CEDIA Find: Cool Automation Integrates Smart Air Conditioners with Third-Party Control Systems
The CoolMaster from Cool Automation is an RS-232/RS-485 bridge with drivers for air conditioning systems to control functions such as dry mode selection, temperature set, fan speed, swing, filter reset, group operation, (all on/ all off), failure codes and more.
Julie Jacobson · September 25, 2013
Many air conditioners can do a whole lot of interesting things, but unfortunately their use is usually limited to on/off and temperature control via the thermostat or locally, as in the case of in-wall or floorstanding.
Wouldn’t it be nice to tap into some richer A/C logic, considering the machine is often the most energy-draining device in the home?
You can now, with the increasingly popular Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRF) or Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) variety of air conditioners now made by most of the major A/C brands. Unlike traditional central- and split-AC systems that typically incorporate only basic on/off control logic, VRV/VRF systems allow control and monitoring of functions such as dry mode selection, temperature set, fan speed, swing, filter reset, group operation, (all on/ all off), failure codes and more.
Unfortunately, these smart A/C features normally can be accessed only through the manufacturers’ crude, proprietary keypad interfaces. But thanks to Cool Automation, dealers can now integrate smart air conditioners with third-party home control systems via serial communications.
The company offers CoolMaster, an RS-232/-485 bridge with drivers for popular A/C systems. Last year, Extra Vegetables released a driver for two-way communications with Control4, but the device can work with virtually any control system.
“All major home automation companies have recognized and embraced our solutions with interface drivers to their controllers being developed either by them or third parties like Extra Vegetables,” says Ofer Ben-Nathan, marketing and sales manager for Cool Automation.
Depending on the manufacturer, one CoolMaster controls up to 128 units. CoolMaster connects to leading VRV/VRF air conditioning systems and via an Ethernet port connects to your router and to the Internet. CoolMaster requires a router with an Internet connection and Ethernet port. No ports should be opened and nothing needs to be configured.
“In cases where one would not have a smart-home infrastructure but still is interested in controlling and monitoring the most important energy-consuming device in the house that’s where CoolRemote comes in, Ben-Nathan says. “It is basically the CoolMaster that via its built-in Ethernet port connects directly to the home router and to the Internet followed by a simple registration process onto a dedicated web site, enabling the homeowner to monitor and control all his HVAC units.”
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at email@example.com
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