HVAC Controls Continue Evolving
February 18, 2008
NEW YORK - There have been so many changes in HVAC technology over the recent years, it’s easy to wonder if there could possibly be anything really new in thermostats and controls. It’s easy to walk into a major venue like the 2008 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) here and wonder if there could possibly be anything new in this category. And you would have to admit that yes, there was.
Invensys Controls (www.icca.invensys.com), for example, showcased its Robertshaw® i-Series programmable thermostats that can be set up quickly using an installation wizard feature. The Setup Wizard on models 9701i2 and 9725i2 are said to save contractors installation time; the wizard features an option for setting up a secondary heating system for dual-fuel operation. It’s also said to make programming easier for homeowners by navigating users through a series of menu-driven screens with instructions available in English, Spanish, and French.
“With this next generation of i-Series thermostats, we’ve made setup and programming even easier and quicker by adding the Setup Wizard,” said Tim Butler, director of marketing for thermostats.
The wizard, similar to those found on personal computers, allows users to set the time and date on their thermostats, schedule service reminders, and select comfort settings, personal preferences, system settings, fan modes, and security options. Unwanted changes to programming menus, temperature, or setup functions can be prevented by using a four-digit PIN number.
Homeowners can control the temperature using a remote sensor, when these models are used with Robertshaw remote indoor or outdoor sensors. The 9701i2 is a single-stage, heat-cool thermostat and the 9725i2 is the multistage model.
Meanwhile, the company also launched its RS2000 and RS3000 Economy Series thermostats, models of digital nonprogrammable and programmable units designed for energy efficiency, comfort, and installation convenience. They are compatible with standard heating and cooling systems, feature an easy-to-read backlight, adjustable temperature differential, compressor short-cycle protection, and a quick wire terminal block for fast and easy installation.
SMART AND SMARTERAprilaire (www.aprilaire.com) displayed its Model 6504 Zoned Comfort Control system, which utilizes the Aprilaire Model 8570 thermostat in up to four separate zones. According to the manufacturer, these thermostats are connected to a central control system that selectively opens and closes a dedicated series of dampers, delivering conditioned air where it is needed, when it is needed.
Braeburn (www.braeburnonline.com) introduced the newest member of the Premier family, the Model 5400 universal auto changeover thermostat.
“This advanced product is the culmination of years of research and experience in the commercial and residential temperature controls market,” said Dan Poplawski, product manager at Braeburn Systems. “The 5400 is compatible with virtually all low-voltage, single- and multi-stage gas or electric heating and cooling systems, including heat pumps, with up to three stages of heating and two stages of cooling. Our 5400 replaces over 60 competitive thermostat models, allowing one thermostat to cover virtually every residential or light commercial installation.”
“Feedback from the field has been very positive,” added Terry McGowen, national sales manager for Braeburn. “This unit is a perfect fit for applications ranging from strip malls to residential projects.”
Carrier Corp. (www.carrier.com) announced that its residential systems have become smarter than ever before thanks to its redesigned programmable digital control for the new-generation Infinity System. The system uses a single control to integrate and manage all comfort functions: temperature, humidity, airflow, ventilation, indoor air quality (IAQ), and zoning.
“Carrier is taking residential comfort to an entirely new level of innovation, intelligence, and functionality,” said Bob McDonough, president, Carrier Residential and Light Commercial Systems. “Not only is it the easiest programmable unit ever, providing homeowners with Energy Star®-certified efficiency, but the exclusive automated diagnostic features are like having a service technician built into the system - one who can call for backup.”
When maintenance issues arise, the control provides an alert and displays the phone number of an authorized Carrier dealer. An optional Remote Access Kit will allow the system to contact the dealer when service is required, permit remote troubleshooting, and give homeowners remote control of the system via the Internet or a phone.
The company’s new Edge thermostat was designed to function not only as a comfort control device, but also as a design accessory. Their interchangeable faceplates are available in silver metallic, espresso leather, gold luster, saddle-brush, onyx, quartz, and natural wood grain finishes, and snap on to create a new look. The outside cover protects the internal design.
Honeywell Building Solutions (https://buildingsolutions.honeywell.com) expanded its ComfortPoint™ HVAC control system with LON-based programmable unitary and variable-air volume (VAV) controllers. The new controllers, which are compliant with the networking specifications from LonMark® International, give consulting engineers and facility managers a flexible platform for monitoring and managing HVAC equipment from a variety of vendors. They also complement the company’s existing BACnet-based controllers.
