iZone or myzone3 integration

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by paul.parisi, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. paul.parisi

    paul.parisi

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    Hi all
    this may be a little off topic but I'm working on extending my own cbus automation and wanted to improve the overall HVAC control I have.

    I'm working with a 10 year old Hitachi Utopia system (8 on-off zones controlled by manual IAS wall controllers) which could do little more than allow cbus to turn it on or off and detection run state using relays and some cbus logic. Note I did also setup a IR interface but never got enough detail out off the hitachi techs to figure out how to use the PAC or anything else to control it via IR.

    As one of the wall controllers had failed I started looking into this again had noticed the iZone (airsteam) and myZone3 (metalflex) systems looking for replacement parts with the idea of "upgrading" in mind.

    Apparently they "claim" to be "add on" automation control systems that can upgrade older systems and provide an automation interface (rest api) and also control the old on/off zone motors like a VAV system would, making ducted systems much more efficient.

    Note from what I can tell, they both are based on the same hardware but were branched at some point. Myzone3 seems to be more targeted to older equipment as the vendor claims it can control IAS zone motors (as if they were VAV motors using timing information) and also the older Hitachi's by the A/B cable to give full control better than I have with cbus now. No guarantees just claims currently, apparently myzone3's aren't regularly installed in Victoria (my state) but QLD.

    If I went this way I would rewrite PAC logic and the HVAC control logic using a framework like openhab2.

    That said, apart from a scrappy manual with very little information I cannot find much on either system and the vendors themselves aren't that very familiar with it technically. An add on system seems to cost somewhere between 1k-3k in parts depending on what you do (e.g full control, temp sensors, or just zone control).

    Wondering if anyone has experience with them and could share there thoughts? Stay clear? Better options? Great experience?

    Do I stick with the wall controllers or take a gamble on this. If I gamble with it I'd build an openhab plugin in the process.
     
    paul.parisi, Jul 30, 2017
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  2. paul.parisi

    DarylMc

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    Previously I have used IAS Smartzone to control some zone dampers.
    It is a VAV system with individual room temp controllers and uses a time calculated position system to modulate the zone.

    I was able to get someone to integrate to Colour touch screen with some logic via ethernet socket, a serial device server and an RS485 interface on the Smartzone.
    At AC startup logic would open all the zones.
    Never did get around to integrating the room temps to CBus but they could be set individually on the Smartzone controller or remotely through the RS485 interface.

    For the AC units I used a product called Coolmaster D to interface to the Daikin AC central control lines.
    They do other brands and I think Hitachi is one.
    The logic to run that was also on Clipsal Colour touch screen.

    There is a company in Brisbane called Insight Control.
    They should be able to give good info about the IAS zone products and possibly your existing system.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2017
    DarylMc, Jul 30, 2017
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  3. paul.parisi

    daniel C-Busser Moderator

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    I wanted an API for my new A/C and ended up choosing the Airstream iZone 325 system. It appears to be a cost-effective option for residential - it's not drastically far off the price of the manufacturers' own controllers. There is an ethernet port tucked away on the wifi module and the company gives out the API on request. From a cursory glance it appears to cover all the automation commands one would typically need from zone control to retrieving current temperatures, but as my system won't be installed for a few months I haven't had a chance to actually code against the API yet. How well it actually works remains to be seen!! I haven't found any plugins or projects using the API so I'm expecting to write my own logic.

    The AdvantageAir MyZone 5 controller and Actron's new Que controllers didn't have APIs when I asked, nor did several other manufacturers. I hadn't heard of Metalflex myZone3 til now.

    I've since learned about CoolMaster as an option with its history of C-Bus integrations, and that integration modules for the Modbus standard are beginning to cross over from commercial HVAC to residential. There ends my paltry knowledge though.

