EcoStarter: Support / FAQ   [en]
 

E-mail for support request: support@ecostarter.com
 
 
Here are the most frequent questions about EcoStarter and Sikom products.
Please select the subject domain of your question in the left-hand menu to display the corresponding FAQ.
What's the point with SMS or Internet-based remote control ?
From the perspective of energy conservation, the purpose of a remote control is to prevent the waste of energy that happens when we leave appliances turned on while we are away. The principle is the same as with a mechanical timer system, but with a widely superior freedom of action.
 
Main disadvantages with timers:
    • they force you to follow regular schedules; beyond simple repetitive daily schedules, it becomes tedious to program them.
    • it's practically impossible to handle a large number of timers without some global management.
    • timers do not offer remote monitoring functions, e.g.
        • is my appliance really turned on?
        • what's the current temperature over there?
        • did I really switch the alarm system on before leaving?
        • etc.
    • timers do not offer alarm functions (water, fire, gas, burglary, etc).
What are the advantages of remote control by SMS ?
    Ease of installation
      No need to lay out cables in your premises, or to try to make your remote control device cooperate with existing communications equipment (Internet or phone line).
      SMS commands can be sent virtually from anywhere to anywhere in the world (however, before you buy, you may want to check the signal level with a mobile phone at the place where you want to install the Central Unit).
     
    Ease of use
      Just like any SMS message, your commands will be remembered by the messaging application of your mobile phone, so that you can recall them when needed: No complicated menu sequences to remember.
     
    Low cost
      Sending an SMS is a quick and easy operation, which costs very little. With a pre-pay solution in your remote control, there are no fixed costs, and you only pay if it has to send a message to you. Even better: your installation will quickly make you save money, by cutting your energy expenses !
     
    Reliability
      This is a proven technology. Sikom devices are designed with Norway's harsh winter conditions in mind.
      And if you are unsure about it, you can inquire the current situation by SMS.
     
    Security
      Most of our models provide remote surveillance functions (fire, gas, water, intrusion, temperature, battery voltage) and will warn you by SMS when necessary.
      To protect itself against misuse, the unit will simply ignore any message which does not contain the right password. Thus, there is no risk that a "wrong number" starts or stops your installation without your consent. Contrary to Internet-based remote control devices, you do not have to compromise the security of your own computer system; in order to optimize your expenses and security, you can even turn your modem/ router/ computer on and off remotely by SMS !
Preconditions for SMS operation
For your SMS-operated remote control to work satisfactorily, it must benefit from a good coverage of the relevant GSM network (i.e. the network of the operator which provides the SIM card inside the unit). The reliability of SMS messaging depends on the network operator. An SMS will not be delivered in case of errors on the GSM network, or similar issues under the responsibility of the operator. When the GSM network is heavily loaded, it may take several minutes (or even hours) for an SMS message to be delivered. These are conditions that we cannot do anything about and cannot be held liable for. The dispatch date and time of the message are nevertheless visible at delivery.

If you opt for a prepay solution, remember that the credit must be recharged before use. Information on this procedure comes with the SIM card. Your unit will be unable to warn you if the credit gets exhausted, as no SMS message may then be sent out.

Questions related to GSM coverage issues
I have no contact with my central unit when I really need it
If a unit is installed during the summertime in a place where the GSM coverage is weak, the signal will probably be even weaker, and possibly lost in the wintertime in case of substantial snowfall (this is especially relevant if the unit is located in a mountain area). This is because snow partly absorbs GSM signals. To prevent this from happening, check beforehand that the signal level is better than minimal (watch the color of the signal LED) when there is no snow around. You may mitigate the problem by moving the central unit to another room, or purchasing a better GSM antenna.
I sometimes lose contact with my central unit
Same answer as for the previous question, i.e. the signal may be so weak that it from time to time loses connectivity with the GSM network.
Our Buying Advice
How to proceed for buying an SMS-operated remote control ?
  1. Determine which model fits best to your application (and desire for expandability). This advice is going to be developed on a page of its own very soon. Meanwhile, please consult our model comparison table or directly ask us for advice by e-mail.
  2. Determine if the GSM signal is sufficiently strong at the place where the remote control is going to be installed; use a standard mobile phone to this end. Unless you want to get a 'GSM Mini', you'll also be able to purchase an external GSM antenna.
  3. Get a SIM card from a mobile phone operator to enable the remote control to send and receive SMS messages.

