|Price:||AU$299.00. Way overpriced.|
I've moved from a home with Daikin air conditioners hooked into my home automation system. Daikin have a great little module (BRP072A42) for AU$165, which you can communicate with using simple REST calls to control the air conditioners, and even pull useful data like power consumption.
Moving into a new home with a brand new Toshiba VRF system, I expected Toshiba would have a similar WiFi module providing the same control. Alas – no! Toshiba's recommended solution is to buy the TO-RC-WIFI-1 module branded as "IntesisHome" from a third-party Spanish company. You require one of these modules per indoor condenser unit. The price certainly adds up when you have four!
The marketing looked great! Their website claimed "Full control of your HVAC system, we provide the same functionalities you have in your Remote Controller" – and "IntesisHome system is capable of reading the error messages generated by the connected AC units".
Unlike Daikin's Wi-Fi module, these IntesisHome boxes are "Cloud Only". These modules work only when your Internet connection is up, when IntesisHome's Spanish cloud servers are up, and depend on a stable connection always being maintained. I won't even mention the privacy problems.
No local API is available, and none is planned (confirmed with their "Product Management Manager"). Communication to the IntesisHome cloud is via a proprietary binary protocol on a custom, changing, TCP port.
Latency is poor – press a button (e.g. "ON") in their app, and it takes between 5 to 10 seconds for the air con unit to respond.
Which brings me to reliability.
Oh boy are these units unreliable.
Turn the air conditioner on using the App. It waits around 5-10 seconds, the "on" light in the app lights up, goes off, then lights up again, showing the air conditioner as being powered on. Standing right beside the air conditioner, and it's well and truly off. Even more worryingly is the opposite occurs, too. The app will show the air conditioner as being "off", while it's diligently tearing a hole in your power bill.
Other controls in the app have the same problem – temperature control, fan speed control.
WiFi range can only be described as "poor". The external aerial from the module is just under 5 meters and behind one wall from my Access Point. The only way the module gets a reliable enough signal is when the Access Point is within 3 meters or less. If the Wi-Fi signal drops out, it takes around 5 minutes to re-establish connectivity back to Spain.
I've had one instance where a module randomly became completely unresponsive. The only way to re-establish connectivity was to turn the whole air conditioning system off at the fuse box, and start it from cold.
IntesisHome's website is quite misleading. While they claim "Full control", control is limited to core functions. Additional vendor-specific functions (e.g. a Toshiba RBC-SMF1 interface board to control a booster fan) is absent. Their website also claims the IntesisHome modules can read & report the device error codes, but they definitely can't. The errors list is completely empty (even when an error is shown on the wired Toshiba remote controller)
Summary: Money wasted.
Toshiba unfortunately don't have any reasonably-priced integration options. Other options are:
- Cool Master Net (AU$3,168) – Third party again
- Toshiba's own BMS-SM1280HTLE (AU$4,424)