Wi-Fi Thermostate for Bonair Central Heating

Hey guys! Was hoping someone here has had experience in changing their existing wall mounted thermostate to a wifi thermostate.

We have a Bonair MB4 20l system and it doesn't have the standard wires coming out of the wall like most thermostates. Instead it has a 4 pin connector. Bonair have made a wifi thermostate system called Myclimate which works with our system but from the reviews it's not good.

Looking at Nest, Ecobee or any other decent wifi controlled thermostate that might work with our system.

Would highly appreciate if someone can point me in the right direction on how to do it or if you know someone who can do it.

Pics below:

https://imgur.com/gallery/ZngDGKz

Comments

  •  

    Be careful jumping on to a Nest or whatever US based product, as many US heaters/coolers are designed for simple on/off functionality to maintain the temperature. Where as Aus aircon/heraters are more sophisticated. So installing Nest et al might be a highly inefficient way to run your heating/cooling system.

    Some people report online great success with nest, but others have terrible trouble for the reason i mentioned. So do your research if going with an after market product.

    •  

      This is correct.

      If you have a variable fan speed, changing the thermostat could means you only have On or Off, thus lowering the energy star rating of your unit.

      •  

        thanks for your response! I've actually done a fair bit of research into this and spoke to a few heating companies who all recommended aftermarket. Most of the aftermarket ones do have a sensor in them to regulate the temperature same way ours is currently doing as once it reaches the set temperature, it just shuts down

        •  

          They'll definitely turn on or off.
          The issue is that the heater fan will either be on or off.
          It won't have a variable speed, Low Medium High etc. (If your heater has variable fan to begin with - Otherwise it's not an issue)

  • +1 vote

    Hi there!
    I just did this with my own central heater.

    Firstly, you'll need to take a few photos of your central heater circuit board and post here :)

    Then I'll see if I can help

    Cheers

  •  

    Hi Talla, I just changed over my Brivis “dumb” thermostat to a Nest on my brivis Wombat ducted gas heating.

    TL:DR It’s great. You need a heater with no digital/proprietary communication protocols for the thermostat and a 24v AC Common wire to power the thermostat.

    I’m very happy, much better heating and temperature management. It was a bit of a journey partly due to my first Nest becoming faulty after a couple of weeks. Replaced unit and all good again. I also use the separate Nest temperature sensors to understand how different rooms are heating up and use different rooms as the thermostat reference temperature during the day/night. Temp sensors only work with the US Nest thermostat and not the Euro version.

    I’m not an expert so this is my learnings and understandings from my changeover experience with a US Nest thermostat.

    First you’ll need to determine if your unit has a proprietary communication protocol with its thermostat or uses “standard” dumb protocols to call for heat. Whilst Nest and Ecobee are smart what Nest communicates to your heating unit is essentially “on” or “off”. The smarts come in the thermostat knowing/determining when to have the heat on or off, scheduling, and giving you online access. If your unit uses a proprietary communication protocol then I’m pretty sure Nest won’t work. Can’t comment on Ecobee. So somewhat perversely these smart thermostats work best with dumb heaters.

    The US Nest requires constant 24v AC power (50 or 60Hz doesn’t seem to matter). The Euro Nest I believe comes with or has as an option of a separate power pack. Whilst the US version is supposed to be able to “vampire” charge off the positive heat wire my reading of people’s’ experiences and my own is you absolutely need a “C” or common wire to power the thermostat with 24v AC power. It otherwise won’t work after an hour or two. Happily the C wire is pretty standard. My Brivis has it but it wasn’t used with the old, battery powered, dumb thermostat. I just ran an additional cable from the Brivis to the Nest.

    On cables, Nest says it only works with solid core cables and whilst I don’t think this is strictly true I did purchase on Amazon some solid core cable and replaced all the existing wiring. It certainly interfaced into the Nest better than the exisiting twisted strand wires. YMMV.

    Set up of the thermostat, connecting to wifi and my existing Nest Home account was all straight forward. I’m delighted with the outcome.