    NB: Above opinions are my own and not those of Clipsal or Schneider Electric.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 31, 2017
    daniel, Jul 31, 2017
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  4. paul.parisi

    DarylMc

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    Between the VAV zone system and full control of the AC units I had control of just about everything.
    In the end very little was ever implemented.
    Because you need to set the zone temps somewhere north or south of the AC setpoint depending on mode it just ended up making things quite complex for the customer.
    For example auto mode on the AC is not going to be a good idea without a bit of automation.

    Once the system was commissioned, because it was a fairly well planned layout and because the home didn't have people complaining they were freezing in some rooms but not others I didn't feel the need to pursue it.
    I've seen that scenario before and that is why I installed the VAV system.

    I'd look at individual AC units or a VRV system for every zone where temp was critical in the future.

    I was very worried 10 years ago to send a $1000+ cash transfer to a foreign country for a product very few people had used.
    Coolmaster interface has proved very reliable for me.
    Back then I had some blind faith I could figure out how to implement it too.
    That really wasn't the case.

    Many thanks to forum member djaggar for the logic to get it working.
    I could not have done it without his help.
     
    DarylMc, Jul 31, 2017
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  5. paul.parisi

    paul.parisi

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    Hi DarylMc
    Thanks for the information! Actually I started the process looking for the IAS Smart Temp. I believe it was released to market a little while after I installed the system. Unfortunately I ran into a dead end finding it now. IAS has been acquired by someone else and after numerous calls I finally found out from Metalflex that IAS product lines such as the smart temp hadn't been sold in years now. Its ashame as it was a logical extension from what I can see.
    Metalflex claim the product lost popularity in automation due to issues with reliability in the serial interfacing. More likely automation experts found it too painful to setup is my guess.

    I can understand what you're saying about complexity of automating HVAC control. I think my vision at the time was just to manage fan speed and zones typical configurations, plus heating/cooling (yet to avoid using auto mode) and use just a temp threshold. Doing more than this would require some complex programming.

    the iZone and Myzone3 "claim" to have logic in them so all you do is set maximum opening/closing for each zone, set "area" of a room or install temp sensors and "in theory" can therefore run it efficiently so the automation interface would be more to manually override it or turn it on/off, etc.

    Looking at the Coolmaster D (which is now replaced apparently with another model) it look like an add on directly to single vendor HVAC (zoning not a third party) as the website doesn't show any third party zone examples. Did you get it controlling zone motors?? I'll have to look more into this.

    One thing the coolmaster product seems to consider is multiple HVAC systems and its field upgradeable which the izone/myzone3 doesn't' seem to do. So if I add a couple splits in the izone/myzone3 won't be aware of them.

    I'll reach out to insight control.
    thanks
    Paul
     
    paul.parisi, Aug 1, 2017
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  6. paul.parisi

    paul.parisi

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    Thanks Daniel, ok that saves me researching AdvantageAir and Actron, without API control its pretty useless extending.

    Ashame you haven't installed yet!

    I have the API spec for the myzone3 but the dodgy thing is its labeled the "iZone Ethernet Interface v1.00" hence where i started to realise the products were based on similar tech. The API document is 18 pages, pretty brief for an API and doesn't cover basics like whether it handles secure connectivity or if its possible to field update the firmware. (I'm guessing no)

    The manual for the izone is here which is also almost identical to the myzone3 (which just has a section on hitachi and a few other things)

    https://www.airstreamlivingtechnolo...225-325-Rev-4-installaion-and-user-manual.pdf

    I'm curious to know if they had any other doco, images or information you could share if you have the equipment around, perhaps by direct message.

    Paul
     
    paul.parisi, Aug 1, 2017
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  7. paul.parisi

    bmerrick

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    Hi Paul,

    The other guys have given you some good advice there so I was reticent to jump into a post that was already well answered as I would have also probably suggested looking at the Coolmaster or CoolMasterNet for centralised A/Cs or iZone, but in your recent post you said:
    I recently completed a site that had a Hitachi ducted Aircon with a main zone and several smaller peripheral zones (kitchen , dining, study), but with upstairs bedrooms with split systems of two other vendors obviously installed sequentially over time.

