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Venstar vs Nest with Echo


saphotoexpress

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Hi, let me start with this, I am not an advanced ISY user and don't follow the forum on a regular basis, so forgive me if this seems like a stupid question.  I have multiple Venstar thermostats on my ISY system and have enjoyed controlling them from Mobilinc.  When I look at what is involved to get it to work with Echo, it appears to be very difficult to setup.  I just installed a Nest/Echo setup in my mother's house and could not believe how easy it was to get setup.  Is there an easy way to setup a Venstar with ISY and Echo?  All I want to do is tell echo to make it cooler or hotter.  If my 81 year old mother can do it, I should be able to do it as well:)  

 

The thought of replacing the Venstar's at $220 each bothers me, so if there is an easy way to make it work, I'll give it a try.  Thanks.

 

 

 

Oh, I should add that I already have my Amazon/ISY connection and can use echo to control a fan and a light in the house.

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Oh, I should add that I already have my Amazon/ISY connection and can use echo to control a fan and a light in the house.

 

Then it should be really easy.

 

 

First, can you confirm how you control you lights with echo?

Alexa, turn on ...  (You are using the smart home skill)

OR

Alexa, tell ISY to turn on... (You are using the ISY custom skill)

 

If you are using the smart home skill, great, that's what you need.

 

In ISY Portal, under Amazon Echo, just click Add devices, choose your thermostat, and give it a name.

Then, say "Alexa, refresh my devices". And you're done. You can control your thermostat just like any other thermostat controlled by echo.

 

If you are using the custom skill, you should instead use the smart home skill. 

 

Benoit

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Then it should be really easy.

 

 

First, can you confirm how you control you lights with echo?

Alexa, turn on ...  (You are using the smart home skill)

OR

Alexa, tell ISY to turn on... (You are using the ISY custom skill)

 

If you are using the smart home skill, great, that's what you need.

 

In ISY Portal, under Amazon Echo, just click Add devices, choose your thermostat, and give it a name.

Then, say "Alexa, refresh my devices". And you're done. You can control your thermostat just like any other thermostat controlled by echo.

 

If you are using the custom skill, you should instead use the smart home skill. 

 

Benoit

 

Looks like he is using Mobilinc Portal to control ECHO (just like me) the option you suggest should be only available to ISY Portal integration 

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Looks like he is using Mobilinc Portal to control ECHO (just like me) the option you suggest should be only available to ISY Portal integration 

 

Good point, I did not realize that. However, he may be using Mobilinc without Mobilinc Portal, either through ISY Portal, an open port, or locally only.

 

But if he is using Mobilinc portal, then obviously this will work only if Mobilinc portal has thermostat support implemented. I do not know.

 

Benoit.

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I'm using the ISY portal.  I have 3 devices for my thermostat, fan, ac cool, ac heat.  I added ac cool to the isy portal and gave it a spoken name of "thermostat".  I had alexa rediscover all of the devices.  I asked alexa to make the thermostat cooler and she responds with:

 

"that command doesn't work on device thermostat"

 

Any ideas?

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I'm using the ISY portal.  I have 3 devices for my thermostat, fan, ac cool, ac heat.  I added ac cool to the isy portal and gave it a spoken name of "thermostat".  I had alexa rediscover all of the devices.  I asked alexa to make the thermostat cooler and she responds with:

 

"that command doesn't work on device thermostat"

 

Any ideas?

"Thermostat" is a reserved word for Echo/Dot and IIRC you can't name a device that without creating confusion.

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@larry I also have it named/spoken word master ac so I tried asking echo to make the master ac cooler and she says she can't find a device or group named master ac cooler.

 

Ticket has been sent, will wait for a response from support or if you guys have any other ideas.  Thanks.

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I'm using the ISY portal.  I have 3 devices for my thermostat, fan, ac cool, ac heat.  I added ac cool to the isy portal and gave it a spoken name of "thermostat".  I had alexa rediscover all of the devices.  I asked alexa to make the thermostat cooler and she responds with:

 

"that command doesn't work on device thermostat"

 

Any ideas?

 

You should have a main device for your thermostat.

