The traditional room thermostat’s on/off controller is inadequately effective in fulfilling the communications needs of modern home heating systems. Consider the following developments for example in which an open communication protocol provides solutions:
- Modulating central heating appliances
More and more appliance manufacturers are bringing modulating central heating systems onto the market (see the overview of heating appliances). These appliances offer better efficiency and reduced environmental effects, as well as increased comfort. However, in order to operate these appliances, a communication protocol between the appliance and the controller is required.
- Central heating remote control
Central heating remote controls also require a more advanced protocol. The remote control can be used to operate the appliance using the temperature controller in the living room.
- Thermostat information readings
The same communication channel can be used to read appliance settings and other data like error and malfunction codes.
- Expansion possibility
A fourth advantage of using a communication protocol is that in future, the functionality of the system can be expanded by reserving enough space within the protocol for future applications.
As a result of radical technical innovation in central heating appliances and air heaters in recent years, modulating forms of regulation are becoming more and more common alongside the usual on/off control. Specific innovative developments include modulation on the basis of room temperature, remote controlled central heating and information readings on the thermostat. This new situation provides a challenge to the manufacturers of controlling devices for the heating industry.
In response to these changes in applied technology, new players (including OEMs and non-traditional suppliers) are trying to get a foothold in this market. This results in many players developing new manufacturer-specific and incompatible solutions for communication protocols between parts of heating systems.
These developments are not in the interest of either the manufacturers of controllers, fitters or end users. The majority of manufacturers would be grateful if a standard communication protocol, such as the current 24 Volt on/off control, would be suitable for use in more advanced control systems, as a widely accepted industry standard would reduce the number of different types of product, thereby enabling better market processes.