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Old 06-03-2020, 06:16 PM   #1
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WiFi Smart Thermostat Install

Anyone out there with experience hooking up a Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat in a RV?

Have a Rockwood TT with typical A/C unit + propane heat. Became a seasonal this year and now have WiFi going full time in the trailer. Boy would it would be nice, says the wife, to be able to kick on the A/C an hour before we get there. Well with WiFi going and Smart WiFI thermostats, the answer is "Yes."

But perhaps I spoke too soon. No C Wire and how about that 2 speed A/C fan?

I have read a number of posts elsewhere but nothing that was too useful. Best I found was not a ‘how to’ but a ‘how we’ and they had a full time computer server making it all work with some home grown programming.

I searched this forum for Smart Thermostat but did not find anything.

Any tips, tricks or ‘how to’ is appreciated.
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Old 06-03-2020, 06:48 PM   #2
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Going to be tough to do. Most of the Wifi thermostats need 24VAC to operate and these RV systems are 12VDC.

There are ways to get around it with a 12VDC to 24VAC relay board. If the Unit is a Dometic, all bets are off since the thermostat is a non standard serial interconnect to a control board in the AC Unit.

2 speed is an issue so you would have to have a seperate switch to control speeds.

There is this option that doesn't need 24VAC to operate. Gets pretty lousy reviews.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010PTKWOE...ustomerReviews
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:23 PM   #3
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This is the one I've been considering. Though, it's $20 or $30 more now than when I first found it. Grrr.

Anyway, supposedly powered via USB.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B010PTKWW6..._EZe2Eb1V53NG2


Edit.. haha, same one as previous post. My bad.
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Old 06-03-2020, 08:54 PM   #4
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Roger the need for 24 VAC, that will come with the 110 VAC to 24 VAC transformer i will have to install. That that takes care of the C Wire issue. But i am concerned about the overall compatibility and it is a Dometic unit.

The WiFi device i am hoping to get to work is a Honeywell RTH6580WF
https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-Pro.../dp/B00Y6M2OUC
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:21 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ESGWheel View Post
Roger the need for 24 VAC, that will come with the 110 VAC to 24 VAC transformer i will have to install. That that takes care of the C Wire issue. But i am concerned about the overall compatibility and it is a Dometic unit.

The WiFi device i am hoping to get to work is a Honeywell RTH6580WF
https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-Pro.../dp/B00Y6M2OUC
If its a dometic unit, you might as well just stop right now. The thermostat is not a normal thermostat. It communicates over a serial link to a controller board in the AC.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:54 AM   #6
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As Babock eluded to, the only way to upgrade a Dometic digital thermostat is to replace the control box in the A/C and pull new thermostat wiring, which is usually the biggest obstacle. The vast majority of the RV's with those units only pull the 3 wire cable required for that particular thermostat.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:57 AM   #7
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The control board up in the AC has a bunch of relays if you wanted to hack it. Not worth it in my opinion.
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:16 PM   #8
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go to he will tell you how to do it, I watched the video and installed like he said and it works great
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Old 06-04-2020, 05:20 PM   #9
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go to he will tell you how to do it, I watched the video and installed like he said and it works great
OK....I will say it again. You still have the issue with serial link for the control board that the Dometic has up in the AC unit!
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:11 AM   #10
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Thanks and I realize I did not add the word ‘old’ to my travel trailer...

It is a 2007 and does not have a serial bus

I’m back at the trailer this weekend and trying to figure it out between all the other activities

I’ll let u know how it goes...
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:49 AM   #11
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Not sure where I thought yours was a newer Rockwood
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Originally Posted by ESGWheel View Post
Thanks and I realize I did not add the word ‘old’ to my travel trailer...

It is a 2007 and does not have a serial bus

I’m back at the trailer this weekend and trying to figure it out between all the other activities

I’ll let u know how it goes...
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Old 06-06-2020, 09:22 AM   #12
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Quick update: IT WORKS!!!!

I’m typing this on iPhone as we are trying to get out for day so this will be brief and I’ll do a more thorough write up when all is said and done

The video and even the serial bus comments start me thinking about how you can ride AC on a DC line...

More to follow.....
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Old 06-07-2020, 07:21 AM   #13
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The Theory Part

Here is the gist of it: in signal transmission can ‘mix’ signals of different frequencies. Think about how you can get both cable TV and internet over the same coaxial cable wire. Said differently you can have ‘signals’ of different frequencies on the same wire as long as there is enough frequency separation between them. Cannot get more ‘separation’ then DC and AC 😊.

So, the matter becomes one of both safety and of potentially frying circuits.

24VAC is considered “low voltage” and “safe” which generally means that the voltage is not high enough to break down the resistance of your skin. And I have tested this with the 110VAC to 24VAC transformer: with it powered up and no load on the 24 VAC side, I touched each of the 24V terminals individually and then bridged both with my single finger. Nothing. Yes my finger was dry. And yes, I get it’s the amperage that kills not the voltage. Not looking to debate all of that, but more on that later.