  4. Buy the remote control from our website or from a reseller: ask your electrician to do it for you, if your application requires the installation to be performed by a professional (this is especially relevant regarding our fuse-box devices).
Sikom Warranty
Sikom A.S. products are covered by a two years warranty against any faults due to material flaws or manufacturing errors, which limit or render useless certain functions described for the product. The warranty requires the customer to present the original bill, with date of purchase and type of equipment clearly readable.
What is covered by the warranty?
During the warranty period, Sikom A.S. reserves the right to repair the product or to replace defective parts with functionally equivalent parts. If, after several attempts, Sikom A.S. is unable to correct the problem, and the product does not work as described in the manual, Sikom may elect to refund the purchase price or to replace the product with a functionally equivalent one. All replaced parts and products become the property of Sikom A.S.
What is not covered by the warranty?
  • Indirect damage to life, health, property, revenue and environment caused by circuits and appliances connected to the units (install and use this product responsibly).
  • Costs related to (re)installing, transporting and dismantling units; recycling may be governed by special rules (see the relevant chapter in the manual).
  • Damages caused by use outside of the operating conditions specified in the manual.
  • Malfunctions caused by transport damages.
  • Any unauthorized repair, modification or disassembly.
  • Use of non-original parts.
  • External factors, such as lightning, power supply issues, mobile network issues, flood damage or fire.
  • Units with modified, removed or unreadable serial number.
How to obtain warranty service?
Please contact us through the support request form and describe the issue. We will answer as soon as possible to tell you how to proceed.
EcoStarter Touch
Which is the most recent version of the internal software of the central unit?
      Upgrade the software (about 1.1 MB) by connecting the central unit to the Internet using an Ethernet cable.
      Launch the update from the screen "Settings" -> "I" (information) -> "Internet" (world globe icon).
Version 1.9 (27.05.2014)

    • Provides full support for the new wireless humidity sensor (hygrometer with support for thermo-hygrostat function).
    • New SMS command U for configuring the wireless humidity sensor.
Version 1.8 (5.11.2013)

    • Provides full support for the new wireless temperature sensor.
    • Hides wireless detectors and RF-keyboards from device list on touchscreen.
    • Corrected bug with accented characters when renaming a wireless device by SMS command.
    • More robust upgrade procedure.
Are older wireless peripherals of A-Comfort compatible with EcoStarter Touch?
Unfortunately not directly. The radio communication protocol has become more efficient and reliable. But we can upgrade the software inside most types of peripheral devices provided that you send them to us (update over Internet is not supported). The wireless sockets "Nodes" sold in 2014 are already compatible, as well as thermostat "SI-3". Please send us an e-mail to describe your equipment.
What is the coverage of the radio signals used between the central unit and its wireless peripherals (Nodes, keyboard, wireless detectors, ...) ?
This local radio communication is implemented by a "Short-Range Devices" 433.9 MHz protocol. The advantage is that it consumes less power and covers a larger area than other well-known wireless protocols such as WiFi® (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth®. The range is of about 100 m in line-of-sight. Indoors, it depends on the number and nature of the walls separating the central unit and its peripherals, but is usually considered to be of up to 30 m in a standard house. In one instance, it was found to be of 20 meters (in straight line) inside a stone house (with a Node and the small keyboard in one corner of the house, and the central unit upstairs, in the opposite corner of the house, separated by two walls and one floor, all made of armed concrete), whereas a WiFi signal barely managed to cover a third of that distance. To optimize the coverage in all directions, it is recommended to place the central unit in ... a central location ! You should thus be able to cover a volume of diameter 40 to 60 m around the central unit.
No SMS is received when an alarm is triggered
  • Verify that the correct phone number has been registered in the unit; there should be no blank spaces or special characters before and after the number.
  • In case of a pre-pay contract: Verify with your GSM operator that the SIM card is not out of credit or even deactivated due to a lack of activity.
  • In case of subscription-based contract: Verify with your GSM operator that the subscription is active.
My wireless 230V socket (Node or ECO-Node) does not seem to obey when I want to turn it on or off
The wireless socket may currently be in thermostatic regulation mode ("t-control"). In that case, the command for switching it on will only make it change over to the "comfort" target temperature, whereas the command for switching off will make it change over to the "eco" target temperature. During thermostatic regulation, the Node will only switch itself on if the ambient temperature is lower than the target temperature.

