Vacation Rental Management for busy people!

HVAC Control - Installation

So, what does it actually take to install this system?

Vera box (from MiCasaVerde)

Versions and Thermostats known to work

The Vera firmware version is important to ensure compatibility:

  • 1.0.862 (UI2) OK
  • 1.1.992 (UI4) OK
  • 1.1.1044 (UI4) DOES NOT WORK - MiCasaVerde issue with access to Advanced Setup
  • 1.1.1245 (UI4) OK
  • 1.1.1362 (UI4) OK
  • Future versions are 95% likely work but just need to be tried.

The followng z-wave enabled thermostats are known to work:

  • Wayne Dalton WDTC20
  • Intermatic CA8900 (same as Wayne Dalton)
  • 2GIG (some experience loss of ZWave connection)
  • Trane

 

Wired Ethernet connection to your existing router/Access Point

This is the recommended way to install the system.

  1. Connect the Vera box to your router using an ethernet cable. Vera will become part of your network automatically.
  2. Power the Vera box from a power supply that will not get turned on/off easily - I put it on the the same power extension cable as the Router/Access Point as most guests are unlikely to unplug that.
  3. Hide the Vera box so that it’s not going to be noticed and leave the Router visible.
  4. Try to use a router that does not have secure access - if the guest can’t figure out how to get access no matter how well you’ve told them then they’ll just factory-reset it and you’ll be back to unsecured access again. We tried secure access in our VRs but found that it was too much of a pain to keep functional. This way the guests have no good reason to poke around with the router and it doesn’t cost us any more.

Using Vera as your router/Access Point

I have not tried this but it is possible. I would not recommend doing this so that you can totally hide the Vera Box and if the guests have internet connection issues and find the router they can fully reset it without affecting the Vera box operation.

Wirelessly bridging Vera to your existing WiFi Access Point

I have not tried this but it is possible.

Internet Access to the Vera Box from outside the VR

A fixed or direct URL connection to your property is required to allow the MyVRZone system to be set up and work with it. Using the findvera or mios URL will NOT work for doing the setup and for collecting the thermostat changes later. You will either need a Fixed IP address or use a service that provides a URL for you that will re-direct to whatever the current IP address is...

URL - DynamicIP addresses (DDNS)

If you don’t have a fixed IP address for your router (very unlikely) you can use your (modern) router’s Dynamic DNS capability to allow you to define a URL that will get to your router no matter what it’s IP address is. Use a free service from a company like www.dyndns.org for this - or any of the services you'll find listed in the Router/Vera's Dynamic DNS configuration.

If you are using a separate router then you’ll need to ensure that port 80 (the http port) is forwarded from your router to the Vera box (or set up a different port if you know how). Now you should be able to enter your URL and see the green website that the Vera Box provides.

Thermostat

Replace your old thermostat with a new one.

Internet connectivity

No wiring required for connectivity to the control system. If your home is very big or has stone construction that reduces the range of the z-wave signal then you may need to add repeaters between your Vera box and the thermostat. Any z-wave device acts as repeater so you could install light switches or appliance controls as additional home automation devices - they can all be controlled from th Vera box.

You’ll need to establish the connection between the thermostat and the Vera box using a simple USB dongle - simple instructions are provided.

Power

The thermostat requires a 24VAC supply.

  1. Most newer thermostat installations have this already so no extra power is required.
  2. If you do not have the power there then you’ll need to add a transformer (Radio shack) and wire it in from the nearest power supply. The wires are small so easy to route and conceal.

MyVRZone interface

At this point, your system will be working with the default Vera interface - you can see and control your thermostat using that interface. You can set up timers etc to change the temps automatically etc but there’s no connectivity to the MyVRZone system for the full automation and more flexible control.

I will need to download the additional code to your Vera box - with the Internet Access working I can do this remotely and test that it is working.

Please do the following:

  • Tell me the fixed/direct URL needed to get directly to your Vera box (not the findvera or mios URL)
  • You will need to forward another port to Vera (usually number 22) for SSH access as I will need to log in as root to complete the setup. Tell me which port you forwarded
  • Tell me (take a photo) the info on the Vera box showing the MAC Address and the password
  • Tell me the root password to use if you have changed it form the default (you may want to change it after the installation is complete)
  • Tell me the login and password needed to view the main Vera interface

Once done, you just need to log in to your MyVRZone account and set up your setpoints and periods etc.