Category: Information

Honeywell Evohome Install & Review

Honeywell Evohome Install & Review

Our house had a manual thermostat in the hallway and a very simple timer for heating and hot water. This has been a bugbare for me since we moved in, we’d turn the temperature up in the evening to keep the living room warm but forget to turn it down before bed, if we set the heating to turn off the bedrooms get cold and our daughter wakes up at 4am, if we leave it on we get hot and wake up. So finally I took the plunge and ordered the Honeywell Evohome system from The Evohome Shop not only were they one of the cheapest but they have a support forum and from reviews etc online seem to be quick to help.

The Honeywell Evohome system is a wireless smart home thermostat, but for me its greatest feature is that it can control individual radiator thermostats which each act as sensor and actuator, so rather than making the fairly random guess between 1 and 6 for how hot a room is and then hoping that the heating is on when you want it to be, each room can demand heat as required and be closed off to save energy when not. The latest version of the controller also has built-in Wifi so can connect to your router and then the internet so the system can be controlled remotely via an iPhone or Android app. 

The installation was relatively painless, our system doesn’t have a proper 10way junction box as Honeywell suggest but rather a box full of screw connector blocks. When I installed a new pump last year I upgraded these to Wago connectors to tidy it up and give better connections but they are still a jumble of wires in a box. Once I’d identified which cables were which and disconnected the unused cables for the room stat and spares leading to the old timer it was easy to wire in the BDR91 relay devices as per the instructions.

Setting up the Evohome controller was straight forward, it was a step by step guide and binding (pairing) the various room thermostats was a simple procedure. The greater problem came when setting up the relays, the controller comes with one of the BDR91 relays as a kit, this is pre-bound as the boiler control. Then with the Hot Water Kit, a second BDR91 is supplied. The obvious assumption is that the relay for turning the heating on and off would be the one pre-bound and labeled boiler control, then the 2nd BDR91 from the hot water kit would be bound for turning on hot water.

The problem occurs when you try to setup the hot water, it asks if you have “2 two way or 3 way valves” or “Hot water only valve”, I have a 3 way so selected to first option, the controller asks to bind the Hot Water relay, this is fine, but then it asks to bind the Heating relay, so I bind the one that came with the controller. All seems well so hopefully it all works. I start testing it, turn the room temperature up and wait, and wait, and wait. Nothing happens, well, I’d gone downstairs maybe its a signal issue, so I head into the hallway, centre of the house so should reach everything, lets try that again. Nothing still, OK maybe I screwed up the bindings, so lets do a factory reset and try that again. Followed the instructions again and all looks good, I begin testing and the heating comes on, happy days, but within a few seconds it went off, and the hot water wouldn’t do anything.

OK so I take to the internet, read the FAQ’s, and the Evohome Shop Forum. The main issue I found seemed to be that the BDR91 relays must be minimum 30cm from any other devices and from any large metal objects, boilers & water tanks particularly. (The manual just shows 30cm from the boiler). So I moved the relays, and separated them and managed to get them over 30cm from the HW tank. I tried the system again and unbound and rebound the devices. Still no luck or HW and heating.

After more googling & reading the forum posts I find one that discusses the same Y-Plan system I have, this one suggested that because the heating and HW relays control the 3-way valve and then this controls the boiler this setup doesn’t require a separate boiler relay. So the boiler relay that came pre-bound should be unbound and the boiler relay set to None. Then the Heating and Hot Water relays would both be bound through the Hot Water setup.

Success, after a 4th unbinding and rebinding exercise it finally began working in some way as expected, heating worked, it would come on as expected and go off again but still no joy on hot water. I gave up on it and went to bed figuring that it would be a case of fault finding in the morning.

The following morning I get up wondering where to start, do I reset it all and go from scratch, do I check the wiring again for a 3rd time, should I switch the relays around and see if its a faulty relay, etc, etc. First things first though have a wash and get dressed, who’d have thought, hot water. Maybe its left over from last night, lets worry about it after breakfast. Some deeper testing and once again the heating is working, but the hot water is at temperature too. OK so the easiest test is to take the thermostat of the tank and let the temperature drop, sure enough after about 2 minutes the temp on the controller updates and the relay clicks, the valve turns and the boiler fires, put the thermostat back on the tank and after another couple of minutes the temp goes back up and the relay clicks off. I’m not sure what happened overnight, maybe I didn’t test properly after the final reset but it’s now working so I’m not going to question it.

