Thermostat Controller App - Rules to Change config?


I love the idea of this Thermostat Controller app. I've created some rules to do this sort of thing, but they aren't perfect, so I'm looking to migrate my thermostats to use this new app.

A couple of questions though. One of the things I have in my custom app is to use the remote sensors in the bedrooms overnight and the ones in the main living area during the day.

I'd like to do something similar with the Thermostat Controller app but I can't seem to find a way via Rule Machine to change the sensors or alternatively to change the weightings/offsets. I suppose I could even create two TC apps (one for the daytime, one for night) if I would be able to have rules set the Free/Controlled setting so the appropriate one is controlling my thermostat depending on time of day.

Is any of that possible? I'd even be willing to write an app to do it if it's possible there.

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These are not (yet) supported features. But, it's an interesting use case. I'll give some though about how to accommodate these needs.

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Just a thought. You can get TC to work with modes. Is there any way to accomplish what you want using a couple of instances of TC, each being active at different times?

You mean like "auto" for during the day and "heat" for at night? Then I would just change the Physical thermostat mode at the appropriate time and it would make the coinciding controller take over?

Not tried this myself but might be worth a try. I have used several instances of TC with the same devices, but using times to split them . Worked ok.

I don't think I can actually do what I thought. The COntroller itself doesn't have modes. The heat/auto/cool settings in the Controller app actually change the mode on the physical thermostat (or in my case, the test virtual thermostat I set up to play with).

I think the easiest thing from the end user perspective would be the ability to set the Free/Controlled setting via a rule. Or have "pause/resume" functionality like rules have.

I think the way to accomplish this that is the most straight forward is to give the app the same Restrictions options that you can find in Simple Automation Rule. This way, the app could be scheduled to only apply control during certain time periods, days of the week, etc, and to be disabled by switches, etc.

With this addition, two instances could control the same real thermostat with different sensors for different times, modes, etc.

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While we're discussing this, I think another value add would be to have manual changes on the thermostat update the controller target temperature.

For instance if I have the controller set to 68 and it feels a bit cool then, I can just set the physical thermostat to 70 and instead of the controller eventually taking over and setting the thermostat target back down to 65 or whatever, the Controller itself would be updated to set a target temperature of 70.

I'm guessing that would be a tough pull if a given thermostat doesn't give any feedback as to how/where a temperature was changed because the Controller app itself would change the target temperature a lot.

I'm not sure what the official way to say "Me too" is here. I came here looking for this exact feature for the same use case (use bedroom at night, other rooms during the day).

Yeah, I'm on it. Should be in the next release.

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Love this idea...would be useful to me as well. Thanks, @bravenel, and thanks @mikeobrian for asking!

Thanks! Looking forward to it!

I have some code in an app that changes the main thermostat's mode from Heat to Emergency Heat if the outside temperature drops below 40F. Is TC going to change that back to Heat or is it set up to recognize that as a heating mode and leave it alone?

It will leave Emergency Heat alone. However, I think I will test what actually goes on wrt to how it manages the heating setpoint. Presumably, if you're asking for Emergency Heat the main thermostat is demanding heating. What does putting the thermostat into Emergency Heat do? Override the setpoint logic?

It only changes the heat source from heat pump to natural gas. Everything else is left alone.

Awesome! Thank you!

It seems to be working -- thanks for the effort!

One more thing now, it would be useful to be able to override the app name as it's tough to tell things apart on the Apps page.

Yeah, you're right about that... OK, will do. Plus, I think you end up with two Controller devices with the same name. Not good.

Yeah, I renamed the devices to at least have confusion on the device page.

Now that it's cold enough to see things in action, the Thermostat Controller does actually interfere with the Main thermostat being set to Emergency Heat / Auxiliary Heat. I've set it to Emergency Heat manually and the Thermostat Controller App sets it back to Heat on the next refresh.

I set it to Emergency Heat when the outside temperature goes below 40F which causes the HVAC system to switch from using the Heat Pump to using Natural Gas, since the heat pump is less efficient at temperatures below 40F. It still works but it has to run a lot longer to heat the house.

My thermostat is a Centralite Pearl.