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ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
6,083
1,445
Disclaimer: I have not read through all the updates, however, is anyone aware if this can be installed on the older Ecobee's base plate? Or will new wiring/connections be required?

I do not believe the mate the plate to the unit anymore. However, if this is bigger I suspect the plate will have to be swapped.
 
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ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
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The article does a good job explaining the UI and sensor enhancements but says nothing at all about any enhancements in HVAC systems support. I have an HVAC with variable fan speeds (vs. 1-, 2-, or 3-stage fan speeds) and have been waiting for 3 years now for a HomeKit-capable thermostat that supports those. I currently use the manufacturer (TRANE) thermostat. It's ok, but has no Homkit support - and its scheduling GUI is atrociously complicated. So stupidly complicated, I couldn't figure it out on either their thermostat or in their iOS app. I eventually got it working on they web app.

So, does this thermostat support variable speed fan HVACs? If not, does anyone know of any at all? All info appreciated.

I have a new HVAC that has a variable speed motor. I have the most current Ecobee before this new release. My HVAC works fine. Not sure if you are referring to something else.
 

ZipZap

macrumors 603
Dec 14, 2007
6,083
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Finally, I think the Ecobee is to smart, and find that it is a PIA if I dont turn many features off. I think one really needs to configure time periods and temps carefully to avoid manual adjustments.
 

kingtj1971

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2021
507
593
Alton, IL
New features in premium

  • Built-in radar occupancy sensor
  • Built-in indoor air quality monitor
  • Spotify & Bluetooth streaming
  • Hands-free calling and intercom
  • Smoke Alarm Detect

Cool, but as an owner of the previous model that has Amazon Alexa integration? I hope they've put better microphones in this one! The directional mics built into an Echo Dot are FAR better at picking up my voice than the one in the Ecobee. If I'm not right in the hallway where it's mounted when I give an Alexa command, it doesn't hear me half the time and the Echo all the way in the kitchen responds instead.
 

macwhiztech

macrumors newbie
Jun 29, 2018
8
16
What is needed is remote temp sensor WITHOUT occupancy. We all know that their room temp sensor cannot lead to that room being warmed. This is about even whole house warming, something Ecobee seems to think is not important. At least give the option for no occupancy detection.
That's been an option for years. Go to the Sensors settings and turn off "Follow Me."

But Follow Me works well, at least with forced-air heat. It still looks at all the sensors, but assigns more weight to sensors in occupied rooms, and more weight to rooms that have been occupied longer.

You can also set profiles that exclude certain sensors, and change those profiles on a schedule. So you can have the Ecobee ignore a south-facing room that gets extra toasty from sunlight during the mid afternoon during heating season, for instance; that would avoid the room throwing off the average temperature for the whole house.

The occupancy and motion sensors in the remotes are exposed to HomeKit, by the way. They have a relatively slow update speed, being battery operated, but you can use them to trigger HomeKit automations, like turning on lights.
 
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kingtj1971

macrumors 6502a
Feb 11, 2021
507
593
Alton, IL
Finally, I think the Ecobee is to smart, and find that it is a PIA if I dont turn many features off. I think one really needs to configure time periods and temps carefully to avoid manual adjustments.

Honestly, I find essentially the opposite with the Ecobee. I've owned several of these thermostats over the years, installed in 3 different homes. (One place was a 2 story house with dual zones, so two Ecobees controlling it.)

The Ecobee, especially with properly placed remote temp sensors, makes it almost pointless to worry much about setting schedules in it. (Instead of it working off of a fixed schedule claiming to know exactly when I leave for work and get home each day, I can just let it detect when I'm away and go to the energy-saving temp settings I designate for "away".) This means the house might initially feel a bit cold or warm when I first get back, but I also hear my HVAC kick on at that point, and things are pretty quickly put back to my preferred temperature.

When we had a family of 6 living at my old place, this was great too. Because realistically, thermostat schedules were useless. If I was at work, grandma was still home all day and the kids would be back from school before me. People just "pinned" the thermostat at a fixed temperature and bypassed everything else.... At least, with it auto-detecting lack of motion or sound for an hour or so and using THAT to switch modes? I'd save a little energy if people all decided to go out for a while, no matter when that happened. Or even if grandma took a nap before the kids were home? It might change modes, considering that as an "away" period. And that was fine too.

