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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Clocks all Change – Reading Memorial Clock

The last weekend in October is clocks change here in the UK with a one hour shift back to GMT.   For those that remember to do it, this delivers an extra hour in bed but it is a pain to change traditional clocks one hour back.   This is even more so with Turret Clocks such as those on churches and ancient buildings.   The easiest solution is to stop the mechanism on Sunday and come back to it on Monday one hour earlier to restart it.   While this is the easiest method it does upset these ancient mechanisms that have just had 6 months of stable running.  The alternative is to wind the mechanism forward 11 hours and drive those in earshot scatty with all the bell chimes one after another.

I was very fortunate to be invited by David Pawley to help him reset some of the clocks on his maintenance list and one in particular impressed me.  This is the Memorial Clock at Reading University.   The clock tower was built circa 1920 as a memorial clock to all those associated with Reading University that had not returned from the Great War.  There are some 101 names recorded from WW1 and further names from WW2 and latterly from Afghanistan.   It is a beautiful clock and a fitting memorial.   The only sad aspect was that its enormous bell is muted these days so as not to disturb patients at the neighbouring Royal Berks hospital. 

Reading University Memorial Clock

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IMTS 2018 Manufacturing Fair in Chicago

My visit to the MHUB/NYC CNC event also allowed me to visit the IMTS 2018 manufacturing show in Chicago.   My goodness what an event.  Lots of walking and lots of drooling over the latest technology for wasting metal.   Some of the machines were almost as large as my home in the UK.   I have never seen so many cutting tools.

I did fall in love however …. with the Datron Neo milling machine.  It has a small footprint but a big punch with a 40k RPM spindle, 24 position tool changer with tool checking and an astonishingly elegant software user interface.  It is way out of my pocket but for a small prototyping shop or educational establishment I think it will be very attractive.

I also picked up a Centroid Acorn OEM machine controller board which looks like a panacea for Mach3/4 based systems.  More will follow on this as we get to grips with it.

So a good trip all round.  Two good events.  Two aching feet.  Some nice memories of a very beautiful city.

‘The Bean’ on the Chicago lake front.

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NYC CNC Open House in Chicago this weekend coming

My travel agent (aka my adorable wife) has got my airline tickets ready so I can attend John Saunders’ Open House bash at MHUB this Sunday coming in Chicago with 3 days afterwards at IMTS 2018.

Hopefully I will meet up with some of the friends I met at the NYC CNC training week and last year’s Open House plus all the new contacts that I have made via this blog.   Also hoping to be blown away with seeing new technology (totally out of my budget) at IMTS.

Looking forward to it ! More to follow !

Woody