Anyone Use a HeatMeter Unit for Burner Monitoring?

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-20-14, 09:37 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lake Champlain Islands, Northern Vermont
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Anyone Use a HeatMeter Unit for Burner Monitoring?

Hi Folks,

I'm planning an Aquastat swap to enable smart boiler reset, and also experiments to down-fire my nozzle.

To monitor the effect of these changes and resulting oil reduction, I'd like a data logger that records burner-on time.

I've considered an Arduino-based logger, but I'd have to set that up and write the code for it.

Another option I've found is this HeatMeter unit, offered by a startup called Yshape (no affiliation...just found them while googling).
https://yshape.com/index.html

Anyone have one of these units? How's it working for you?

Thanks!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-20-14, 12:00 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,485
Received 26 Votes on 20 Posts
I'm going out in a few minutes so let me review the website and I will get back to you.
 
  #3  
Old 03-20-14, 12:54 PM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 896
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
The IntelliCon HW+ records run times. It's a piggy back economizer unit that works with a conventional a-stat. I continuously make adjustments to my boiler temps (manually) and can absolutely see (and hear) run time differences. The unit absolutely works as advertised. Get creative with it's use and you can save yourself a descent amount on fuel costs.
I've been using it for about 3 years now. At first on a very over fired and over sized boiler. The run time differences were huge! At that point I started making adjustment to the nozzle size and water temps. It's really amazing at how the economy jumps when your system is set up correctly.
 
  #4  
Old 03-21-14, 09:42 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: MI
Posts: 2,612
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I'm not sure how useful and accurate the HeatMeter can be if its only input is sensed vibration from the burner. The webpage shows a smartphone app displaying oil tank level. How it gets that I have no idea.
I would prefer a more complicated DAQ with inputs for heat call (t-stat 24vac), burner (24vac), recirc. pump (24vac), room & water temps (thermocouple), and maybe a couple switch-closure inputs so you can tell if the boiler shut down due to high limit or other safeties.

The most affordable (<$150) DAQ system I've ever run across (but haven't used) is LabJack:
Products | LabJack
A USB-based DAQ that functions like LabView but at a fraction of the cost, and comes with software & a wealth of free-download monitoring programs.

This would be worth a look if you want to step up to real DAQ and away from a toy that only guesses what your heating system is doing.
 
  #5  
Old 03-21-14, 03:12 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
How it gets that I have no idea.
Probably the same way I do... with a known nozzle size programmed into the app, and a run time meter.

Which is basically what that thing is, not much more than a run time meter. There's far cheaper ways to record run time!

It's an interesting 'idea' though, it's gracefulness is in the ease of install, but I agree with Guy, not worth the bucks (at least to someone with the know how to hook up a run time meter, and the diligence to look at it now and then, download some degree day data from the weather site, and punch a few numbers into a calculator).
 
  #6  
Old 03-21-14, 05:44 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,947
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
What does DAQ mean ?
..............................


never mind! Data Acquisition of course! looks funny when you've had a little too much ... lol

p.s. looking at that code example on the Arduino web site makes me cringe! LOL

It is certainly easy to design software when you trivialize errors. I've seen that (and fixed that) over and over for many many years. lol

p.s.. and one more p.s. lol - with just a little bit more thought and effort, they (the software hack jobs) would save a tremendous amount of work for those future troubleshooters.
 

Last edited by zoesdad; 03-21-14 at 06:23 PM.
  #7  
Old 03-22-14, 12:26 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lake Champlain Islands, Northern Vermont
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Other Ways to Monitor Burner On Time?

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I'll check out the LabJack. There are also other data loggers available...could just be a simple one-channel 24VAC input. I did initial studies with a multimeter that has a thermocouple input and logging capability. That works OK but is battery powered so could only go a day or so. But enough to observe basic trends...it helped me realize that my zone heat and DHW cycles were quite different.

Are there loggers available specifically for burner on time monitoring?
 
  #8  
Old 03-24-14, 09:09 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lake Champlain Islands, Northern Vermont
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Monitoring Burner-On Time

Anyone have a favorite way of doing this?

I'd like to log the data, otherwise I'd just connect an old manual clock in parallel with the boiler.

The goal is to quantify what appears to be short-cycling behavior, especially with the indirect DHW tank.
 
  #9  
Old 03-24-14, 10:03 AM
Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 896
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
The IntelliCon HW+ will both record it and stop the short cycling.
It shows you burner on time, and it's hold off timing and gives you a percentage based on that.

Worked for me, so it's got my vote.
 
  #10  
Old 03-24-14, 12:22 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lake Champlain Islands, Northern Vermont
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I checked out the IntelliCon HW+ unit...looks interesting. How does it work?...ie how is it different than a smart aquastat like the Hydrolevel 3250?

I didn't see any reference to be able to look at the burner on time data....I'd really like to look at the raw data because heat calls and DHW calls look quite different on our system. And since the indirect HW tank has its own aquastat, I plan to fiddle with that variable also. Is there any way to access the raw data?

