Develop a "basic backup schedule" mode for when Tado outage or loss of internet

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  • I've read the whole thread and I'm also concerned about complete dependency on cloud connectivity.

    I bought a tado system 1 month ago and did not know about this issue, just assumed without connection to the cloud the schedule would continue like dumb thermostat work...

    I'm a senior software engineer, and want to propose another idea. Not sure if is possible but seems that the embedded engineers have their hands full so this solution would be easy on the firmware side.

    My idea would be to simply use the phone which has the app installed to control the bridge when for example the bridge can't be reached for more than 30 minutes. This completely solves the timer/clock issue on the bridge. Because phones have an extra connection to the internet (4g) they would still be able to reach the cloud servers. Keep in mind this does not mean local control by the phone but simply that the phone acts as a relay that in the event bridge loosing connection, the phone simply gets automatically the schedule from the cloud and starts updating the bridge when needed until bridge connection to internet is restored. Obviously this would only work if the phone is connected to the local network.

    Bear in mind that this does not solve the dependency on cloud, if cloud services are unavailable then it wouldn't work.
  • Damn!

    I really like the Tado system, but yesterday the heating failed to start in the morning, I could not work out why until I read this thread.

    Now I have to decide whether to send the whole system back :-(

    I can't believe the system does not keep a local copy of the schedule!

    Do other systems like Nest and Hive have the same problem?

  • Who is even on the development team on the software side? Only 1 part-time programmer who works 10 hours a week?

  • @Mywindowisyourhouse lol, I have wondered the same thing more than once - the dev team don't often appear to be very productive!

    @Jurian and @Rob there is a thread running about what the community would like to see from a revamp - general consensus is "more interaction", yet there doesn't seem to be much change. In fact that thread itself has had no input from either of you in more than a month. Not a great advert for improvement in engagement from Tado !

    There are a number of positive suggestions in this thread from professional technologists that understand the challenges caused by change requests like this. I suggested creating a separate device that can be purchased and installed locally to act as a cloud substitute, @Pedcipr suggested using the mobile device as a bridge. How about providing an app that can run on a Raspberry Pi in the interim, to provide the cloud function locally ? I don't mind paying a subscription for the feature, as long as I can get the feature and get it running, and I would imagine that a reasonable number of other forum people would be happy to use Pi or similar if it fixes the problem. Using RPi means no lengthy wait for hardware design and approval, just a software fix that should be comparatively easy to create and link to the existing bridge.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that I wouldn't prefer another nice white box (ideally with POE support to avoid a growing requirement for power sockets), and a simple "tick box" in the Tado App to say "Enable Local Scheduler" to solve this issue once and for all.

    This is the problem with Christmas - time off to think about these things !

    Thanks :)

  • Sadly nothing is changing here, we had our answer from Tado earlier in this thread.

    This opinion from Tado says it all; “..If you live in an area where your internet connection is so unstable that you have multiple outages over a heating season, maybe tado V2/V3/V3+ is not the product for you. Our current product offering requires a stable internet connection to function properly…”

    Such a shame the corporate marketing doesn’t reflect this honest statement. As most of us know, nothing like this is written in ANY pre-sale material, or on Tado.com, or in the manual, or, or, or…. (!)

    So [whilst the cost and hassle of installation is fresh in mind] I begrudgingly now accept I am living with a cloud-only, cloud-dependent heating & water system.. the last thing I would knowingly do. I doubt I will let it continue for a second winter.

    Frustratingly, elsewhere on this forum it’s clear power users (which apparently we are) are treated as a demanding minority who don’t represent the masses. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s because we’ve already paid our fees? Either way I think it’s short-sighted to bracket an enthusiastic bunch of users in such a way.

    Rather than beat our heads against a brick wall here, I suspect the only thing that will influence product design is harm to new sales. I know when I provided honest feedback on public app stores and review sites Tado were extremely quick to respond and in one case tried to have my comments removed. It certainly provoked a reaction.

