Hacker News new | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Visual overview of radiator valves used in Germany [pdf] (eq-3.de)
43 points by rmoriz 86 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments

I posted this to show how difficult home automation devices can be and how much one has to invest into proper localization. While the document shows that for many combinations adapter exist, the price of the adapters is almost as high as a new thermostat (most vendors changed the size in 1998 so if one has a 20 year old home you still need an adapter or a plumber to replace the valve.)

Mount a power resistor close to and below the existing thermostat. The thermostat can then be controlled by varying the current in the resistor. Only a few Watts of power should be necessary. Maybe there’s a potential busyness fabricating som form of “cup” with build in heating resistor fitting over various types of thermostat.

Wow! I can't believe I never thought of this! What a nice hack.

common thermostats work entirely on a thermal base (using a fluid). No electicity. They is a standard that "3" on the scale is mapped to 20°C.

AFAIK (at least here in Italy) the "standard" is M 30 x 1.5 mm, so the actual thermostatic cartridges are generally that size.

The document you posted (which is very nice BTW) indexes all the existing valves so it makes IMHO the (actually problematic) situation seem worse than it is (because the actual diffusion of this or that type of valve isn't taken into consideration).

Check this:


basically all M30x1.5 are not listed as they are directly compatible.

Then, 11 most common types are listed, and for the first 6 ones (the most common among the non-M30x1.5) the adapter is included.

From personal experience (anecdata, so take it with a grain of salt) the "standard" M30x1.5 + Danfoss + Giacomini + Caleffi cover really nearly 100% of what people can find in their home.

These other guys here say that a basic set of adapters cover 90%:



This is not true, because most homes are built before 1998. The vendors you name had other threads prior to 1998. This also causes a lot of trouble because "old" and "new" does not match, even when from the same vendor.

The only way is to change the valve (very expensive) our buy extra adapters. This is also true if you break an existing thermostat: You can't purchase them anymore. You'll have to buy one of the "new" standard and pick on of the "solutions" mentioned above.

For example I'm living in an early-1990s building equipped with the old Oventrop M 30 x 1.0. I just bought a smart thermostat which claims to be compatbile with Oventrop but turned out only with the post 1998 Oventrop M 30 x 1.5 …

My 1975 (Dutch) house came with screw style valves, not push style which this document seems to describe. I can imagine there is a large amount of different screw type valves that have no adapter of any type available. I ended up replacing the valves with proper push types which here in the Netherlands are mostly normalized to one of the more common German valve sizes.

We just bought a house built in 1989 and wanted to replace the radiators. Turns out that a size was used that is now non-standard - about 1mm too thin - just enough that we probably have to get a professional in to do changes because the local Warmteservice doesn't have the bits (and not being a Dutch speaker also makes this kind of thing more difficult to deal with it seems).

Warmteservice have about every part you could need, I've never been disappointed by then, compared to the generic Bouwmarkten. Don't worry about the language, as native Dutchman I often don't know the lingo for these branch of technology, a picture does often help. Otherwise https://www.werkspot.nl/ is your friend in finding a pro.

Has anyone ever done a study of free-market configurations eventually consolidating to a single standard? I almost feel like it's a quirk of capitalism that initial introduction of a technology results in an immediate mess of options and styles, before finally somehow there is a single accepted standard.

For example, in the 90's the design for rollerblade frames (the part for the wheels attached to the boot) were all over the place, but then a few skate manufacturers agreed on a single design called the Universal Frame System. As soon as it was adopted, it unleashed a whole bunch of innovation in boots, wheels, liners, etc, because suddenly you don't have to fuss over on particular part and can then spend that energy on smaller, more interesting innovations in the rest of the product. Like suspension in the frames!

I'm sure there's analogies for open-source standards getting adopted. But if this is indeed universal, maybe it's an argument for a future techno-socialist state to mandate standards so that we are not accidentally designing the 99th radiator valve or javascript bundler, and instead society can get to work on the cooler problems.

The shipping container. You can read The Box - a book about how much effort it took to make it accepted.

I don’t think it’s a quirk; instead, I think it’s very much desired at the outset on the part of a competitor in a market to control the interface to some new technology in an attempt to become a gatekeeper to enjoy the fruits of that role.

I think it is a case of “he who pays the piper calls the tune” [0].

[0] https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/he-who-p...

> eventually consolidating to a single standard

What about the reverse?


I generally feel that there's a huge opportunity for companies building normalization layers for physical infrastructure that future IoT and software companies can build upon - similar to what Bloomberg did for exchange price feeds or countless startups currently do for bank accounts

There's adapters for most of these - is that what you meant? Or does it need to be an IoT internet-connected smart adapter?