If there's one thing I did learn about Ecobee though? It's that the remote temperature sensors should really only be put in the places where your concern is about detecting that motion or sound to determine who's up and doing things in the house. If you place one in an unfinished basement that people don't spend a lot of time in? You're just collecting a reading that's probably throwing off the average temperature it's trying to keep your living space at. (Basement will be cooler in summer, for example -- so it may decide not to run your A/C as much as you'd like it to, to be comfortable upstairs.)
 

kc9hzn

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2020
1,812
2,174
A thing I’ve seen multiple people talk about is the ability for this to turn off when people aren’t around without setting a schedule. That’s fine and well, but I have some concerns about it. I haven’t done much with heating, but I’ve controlled AC via home automation. I like turning on the AC when I get close to home, that way it’s had some time to prepare the indoor climate. I could see turning heat on just before you wake up to be similarly useful. Basically, giving the indoor climate enough time to adjust to a comfortable level before it’s needed (since air takes some time to get warm or cold once you’ve started the heater or AC). I’d assume you could probably schedule this through the Home app if you’re using HomeKit, and you could also use the Home app to create an automation that will turn on the air when you return home. But, is there any way of using this to schedule warming up or cooling down just before wake up, short of scheduling to run at a certain time?
 

macwhiztech

macrumors newbie
Jun 29, 2018
8
16
The Ecobee app supports geofencing. You can create a HomeKit geofence to change the "comfort setting" when you approach your home. It's not as automatic as Nest's version, but it's probably less privacy-invasive.

Ecobee, like Nest, learns how long it takes your system to warm up or cool down, and tweaks its schedules accordingly. For instance, say you have an "overnight" comfort setting that reduces the temperature to 67°F in winter, and a "daytime" setting that's warmer (say 70°F), and you schedule the "daytime" setting to start at 8 a.m. If your furnace needs 20 minutes to raise the temperature those three degrees, the Ecobee will call for heat at 7:40 a.m. so that the house is at 70°F at 8 a.m. This is even more useful if you have hot-water or steam heat, which takes longer to heat up. It continually learns, so if your furnace gets more or less efficient (due to age, lack of service, a recent service, etc.) it will adjust.

It also learns if your heating system overshoots. For instance, hot-water and steam heat may continue to heat the house for some time after the boiler is shut off. The Ecobee will compensate, turning the call-for-heat off early so the air temperature doesn't overshoot your desired temperature.

These functions take a few weeks to learn your house's quirks, so the first few weeks may seem less comfortable, especially if you're switching from another smart thermostat (like Nest) that has already done its own learning.

Me, I find that my Ecobee reliably kicks the heat on just about the time I'm thinking "maybe it's starting to get just a bit colder than ideal." It does a great job maintaining comfort. The latest software even takes humidity into account—you're essentially setting the "feels-like" temperature.
 
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kc9hzn

macrumors 68000
Jun 18, 2020
1,812
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The Ecobee app supports geofencing. You can create a HomeKit geofence to change the "comfort setting" when you approach your home. It's not as automatic as Nest's version, but it's probably less privacy-invasive.

Ecobee, like Nest, learns how long it takes your system to warm up or cool down, and tweaks its schedules accordingly. For instance, say you have an "overnight" comfort setting that reduces the temperature to 67°F in winter, and a "daytime" setting that's warmer (say 70°F), and you schedule the "daytime" setting to start at 8 a.m. If your furnace needs 20 minutes to raise the temperature those three degrees, the Ecobee will call for heat at 7:40 a.m. so that the house is at 70°F at 8 a.m. This is even more useful if you have hot-water or steam heat, which takes longer to heat up. It continually learns, so if your furnace gets more or less efficient (due to age, lack of service, a recent service, etc.) it will adjust.

It also learns if your heating system overshoots. For instance, hot-water and steam heat may continue to heat the house for some time after the boiler is shut off. The Ecobee will compensate, turning the call-for-heat off early so the air temperature doesn't overshoot your desired temperature.

These functions take a few weeks to learn your house's quirks, so the first few weeks may seem less comfortable, especially if you're switching from another smart thermostat (like Nest) that has already done its own learning.

Me, I find that my Ecobee reliably kicks the heat on just about the time I'm thinking "maybe it's starting to get just a bit colder than ideal." It does a great job maintaining comfort. The latest software even takes humidity into account—you're essentially setting the "feels-like" temperature.
I live in an apartment, so this is one of those areas of home automation I can’t really do (about the only temperature control I have is a window AC and a temperature sensor, and HomeKit automations to shut off the AC if it gets too cool). But that’s good to know. If I ever own a home, this is one of those areas of home automation I’ll probably end up exploring. (Basically, anything requiring hardware installation other than smart bulbs. And I usually use lamps instead of fixtures for smart bulb installation anyway.)
 

rgwebb

macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2005
463
1,214
I bought two ecobees for my home in late 2021.

I'm not disappointed that they did an update 6 months later because frankly these things are mostly invisible home infrastructure anyway once you get them set up.

I do think the UI changes in the new model are significant and resolve some of their flaws in the current UI. You can't see if the system has heat or a/c on without walking up to it. This UI seems to resolve that flaw...which is essentially my only gripe with the ecobee product.

The better materials are welcomed but, again, you're not going to pay much attention to this thing...
 
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imola.zhp

macrumors 65816
Jun 1, 2010
1,328
989
Mud Island (Memphis), TN
Tempted to try Ecobee again. Had the OG Nest back in the day, or maybe it was Nest2, switched to Ecobee when they first came out and hated it. Siri was really bad back then too and the Home app might not even have been out yet, don't remember exactly. Switched back to Nest 3 and have had it ever since. Have nest ported into HomeKit via Home Assistant but I'm ready for native integration.
 

