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No-code, plug-and-play monitoring for your heat pump

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Toodles
(@toodles)
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The Homely controller seems to be settling in nicely here; for the ‘householder’ the Homely takes all the work out of controlling the heat pump day to day of course. I wanted the additional information that is there for the installer and EvergreenHomely to optimise via the network connection. This access was given to me and I have found it quite fascinating to see how all the factors involved integrate!

At this stage, I have no particular concerns about my user data being available to my installer and EvergreenHomely - err…SHOULD I?! For use with the Daikin range, there is a ModBus unit with its’ own PSU and this all sits next to the Daikin MMI controller. Of course, the Homely is a smart controller as well as a monitor and at present, EvergreenHomely are monitoring mine to find a little pesky creature that causes my temperature node to ‘nod off’ for a minute or two occasionally. I note that the COP between 24th. and 26th. Jan. is 4.5 which seems reasonable to me. All else being equal, if I can rely on the date being measured accurately and interpreted well, I’m happy with that. Regards, Toodles.

Toodles, 76 years young and hoping to see 100 and make some ROI on my renewable energy investment!


   
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Mars
 Mars
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If I was to arrange one these units for review, is there anyone that would be interested in DIY installing it and then testing it. In exchange, we'd need a review of the installation, performance and general experience, with supporting images. If you're interested, please DM me.

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Mars
 Mars
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I see that Planet Devices have updated their heat pump compatibility page: https://planetdevices.com/compatibility/

Buy Bodge Buster – Homeowner Air Source Heat Pump Installation Guide: https://amzn.to/3NVndlU
From Zero to Heat Pump Hero: https://amzn.to/4bWkPFb

Follow our sustainability journey at My Home Farm: https://myhomefarm.co.uk


   
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James Davidson
(@jdpd)
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@editor Thanks Mars for highlighting this. We'll be updating the compatibility table in-line with our testing pipeline soon.

Information Developer at Planet Devices


   
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James Davidson
(@jdpd)
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@editor We're still interested in getting a device out to an RHH member. Please do let Mars and I know if you're game.

Information Developer at Planet Devices


   
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(@lenny)
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Posted by: @cathoderay

Posted by: @bontwoody

Is it compatible with Samsung?

Apparently so, according to their website. Samsung units have a modbus connection via an add-on board.

 
No mention of Samsung on the compatibility page ?
 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Mars

Samsung 12kw ASHP, nine 415w PV panel array, upgraded radiators and DHW water tank (+ pumps etc). Two wireless zone thermostat controllers and Samsung MWR-WW10N


   
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James Davidson
(@jdpd)
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Samsung and others are coming soon. We only list heat pumps which are 100% ready for general use on the compatibility table (for now). 😎 

This post was modified 2 months ago by Mars

Information Developer at Planet Devices


   
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 MPHB
(@mphb)
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@jdpd  isn't the Clivet machine that is listed as compatible a Midea clone? I am operating a 10kw Midea clone which is modbus-enabled and would be happy to be part of the test. I already have a Easton modbus-enabled power meter for dedicated to my HP. I am in Germany though. 


   
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James Davidson
(@jdpd)
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@mphb The Clivet WSAN-YMi is indeed a Midea M-Thermal R32 under the hood, like so many other whitelabels. We're currently serving the UK market only, though we are already ramping up to sell in the wider European and North American markets. Thanks for your interest 🙂

Information Developer at Planet Devices


   
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Majordennisbloodnok
(@majordennisbloodnok)
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Thanks for highlighting this product, @editor. It's an interesting development. However, I have some concerns.

Posted by: @editor

The integration of smart technology in UK home energy management, especially for the control and oversight of heat pump systems, is an evolving field. However, this progress is shadowed by increasing frustration among homeowners due to the inadequacy of current heat pump control and oversight capabilities.

As highlighted in multiple discussions on the Renewable Heating Hub forums, some homeowners have ventured into DIY solutions, such as modbus/RS-485 monitoring.

However, these endeavours often prove to be complex and intimidating. For example, cathodeRay describes his experience setting up a modbus monitoring system. This process involves intricate steps like hard wiring a RS-485 to USB converter into the heat pump controller and utilising open-source software for data reading. Although this approach could be effective, it's not a feasible or realistic solution for the average homeowner.

