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SolarBee (solar panel mode)

I'm already building this app in hopes to convince the devs for native support for this.
Having a solar panel setting would give nice PR for the company and solar panels are becoming more and more popular.

Why you need it. A middle class cost solar panel group + battery doesn't have enough power for 2 a/c units.

How to solve natively. Make sure not to run one a/c unit while the other unit is running. If 2 a/c units need to run at the same time the bottom floor unit gets priority in the summer (Convection). For heaters the top floor would get priority.
This would only need to happen during Solar hours + peak hours. Peak hours can happen when the sun is down. A battery can help during this time so solar panel mode should still be on.

To do this using the API is a little tricky but doable. You have to make sure not to short cycle your A/C units. I minimize the potential of short cycling by forcing one unit to run at the end of it's 'On' segment for 5 minutes. 5 minutes is still considered short cycling but 'On' segments only happen twice an hour.
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How I'm doing it. Using Vacations.

15 minute segments. One unit gets an off segment. For a/c it would be a Vacation with a temp of 85 degrees thus actually turning it off without it being off.
The other 'On' unit would run it's normal schedule for 10 minutes and then a Vacation to force it on for 5 minutes. This is to prevent a very short 'short cycle' at the end.
The Vacation that force's the a/c unit 'On' will just have a temp of 65. Doing it this way should prevent the vacation from turning off an a/c unit if it's already running since it's just lowering the a/c temperature. So an 'On' segment is guaranteed to be 5 minutes but many/most times it will be more because the a/c is already running when the 5 minute "force On" Vacation kicks in.

The app will send the vacations every day at 2 am. I'm using Python.

Can anyone see any problems with short cycling or any problems you foresee?

Thanks
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  • I was reading this post https://getsatisfaction.com/api/topic...

    Seems 5 minutes is the default min cycle on time. So theoretically doing it my way could be bad since it could turn on for 5 minutes then off for 5 and then 'forced' on for 5.
    Of course if an a/c is only going on for 5 minutes that probably means your a/c is oversized. If I look at my own a/c I see segments of 10-15 minutes.

    I'll probably have a setting which has a percentage setting of the 15 min segment so you can set the 'forced' on setting higher if you find it turning on twice in 15 mins.

    Of course this would all be made better if a Solar Panel Setting was a native option.
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  • Decided to stop working on UI and actually get it working. Seems to be working just fine.

    I decided to set my thermostats Min Compressor on Time to 8 minutes to assure that it wouldn't short cycle ever during this solar program.

    The solar program goes like this(might be adjusted):

    (Both thermostats, Once) Start: everything off for 5 minutes
    ****
    (One thermostat, Alternate and repeating) Regular schedule for 7 minutes then force on for 6 minutes, then force off for 3 minutes(buffer)
    ****
    (One thermostat, Alternate and repeating) Force off for 16 minutes

    Here's an image of one thermostat to visualize.

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  • I'm moving so this fun is coming to a close. I enjoyed messing with it.

    Closing thoughts:

    If ecobee just enabled 15 minute intervals, instead of 30 minute, I would just use the schedule. I do plan to try alternating every 30 minutes, using the schedule, just for last minute testing. I'd probably need to lower the AC schedule temps by ~2 degrees since a floor wont get AC for 30 minutes.
    Lowering temp would affect battery time though so I'm not sure it would be worth it. We'll see.
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