    To integrate all these into a C-Bus network, I used the Airtopia solution (which is great value for the split systems C-Bus integration being their target market) for the splits, but also in a fairly creative way with the Hitachi ducted system. I sought an Infrared remote board for the Hitachi unit which was a only few hundred dollars (thanks TemperZone) and then made the Airtopia talk to it via IR just as if it was a normal split system. The Hitachi control IR codes were sent to Airtopia and I understand are now incorporated into their codeset database. This gave me On/Off, Fan Speed, A/C Mode (Heat, Cool, Dehumidify), Set Temp and Current Temp for the Hitachi ducted unit the same as for the other split systems. Being a well thought out C-Bus enabled partner device, the Airtopia acts just like a C-Bus thermostat and so you can use the Cool looking HVAC Wiser2 widget, works nicely with eDLTs to control, set and read temps etc and also the HVAC app links from the CTC and SP / Homegate. Temp reads on measurement app like a C-Bus temp sensor and power monitoring is also C-Bus compatible looking like a CMU.

    Zone damper controls which were previously on a third party damper single wall switch in a useless position at the bottom of some stairs was removed and the zone dampers just controlled through a normal C-Bus relay. Whilst the client only wanted to be able to turn the Hitachi ducted's peripheral zones on and off, this could have easily been a simple temp feedback control written in logic based on a C-Bus room temp sensor controlling the relay or through occupancy sensors.

    Anyway, like anything in HA, there are always many options to do anything and I just conveyed this as another possible solution as you mentioned adding splits.

    Cheers,

    Brad
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2017
    bmerrick, Aug 1, 2017
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  8. paul.parisi

    znelbok

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    I have an older advantage genIII system - 8 zones, every room is a zone. It has a home automation interface with a nice simple ascii protocol. Its ties in with CQC and so is C-bus. I dont use their touchscreen at all, I use C-bus switches in each room to turn the rooms on and off and the main touchscreen for temp setting etc. Its also tied to the fans so when a room is turned on if there is a fan it is also turned on.

    From my last talk with Advantage Air they were only dealing with Qld and maybe WA - not in NSW or Vic any more. I hope they have not removed an option for HA integration - they were very keen on it when I bought there system.

    Coolmaster is probably the best bet as its protocol is easy as well and can be used with a number of systems. i actually wrote a driver for it for CQC but have not commissioned it yet.

    You could integrate it with a wiser etc.
     
    znelbok, Aug 1, 2017
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  9. paul.parisi

    daniel C-Busser Moderator

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    Hi Paul,

    I'd say we have the same API spec; the one I got from Airstream has the same title "iZone Ethernet Interface v1.00", is also 18 pages and is dated 27/05/2014. So I think you are right in that the iZone and myzone3 systems share common DNA.

    I have a similar understanding that the iZone system has self-contained logic tailored to work with certain brands of A/C and variable zone motors, completely replacing the manufacturer's logic and on/off motors. I don't want anything more from the API than what the mobile apps can do - certainly don't intend to mess with the core logic. The comment about "reliability in the serial interfacing" is a little worrying, but I guess I will only find out once I start using it.

    If I could go back in time I'd definitely consider Coolmaster. It'd be interesting to see how a Coolmaster solution stacks up price-wise.
     
    daniel, Aug 2, 2017
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  10. paul.parisi

    awynbergen

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    Hi Paul,
    I am a programmer and wishes to develop something for my iZone + iLight system, do you have a contact I can talk to to get access to the API’s, I mean if IFTTT can call my API for lights and AC then why shouldn;’t I be able to do so. I am wanting to development my on api’s to use Apple’s Shortcuts to contriol my system or my try and develop a ‘bridge’ to sit between airstreams api and Apple Homne kit . Can;t understand why Airstream doesn;t gives us Home kit oir even google integration without the IFTTT which fails 99% of the time.

    Unless yu are able to give information on how I can programtically call api on my internal system ?

    Hoping to here from you,

    Regards,.
     
    awynbergen, Mar 3, 2019
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