This stuff is so cool, but oh so complicated!

For some reason we are having seriously short battery lives on the air devices such as switches and temperature sensors we’ve installed. When looking at the devices in the Loxone config application their signal strength has been listed as 1-2 bars. We’ve tried the various changing of the frequencies used, with little effect to be honest with you.

After discussion with James at Loxone I decided to buy another Air extension to locate on the in the loft cabinet with the other Loxone kit. Installing it in a metal cabinet also necessitated the purchase of an external antenna just in case!

5 days later and the box of goodies was delivered and an ever so eager recipient decided to install the new module as batteries are expensive! 40 minutes later and we have another air extension installed and registered with the mini-server, the devices that were having the issues were also re-allocated to the new Air Extension with full signal reception. Mission accomplished…. Or so I thought.

The very next day the weather started to cool down, so we decided to put the heating back on, hot water was working, lighting controlled from the loft cabinet was working, but no heating. Frantic calls to both my electrician and heating guys and we had a solution, replace the 2 way valve for the heating control. We picked up the valve from our local plumb centre but decided to fit it in the morning.

Saturday morning arrives and so does my tale of woe! firstly I ran around and switched the power off in 3 places to ensure that nothing was live where I was replacing the valve.

The location of the valve was a nightmare, in a cupboard where the hot water tank used to be and about 4ft in the air, I struggled to find the screws to release the motor from the valve, but eventually got there with bendy screwdrivers and a mirror!

My next issue was the junction box the cable went in to was behind pipes and the cable pinned tightly in a corner I couldn’t get to it easily (well normally someone else does this sort of thing for me), and no-one told me the chock block with the cables in it could be removed from the box to make working on it easier! My reference photos I’d taken earlier were invaluable, everything looked to be in the same place, I screwed the junction box lid back on, switched on the power, created a heating demand and…… Nothing…..

Much head scratching and convincing myself that I’d connected the cables the right way and I gave in and called the heating guy back. We went through the whole process again with no joy. A trip to Maplins and the purchase of a multi-meter and we discovered somewhere I’d dropped a neutral. I did a quick visual inspection of the other cables in the cupboard, and determined nothing looked out of place.

The next thing was to check the Loxone cabinet, a quick visual inspection and nothing looked out of place. This is where even more fun began.

My house was the first house we installed the Loxone kit in, when we installed Loxone weren’t selling any of the fancy terminal blocks they now do which keep everything visible. We used a selection of DIN rail single terminal blocks and a selection of chock block style connectors. The trunking installed in the cabinet is absolutely packed with cable both power and CAT5, there’s not a lot of room to move.

Tracing the cable that came from the bathroom cupboard back to the cabinet was easy we’d marked it when installing, tracing it through the trunking back to the extension and the neutral was a lot harder, my worry being that i’d knock or break something else in the process. I eventually found the neutral cable, how I had managed to move it over 6 inches escapes me, especially as I not been near that part of the cabinet when installing the new Air Extension, but clearly it was me!

Neutral reconnected, power on, heating demand and it was all working, and the bonus of a happy wife.

Apart from a working heating system, what have I gained from this experience?

  • Well firstly new found respect for the guys I work with, It takes real manual dexterity to install these cables and pipes, and I simply don’t have that level!
  • Quite simply I can’t do or know it all about this system, it’s takes a team of people who all know their particular trades, with a little knowledge of everyone else’s.
  • This stuff is complicated, there’s no other way to describe it!
  • The knowledge I am a lucky to know and work with guys that tolerate my ignorance of such things, and my enthusiasm to attempt to do “outside of my comfort zone jobs”.

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