I have a central heating programmer in the airing cupboard (where the hot water tank is). It allows a couple of separate schedules for water and heating separately, and also for manual override when needed.

The thermostat is in the hallway by the front door.

I'd like to replace this kit with a basic bare-bones system that would allow an application on my Windows PC to control it. I'm a software developer, so it's a hobby project and I don't necessarily need a totally complete solution from a single vendor.

I'm thinking of something which is little more than relays on a TCP/IP-enabled PCB.

Anyone have any recommendations?

  • What is your motivation for doing this? What do you want the outcome to be that the existing controller can't do? There is a lot of "home automation" software out there, and a lot of ways to interface your PC to hardware, like thermostats and controllers, so without knowing your intentions it's hard to recommend something specific. It sounds like part of it is just to experiment/learn, but otherwise it's always better to use dedicated (simpler) control mechanisms, rather than something with many points of failure, such as a PC (and Windows PC, at that). – gregmac Jul 29 '10 at 15:55
  • I'm a software developer, so the PC-control is really the point. I want to experiment with writing maybe a website hosted on a server in the loft, that means I can control my thermostat etc from my Android phone. It's only for the hell of it, really. – Neil Barnwell Jul 29 '10 at 22:22

They make Internet Controlled Thermostats already. I would start with one of those, and then just build an interface for your phone that will interact with the device through the web.

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  • Yeah, hard to beat those. A friend of mine was a major part of developing one! bayweb.com for the curious. – Brian Knoblauch Aug 11 '10 at 16:54
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    Just came across this review by @shanselman: Review and Installation: Filtrete Touchscreen WiFi-Enabled Programmable Thermostat - hanselman.com/blog/… – Jeff Widmer Jun 17 '11 at 10:07
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    I have the Filtrete (just a re-branded Radio Thermostat) and have had fun playing around with the API. You can find SDK's for popular languages like C# and PHP. – Steven Dec 11 '11 at 21:30

If you really want to do the project, get an Arduino with a WiFi shield and go full bore against it. Wiring diagrams for HVAC controllers are easy to find, and if you come up with a program you actually like you can flash it to the board and leave it standalone.

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