  • Hi, during the first installation between the boiler and the tado wireless receiver, I inserted a switch so that I could switch to the old thermostat with one click. 

    According to the principle of "Y" connection, two thermostats enter the switch, and output wires goes from the switch to the Vaillant boiler (this is for 220V installation ). I had to come up with this because the internet occasionally bothers me and my wife is always a bit cold.

    One switch with only two positions (old or new thermostat on), some cables and a small box in which I put the switch cost me about 15 euros. Nothing compared to the nervousness that occurs when there is no automation.

    Hope it can be useful till tado develop fault back solution.

  • Thanks @ZKizo that should work once you know an outage has occurred. Good workaround in that case.

    But I’m guessing you don’t have smart TRV’s on each radiator? In an outage TRV’s can be stuck either ‘closed’ or ‘open’ which could cause problems if another thermostat is calling for heat.

  • Considering how the old dumb system had the controller next to the boiler, with the thermostat elsewhere, I'd foolishly assumed that it worked that way and that my only concern would be a dead battery in the thermostat. I thought there would at least be a fallback to manual operation at the boiler.

    I'm learning more and more that tado is the wrong system for me, and I am hugely grateful that I didn't buy any TRVs. Cloud dependency is a real worry.

  • Just can speak for me: when I chose Tado, I expected to buy into a growing platform. It's been easy to pardon some missing features initially. But over time it's getting clearer now, that I have to reconsider my choice for future projects. Maybe we expected too much from such a nice and affordable solution.

  • How often do most people have significant and extended interruptions to their internet? I would suggest not very often at all.

    In the future, It will most likely become the norm to have landline internet with SIM card "mobile" internet as a backup. An option that is available now - at a cost.

    I currently have internet issues with internet loss for some minutes at least every few days. It has yet to affect my tado system to any noticeable degree.

    My internet is monitored by a Sam Knows White Box system which gives me precise data on issues with my internet.

  • Flow
    Flow
    edited January 6

    Hey @Klaus_Ludwig you highlight a very key point. You only need a short internet interruption - in theory it could be just a minute - for Tado to ‘miss’ an instruction from the cloud. As there is no local schedules, the system will just carry on doing what it was doing before the missed instruction. It might stay on, or it might stay off, it could fail to heat your water.. who knows….

    So between the data centre, internet provider, local network provider, copper cabling (yes I’m still partly copper), various junction boxes, then risk of dropout within the extended mesh network in my own house, there is plenty of opportunity for a short interruption to internet before we reach the Tado internet bridge.

    I can’t see switching to a wireless SIM as a true seamless solution, although could be wrong?

    To me, this is why a local or backup schedule should be intrinsic to something like heating and water, which impacts health, well-being and general comfort?

  • zacchaeus
    zacchaeus
    edited January 6
    ... impacts health, well-being, general comfort, and me remaining married! =)
  • Hi @Flow , I wasn't suggesting switching to mobile internet but was pointing out that some internet packages come with so-called "unbreakable" internet which uses mobile internet as a fallback system in the event that the landline internet experiences any interruptions. This is what some people might use for home security systems. I suspect that in years to come "unbreakable" internet may become more popular and may even become standard if costs come down far enough.

    Hi @zacchaeus, the last reason you give for not wanting any glitches on your tado system made me smile. I can just see a lawyer writing that one down. Seriously though, I think in this modern age we have so many high tech options that were not available 20-30 years ago that we are spoilt for choice. Nothing is ever perfect and often in the long run the majors succeed over the minors simply because they have more financial resilience. I believe tado has the potential. I just hope that their senior managers make the right choices at the right times.

  • @Flow you make an interesting point, in that there appears to be a perception at least that a single instruction from the cloud to the home to effect the change. If that’s really the case, then it’s dangerously flawed in fundamental design, although there is some evidence that missing the change point leaves things unchanged until next scheduled or manual change.