Jgreg00

macrumors member
Oct 10, 2016
67
218
I have a new HVAC that has a variable speed motor. I have the most current Ecobee before this new release. My HVAC works fine. Not sure if you are referring to something else.
The top of the line furnaces from Carrier/Bryant are incompatible, for example. They only work as intended with their proprietary thermostats, though they can be gimped to work with standard ones. It's baffling to me, especially since the company actually partners with Ecobee for some co-branded thermostats...
 

rgwebb

macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2005
463
1,214
The top of the line furnaces from Carrier/Bryant are incompatible, for example. They only work as intended with their proprietary thermostats, though they can be gimped to work with standard ones. It's baffling to me, especially since the company actually partners with Ecobee for some co-branded thermostats...
Probably a business unit that is silo’d or a product R&D’d before the partnership.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
9,120
11,980
Would it have been too much to ask that someone could just pull the previous gen off the mounting plate and pop the new one on? All it does is break out the wires, but the new one is upside down from the previous one and wired in a different order…

Screw drivers, wire labeling and swaps and releveling for what feels like it could have been a quick and easy upgrade with a little thought. Guess I’ll get to it later…
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
9,120
11,980
And a drill, because the screw holes on the new plate are spaced differently. This is outright hostile toward their customers…
 

rgwebb

macrumors 6502
Nov 27, 2005
463
1,214
Bad priorities in the design phase. Should've been a requirement that the mounting situation be plug and play for previous ecobee customers.
 

Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
9,120
11,980
Bad priorities in the design phase. Should've been a requirement that the mounting situation be plug and play for previous ecobee customers.
Yep. Ecobee's response to my feedback was "all of our thermostats have different mounting plates". While it's a simple statement of fact, I can't help but read it with a tone of "so what are you complaining about". But they understand drilling new holes is an inconvenience... Inconvenience? Do they really think people are willing to spend $250 and pull out power tools, draw centerlines and do paint and drywall work just for the privilege of upgrading a thermostat?

There is no reason to stay with Ecobee at this point. It's just as much work required as changing brands.

It makes you wonder if ecobee employees are even confident enough in the products to use them in their own homes-- you'd think that if even one employee took a prototype home for testing and realized they had to go through this that would be their first point of feedback.
 
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profets

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2009
5,131
6,255
Swapped mine out on the weekend. Do have to say its a very nice upgrade in terms of materials and build quality. Somewhat larger than the ecobee3 I had. The larger screen is very nice - but its still noticeable where the LCD is. OLED really would have given this a perfect design given their UI.

A few pics comparing the two. Really unnecessary in a way but cool how it has Hey, Siri as well as AirPlay 2 built in.

2.jpeg
3.jpeg


1.jpeg
4.jpeg


Just realized I didn't take that protective peel off the new model in that pic.





And a drill, because the screw holes on the new plate are spaced differently. This is outright hostile toward their customers…

Yeah, I was surprised by this when I replaced mine with the new model. I can understand a new mounting plate given the design change, but when I saw the screw holes were spaced differently.. For myself it wasn't a big deal since I have mine lined up on a stud so its easy to secure.
 
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Analog Kid

macrumors G3
Mar 4, 2003
9,120
11,980
Finally got my two installed this weekend. The installation is really not well thought out. In addition the problems above, if you switch from using the vertically aligned holes to the horizontal ones, the empty hole you leave behind at the top is clearly visible because of the taper to the speaker grille.

I can't mount mine to a stud because the studs are metal and also because I'd have to reroute the furnace wire bundle to somewhere else and replace all the drywall in between.

Design change or not, I don't see any reason to change that mounting plate-- it's the same wires from the furnace and essentially the same pin interface into the plate, it was just an arbitrary decision to move the wire locations around and change the shape of the plate to be incompatible. Then to move the screws?

And for some reason, even though I went through the same setup process for both, one of my devices thinks it's in one time zone and the other thinks its in a different time zone and I can't figure out how to change the time zone... One of my devices I can set up eco+, the other one just complains there's a problem with the server. I think I need to reset everything and start over.

Home automation isn't a hobbyist product anymore, there's really no excuse for this total lack of product maturity in a 5th generation product.

The new device is more attractive, I'll give it that, but the installation was just really poorly thought out. The UI is also a bit of a dogs breakfast, but still better than the previous generation... I'm not sure, for example, the temperature setting screen has so many different ways to perform the simple operation of setting the temperature, or why the weather information disappears when I approach close enough to be able to read the outside temperature. Most confounding is why tapping the "settings" button on the main UI brings up a page with a couple options that are already available on the top level UI and a gear for "settings" again which brings me to a page that again has "mode" as the top option (now my third opportunity to set it to heat or cool) followed a few items down by another "settings" menu that I select and then scroll to a "preferences" menu where I eventually find how to set the screen brightness.

And then there's the question of why HomeKit and the Thermostat both seem to have different opinions of what the current temperature setting is, but that predates the new thermostat, that's a problem somewhere else...

I'll continue using Ecobee because the alternative is Nest, but they're really not doing themselves any favors.
 
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