Read and Set Temperature Controller Remotely.

Hey People!

I am very interested in creating my own hardware so when I stumbled across Arduino I was excited to finally have a place to put my ideas down and talk/work with talented people in an area I would like to grow stronger in.

Not to waste anyone's time Ill jump right into my first goal with Arduino-
At my place of business I am constantly monitoring and adjusting temperature controllers like this:

What I would like to do is remotely read and adjust/set the controllers via mobile phone (iOS) or at least using a computer connected to the internet.

From the research I have done it seems to me that I will need (obviously) an Arduino board and most of the tutorials/projects I have watched/read utilize the UNO but when I view Arduino's products I see many different boards. So my first question is what board would be best to complete this task?

From the knowledge I have gathered, in order to relay the information that the sensors in the temp controller will be feeding to the Arduino- then to the internet, I could use a XBee module. Is Xbee the right way to do this? Or is there another better way?

Once I collect all the correct components to create this I will then have to set it up. I have seen some tutorials that show people creating their own Arduino thermostats with temperature and humidity sensors but does anyone have experience hooking up to an already functional one and then remotely accessing it? I imagine that would be a great resource for what I am trying to do.

I appreciate your time in reading this and any assistance you may provide me in accomplishing my goal

Thanks,

Glenn

This is a similar idea with a different kind of meter. Tweet-a-Watt make one yourself

The Xbee in the temperature controller would report information to a computer connected to the internet thru the Arduino hooked up with the receiving Xbee. I suppose I need to figure out how to send information back to the controller and adjust temperature. (haha among everything)

You might find it simpler to use a GSM shield. You can then ask for status by SMS, get a report, and send a text to make adjustments if and as required.

It would probably be easier to replace the existing thermostat completely with an arduino solution than to hack into it and have the arduino control it. Depending on what you're doing that needs frequent setting changes, it might be possible to have the arduino automate that for you too.

@Nick_Pyner Good suggestion! Just checked it out and the GSM Sheild is definitely a possibility for an easy wireless connection to the internet and communication back using your phone(both functions I want). The thing is, there are 10 of these temp controllers in total. I have an extra controller that I plan on experimenting with and if everything checks out I would I like to apply this to all 10 one day. Wouldn’t that require buying 10 phone cards or service?

PS- Digging a little deeper with your suggestion I found the wifi shield. This could be a good way to connect with the internet because the building already has wifi but then I suppose I would need an Arduino board and wifi sheild on every controller. For this particular situation using 10 Xbees that respond back to one Arduino with one receiving Xbee then plugged into a computer or router sounds like the most efficient route.

@wildbill Unfortunately these controllers are already constructed to fit against a wall and wired up in a mostly closed system where they open and close solenoid valves. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel just be able to control it with my phone!

Something like this. http://www.instructables.com/id/Tweet-a-watt-How-to-make-a-twittering-power-mete/

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Yes, you talking about two different scenarios here:

  1. local chatter, really local, just Arduinos talking amongst themselves.

I don't know anything about XBee., The simplest example would be where the geography allowed a network of NRF24s. These cost just a few dollars.

  1. Communications with the rest of the world. You might need just one Arduino to do that. It could do monitoring as well, and has the GSM shield.

I don't think WiFi is worth the effort, and certainly not the expense, and I wouldn't go near it. I use a $10 Ethernet shield connected to a $20 WiFi repeater.

What I would like to do is remotely read and adjust/set the controllers via mobile phone (iOS) or at least using a computer connected to the internet.

The first thing you need to do is figure out how you will actually be able to interact with the controller. Digital controllers are probably more challenging than the older analog dial types. Do you have a link to a manual or data sheet for the controller?

zoomkat:

What I would like to do is remotely read and adjust/set the controllers via mobile phone (iOS) or at least using a computer connected to the internet.

The first thing you need to do is figure out how you will actually be able to interact with the controller. Digital controllers are probably more challenging than the older analog dial types. Do you have a link to a manual or data sheet for the controller?

@zoomkat

This is the most official manual I found. http://www.etcsupply.com/manuals/ranco_nema4x_1.pdf

The model is the Ranco ETC-111000-000 Digital Temperature Controller and it seems lots of people use these for fish tanks, smoking meat, brewing, etc so when you type in Ranco ETC 111000 manual, wiring diagram or data sheet into google there are lots of tutorials and pictures of them opened up. I would need some help or explaining on how the Xbee or whatever the relay device might be would hook up.

The model is the Ranco ETC-111000-000 Digital Temperature Controller and it seems lots of people use these for fish tanks, smoking meat, brewing, etc so when you type in Ranco ETC 111000 manual, wiring diagram or data sheet into google there are lots of tutorials and pictures of them opened up. I would need some help or explaining on how the Xbee or whatever the relay device might be would hook up.

I don't think you are going to find any. Do you have any Google links showing how anything other than normal wiring is being attached?

zoomkat:

The model is the Ranco ETC-111000-000 Digital Temperature Controller and it seems lots of people use these for fish tanks, smoking meat, brewing, etc so when you type in Ranco ETC 111000 manual, wiring diagram or data sheet into google there are lots of tutorials and pictures of them opened up. I would need some help or explaining on how the Xbee or whatever the relay device might be would hook up.

I don’t think you are going to find any. Do you have any Google links showing how anything other than normal wiring is being attached?

The best I found was this:

This one includes a schematic image of the wiring.