Tibbo Project System-based Aircon Controller Application

The app allows you to manage traditional air conditioners that are controlled through infrared remotes. Designed for the office environment, the app relies on the ambient brightness (measured by Tibbit #28) to determine whether the air con should be running or not. In the office setting, no lights = no people = no need for the air con to work.
Air conditioning is a consumptive business while air conditioners are big-ticket to run. In general, AC systems, older ones, in particular, do not have any real temperature feedback. You set the temperature on your remote, but alas, it has absolutely nothing to do with the actual temperature in the room. Even when it gets colder outsides, many air cons keep blasting cold air into your space. As a result, you have to constantly readjust the temperature as needed for optimal comfort throughout the day.

No doubt, AC systems are improving day by day, but there are still old systems that cannot get updated. In some instances, it’s absolutely impossible to invest in a new system. Sometimes, it is just a catch 22 to rip the old air con out and install a new one. A basic air con has many parts that typically are split between an outside and inside configuration, hence you may have to undergo a drastic interior renovation. In Tibbo office in Taipei, we have got trapped in an identical situation. We just have to get by with the AC system we’ve got. Our air con is controlled with a dozen of infrared remotes lying around.
A while back, we set a challenge to create a management system for our dated HVAC system. Needless to say, we used our Tibbo Project System (TPS) for this endeavor. Our spec for the air con controller consisted of two main items:

  • The air con must run or not run depending on whether the lights are on or off. The formula is simple: no lights = no people = no need to run the AC.
  • The temperature in the room must be monitored by the device that stops the air con whenever the temperature is cooled off to the preset point.

To achieve our goal, we used a TPS2L system equipped with these Tibbits:

  • Ambient temperature probe
  • IR code processor Tibbit (#26)
  • IR front-end Tibbit (#27)
  • Ambient light sensor Tibbit (#28)

A  few words about the probe. This is a new item that will be announced this fall. The probe replaces the ambient temperature meter (Tibbit #29). It is handy to have the meter built right into the TPS. The bottleneck is, the meter is influenced by the internal heat of the TPS system itself. This impact is particularly visible for the TPS2L device – it’s LCD really warms up the box! The latest sensor has the same circuit as the Tibbit #29, with the additional advantage of being external to the TPS device. From now on, the measurements are accurate.
Here is a look at the items you need to set up in the menu:
IR commands. This is where you train your IR code processor to be able to transmit two commands: “On,” and “Off.” For the “On” command, use the lowest temperature that your air con’s remote allows you to set (usually 16 degrees C). The logic here is that when you need to lower the temperature in the room you can use the coldest temperature setting, and when the room cools down to the preset temperature, the air con is turned off. So really, you only need two commands.
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