Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby NURB » January 22nd, 2011, 10:36 am

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nxakt wrote:As I said in my post, there is a lot that can be innovated and bettered in a climate control system panel. "A thermostat for example, of all the development that you might put into improving the function/design of the climate control and monitoring experience, the ABS box is the last thing that needs yet another designy variation." The absolute least important part of any scenario I can imagine in this regard would be the border/box surrounding the LCD or OLED panel. Lots of work to be done on the UX, which would be challenging and worthwhile.


What if I don't want a clunky ABS box mounted to the wall of my hallway controlling my Furnace / AC. It's a pretty prominent device that cannot be concealed (in most case) without considerable work. I'd say that the design of the housing is just as important as the UI and LCE/OLED panel. I have to look at it every single day after all.
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Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby rkuchinsky » January 22nd, 2011, 10:54 am

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Henry Dreyfuss, would differ of opinion. I'd still rather take this than most new ABS boxes despite all the fancy programmable stuff.

ID does matter. And newer, more screens, more UI isn't always better.

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Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby nxakt » January 22nd, 2011, 12:14 pm

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NURB wrote:
nxakt wrote:As I said in my post, there is a lot that can be innovated and bettered in a climate control system panel. "A thermostat for example, of all the development that you might put into improving the function/design of the climate control and monitoring experience, the ABS box is the last thing that needs yet another designy variation." The absolute least important part of any scenario I can imagine in this regard would be the border/box surrounding the LCD or OLED panel. Lots of work to be done on the UX, which would be challenging and worthwhile.


What if I don't want a clunky ABS box mounted to the wall of my hallway controlling my Furnace / AC. It's a pretty prominent device that cannot be concealed (in most case) without considerable work. I'd say that the design of the housing is just as important as the UI and LCE/OLED panel. I have to look at it every single day after all.


Not clunky, a minimal state of the art border or frame of the LCD display. Absence of style. My point is that display based electronics, the design of the case is fading in prominence, thin, squared, in the background.

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby Mr-914 » January 24th, 2011, 1:22 pm

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Seeing as I have designed thermostats, I guess I should chime in!

Yo!: Done

http://www.venstar.com/Thermostats/ColorTouch/

http://www.ecobee.com/

I'm confident there are another half a dozen energy monitoring thermostats in development. It is obvious!

As for the importance of design, consider this:

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This is a Gestetner machine, basically a mechanical/chemical copy machine invented at the beginning of the 1900's. This one has a purely functional design based on the needs of the machine.

Image

This is the 1929 Gestetner machine. It was the beginning of the Great Depression, but the company did something entirely mad: the increased costs. They hired a loud-mouthed Frenchman, Raymond Loewy, to design a useless sheet metal box around their design.

The craziest part is that it was successful. People paid extra for this luxurious necessity!

The same thing goes for thermostats, TVs, cel phones and everything else. Just because the technology of LCDs or OLEDs permits a very thin form, doesn't mean the design is any less important. In fact, I'm universally disappointed with the lack of design opportunities in these new TVs. Didn't Apple prove to us that we don't need everything in small shiny ABS boxes? Why are we still debating it?

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby Mr-914 » January 24th, 2011, 1:27 pm

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Richard: BTW, the programming stems from the development of the technology (lack of processing power and memory) and has, unfortunately, now been embedded by regulation. Energy Star, subsidies and publicity are all oriented towards thermostats with "four programmable periods per day", rather than something more interesting. We'll see if we can break that trend.

As for the famous round Honeywell, it sure is a classic. Watch out for old ones that contained mercury. New ones have bimetallic switches. Electronic thermostats have the advantage of more precise temperature control (+/- .5 C versus +/- 2-3 C with bimetallic switches). The programming is more difficult to judge. A lot like with cars (your milage may vary), the results of programming have been mixed. It really depends on the schedule of the user, there ability to program it and other factors in the ventilation system.