Perhaps slightly unrelated. We've been using the eQ-3 Max radiator heating system (from the article) in our house for three years now to control our radiators on a room-by-room basis. Connected with OpenHAB 2 [1], this has been a great experience.

Given the low price of each radiator controller, the engineering is top-notch. Mesh network works all of the time, the batteries last for multiple years and the installation is relatively painless.

This is one of the few IoT solutions that 'do-not-suck'. No calling-home to China, no unexpected updates and upgrades, no complicated install process.

[1] Openhab Website https://www.openhab.org/

I've been using the same system for almost 5 years now, with no real problems. Has more than paid for itself by now.

I didn't switch to OpenHAB though, but instead hacked their original desktop control software, which is actually a Java web app with a localhost-bound Tomcat, to make it runnable on a headless Linux box and bind to the LAN IP. This way I have their control panel available constantly and remotely. Works surprisingly well and stable, given that this mode of operation was never intended.

Their actually-intended remote control path (via a server provided by the manufacturer) is crap however, very slow reaction time, unreliable and you somehow have to pay a subscription after a trial period.

That's a nice approach. Do you control the radiators using other inputs?

Our current system works using a CalDAV calendar with repeating appointments providing information about work/home/sleep times. This is combined with presence detection using our mobile phones and Z-Wave motion detectors. This also controls lights, light color temperature and our ventilation system. All events go to InfluxDB / Grafana combo. OpenHAB 2 is the spider in this web of IoT stuff.

To me, this is a strange document. I would expect anyone wanting to IoT'ify their TRVs to just get entirely new radiator valves, rather than trying to remove the manual knob on their existing radiator valves and replace it with an electronically actuated "knob". (I'm in the UK). The threads that connect to supply pipes and radiators are quite standardised.

> to just get entirely new radiator valves, rather than trying to remove the manual knob on their existing radiator valves and replace it with an electronically actuated "knob"

Replacing the knob is a safe operation that cannot leak water. I could do that on all radiators in a flat without ever running the risk of causing a leak. Replacing the valve would require opening the water circuit, thus you'd first need to turn of pressure, which may or may not be possible (think: apartment building). Replacing the valve may also not be allowed for people that rent a flat.

Yeah obviously, but I find it strange that this would be a big issue when you're doing something like going round changing all your TRVs. Drain the system, do the replacements, re-pressurise. It is a weird way of approaching the job from the perspective of how TRVs are sold where I come from.

I didn't realise there were any smart radiator valve systems, in the UK or elsewhere, which needed to be plumbed in - do you know of any? I'm pretty sure all of them work, in your terminology, as electrically actuated 'knobs' on top of existing valves.

De/re-pressurising your central heating system and physically replacing all the valves is a task that's going to require specialist tools and probably a plumber. It's also pointless, as there's basically only one standard, so you'd have nothing to replace them with. Replacing the knobs on top is a case of watching a youtube video and spending two minutes with a screwdriver - which is the intent of the design.

What you're saying is broadly comparable to "why would you buy smart lightbulbs when you can just replace the entire light fitting and all the switches in your home?" - except I'd argue that's actually easier for the layman than messing with radiators.

Well, there's always a non-zero risk you break something, especially if the system is older and things don't come off easily. The fun starts when you install the new valves and re-pressurize the system. It's not difficult to introduce leaks, and I can tell from my personal experience that you will not enjoy it when it happens. So I completely understand why most people would prefer to just replace the knobs.

Home automation companies would like to sell painless self-install kits to people who don't know an end feed from an olive.

After all, if you're selling a £150 smart home system, but 80% of buyers need a £150 professional installation, the cost will deter a lot of customers; and for those customers who value your system at £300, you're missing out on capturing a lot of that value.

UPDATE: The URL is broken. New location is https://www.eq-3.de/Downloads/eq3/download%20bereich/Ventil-...

There needs to be an additional column with a "?" for all the pictures. The name of that valve is "I have a milling machine I do what I want".

Every facility above a certain size will have a few modified parts that were created (not necessarily with a mill, often with hand tools) and installed over the years to meet various needs.

Edit: Lol, why is this down-voted? Encountering modified parts is like a weekly occurrence depending on the age of the systems you're working on. Ask the maintenance dept. at your local community college if you don't believe me.

> why is this down-voted?

You are responding with snark, on a topic on adapters for use in homes, with solutions that you yourself say are for "facilities above a certain size".

Your post is off-topic, but you might very well have been upvoted if you had presented it in a more positive way, like talking about your prior experience machining valves for your own heating system. That would have been interesting.

Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact