Calenta Interface under construction

I don’t think I ever wanted temperatures to drop and be forced to wear a coat when going outside. No, the warmer the better for me… but this time it’s different… I want to test my newest Interface! But as you can see by the chart below, the weather is not really cooperating:

Thermostat setback and temperature in the living room

Thermostat setback and temperature in the living room

So I think I’ll just have to wait a while for the temperatures to drop before I’m able to test my Interface really well. I finished the part that parses the samples from the Calenta and I created a page on my website that partly shows the values it returns (taken from a real sample coming from the Calenta), but I still have to look into the counters and blockings, of which the latter one can be very interesting with respect to being notified about problems with the Calenta. But first I want to thoroughly test the sample part before moving on. And I’m not going to raise the setback temperature just for the sake of testing…

Remeha Interface sample

Remeha Interface sample

So no more coding on this Interface until this first part is finished and working OK.

Ooh, BTW… DHL paid me a unexpected visit today with a nice surprise… more on that later! šŸ™‚

Monitoring the Remeha Calenta

Last week I attached some 1-Wire temperature sensors to the floor heating tubes to monitor flow- and return temperatures. While I was doing that, I looked at my Remeha Calenta again and thought what a pity it was that I failed to monitor the Calenta with the Remeha Gateway. I’ve known for a long time that there’s a 2nd solution to this: Remeha Recom. A “special cable” and the Recom software make it possible to monitor your Remeha Avanta, Quinta, Calenta (and more). However the price for this cable is rather high; you won’t be able to get it below 130 Euros with as only result a Recom window on your screen where you can see all kinds of things being monitored… all you can do is make a screen-dump or log the values to a file… šŸ™

And if I would buy that “wonder cable”, would I be able to understand the protocol? I didn’t want to risk the chance of buying that expensive cable and not coming any further than using Recom, so i stopped thinking about it. Untill last week.

I started roaming the Internet for more information; I read about “it” being a null modem cable; I looked at the PCB and saw the RJ-11 connector for the Remeha cable was labeled RS-232; I took a long cable with a RJ-11 plug and stuck it into the connector and started measuring with a voltmeter; I saw the outer 2 were 5V and the other GND; that leaves the inner 2 for the serial part. I started thinking about what this super duper Remeha cable could hide inside to make serial communication work? There has to be something special to it… converting TTL to RS-232 perhaps? Why not give it a try…

I have a MAX3232CPE laying around for some time; so I planted it on a breadboard, added some 0.1 Ī¼F capacitors and built this schema I found (click it):

Here’s the result:

TTL <--> RS232

TTL <–> RS232

Guess what… it works!! My Remeha Calenta was recognized immediately and I watched the data arriving in Recom:

Remeha Recom v4.1.1

With no more than 8 Euros I created my own interface cable; too ridiculous… Special cable?Ā  My A!@&%#%^!!!

OK, but this was just the beginning. With a serial port sniffer i saw the Calenta being queried and I started recognizing the flow temperature, return temperature etc. in the responses that came back from the Calenta. These packets look like this:

02 01 FE 06 48 02 01 F0 14 AA 14 00 80 00 80 86 F3 00 80 B7 10

00 80 40 1F 70 17 00 80 00 00 00 00 00 BC 02 00 00 00 00 64 00

00 00 00 C2 0B 10 00 FF FF 00 00 00 00 FF FF 17 00 BC 02 00 00

00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 C5 9B 03

After an hour or so, i knew where to find some temperature values and stuff like that. The F0 14 marked in red for example, means 53.60 degrees Celsius. That was easy… not good enough for a quiz šŸ™‚ But I also saw on the amount of values Recom could produce from the incoming bytes, some things had to be stored in bits; the on/off, yes/no, open/closed values appeared not to be stored in a byte, but ‘hidden’ somewhere in a bit maybe? Hmm, how do I know exactly when the Gas valve opens or closes, so how I can locate the bit for that? If it is stored in a bit? This could become a bit more challenging and time consuming than I would like.

Aha! There’s a config directory belonging to the Recom software package, containing XML files; one of them was named exactly like the model that Recom detected. Let’s have a look inside that file… Bingo! These XML files contain very detailed information; they tell me that I can find that Gas valve value in bit 0 of byte 38… Yeeha!

Now it’s just a matter of finding out some more about the leading and trailing bytes and I can start creating my own Remeha Calenta interface to my Domotica system.

