tado° Update

The Tado system is now installed in France and it is working rather well.   I have installed the wireless thermostat in the downstairs entrance and this now controls the boiler via a relay control box next to the boiler.   The upstairs area now has its radstats set to less than half way open and we have also been able to turn the downstairs radiators down.

We now have a much more balanced temperature throughout the house and don’t go to bed freezing cold.   Now the fabric of the building has got up to a uniform temperature the boiler seems to be firing less.   Having the smartphone application for remote operation is an additional bonus.  Very pleased with the result.  Nice kit.

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tado° Radio Controlled Heating System

We have a problem in the house in France relating to the fact that we live on the upstairs floor and sleep on the ground floor.   It works well in this configuration but has the disadvantage that if we have the wood burner on upstairs it trips the boiler thermostat which is also upstairs.   This results in the boiler going off and we end up freezing cold downstairs at bedtime.

I have been pondering this for some time and finally arrived at a solution using the Tado components.   This is a 868MHz mesh network of control products consisting of a radio controlled Thermostat, radio connected RadStats and a thing called an Extension Kit which replaces an existing timer/controller.

The thermostat in France is currently in the wrong position on the first floor but the unit is hard wired back to the boiler down in the cave (cellar) so it is difficult to elegantly move.  The Extension Kit picks up the controller hard wiring as was and acts as a new controller for the boiler under radio command from the Thermostat.  Not only does the Thermostat set the temperature but it also allows the water heating to be controlled.   You can manually command on and off or use programmable profiles.

All the above components are brought together on a smartphone App that allows you to control the heating and water from anywhere.   The system also has GPS geo fencing.   This is really attractive as it means we can get it to bring the heating and water on as we come off the ferry.  No more sitting with our overcoats shivering when we arrive in winter.

It is a well conceived set of kit.   Pairing the items to talk with each other is straightforward but for some scenarios you need to get Tado to customise the software.   This is done via the internet and can take up to 48 hours to complete.   That aside once this is done it works very well.   I have had it running on the bench with a couple of light bulbs on the water and heating outputs to simulate operation.  Installation in France will be next week.

I have no connection in any way with Tado and I am sure there are similar products out there.   I just like nice kit that is well conceived and does what it says on the tin.

Tado Extension Kit and Thermostat

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Tooling Day

Each of my CNC mills has a home designed and produced tooling plate.  Both have a 25mm pitch matrix of tapped mounting holes and a further submatrix of 3.7mm tooling pin holes.   Why 3.7mm ?  So I can turn down 4mm silver steel for the tooling pins to create a retaining shoulder.

My small CNC plate has M5 tapped holes and the Tormach 440 has M8 tapped holes.   What struct me was that I has starting to create dual sets of hold down tooling, some with M5 and some with M8 mounting holes.   Not a good idea. (Entertaining and therapeutic though it might be to have ‘tooling days’).

Clearly a mounting with M8 holes was not much use with tooling having M5 mounting holes but the other way round would work if I had M8 to M5 adaptors.

As a result I have spent the day creating adaptors which you could call male and female.   Both are made from M8 hex head tensile screws with the female ones retaining the M8 head and the male ones utilising the cut off portion of thread.  I had to undercut the thread ends behind the heads so the female adaptors would sit flush.  Having undercut I then skimmed all the tops of the hex heads to be same depth.

All the turning was done with the ER25 collet chuck instead of the 3 jaw which is normally fitted to the Myford.  The male adaptor versions were a pain to turn down to M5 diameter and had to be done incrementally as the M8 threaded end could not be heavily gripped in the collet.

The female versions are quite useful if a job is being run on the Tormach that needs suspending above the table so it can machined to full stock depth.

Nothing revolutionary or original but a day well spent.

A picture explains : –

Male and female M8 to M5 adaptors
M8 to M5 adaptors in place on the Tormach tooling plate

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Halloween Steaming of the Polly

Each year the engineering club I am a member of has a Halloween Steaming evening for families and friends.   The 7″ ground level track (1.35 miles / 2.2km) and the 5″ raised level track (1361 yards / 415m) get decorated with spooky stuff and we run with lights on the locos.

I fit a 100mm diameter angel light ring on the smoke box door and have a couple of small LED torches either side of the front running board and a red flashing rear light.   The front view is pretty bright as a result but evening running in cold weather means lots of steam and seeing what is going on is difficult.   Add to this I need my spectacles on to see the water level in the glass and my specs steam up.   Add to this the fact that the oiler is running a bit heavy at the moment so my specs also get a fair amount of oil splatter.

I started the fire using charcoal soaked in white spirit and had steam pressure fairly quickly.   I loaded the fire to just below the first line of tubes and set off.

I was pulling both my driving trolley and the passenger trolley and worst case this was 3 adults.   I had severe wheel spin if I wasn’t careful with the regulator movement.   The raised level rails are aluminium and the weather was damp so this was not unexpected.   When heavily loaded the fire was really drawing well but as the evening went on it became more of a struggle to maintain steam pressure.   The top of the fire had a crust of darker red on it but when the fire was poked this broke away to an incredibly bright fire.

Analysing this is difficult.   Was the fire too deep and the draft from the Rosebud not sufficient ?   Were the holes in the Rosebud getting clogged with ash and reducing the draft ?   Or something as simple as letting the water level drop too low ?

Lots of questions that I am still working on.   That aside I definitely need a session on the rolling road to adjust the oiler.

Picture taken by my son as myself and Dave prepared for another run.

Polly V on the Halloween running

 

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