Out With The Old… In With The New.
The time has finally come, its here, the new Loxone Valve Actuator Air, nifty name, just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it? I shall just refer to them as the Air TRV’s for this post.
I pity the poor support folks at Loxone for having to put up with me whining that this product wasn’t available, its been months, and after being teased with a preview of a pre-beta product back in January or February, its always been a question I ask of poor Omid, so much so I felt obligated to buy at least a few to try out, almost as soon as they were released!
My new box of tricks arrived last Wednesday, and over the last week i’ve installed the 3 Air TRV’s in the bedrooms, I have to say they are a neat piece of kit, barely any bigger than the manual units which have sat on my radiators for the past 10 years or so.
The Air TRV can run from either a 24 volt supply or via 2 AA batteries. Although the missus loves the whole automated home thing, I am finding it more and more difficult to convince her gauging holes and feeding cables through the walls is an acceptable practice, so for these devices we’re going to run with the AA batteries.
I’d love to say my concern about the AA battery use was a genuine worry for the environment, but sadly it’s not, I just don’t like spending money on batteries, my fear is these things are going to eat batteries, they’ve been installed less than a week and already one of the units batteries are down to 66% capacity
I suppose this could be down to a bad set of batteries as the other two units are still reading about 99%. I shall monitor and report back. Loxone reckon they should last up to 2 years on a single set of batteries.
I had trouble getting one of the units on to the valve head on the radiator, due to some bent piping that forced the TRV to sit flush against the wall, I spent literally 15 minutes trying to get the damn thing on, shouting and swearing at the thing, until I realised that the green button on the bottom of the unit releases a catch that disconnects a grey ring. you screw the grey ring over the valve then press down the Air TRV and it locks on!
I am a little disappointed with the documentation that comes with the units, basically a specification sheet on the device, no instructions as to how to use it, and the link on the QR code takes you to a page that shows you how to discover the device using the Air Monitor.
I couldn’t find much information about how to use them in Loxone Config, but as ever Omid got me up and running within minutes. We’ve made some changes to my config now and instead of using the digital Q output for heating demand, we’re using the AQ (analogue), i’d not realised that I needed an analogue output for the TRV’s but now I have we’re cooking on gas!
In use the units are very quiet, I wasn’t expecting them to be this quiet, expecting backlash from the missus, but none has come yet!
Also included in the unit is a temperature sensor, how much use this will be in real life I am not sure of, in testing the reading was always about 3-4 degrees higher than the rest of the room. Last of all there is a press button on the top of the unit, which you can assign a function to, the recommendation is to use it as a heating boost.
So am I impressed with the Air TRV? you betcha, this is the final piece in the puzzle I needed to make things work the way I want them to.
The other thing about these devices, coupled with a Mini-server Go makes for a solution that can almost compete price-wise with the Honeywell Evohome kit, especially if the customer has any sort of home automation desires!