Home Automation

Pioneer Mini Split – Home Assistant

By March 27, 2022April 22nd, 20222 Comments
Installed unit on the exterior of my house. Nothing fancy. This was a DIY project.

Introduction

Let me start off by saying, I like icicles on the wall while I sleep. As well, my bedroom also doubles as my home office.

During the summer time, with a few computers running, it gets pretty toasty back here.

In the winter time, being this room is on the far end of the house, it gets pretty chilly back here.

So, I decided to invest into a mini split… and integrate this into home assistant.

How much did it cost / products

Contractor Quotes

So, first of all, let me tell you how much I was quoted to have a 3/4 ton (9,000btu) mini split installed.

Contractor #1-

I was quoted 2,800$ to install a 3/4 ton gree mini split. This did not include running the electrical work. Electrical was 500$ extra.

Contractor #2

I was quoted 3,000$ to install a 3/4 ton Daikin mini split. This also did not include the electrical work. Electrical was 450$ extra.

My Prices

After having my mouth drop at the 3,500$ total price tags, I decided do it myself. Here are the products I purchased:

Pioneer WYS 3/4 Ton – 23 Seer (Amazon)

For the cost of only a touch over 900$ shipped, for a 23 seer unit, seemed like a pretty acceptable deal to me. I went the pioneer route after hearing good luck from a co-worker who tied these units into home assistant.

Charging Port Adaptor – 5/16″ -> 1/4″ (Amazon)

This is needed to connect a standard set of vacuum gauges up to the unit.

60 Amp AC Disconnect Box (Pioneer)

Sorry, no amazon link. But, for 14.99$.. the price was good. I don’t think I could have beaten this price at my local hardware store.

6ft Plastic Flexible Whip – 10AWG (Pioneer)

I went ahead and ordered the whip from pioneer as well.

Total So Far – 970$

I ordered all four of the above items directly from pioneer. However, the amazon prices linked above have the same cost at this time.

But- wait, there are a few more items required.

Pioneer Wi-Fi module for WYS Systems.

This part is CRUCIAL for integration into home assistant. Without it, you will need to rely on integrating the device using IR senders…… and personally, I want two way communication, in real time.

100ft 10/2 Wire

I actually didn’t end up needing to use this at all. In the future, I will run an outlet to my welder using it. I will explain more below.

Pioneer Foldable Condenser Bracket – 2 piece

If its built by the company making the mini split, I would assume it is more then capable of holding their unit! So far, it is up to the task. Also, I accidentally ordered two of these. Oops.

Total Price: ~1,500$

Do note, I also spent around 200$ extra at the local hardware store, on a small section of 2″ PVC, as well as a full length 3/4″ PVC… and a few small odds and ends, including a masonry drill bit, and a few concrete anchors.

Other Potential Units:

Installation

Click if you wish to read the installation process.... No images, its pretty boring

Sorry- I did not take any pictures during this process…. But, I will detail the steps required. You can skip down to (INSERT LINK HERE) for how to connect this unit into home assistant.

  1. First, we went inside the house and located a nice spot in the center of my bedroom wall.
  2. The unit requires 6-8 inches of clearance on the top.
  3. Next, we mounted the “plate” on the wall, in the center of the wall, with the top 10 inches from the ceiling to allow for proper top clearance.
  4. After that, we followed the instructions and used a 2″ hole bit to drill a hole through the interior sheetrock.. Followed by a LONG masonry bit to drill all the way through the outside brick wall.
  5. Next, was the hardest part of this entire process. Drilling a 2″ hole through the brick. After tracing a 2″ circle using the section of 2″ PVC, we started using a small masonry bit to drill holes around the perimeter of the traced outline.
  6. I then utilized my air chisel to carefully knock a hole through the brick.
  7. After this was completed, we had a hole which fit the 2″ PVC Perfectly.
  8. I used a knife and screwdriver to poke and extend a 2″ hole through the insulation.
  9. The 2″ PVC was cut to the length from the interior wall, to the exterior wall. IE, it fits flush on either side.
  10. The lineset was then ran through the 2″ pipe. After this, the pipe containing the line set was inserted into the new 2″ hole going from outside of the house, to the interior.
  11. MAKE SURE TO RUN THE DAMN CONTROL CABLE THROUGH THE PIPE TOO!!!!!!!! Its a lot harder to run AFTER you put everything in the wall, and bolt everything together.. Ask me how I know… /s
  12. At this point, the interior unit was hinged from the top of the mount, while we connected the line set, and routed the control wires.
  13. After connecting the line set and control wires, the interior unit “snaps” to the mounting plate. You are now done inside of the house.
  14. Back outside, I used spray foam to fill any remaining gaps from the 2″ hole we created. I then used masonry clay to fill the gaps directly around the 2″ pipe in the brick.
  15. Next, the outdoor mounting brackets were mounted to the exterior brick, using concrete anchors… after careful measurement.
  16. We mounted the outdoor unit to the mounting brackets using the included rubber pads.
  17. The line set was carefully bent in a few key locations, to route into the side of the outdoor unit, in a somewhat pretty way.
  18. The line set was then connected to the exterior unit, along with the control wires.
  19. The drain line was inserted into the piece of 3/4″ pvc from earlier, which was mounted vertically to the wall to drain near the ground… and secured to the brick using clamps and more anchors.
  20. The final piece of work remaining was to run electrical.
  21. After looking through my breaker box, I realized I had an unused 220v circuit going to my oven. As my oven is natural gas, and there was not even an outlet behind it, I decided to steal this cable instead of running the new 10/2 I had acquired.
  22. I drilled a 1″ hole through the gabled end of my house, and placed a 1ft section of 1″ pipe through this new hole. Where the pipe exits the gabled end of my house, it has a 90 degree turn so that it runs down vertical to the disconnect box. The cable runs through this piece of PVC. Caulking was used to seal up around the new PVC.
  23. At the bottom of the 1″ PVC containing the romex, it has a 90 degree joint, screwing directly into the side of the disconnect box.
  24. I did swap the original 60amp breaker out for a much more suitable 20 amp breaker.
  25. After this was completed, and the whip was installed between the disconnect box, and the outdoor unit…. it was time to vacuum out the air.
  26. This step is absolutely crucial to your unit. Borrow or acquire a vacuum pump, and a set of gauges. You need to vacuum all of the air out of the line set. Once you have a vacuum pulled, you need to wait a bit…… and ensure it holds the vacuum.
  27. Once you are sure it is not leaking, you can slowly open up the valves on the outdoor unit, allowing the refrigerant to enter the lines. Use a spray bottle filled with soapy water to ENSURE you don’t have any leaks. You don’t want this stuff to leak.
  28. After that step is done, you are all done!

