Explore, Create, Learn and Teach

Project – Internet Enabled Multi-zone Thermostat (DesignSpark Challenge Entry)

I’m currently working on documenting this project but, here is a link to my entry for the DesignSpark Challenge. The competition has already been decided and my entry garnered an honorable mention award! This was the first competition that I entered and to win an honorable mention out of over 1000 entrants means a lot to me. I also won a Community Choice Award during the competition for the most popular project. I have to say this was a difficult competition as there was a lot of requirements. For instance, I had to learn how to use DesignSpark PCB as it was required to produce an extension board for the ChipKit Max32. I had to learn the ins and outs of the Max32 as it is/was not entirely compatible with all of the Arduino libraries. This meant some modifications to libaries in order to make them compatible with the Max32. Lastly, there was a long wait for the PCBs to be shipped from China which meant any mistakes in the board files meant lost development time (I made a few mistakes). Time management was definitely crucial in this competition and I ran all the way until the last few minutes for project completion trying to get everything together. A few mistakes kept me from adding all of the software features that I had intended but, I have pretty much completed them since the competition. Check out my entry here and be on the look out for full documentation on my blog to include some extension projects (There’s a lot of goodies in this design that can be carried over into other projects).

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2 Responses »

  1. Your implementation of a multi-zone thermostat looks great. I have thought about this application many times, and I am still surprised no commercial product exists that is really flexible. The NEST thermostat has some limited intelligence in communicating between multiple thermostats, but there is so much more that could be done. I live in an older house with 10 rooms and 5 hydronic zones. The wires in the walls are not ideal for the thermostat locations, and five thermostats means programming 5 separate devices independently of each other. A simple web interface which understands that a sensor in room 3 should control the zone valve for rooms 3 and 4, and have the option of having a second sensor in room 4 to monitor the average temp of the two rooms would make so much more sense.

    Like many older homes in my area, I have a single space-pak type high-velocity A/C which has limited zoning options, but with remote sensors, the circulating fan could be intelligently controlled instead of just turning it on manually from the thermostat.

    I am bookmarking your page, and hope to see more about the multi-zone thermostat soon.

    • Carl, thanks for the interest. I have been working on adding finishing touches to the web interface and adding more remote sensor capabilities. I have been asked to publish an article in Circuit Cellar magazine documenting the project so, I’m trying to get that wrapped up. I got big plans for this project and will surely post all the details. Be sure to send me any suggestions and/or questions.

      Curtis

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