a while to cool down the house and they want to feel cool when they walk in. With programmable devices, you can program them to start one hour before you will come home and save energy without compromising comfort.
kgskgs, Oct 11 2007

       The problem I had was the way in which it was explained. I pictured something cobbled together from existing components.   

       If I picture it as a nice manufactured box that goes over the thermostat, with an LCD readout on the front and a couple of buttons, it makes a lot more sense.   

       If the box is well insulated it may only need batteries to work for a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise I guess a normal 9V tranformer plug would do.   

       One of the advantages is that you could use this device if you are renting, where you can't replace stuff but still want to pay less on heating.
marklar, Oct 11 2007

       Am I missing something here? Programmable thermostats with timers that can be set for weekends, holidays, and other specific days are already baked.
Jscotty, Oct 11 2007

       [Jscotty] This is for putting onto an existing simple thermostat which is not programmable.
marklar, Oct 11 2007

       Oh, well in that case BONE. Programmable thermostats are cheap enough these days that a retrofit timer wouldn't really provide an advantage, would it?
Jscotty, Oct 12 2007

       Yeah. What [Jscotty] said but no bone. Thermostat is just switch usually only with the two wires for make/break. All easily replaceable (no.2 phillips screwdriver required) with any other brand or model, programable or not.
the dog's breakfast, Oct 12 2007

       Good grief! Posting links to pages which link back to HB's liable to break the Internet! I've just spent 4 hours pogging back and fro   

       [+]' though - I'm concerned that the HB will become a place where products are being advertised
Dub, Oct 16 2007

       One area I can specifically think this could be useful is apartments that are rented.   

       Renter is temporary resident and has no motivation to buy something permanent like programmable thermostat. The apartment complex is not paying the utility bill, so they have no motivation to update their thermostat.   

       In that case, something like this, which is removable and programmable could be useful.
kgskgs, Jan 02 2008


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