Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Practices

Posted on
Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:17 am
Busta999 offline
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Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Practices

The SSD on my iMac died a lingering death over 48 hours, RIP

But more importantly it took down Indigo.

With it the Heating system.

I am restoring OS to a standby Mac mini now.

While it is going.

I started thinking about fault tolerance in the system.

All the lights carried on working fine - using a couple of Hue Hubs - just lost the cool features - house shutdown, reactive lighting to Plex etc etc but fundamentally the lighting carried on working largely very well.

The Heating system had some failover.

I paired a wave thermostat with the boiler - so could just manually control that.
The Hot Water system a bit trickier - need manually turning on and off at the wave dual controller.
The zawave TRVs can be manually driven but not sure where they are getting their temp sensor now that Indigo is down and not receiving updates from Hue motion detectors/RFCOM Temp Sensors - so not entirely sure how that will work.

I was here so was able to start recovery process if I was away for a week....... my wife would kill me on my return!!! :-)

So - ideas for making the heating subsystem more fault tolerant?

1. Find a standalone 'component' wave controller that controls heating system - it needs to be controllable from Indigo so I can do 'smarter stuff'
2. Buy a wave thermostat for each room controlled by wave TRV and associate them together and control the thermostat from Indigo/additional 'component' wave controller?


I am open to ideas thoughts anyone - but I need to make the heating system both smart and resilient.

Thanks all

Posted on
Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:41 am
neilk offline
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Re: Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Pract

For that reason I have chosen integrated but standalone products for heating and security for the redundancy. I use Evohome and the Indigo integration is brilliant even if the Honeywell portal was flaky for an extended period while they upgraded. Even through that no break in local operation, and generally it is a robust system. Probably not great for you as you have already invested in various zwave devices, but it does tick the boxes you describe.

Posted on
Tue Apr 16, 2019 5:47 am
Busta999 offline
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Re: Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Pract

Good ideas

I’m looking for an appliance zwave device that can control just the hearing system but can itself be controlled by Indigo.

Still looking....


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Posted on
Tue Apr 16, 2019 11:54 am
siclark offline
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Re: Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Pract

Busta999 wrote:
Good ideas

I’m looking for an appliance zwave device that can control just the hearing system but can itself be controlled by Indigo.

Still looking....


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It's why my zwave TRVs are add ons to my indigo controlled Heatmiser system. If my Mac dies I can set the valves to 100% manually and let the Heatmiser stats control the heating. I'll just lose some fine tuning across the house.


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Posted on
Mon Apr 22, 2019 9:00 am
Busta999 offline
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Re: Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Pract

I have plumbed for the Homey to run the heating and hot water systems as they have an App (plugin) for the Spirit TRVs, Horstmann/Secure and another couple of plugins to handle Heating schedules etc.

Losing the the iMac HDD, a very rare occurrence indeed, spooked me.

Losing the iMac was painful as it also ran Security Camera, Video/Audio libraries (approx 40TB) , it's absence was felt hard in the family.

The heating going down was the one that worried me most.

I did have an override thermostat connected (associated) directly to the boiler and the Hot Water system could be turned on/off manually (albeit cackhanded on the Secure dual channel controller) and the Spirit TFVs could be manually controlled.

But the very thought training my better half on how to do all that if I am travelling away on business did not make feel overly comfortable.

Most of the temp sensors, RFXCOM/Oregon and Hue sensors are accessible to both Indigo and Homey, I'll just move the wave multi sensors and Spirit TRVs across to Homey, and hopefully that will deliver a serration of HA, similar to the Hue system in that if the Mac goes down I still have light and heat running.

It does, of course introduce a critical dependancy upon the Homey - but hopefully if it only does one task, heating, it. will not overload it.

I just need to find a way of driving the Homey from Indigo, IFTTT maybe the way as heating events are not so time sensitive.

Posted on
Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:16 am
Busta999 offline
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Re: Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Pract

The Homey did not work out - RIP

The critical dependency was that it was able to talk to the Secure/Horstmann 2 channel Heating/Hot water controller - in their it did but suffered from a bug in the ZWave Inclusion definition for the 2 channel controller that precluded it from working with Homey :-(

As the 'App' was third party developed and the developer was no longer involved in the community there was no way to get the heating working.

So back to Autolog's great TRV controller on Indigo for the heating system.

I don't want to leave Indigo, but need to able to build in more fault tolerance for key/critical systems such as Heating.

I see critical systems being run by 'appliances' and Indigo providing oversight/ exception handling.

But not yet to be :-(

Did try Vera to run the Heating but it too had many issues around managing the TRVs :-(

I'll keep looking ways to make it more resilient.

Posted on
Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:42 am
siclark offline
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Re: Home Automation of Heating - Fault Tolerance Best Pract

I think if you want 100% reliability you need to be looking at evohome and their TRVs, but obviously comes at a much higher cost.

I'm planning to use some Pibeacon temp sensors to provide override capability to the controlling physica thermostat per floor (I'm lucky in that my spirit TRV setup is an extra level of control over a Heatmiser system which is also indigo controlled)

If they stick on then I can kill that floor's heating, and if the whole indigo system goes down I can manually set the valves to full open and control with the Heatmiser stats on the wall. (that's one stat for 4 bedrooms that I currently control individually with Spirits but better than nothing)

I really like the extra control I have and am very grateful for Jon's efforts in building this plugin, but glad after talking to Vesternet during my house build a few years ago about doing a full zwave only heating system that I went with Heatmiser in the end.
For house critical systems like heating and security I want indigo to override those systems' automatic functioning, not do it all.

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