As you know, I am one of those homeowners and I have indeed now started making use of modbus via RS-485 - not for my heat pump but for my inverter. Although @cathoderay's approach has been VERY hands-on, I believe a significant number more of us are being rather more standard in our implementation. As such, your comments above are worth picking through in a bit more detail.

Firstly, if one is going to use modbus to talk to a device (as is the case with the PlanetData device you've introduced us to) you still need a wire. The wire used by PlanetData is no more nor less intricate than the wire between my inverter and the box that connects it to my network. Nor is it any more nor less intricate than the wire with a USB socket on the end that @cathoderay uses.

Secondly, if we discount for the moment any descent into coding (it may well be straightforward, @cathoderay, but it can be intimidating to anyone who hasn't already taken that first step), the question of how to use this new way of controlling your device is still a very debatable topic. If you already have some kind of box that you use to centrally manage multiple devices, why wouldn't you add this new device to that? However, I can't imagine many people would go to the trouble of installing some central management system just for one device. On the other hand, if you're only trying to manage one device, PlanetData's offering is selling the idea you can use their portal - but isn't that exactly what Mitsubishi's Melcloud app is? Begs the question of how much extra value the PlanetData solution provides in a chargeable solution over Mitsi's offering that is for free. I use Mitsubishi as an example but the same holds true for most heat pump manufacturers.

N.B. Anyone thinking "yes, but Mitsi's Melcloud system went belly-up for several days..." might do well to ponder whether a small startup has the resources to either find a resolution to a problem or push their suppliers to do so more effectively than a global company like Mitsubishi.

Posted by: @editor

Amidst these challenges, there is a clear demand for monitoring systems that are both straightforward and affordable. Homeowners are looking for solutions that require minimal hardware and software knowledge. The emergence of smart technologies, like PlanetData by Planet Devices, aims to address these challenges in home energy management.

PlanetData functions as a WiFi-enabled Modbus communication gateway, enabling remote access to RTU Modbus enabled heat pumps. It presently supports over 150 heat pump models, with the list continuously expanding, showing its adaptability to various systems.

One of the key features of PlanetData is its ease of installation and use. It's a no-code, plug-and-play device that connects directly to the heat pump hardware and only requires power. This simplicity contrasts sharply with the complex DIY solutions some homeowners have attempted, involving intricate wiring and programming.

And here, once again, we see the idea the box is simplifying. If it's only a paid replacement for the manufacturer's own cloud offering for changing settings and producing a few graphs, but it needs to be wired in then it seems to me that's the opposite of simplifying; it's adding complexity without significant extra functionality.

Posted by: @editor

PlanetData not only sends and receives data but also allows users to visualise the performance of their heat pumps via a user-friendly dashboard. This dashboard notifies users of any hardware errors, enabling timely interventions. The device can also handle peripherals like CT clamps and indoor temperature probes, providing additional data points crucial for calculating accurate CoP and other efficiency values.

The device also features an optional mains voltage meter to provide a more accurate coefficient of performance calculation. These features empower homeowners with detailed insights into their system’s performance, far surpassing the basic metrics provided by standard heat pump installations.

Here, of course, there is some mention of actual added value; a reason for doing this. The trouble is that the company has not provided any access on its web site to any product documentation (unless it's hidden behind the login) - no user manual, no installation guide, no tech specs, nothing. They are quick to say "please get in touch" but personally I don't want a company to control discussions that may lead to my buying decision. I want the freedom to do a bit of research of my own before I decide to approach in earnest and I am suspicious of anyone trying to block that. And without that basic documentation I can't verify whether it really is as simple to install as they say or as useful as their spiel would like me to believe.

Posted by: @editor

The ability to store historic data – hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly averages – allows homeowners to engage in predictive maintenance. Applications can optimise energy use and predict maintenance needs, enhancing control over energy consumption.

Which applications? Are we talking about integration with other systems now? In which case, perhaps we should be comparing the PlanetData portal's capabilities with those of a home automation system after all. And how easy is it to integrate that portal with, for instance, Octopus' agile tariff? Or one of the many weather forecasts available on t'interweb? Or is that where a simple plug and play solution starts getting complicated again anyway?

Overall, I am well aware most people who have just had a heat pump installed are unlikely to want to jump head-first into the world of full home automation. There is definitely a need for making what they've just bought simpler to control, easier to understand and more accessible. However, when you read the last part of the text I'm quoting....