Conclusion: It’s only been 24hours since I installed so we’ll see how it functions long term but as a review of the installation process I have to say that the physical installation is much easier than configuring the settings on the device, I don’t know whether the installer training that Honeywell provides covers this in more depth but the different configurations and the fact that although the relay comes pre-bound it is likely wrong for the majority of installations all seems counterintuitive. In the end I figured it out without contacting Evohome Shop for assistance but I did find the important information on their forum so must give them credit for that.

I did today check the heating while we were out and although it was an unseasonably warm day I did consider boosting the heating ready for when we got home. I’ll try and remember to update this again once we’ve had the system running for a few weeks with a better review of performance.

The power of professional tools

The power of professional tools

I’ve been an advocate of the Bosch DIY (Green) power tools for many years, they are capable, have lasted well and are cheap by comparison to the professional offering. I’ve got just about every type of tool they do in the DIY range and I couldnt fault any of them. I’ve had 4 drills over the last 10 years, every 2-3 years they start to wear out so they get bumped down and a new model comes in as my go to drill. For example my original 14v cordless slips on any serious drilling and even struggles with screw driving but is perfectly happy drilling pilot holes for woodworking so just sits in the workshop with a pilot bit ready for use.

When I’ve met sales reps at various outlets the only selling point they’ve offered for the Professional (Blue) version was that you could throw them in the air and they wouldnt break. I’m sure thats a useful feature for some, I however look after my tools and although accidents can happen to anyone the price difference makes it worth the risk.

Recently however I decided to get a cordless angle grinder, these are only available in the professional ranges so it was time to take the plunge. I opted for a Bosch Brushless Drill with charge and 2x batteries, mainly because it was cheaper to by this than the charger and batteries separately. I then bought the angle grinder “bare” without battery.

The drill is far more than simply a tougher version that can be thrown about, as an 18v cordless drill it ploughs through brickwork with the ease of my corded SDS (Bosch Green) and drilling joists for cables was a breeze, not only did it drill the hole better than anything else it also fit between the joists unlike the SDS. Battery life has been good so far with dozens of screws done and only 1 bar of life used. I can now say that I wish I’d made the switch a long time ago and certainly before I bought my last green drill a few months ago.

I’ve hardly used the angle grinder but am certainly happy with what I have done and the ease of cordless it fantastic.

Jet-JTS10 Table Saw Review

Jet-JTS10 Table Saw Review

After spending time searching eBay for a suitable saw I bought a Jet JTS-10, this model is the entry level to Axminsters range at £199 but seems to have a couple of features over and above Axminsters own Hobby models And significantly more than cheaper models from Screwfix or Machine Mart.


Capacity
At this price level, they seem a fairly standard 10″ or 254mm blade size, a couple quote 250mm but this is probably an equivalent European designation.
The Jet will cut a respectable 80mm @ 90º down to 55mm @ 45º, 20mm more than the basic Axminster model and with a 1500W motor compared to 1100W should have the power to keep up.

Adjustments
This is an area that the Jet differs from many models at similar prices. Most low-end table saws have a hand wheel to adjust the blade height that also acts as a handle to pull or push the mechanism to change the angle with a lever to lock it. The Axminster and Jet have 2 separate hand wheels, one on the front for height and one on the side for angle, this allows a much more accurate and controlled adjustment to be made.

Table Top, Mitre Gauge & Fence
The table top is made from cast aluminium, the version I have is fully painted in a cream colour, the version Axminster stock now has the grooves painted but the top bare aluminium looking almost as if it was painted and then sanded back, this might be done to ensure the top is perfectly flat after production.
The mitre gauge was missing on the model I bought but having read various reviews about how bad it is I wasn’t concerned and knew that UJK made well-reviewed replacements (although they cost nearly as much as the saw did). The problem with this began when I visited Axminster to get one, I looked at them on the shelf and they seemed too big for the slots, assuming it was a trick of the eye I picked one up and took it to the saw on display. Sure enough, it was about 2mm too wide for the slot, looking at the Axminster models both hobby and higher end they all fit fine. It appears that the Jet has a 16.6mm (5/8″) slot widening to 20mm to make the T shape compared to a straight 19mm (3/4″) on the Axminster.
This is going to take some work to resolve as it doesn’t appear that anyone makes a suitable gauge or T-Track to fit so will have to look at making my own.

At first impressions, this seems a capable unit with good and bad features I’ll update this post as I get it cleaned up and decide what to do with it.

UPDATE:


It’s cleaned and a new blade fitted, I took over a vacuum bag full of dust out of it, the insides were literally solid with sawdust and thin scraps so it took quite some cleaning. I’ve had a play with it and it’s working well, I’ve made a few test cuts in a variety of materials. The next jobs will be to build it into a table to give a wider cutting range and then to build a cross cut sled for it.

