Wireless Web Programmable Thermostats and Switches
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Thread: Wireless Web Programmable Thermostats and Switches

  1. #1
    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Wireless Web Programmable Thermostats and Switches

    I've been waiting for a decent wireless system for thermostats and switches, and there is now a Canadian product Sinopé that looks pretty slick. You can demo the simple web interface from their site. I think it looks great for a small Canadian company while the larger companies seem to be fumbling with this technology.





    Some reasons why I've been waiting for this:

    In Quebec, most houses have individual thermostats in each room. This makes it a pain to adjust the heat every time you leave the house. Previously I installed programmable thermostats, however they are still annoying when you want to deviate from your regular schedule. A few times, I've missed 1 or 2 thermostats when leaving for extended periods and with this web control I could have turned them off from the airport.

    My house also has exterior lights on timers. This is also a pain because the daylight is always changing. I also like to program inside lights to make it look like I'm home when I'm not. This year I ended up extending a work trip past Halloween so my lights were programmed to come on while I was away, but if I could control them online I could have turned them off to avoid kids knocking on my door for candy..

    It's not cheap: $85 server + $65/thermostat. I figure it would take 2 or 3 winters before it even pays for itself..

    amat victoria curam

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    Interesting startup, I don't think their prices look bad though it would add up for electric heating in every room. Don't know if I missed it but they don't seem to offer a thermostat for forced air systems?

    If you're getting a system please post a review.

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    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cainvest View Post
    Interesting startup, I don't think their prices look bad though it would add up for electric heating in every room. Don't know if I missed it but they don't seem to offer a thermostat for forced air systems?

    If you're getting a system please post a review.
    For forced air there are already good options from Nest or Honeywell. Those are for systems where you only have 1 thermostat. The system I have is where you have a line voltage thermostat in every room, for which there hasn't been many wireless options. This would let me control all the thermostats at once from a web interface

    I found a thread about these on a "smarthome" forum. Lots of Americans are buying them and lots of good comments (except that they get stung by UPS brokerage fees.. like we always do buying from USA!)

    Some interesting tidbits:
    It uses your postal code to get the local time and the outside temp
    If a thermostat is far away, the signals are relayed through other thermostats to extend the range
    RF and web data is all encrypted
    Settings are maintained after a power outage

    Concerns:
    If the company failed, what happens to the web server that you need to control there?..

    The price is not bad compared to decent programmable thermostats, and much simpler and cheaper than Honeywell's solution. I think I will order a starter pack direct from the company (free shipping in Canada and cheaper than Rona)
    amat victoria curam

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    Quote Originally Posted by m3s View Post
    For forced air there are already good options from Nest or Honeywell. Those are for systems where you only have 1 thermostat.
    Its just the price the want for those "single" products is crazy high. I would rather have a single system interface that works together for furnace, lights and probably a few other things. I'm also not fond of devices that use external servers for connectivity, I'd much rather control it myself.


    Quote Originally Posted by m3s View Post
    Concerns:
    If the company failed, what happens to the web server that you need to control there?..
    The web server is bought just like the other devices, not sure what you mean?

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    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Did you look at Nest? It's $250 on their site. That's not bad considering Sinopé will cost that much for a gateway and 2 thermostats, but most houses will need more thermostats for a baseboard setup.. My concern was that is Sinopé goes bankrupt in the future, what happens to that external server and web interface?

    The other side of it is remote monitoring. With Sinopé you get the historical temp, usage/cost of each thermostat. That helps you recognize a poorly insulated room or if one heater is carrying all the load

    The 2 things I wanted to control online was actually the heaters and some light switches so I'm liking the simplicity of this system. What else would you want? I can see there being smart doors, appliances, cameras, smoke/CO detectors. It would make sense for them all to work together: lock door = heat off + alarm/cameras on
    amat victoria curam

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    They really need to put up more info on their website, its very lean with no help in the manuals. Is there an external server being used or is it just the web interface module you access?

    Not sure what I'd hook up other than the furnace and some lights ... maybe garage door open/close.

    Nest is a no go for me, any system that you have to access their servers to use your devices, no thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by m3s View Post

    It's not cheap: $85 server + $65/thermostat. I figure it would take 2 or 3 winters before it even pays for itself..
    At Quebec electricity prices that seems optimistic to me -- I looked into the Nest and figured they'd take about 30 years to pay for themselves. We have eight thermostats in our house, so the Sinope system would be an outlay of $605, and I'd be surprised if the savings amounted to more than $20/year in our case, mainly because we rarely forget to turn down the heat when we leave, and some of the thermostats are kept permanently low (those in the basement for example).