Overall, the installation took us a full day to complete.

Connecting to Home Assistant

This part was actually pretty easy.

First- make sure you installed the wifi unit into the indoor unit. There is a special slot where it goes in.

Next, download the “Nethome Plus” app on your phone.

Open the app, and add the unit. You will need to scan the QR code which was included with the wireless module.

After this, you will need to connect the unit to your wifi. If you are like me, I keep all of my IOT stuff on a dedicated subnet, with no internet or outbound access at all. NTP is the only allowed traffic for my IOT devices. However, my home assistant can access everything on the IOT subnet.

If you use a IOT subnet, you will need a temporary firewall rule while connecting the unit via the app. Once the unit is on the wifi, you can disable/delete this rule.

Next, in home assistant, visit HACS, and add the “Midea Smart Aircon” integration.

Now, we will need a machine with python to obtain a few piece of details. Please read these INSTRUCTIONS. you will need the token and key.

I used this command:

# Create a venv
python -m venv ac_stuff

# Enter the venv
source ac_stuff/bin/activate

# Install "MSmart"
pip3 install msmart

# Discover the device. Put your device's IP in here. I allocated a static IP for my unit in my router/firewall.
midea-discover --ip 10.20.10.5

You will then see output... you will need this for later.

Next, we need to modify Home Assistant’s configuration.yaml

climate:
  - platform: midea_ac
    host: 10.100.3.5
    id: 43980465114375           ## Put your ID here.
    token: PUT_YOUR_TOKEN_HERE!!!!
    k1: PUT YOUR K1 / KEY HERE!!!
    prompt_tone: false           ## Set this to disable beeps every time you change something.
    temp_step: 1                 ## Optional, but, I want 1 degree temp increments instead of the default 0.5

After this is completed, restart home assistant, and you should have new climate device.

At this point, I took the liberty of renaming the device, and customizing it.

At this point, you are basically done. If you add a climate/thermostat card, you should be able to fully interact with the device.

However, I decided to use the scheduler-card to add a few schedules.

This was extremely easy to do, and very intuitive. I highly recommend this addon. You can install it via hacs.

If you are interested in how to set this up, please read THE TUTORIAL I CREATED

Overall opinons

Overall, I am extremely happy with this unit.

One thing I will note, the original 3,000$ price tags aren’t quite as bad as I originally expected though.

If you figure, I spent 1,500$ in materials. Lets say, they can get the same materials for 1,200$, which is very possible. Then, lets assume you have two people on site for 10 hours to install this unit… (The helper I had, is a professional HVAC installer…) Lets say, the lead is 60$/hr, and the helper makes 20$/hr. 600+200 in labor = 800$. So, 2,000$ total.

In my case, it was extremely helpful having someone help me who has done this before. After doing one of these units, I would feel pretty comfy doing another one by myself though. But, you can also watch youtube videos on how to install these.

Regarding the units performance, its extremely quiet, and it works very well. While working, it keeps the temp very comfy, and at night time, It kept it at 56F last night. Nice!

Regarding power usage, this unit is quite good. Since, putting it in, it has averaged around 16cents of power consumption per day…. that includes cooling the bedroom to around 60 from 8pm, to 6am, and then heating to around 70-72 from 6am – 8pm. You will notice, once it has “cooled” the room, the unit uses basically no energy.

Power Consumption:

Bedroom Temp:

Yesterday’s power consumption.

Regarding the automation side, this unit is COMPLETELY local control, and I have it on my IOT subnet, which has zero access to anything. The automation works in real time, without any delay… and the schedules are fantastically easy to setup and configure. Would highly recommend.

FAQs

Q: Why didn’t you get a Mitsubishi or Fujisto? They are the best

A: I don’t doubt they are made with a much higher quality. However, I cannot buy their units without going through a contractor. I purposely got the pioneer unit, because it was cheap, and extremely DIY friendly…. and I was able to order it right off the internet and have it shipped to my front door.

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