Category Archives: Internet of Things

Wyostat: Open Source Thermostat Pt. 1

Does the world need another connected thermostat?

When my thermostat went on the blink last winter, I looked at Nest, and Ecobee, and the other me-too thermostats, and I decided I would rather build my own.

  1. If Nest goes out of business (or even more likely, Google decides to go a different direction),  all that cool connected functionality pffft!
  2. If I want to control it just inside my house, I don’t really have that option.
  3. Some of the connected thermostats also offer remote sensors, behavior learning, etc. but they are expensive, and you have no control.
  4. I have a two wire system. While some of the connected thermostats do power stealing (Nest), I wanted more powering options.
  5. I’ve been playing with ESP32’s and I’ve found them powerful and cheap!

Prototyping

Most home hvac systems run on 24VAC. When I moved in to my house, it had one of those classic round bun thermostats that tilt a mercury switch with a bimetallic spiral. More modern systems have an additional C wire for power (and separate fan  and cool wire). This meant that I would be powering the thermostat externally. A little googling and I found this info on thermostat wiring:

I found a triac board offered by another maker and open source enthusiast:
http://makeatronics.blogspot.com/2013/06/24v-ac-solid-state-relay-board.html


It features three triac channels with Opto-isolated inputs. The control signals seem to work at 5V or 3.3V.

For the controller I found a dev board with an ESP32 module, SiLabs usb controller, and a small monochrome OLED display. It’s sold as Wemos Lolin, and it has a Wemos-like logo on the back. it’s actually a clone of a D-Duino-32 by Travis Lin.

I mounted it on top of the triac board, with a laser cut plate to mount the same as my existing thermostat.

I used a Sparkfun TMP102 as the temperature sensor. I floated it to keep it off the cold wall. Figured I’d mount it in a case later. It worked great! The next installment will cover the PCB design and debugging. The code and the EDA files are at: https://github.com/wyolum/wyostat

Free and Open Source Data Service from Sparkfun

datasparkfun

Sparkfun launched a free cloud data service for your devices. It’s limited (rolling last 50MB) but also open source so if you want to roll your own you can do as much as you want!
This is an example of how doing a service and open source can benefit you. As they say

Our hope is that you buy a SparkFun widget to connect your next beehive.

It looks easy to use, and besides making it easy to put your own sensor data up, data from all other users is public, making it available to data scientists and hobbyists.

I’m looking forward to trying it out, and if I do I’ll share here!