 

Could you try with this one, instead of the AC sub device?

 

That should work.

 

Benoit

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Hi, let me start with this, I am not an advanced ISY user and don't follow the forum on a regular basis, so forgive me if this seems like a stupid question. I have multiple Venstar thermostats on my ISY system and have enjoyed controlling them from Mobilinc. When I look at what is involved to get it to work with Echo, it appears to be very difficult to setup. I just installed a Nest/Echo setup in my mother's house and could not believe how easy it was to get setup. Is there an easy way to setup a Venstar with ISY and Echo? All I want to do is tell echo to make it cooler or hotter. If my 81 year old mother can do it, I should be able to do it as well:)

 

The thought of replacing the Venstar's at $220 each bothers me, so if there is an easy way to make it work, I'll give it a try. Thanks.

 

 

 

Oh, I should add that I already have my Amazon/ISY connection and can use echo to control a fan and a light in the house.

Just sharing. Ecobee thermostat with Amazon Alexa integration

 

http://www.digitaltrends.com/home/ecobee4-rumors-alexa-integrated/

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I think I paid $180 for my Nest. Not sure if it was from Amazon Warehouse Deals or eBay. In any case, it was the latest model (this year), nothing wrong with it, I think it was just an unopened return.

 

I signed up for an SDG&E (San Diego Gas and Electric) program where they will throttle it back on critical days, but then I can override it if I choose. I got a $50 debit card. I get another $25 debit card for every year I stay with the program.

 

Slam dunk.

 

I had a Venstar. I left it at my previous residence. I kept the Insteon plug-in interface. Anyone wants to buy it, message me.

 

The Venstar was a PAIN to do home/away with ISY. I had to redundantly put the complete schedule in the Venstar itself and into an ISY program.

 

The Nest has no communication with the ISY and I Don't Care. It Just Works. It does it's own home/away determination with the Nest app, and it is the best Home/Away that I have. I only wish I could use it for my ISY home/away, but the only way is with IFTTT and the IFTTT delay makes it impractical.

 

OT, what ever happened with Honeywell vs. Nest? I had a MagicStat, back in the day - before Honeywell bought them. I coincidentally met the inventor (of MagicStat) back in Michigan.  I was impressed, so I bought one - my little gesture of support. So little changed between MagicStat and Nest, over such a long time. The key concept behind MagicStat was you don't think about it. You just goosed it up or down as it suited your fancy, and it figured out what to do and when to keep your fingers off of the dial. It took 30 years for somebody else to finally get the idea that "don't think about it" is desirable.

 

Nest adds IOT, presence, game-ification, and tweaks anticipatory action. Not sure about the lawsuit, I think it is/was a fine line. Did Nest violate the MagicStat patent? I dunno? I'd be more sympathetic if it were MagicStat, and not Honeywell.

 

I'd rather have a 30 year old MagicStat than Venstar. If you like to fiddle, and think you know better, get a Venstar.

 

This is pretty amusing:

 

https://zoningsupply.com/blog/retro-thermostat-1982-electronics-guide-review-of-magic-stat

 

It had no digital readout, an ugly case, and a stupid name. It almost made us sick.

 

 

 

 

 At first glance, I thought it was just another ugly thermostats in a long history that still goes on today.  Then i read the article which explains a "LEARN" mode that makes it easier to set much like the nest would do decades later.  Also, it claims to have what is now reffered to as "adaptive recovery".  This is where the thermostat starts the equipment before the set time so it can get the home to temperature at a specified time instead of just starting to get to temperature at the time of setpoint.  I haven't done any fact-checking, but it says they are the first thermostat to do this... too bad it took 20 years for this to become a more standard feature.

 

I love my Nest. It's Back to the Future. 

 

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-10-11/entertainment/8503090437_1_thermostats-heat-home/2

 

OMG, you can still buy one. Or, somebody forgot to take their web site down:

 

http://www.rexxindustrialparts.com/quad-six-magic-stat-ms2-programmable-thermosta2.html

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Two of my son's have Nest thermostats for the last year or more. Almost every feature it has has been disabled at one time or another.

