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Video Blog #038 - Workshop Cooler/Heater Solution/Hack!

DISCLAIMER: This video is educational only, so if you decide to do the same yourself then you are on your own, I can't be held responsible for any problems/issues/damage/injury that may occur if you decide to follow this blog and try it yourself.

VIDEO BLOG

Day or night, summer or winter my workshop temperature can swing around quite wildly so I needed a better more centralized solution and without breaking the bank.......so I decided on a hack!

Air-conditioner = Inventor Cool:
https://www.inventorairconditioner.com/air-conditioning/portable-air-conditioners/cool-air-cooler-8000-btu

Brainboxes ED-038 Ethernet to Remote IO:
http://www.brainboxes.com/product/ed-038/ethernet-to-3-relay-3-digital-in

USB Thermometer:
http://www.dogratian.com/products/index.php/menu-sensors/menu-usb-tnh-type-a-sht10

Nicehash Miner:
https://miner.nicehash.com/

 

I should have mentioned in the video that originally the aircon was always in cooler or fan mode when on, i.e. the fan was permanently running 24/7. There was no facility to have it go into 'equilibrium' itself. I have created that equilibrium state by soft powering down the air-con via the ED-038, and luckily it's easily brought out of that state by soft starting it again.

Also, by setting a low temp on the air-con itself, i.e. 16degC as seen in the video I ensure the compressor will run when the ED-038 selects cooler mode. Without this the air-con could auto-switch to fan mode. I guess I got lucky by choosing an air-con that allowed this hacking to take place!

The miner makes a damn cheap heater btw!

Stuff to do:
Add in some logic so that if fan mode is detected as being on too long and the temp still hasn't gone down enough in that period into equilibrium then cooler mode will be jump started.
Add some override buttons on the app so any mode can be set irrespective of what the temp does. I.E. I might want to force cooler or heating mode to adjust the temp artificially.
Add a facility to save the current setpoints.
Add a web app so I can make tweaks from anywhere! 

PS. I'm not really a Windows app developer, I'm more of a microcontroller / C++ guy.......but I have to say with Visual Studio Express 2015 it's been a breeze in VB.

Photos below, the system running in the workshop.
The Air-con running, the ambient outside is warm'ish so the Fan mode has been running on & off keeping the temp to 24degC. Notice the nice straight line of the graph.

coolerapprunning

 

Here is the latest version of the app, been running for over 24hrs and so you can see the graph has fully populated.
A temperature of 24degC is being maintained and overall hasn't gone any further than 0.4degC from that.
The cooler has come on 6 times, the fan has run 299 times and it hasn't been cold enough (yet!) for the heater.
The fan is off & on quite a lot, but thats to be expected if you really want micro control over the temperature. By adding hysterysis or damping of sorts will just cause overshoots etc.
heaterrun