Smart heating that works without an external server

I’m hoping someone can recommend me a good smart heating system (central heating and hot water programmer and TRVs) that I can connect to openhab on my LAN. The heating system must not require a third party cloud server to function.

I am in the UK, my boiler is a Grant Vortex Eco condensing oil boiler, and my setup is one big heating circuit with individual radiators controlled using TRVs.

Some requirements:

  • The manufacturer’s programmer must control the heating and hot water circuits to the boiler and the TRVs without requiring openhab or any other hardware (if openhab breaks or I remove it, the system must still function).
  • The manufacturer’s kit must have an interface that allows control locally, not via a third party cloud server.
  • I would prefer the TRVs to be controlled using zigbee or some other non-wifi wireless solution.

From my research so far, it seems that the old Honeywell Evohome gear did this, as you could have a full system set up locally and connect your own LAN server to a wireless gateway (HGI80). The gateway would allow control of the Evohome TRVs and programmer, with none of the manufacturer’s kit talking to a cloud server.

Unfortunately, I can’t find an HGI80 for sale and all the newer stuff appears to require cloud services.

Can anyone recommend some suitable hardware?

Thanks!

@chris You are in the UK. Any suggestions?

Mind you guys that this is not a Home Automation forum or one on HVAC.

It is on openHAB. If @Feathers_McGraw you evaluate/choose to go for a DIY solution using openHAB, or if you want to know if a specific system/device can be connected to openHAB, search the forum and you’ll find a number of relevant threads. Or post, that’s fine.
But it does not work the other way round, we don’t do HVAC consulting (which just BTW is pretty specific to the country/market a user lives in).

This section is here to discuss HW questions and usage issues including HVAC but as with everything of this forum, only where there’s a specific relation to openHAB such as connection/communication issues or if you’re looking for gateway HW or SW to connect specific systems.
(and a simple “can connect into openHAB” doesn’t qualify - there’s just too much stuff this applies to :slight_smile: ).
As stated, the forum is not on general HA.

1 Like

Take a look at https://www.geniushub.co.uk/

I think these days, they have restricted local access to be via the app rather than a browser. I don’t generally use the LAN option. It would be worth dropping them an email to make sure it meets your requirements.

On the whole I have been happy with it, but more 4 stars than 5 stars

@mstormi, I’m not sure why it’s an inappropriate question if the main requirement of choosing a system is that it is compatible with openhab instead of using third party cloud servers? The way I see it, the principal benefit of openhab is that it provides the convenience of “smart” systems without the privacy and security implications of relying on a third party to provide a cloud server to control the hardware.

Maybe I have misunderstood the reason other people are using openhab.

@elite, thank you, I will ask geniushub if they allow LAN control without a third party server.

You can use an arduino with a CC1101 radio in place of the HGI80, and get full local control - see Evohome binding 2.0

Note though that such solutions are not officially approved by Honeywell. However, myself and a number of users have been using it for over a year without any issues.

@smar
That’s interesting!

Do you have a list of the hardware you are using along with that, does it only work with the older Honeywell kit or can it be used with the newer Evohome stuff too? If the availability of the older kit is a bit patchy I will need to be sure I can purchase a full set of compatible kit.

The hardware is just:

  1. An arduino (in my case a nano)
  2. A CC1101 radio card (I suggest getting one with pins already soldered in as some come without, and you need to ensure the aerial is the correct 868Mhz one and not the 433 one)
  3. Some dupont jumper cables

That’s it! Note that if you get the arduino and the radio with the pins already in, then no soldering is required - the dupont cables just plug in to to their respective pins. It takes longer to check the instructions for which pin joins to which pin, than to plug it all together.

Not sure what you mean by the ‘newer Evohome’ stuff. I have a full evohome system with the current colour touchscreen controller, HR92 TRVs, BDR91 relays, HCC80R underfloor heating controller etc if that helps.

Then read both of my posts again, please.
The forum and this category is not meant for people looking for HA consultation, i.e. to ask for products to have a certain functionality and to be OH compatible. The latter just doesn’t qualify as a selector because there’s simply too much stuff OH is compatible with. It’s different if you want OH to be that product, but that would mean to do the control programming in OH which is not what you asked for.
I know it’s a thin line and I won’t intervene when there’s people willing to answer, but in general we don’t want to spend our time on educating people in Home Automation where it’s not OH related, and we have seen a number of posters exploiting that willingness which is what I try to protect our users from.
Thank you for understanding.

1 Like

You can always build your own as @smar mentioned. I personaly would use an ESP8266 with temp/humidity sensor and a few relay’s for turning on/off your heater. The ESP8266 flashed with tasmota or ESP-Easy will work good with mqqt, OH and a rule or two.:wink:

Here is a sensor connected to a sonoff device that works great and sonoff uses an esp8266.

Switch LivingRoom_Light "Living Room Light" <light>  ["Lighting"] { channel="mqtt:topic:pibroker:sonoff11:power" }
Number LivingRoom_Light_Temp "Temperature [%.1f °F]"      <temp>             { channel="mqtt:topic:pibroker:sonoff11:temperature" }
Number LivingRoom_Light_Humidity    "Humidity [%.1f %%]"    <humidity>       { channel="mqtt:topic:pibroker:sonoff11:humidity" }

@smar great, that’s really helpful.

The reason for my question is I read some information on the openTRV wiki that made me wonder if the HGI80 (and the arduino solution) would only work with the hardware listed under “original version” on that page, i.e. the HR80 TRV and Evotouch greyscale control panel.

From your post I it seems it works with the “new version” hardware too, which is great!

This is also a nice excuse to buy an Arduino, so thanks for that :smile:

@mstormi I think I understand where you are coming from now. Can you recommend a forum for general home automation questions?

The confusion was because I have found some good information on this forum in the past relating to general hardware stuff (e.g. how to flash sonoff smart switches with custom firmware) - clearly that makes those switches useful for home automation generally and is not specific to openhab, but these questions must be commonly asked by openhab users.

1 Like

@H102 I am using a sonoff pow r2 with sonoff-tasmota to control/monitor my immersion heater and oven, my central heating is a wet system though so I don’t think this would work for me because I’d need smart TRVs for zoning even if I can use an ESP8266 board for sensing temperature and humidity.

Where I live wet heating is not common and I have little info on TRV’s and how they communicate. Do any of have an ESP8266 board as part of the construction.

Hello Sam

Would you consider a fully wired solution?

Or do you specifically need a wireless (non WiFi) setup?

This thread might be of interest to you…

Good luck

Stuart

@H102 I haven’t seen any with an ESP8266 included. I think most “normal/dumb” TRVs just have a bubble of air or something similar inside that pushes a pin in/out to increase/decrease the flow of water into a radiator as the temperature changes.

The smart ones have proper digital temperature sensors and a motor to move the pin. Most are connected using wifi or 868MHz, and I even found one that uses bluetooth. In general I am happier having lots of devices that use something other than wifi because they are less likely to become part of a huge botnet if left unattended!

@MDAR That’s cool, I saw JG speedfit do something similar for a proper manifold but I hadn’t considered putting an actuator on the radiator! I will give it some thought, thanks.

1 Like

You could always hook an actuator up to a TP-Link HS100 smart socket and control that via openHAB2.

Although they do “Call home” I have simply blocked it’s access via my router.

You could go a stage further and setup an isolated SSID for them, which openHAB2 would need access to.

Good luck

If you do that you could use a Z-Wave or ZigBee smart socket which keeps everything local and off your Wi-Fi.

1 Like