Review : Remotec Z-Wave AC IR extender

I’ve recently added the Remotec Z-Wave AC IR extender to my home automation for controlling the air conditioning unit in my living room. It has been a while since my last product review. As usual, let us start with the specification first.

Specification

  • Z-Wave (868.42Mhz)
  • AC IR code library
  • Supports wide-range of carrier frequency (15 to 455kHz)
  • 5 directional IR emitters (hemispherical coverage)
  • 3.5mm jack for external wired IR emitter (optional)
  • Power: via USB, 5V DC Jack or 3x AAA batteries
  • Dimension:
    • Extender: 70mm (diameter) x 18mm (thickness)
    • Battery box: 70mm (diameter) x 15.5mm (thickness)

Intent

Ok , the weather is rather warm lately and I’d like to turn on the air conditioning in my living room before I reach home. I’d also like to include turning on the air conditioning as an additional action when I want to watch a movie.

Setup

The device comes in 2 part. The main IR blaster and the battery compartment. There are 2 screws that allow you to tightly hold the blaster and the battery compartment together. You can choose to power the device with battery or via a mini USB cable. One thing to note is that there is no manual and there is no mini USB cable in the box (come on you can do better than this)!!!!. Fret not, you can find the links to the softcopy user manuals below. The version you need to reference can be determined by checking the number below the blaster.

I’m listing just the most recent versions here for your convenience:

Inclusion is simple. So to setup the device, I powered the device using a USB cable, brought the device close to Vera (less than a meter), set Vera into inclusion mode via the browser and press the top button of the device once. The device was detected and included into my Z-Wave network as shown (mine Vera is UI4 and not UI5).

Now this is the part which I spent almost an hour plus to complete. The documentation for the device is very poorly written and I had to comb through the Micasaverde forum to look for solutions. When I first added the device to the network, clicking on/off doesn’t control the aircon at all. The Remotec Z-Wave AC IR extender has a “database” of IR commands by brands to control the air conditioner/heating system. My air conditioning unit is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries but the “database” doesn’t specify which model number. You’d need to try setting one by one until you find the one that works.

The “database” is also different for different version of the Remotec AC IR extender. Fret not again, I’ve listed the links for the lastest versions here:

You’d need to set the number listed in the database to Parameter 27 as shown below. For my case, 322 is the one that worked for my Mitsubishi Heavy Industries air conditioning unit:

Now, pressing the On/Off button on the Vera UI finally turns the air conditioning unit on. No problem in setting the temperature as well. This is one of the default set of preset buttons when I added the device to my SQ Remote HD.

Note that the device has a heater temperature option on Vera and SQ Remote HD but I guess in Singapore we can ignore the heating option. Who wants the heat anyway.

Verdict

  • Smaller than I thought, not impressed with built quality.
  • Bad bad documentation and packaging.
  • I suggest keeping the device powered with USB as it offers much more stability as compared to the battery option.
  • Even if there is a Fan control, it only comes with Auto or On. By default, whenever you turn on the aircon with this device, it will always be Auto.
  • It works and unfortunately, its the only device available to control the aircon.
  • The device has a learning capability but since the “database” already has my AC model, I did not try that.

Domotics

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