In order to disable thermostatic regulation and enable "manual" control of the Node, use SMS command L010 (for a Node with number 01).

The alarm does not get activated/deactivated with the portable keyboard (small wireless remote control)
  • After pressing the key 'A', wait until the LED stops blinking before entering the 4-digit personal access code.
  • Check the battery level on the keyboard, i.e. if a LED blinks at all when pressing the key 'A'.
In case of reachability (no response) issues: Please also check the Conditions for SMS control.
A-Comfort
Are older wireless peripherals of A-Comfort compatible with newer central units (GSM Mini Plus, ECO-Comfort, EcoStarter Touch)?
Unfortunately not directly. The radio communication protocol has become more efficient and reliable. But we can upgrade the software inside most types of peripheral devices provided that you send them to us (update over Internet is not supported). The wireless sockets "Nodes" sold in 2014 are already compatible, as well as thermostat "SI-3". Please send us an e-mail to describe your equipment.
What is the coverage of the radio signals used between the central unit and its wireless peripherals (Nodes, keyboard, wireless detectors, ...) ?
This local radio communication is implemented by a "Short-Range Devices" 433.9 MHz protocol. The advantage is that it consumes less power and covers a larger area than other well-known wireless protocols such as WiFi® (802.11b/g) and Bluetooth®. The range is of about 100 m in line-of-sight. Indoors, it depends on the number and nature of the walls separating the central unit and its peripherals, but is usually considered to be of up to 30 m in a standard house. In one instance, it was found to be of 20 meters (in straight line) inside a stone house (with a Node and the small keyboard in one corner of the house, and the central unit upstairs, in the opposite corner of the house, separated by two walls and one floor, all made of armed concrete), whereas a WiFi signal barely managed to cover a third of that distance. To optimize the coverage in all directions, it is recommended to place the central unit in ... a central location ! You should thus be able to cover a volume of diameter 40 to 60 m around the central unit.
The display shows "Error, press OK! 8: GSM SIM card"
This means that the SIM card has not been inserted or that its PIN code has not been deactivated. To correct this, power off the unit and verify that the SIM card has been inserted in the right direction. Further, you may verify that the PIN code has been deactivated by inserting the SIM card into a mobile phone; when the phone is turned on, it should not request a PIN code.
"Hard reset" is displayed every minute or so
Check with your GSM operator that your subscription and SIM card are still valid
No SMS is received when an alarm is set off
  • Verify that the correct phone number has been registered in the unit; there should be no blank spaces or special characters before and after the number.
  • In case of a pre-pay contract: Verify with your GSM operator that the SIM card is not out of credit or even deactivated due to a lack of activity.
  • In case of subscription-based contract: Verify with your GSM operator that the subscription is active.
The keyboard (input panel) on the central unit does not work
This keyboard does not work like a mobile phone keyboard. Here, you first have to press once the key corresponding to the letter you want, then you press once the key 1, 2 or 3, depending on the sequence number of that letter on its key. E.g., for "bedroom" you should key in: 12 (for 'b'), 22 (for 'e'), 21 (for 'd'), and so on.
A peripheral device behaves erratically after I turned it on/off with the small portable remote control
Peripheral devices may sometimes unstoppably repeat the last command given with the small portable remote control; this is usually a sign that the battery inside the small remote control is almost depleted.
My wireless 230V socket (Node) does not seem to obey when I want to turn it on or off
The wireless socket may currently be in thermostatic regulation mode ("t-control"). In that case, the command for switching it on will only make it change over to the "comfort" target temperature, whereas the command for switching off will make it change over to the "eco" target temperature. During thermostatic regulation, the Node will only switch itself on if the ambient temperature is lower than the target temperature.

