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Tips & Tricks Blog


How to DIY a Smart HVAC System

10/22/15

motherboard

Smart thermostats are all the rage. They increase your energy efficiency, save you money and are fun to play with as well. But true gadget enthusiasts can take their climate control even further by creating their own DIY command center for their heat and air conditioning system. A product called Pi Cubes puts home system control in the hands of savvy developers, with their options limited only by their imagination and programming know-how. Read on to learn more.

Nerding Up Your Heat and Air Conditioning System

Pi Cubes are an initiative developed by the Cube-Controls company, which creates electronic controls for hobbyists, specializing in heat and air conditioning systems. The Pi Cube is based on a Linux Board and allows programmers to build custom instructions for their furnace, air conditioner, ventilation, ducts and more. The system lets you use as many as 24 input/output points to transfer data back and forth, and can include up to four thermostats.

A Pi Cube kit includes a motherboard, to which you can add other input/output modules that include digital options so you can communicate with your new smart controls. There are also Pi Cube thermostats that are completely configurable to your specific heat and air conditioning system. Programmers can choose from multiple languages to build out their system, including Python, Node JS, C/C++ and others. You also have the ability to bring in other home systems that are capable of being automated, like your garage door or garden irrigation setup.

Options for the Rest of Us

The creators of Pi Cubes recently closed a Kickstarter campaign after successfully raising $5,636 to support the development of the project. The system is currently in Beta stage but already has running prototypes, and is using the Kickstarter money to produce the first Pi Cubes for early adapters. The system also has its own GitHub page to help users figure out how to get the most out of their new toy.

DIY smart heat and air conditioning controls aren't for everyone. If reading about programming languages and Linux Boards makes your eyes glaze over, you might be happier with a smart thermostat like Nest, which works out of the box with no complex programming necessary. For help installing a smart thermostat, contact an expert heat and air conditioning technician today.



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