The WiFi thermostat is a product developed with the Internet of Things. Before 2009, people didn’t even know what a WiFi thermostat was. In 2003, the American Technology Review magazine proposed that sensor network technology will be the top 1 technology that will change people’s lives in the future. After that, there is a boom in IoT devices throughout the world, WiFi thermostat is one of them.
The Development of WiFi Thermostat
In the HVAC field(Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), thermostats are mainly used for temperature adjustment of boiler heating, floor heating (electric heating and plumbing), central air conditioning systems, and air source air conditioning systems. People invented thermostats and temperature sensors due to the need for temperature control and management. In the 1830s, Scottish chemist Andrew Ure developed the first room thermostat. After that, new models continued to appear, but the early thermostats and sensors were mechanical. In 1885, Johnson Controls developed an electronic thermostat.
Since then, there has been no greater breakthrough in the function of the thermostat, and manufacturers have only played in the appearance design.
With the development of the communication industry and the electronics industry, in the 2000s, many types of WiFi modules have appeared on the market. Among them, embedded WiFi modules suitable for smart homes are also common, and WiFi communication standards are relatively mature. The Internet of things began to rise under such technical conditions.
In May 2014, ESPRESSIF released the first ultra-low power consumption, highly integrated IoT chip ESP8266, making smart home products a qualitative leap in price, compatibility, and configuration. The original WiFi SoC cost was 30-60 RMB. After adopting the ESP8266 solution, the overall cost has dropped by 10 RMB and even has a price of 12.5 RMB. At the end of 2017, Chinese thermostat manufacturers began to use Tuya, BroadLink and other companies’ WiFi IoT solutions to upgrade thermostats.
In 2018, there are already several mature WiFi thermostats on the market, and China’s WiFi thermostat suppliers are extremely cost-effective. In the same year, the WiFi thermostat supplied by EBEE Technology won the Red Dot Design Award.
As a part of the smart home, WiFi thermostat plays a great role in the convenience of HVAC regulation. The future development direction, in addition to the optimization of the underlying technology and user experience, there is also the collaborative development of the entire smart home system. Let us look forward to the surprises that WiFi thermostats can bring in the future!
The Components of WiFi Thermostat
At present, manufacturers of WiFi thermostats have basically abandoned the past scale panels and adopted electronic displays. According to the operation mode of the WiFi thermostat panel, WiFi thermostats can be divided into touch screen WiFi thermostats, physical button WiFi thermostats, and knob type thermostats. In addition to the different control components, these three types of thermostats all include the main parts of the sensor, display panel, mounting panel, and internal circuit components.
The temperature sensor monitors and samples the temperature of the target environment in real-time, and transmits the collected temperature to the thermostat in the form of physical deformation or electronic signal. The thermostat judges the collected temperature signals referring to the configured values and outputs signals to slave actuators. For example, in a boiler heating system, the temperature sensor detects the temperature in the room, and the thermostat controls the on and off of the boiler by a dry contact according to the received temperature. If the temperature is too low, the boiler will be kept on until the temperature reaches a predetermined value.
|Types of Temperature Sensor||Working Principle|
|Metal Expansion Sensor||After the environmental temperature changes, the physical properties of the metal itself will change accordingly, the shape will be extended, and then the change in temperature will be reflected.|
|Bimetallic Sensor||Two metal sheets with different expansion coefficients are pasted together. When the temperature changes, the different expansion degrees of the two metals cause the metal to bend, and the curvature of the bending can be converted into a signal output.|
|Bimetal Rod and Metal Tube Sensor||When the temperature changes, the physical shape of the metal tube changes, but the unexpanded steel rod does not change. The relative position of the metal tube and the metal rod changes. This linear change in position can be converted into a signal output.|
|The sensor designed by the deformation curve of liquid and gas||When the temperature changes, liquid and gas will produce volume changes, and through conversion, a temperature change signal output is formed.|
|Resistance Sensor||As the temperature changes, the resistance value of the metal changes accordingly, and the output signal is adjusted accordingly.|
|Thermocouple Sensor||A closed-loop composed of two conductors of different material components, when there is a temperature gradient at both ends, due to the Seebeck effect, an electromotive force will be formed, which will be converted and output as a temperature signal.|
The display panel has three types: colour display, digital tube display and LED display. The WiFi thermostat with colour display has the best display effect, and at the same time has a wealth of functions, even artificial intelligence for autonomous learning, the price is also the highest. The WiFi thermostat with digital tube display continues the configuration of the traditional thermostat, with the difference between positive display and negative display, plus the backlight, it makes people feel very classic! WiFi thermostats with LED displays are often matched with a well-designed frame, which is simple and stylish.
The installation panel reflects the applicable fields of WiFi thermostats, including floor water heating, floor electric heating, boiler heating, central air conditioning and heat pump systems, different systems have different wiring methods. Usually, Chinese manufacturers of WiFi thermostats will design separate installation panels according to these application fields while WiFi thermostat manufacturers in Europe and America prefer to make one thermostat adapt to all HVAC systems. One is single-function but cheaper, and one is powerful but expensive, depending on the user’s choice.
Whether a WiFi thermostat is powerful or not depends largely on the electronic circuits and embedded programs. In the development of the technological level, the charm of industrial design is certainly important, but the functional upgrades brought by integrated circuits are more attractive. In addition to more application scenarios, the powerful WiFi thermostat also has more stable circuit protection.
This is the introduction to the main components of the WiFi thermostat, and more new components may be born in the future.