    Either adding a regular resend until the bridge sends an ACK, or changing the exchange to be a poll by the bridge - “send me all the changes since we last spoke” would mean that intermittent connectivity is likely to have much less impact. It won’t fix prolonged outages though.

  • stefr
    stefr
    edited January 17
    I also feel that at least the local gateway should have a notion of time, or indeed integrate with other gateways that have it.
    Last time I lost internet (accidentally unplugged internet module), second day the heating unit was running non stop. Temperature in the living room was rising at over 25°C, and only then noticed that the system was offline.
    Plugging it back didn't fix it immediately, had also to reset the boiler to get hot water to start again.
    Now I can only imagine what would happen if this started when we were away.
    As such belive offline operation is not just a feature, it's a safety risk to not have it.
  • @XKRMonkey i think @stefr provides first-hand experience of the dangerous design flaw you mention. In this case missing the change point creates a runaway situation. And reconnecting the bridge doesn’t stop the runaway event. Maybe Tado can comment directly here??

    Orherwise.. it seems cloud traffic has been designed by Tado to an absolute minimum, with no polling, check commands, etc. I guess it keeps things simpler, and possibly cheaper (are AWS cloud services generally priced on in/out traffic??), but to the obvious detriment of resilience, and safety, and marriage(!) for our friend @zacchaeus

  • I have returned my receiver (and wireless thermostat) to amazon and put back the horrible old central heating timer. Now I just have the TRVs.

    The strange thing is that the TRVs seem much more reliable now. In the app I used to get a lot of "no remote access" messages for the TRVs and now I don't.

    Seems like the receiver was jamming up the whole system 😕

  • So.......just to be absolutely clear about this. If the internet goes down and the system is stuck on whatever it's stuck on, am I correct in thinking you can control the various radiators with tado valves manually?

  • Yes, that's right, You can still control the TRVs manually

  • Flow
    Flow
    edited January 31
    Yes - but in my case with kids around TRV’s are either locked (child lock), or set with manual adjustment to last for just 1hr before reverting.

    You’ll need to make sure each TRV’s ‘manual adjustment period’ is set appropriately in advance, because your app won’t work in an outage.
  • johnbur
    johnbur ✭✭✭
    ... and doesn't help much when it happens at 4am and you wake up to a cold house and no hot water.
  • cbd20
    cbd20 | Moderator

    @Flow it's not ideal, but if you lose internet access you can turn the child lock off temporarily by doing the following:

    That being said, I'd much rather it automatically disabled the child lock in the event of an outage to avoid having to remount every radiator thermostat! Perhaps even add an additional option in the child lock settings that allows users to specify "Turn off child lock in the event of an outage?". Thus putting the decision in the end users control, so that at the point of setting up the child lock on a device they can also set this option.

    As a side comment - and I don't know the answer to this, so I'm speculating... Does the manual control duration setting actually apply if there's no internet access? If everything's stored on the cloud as we're led to believe, then presumably it can't know how long to you've set the manual control duration for. My guess is during an outage that the manual control setting is indefinite... Though I'd like tado to confirm.

  • We're in a kind of unusual position because we've been part of a trial, experimenting with "Green heating" as part of it we got a free heat pump installed which was monitored remotely by the company undertaking the programme. They used their own bespoke software for that, which included an app for controlling the system. Although the app wasn't as pretty as Tado and didn't have bells and whistles such as open window notification etc it worked perfectly well and was independent of being connected to the internet. With the programme having run its course they provided the Tado system with Valves throughout the house. I dread to think of the Heat Pump running on full blast all night. As it is I got the engineers to show me how to switch from a hybrid Boiler/heatpump system we currently have to a boiler only. I'm now going to request our old manual central heating control as a back up. Tado is beautiful but it reminds me of an argument I've had with my wife for as long as we've been married. My second hand banger, which I paid a couple of £thousand for does exactly the same as her SUV for which she pays £365 a month.

