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Homely launched for Grant Aerona ASHP control

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(@allyfish)
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Just launched, seemingly almost in parallel with Grant's own smart controller for Chofu Aerona branded ASHP range, due to launch soon. Homely is only available through accredited installers, so not sure if a retrofit is possible. Installers will charge high and handsome to supply & fit it as they are rather busy responding to the surge in installations the BUS scheme £7.5K funding has recently generated. https://www.grantuk.com/about/news/homely-optimisation-controls-compatible-with-aerona-heat-pumps/


   
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 GGW
(@ggw)
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Proper interesting read that if you own an Aerona3.

The Million£Question - which will be better - the OEM Grant Wifi solution that has been rumoured or this - or both!


   
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(@allyfish)
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@ggw my money would be on the Homely control for offering more efficiency optimisation. The ability to harvest data from weather forecasts, flexible time of use agile electricity tariffs and adaptive ASHP control is pretty impressive. How much of this translates into cost savings I don't know. Homely is a proven platform using RS485 Modbus protocol interface.

So far I know the Grant Smart Controller will offer reactive control. It will sense outdoor air temperature, flow and return temperature, flow rate, and so it can display real time COP data referenced to outdoor ambient. It will incorporate some of the control of Aerona ASHPs via the oh-so-complex Chofu controller into an App and display unit. That will make programming and weather compensation adjustment easier. I've yet to see if the Grant controller will have any automation, trend learning or intelligence. I suspect not. It will still control heating via a zone/room wireless radio thermostats, and interface via home WiFi to mobile App. Big question is whether the radio zone thermostats are analogue proportional output that will modulate ASHP output as indoor temperature approaches set point, or simply switch the ASHP on and off, I don't know.

Grant don't come from a system controls background and have to date been very much stuck in a simplistic & bygone era control world of Y or S plan CH & DHW systems using 3rd party timers and thermostats, so I'm not expecting anything new or revolutionary from them. To me it looks like their controller will allow more user-friendly control and mobile App interface, but still be old school digital on/off thermostat.

The flow rate sensing will allow 'open loop' system installs without low loss headers, secondary circulating pumps or buffer tanks, provided minimum system volume is met. That'll bring Grant more into line with current Heat Geek best practice. Medium to larger house ASHP retrofits may still need a second pump in series however if most of the system pipework is 22/15mm copper. Smaller retrofits and new builds could be open loop are more efficient as a result.

Prior to launch Grant are being very cagey about details of their unit. I'm hoping to get hold of one and get it installed...

This post was modified 6 months ago by AllyFish

   
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(@dodgyknee)
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I would be interested in this too. I didn't find it easy to see how I would go about getting it though.


   
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(@allyfish)
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Grant has started the LinkedIn teasers for the launch of their Smart Controller in the New Year. I'm not getting much info out of them directly at the moment, not for want of trying! 😉

 

image

   
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(@allyfish)
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Here's the Grant website details for their smart controller.

https://www.grantuk.com/about/news/introducing-the-grant-aerona-smart-controller/

Product is supposed to be available to the trade from Feb 2024 so I've heard. No granularity and detail as to what the controller can do, save basic heating zone and wot water scheduling, weather compensation curve parameter setting, 'interactive performance data', remote parameter adjustment and diagnostic fault code reporting. Grant claims 'self learning' but gives no details of what that is.

So far, I don't see any 'smart' it's basically functionality in the exiting Chofu controller, addressable and accessible via Modbus, that has been replicated in a graphical touch screen wireless remote controller linked to a hard wired hub. The hub has connection points for additional external system sensors such as flow rate sensing and LWT and RWT sensors. The additional sensors means the remote can display performance data, COP and SCOP, something the Chofu controller can't.

It's much more installer and user-friendly than Chou's control unit. But I don't see any trending, learning, adaptive heating control integrated with variable time of use tariffs like Octopus Agile or Cosy. Forecasted weather [temperature] compensation, etc. In short, the real 'smart' that Homely offers. I guess there's little point in Grant offering a Homely copy, as Homely is now available for the Aerona range, but whether this new half-way-house controller is 'smart' is a hanging question. Digital Wifi thermostats like HIVE are called 'smart' - but they are not, they are just a fancy remote on/off switch, using them to control ASHPs is far from smart.

Still, anything that improves user interface to the Aerona ASHP range, demystifies the demonic Chofu controller, and stops installers locating the Chofu at of the back of the airing cupboard with a yellow 'don't touch this' sticker on it has to be good news. it's enabling ASHP system owners to fine tune control and settings for maximum efficiency once the basic commissioning [all-too-often half cocked & rushed] has been done by the Grant G1 installer.

This post was modified 6 months ago by AllyFish

   
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 GGW
(@ggw)
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Have you seen/installed the Grant screen yet?

Ive not seen it mentioned yet on my channels.


   
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(@allyfish)
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@ggw no, all gone quiet from Grant lately. I was advised I was getting a Grant smart controller to install for trial, but it's not yet arrived.


   
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(@soniks)
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Hi

I saw a whole bunch of you tube clips for setting up the new smart controller.  It also mentions there is some smarts with the controller having some learning capability.

Would be interested to know how much it would cost. 


   
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(@soniks)
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And this time with the link -

 


   
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(@sunandair)
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@allyfish hi

just wondered - what’s the costings for the homely installation? 
presumably there’s an installation and setup cost. then is there a management fee or annual data access cost?

what’s your expected cost for such a system.


   
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(@allyfish)
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@sunandair hi. Sorry for the delayed reply. I was considering the Grant Smart Controller as a retrofit for my ASHP, and had the good fortune to be offered a controller to trial. https://www.grantuk.com/products/air-source-heat-pumps/aerona-controls/

However, the Grant controller is designed as a bottom up install. It's not really suited to retrofitting. I discovered that after getting a good look at the controller and the accompanying installation manual. It's not an easy retrofit. There would be quite a considerable cost outlay, estimated £1500-£2000 in getting in a plumber, electrician and Grant in for commissioning. On that basis, and since my Grant is running sweet as it is, I've returned the controller to Grant and it is going to find another good home.

The Grant smart controller has some good features, including real time COP, remote status monitoring for user/homeowner, and also a more detailed status monitoring for Grant/installer, multiple set back periods where the weather compensation curve can be offset, for example for overnight, or during electrical peak rate. Homely offers a lot more, including integration with agile time of use tariffs and active weather compensation based on weather forecasting.

I would opt for the Homely over the Grant Smart Controller were I installing from new and mulling over my options. I think Homely has better future proofing. The Grant controller is a good half way house however, and far more intuitive & user-friendly than the Chofu controller


   
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