What happens if there is no internet?

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    Office

    I am highly interested in an standalone offline local solution as well.

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    Anthony Brobston

    I just made two projects public. One is a 3d printed MQTT smart vent and the other is a system that brings together a thermostat, temperature sensors, and smart vents using MQTT to make your home more comfortable. Currently, other than to install/update these technologies, internet is not required.

    https://github.com/TonyBrobston/mqtt-hvac-vent-control

    https://github.com/TonyBrobston/yet-another-smart-vent

    This is the least amount of work I could do to get these systems functioning, so it's a bit involved to get them up and running; this will get easier over time, I've listed future features that address most of these potential pain points. If you have any questions, please create an issue in the appropriate project and I'll respond as I have time.

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    Andrew Shaw

    This looks awesome Tony! I'll definitely dig into these

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    Adam M. Costello

    I have been using Ecovent throughout my house since 2016. Ecovent was later acquired by Keen Home, which seems to have vanished recently (email is bouncing, phone messages are not returned, website has disabled purchases). Fearing that my vents may soon become bricks, I took a look at Flair, but unfortunately Flair vents appear to be even more dependent on the cloud than Ecovent vents, and more likely to be bricked if Flair disappears. I won't make that mistake a second time.

    My Ecovent system has usually worked well. Unlike Flair, the Ecovent hub is designed to continue automatically opening & closing vents (via custom radio) and controlling the Zen thermostat (via ZigBee) and connecting with the phone app (via LAN) even while the internet is down, and that has worked. But occasionally (on the order of once a year) the hub has stopped working (or become very flaky) for days until the company fixed whatever broke, which is very frustrating because there is no way to manually control the vents. Ecovent/Keen would never tell me what went wrong, but it had to be bugs/outages in their cloud service or buggy code updates to the hub. This is why I won't invest in any more HVAC equipment that connects to anything outside my house. My furnace and thermostat never misbehave and never change unless I change them. Only the cloud-connected components (the Ecovent hub, and the Sensi thermostat before I replaced it with the Zen) have ever caused problems.

    Bottom line: If Flair would like to offer an automatic vent product with no connection outside the house, I would be very interested, otherwise I'm not at all.

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    Kevin Summers

    I have Keen vents and don't use a hub. My Hubitat connects to them through zigbee. So if you have a home automation system you may be able to connect to them directly.

    Unfortunately with the Keen vents I've done everything I can but they still chew through batteries about every 30-45 days. So the amount of vents returned may have been their downfall.

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    Andrew Shaw

    At that point, I'm surprised people don't wire up a simple circuit to power the vents externally. I had seen issues with Keen 6 months to a year ago and suspected what Adam has confirmed. I don't know whether Flair is much farther behind, which is why I can't in good faith hop on board despite them having what I would consider the best package out there right now for residential smart vents. Residential automation controls severely lag behind industrial solutions and PLC controlled systems

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    Anthony Brobston

    For my system I've got 18 awg FPLP (Fire Power Limited Plenum) power/ground running through my ducting. I've got a 24V15A Power Supply Transformer with an enclosure/cover that I designed and 3D printed to use DC barrel connections.

    I took what I think is called Poly Line and a grocery bag; I tied the line on to the grocery bag, capped every vent outlet except the line I was running, turned the blower on manually through my thermostat's testing interface, then stuck the grocery bag through an inspection panel of my ducting, above my furnace. In some cases the grocery bag would make it all the way to the end of the run and I could grab it from the vent side. In other cases I used a fish tape, pushed it down the duct from the vent side, and then physically rotated the fish line 5-10 times, which caused the end to wrap around the grocery bag, and I was able to pull the fish tape out to ultimately get ahold of the poly line. I then attached my power/ground wire and pulled it through. Admittedly, some of the runs took 5 minutes, some took 2 hours; by the end of working out a good technique, it wasn't horrible and I think on average I could probably do one every 20 minutes. This was also on a three-level-split (with 11 runs; 3 in the basement, 4 on the main floor, and 4 upstairs), so... with two-story houses, I don't know what to expect. I would probably just run wiring through the ducting for the basement and first floor, then power the upstairs on the nearest outlet.

    I just figured I'd share my experience incase anyone else is contemplating.

    Also, the stuff I posted above does not require an internet connection for regular operation. I realize it's a DIY thing, at least for now... and it's certainly not polished. It is almost all open source, so if it takes off, there will likely be a community behind it. Is that better or worse than a corporation? I know my opinion, but that's clearly subjective. 

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    Andrew Shaw

    Great technique, Anthony! And a very similar practice to what electricians may use to pull jetline through conduit. I'm all for what you've done! It's ironic that this topic is getting traction on a commercial product's medsage board, but they've been ignoring us this long so why not? 😜

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    Anthony Brobston

    My next door neighbor pulls low voltage cable for a living, so I asked his advice.

    But yeah, probably not the best spot to talk about it... but! We asked for local control and yes, we were basically ignored.

    YOLO I guess.

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