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Turns out the controllers need common cathode not common anode and this is like rocking horse 5h1t in the UK! I have found a circuit diagram here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Connect-Common-Anode-RGB-LEDs-to-Common-Ground-RG/ which seems like it will convert common cathode to common anode through the addition of a separate power supply (or a separate connection of the original one I assume). The problem I have is that I have no experience of electronic circuit design so have no idea how to size/rate the components I will need.
I have purchased 5M of common anode RGB strip (c/w controller and PSU) for the ludicrous sum of just £13.49 from here: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251637521877 and am awaiting delivery. The strip appears to be 60 LED per meter and states that it requires 2A per colour. Watts = Volts x Amps so that’s 24 watts per colour or 72 watts total for 5M when on full white.
I know the LightwaveRF RGB controller (the one sans 1M supplied strip) can handle a max 54 watts so wouldn’t be enough for 5M of this strip anyway but since this will only need to power the three transistors, I am hoping this will be plenty.
Can anyone with electronics experience help me spec the components I will need to drive this strip? I am thinking 3x tip3055 transistors, is this a good start?
If you are referring to the price comparison, sales are handled directly by the retailers. Click on the view product button to be taken directly to the product on their site. All click throughs are recognised and the retailer supports this site with a small commission on the sale.
WRT the iOS app. I have been contacted by Simon Lane from JSJS who tells me that they are hoping for approval from Apple early next week. There have been some delays (iOS 8 release maybe?) but it is definitely on its way.
I’m in the process of having my conservatory rebuilt and I’m installing some lighting trough to uplight the frame. I would like to put RGB LED strip in to the trough.
I’ve been in touch with my contact at Megaman and am told that they have a stock of LWRF RGB controllers, but they require common anode strip. Does anyone know of a supplier who specifically supplies common anode RGB strips? I need about 5m of it.
The alternative is for me to buy one of the cheap chinese RGB controller solutions out there. If these hold their colour/function between power cycles then I guess I could just put in an inline relay for LWRF control, but it would be nice if I could get proper mood control involving different colours.
AFAIK, the LightwaveRF Dusk to Dawn sensor uses a light sensor to detect light levels whereas the Wi-Fi link relies on the time and the Internet to understand what time ‘dawn’ is. One way to do this would be to set up a timer to switch your lights on at 0700 and off at 0900. If the same light is paired with the dusk to dawn sensor then it will go off earlier if the sensor detects an appropriate light level.
The only further complication is that the sensor will turn the lights on at night. If you are home, then chances are you will want that anyway and can just turn it off when you go to bed. If you are away, you will need the Wi-Fi link to send an off command at an appropriate time.
I for one would really prefer it if the TRV’s, home/room stat and boiler switch are able to operate without the Wi-Fi link. I tinker waaayy too much with my home networking (much to the annoyance of the minister for interior affairs) to risk it being an absolute requirement for the delivery of heat in the winter.
I’d be happy if it works out to be a straight forward emulation/swap out of my current ELV set up. I don’t have a typical UK heating system. When I bought the house 10 years ago, the 25 year old combi-boiler had a straight forward single channel timer for heat (hot water being controlled by demand) and a bunch of TRV’s – I didn’t even have a loop radiator. Over time I have replaced each TRV with a battery powered actuator (which has no heat sensing capability at all) paired with a programmer located in the same room. My actuators appear to be dumbed down versions of the LWRF TRV’s. The programmer appears to do the same as the LWRF House Thermostat in that it maintains a programme, measures the temperature and tells the TRV’s to open/close to a percentage point as it deems necessary. None of this so far has any influence over the boiler and therefore over the presence of hot water circulating around the loop and it seems that this is one option for the LWRF kit. Something else will need to control the boiler and this could be as simple as a single channel timer. The problem with this set up is that while the boiler will sense the temperature of the water being returned and control the flame accordingly, it will not stop the pump – this will be running all the time the timer is ‘on’.
On my system, this is where my interlock comes in to play and on a LWRF system where, I think, the boiler switch will come in. I believe it is now a requirement to have an interlock which switches off the boiler when there is no demand for heat. In a typical UK setup, this will be the thermostat which is typically located in the coldest room of the house and with a radiator which does not have a TRV. I’ve never had one of these. The typical UK set up keeps the boiler running until such time as the coldest room reaches the desired temperature. Working on the basis that if the coldest room is warm, all the other rooms are too. Adjustment/tempering of the warmer rooms is achieved using standard TRV’s in those rooms. IMHO typical UK systems are hideously inefficient. If the coldest room never reaches the desired set point (perhaps due to poor insulation or undersized radiators), the boiler will be constantly on even though the warmer rooms have closed all of their TRV’s. I’m hoping that like my system, the boiler switch will only be on when one or more TRV’s are open and calling for heat.
I guess to replace my system like for like, I will need a house stat in every room to maintain the zone’s programme. This looks to be more expensive than the current system I have. If I can stop tinkering with my home networking long enough to maintain a stable Wi-Fi link control and/or Wi-Fi link control does not require cloud connectivity, then I’d be tempted to migrate the programme control to the Wi-Fi link in return for more aesthetically pleasing and cheaper room stats which simply measure the current temperature, compare that to the set point and control the TRV directly. That said, the pictures all show the words “slave” so I’m hoping they aren’t just dumb sensors which tell the Wi-Fi link to request more heat from the TRV.