Posted by: @editor

For homeowners, PlanetData offers a solution that balances sophistication with user-friendliness. It addresses the gap in the market for an effective, accessible heat pump monitoring system. For installers, it provides a comprehensive tool for tracking, maintaining and controlling installations.

PlanetData signifies a significant step in home energy management technology. While innovative, it also focuses on addressing the practical needs of homeowners and installers. As the UK moves towards more sustainable energy solutions, technologies like PlanetData could play a crucial role in making home energy systems more efficient, manageable and user-friendly.

...that's a bold assertion which very much remains to be proven. It may be a significant step but it may also be a set of Emperor's clothes.

As an aside, we're already aware that this box operates via modbus. I wonder if it's able to interrogate and control other modbus-managed devices like inverters? After all, if you're trying to manage your home energy, it would make sense you want your heat pump and solar PV/battery offerings to work in an integrated way. Otherwise, why would you go to the trouble of enabling modbus for your heat pump only to ignore your energy-producing devices?

 

105 m2 bungalow in South East England
Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5 kW air source heat pump
18 x 360W solar panels
1 x 6 kW GroWatt battery and inverter
Raised beds for home-grown veg and chickens for eggs

"Semper in excretia; suus solum profundum variat"


   
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cathodeRay
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Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok

it may well be straightforward, @cathoderay, but it can be intimidating to anyone who hasn't already taken that first step

I agree, new stuff can easily be intimidating, though for me the most intimidating part was getting my head round the modbus/hardware side of things - it took ages to work out what I needed, and how to connect things up. In the event, it turned out to be surprisingly straightforward - anyone familiar with the technology could do it in their sleep but the thing is I wasn't familiar with the technology. Thankfully human beings don't yet have a modbus connection that medics can connect to, though I believe Hatt Mancock wants to change all that. Good luck to him.   

The thing about python is it isn't that complicated - honestly! - at the level I am using it, and the programming is relatively high level, ie almost human readable. I have been lamentably slow in completing the 'How to' thread, initially because I had some final tests to do, now because I didn't really take enough notes at each stage, meaning I will have to remember some of the steps. I might do an abbreviated version, and let people ask questions if they are interested.    

That said, I do now have a stable monitoring and basic control system (the auto-adaption script) that I am comfortable with, and has now run for a complete heating season. The only missing bit is an independent outside air temperature sensor. I have the hardware, but have so far lacked the inspiration on where to put it. It needs to be somewhere that can have a wire (the modbus cable) run to it.

I have also found that the mini PC that manages the system can also do other things. For example, I use it to take a daily snapshot of the Shipping Forecast, part of an attempt to see just how (in-)accurate modern weather forecasting is. You will know where I am coming from on this, given that weather forecasting is whatiffery on an industrial scale... 

But really, neither PlanetData, my solution, your solution, any of the many rich and varied solutions out there, should not really be necessary. In a sane world, heat pumps would reliably collect this data, and keep historical records, as part of their core functions. But as we all know, we don't live in a sane world.

Posted by: @majordennisbloodnok

The trouble is that the company has not provided any access on its web site to any product documentation (unless it's hidden behind the login) - no user manual, no installation guide, no tech specs, nothing.

I am naturally wary of handing over my data to anyone. Basically I operate a white list system: data only goes out when I have white listed the receiver of the data. Who knows what some lunatic AI zombie will one day try to do with your data? One advantage of using my system, and others that are home based not cloud based, is that your data stays at home with you. Horses for courses of course, but another factor folks may want to consider. 

Midea 14kW (for now...) ASHP heating both building and DHW


   
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(@scrchngwsl)
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For what it's worth, after my Mitsubishi Ecodan heat pump's controls being inaccessible via the MelCloud app for nearly a week, I will not be installing anything that depends on the cloud to control or monitor something as fundamental to my life as heating and hot water. It is unfortunate that this device simply swaps one cloud with another, rather than empowering users with local-first access, and then bolting on a cloud offering for those who want a simple life. I'm going to be looking at @cathoderay 's work very closely and try to do my own DIY modbus thing on my Mitsubishi Ecodan.

This post was modified 2 months ago by Mars

ASHP: Mitsubishi Ecodan 8.5kW
PV: 5.2kWp
Battery: 8.2kWh


   
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