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    Nest Labs Thermostat (12 Posts)

  • croydoncorgi croydoncorgi @ 8:03 AM
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    Nest Labs Thermostat

    From the latest HeatingHelp newsletter:
    "Will Apple-crazed people pay more for a thermostat that comes from these folks?"

    Based only on the huge marketing/PR effort that Nest has put behind this product, the $249 price ticket will be only a minor problem! 

    I first heard about this thing on10/28, via two separate emails on the same day.
    My response to one of them:

    The Nest thermostat (and the company behind it) are classic examples of
    the power of good marketing and the huge value of a sprinkling of Apple
    Magic Dust.

    Honeywell etc. have been making various types of room thermostats for decades but have never succeeeded in making them sexy, desirable objects.  Boring, hard-to-use, confusing, over-specified, not very effective,...  The list is long.  A few bright guys and gals and a blank sheet of paper headed 'Make it like an I-pod' - job done, wheel re-invented.

    The truly amazing thing about this is the price end-users are prepared
    to pay.  $249!!! For a thermostat!  Usual price for a cheap one: $20 or so.

    Honeywell probably kicking themselves and firing the marketing and
    design teams even as we speak.

    There ARE limitations, too.  It's only a low-voltage device, although 'wire-compatible' with a number of 'stats widely used on warm-air heating and A/C in North America.  Most room-stats in Europe, especially UK carry mains voltage.

    We'll have to wait and see whether this product prospers in the long haul, after the initial PR hype and marketing spend have finished.
    This post was edited by an admin on November 3, 2011 8:07 AM.
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 8:34 AM
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    Hmmm....

    Someone here use to say that Marketing over rode Engineering at every level... This looks like one of those cases.

    Firstly, 5% per degree F difference HAS to be a 24 hour/day proposition. Doing a set back for 4 to 8 hours is not going to produce those kinds of results, and if they do, it indicates a need for basic energy conservation as distributed from the end of a caulk tube, not a colorful thermostat.

    Secondly, what effect does owning pets have on the motion detecting portion of the stat? My cat and dog are constantly moving from room to room in my home...

    If I had to make a decision as to whether or not to buy and iPhone all over again, now that I've owned one, I'd probably opt for a more conventional cell phone with less bells and whistles. iPhones are a great invention, but I rarely use all of the features/apps that it provides. As my son in law said, iPhones are for people with way too much time on their hands. He owns one too :-)

    I suspect that the same cool geekiness attraction of this thermostat will sell more than people concerned with energy conservation, but time will tell.

    Now, when they come out with an internet active thermostat that can be adjusted and controlled via an iPhone, THAT would be worth the money. I suspect that with that many geeks working on it, that it is a future "feature" that will be used to support sales at a later date...

    JMHO

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Gordan Gordan @ 3:02 PM
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    The Nest is wifi enabled...

    And it is, indeed, controllable by an app that runs on your iPhone.
  • croydoncorgi croydoncorgi @ 9:49 AM
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    Remote control Stats do exist!

    Now, when they come out with an internet active thermostat that can be
    adjusted and controlled via an iPhone, THAT would be worth the money.

    Actually, they have!  (There are some around - but expensive.  Usually part of 'Home Automation' setups.  But at the simpler end of the market, there are several examples which use cell-phone messaging for on/off and temperature adjustment.)  Quite common for rich folks in Italy with a ski-lodge in the Alps to send a text to the room-stat to turn the heating up from frost-protection up to the normal setpoint as they drive up for a weekend's skiing.

    There's also a relatively-cheap room stat widely sold for several years in the Netherlands which has presence-sensing.

    And 'Opentherm' provides a lot more than the Nest thermostat can do with furnace / system control.  The Nest thing is still only an on/off switch, despite all it's internal cleverness and neat design.  An Opentherm room controller adjusts the Flow temperature of the furnace, to match the heat-loss characteristics of the room and/or the external temperature.  In fact,  the external temperature sensor is usually connected to the furnace electronics.  There's a two-way dialogue.  The room controller obtains the current external temperature from the furnace, calculates a weather-compensated Flow temperature and transmits it back to the furnace.  Just like an 'Outdoor Temperature Reset' controller but making the furnace operate at the lowest possible temperature, instead of operating an external blender valve with the furnace running far too hot!
  • Mark Eatherton Mark Eatherton @ 10:13 AM
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    Understood...

    My friend Dave Yates intro'd me to EcoBee, which is a WiFi thermostat that can be remotely controlled. But at +$300/stat, I suspect sales will be extremely limited.