  • Rob
    Rob | Admin

    At tado° we realize the dependency of the schedule on an active cloud connection is something that bothers some customers. As it is something we cannot retroactively add to the current hardware, it is hard for us to give you any feedback here. I simply cannot promise you that we will add this to the current hardware.

    What I can do is to confirm that we are aware that this bothers people. I've personally made this very clear in discussions with product managers. They know. tado° is also working on new hardware, and I (and others) are doing the best we can to make this a priority for the new hardware. I realize this is not a simple fix to the issue you are experiencing, but I thought it made sense to give you a transparent and honest answer.

  • I hope that this new hardware you are talking about is a new bridge at most. I really hope you guys are not taking thermostats and TRVs in the realm of smartphones where people need to update thousands of euros worth of products each year just so they can get devices that do “cool new stuff” :)
  • GrayDav4276
    GrayDav4276 ✭✭✭
    edited February 1
    Hi @Rob
    While the prospect of "NEW HARDWARE" will be something that many current tado° users will find reassuring. It also raises a few concerns for me.
    Firstly.....what about the many tado° users who will not relish the thought of having to reinvest £000's to obtain this new version of tado°

    I personally have spent/invested approx £600 + in my current setup......I have learnt how to get the best out of my system, while also realising that I do not actually have the range of "features" that tado° "infers" are available to the user.

    As I have said, I have learnt to accommodate these "sales gimmick" features, by either, ignoring them or understanding how limited their actual usage is.
    My real concern is that for someone in my position, who will be unwilling to spend even more to receive what will be (hopefully) the tado° system that tado° currently promises to provide, but in my opinion, does not actually achieve.

    My secondary concern is that the existing tado° users will be left with equipment that will not be forward compatible with the "new hardware/software/firmware".
    I would hope that tado° will not abandon their current existing customers, and will ensure that any "New Hardware" (especially a newer bridge and/or a range booster/extender) will be available to be utilised in our existing setups.

    It might be a good idea if tado° could give some assurance that the many existing issues can/will be addressed by the "New Hardware"

    However (cynically).......I suspect that this "New Hardware" will be a long way away, and I may not be a tado° owner/user by then.
  • Rob
    Rob | Admin
    edited February 1

    @GrayDav4276

    In all honesty I cannot give you any assurances. Simply because I don't know.

    We basically work in seasons. There will be new hardware introduced before the start of the heating season 2022-23 (usually September-ish), which is quite far along the concept/prototype stage at this point. I have not seen a bridge that is that far advanced at this point. There is a lot more coming for season 23-24, and I have seen a bridge among those concepts. But those concepts are quite early, and honestly I have no idea about backward compatibility.

    Until now though, the V2, V3 and V3+ have all been compatible with each other. There are multiple hardware generations of the radiator thermostats, of the smart thermostats, of the extension kits and of the Internet Bridge (first one was called Gateway). And there is the Wireless Receiver. Built in 2014 or 2022, it doesn't matter, they are all compatible with each other. You can still use a brand new thermostat, wireless receiver or radiator thermostat with the old and much larger gateway 'bridge', as you can use the earliest versions of the (radiator) thermostat with a brand new bridge.

    Have you seen this: https://www.tado.com/de-en/press-releases/GFJ

    There is a significant influx of capital, much more than before. Development will speed up.

  • Hi @Rob

    Many thanks for the response.

  • rafm5
    rafm5 | Moderator

    @Rob Thanks for sharing this.

  • Thanks for the update. I’m really hopeful the product managers have listened! (And of course a new bridge is backwards compatible!)

    If this issue is fixed I believe Tado have a winning product on their hands.

    If they don’t fix it, I simply can’t see how they are serious about expanding further into the mass market - 100% internet uptime just isn’t reflective of real world!

    Let’s hope all this new investment goes the right way :)