New HestiaPi unit received and initial impressions

Hello,

I ordered my hestiapi 1 october 2019, it arrived june 9 2020.

It is summer here in Canada so my window A/C is doing all the work and my furnace and defective heat pump are offline. I just now unpacked the hestiapi and I will give my initial impression and figure out the first step of installation.

I paid 160$USD + 10$USD shipping (170$usd = 231.46$cad), on arrival I had to pay 11.15 + 22.25 sales tax and 9.95$
Making my current total 274$CAD

For comparison my purchased used Honeywell Lyric T5 cost 100$cad, a new one from amazon would cost 175 + 15% tax and a Google nest thermostat would be 286.29$cad with tax & shipping

Thermostat was received well packaged in bubble wrap and no damage on the box

This is what the front looks like
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The side
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The backplate
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The inside
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There’s a problem with the screenholder
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The wiring headers are not labelled
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This is my existing wall bracket. I will need to make an adapter before I can use the HestiaPi, I will only install it if I can quickly swap back and forth with my lyric t5 in case the hestiapi fails
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Ah there are labels for the pins after all
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So I checked and I measured 27VAC between my C and R wire so I will give it a try

Here is my janky test setup
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It powers up but does not boot, waited about 15 minutes but the white screen never showed anything tlse.

So initial impression are

The case isn’t too good, disappointed by the broken tab as received. I wonder how durable this plastic will be long term.

For the price I am already at the high end of a professional unit. I hope it works without too much more hassle then it will be great price mostly for financing the software development itself.

I don’t like the resistive touchscreen, reminds me of cell phones from 15 years ago (and the 15000$ unreliable xerox photocopier the company I work for bought last year !)

I’ll come back tomorrow and try to get the hestiapi going. I suspect the microsd card is not all the way in maybe ? Hopefully it is something minor like that !

We understand your first impression isn’t great. Let us explain a few things…

See here.
Keep that in mind while you are there. Try pressing the LCD further in and restarting (LCD is not plug-and-play - if you remove it while powered you would need to restart after re-inserting)

If you cannot see from the side the green LED on the actual Pi board blinking like crazy for at least 1-2 minutes it surely isn’t booting.
You can try reflowing the solder points if the above doesn’t work.

Regarding the price, we would like to be able to sell it cheaper but as the units are hand-made with really low volume (anything below 10k is low volume when it comes to mass production) the price can’t go much lower while paying CrowdSupply, tax, bank fees, transportation and much more.
Price isn’t always a single metric we can compare things apart.

Regarding delivery delay… CrowdSupply really let us down there (they had all units since 11 Dec 2019) and with the combined mess of Covid it went really bad.

Let us know how it goes…

Hello, I took it apart and put it back together and the sd card and this time it booted up.

I’ll be doing the glue fix as the rivets came off this time during disassembly.

I think there is a lot of room for improvement of the case in particular.
I do not believe using 3d printing is economical nor does it really produce good results.
As you can see from my picture there are many visual defects in the case that ruin the looks.

I work in an aerospace company and I see this type of problem often. The engineer want to use the coolest methods and materials but sometime a more basic approach is better.

For instance, whenever they made a rig they use T-slot aluminium which is very expensive. But in almost every case, steel square tubing is factor 10 cheaper, easier to work with, cut bend and weld.

I think this is the problem here. If anything else, a cheaper construction would mean being able to keep more money for software development, which is the main attraction of this project.

I think this case could be made out of 24 gauge steel and painted, if the hexagonal holes are sacrified for round holes instead, I believe they could be made in small quantities for less than 30$usd (and I’m basically assuming a 29$/hour person here, steel is 0.70$cad per pound and very easy to cut, bend and weld or even glue together.)

And steel is not the only option, wood is even easier to work with, you could use 1/4" thick MDF boards cut , glued and painted to achieve a very similar look. At least this would give uniform surface finish.

The breakout PCB could be eliminated entirely buy purchasing off the shelf components that serve an equivalent function

Since the breakout board function is mainly structural, the components could instead be glued to the backing plate and the various components connected by generic wire headers.

For instance this DC to DC power supply should allow use of 24VAC to produce 5VDC when combined with a 0.50$ diode bridge and 0.10$ high value capacitor https://i.imgur.com/16D8Ah9.png

This ready made 4 channel solid state relay board for 5.5$ replaces the remaining components of the breakout PCB https://i.imgur.com/iieCLIG.png and it can probably be gotten for cheaper (mechanical relay board would be only 4$usd instead)

I think a target cost of 50$ USD for the entire unit with LCD (https://i.imgur.com/AqkjRGG.png) is realistically attainable even in small quantities if 3d printing is abandoned. This would leave much of the 160$usd price tag available for software development

We can totally see your point here but keeping it small is another factor we keep during each design iteration. Using mostly ready PCB modules increase the space needed a lot and stop being really “open” hardware. The 3D printing option was also chosen for its “open” approach.
We usually try to make HestiaPi accessible to everyone and we don’t mean cheap by that. Everyone can find somewhere a 3D printer while metal or wood fabrication shops are not that widespread.
On this topic we are currently working on a new case made of FR4, the material used for PCBs which is accessible to most DIYers, cheap, (if ordered professionally) cut by laser and easy to assemble.