Axminster Radial Pillar Drill

Axminster Radial Pillar Drill

Pillar Drill Box

For Christmas this year my incredibly understanding wife bought me a pillar drill for the workshop. I looked at lots of options and read many reviews before deciding what to go for, these ranged from the small units sold by many retailers under  a number of brands but look very similar to the Engineering Series at Axminster and as nice as it was slightly out of budget doesn’t come close (£2500) so eventually I decided on the Axminster Hobby AH16FRD.

This is a floor mounted radial type pillar drill, its biggest feature is its adjustable throat allowing adjustment up to 440mm compared to 178mm on the non adjustable version. It also allow adjustment of the drilling angle up to 90º left and right so plenty of flexibility for the future.

Drill Parts

Building the drill was relatively simple as the main components (drill head, motor etc) were already assembled but does need at least 2 people. The base, pillar, table were all simple to put together with basic tools and it even included a couple of Allen keys to help. The only complication was fitting the drill head assembly to the pillar, this doesn’t seem difficult on the surface but the throat adjustment is locked with a Bristol clamping handle, this screws against a small metal spacer block that fits into a recess in the drill head. It took 3 attempts to place the drill head onto the column without this falling out, considering the head must weigh a significant proportion of the 62kg total this wasn’t the easiest of tasks with just 2 people.

Axminster AH16FRD Radial Pillar Drill

Once assembled I was pretty happy with the results a few test drills proved effective and the flexibility of the design looked impressive. A couple of issues did show the main one was that the chuck didn’t retract after drilling, this isn’t the end of the world as it can easily be wound back with the handle but it is annoying. The other is more concerning, the spindle has a definite wobble when retracted that goes away as the drill is extended, I know counter intuitive but that’s what’s happening.

Quill not retracting

 

Update:

I contacted Axminster and quickly got a reply that the return spring may be faulty and they dispatched a replacement that was delivered the following day. This seems like excellent service and I was initially very impressed, however this evaporated as I disassembled my new toy. After taking the spring out of its holder I realised the replacement they had sent was significantly smaller than the original, but I persevered and tried fitting it, winding the tension enough to just hold the quill up let alone retract it after drilling caused the new spring to snap. I can confirm that certain expletives were offered at this point. To add insult to (coming) injury it quickly became obvious that the original spring had been tightly wound to fit into the holder, to get it back together took a frustratingly long time and an even more annoying amount of spilt blood from my fingers as the spring quickly unwound each time I slipped. The final solution was a jig with 2 bits of wood with holes in, a pair of needle nose pliers held in the vice and a screw to retain the spring.

Return Spring Comparison

During these struggles I ended up disassembling the quill and feed arm, this exposed the very poor quality of manufacturing on these lower end units. The main casting is very rough and the edges around the quill I suspect contributed to the issue of it not retracting. The second thing I noticed is the machining on the quill itself was very rough and the channel that a locking screw slides through to prevent the quill rotating was rough to the point that when taken out of the drill and put together the locking screw noticeably catches at numerous points. I was able to file this groove smooth and consistent width so that the locking screw now moves smoothly, with a little TLC on the casing itself and a liberal application of grease to the mechanism I’ve been able to get the retraction smooth and consistent.

Quill

The vibration continues and I will investigate this further before contacting Axminster again about getting it resolved.

Update 2:
This evening I disassembled the drill again and applied a liberal coating of grease to all parts, this made it run significantly smoother with virtually no vibration so hopefully that has resolved the problem.

Overall I am happy with the drill as it does work well and over the month since getting it I have taken full advantage of its flexibility in throat length to drill large and small objects and now wouldn’t be without it.

Pillar Drill Speed Chart

Pillar Drill Speed Chart

For an amateur its often difficult to remember what speeds to set the pillar drill for various materials, bit types and sizes so I began searching online for a comprehensive list. Well that was easier said than done, many sites offer either lists or charts, some are wood only, some metal only, others only cover specific bits and most are in imperial.

So I set about to produce my own, its a combination of several I found online and links are at the bottom to the main ones although I looked at dozens so know I’ve missed a few.

Click the image below to download a PDF file you can print out for your workshop.

Pillar drill speed chart from Twenty2a.co.uk
Pillar drill speed chart from Twenty2a.co.uk

Sites I used for reference:

https://www.fnal.gov/pub/takefive/pdfs/Drill_Press_Speed_Chart.pdf

http://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworking-tips/techniques/drilling-boring/drill-press-speed-chart/

http://store.curiousinventor.com/guides/drill_speed

Plus various manuals for pillar drills from a number of manufacturers.