For frying circuits. I was concerned about back feeding some of the relays/circuits in the RV HVAC unit. So, I checked out the 110VAC – 24VAC transformer with respect to its ‘isolation’. In other words, is the 24VAC side isolated from ‘ground’ (e.g. the case of the transformer) as well as the 110V side? Yes, it is. Good. I am not saying it is a an “isolation transformer” but it was acting like one. This is good because when the transformer body is grounded to the trailer (i.e. any bare metal of the framework of the A/C system), the 24VAC (and the 110 VAC) do not have any connection to it > the resistance is infinite (open). With it powered up, I also checked the AC voltage from the case of the transformer (ground) to each 24VAC terminal. As expected 0VAC. This means that the 24VAC will not generate a closed circuit with the DC or AC ground in the trailer. Thus, should not have AC current flowing from the 24VAC side of the transformer thru any device incidentally hooked to it and to the ground (both AC and DC) of the trailer.

More on this. The “C” wire is fundamentally the ‘return’ wire for the 24VAC to power a Smart Thermostat (or any power-hungry stat, for example a stat with a colored and lit touch screen). Typically, the ‘feed’ or ‘power’ wire is the Rc or Rh. These wires in a household HVAC system carry the 24VAC power (really a signal) to the thermostat and complete the loop back to the home HVAC control system via the W (for heat) or Y (for A/C). In the thermostat a relay closes shorting out the Rc to Y or the Rh to W. As with any short, there is zero voltage across it, and thus cannot power anything (this short exists within the thermostat, not in the control circuits in the HVAC system). Enter the C wire. It goes back to the 24VAC transformer directly enabling 24VAC to power at the thermostat. Within the thermostat Rc to Y (or Rh to W) is at zero volts (when A/C or Heat is called for) but Rc (or Rh) to C is still at 24VAC allowing for work to be done, like WiFi.

While Alternating Current does not have a ‘ground’ or ‘’negative’ like Direct Current it still needs a completed (loop) circuit to work. We typically think of DC current as flowing from Positive to Negative and can think of AC in the same manner. Thus, thinking of the C wire as a ‘return’ is not violating any electrical concepts. Recall that all of our houses have a “hot” and a “neutral” wire > we think of it as flowing from ‘hot to neutral’ even if in reality it is actually not flowing but alternating back and forth, hence the name.

For my RV’s HVAC system, the R (it does not have a separate Rh and Rc wire so thus is simply called “R”) is actually a ground wire. In my investigation this R wire is same as ground > it is a short between the R wire and the metal framework of the AC unit. When this R (ground) wire is directly connected to the W, the heater comes on. When the R is directly connected to the Y, the A/C comes on. Note that for the fan, the R needs to also connect to the G, else the A/C will not come on (a HVAC safety feature, no Fan, no Compressor); thus the R + Y + G all get shorted together to have the A/C come on.

Thus, all the thermostat is doing is using a series of its internal relays to connect R to whichever other terminals are called for depending on the Off/Heat/Cool and temperate settings. Simple. Well I should say in hindsight, simple.

So now how to hook it all up and test this theory?

More on that later. I must get busy getting ready to return to home.
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:04 PM   #14
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New Wi-Fi and Bluetooth thermostat for RV’s

I just installed a new EasyTouch_RV thermostat from Micro Air. This thermostat will control 4 zones.
and works with WI-FI and Bluetooth. iPhone and android app. This thermostat is made for RV’s and will hook up to demetic and Colman A/C’s.
Rusty from Micro Air is real helpful and is willing to help.

https://www.microair.net/collections/easystart-soft-starters/products/easytouch-rv-thermostat?variant=32199143555156

If you would like to control your slides and awning lights from your cell phone check out

https://www.rv-intelligence.com/smartrvcontrols/
Easy to install and Herb the owner will help you hook up the O&M Bluetooth modules to your Rv over the phone. Real nice guy.

Thought I would pass on this information.


Works great.

Sam
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Old 06-18-2020, 08:45 PM   #15
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Those are awesome.
Just too spendy for me......dangit.
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Old 07-07-2020, 07:07 PM   #16
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Has anyone tried the new zedly WiFi thermostatClick image for larger version

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Old 07-07-2020, 08:31 PM   #17
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Has anyone tried the new zedly WiFi thermostatAttachment 233398
???
It's pre-order only.
Looks interesting.....and expensive.
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Old 07-11-2020, 03:26 PM   #18
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Update on how I did this + benefits...

I am rereading this to see where I left off as its been some weeks, sorry for delay.

In short, I now have a fully functional WiFi Smart Thermostat that I can control from anywhere using my iPhone. I absolutely LOVE this feature and am so glad I went to the effort to do it.

More: we are experienced campers and for the last number of years, also have a boat. She tows the boat, I tow the camper. And for the first time this year we are a seasonal in the Adirondacks next to Lake George in NY at a great resort that has moose in their name. Simply beautiful in this part of the country. But can get hot and muggy. We both still work and are coming up on the weekends, sometimes getting away on Thursday evening to have a nice long weekend.

