[OpenTRV-interest] OpenTRV-interest Digest, Vol 32, Issue 2

Hamish Findlay hif2k1 at gmail.com
Mon Mar 27 16:21:39 BST 2017


Thanks again for all the feedback. I have listed the issues raised below:

1) Room with thermostat should not have radiator valve.

Yes, I didn't realise this, but it makes absolute sense. I have changed the
demo to reflect this. It also makes it easier to demonstrate the difference
between RadBot and RadBot plus boiler control. So thanks for pointing that

2) Four house vs one house.

I have now changed the default to show only one house and will create a
settings switch so you can have four if you prefer. Damon and I have just
had a discussion about this and the pros and cons of each. Ideally we'd
like to have small animated versions of each with the one in focus
enlarged. In the mean time we'll stick with one and improve the icons for

3) Graph bar misleading labels

I have now changed the labels so that they are for each individual section
and therefore the openTRV has no waste bar and no waste bar label.

4) Shouldn't there be some waste energy for all systems

Yes, but... Obviously there is waste energy in all systems. I don't know
how to represent it in this demo and that isn't really the point of the
demo, it's to show the difference between the systems. Also not sure how to
quantify this as it depends on the boiler, insulation etc etc.

It would be more honest to say that these bars represent total seconds of
radiator on time rather than energy use per se. That is a little complex to
understand though, but maybe I should make that clear, not sure.

5) Animation of the valves to indicate communication

Yes would be great. Will try and do this in due course. Any thoughts on
what it should look like?

6) Labels change with the mode and correction of label for first room.

Yes I have implemented this although I am probably going to change the way
labels are handled in due course. Please send any further comments about
what the text should be for each of the labels.

7) Line graph of energy use over time or more complex bar graph showing
energy use for each cycle.

Potentially could be good, maybe as an optional alternative as well as the
bar graphs. It would be harder to show how the energy is wasted for each
system in that case. It would also be more work to code, but it can be done
if we think it really is the best option. Also on the four houses view
there's not really space. Again we discussed this and decided it's not a
priority at the moment.

8) Should the model automatically start and reset or let the user control
when it starts and stops.

We discussed this and decided adding a reset button would be helpful - will
implement this. However, it's good for it to be dynamic and active from the
start without the need for interaction.

9) Visualisation of the amount of time the avatar is in comfortable/too
hot/too cold.

Good idea - will work on this.

10) Energy use breakdown - shouldn't there be more energy used heating
rooms in the RadBot with boiler control?

Really good point. I hadn't thought of this, but yes there should. I took a
bit of  a short cut with the implementation there. When I read this
question I thought, oh I can fix that easily... alas it wasn't so simple.
The fundamental problem is that this is not a thermodynamic model, just a
little simulation. As I said before it is not measuring energy use, just
counting radiator on time. I have added an optional breakdown of how that
time is allocated (bar graph style complex) so you can see the detail and
play with it for yourself. It raises quite a few issues:

For example in the hot room without TRVs if the room is occupied and it is
already too hot. Is that radiator time counted as wasted because it is too
hot or useful because the room is occupied? It is a mixture of the two
because some of the heat is keeping it above the cold temperature and some
of it is overheating it. Any way I try to divide it will be some sort of
fudge really. In reality we want to compare with the optimised system which
is what I did before - using RadBot plus boiler control as the measure of
energy usefully spent heating rooms hence why the green bar is the same for

The cold room is a bit easier - I have corrected for this in the latest

Another complication is that in the traditional system, where the rooms are
already heated, when the avatar moves into a heated room energy that was
previously counted as wasted retrospectively becomes useful. Should it be
reallocated? If not then the bars appear like the radbot system is using
more energy to heat occupied rooms than the traditional system which isn't
the case. This would be an issue even with a more advanced model.

Ultimately we agreed that showing the detailed breakdown is a bit over
complex and so we will probably not include this in the production version.

11) Extending demo to show learning feature

This wasn't something I had appreciated RadBot could do from the
information I had found on it so interesting to know that. To be honest
that is a whole different demo! I could extend this one to do that, but it
would be a whole piece of work. I'm also not sure people have the attention
span to teach the demo over multiple cycles, but they might do. I would
also need to model the timer functions of traditional systems. I imagine
such a demo would not be interactive as the user would get bored of moving
the avatar/switching the light on again and again.

12) RadBot actually saves more than the 50% energy suggested by the demo.