Anglepoise Information Sources

Anglepoise Information Sources

I’ve tried to credit sources as I’ve refered to them but in case I missed any here is an overview of the sources I’ve used.

30 Something – http://www.30-something.co.uk
This is a retailer of various new and vintage lights with a huge range of spare parts and tools for repairing and restoring the Anglepoise lamps.

Twelve Twenty Seven – https://twelvetwentyseven.wordpress.com
Harry Langworthy has produced a superb resource with lots of excellent information on the 1227 and the best dating guide I’ve found.

Relight Lamps – http://www.relightlamps.com
These guys have produced a superb resource of step by step restoration guides and videos covering just about everything for a 1227 restoration.

Vintage Anglepoise Lamps – https://sites.google.com/site/vintageanglepoiselamps/home
This is a site with a lot of information on the early 1208 / 1209 models both original Cardine and later Herbert Terry versions.

Anglepoise Type 75

Anglepoise Type 75

I’ve found the information available online for the Type 75 and Type 90 lamps very limited so I will try to document the units I’ve got and help others. The limited information I have found differenciates the Type 75 as having a rear mounted rocker switch and the Type 90 as a rear mounted push switch.

Starting from the top down…

Lamp Shade, bulb holder & switch

The shade is the most obvious difference to the earlier 1227 model with a much smoother shape. It attaches to the upper arm by a new fitting with a cylindrical barrel that limits the up / down pitch of the shade but offers a cleaner appearance than the 1227. The bulb holder is mounted on a bracket inside the shade, attached using the screws coming through from the arm attachment. The final area is the rear of the shade, this is attached with a spring clip and holds the power switch.

Arms & Springs

The arms are virtually identical to the late 1227 versions with the plastic tension bar and bushes. The big difference is the lack of the spacer normally found 2/3rds up the lower arms. The spings like the arms are virtually identical to the previous model.

U Section

A much more rounded shape to the arms as well as the bottom of the U compared to earlier models but with the same distinctive shape overall and mounting positions. The Herbert Terry ID badge is similar to the earlier version but the reverse is a simpler “ANGLEPOISE TRADE MARK” marking.

Base

The base is a smooth domed shape with a similar construction of cast sub-base and coloured cover as the 1227.

Anglepoise 1227

Anglepoise 1227

Certain products have a timeless appeal, whether its a particular aesthetic, an innovative design or just simply have a cool factor. One such product for me is the Anglepoise lamp, I’ve had an affection for this style of lamp since it bounced into my life in the opening scenes of a Pixar movie. Since then I’ve gone on to study engineering with an emphasis on design and the lust for these lamps has grown until I finally found one on eBay at a suitable price (not £200 that some sell for) and bought it.

Black Anglepoise 1227

Thanks to a great blog, (TwelveTwentySeven) I’ve been able to roughly date my lamp to the 1950’s with a 2 step base with steel cover over the cast base and wider shade, the other identifying feature is the metal adjustment bar about 2 inch up the lower arms. The “V” shape at the connecting the base to the arms is inscribed on one side with “THE ANGLEPOISE PAT IN UK AND ABROAD” and on the other with “MADE BY HERBERT TERRY & SONS LTD REDDITCH ENG” but sadly both of these are quite faded.

The bulb holder is clearly not original and I presume the cable has also been replaced over the years, the shade has a few dents and the paint has clearly been “touched” up so not entirely original.

20150611-0006 20150611-0005 Name Plate Name Plate

The wiring was in a fairly terrible state with the plug loose, no cable clamp, the fuse rattling in the holder and the live cable held by a single strand. The cable is only 2 core so no earth and looks worryingly like speaker cable then the bulb holder was equally as loose and the cable poorly secured. As a temporary fix I’ve replaced the plug and refitted the bulb holder.

So what now, well it works but it needs a really good clean to see what condition its really in. As mentioned the paint has been touched up at least and the damage to the makers name could suggest sanding for a previous restoration. The springs look in reasonable condition just very grubby and the wiring definitely needs replacing so it does need some work.

I’ll keep a log of what I do and update this as I go.

**Update**

I havent made much progress with the original lamp i bought, other than putting it on the desk and using it. I have however gone and bought a second light which will be the subject of the first restoration project.

The new one is a cream version, and although not to my taste cosmetically its is possibly in a slightly better condition than the black version. It also has the original adjustable spring holders which I now realise the black one doesn’t.