With the WiFi T-stat we can see what the RV current temp is and, as needed, turn on the system PRIOR to arrival. Example, not unusual for it to be 85 in the RV as we are headed up. So, we’ll turn on the system about an hour out to 75 and when we arrive, all nice and comfy. And the great part is we also do this while out on the boat. No need to keep the A/C running and spending that money on electricity while we are out for the day. When we come back from fun in the sun, we now enjoy a nice and cool trailer when we get back.

Even better: when we go to bed on muggy nights, I like the A/C on but my wife gets too cold. So now we can turn on or off or adjust the temp all from the bed via the iPhone. This is without a doubt now my most favorite feature of our trailer.

So, how did I do this?

As posted above there is a pre-order smart t-stat from Zedly. Looks great and I may have gone with that but still not on the market. I did send them a note asking the price and when available. And the other item, Easy Touch looks great too but is about two fifty. And I may have tried that as well but for me there was more than just having a RV Smart T-Stat. Let me explain:
On the home front, due to my wife’s work schedule, we were looking for a 7-day programmable thermostat. Living in New England we have the typical forced hot water system (no A/C) and had long ago updated to programable thermostats. But they were the M-F, Sat, Sun (3-day) type. With her job, she was able to work from home on M, W, F and only go into the office on Tu and Th. So, the 3-day t-stat was not cutting it. Also, the routine can change, so she was looking for something that would allow adjustment on the fly, like when coming back home from work on a Wed to be able to crank up the heat in the dead of winter. Hence the need for a 7 Day AND WiFi enabled smart thermostat. And if I was going to the trouble to set all this up at home, might as well make it the same for the RV. Same App, same learning curve, etc. This was the primary reason for choosing the Honeywell RTH6580WF.
Our older trailer had one of those Dometic t-stats with the Fan Hi or Lo switch. Many years ago, I had updated it with a hacked digital t-stat, the hack being adding in a toggle switch to enable the fan hi or low. So, the trick now was to see if this smart Honeywell would work and could be modified to still allow for the hi/lo fan.

I did lots of testing to see how these t-stats work. I am sure that for someone in the field, this is basic knowledge, but not for me. So, I bench tested the Honeywell evaluating which terminals got connected during all the phases of the calls (heat, A/C, Fan Auto, Fan On) and mapped it all out. I also did the same for the existing t-stat. See picture.

With this mapping I was able to determine what wires needed to go to what including using the toggle switch for the fan hi/lo.
And using the ‘theory’ aspect above where it seemed ok to have 24VAC ridding on the 12VDC wire, I hooked it all up and tested it. And worked great!

But there is more to the story, two aspects actually.

The first being that I did use a 110VAC to 24VAC transformer to initially test and run the smart thermostat. But it requires, well, 110VAC to work. And if we were dry camping or otherwise not hooked up to shore power, the smart t-stat would be useless. And since the heat in the trailer only requires 12VDC and NO shore power, it seemed to me I was losing out on this key feature. Some years ago when we traveled extensively across the county, we would pull into rest areas or parking lots for the night. And more then once we were thankful for the heat. Did I want to lose that? Would we ever be dry camping again in the early spring or late fall? Perhaps not, but I did want to keep the feature. More research led me to PowerStream’s 12VDC to 24VAC Inverter. But I was concerned about the feedback of the 24VAC onto the 12VDC line as mentioned in the ‘theory’ above. A call to the good folks at PowerStream and I was talking directly to the engineer who designed this niche product. His conclusion: would not be an issue. And while a little pricey I bought it and now have it installed and works GREAT!

The second being that I also wanted the WiFi to not be dependent on shore power. I will discuss how I did that without an expensive Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) in another post.

So now I have both WiFi in the RV, which is, in itself, great, and a remote controlled Smart WiFi t-stat with no loss in functionally (hi/lo fan + heat without shore power) which is AWESOME!
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Old 07-11-2020, 07:57 PM   #19
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Wow. Woa. Dang.

I have those thermostats at home.

I need wiring info and 12v to 24vac info!
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Old 07-12-2020, 07:28 AM   #20
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Wow. Woa. Dang.

I have those thermostats at home.

I need wiring info and 12v to 24vac info!
I'll generate a diagram and post it when I get a chance.

For the 12VDC to the 24VAC, the device from PowerStream was $110 plus shipping. Here is the link:
https://www.powerstream.com/inv-12dc-24vac.htm

2 things about it: it is larger then one of those 110VAC to 24VAC transformers so mounting was a little but of a challenge but it is also much lighter. Frankly I was concerned about the transformer weight and being able to properly mount it to take all the bouncing around these travel trailers do. While I did come up with a method I would have been comfortable with, having a 12VDC to 24VAC inverter appealed to the geek in me.

Note: due to the foam ceiling construction and location of my AC unit, any of these devices had to be able to be mounted inside the AC unit. I did consider 'drilling' horizontally from inside the AC unit to the space where the refer is housed but I would have had to removed the fridge to then pull and complete the wiring. The point being the 'mechanical' aspect of this mod has lots of options and just need to use your imagination. For me the fun challenge was figuring out the wiring as well as just to see if it could be done
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