    And then theres the problem of what happens when your neighbor presses his garage door opener, and your thermostat turns off.... :-)

    Maybe we need to introduce the Ecobee folks to the Nest Lab folks...

    Nahhh...

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Bart Vaio Bart Vaio @ 11:42 AM
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    EcoBee

    The EcoBee is a great Stat.  It has an Iphone app where you can view the current house temps, change setpoints, change schedules turn on, turn off,etc.  It is a great option for vacation homes or people that want to actively setback and control their homes heating and cooling.  We have used them quite a bit the value definately is worth the price to some clients 
  • njwebdevguy njwebdevguy @ 12:29 PM
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    Where does the Wifi come in?

    ?  It sounds like all it needs is an Ethernet PHY and an IP address.. Unless it is also "wireless" which I would not prefer because it would require that you leave your wifi access point live when you left your vacation home or whatever..

    Maybe the use of the word "wifi" is just for marketing purposes, so that people understand its Internet-enabled.

    You can connect up to do the same things with any web browser to any small computer (with Ethernet) running a web CGI.. which talks to an i/o interface with whaever sensors and outputs you will need. HTTP is a good protocol for that kind of thing. There are many apps that use gnuplot and the GD library to draw charts of temps, etc.  You can also use sqllite or mysql to store HVAC data indefinitely and query it for any info you need.

    A good all-around device that costs very little is the Velleman K8055 which uses USB and USB power and has five digital inputs, eight digital outputs, two PWM/variable outputs and two analog inputs.

    You can buy an old HP thin client (t5700 or t5710- slightly more $$) on ebay for under $50-60 that is a full 32bit ia32 and has 256MB RAM and a 512MB solid state disk.. The CPU runs on 12v, under five watts of power, and has a built in solid state disk. The pair would be around $100. The Velleman uses open collector outputs so driving huge relays presents no problem at all. They even make a version that includes the relays for you. (~$60ish) You can run Linux on the HP - there are modular loadable drivers built in to the Linux kernel for the K8055, no installation required.

    Then you can create your own custom application which gives you the ability to do whatever you want with your data. I think there are even free and open source HVAC applications (check sourceforge.net) that might already be the Linux equivalent of an out of the box solution. (If not already, soon.)

    I also think that the quite mature "misterhouse" application  ( http://misterhouse.sourceforge.net  also http://misterhouse.wikispaces.com )
    has the hooks to do some of this sort of thing, too. (as well as tons of other non HVAC stuff) 

    There is a learning curve, though. A significant one. It depends on the person and how much flexibiliy is needed.
    This post was edited by an admin on November 3, 2011 1:25 PM.
  • njwebdevguy njwebdevguy @ 12:29 PM
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    Where does the Wifi come in? (duplicated-deleted)

    Somehow this post got duplicated, so I am deleting the redundant copy.
    This post was edited by an admin on November 3, 2011 1:05 PM.
  • Bart Vaio Bart Vaio @ 12:41 PM
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    Wifi

    It is WiFi enabled.  http://www.ecobee.com/product/why-ecobee-smart/
    I see a slight techno barrier for most of my Clients for them to access a Linux powered remote terminal to view raw data points versus a iphone/android fully functional app, The same type of client who can't program a honeywell vision pro 8000 is completely happy with an EcoBee.  Definately not for everyone but they have their niche.
  • Bart Vaio Bart Vaio @ 12:41 PM
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    Wifi

    It is WiFi enabled.  http://www.ecobee.com/product/why-ecobee-smart/
    I see a slight techno barrier for most of my Clients for them to access a Linux powered remote terminal to view raw data points versus a iphone/android fully functional app, The same type of client who can't program a honeywell vision pro 8000 is completely happy with an EcoBee.  Definately not for everyone but they have their niche.
  • bob bob @ 5:02 PM
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    Hand in your pocket

    I Think there is a subscription fee if you want access through your wi-fi
    bob
  • Gordy Gordy @ 7:12 PM
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    Agree with Mark, and his son in law

       I can see the benefit in a vacation home. But anyone that dittles with their thermostat that much needs serious insulation, and weather sealing, or their head examined such as the propaganda illustrates. 


    I have to hand it to their marketing. Make it look old school with all the bells, and whistles. People will be dialing in their thermostat from a far. Not because they need to, but because they can.  And because they have to much time on their hands "STYX" The Grand Illusion album I believe.


    GORDY
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