“ComfortPoint lets customers choose the right communication protocol and HVAC equipment for any particular application,” said Luca Mazzei, director of Americas marketing, Honeywell Building Solutions. “With the flexibility and openness of the system, customers can mix and match technology to get the best controller, and best value, for the job.”
The system is accessible through a secure Web connection from any personal computer using Internet Explorer, the company said. This is possible because ComfortPoint uses the Niagara Framework® from Tridium (www.tridium.com) to transform data from LON or BACnet devices into uniform software components, enabling the devices to communicate with the Web-based interface.
The company also introduced its Excel Touch, a touch screen operator interface designed for use with Honeywell Excel 800 HVAC controllers. The touch-panel operation screens allow users to customize the controller’s operation to meet specific site requirements or user preferences. The interface instantly recognizes the controller to which it is connected and automatically starts the correct form of communication, the company said. It will be available in the first quarter of 2008.
Honeywell’s TR20 direct-wired wall modules come standard with a space temperature sensor. Some modules are de-signed with a temperature dial, set point adjustment, LonWorks® bus jack, override (bypass), humidity sensing control and a three- or five-position fan switch. The new family is the successor to the T7770 models.
ICM Controls Corp.’s (www.icmcontrols.com) SimpleComfort® vertical thermostats have been designed to simplify installations. The launch of the V-Line family includes four nonprogrammable models (SC1001V, -2000VL, -2001VL, and -2201VL) that complement the company’s expanding line of SimpleComfort thermostats. Each model features temperature control enhanced by the patented Thermal Intrusion Barrier.
The SC1001V is a low-cost, single-set point, analog heat-cool thermostat featuring a slide bar for temperature control. The SC2000VL (battery) and SC2001VL (hardwired) units are single-stage heat-cool thermostats that feature backlit LCDs with soft-touch controls. The SC2201VL also features a backlit LCD and soft-touch controls, and is designed for heat pump systems.
The company’s PRO Series thermostats feature the patent-pending SimpleSet™ target programming technology, allowing installers to transfer configurations and programs from one PRO thermostat to another without special tools or a computer. The Thermal Intrusion Barrier, an insulation layer that seals off the wall opening, helps prevent “in-wall” drafts from affecting thermostat accuracy.
Intermatic’s (www.intermatic.com) InTouch wireless residential control system includes controllers, switches, receptacles, thermostats, and motion sensors. The company will offer wireless HVAC thermostat control (CA8900), designed to work with contemporary, 24-vac HVAC units. Features include two-stage heat pump and two-stage cool; automatic compressor short cycle protection; Fahrenheit or Celsius selectability; low-battery indicator; and adjustable temperature calibration.
The company also announced that thermostats produced by its White-Rodgers® Division will start to feature the Emerson logo, beginning in early 2008. The move is designed to fully leverage the expertise of White-Rodgers while aligning the thermostats “with Emerson’s commitment to innovation and new technology within HVACR electronics,” the company said.
The company said its controllers, switches, receptacles and remotes are 100 percent compatible with a growing number of Z-Wave-enabled control products, which operate in the 900-MHz band to provide a penetrating signal and deliver reliable communications among devices, uses advanced functions to overcome noisy RF environments.
Yaskawa Electric America Inc. (www.yaskawa.com) introduced a BACnet communication interface card for its E7 product family. The card is able to communicate over MS-TP (RS-485) BACnet networks. All parameters, diagnostics, and operational commands are accessible via BACnet.
Sidebar: A New ImageJohnson Controls Inc. (www.johnsoncontrols.com), used the 2008 Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) as an opportunity to roll out a new logo, corporate slogan, and advertising.
“We will continue to be a diversified multi-industrial company, dedicated to improving comfort, safety, and sustainability with innovative products and services for the places where people live, work, and travel,” said Stephen A. Roell, who officially became the company’s CEO. “With a focus on customer satisfaction, technology, and global fluency, Johnson Controls is dedicated to helping make its customers more successful.”
According to Roell, this strategy underscored the development of Johnson Controls’ new vision: “a more comfortable, safe, and sustainable world.”
According to Denise Zutz, vice president of strategy, investor relations and communication, the brand initiative evolved as a better way of communicating the “smart environments” idea.
“Our current customers, as well as those whom we’d like to serve in the future, are clear about what’s important to them,” she explained. “They want to do business with companies that can add value and proactively solve problems. As a result, we crafted our new slogan, ‘Ingenuity Welcome,’ to have two meanings: first, that we recognize people welcome innovation in products and services, and second, that we’re a company looking for people with great ideas.”
Publication Date: 02/18/2008