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ecobee room sensor weather proofing hack

RandyBrownRandyBrown San Jose, CAMember
edited July 3 in ecobee

I'm completely frustrated with ecobee's use of the CustomWeather service and their slow performance when it comes to updating my local weather. In addition, I'm in the Bay Area where temps change from one minute (and mile) to the next. CustomWeather is indicating temps for my ecobee's location thats off by several degrees and an hour or more old. All I want is an accurate temp reading just outside my house, thats what the ecobee3 is suppose to do. So I'm considering a bit of DIY weather proofing of one of my ecobee room sensor's then relocating it to the outdoors - perhaps just outside our back door with both Follow Me and Motion disabled plus no participation in the comfort settings. I placed one sensor outside today as a test and it recorded (and held) an outside temp of 83 degrees, up from 76 degrees after only 18-20mins of outdoor exposure. I compaired it against a few WeatherUnderground stations near me and it was correct….wow!

Maybe a bit of silicone type glue along the joint that splits the front and back half of the sensor. How about a patch of sticky Gorilla tape covering the battery compartment door to seal out the elements yet still allowing door removal to swap out the batteries later. Or perhaps simply positioning an unaltered sensor inside a 4in long 3in wide hanging PVC pipe capped off on one end and a mesh screen on the other end for air flow - then set it outside somewhere away from direct sunlight.

If I follow through with this project I plan to buy a fresh pair of sensors and use one outdoors. I'm willing to sacrifice a sensor just to see if this will work….ha! So is this crazy? Any suggestions, tips?

Comments

  • KRUZNBYKRUZNBY Raleigh, NCMember

    It will still participate in manual overrides of temperature. I wouldn't advise it.

  • lsbrodskylsbrodsky New Bern, NCMember

    What do you need to do to see sensor temperature? The beauty of the internet based temp is that it shows outdoor temp without touching the stat. Just buy one of the cheap remote digital thermometers and use it for outdoor temp.

  • RandyBrownRandyBrown San Jose, CAMember

    Hey, KRUZNB

    I currently have Follow Me and Smart Home/Away disabled across both of my room sensors (2 sensors) and both are also set to NOT participate in my Comfort Settings. Currently I only want my room sensors to tell me the temperature in those areas of my house as those areas are unoccupied 95% of the time. If I manually override the temperature setting on the ecobee thermostat (temporarily) how will the roles of the 2 room sensors change?

  • RandyBrownRandyBrown San Jose, CAMember

    Hi, lsbrodsky

    I looked at several mini weather sensors complete with small hand held tablet style color LCD screens filled with information about the outside weather over on Amazon - they are all pretty nice. But I kinda don't want another screen next to my ecobee3 thermostat loading me up with additional information in addition to the simple outside temperature reading I'm looking for. Also, my ecobee3 is mounted next to my ADT control unit, a 3rd screen will make that area on the wall start to look cluttered.

    I will say that the Elgato Eve Weather looks really nice, it too would give me more information than I'm looking for but man….it's slick! The Elgato Eve Weather delivers it's data using a smartphone app which would force my family members and I to always use our smartphones for an outside temperature report while standing right in front of the ecobee display that should be giving us the same report….rats! So at the end of the day I really don't want to buy a completely different product to fix what the ecobee should be doing but can't due to hampered performance and bad partnerships.

  • EFTCEFTC CanadaMember

    I too would advice against placing the room sensors outside just to get a temperature.

    For me, the outdoor temp is handled by an independent AccuRite system where a sensor is placed outside and 2 weather stations (LCD screens) are placed throughout the house. it works independently and separate from the Ecobee 3 theremostat.

    If I am away, I am only interested in what is going on inside the house. Knowing that outside temperature of my house -30C when I am at a beach in Barbados is meaningless; however, it is important for me to know that my house is 14C when it is -30C outside is important.

  • KRUZNBYKRUZNBY Raleigh, NCMember

    @RandyBrown said:
    Hey, KRUZNB

    I currently have Follow Me and Smart Home/Away disabled across both of my room sensors (2 sensors) and both are also set to NOT participate in my Comfort Settings. Currently I only want my room sensors to tell me the temperature in those areas of my house as those areas are unoccupied 95% of the time. If I manually override the temperature setting on the ecobee thermostat (temporarily) how will the roles of the 2 room sensors change?

    IIRC it does not matter what comfort settings you are using, if you manually override it will use all sensors to calculate the average. You can test it out if you like before weatherproofing.

