Ok, so the CHARioT has arrived in the post. Your package should look something like the picture below. Delivery times will obviously vary depending on where you are in the world in relation to our EU base. Within the EU the package has been known to arrive within 4 days but you should allow 8 working days even within the EU and longer outside the EU.
There is very limited space inside the Kodi Control housing and you should gently remove the top of the housing to check that the components have not been damaged during transit. Specifically you should push out the long sides of the housing a little and ensure the RF transmitter and RF receiver are not shorting on the microprocessor. The RF transmitter is the component with the orange antenna attached to it. We don’t generally attach an antenna to the receiver as you will get better results from the RF Learner feature of the device with your remote control right up against the device. This is because RF transmissions will be taking place all around you from different devices and an antenna would simply amplify the background RF in Learner mode.
In the photo above you will see that the orange antenna is an uncoiled piece of wire whereas when it arrives in the post it will be a tightly wound coil. The tight coil looks better and for the initial testing stage we recommend you leave the antenna coiled up with the antenna pointing straight up. Once you have completed the initial tests (details provided below) you will obtain a greater range with the antenna uncoiled and pointing straight up. Range will depend on the construction of your property and for shorter distances some users will not need to uncoil the antenna. As detailed elsewhere on this website we also provide range extenders for individuals with large properties. Most people will not require range extenders providing the antenna is uncoiled and pointing straight up.
Whilst you have the top off the device firmly attach the blue USB cable by inserting the smaller end into the side (right side as shown in the photo above) and as you push it in push the entire plastic circuit board towards the cable (from left to right in the photo above). This ensure you have a nice snug connection. The lager end of the blue USB cable will connect to the USB port on your Kodi Media Player (Raspberry Pi, Android, Windows or Linux computer etc). As long as you are connected to the internet most devices will automatically install the required drivers or already have them included within the Operating system. Please post in the comments box below if you require help tracking down the required drivers for your system but please provide full details of the make and model of your Kodi Media player together with the operating system you are using.
Before we come to wiring up the device we just want to point out something that perplexed us when we first started working with the Immersion Heater control units. When yours arrives it will look like the photo above and we actually had our drill out trying to remove what we thought were possibly torx screws in the rear of the unit to give us access to wire it up. It turned out that the front panel simply pulls off and reveals the screws that hold the mounting box to the unit and exposes the terminal connectors for the wiring. The photo below shows the front cover removed, the screw holes and the red LED indicating the device is in standby mode.
Now I’m sure for many that it will be obvious that the front panel simply pulls off but the first unit we tried had a particularly firmly attached front cover and even though we thought in might simply be a push fit it wasn’t obvious enough to prevent us from needlessly taking a drill to the rear of the unit. As we test all the units before we send them out the front cover will have been off and on at least once when you receive the device so it shouldn’t be quite so hard for you to remove it. Don’t adjust the DIP switches on the unit as our software is specifically set to work with the DIP switches in their default position. If you find your near neighbour has exactly the same unit we can provide a firmware upgrade to your Kodi Control device and different DIP switch settings for the immersion heater control unit.
We recommend that before installing the RF controlled immersion heater unit you have it wired up to a basic 3 pin, 13 amp socket for testing purposes. Please note you need to ensure you comply with electrical safety legislation in your country of operation. As shown below your unit should have the red wire pre-fitted to the live terminals. If you have one of the slightly different models that doesn’t use the red cable please contact us and we will send you the wiring details. Live (Brown) is connected to the center of the 3 terminals at the top of the unit and Neutral (Blue) to the left connector at the bottom of the unit.
Ok so your immersion heater control unit is now wired up to a 3 pin, 13 amp socket and the red LED should be on. This red LED is only indicating the device is in standby mode and when you send the correct RF signal the green LED will be lit in addition to the red LED. Again this confused us a little when we first started using the units as we wrongly assumed the red LED indicated the device was powered up and hadn’t noticed the second (green) LED.
The Kodi Control device can be operated manually without a host device such as the Raspberry Pi or Android TV Box and it is useful for the initial testing phase. It is also useful if your host device fails because even though you can manually turn OFF the immersion heater control unit with the ON OFF switch below the two LED’s you can’t actually turn the unit ON without an expensive Home Easy 105 RF Remote Control unit. When you flick the switch below the two LED’s to off the device is obviously off but when you flick the switch to on it is only in standby mode and no power is going to your immersion heater element. It is only when the green and red LED’s are lit that power is being supplied to the immersion heater.
So to test your system or manually switch the immersion heater on or off we use the green push button switch shown on the left side of the device with a green status indicator in the centre of the device. The green LED is generally only lit when it is sending the RF signal so don’t expect it to be lit when you connect up the device.
The push button switch operates as follows:
One push puts the device into Learner mode.
Second push turns OFF your immersion heater (just red LED lit on immersion heater control unit)
Third push turns ON your immersion heater (red and green LED’s lit on the immersion heater control unit)
The push button then resets so a fourth push would put it back into Learner mode, then OFF then ON etc.
When you use the green push button switch it isn’t simply a case of pushing the button once, twice or three times in rapid succession though. There are timing intervals set within the firmware and this can be partly illustrated by a screenshot obtained if you are using the Arduino IDE. Use of the Arduino IDE is not essential but it makes things easier when using the Learner feature or if you require a firmware upgrade. The Arduino IDE is available for most devices including the Raspberry Pi but you would need two SD cards for use with a Raspberry Pi (one SD with the Arduino IDE and one SD card with our Kodi Control image).
If you click the Arduino IDE screenshot above it shows you what the firmware is doing each time you press the green button. It starts by telling you which version of Kodi Control firmware you are using. The latest version is 2.0. Each press of the button gives TWO counts in the firmware so after the first press it is in Learner mode and waiting for you to press a button on your RF remote control. The screenshot actually shows the code for a random background RF signal. The green LED on the Kodi Control device will flash once after a few seconds to indicate it is waiting for an RF signal and then with the Arduino IDE print the signal to the screen (more details on the Learner feature to follow). You should wait about 10 seconds between each button press to ensure the firmware has processed the code from the previous button press. With the second and third button press you will see the green LED flash rapidly followed by 5 intermittent flashes of the LED. The rapid flashing is the RF signal being sent to the immersion heater control unit and you should hear the faint click of the relay switching on or off (plus the visual confirmation with the red and green LED’s on the immersion heater control unit). The 5 intermittent flashes is the signal being relayed 5 times for users with big properties that are using our relaying units.
Even without the Arduino IDE you will soon learn how the manual operation works and if you press the button before each 10 second cycle has finished nothing will happen. Once you have manually tested the equipment with a 13A plug you can remove the plug and wire it up to control your actual immersion heater. You can also move on now to configure Kodi Control in automatic mode on your Kodi Media player as detailed here.
If you have any questions or recommendations for improvements please post them in the comment box below.