Portable AC Control

I was wondering if anyone has experience setting up a portable AC control scenario. I have an office above a garage that is connected to our central AC zone 2, but in the summer in TX it still gets very warm up there. I have a portable AC unit (floor standing vented to the outside LG LP1311BXR 13000BTU). This draws a maximum of 11.8 Amps. The unit has an IR remote control, and when the power is cut it automatically comes back on if it was turned on when the power went out, to cool mode.

My question is that if I set this up using an appliance module Intermatic HA02 rated for 15 A and used this to turn on/off the AC unit based on temperature readings from a HM TS001 temperature/humidity sensor, would turning on/off the unit regularly like a “power failure” mode eventually damage the AC unit? I could not find any documentation from the LG site about this. Is the 15A rating on the appliance module good enough to handle the AC unit (seems like it should be).

The other way to do it would be with an SQblaster IR setup, which would be more “elegant” provided they have the correct AC codes, but it is also another 200.00.

Another thought would be to put a remote controlled damper in the AC ducts, controlled by the Trane thermostat, to divert all the central AC in zone 2 to the office, when needed, but I seriously doubt this would meet the WAF.

Thoughts?

I’m not clear on the problem statement. Do you not like the built-in temperature control?

Sorry I guess I didn’t mention that I don’t use the office during the day, only from about 4pm-11pm, (either I use it or kids use it watching TV/computers/xbox etc). I don’t want to use the built in temp control on the AC unit to cool the room all the time since that would be a waste of energy/money. There is no way to program the unit for different temps for different times of the day like you can with the Trane thermostat. The central air is controlled by a Trane thermostat in another part of the house and typically keeps the main upstairs area less than 76-78 degrees during the hotter parts of the summer when it is on max, but the room in question is separate and above a garage, and despite central air from the other part of the house, it is still typically in the upper 80s at that time of the year. (Did I mention there are 3 PCs, a WHS, a mac mini, an xbox and a DVR, and a 60" LCD up there cranking out heat at various times?) I want to be able to turn on that separate AC unit about 3 in the afternoon if it is hot outside, so I was planning to set up a scene using the outside temp and time of day as conditional parameters to activate that AC unit.

My main concern is this: am I going to screw up the portable AC unit by repeatedly cutting power to it (appliance module), rather than controlling it via its own built in on/off command activated by IR remote?

I think the SQ Blaster or a USB-UIRT is your best bet, learn the IR codes, you will be able to power on/off, and probably also adjust the temperature, all via IR. It can’t get any simpler than that… of course it costs a bit, but how much energy will be saved, over what period of time. probably won’t take too long to cover the $200 cost of the SQ Blaster.

I don’t think it will be bad for the unit as far as the shutting down or cutting power goes. Power companies offer discounts for adding those radio controlled disconnects they use to cut power to the compressor. I had an in-wall AC unit years ago controlled by an X-10 appliance module and it never died, probably still chugging away for someone, somewhere.

The best way to know if you will tank your A/C is to observe what it does when you turn it off normally. If it is throwing cold air (compressor on) an you hit the OFF button, and it all shuts down simultaneously then it woudln’t make a difference. However, if it kicks off the compressor but runs the fan for a minute or two then shuts off you may not want to just kill the power as this step down would not happen. As for short cycling (turning the compressor back on too soon) I would believe that most of these portables have their own internal safety for this.

Sounds like not the just the A/C might benefit from an SQ Blaster. And you get SQ Remote included with that. Add a 3-in-1 (HSM100 etc.) and you should be able to do pretty smart things in that room. Doing smart things = WAF, right? Or go with a 3-in-1 and appliance module first, if you determine the A/C is ok with that.

How do you set up a scene as you describe to switch on/off the unit at your desired temperatures?

Why not just set up the AC unit to go on when the motion sensor is triggered and let it stay on (using its own temperature control) for 1 hour or so? That way it will never run when you’re not in the room and you don’t have to worry about cutting its power or short cycling it.

Alternatively, just turn it on at 4 pm and off at 11. Then it will run when you’re not using the room though.

@tbever,

We will refund the cost of the SQBlaster if it can’t learn the codes fro your portable AC. We are very interested in these devices, so I would appreciate knowing what works and what doesnt…

Mat

[quote=“SquareConnectMat, post:10, topic:167825”]@tbever,

We will refund the cost of the SQBlaster if it can’t learn the codes fro your portable AC. We are very interested in these devices, so I would appreciate knowing what works and what doesnt…

Mat[/quote]

Timing is spectacular! I just ordered one from you guys last weekend and am just waiting on delivery. I thought the sq blaster would be the best solution hopefully. I can’t just have the motion sensor turn it on via an appliance module and leave subsequent control to its own thermostat because the unit defaults to 72 degrees after a power interruption which is cooler than I want to set it (I am thinking 74-76 degrees will be fine). I will keep you updated when I get it and have a chance to play with it.

As a side note, I hard wired an HSM-100 for AC current (and just about destroyed it in the process) and I also have a Hm TS001 temp/humidity sensor in the same place in the same room just to compare the performance. The HSM 100 seems to read the temperature consistently about 3 degrees higher that the TS001. I am going to get a regular thermometer to see which one is more accurate.

I sent in a support ticket regarding learning the remote codes. The off command would work, but I could not get the on command to work. The temperature control was not working correctly as a toggle up down, it would set the actual temperature to different numeric values

Hi @tbever,

I am about to buy an SQ Blaster to also try to control my wall AC.
But I am very concerned of getting it to work properly.

Could you tell me if you could make it work? And if so how did you do that?

Thanks a lot!

Here’s something I learned when using the SQ Blaster to learn A/C commands:

The remote control use a complicated code to send IR signals to the A/C unit containing all the variables (fan speed, temperature, mode…etc). This is to keep the remote control LCD screen in sync with the unit.

For example, if you read temperature X on the display and you press the up button, the remote control will send the IR code to go to X+1 with whatever mode and fan speed set at that time.

If you have the SQ Blaster learn that command, and send it when the A/C temperature is Y, it will not switch to temperature Y+1 but to X+1.

You can use this functionality to link IR Codes to different scenes or A/C states:
IR Command 1: Temperature X, Fan speed : Low, Mode: Cooling
IR Command 2: Temperature Y, Fan speed: Medium, …etc

Cheers,
Roy.