I would be really interested to have some actual numbers to work with. This
model is entirely made up based on how I imagine the system to work. I'm
not surprised RadBot can do better as most houses have more than 4 rooms.
One simple option would be to add some hidden rooms to the model. On the
other hand as I have said before this is just a demo not a true model so
its really just trying to show how it works. The energy saving is going to
be different for each house.

13) Why does the boiler still come on when the temp is just right?

As Stuart said the rooms gradually cool down over time so the boiler has to
come on to warm them up again even though they've only gone down a little.
I have set the thermostat so that it comes on again before the temperature
drops below the comfort level so the avatar still says just right. I am
thinking of adding more advanced options so you can control the thermostat
level if you like. We could make the room colour change more dramatically I
suppose, but the purpose of the model is to compare the systems not
demonstrate how a thermostat works so it might be a distraction.

Sorry that ended up being so long. There is a GitHub page:
Perhaps opening issues there would be an easier way to keep track of

I will email again when I have implemented some of the features above.

Thanks again,


On 22 March 2017 at 12:00, <opentrv-interest-request at lists.opentrv.org.uk>

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>    1. Re: Explaining OpenTRV (Hamish Findlay)
>    2. Re: Explaining OpenTRV (Simon Hobson)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Message: 1
> Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:09:49 +0000
> From: Hamish Findlay <hif2k1 at gmail.com>
> To: opentrv-interest at lists.opentrv.org.uk
> Subject: Re: [OpenTRV-interest] Explaining OpenTRV
> Message-ID:
>         <CAE9o3ToNRpY3ACGOp=qYoJ4y5a-xFJYj6cVo_=g24qgTaN1zNw at mail.gm
> ail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> Hi,
> Thank you for all the useful feedback. Will certainly take it on board as
> we keep working on it. Keep the suggestions coming.
> One question was whether it is better to make a tutorial style walk through
> or just to let people interact with it, but with more helpful explanations
> so they discover for themselves.
> If you look at it on a smaller screen or shrink the browser window size it
> will switch to only showing one house to give you an idea of what that
> might look like.
> Hamish
> On 21 Mar 2017 12:00, <opentrv-interest-request at lists.opentrv.org.uk>
> wrote:
> > Hi All,
> >
> > We’re looking for a simple way to explain to people how OpenTRV works,
> > both for (say) myradbot.com and for, for example, the New Scientist Live
> > show which we may be at.
> >
> > They don’t need to be exactly the same, and the New Scientist gig may
> also
> > get a physical model for people to see.
> >
> > Hamish F has created this lovely JavaScript page:
> >
> > https://youcsa.org.uk/openTRV/demo.html
> >
> > and we are wondering what tweaks or changes or explanations might make
> its
> > behaviour instantly understandable to Jo Everyone.
> >
> > Rgds
> >
> > Damon
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> Message: 2
> Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:24:12 +0000
> From: Simon Hobson <linux at thehobsons.co.uk>
> To: "Open, non-developer list for interested parties"
>         <opentrv-interest at lists.opentrv.org.uk>
> Subject: Re: [OpenTRV-interest] Explaining OpenTRV
> Message-ID: <D8755572-A457-4B7B-8CF7-378821FF04E1 at thehobsons.co.uk>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Hamish Findlay <hif2k1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> > If you look at it on a smaller screen or shrink the browser window size
> it will switch to only showing one house to give you an idea of what that
> might look like.
> Ah, that's a lot better.
> There's a niggle about the energy bars. Surely the green "energy heating
> occupied rooms" bar should be shorter (or at least different) as you go
> down the list no TRVs > TRVs > radbot > Radbot + boiler controller ?
> Tricky one as it'll depend on which room the man is stood in. So if the
> man is stood in the "cold" room, the radbot options will actually use more
> energy heating the occupied room - but if he's stood in the "hot" room then
> they'll use less.
> Also, the shading behind the text makes it look like the radbot+controller
> has a lot of wasted energy when in fact there's next to nothing there -
> perhaps not show the "Wasted energy" block at all when hovering over that
> one ?
> Also, it might help to animate the thermostat or radbot to indicate that
> it's controlling the boiler.
> Lastly, I'm wondering if the room descriptions should be different for
> each mode - with radbots, saying the lower left room "will never get warm
> enough ..." seems a bit odd.
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> End of OpenTRV-interest Digest, Vol 32, Issue 2
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