In order to disable thermostatic regulation and enable "manual" control of the Node, use SMS command L010 (for a Node with number 01).

The alarm does not get activated/deactivated with the portable keyboard (small wireless remote control)
  • After pressing the key 'A', wait until the LED stops blinking before entering the 4-digit personal access code.
  • Check the battery level on the keyboard, i.e. if a LED blinks at all when pressing the key 'A'.
I just installed a Node (wireless 230V socket) with a PIR or smoke/fire detector, but when I enable alarms and try to set it off, nothing happens
Once you activate the "Alarm On" mode, detectors connected to a Node will wait 10 minutes before really activating (in order to give you enough time to leave the premises).
In case of reachability (no response) issues: Please also check the Conditions for SMS control.
GSM Mini
No light from any LED
Check your power supply, circuit breakers and fuses. Try another power socket.
Signal LED flashes green
  • Is the SIM card subscription valid?
  • SIM card PIN code must be deactivated.
Signal LED flashes red
  • Wait about 2-3 minutes for GSM Mini to restart on its own.
  • If it's still blinking: pull GSM Mini out of the wall socket and wait 1 minute before you put it back into the wall socket.
  • The red blinking can signal a faulty unit: contact your dealer.
The 'Relay' LED keeps flashing red/green
The unit is overheated, probably because of an overload: you may connect a load of up to 3600 Watts to the European "Schuko" version of GSM Mini, and up to 2300 Watts to the Swiss version (the legal regulations being stricter in Switzerland).
My unit does not reply to requests for status SMS
Is the SIM card subscription valid and paid for?
In case of reachability (no response) issues: Please also check the Conditions for SMS control.
GSM 12A
No contact with the unit
  • Check that the unit receives power
  • Power off the unit, wait a few seconds, then power it on and try again
  • Check the antenna, and that the signal LED is green
The unit indicates a bad GSM signal
The GSM antenna should hang vertically, onto a non-metallic support.
There's no light from the Signal LED
  • Check that the SIM card works correctly
  • Check that the PIN code is deactivated
  • Check that the SIM card holder is not damaged
The alarm LED is permanently lit
The alarm LED remains red to indicate that the unit is set to dispatch any alarms that should be triggered on its digital inputs (command "A1"). It does not mean that an alarm has actually been triggered.
How do alarm activation and repetition actually work?
After alarm activation command "A1" has been received by the device, there is a delay of 1 minute before any alarm will actually get triggered. Do not forget to also activate the relevant detector input(s) I1 or I2 with command "B11" and/or "B21".

Once an alarm has been dispatched by SMS, a period of 60 minutes will elapse before any new alarm will be dispatched for that detector input (but you can cancel this delay if you wish, by reactivating the alarm with command "A1"). After this period of 60 minutes, a new alarm will be dispatched again by SMS if the detector still (or again) signals an alarm condition.

How to reset the unit to the factory settings?
If e.g. you forget your personal code, the factory-set code can be reinstalled. Do the following:
  • Disconnect the power supply.
  • Press and hold relay button 1.
  • Power up the unit and keep the button depressed for at least 10 seconds.
  • Release the button.
  • The unit has been reset and the personal code is now 1234.
In case of reachability (no response) issues: Please also check the Conditions for SMS control.
GSM 12A+
How to revert the unit to the factory settings?
If e.g. you forget your personal code, the factory-set code can be reinstalled. Do the following:
  • Disconnect the power supply.
  • Press and hold relay button 1.
  • Power up the unit and keep the button depressed for at least 10 seconds.
  • Release the button.
  • The unit has been reset and the personal code is now 1234.
How to change the hysteresis of the thermostatic control
Sikom's GSM 12A+ offers the possibility for the installer to adjust hysteresis as required by the heating appliance controlled by the thermostatic control function of GSM 12A+ (on output relay No 1).