My bathroom doesn’t have a TRV, but that doesn’t bother me too much. I guess I think of this as passively heated albeit actually being directly heated. It also acts as my ‘loop’ which I personally don’t think I need. Part of the problem with all of this is that domestic plumbers and heating engineers only really understand what they were taught at college – i.e. you need a thermostat, you need room TRVs and you need a constantly open radiator to take away the excess heat from the boiler. I suspect commercial heating engineers will understand better because BMS systems are typically much more complex.
I tried an early 12v single channel dimmer and it worked well. I have a feeling the drivers are just ‘well behaved’ ones available from Megaman. They don’t have any LightwaveRF capability of their own. I think I heard on the grapevine that a lot of the RGB LED kit sold by Maplins was recalled due to it not working with typically available LED strip – perhaps common cathode vs common anode or something. It worked fine with the strips supplied with it, but wouldn’t work with any third party ones (which lets face it, is probably what you are going to want to use with it). Can anyone confirm/deny this?
All possible in theory. The inline relay is rated to 3kW which is probably enough for your hot water tank but is ‘inline’ so won’t look particularly good on your storage heaters. The new LightwaveRF Boiler Switch also appears to be rated at 3kW so should be fine for your storage heaters – they also have a boost function button which one assumes is why you want LightwaveRF on them. I thought the typical use for storage heaters is with dual tariff electricity which only comes on at certain times of the day (i.e. the heaters remain on all the time but only heat up when energy is cheap).
* Check the loading requirement first though *
There are some PDF’s on the Response Electronics (lightwaverf.co.uk) site which are useful, but the boiler switch doesn’t contain any decent wiring detail except a QR code (and NO associated link) to the LightwaveRF.com site. The link returns a 404 (or did on Friday)! #UBERFAIL IMHO.
In theory I guess yes, but it would be worth having a programme controlling the valves through the Wi-Fi link (I believe they can be controlled directly through the Wi-Fi link). The reason I say this is that if they work in a similar way to my German ELV valves, they will be constantly opening the valves a little bit more until the target temperature is reached. If the nest is telling the boiler to be off, then no hot water will be flowing and the temperature will not increase. When the nest finally does switch on, the valves will be open 100% and the sudden surge of hot water will send the temperature soaring. The valves will close of course, but it may be too late, may cause the nest to get in a pickle and suddenly shut down the boiler. You will sort of have the control you want, but with two conflicting systems you are probably just going to confuse both of them. You may even be seeing this exact same thing using the iTemps.
I for one will be most interested in HOW the system works. As I say, the current ELV based system I have controls the flow on each radiator in very small increments and only when the flow on any one radiator is more than my personally defined % threshold for that radiator does the interlock switch on the boiler. The idea of the % threshold is in recognition that my old radiators don’t radiate much (any) heat when the TRV is only open (for example) 1%. There is no point pumping hot water round the loop if the radiator isn’t going to radiate the heat.
The 10% discount offer (unless I am mistaken) is LightwaveRF.co.uk – a trading style of Response Electronics Ltd and while they were the original (and for a while the only) online retailer of LightwaveRF, they are not owned by Megaman, JSJS Designs (now LightwaveRF PLC) or the Smart Shop.
I doubt a resload will fix this. They tend to help stop flickering when the lamps are dimmed, but if your lamps appear dim all the time, chances are it is just an issue with the lumen output of the lamps. Check with LEDHut what the expected lumen output is and then compare that with the lumen output of an incandescent candle bulb.
Lumens are a much better measure for the performance of LED lamps. Two LED lamps rated at the same power consumption (i.e. 4.5 watts) may not have anything like the same lumen output. Equally, a 4.5 watt candle bulb and a 4.5 watt ‘standard shaped’ bulb may not output the same number of lumens. Incandescent lamps tend to be pretty much the same when it comes to lumen output (they are said to have the same ‘lumens per watt’), mostly because they all use the same basic principle of heating up a wire. Where technology differs, the marketing people usually take over – e.g. when the manufacturers realised that they could get more lumens by putting the wire in a halogen filled capsule, the marketing people started marketing lower wattage bulbs as equivalent to the previous generation higher ones. If you wanted a 40 watt bulb, you would go and look for a 40 watt bulb, not a 28 watt ‘energy efficient’ one, but guess which one you probably ended up buying…
I figured we needed a thread to collate everything we (think we) know and questions we have about the new heating controls. Here’s what I know – chime in if you wish:
* The products are now available from a small number of retailers LightwaveRF.co.uk and The Smart Shop.
* Available products at this time appear to be the TRV, the Home Thermostat, the Boiler Switch and a Hand Held remote.
* The TRV can act standalone, but offers limited functionality unless paired with a thermostat or a Wi-Fi link and app combination.
* The thermostat acts as a programmer and thermostat allowing heating on/off times to be set.
* The boiler switch acts as the interlock controlling the boiler in response to a demand for heat from the other components. Does this demand come from the TRV or from the Thermostat?
* Does the TRV increment/decrement the valve flow by small percentages or is it straight on/off?
* If the former, is it possible to configure a threshold (my old valves/rads don’t offer any significant heat output unless the valve is open more that 10-20% so my interlock ignores any value under this threshold which I have set).
* What is the difference between the Home Thermostat and the Room Thermostat? Does it just lack programming and can this function be taken on in lieu by the Wi-Fi link/app combination?
Over to you…?