EDIT: After looking at your post again, I see you mention "Hold Off" time...I assume that is a delay in starting the burner until the water temp gets to a lower setpoint? So the effect of that is to increase the differential so the boiler gets to a lower temp before kicking on?
 
  #11  
Old 03-24-14, 06:48 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,947
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
hi Islander –

I know this isn’t what you are talking, about but it looks very interesting. If (big if, lol)you had a system with Honeywell EnviraCOM devices it seems like there is a great deal of information you could gather by connecting a computer to the EnviraCOM bus through this RS-232 adapter. (Although I don’t think many PC’s have RS-232 ports anymore, but there are adapters out there.)

https://customer.honeywell.com/resou...0s/69-2644.pdf

Looks like you could get a wealth of information by sending out queries on the bus and then receiving reports back. Looks like you could get boiler setpoints, water temperature, burner status, outdoor temperature, etc. and a great deal of other info. (Assuming Honeywell EnviraCOM devices.)

But I guess you would need to write something for the PC to send out the proper queries at the proper times, and log and interpret the reports. I didn’t read all the details of that document but it looks like you can also exert control. That is, it looks like you can also send out some changes commands to the devices – like “change setpoint to xxx”. Oh boy – wonder if you could get into big trouble ? lol

It is interesting though. Seems like you could create a super monitor and also vary parameters in real time and get some really good information. But the downside is you would have to write the application for the PC. (But it could be fun, and it sure would be customized to your needs! lol)

I guess this is way overboard for what you are interested in, but I thought you and other folks may find interesting some of the stuff currently out there- if they didn’t already know.
 
  #12  
Old 03-25-14, 08:36 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Lake Champlain Islands, Northern Vermont
Posts: 40
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Data Aquisition Plans

Zoesdad. Thanks for the input.

I recently installed a Honeywell R7284 digital oil primary control, and it has the EnviraCon network connection. I've already ordered the alarm module so I can install a remote monitor at the top of the basement stairs (my old primary was failing with random lockouts, so my wife wanted a way to know if the burner was locked out without going down to the furnace room). Now that it is running flawlessly, I probably don't need it, but for $25 it adds some bling (I'm an engineer and like shiny things).

Anyway, the EnvioraCon network looks like an interesting innovation...and a standard for everything to work together. For me, the problem is writing the code and creating a usable home-brewed system. Having tinkered with networks like this before, I often have found them to be designed for larger implementations and therefore more complex to learn and write code for. Also there's probably some cost for software tools.

I'm surprised that Honeywell doesn't offer much integration help for residential. Seems like between the primary control and the aquastat, both of which could be installed for around $225 in parts and include the EnvioraCom interface, a fairly complete analysis of system performance could be built. They could provide homeowners a dashboard of their heating system and fuel usage...right to their smartphone.

At this point, I'm leaning toward a simple data acquisition system that can log:

1) Thermostat and burner signals via 24VAC relays that switch digital inputs...5 channels required (3 heat zones, 1 DHW zone, 1 burner-on).

2) Temperature of zones and rooms with Analog Devices TMP36 temperature sensor chips via analog inputs (temp chips provide an analog voltage proportional to temp with +/- 2dec C) with 8 channels required (boiler, DHW, zone, rooms, near woodstove).

Looking at a Measurement Computing data acquisition unit with USB and logging software to pull in all this data, using an old laptop.

Robot Check

Someone mentioned a LabJack DAQ unit...that is also a possibility.

So a bit of a tinkering project...will update on progress!
 
  #13  
Old 03-25-14, 09:33 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,947
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I agree. Simpler is better. (I also was wondering why Honeywell didn’t offer much integration help for residential ?– but these business models always seem to be over my head.LOL)

Sounds like in your plan you will have really good control of the development and won’t get bogged down fighting unnecessary problems. Looks like that Data Acquisition Module with USB and logging software and an old laptop is right down where the rubber meets the road. LOL You won’t get bogged down with extraneous problems for sure! Seems like a smart way to go – to me anyway. lol

I'm sure everyone would like to know what happens.

Good luck!
 
  #14  
Old 03-25-14, 11:02 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,485
Received 26 Votes on 20 Posts
(I also was wondering why Honeywell didn’t offer much integration help for residential ?– but these business models always seem to be over my head.LOL)
Pure and simple, Honeywell is in business to make money and there is very little demand for this in the residential area.
 
  #15  
Old 03-25-14, 05:25 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,947
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I really did think about the demand factor, and it does seem to me that more and more people today, because of the prevalence of home computers, are becoming very computer savvy and many are delving into software and system development (I think that is a very good thing). So I did think that there might be a low-cost something that Honeywell would contribute towards that end, i.e., towards aiding the developer in the use of their products.

But it does appear that Honeywell provides interface documentation and leaves it at that. So it appears you are correct.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: