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How about a Wireless/Touchscreen MiliVolt Thermostat?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by handymanCT, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. handymanCT

    handymanCT Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Southern CT
    I used a SkyTech 5301P for the last few years and it seems to work fine most of the time. A Few things about it I never liked, one being the fact that sometimes for no reason the thing would start beeping and this usually happened in the middle of the night of course. Also, every once in awhile the remote would lose connection with the base. Always a pain to have to resync them.
    So I’ve been searching for a long time for a better thermostat that would be less of a pain. I tried a Lux TX1500E, it seemed to work but as many times as I set the swing setting to 2 it always defaulted back to 1. I got tired of resetting it and went back to the SkyTech for awhile.
    Then I was reading the thread here started by smwilliamson installing-24-volt-wifi-thermostat-on-millivolt-stoves. I found lots of good information in there about the Honeywell and the Ecobee as mentioned by Don2222. I was going to build the isolation circuit, but then I found something better.
    I liked the touch screen idea and wanted to have that feature, but I read a few negative reviews about the Ecobee that stated the interface was very slow and took forever to respond to your touch. Okay, but I could have lived with that, then I started looking at the Ecobee accessories and it became even more confusing, and I’m an EE! I decided that I would wait for the next version.
    Enter the Venstar Color Touch Thermostat! I started researching this and liked the touchscreen, and then saw that it had the ability to be controlled over WiFi from your phone or Mac/PC with the addition of the Skyport Wi-Fi Key. Very Cool indeed and no charge for the connection to the thermostat through the Skyport Portal. Now would it work on a milivolt system? YES it will with the addition of the Wireless Thermostat 2-wire Kit, this basically provides an isolated relay circuit much like the one I was going to build. It comes with the relay circuit and a 24 volt power adapter.
    This left just one more item on my list of needs, was there a swing setting? Well as it turns out there is indeed a swing setting but its called the DeadBand setting and its adjustable from 1-6.
    So I ordered all the parts and installed it a few days ago. Some really cool stuff, you can program it real time via the Skyport portal or you can install the Color Touch Assistant on your Mac or PC and build the programming for your stat then save it to an SD card and import it into the Color Touch. Or you could stand there and program it directly on the stat itself. There are so many features, Alerts and settings to this thing that you can customize it to exactly how, when and for how long you want your stove to run. It can be a 7 day programmable, or a 5+2 Programmable. Plus you can upload your own pictures to it and it acts as a digital picture frame. It provides statistics for how long your heating system is running daily, weekly, monthly etc. I contacted support once and inquired about the swing setting, they were very responsive and answered every question I asked.
    There are also “how to” video’s posted on their website to help you understand the operation, and programing of this device. Find the videos here http://venstar.com/Support/?tab=video

    All in all this is a great find and I’m loving it! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

    Here are all the parts you need to make this work on your stove

    Venstar T5800 ColorTouch TouchScreen Thermostat
    Venstar Skyport Wi-Fi Key —ACC0454
    Venstar Wireless Thermostat 2-wire Kit —ACC0436
    IHATEPROPANE and briansol like this.

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  2. scajjr2

    scajjr2 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Messages:
    86
    Loc:
    Kingston, NH
    So on my Harman P43 this would have to be hard wired to the the sensor probe connection on the stove? Or does it have a separate transmitter/receiver unit like the SkyTech 3301p/5301p units do?

    Sam
  3. handymanCT

    handymanCT Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Southern CT
    yes you'd have to hard wire this right to the stove there is no remote sensor. Actually you would hard wire the ACC0436 to the stove.
  4. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    43
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Is there a wire length limit? I would like to put the thermostat in an adjacent room, but I've been told to keep the wire less than 25'. I'm concerned that the run is longer than this.

    I was looking at the Venstar as well. Can it control more than one hear source? Also, does it have a fan circulation (air conditioning fan) control which I can use to distribute the warm air.
  5. Harvey Schneider

    Harvey Schneider Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2012
    Messages:
    964
    Loc:
    Southbury, CT
    I've always liked high tech solutions to problems. I have to say this is cool. But this is an awfully pricey way to monitor something that is supposed to be fully automatic in the first place. I just don't see the value added.
    Guess I'm an old school Engineer after all.
  6. handymanCT

    handymanCT Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Southern CT
    I have mine at 50 feet, no issues, make sure you use 16 gauge instead of 18 gauge if your going to go 50 feet.
    I don't think it can control more then one heating or cooling source, not sure, you might be able to set them up as different stages. You'll have to look in the manual and see if that will work for you. Or send their support guys an email, they are very responsive.
    Yes it has fan control
    here is the link to the manual -- http://www.venstar.com/Support/Manuals/T5800_manual_Rev5.pdf
  7. Ozymandias

    Ozymandias New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    43
    Loc:
    Massachusetts
    Handyman, I am installing the same thermostat. Could you tell me the positions of the three switches you selected (I.e. Gas/el or HP, O or B, Gas or Elec?

    This is also my first time installing a thermostat so I'm not quite sure of the settings.

    Thanks!
  8. handymanCT

    handymanCT Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2011
    Messages:
    42
    Loc:
    Southern CT
    I left it set as they came from the factory which is 2-wire heat only.
  9. wsar10

    wsar10 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2014
    Messages:
    211
    Loc:
    Central, PA
    WOW....
    I am new to Pellet stoves , but definitely not electronics engineering...........
    You could accomplish this for 50-60 bucks at most, and a few hours of code (it should be easy for an EE to find a friend that knows C++). EBAY for an Arduino,touch screen and ethernet shield.

    there is probably an example within the Arduino IDE that will have most of the code pre-writen for the thermostat end of the function.

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