 

The Nest "learning mode" sets a new temperature for every time somebody fiddles with the dial. After about a year you have 20-40 temperature settings at random times of each day and you need to go and delete all the "learning without intelligence".

 

Most Nests are reported to be way out of calibration by 3-6 degrees and from forum readings nobody thinks they can be adjusted to fix. IIRC tech support told users to leave them along as they are all calibrated at the factory and don't need any further calibration". Classic know nothing electronic toy company thinking and probably most of the reason it has to memorise so many temperature adjustments.

 

My conclusion: Not for HA enthusiasts. We are control freaks and like things our own way, not the way google tells us "Don't worry! You will love this stat. Never mind what it does."

 

"Would you like fries / Chrome with that stat?" :)

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Two of my son's have Nest thermostats for the last year or more. Almost every feature it has has been disabled at one time or another.

 

The Nest "learning mode" sets a new temperature for every time somebody fiddles with the dial. After about a year you have 20-40 temperature settings at random times of each day and you need to go and delete all the "learning without intelligence".

 

Most Nests are reported to be way out of calibration by 3-6 degrees and from forum readings nobody thinks they can be adjusted to fix. IIRC tech support told users to leave them along as they are all calibrated at the factory and don't need any further calibration". Classic know nothing electronic toy company thinking and probably most of the reason it has to memorise so many temperature adjustments.

 

My conclusion: Not for HA enthusiasts. We are control freaks and like things our own way, not the way google tells us "Don't worry! You will love this stat. Never mind what it does."

 

"Would you like fries / Chrome with that stat?" :)

 

The calibration on mine seems pretty good.  Before the Nest, this house had an ancient (1999) Carrier thermostat that varied from the security system temperature sensor by up to four degrees (they're actually about three inches apart, so they're easy to compare).  After I installed the Nest, the two almost always agree, and I've never noticed them diverging by more than one degree Fahrenheit.  I don't actually know if either one are accurate, just that they agree.  :oops:

 

Also, and also maybe more importantly, I can't dispute the high WAF score that Nest achieves.  It's gorgeous hardware, if nothing else, and the Mrs. like to tell Alexa to, "Set the Family Room to 70".  Happy wife, happy life.  The Nest was my first venture into HA, and it created a small reservoir of spousal good will for future projects.

 

I agree, it's not a device that completely gets out of the way and lets you tinker.  For example, the API doesn't seem to expose a way for me to adjust the settings for my humidifier (that I've discovered, anyway).   And yeah, the "learning mode" does me no good at all.

 

All in all, I like it, and the Mrs. loves it.  Win.

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My Venstar T7900 runs my humidifier in another room.

 

When I built my house many people told me with such a tightly sealed house a humifier would never be necessary. I didn't leave enough room on my air-handler to accomodate a humidifier after-the-fact.

 

Sure I discovered I don't need a humidifier if I don't mind dying in my sleep from fumes and lack of oxygen. HRV's bring in extremely dry air in the winter here. It's hard to get out of bed in the morning when the static on your hair is too strong to lift your head off the pillow, each morning.

 

ISY's your friend.

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  • 6 months later...

If I swap out my venstar thermostat (that has an insteon module plugged into it) that I can currently control through my ISY with a NEST thermostat, will I be able to control it with my ISY?  

 

(I wasn't sure if it would be preferred to hijack this old thread or start a new one.)

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If I swap out my venstar thermostat (that has an insteon module plugged into it) that I can currently control through my ISY with a NEST thermostat, will I be able to control it with my ISY?  

 

(I wasn't sure if it would be preferred to hijack this old thread or start a new one.)

 

Yes, you can if you run the Nest node server and you're running Alpha 5.x.x firmware on your ISY.  I've been doing this successfully for quite some time.  This enables lots of functionality.

 

Edit:  My favorite uses of this are:

  • Shutting off the air conditioning and starting ceiling fans if certain Elk zones are violated
  • Pre heating the house when we're still 45 minutes away, using the Occupancy node server functionality in the ISY portal, along with Locative

post-7363-0-78273900-1509459809_thumb.png

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