Finally I’ll know what the Gas is being used for: DHW or heating. And when the water pressure drops below a value I find alarming, I can be warned before it’s too late. And I can see how much power is actually being produced; and …

Update: RJ-11 is incorrect; it’s a 4P4C connector!

Remeha: "problem not important enough"

Today, after 5 weeks of waiting, i was called by a Remeha employee about my problems with the combination of Remeha equipment in my house: Remeha Calenta, Gateway and Celcia 20.

I told him the whole story from the beginning; the phone calls i made with Remeha in April this year to be sure that what i wanted would work, the problems i encountered, the emails to Remeha sales support about the problems, more phonecalls and not getting any answer from Remeha for more than 5 weeks now.

The bottom line is that Remeha is to busy with new developments to pay any attention to what problems i might be experiencing with this very rare combination of their hardware. Simply a matter of costs.Ā  Investing time/money into this matter costs more then and the relevance of the problem is very low for Remeha.

So basically the answer i got today was: “we’re sorry”. Ok. Bad answer for me; i’m not happy with it. But in a way, i can understand it. But this was the first time i was talking to a Remeha person who had the guts to say it out loud… it hurt (a bit), but this is 10 times better than getting no answer at all. That’s really irritating and disrespectful; ever heard of after-sales? The Remeha employee apologized for that.

And before i metioned anything about it, I was told i could return the Gateway and defective Celcia without any problem and i would get my money back. Case closed… regarding doing it the Remeha-way i mean : I’m already one step further in accomplishing what i want another way…

Still integrating Remeha Calenta into my Domotica system

Remeha Calenta

Remeha Calenta

It has been a while ago since i worked on this project. After the new central heating had been installed in the first week of april, i spentĀ time to get the combination of Remeha Calenta, Remeha Gateway and Remeha Celcia 20 to work. I failed…

Somewhere there is an unstable factor in this combination that makes these 3 devices not work together as they should, and as was stated that they could by a Remeha technician. So i put this project on hold for a while. But now that holidays have started, and the days will get shorter in a matter of weeks, i would like to have this project finished by the timeĀ  we need the central heating again…

Last week i talked to theĀ  person who installedĀ the Calenta and he asked me to write down all my problems in an email that he would forward to Remeha Technical Services department, to see if it was possible to have a Remeha technician coming over to my house to investigate the problems i am having.

After integrating lights, appliances, garage doors, alarm systems, TV, Home theatre, music, the largest piece of equipment that is not yet integratedĀ is the central heating. That has to change… one way or the other! šŸ™‚

All kinds of things are made possible these days in this area, just look at the Danfoss Z-Wave controlled radiator thermostats for example. It’s a sign you can’t ignore. So i hope Remeha has a clue of what is going on in terms of Domotica & HVAC; and i hope they inderstand that the systems they produce can no longer beĀ isolated from the rest; it’s time to connect!

Remeha Calenta or Avanta?

Next wednesday i have a Remeha representative coming over to my house to see what’s the best heating system for our house. Remeha has got a new model since recently, the Remeha Calenta. Probably with a much higher price than the Avanta, my choice so far. Another very important issue is that the Calenta needs to have the ability to be operated with the Remeha Gateway just like the Avanta. The recommended thermostat for the Calenta does like very nice, BTW. And maybe i’ll add a solar water heater to the system, who knows. Alot of questions, hopefully to be answered next Wednesday.

Remeha iSense

Remeha iSense

Remeha solar water heater

Remeha solar water heater

Remeha Avanta

Remeha Avanta

Remeha Calenta

Remeha Calenta

Time for a new central heating

Yesterday we got a letter from the company that does the maintenance of our central heating. It said our current central heating was to vulnerable to failures and we were offered an upgrade to a newer central heating at a reduced price. Well, it is true that our central heating has caused us a lot of trouble through the 10 years that we live here. So i understand the reason why they want us to upgrade to a newer model from a different brand. But i’ve got my own wishes…
Our new central heating should be controlled by means of the Opentherm protocol for instance, so that i can ‘tap’ the communication between central heating and the thermostat and incorporate the data that i can get out of that, into my Domotica System. And i’ve made my choice: our new central heating will be a Remeha Avanta, controlled by a Remeha Celsia 20, including a so-called gateway for attaching a RS-232 cable to it and tap the communication.