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Conservatory Vent Controller

Vent Controller Technical

While most conservatories will have opening glazed panels in the roof for ventilation, it is beneficial to have automatic vent control. Firstly, such vents are generally out of reach, so having electric actuators allows easy remote control that can be more discrete than mechanical linkages. Having electric operation then makes it easy to fit control switches in the most convenient locations such as next to doors. A further small step introduces automatic temperature control using an electronic thermostat fitted in the optimal location for best temperature control. Finally to ensure unexpected rain doesn’t enter, an externally mounted rain sensor signals to the controller if rain occurs, and the vents are all automatically closed.

Here’s how it works in more detail…

Each vent/opening window has an electric actuator or motor for driving the vent panel open, and another for driving it closed (or one combined unit). By supplying electricity by cable to one or the other, the vent can be opened or closed remotely. This power can be supplied from a special 3-position manual control [order EL-VC-AVS001 Manual Switch] -Pushing the rocker switch upwards sends power to the opening actuator, pushing it downwards sends power to the closing actuator, letting go returns the switch to the central off position where the vent stays in its present position.

Alternatively an Automatic Controller [order EL-VC-AVC002 Automatic Vent Control Unit] will automatically send the appropriate power signals to open or close the vent depending on whether it is too hot or too cold in the space. A temperature control on the control unit (thermostat) is set by hand to the desired temperature setting (marked in degrees Celcius), and this setting is compared electronically with a signal that comes from a temperature measuring sensor built into the control unit. So the temperature in the controlled space is always controlled to the required set temperature. (Clearly this system cannot generate its own heat to warm the space on an overcast day, or at night, but it makes the best of the heat from the sun, and the best of the ventilation to achieve the target temperature.)

The Automatic Controller only sends out a power signal when the temperature suddenly becomes too hot or too cold (for long enough for the vent actuators to operate fully), and most of the time the controller is idle. As well as being economical on electricity, it allows other control elements to over-ride the vent setting, so the manual open & close buttons on the controller, or a separate remote manual switch, will force the vent to the open or closed position regardless of the thermostat setting. In the event of a subsequent large temperature shift, the thermostat will take over control again to keep the temperature stable.

Finally, an even higher priority is awarded to the optional Rain Sensor. The sensor is a small white box that is installed outdoors and is sensitive to (only) water falling on it. The signal is fed to the Automatic Controller, which, upon detecting rain, will immediately close all vents. These will be held closed until the weather is dry again (even if the thermostat wants them open, or the manual open control is pressed).

In a larger installation, it might be desired to have a manual control in an alternative location distant from the automatic controller. In this case one or more optional Manual Switches can be wired-in to create greater control flexibility.

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