  • pvr4mepvr4me Member

    @RandyBrown said:
    I will say that the Elgato Eve Weather looks really nice, it too would give me more information than I'm looking for but man….it's slick! The Elgato Eve Weather delivers it's data using a smartphone app which would force my family members and I to always use our smartphones for an outside temperature report ...

    I have had the first generation Eve Weather for almost two years and the main problem is that it is SLOW. If you open the app, it takes 4 to 8 seconds to obtain the outside readings (temperature, humidity, barometric pressure). I've given up asking for the temp via Siri--it almost always failed to respond the first time. I did find, however, that if you immediately asked a second time, it would normally respond. I think the device goes into a deep sleep and takes a long time to wake up.

    The second problem is range. It uses Bluetooth. I have it mounted outside so, of course, there is a brick wall between it and the interior of the house. It ONLY works if I am within a few feet of the device--about 1/2 of the adjacent room. AIUI, adding an AppleTV to that room would not help. AppleTV acts as a gateway for communication outside your local network but not within. This severely limits the usefulness of the device since, for example, I can't check the outside temperature from my bedroom. Or anywhere else.

    The system does have nice graphs showing trends over the last day, month and year. HOWEVER, the data is not automatically retrieved. Only 14 days is stored on the device. You have to open the app and wait for the data to be transferred. This takes a minimum of 20 seconds (to get, say, 12 hours of data) and sometimes much longer. If you don't do this at least every two weeks, you'll have gaps in your graphs. OTOH, if you do keep updating the data, you can email it to yourself for your own analysis.

    I bought the Eve Weather just to play with it. In that sense, its OK but it is not a valuable home automation device for me or a capable weather station. YMMV.

    Craig

  • jeabrahamjeabraham Member

    I like my WirelessTag.net outdoor temp sensor. Cheap and reliable. Unfortunately, you need to take your phone out of your pocket to see the temperature.

    Is there a way to post the outdoor temperature to the ecobee? Does it have some sort of API we can call?

  • RandyBrownRandyBrown San Jose, CAMember

    Hi, prv4me

    I have yet to read any reviews on the 2nd Gen Elgato Eve Weather, I wonder if it suffers from the same problems as Gen 1?

  • RandyBrownRandyBrown San Jose, CAMember

    Hi, jeabraham

    I took a look at the WirelessTag…Wow, cool little device. I watch the demo of how the high/low temperature warning works, alerting only when a threshold is broken but it will check the sensor at a chosen interval reguardless of temperature warnings, auto-ping or the "update every" option…right? About $60-$70 for the Ethernet Tag Manager and 1 temperature sensor…not bad.

  • RandyBrownRandyBrown San Jose, CAMember

    @KRUZNBY

    I have yet to use the manual override feature on my ecobee3 but thats not to say that a family member might decide to use it. The outside temperature reached 98-101 here in South San Jose, CA 2 weeks ago. A high outdoor temperature reading mixed in with an indoor temperature of 77 degrees will fool my AC into running all day. I guess the sensor HACK is canceled.

  • EFTCEFTC CanadaMember
    edited July 6

    Leave the sensor indoors and just use an alternative system for outside weather. Simple solution.

    Better yet, just get an outdoor thermometer and mount it by the window. It only costs $3.00 US to solve a simple problem https://lowes.com/pd/AcuRite-Wireless-Indoor-Outdoor-White-Thermometer/1000208775

  • JesseJesse Member

    I don't understand why outdoor temp readings aren't dead simple. Since I don't live at the airport, why am I served airport weather? Why can't there be an accommodation for one or more "room" sensors placed outdoors, recognizing it/them for that situation? It can't be a hardware issue, just programming, no? It might help move this thermostat out of the all-show-no-go category.

  • lsbrodskylsbrodsky New Bern, NCMember

    I cannot answer your question, but I had a thermostat that used an optional outdoor temperature monitor for lockout control. This monitor required a battery and had to be within wireless range of the thermostat. The thermostat also required an internet connection for remote access. I suggest the Ecobee method of using temperature from an internet source is better. As said earlier, if you want to know the exact temp at your house, just buy a cheap digital or put a thermometer outside your window.
    Larry

  • RandyBrownRandyBrown San Jose, CAMember

    I'm now considering one of the AccuRite weather station's or the Netatmo weather station. Both allow your personal weather data to be shared with the WeatherUnderground system. Weather forcast from your personal weather station can then be accessed via voice commands with an Amazon Echo "Alexa" device if you install the WeatherUnderground skill in the Amazon Echo settings. I've seen it in action and it seems to work. The biggest downside is that weather data used by ecobee's algorithm will still come from a inaccurate source.

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