What the Puck: Flair Smart Vents, Wireless Thermostats Available for Preorders

I have looked at the Keene but they don’t offer the size vent I need. What size vents will be available?

I was hoping that an Ecobee Remote sensor could be read directly by the Puck (while not paired with the E3) and that the Puck would also be able to control the Keen Vents, as the ST hub does.
It is plain that while having the Internet of Things makes many things possible, it also makes it possible to make really lousy architectural decisions, such as involving a computer somewhere lost in space in what should rationally be a purely local feedback control loop for HVAC and security applications. You are simply adding far too much unnecessary complexity to the whole equation, and that equals poor reliability.
So I won’t be buying in on this, as IMHO it won’t be any more reliable than ST.

I understand your concern and agree with the desire to have everything operate locally. But again, I will emphasize that your Keen and Ecobee components, while having a local network connection are still relying on algorithms running on servers off premise.

We will be exposing an optional (LAN security model is poor but many have asked for the option anyways) API hosted on the Puck. But in order to build an adequate thermal model of the building, during set up time and the time immediately following the install, we need to use a large set of data points and run some exploratory algorithms. Once that learning has been finished, the Puck will able to run its basic algorithm with these algorithms that have distilled down some system coefficients. There is only one thermostat I know of with an entirely local API - Venstar. If you have their device and our devices you will be able to run long term without an internet connection.

If anything, we are providing the best solution for a non internet connected solution and the other systems you have chosen are your limitations.

Actually, the Ecobee 3 operates just fine day-to-day without any Internet connection at all, because it is only reporting stats to the host and retrieving local weather information. If you disconnect if from wi-fi, it doesn’t even complain.
You can’t remotely set it that way, of course, and it does need a connection for the local weather info, but it continues to operate the equipment as expected, unlike ST-connected HVAC.

Sure, in the same way that our system by itself is able to operate on its own if controlling a minisplit/window AC.

My point is that for integration it can’t be done without an internet connection as they have no local integration options even if internally they offer an acceptable offline experience.

I have a large open area in my home and was wondering if one puck would be able to be linked to multiple vents? The largest area has 3 vents and its own return air in that area.

Hi @Intimnasc,

Absolutely. Its pretty common to have multiple Vents in a given room and one of the main reasons we are selling the Vents and Pucks seperately, so you can mix and match for your house. The only thing to consider is whether in that room there are large temperature deltas across the room. In that case an additional Puck might make sense and can be added later if it makes sense. Let me know if I can help with anything else :slightly_smiling:

Cheers,
Dan

@dandroid88 Hey man 1 more question that may have been coveredbut I cant remember reading it. On the website it says it will launch with Ecobee integration. My question is do I use your pucks or theirs? Or is it my choice which way to go?

Totally interesting system. I invested in ecovent back in Nov 2014, vents are due to ship any day now. Im excited for them but love that your product uses the puck that can be in the room, so I don’t have to use the app to adjust the temp. There’s a lot of additional technology also in your system such as the Bluetooth, it blaster and that you have already spoke about how open API and intergrstion will be. I know the ecovent has put a lot of time and technology in the sensors in their vents to monitor air flow, pressure and health of the HVAC system. To me that’s the most important to ensure no frozen coils, do you have similar safety measures to ensure the HVAC systems health?

Hi Intimnasc,

It is your choice. We will consume their data or you can use ours which have a slightly different feature set. Note that you do need at least one puck to act as our gateway.

Cheers,
Dan

We have a similar set of sensors and protections. Its not actually that complicated - essentially you need sensors in the duct work and in the room. The delta between those can be used in conjunction with a few other things to understand the changes to the external static pressure imparted by opening and closing vents. Combine that with some data analytics on the cloud side to look for overly hot temperature values at the vent or short cycling of the compressor and you can figure out where the limits are for a given system. One big difference though is that they require you to buy an entire set of homes worth of units in order to better calculate some of these coefficients, well except for bathrooms and closets (don’t really understand this given their approach to the rest of the house) while we are suggesting that we can be a bit more flexible. The flexibility comes from a number of studies that have shown safe limits for open and closing are vents by simply knowing the total number of vents (and their size) and preventing too many from closing at any given time. I think the Ecovent system is a well designed system and I hope you enjoy yours. We are excited that people like our technology decisions and are glad to see excitement around the Internet of Practical Things :smiley:

Cheers,
Dan

Hi @dandroid88,

How can we control the Flair smart vents (setLevel, getLevel, on/off) from ST? Is it thru the Puck thermostat and how?

Regards.

The API is not finalized but you can see more details here:
https://api.flair.co

We will manage these things automatically for you (you just tell us the temperature, we figure out how to open/close) in most cases but for power users that want to control things themselves you can send everything through the cloud API. There will be a local API on the Puck but we are still trying to decide how to handle a couple of details there. Many have asked for a local API but my concerns are around the security model.

The Puck acts as a wireless sensor node in most cases with one of them being powered to act as a gateway to the cloud. They can all flip on wifi to download firmware updates also.

Cheers,
Dan

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Where are you at with these?

On the site, I don’t see anything about estimated shipping dates or anything. All I see is the opportunity to pre-order.

I would buy one right now if they were available.

Hi @sgnihttrams,

We are busily working on shipping out some early units :slight_smile: A few leave our facility over the next week, a second batch is being built in November and a larger batch December/January. We didn’t hit our original timeline but we are feeling really good about the product as we opted to spend more time testing and solidifying. Glad to hear you like what you see and sad to say we don’t have inventory to ship to you immediately but we are working on it and making slow and steady progress!

Cheers,
Dan

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Here is the Flair implementation under the ST platform:

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Congrats @yvesracine!

Really exciting to have a Robust smartThings integration built on our API for minisplit, portable heater, window AC, IR, smart thermostat, Pucks, and Flair Smart Vents all in one package - so much control!

Really great work and I can’t wait to hook this up to my SmartThings setup and give it a whirl. I know our customers that have tried this out have really loved it :nerd_face:

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Hi Dan,

Could you post the same feedback in your Flair forum whenever you have some time (with the link to my post in the ST forum)?.. It would be great to let your flair customers know that they are all taken care of when it comes down to the SmartThings integration…

Thnx!

Best Regards.

Hi Dan,

  1. How many levels of adjustments does the Flair Smart Vent have between open and close?

  2. Can you guys sell a cheaper version of the Puck Sensor, say around a $50 price point compared to the $100 Puck Gateway? The cost adds up for the sensors when I want to zone each room of the house. I understand it costs almost the same for making them, but it will help if you sell a sensor model cheaper than the gateway.

  3. I’d echo what some others have said on the forum - use motion detection rather than bluetooth gateway for occupancy detection.

  4. Is there a difference in how frequent and fast the communications are if the sensor is battery powered vs connected to USB? Even if you make a cheaper Puck sensor, please keep the USB power option.

Hi Dan, Yves,

  1. Does the Flair smart vents, Flair Puck and SmartThings integration let these devices work locally via the SmartThings Hub or does it have to go through the cloud? In other words, once they are set up correctly, if my internet connection is lost, will they continue to work together via my ST Hub and my home LAN?

Thanks!

No, custom devices and custom apps do not run locally. If you loose internet the only automations that will work is smart lighting with stock DTH’s.