    Good luck with your research.

    •  

      My Brivis only has the R and W terminals. The dumb thermostat runs off a battery and triggers a relay when the temperature drops below the set level. I'm currently rigging up a 'smart' thermostat with a Sonoff WiFi relay and a Sonoff temperature sensor.

      It sounds like the op's system uses digital signalling between the thermostat and the heater, which would make it problematic to use any of the generic smart thermostats on the market.

    •  

      Hey mate, firstly thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed response, much appreciated!
      I'm looking at the Ecobee mainly since it does zone control as well. Here is a pic of the diagram:

      https://imgur.com/gallery/ZngDGKz

      How exactly do I find out whether my system uses proprietary communication protocol or standard?
      If it is indeed the 1st one, any way to convert it?

  •  

    Unless things have changed(I was waiting for myclimate for 2+ years) you won't find an easy solution. It was taking so long I sold my house instead.

    The nest etc. Wont work with your system. Check out whirlpool there was some very detailed conversation on bonair and nest etc a few years back, it hasn't gotten better.

    •  

      hey mate ya i read that thread on whirlpool for these ones. The Myclimate is really bad from what I've heard. Even the installers told me not to go for it.

  •  

    Hey mate, take all the following information with a grain of salt, and I take no responsibility for damage caused or warranties voided.

    Just did a bit of research for you. 99% sure a smart thermostat will work with your system.
    Most ducted heater systems have a 'Manual Thermostat' option, which allows to you connect a 'dumb' thermostat. (A simple on or off)
    This works by closing a tiny switch and putting a 24V onto a 'Heat Terminal'. You can replicate it by bridging a wire across the terminals.
    https://i.imgur.com/HI8VoFT.jpg (See the red wire I drew in)

    I also found the manual of your thermostat, which confirms this information. (https://i.imgur.com/ACpnunM.png) Circled in yellow.

    If you bridge it out (and hold it on until the heater starts) then take it off and the heater will stop.
    If this works, you'll definitely be able to get a smart thermostat.

    I can draw up a simple wiring diagram if you buy an Ecobee. I hooked up an Ecobee3 Lite at my house about 4 week.

    Cheers

    •  

      Mate you're an absolute legend! Thank you so much for doing the research!
      Quick one, when i test the bridge connection, do i leave the existing controller connected or do i remove the cable for that one? Can i use the current controller and ecobee controller together? Our system has a zone function and ecobee does give the zone function as well. Any idea if i can use the ecobee zone feature with this one?
      Would be awsome if you could do a wiring diagram for me :)

      •  

        Quick one, when i test the bridge connection, do i leave the existing controller connected or do i remove the cable for that one?
        Disconnected

        Can i use the current controller and ecobee controller together? Our system has a zone function and ecobee does give the zone function as well. Any idea if i can use the ecobee zone feature with this one?
        Sorry mate, never had a zoned central heater.

        •  

          Thanks mate. So the smart controller and wifi controller won't be able to work together? Need to be only one or the other? I'll climb into the roof tomorrow and test it out.
          Where'd you get the ecobee3 lite from btw?

          •  

            @Talla: You wouldn't be able to use them together as they will be unaware of eachother. It shouldn't be a problem to have both controllers wired in as long as only one is active (set to ON) at any time.

            •  

              @Underlord: Hey mate so i tried it today and it didn't turn on and instead blew a fuse. Trying to figure out wat i did wrong

        •  

          hey mate so i tried it but it just blew a fuse. Wondering wat i did wrong. Could there be a setting in the board that needs to be done?

          •  

            @Talla: Sorry to hear that. That's very strange, as the manual says those terminals are for a manual thermostat, and shorting them out is exactly what a manual thermostat does to turn it on.

            Unfortunately, that's all the help I can give you.

            Good luck!

          •  

            @Talla: I think you might need to bridge the two 'Heat' pins to manually run the heater. It looks like 24V is a common supply.