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby NURB » January 24th, 2011, 1:33 pm

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Mr-914 wrote:Richard: BTW, the programming stems from the development of the technology (lack of processing power and memory) and has, unfortunately, now been embedded by regulation. Energy Star, subsidies and publicity are all oriented towards thermostats with "four programmable periods per day", rather than something more interesting. We'll see if we can break that trend.


Interesting. I just put in a new Ultra-High efficiency furnace and the install tech (and salesman touting it's efficiency) told me to set it at one temp, and keep the fan running constantly. If I were to program it (at least in my house) I'd lose all the efficiency of the furnace. Coincidentally, Carrier also sells this as part of the whole system, if you chose to have it.

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Where you can program everything from Temp, Fan to Humidity and air flow via. mechanical louvers. Still not as nice as the old Honeywell's...
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Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby iab » January 24th, 2011, 2:56 pm


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NURB wrote:If I were to program it (at least in my house) I'd lose all the efficiency of the furnace.


Why is that?

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby NURB » January 24th, 2011, 3:13 pm

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The furnace has a variable gas burner, and 3 stage variable blower. It runs on DC power, so it costs pennies a day to run vs. dollars a day to run.

The fan will run constantly at very low speed to circulate air, and when it needs to heat more, it will turn up to medium. 90% of the time it runs on Low or Medium, only the coldest days does the fan run on High. If I vary the temperature 5 degrees day/night, the furnace will have to play catch up to get you back at that higher temp cutting into your gas and electrical efficiency.

In the summer, it's a bit different but having the fan constantly run will circulate the cool air the same way. And since it's DC, it's cheap.
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Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby Mr-914 » January 24th, 2011, 4:01 pm

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NURB: exactly, your milage will vary. Here is Energystar's suggested schedule:

http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=TH

They suggest lowering the temperature during the work day (when we are away) and at night by 7-8 F.

It is notable that this was developed before modulating furnaces with multiple stages. It sounds like Nurb has the pimpest of systems.

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby NURB » January 24th, 2011, 4:06 pm

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Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby iab » January 24th, 2011, 4:07 pm


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I understand the variable blower, I have one too. But if the majority of the cost is coming from using natural gas. Are you saying the gas it takes to raise the temperature 5 degrees one time is greater than the gas used at the constant but "raised" temperature for 8 hours at night?

Or in math terms:

Gas needed to increase temp. from A to B = X
Gas needed to maintain temp. B - gas needed to maintain temp. A = Y

X>Y ???

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby NURB » January 24th, 2011, 4:17 pm

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So it would seem. Because air is constantly circulating, you end up circulating warmer air causing less gas to be used. When you crank up the temp, the furnace wants to get there as soon as possible so it's going to go full burner, full fan until it hits that temp, which may be 30 minutes. 30 minutes of high temp gas and fan would likely out weigh low temp gas, low speed fan on constantly.

I can only assume it's not just a marketing gimmick. I've only had the new furnace a month, so I don't have tons of data on it, but I would assume that you're saving money keeping the temp constant.
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Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby iab » January 24th, 2011, 4:42 pm


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I ask because my furnace guy did not have the same information. Crap. Now I have to get smart and use the google on the internet machine.

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby carton » January 24th, 2011, 6:07 pm


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Sort of makes me wish design thinking wasn't a myth, that I had learned more rigorously in school, and that we could accept advice from people who have made their living studying design as well as those practicing it...

At least I can still sketch a totally sweet enclosure for a device though :D
Just some guy, trying to figure it out too.

Re: So, this kind of upset me

Postby Mr-914 » January 25th, 2011, 8:06 am

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iab: you understand correctly. Like I said, in reality, there are many variables. Insulation for example. In a very drafty house, it may take more energy to maintain temperature than to just let it drop and boost it up a few hours later. In a very well-insulated house, where the heat loss is very low, it takes very little energy to maintain the temperature. Therefore, in a well-insulated house, the time period for an energy saving setback is much greater than in a drafty house.

In properly constructed new houses, the energy loss is ridiculously low. It's a shame that McMansions are so ugly, because we are truly living in the best of times for construction technology...:/ We also have a much better understanding of indoor air quality and how to maintain comfortable humidity and temperature. It's amazing!

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