    My main concern with networked home controls are that they're great when they work, but when things go wrong it can be really frustrating. I bought a set of Philips Hue LED lights because you can set them on timers without having to buy physical timers: you control the lights entirely from a smart phone or tablet (or your computer). You can set up vacation schedules so the lights come on and off at specific times, and you can even randomize it so someone watching the home from the street each night would see the lights come on at different times. But there have been enough software glitches, failed updates and patches, etc., that I'm at the point of wanting to go back to a simple mechanical timer. We don't usually set the timers on the Hue until a few minutes before we're ready to leave the home, and there's little more frustrating than encountering bugs (inability to see or control lights on the network, etc.) when you're rushing to get out the door.
    Last edited by brad; 2015-11-17 at 04:39 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brad View Post
    At Quebec electricity prices that seems optimistic to me -- I looked into the Nest and figured they'd take about 30 years to pay for themselves. We have eight thermostats in our house, so the Sinope system would be an outlay of $605, and I'd be surprised if the savings amounted to more than $20/year in our case, mainly because we rarely forget to turn down the heat when we leave, and some of the thermostats are kept permanently low (those in the basement for example).

    My main concern with networked home controls are that they're great when they work, but when things go wrong it can be really frustrating.
    I totally agree! There's little chance these things are going to pay for themselves before they break down. And even my regular programmable thermostats piss me off because they have a bug and sometimes reboot when I want to adjust them. There's no way I'd risk anything "smarter".

    If saving is the goal, the returns are much better on sealing air leaks in a typical house. It's boring and sometimes difficult work but you can do a lot yourself and make a real difference.

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    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brad View Post
    At Quebec electricity prices that seems optimistic to me -- I looked into the Nest and figured they'd take about 30 years to pay for themselves. We have eight thermostats in our house, so the Sinope system would be an outlay of $605, and I'd be surprised if the savings amounted to more than $20/year in our case, mainly because we rarely forget to turn down the heat when we leave, and some of the thermostats are kept permanently low (those in the basement for example).

    My main concern with networked home controls are that they're great when they work, but when things go wrong it can be really frustrating. I bought a set of Philips Hue LED lights because you can set them on timers without having to buy physical timers: you control the lights entirely from a smart phone or tablet (or your computer). You can set up vacation schedules so the lights come on and off at specific times, and you can even randomize it so someone watching the home from the street each night would see the lights come on at different times. But there have been enough software glitches, failed updates and patches, etc., that I'm at the point of wanting to go back to a simple mechanical timer. We don't usually set the timers on the Hue until a few minutes before we're ready to leave the home, and there's little more frustrating than encountering bugs (inability to see or control lights on the network, etc.) when you're rushing to get out the door.
    Hi brad,

    You're probably right that it's optimistic at Quebec's artificially low prices. I've chalked this up to a novelty and maybe a resale feature at best. Unlike you though, I am pretty lazy to turn down 8 thermostats before sleeping or going to work and then back up everyday. I am often away on short notice or longer than expected. For example when I got home last week half of my heaters were trying to heat the house because they were set from last year.. even still I only spend $1000/winter on heat so at best I might save $200-300 per year.

    I have been curious of smart devices for the house such as lights for awhile now but I was never impressed by Philips, Honeywell etc. The Philips Hue lights are supported by the app I use as an alarm.. but I have read far too many reviews like yours to invest in that brand. Sinopé is getting a lot of great reviews from blogs and forums and it is more what I was waiting for. For example the Sinopé light switch is $55CAD and can control 1800 watts of bulbs whereas a single Philips Hue bulb is $60-100 each.. and a Honeywell non-wifi programmable switch is still $50.

    I can see these becoming the norm in 5-10 years, interesting to see if a Canadian brand can stick around
    amat victoria curam

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    I'm not sure where the frugality comes in with this product. Why does it need to be web-enabled? Why does it need to check the weather outside? Either the room is too hot or it is too cold. A thermostat will control that. A programmable thermostat (one for each room if you wish) costs 40-50$.

    And it's very easy to wire in a photosensor in to your exterior light circuit. Or buy a lightbulb with a build in light sensor. Or a socket add on that has the light sensor built in.

    Technology is cool, no doubt. It's very star trek-esque to be able to control your house from a touch screen. But is it necessary? Nest is a slick looking package, but is it necessary? Could you not do the same thing with a programmable t-stat and a bit of testing to figure out the response time of your system?

    I'm always leery of all these tech connections. Being able to control things from anywhere in the world means there is the possibility that someone else can.

    One thing I've seen that has potential value is an irrigation controler that connects to the internet and checks the forecast for you. Going to rain tomorrow? Maybe we can skip watering the lawn today then. There's other ones that measure the ground moisture in each zone and use that as the controlling parameter.


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