Thursday, April 28, 2022

More Bees

So earlier this week I woke up to the thermostat complaining about a low battery. I pulled the cover off to discover a trio of AA batteries, one of which had sneezed some electrolyte snot onto one of the terminals. I was able to clean it off and replace the batteries, but I had never been particularly enamored with this basic 5/2 programmable thermostat.

So, it was time for a change.

The EcoBee 3 Lite was recommended as a replacement that was just smart enough to have a bit more brains than a calculator watch from 1987, but not so many brains that it would be forever beholden to some server in the cloud. I like that middle ground.

But I can't very well install it on top of the old thermostat, so we need to get rid of that first.

You'll notice that, conveniently, there are 5 wires in this furnace cable. There are also a bunch of extra holes in the wall, including the main hole which is much larger than it ever really should have been, but we'll come back to that later. Anyway, the 5 wires are power, heat, cool, fan, and pointlessly-not-connected-at-either-end. I can't really blame them for that last one, though, as usually this fifth wire would be hooked up to a common so that the thermostat could be powered from the 24vac between the common and power wires, but in this case the old thermostat didn't bother including circuitry to actually use that power connection. It only ran on the batteries, and nothing else. Splendid design.

Anyway, those holes need dealing with.

Bless this hot mud, the impatient handyman's best friend.

Ok, while that sets up it's time to go out into the car hole and grab my paint.

So, little side note here. I'd been told, for reasons I will perhaps never understand, that it was a good idea to store paint cans upside-down after opening them. Apparently this isn't actually very good advice at all, as over the past few months the paint had been slowly leaking out of this particular can and spilling all over the concrete floor of my car hole.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that I actually really didn't like this paint in the first place. I bought it as trim paint, but it wasn't, honestly, all that good at being trim paint, and had over time got rust in it from the paint can itself corroding, got little flakes of crap from paint drying around the edges, and over all it was just kind of a pain in the ass that I could never quite justify just throwing out.

But now I don't have to justify it. Sweet.

Anyway, getting back on track, my walls are not white but instead a cool grey color, so I grabbed the can of cool grey paint I got color matched at a store that was since burned to the ground (in an unrelated incident, I assure you) and slapped a coat over the now set hot mud.

And I also installed the base plate for the new thermostat. Obviously.

The little push-in connectors are really quite convenient, as is the tiny built-in level (since there's no straight edges on the whole thing).

You'll also notice here that I have all 5 wires hooked up, as I went into the furnace and connected the blue wire to the common terminal on the controller board, which then allows the thermostat to draw power from the 24vac supply. As it should.

Then the thermostat just snaps into place.

The future looks like featureless black slabs of plastic. Who could have predicted that?

Flipping the furnace back on we can see...

It lives! Hurrah.

Now I just have to wait for some state sponsored hackers from Russia and China to hack into my thermostat and try to assassinate me via fan death or something. I dunno.

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