Command %2: set the hysteresis of the thermostatic control on output No 1.
Parameter: maximum difference between the measured room temperature and the setpoint
                 (from 2 to 5 degrees, corresponding respectively to hystereses of about 1.5 to 4.5 degrees)
Example: "1234 %24" sets the difference to 4 degrees (i.e. a hysteresis of about 3.5 degrees).

How to connect and control a Wallas® heater
GSM 12A+ enables you to control remotely Wallas heaters 40CC and 26CC (only available in Scandinavia).

CONNECTIONS:

TXU 	Data to Wallas 		10 pin connector
RXI 	Data from Wallas 	10 pin connector
GND 	GND Wallas 		10 pin connector
T1 	Temp 1 signal input 	10 pin connector
T2	Temp 2 signal input 	10 pin connector
GND 	GND common 		10 pin connector
I1 	Input 1 		10 pin connector
I2 	Input 2 		10 pin connector
S 	Signal 			10 pin connector
GND 	GND			10 pin connector
+12V 	Power 7-15VDC 		6 pin connector
GND 	GND 			6 pin connector
R1 	Relay 1 		6 pin connector
R1 	Relay 1 		6 pin connector
R2 	Relay 2 		6 pin connector
R2 	Relay 2 		6 pin connector
GSM 12A+ gets its power from the central panel of the Wallas® heater.

DEDICATED SMS COMMANDS:

"S4"	Request status message.
"W0"	Stop the Wallas heater (off).
"W1"	Start the Wallas heater (on).
"W2xx" 	Set the 2-digits target temperature (set point) of the Wallas heater.
Please Note: Command "W2" must be sent after "W0" or "W1".

Command "W2xx" can set temperatures in the range from +5 to +35 degrees Celsius. Please note that you shall not use the "+" sign when specifying temperatures for a Wallas heater.

Example: "1234 W218" sets Wallas target temperature (set point) to 18°C.

The information requested with command "S4" needs at least 15 seconds to be collected. Therefore it is recommended that any W0/W1/W2 command be sent separately, with an interval of at least 15 seconds.

In case of reachability (no response) issues: Please also check the Conditions for SMS control.
GSM Fixi
The LED for output/relay 1 blinks red
A fault was discovered during the self-test procedure. Please contact your reseller.
The LED for output/relay 1 blinks green
  • Check that the PIN code is deactivated
  • Check that the SIM card is inserted in the right direction
  • Power off the unit, remove the SIM card and clean the contacts on the SIM card, e.g. with a rubber. Avoid touching its contacts while inserting it back into the unit. Power on the unit again.
  • Check with your GSM operator that your subscription is valid and/or that the SIM card is not out of credit.
I do not receive any SMS message from the unit
  • In case of a pre-pay contract: Verify with your GSM operator that the SIM card is not out of credit or even deactivated by the operator due to a lack of activity.
  • Try registering again the number to which the unit is to send its messages
  • Power off the unit, wait a few minutes, and power it on again
No contact with the central unit
  • Check that the unit receives power
  • Power off the unit, wait a few seconds, then power it on and try again
  • Check the antenna, and make sure that the signal LED is green
The unit indicates it receives a bad signal
The GSM antenna should hang vertically
When I activate a relay/output manually (using a push-button), it works one minute, then blocks for 20-30 seconds, then works again, and so on
There is probably a problem with the SIM card: either there is a physical fault, or the subscription is terminated. This symptom happens because the GSM module checks the network every minute, and if there is a connectivity problem, it will insist for 20-30 seconds, then abandon, then it will try again after 1 minute.
In case of reachability (no response) issues: Please also check the Conditions for SMS control.