Our Tado Smart Thermostat starter kit (v3) and Extension Kit arrived. In this post I explore what's in the box, and how you can choose which components you might need if you're doing this for your own home.
In my previous post - Smart Heating - Choosing a System - I outlined my thoughts on what smart heating and thermostat system we wanted, and outlined that we'd opted for Tado. The kit I ordered has now arrived, so it's time to take a look through what's in the box.
First though, it's important to note that the kit you might need if you choose to install Tado in your home may vary from what I have here. Every home is different, and you may have a different heating arrangement. Thankfully, Tado have a handy 'product finder' on their website to allow you to understand what kit to buy.
In my case, I needed the Smart Thermostat starter kit, and the extension kit. More on the latter below. We need this particular kit because we have our own boiler, and -currently- no 'master' thermostat - the Tado Thermostat will take that role. If you don't have a boiler, and use -for example- district or 'shared' heating, then you may be able to use something like the Tado Smart Radiator Valve starter kit instead.
The starter kit box has three smaller boxes inside. One for the Thermostat itself, one for the internet bridge, and one for some instructions.
The thermostat itself is -as noted in my previous post- quite minimalist in it's design. The front is essentially blank in appearance save for the Tado logo, and a single button. Don't let that fool you - there is a display, but it's hidden when it's not activated. When you do activate it, an array of LED lights is used to display logos, information and the temperature control. Two hidden touch controls allow for adjusting the desired temperature. This feature works even if you lose internet connection.
The thermostat works wirelessly, and with batteries. However it can also be used to replace an existing wired thermostat if you have one. As such there are various contacts on the rear of the thermostat. Setup instructions telling you to go to the Tado website to get started are included, as are some screws and a sticky pad for mounting.
The Internet bridge is a tiny device, no larger than a medium pencil eraser. You might be forgiven for thinking you've just been shipped an old iPod nano! The unit itself also has a few 'invisible' LED indicators, a pairing button, and a factory reset button on the rear. The device is wired only (no WiFi), and has an RJ-45 connector on the bottom, and a Micro USB port for power.
In the Internet Bridge box you'll also find a USB power adapter (with different plugs for your region), a network cable, and a Micro-USB cable. The only disappointment here is the length of the cables, the Ethernet cable is only 30cm - that might be OK were it not for the Micro-USB cable being very short too - so you'll need to be sure you're close to both your router (or switch), and a power point.
The installation instructions box doesn't contain much, there's a guide leaflet, and a sealed envelope marked 'for professional installers only'. Whilst I'm not in this category - I couldn't resist a peek! Inside there are two guides - one for 230v dry contact systems, and another for low voltage digital systems. As you might expect, these are filled with various wiring guides. There's also a card for the installer to use to document the setup.
It goes without saying that if you're not confident installing these systems yourself, you really shouldn't try this at home. Instead, seek a professional installer to do this for you. Tado will even help you find someone on their website.
The last item to unbox is the extension kit. You might not need this depending on your setup. If you have a wired thermostat, the Tado smart thermostat might be all you need. In our case we don't have a wired thermostat, so we need the extension kit. This will allow for wireless communication down to the boiler, where the extension kit will carry out the commands issued by the thermostat to control the heating.
You might also need the extension kit if you have a separate hot water tank, and therefore have heating and hot water controlled separately.
The extension kit box contains the unit that will be wired to your boiler. This is also minimalist in appearance. Unlike a regular programmer or timer, there are no controls or display of any kind. Just a single LED light will tell you if everything is working properly. There is a button on top to activate pairing. On the rear, an array of contacts for different types of wiring.
Also in the extension kit box are all the cables and connector blocks you (or an installer) might need for hooking the thing up.
As mentioned here, the hardware is minimalist in appearance. In fact, it almost feels like an understated collection of equipment to unbox. However this masks the real 'brain' of this system, and that's all going on in the cloud, and in the app. This kit effectively creates a bridge between the heating system of your home, and a whole range of metrics and smart control.
The next job of course is to set this all up and get it installed! As soon as that's done, I'll report back with the experience of doing this.