8 Usage Recommendations
8.1 Start Small
You can run GNU remotecontrol on a laptop, a desktop, even a hand-held computer.....as long as you can achieve setting up your Web Server and Database Server.
It will probably be much easier on you to setup a GNU remotecontrol system while using your existing Energy Management Control System. This will allow you to learn, test, try, think, try some more, all side-by-side with all of your existing systems. Then, when you are ready, switch over seamlessly to use GNU remotecontrol as your primary system, along with your (then) old Energy Management Control System, to make sure you are absolutely comfortable with your setup of your GNU remotecontrol system. Finally, once your are comfortable with your GNU remotecontrol, decommission your old Energy Management Control System.
Benefits of running GNU remotecontrol on a smaller hardware combination include:
- Getting GNU remotecontrol up and running for a Proof-of-Concept.
- Managing the HVAC systems of different sites without having to be at each of those sites.
8.2 Strongly Encouraged
- Restrict your data network to only allow a few network addresses to connect to the IP enabled thermostats. This makes sure the IP enabled thermostat does not get overloaded from too many users trying to access it where it fails to respond, possibly requiring the IP enabled thermostat to be power cycled. Use, instead, the logged data of by minute and by quarter hour to run your monitoring and reporting. (Please continue reading for more information to accomplish this recommendation.)
- Setup your Remote Monitoring Server to log sensor readings every minute. Do this for 15 concurrent minutes. Delete previous records so you only have the 15 readings in this record set at any given time. Then, you have a granular recording of data in combination with your Remote Monitoring Server recording the same information in 15-minute intervals. It takes about a minute for a change to register on a sensor, shy of an extreme combination of circumstances. This sensor reading approach provides you with all of the monitoring and reporting data you could ever hope for.
- Script setting the time on your IP enabled thermostats. Recommend setting the time every month, at a minimum. Clocks of all kinds are always gaining or losing a few seconds here and there, to the point that it adds up to a few minutes here and there. Setting the time on a regular monthly basis avoids the whole gaining and losing problem.
- Roaming Brown Outs and Natural Disasters in the vicinity of your thermostat devices cause for your thermostat devices to have all kinds of power supply problems. Your thermostat device may very well have a weak on-board battery. That means the Date and Time on your thermostat has a poor chance of being correct and any Setback Scheduling on the device has little to no chance of being properly executed. Set the Date and Time every hour on your thermostat device, at the very minimum. The fact that a Natural Disaster has occurred means your Energy Management strategy will be unable to occur, anyway. Plan some type of HVAC Settings for dealing with a Natural Disaster. Perhaps a plan for the Winter months and a plan for the Summer months. Perhaps turning on the fan for Architecture Ventilation is the best course of action, promoting health and safety in the facility. Perhaps activating heating or cooling is also in the best course of action. Use scripting to help you meet this need.
- Use Database Management to change the Time Zone field in the thermostat profile when Daylight Savings Time occurs. For example, Database Management will convert North America Eastern Standard Time, with a GMT offset of -5, to North America Eastern Daylight Time, with a GMT offset of -4. Remember, there is Australian Eastern Time and North American Eastern Time, each with Daylight and Standard options. Clearly, the database aspect of GNU remotecontrol will help you keep all of your time settings correct. Using Database Management will also save you the time and effort of using index.php to manually change each thermostat you have setup in GNU remotecontrol. Set it up as a SQL script to change the Time Zone entry in the thermostat profile. Run the script when Daylight Savings Time occurs.
- Script setting your heating/cooling/ventilation levels as a comparison of outdoors conditions. Say so many degrees difference between outside and inside, same for a difference in percentage of relative humidity.
- Use the Remote Monitoring of your location to change a website appearance.
- Use the Remote Monitoring of your location to build Software Widgets and/or Web Widgets.
- Setup a simple web page that will fit the temperature and humidity readings of both the thermostats and the weather conditions you care about onto the screen of your cell phone. You then can easily see, in a single viewing, what you care to know.
- Editing of a Display Language in GNU remotecontrol mandates editing the contents of the GNU remotecontrol database, the language table and the resource table. Edit these tables with the entries you prefer. Reload index.php in your browser. The changes you made to the language table and the resource table in the GNU remotecontrol database are then displayed in all GNU remotecontrol user account sessions of GNU remotecontrol.
- Adding a Display Language to the GNU remotecontrol database mandates adding data to the language table and the resource table in the GNU remotecontrol database. Add the new fields and data with the entries you prefer. Reload index.php in your browser. The changes you made to the language table and the resource table in the GNU remotecontrol database are then displayed in all GNU remotecontrol user account sessions of GNU remotecontrol.
- Use admin.php to see the preferred Display Language of your end-users. This tells you a lot about what training needs they have that you need to prepare for them.
8.3 Food for Thought
There are many different ways you can use the data you collect: