Jan 062014
 
Venstar T5800

It was easy to find reviews for Nest Learning Thermostat (I think because it looks fancier then all other programmable thermostats), but it wasn’t the case for Venstar T5800. I spent some time to collect these reviews for you. Here are the reviews from various customers :

 

Venstar T5800 ColorTouch Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat, August 8, 2012 (5 stars)

57 of 57 people found the following review helpful

I am an owner of the T5800 and while I’m not a HVAC contractor – I work in a related business. I’m writing this review mainly to refute some of the things stated by the previous reviewer. . . .

The main thing I must say is – if you don’t know what you are doing – hire a professional. I’ve always said “the devil is in the details” and while it may be a breeze to replace a thermostat (all you need is a small screwdriver) there is always a possibility that some little things may (or may not) get in the way of a successful installation.

This thermostat requires a constant supply of 24 volt power, and you must have a wire called a “common” coming from your system transformer and running to the “C” terminal on the thermostat. This “C” wire along with the “R” wire provide the power and they shouldn’t be touched together or jumpered together unless you are interested in sparks, flames, or melted plastic. If you are running a furnace and an air conditioner – and you have 4 wires coming to your thermostat (the most common scenario) – you will NOT be able to use the T5800 out-of-the-box. This doesn’t mean it’s game over. There is a product called “Add-A-Wire” that you can purchase very inexpensively that will allow you to duplex 2 functions on 1 wire and then use the free wire you created as your common. You could also run another wire.

For the reviewer to say that you can just jumper things together is akin to saying you can put a paperclip in an electrical outlet and everything would be fine. Specifically, jumpering “R” and “C” together would most certainly fry your transformer. The fact is – a thermostat installation might not be a DIY project. If you aren’t sure of what you are doing, pay the money to hire a professional, or do a little more research. Don’t criticize the product or the manufacturer because of your own ignorance. It sounds like in this case, Venstar bailed this person out. Kudos to them as they really weren’t on the hook to do anything (IMO).

So – enough review bashing. This is a very cool looking thermostat – AND – with the addition of the Wifi Key (part number ACC0454) – you can access it over the internet from any computer, your iphone, droid, etc., etc. This is very, very convenient if you are going on vacation and you want to return to a heated or cooled home while saving energy during your trip. You can display family pictures as a “screensaver” which makes the thermostat a lot like a digital picture frame. All flashy features aside, the T5800 is a very easy thermostat to program and use. I have owned many thermostats in my day and this is by far my favorite. Luckily for me – I had the “Common” wire in place when I started my thermostat replacement project and so I didn’t have to worry about the problems the other reviewer had. My only beef with the thermostat setup is the multi-step firmware update I had to do. No big deal, but you have to have an SD card reader on your PC and you have to download some software. Another “devilish detail” which was no big hassle for me, but might have stumped my Grandma.

Also – the Add-A-Wire accessory, which can be used to expand a 4-wire configuration and “create” a common wire is part # ACC0410. Even with the Add-A-Wire- you may still need an HVAC professional to help, as the common side of the transformer will need to be identified on the equipment side.

 

Easy to use touchscreen & Nice, April 23, 2012 (5 stars)

54 of 55 people found the following review helpful

I did some research and was about to buy another Car***r brand touchscreen, but there were several concerned reviews, most notably regarding the lack of ‘deadband’ programming control (more on that below in this review) which led me to have second thoughts.

I studied many brands, and determined the Venstar 5800 was the way to go. Using their downloaded manuals and software I was able to learn how to operate & program this thermostat, save the settings and schedule (as well as screensaver images) to an SD Card before the arrival of my thermostat in the mail. It came within 3 days, which is faster than the 7 days estimated when ordering.

Touchscreen thermostats need a ‘common’ lead from the furnace/air handler unit transformer, to power the device, which I knew ahead of time. I also purchased 50 ft of Southwire 5-lead wire from Amazon. After turning off the furnace & AC power at the breaker panel, I ran the new lead wire from the attic unit, matching the colors. Using my existing 4 lead wire, I was able to pull the newly installed 5 lead wire down the wall from the attic. (If you cannot run new 5 lead wire, there is a Venstar Add-A-Wire 5 wire to 4 wire adapter sold separately – only recommend the technical savvy individuals should install).

After a 5 minute swap of the old and new thermostat, by the time i returned from turning the breaker back on the thermostat was illuminated and ready in the OFF mode. I inserted the SD card, went to the “Menu>(page down)> Settings> SD card > Import settings from SD card” and selected all items. It recognized that a newer firmware was used to create the SD card program, and I had to accept to install new firmware before it would load the schedule and settings. It took a few minutes to verify, erase old and write the new operating system firmware.

To see something other than a thermostat box on the wall, it is a nice touch having the available screensaver photos. Plus the benefit of seeing at a distance what the set points, unit mode and if unit is operating or off. Brightness levels when not in use can be dimmed to not be annoying, particularly with a separate setting for night.

I am impressed with the smart fan feature, which makes it nice in a home with teenage kids who sleep with their doors closed. The fan can be set to run 5 minutes per hour (at the top of each hour). I started with mine set to turn on between the 9pm to 7am times, if the unit is not already running. This turns on only the fan to circulate air for 5 minutes, preventing a closed room from being stuffy or having an aroma from being closed up all night. I am sure in winter modes this is something I may turn off, but in the Gulf Coast regions of Texas it is 95% cool and only 5% heat over 12 months.

Back to the Deadband, it is the number of degrees that the thermostat waits before it initiates the stages of heating or cooling. Simply put, this is how sensitive you want the thermostat in responding to temperature changes to turn on or off the unit. In the other touchscreen Car***r brand it, was only offered in a FIXED deadband of 1ºF (+0.5ºF / -0.5ºF), which means my unit would cycle more times per hour than I feel necessary. Venstar comes with a default deadband of 2ºF (+/- 1ºF) which cycles the unit less frequently per hour. Extremely few individuals are consciously able to distinguish one degree difference in air temperature anyway. This deadband is user adjustable between 1º to 6ºF.

Other key features:
you can adjust the number of cycles per hour during the schedule, and
program a minimum compressor “off time” before it allows to restart. This saves your compressor from being hammered when trying to start too soon after being turned off. It’s hard to start a compressor with pressure remaining in the lines from the unit being run recently. (This pressure bleeds off internally through the cooling lines over a 5 minute time span allowing the compressor to start without any ‘load’).

I am adding the optional outdoor temperature sensor soon, so it will also show the hi and lo outside temperatures on screen.

**Update **
The outdoor thermostat shows current, and then the hi/lo temperatures for the present day,
I also bought the $53 Venstar Wifi Internet Key For ColorTouch Thermostats that plugs in the side of the theermostat. It is nice to monitor & adjust home temperature remotely on iPhone. Simple setup and makes this much easier to adjust the preset program temperature if coming home early.
Also while away on travel, if freezing weather is immenent before you’ll coming home, you can raise the temperature to protect pipes from frost.

 

I’m glad I found this T-stat, May 23, 2012 (5 stars)

After using a Honeywell product on a new system I’ve got the 5800 up and running. The Honeywell with its “precise comfort control” was killing my compressor with too many start stop cycles per hour. With this unit I’ve programmed in a deadband of 2 degrees which has lengthened the on cycle.

Besides the functionality of the 5800 this thing is beautiful. The imported slide show is awesome. I had most of the configuration done and exported to SD card so by the time the stat arrived all I had to is wire it and insert the SD card and test the unit. I don’t see how it could get any better….oh wait….Sky Port is coming online to allow for the the user to control the 5800 with an app from anywhere with internet access. an additional accessory to purchase.

 

Neat, but meh, January 2, 2013 (3 stars)

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful

It is a very neat thermostat with some draw backs. It works great, is very easy to set up, and looks good on the wall. The screen is a little smaller than I thought, which is on me for not researching better, and is a little on the low res side of things. Also, in the six months I have had it, it’s screen froze up and wouldn’t accept new commands. The programming continued on however. I pulled the face plate off and reinstalled it and all work great. It has some big bonuses, including being recomended #1 by CR. Its easy to set up, and works as promised. The screen is disappointing though.

 

Awesome thermostat!, January 14, 2013 (5 stars)

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful

I did a LOT of shopping to replace our 6 year old RobertShaw cheapie that was installed when we did a recent remodel. That one used a pair of batteries to provide the power it needed. In this case, the Venstar requires 24VAC (if I recall) power to be supplied — which we were not wired for at the time. After going into the attic and looking at the wiring I found two unused wires on the cable that ran to the thermostat. I found the other missing wire that supplied the 24VAC from the furnace and connected it to one of the two available wires which allowed the full 24VAC to be available at the thermostat — we checked it with a volt meter.

A few things that set this thermostat apart from the others — accuracy for starters. We frequently found our RobertShaw thermostat to be multiple degrees off. I could sit a calibrated Thermapen thermometer right on top of the thermostat and the old thermostat would be on average about 3 degrees high. Ugg.. We also noticed that with other models of Honeywell models we’d had in the past as well. This one is spot on or at best 1 degree off — usually it’s reading the same value that the thermapen reads which is really nice.

Another feature that sets this one apart from the competition is the super easy to read/understand screen and associated content. We had ours up and running easily with the easy to use prompting.

One area you need to check when doing the install — make sure you understand the dip switch settings — there are 3 of them if I recall. Initially we had set the jumpers wrong which caused it to not shut off the heat after it started — so a few times we found it heating to 75 when we told it to stop at 70F. Ugg.. Anyway, reading closer on the meanings of the dip switches indicated that we had set one switch incorrectly. We changed that switch and it’s been a champ since with NO issues.

One other interesting thing I found with this thermostat are the short run times. Our old thermostat would frequently cycle on for 5-10 minutes minimum before it would shut off. This one frequently runs for 3-4 minutes max — short runs and then shuts off.

Overall this unit is by far the best thermostat we’ve ever owned. We did buy the optional WIFI key for it and frequently use the iPhone app to control it which is really nice if you’re in bed and don’t want to get up to bump the temp or whatever.

 

Great touchscreen thermostat, April 17, 2012 (5 stars)

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful

I have owned this for a month and the A/C does not kick on as much it used to. It is easy to adjust once setup. The setup could be refined but once you figure it out there is not much to it. Alot of reviews the people had issues with the common wire. Alot of installed HVAC units have extra wires on both ends. I used one of the spares and had it installed in 30 minutes.

 

Best customer service ever, January 14, 2013 (5 stars)

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful

After the purchase and install of the first Venstar, I was very pleased with the product and install. I purchased a second and, when copying the original settings I incurred a setup problem. I sent email for assistance and included my inquiry and phone number. As it was in the evening, I hoped for a prompt email the next day and was amazed to receive a phone call,within minutes. A very knowledgeable, friendly representative quickly diagnosed that the residential copy would not work for the second commercial setup and advised the change necessary. And, the rep stayed with me while the change steps were made. I was up and running in minutes after receiving the best support I have ever received. Wow!

 

From wired reviews, 29 September 2012

I ordered 2 of these units for our home & office. The basic wall unit functions, but the Wi-Fi cards are a TOTAL FAIL.

Of two Wi-Fi cards, the first was a DOA unit, and the second card shows 23% signal strength at 20 feet from our 200mw Access Point. My Apple MacBook Pro sits 100 feet away and links at 100% signal strength.

Without Wi-Fi connectivity, these units cannot be used with our cell phones or local computers, which is exactly why I bought them.

Color me an unhappy camper that’s out $500. :/

 

Best Thermostat for the Money, September 4, 2013 (5 stars)

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful

This thermostat installs very easily, especially if you have all the necessary wiring. I had a White-Rogers thermostat with a faulty outdoor sensor. Rather than replace the sensor, I upgraded to this t-stat for the color screen and online connectivity. The big benefits to this t-stat over others is:

1) can’t beat the price
2) color screen is customizable and looks very high end, especially compared to Nest.
3) extremely easy to use and good looking user interface
4) no stupid expensive wireless gateway needed, just a simple WiFi card.

Mine is hooked up to a Rudd 2 stage A/C 2 stage heat pump with LP furnace unit. The Installer Test Menu was perfect for confirming all stages were working properly. Also, don’t miss the dip-switches on the back of the t-stat during installation.

Once wired, it takes 30 seconds to boot up. The setup menus are so easy – If you’ve ever used a Garmin GPS, you’ll be right at home with this thermostat. The user interface is setup very similar, with big icons and a menu bar with a “back” button displayed on the bottom of the setup screens. If you want to get really user friendly, you can even enable the simple thermostat option, great for the less computer savvy users. I also love that it shows if you’re using 2nd stage cooling or heating.

The Optional outdoor sensor was also extremely easy to install (2 additional wires). It is very simple in design and doesn’t appear to be weather resistant so you want to mount it either in something protective or under an eve or overhang of your home. The installation of this allows you to set a temp you’d like the emergency heat to run (i.e. mine kicks in when the temp goes below 35 degrees). Another benefit to installing the outdoor sensor is that it displays outdoor temp on the t-stat, along with high/low temp for the day in a pull-down menu (after upgrading the firmware).

The Optional WiFi key was also a simple install – I had it on my wireless network and registered with VenStar in less than 5 minutes. Once it’s online, you create an account on VenStar’s website and enter the MAC address displayed on the t-stat. You then have full control of the t-stat and all configurations from your computer. Once you have your account created, you can also download the VenStar app on your phone. After signing in with your VenStar account, you can control the t-stat and see your daily/weekly usage.

The only CONS I can think of is that this t-stat seemed to cycle my equipment more often than my old White-Rogers t-stat. This was easily fixed by adjusting the deadband settings and number of cycles allowed per hour in the installer menu. Also, why not include WiFi in the unit – Having the key stick out defeats the purpose of purchasing a different colored frame. Also, make sure you have an SD card available so you can upgrade the t-stat firmware – I used one from my digital camera.

I really can’t give this t-stat enough praise. My buddy who works for a HVAC company commented that this is probably the easiest thermostat to configure. If you want an inexpensive, great looking color screen, and WiFi connected thermostat – look no further. I’ve added some pictures in the user picture gallery.

**UPDATE 12/11/13**
I can report this t-stat is still working great, and I was happy to see Venstar’s thermostat win a Consumer Reports comparison. During the Winter I had not configured the DualFuel correctly and needed to contact their tech support. They do not list a phone number, everything is done through e-mail which I don’t like. However, the tech support is excellent, very knowledgeable, and eager to help. Also, Venstar has been pushing out firmware updates to improve the features.

Updated features I’ve noticed include:
1) Ability to update firmware from the thermostat wirelessly, bypassing the SD card
2) Ability to set Home/Away from main screen of t-stat or the App
3) A drop down menu with a weather forecast
4) Improved touch response.

Only CONS I can report are:
1) The touch response still has a bit of lag.
2) The transitions between screens are not smooth and occasionally garbled.
3) The backgrounds are looking pretty dated.
4) The weather forecasts on the thermostat are not very accurate
5) Honeywell’s newly released RTH9580WF WiFi thermostat is looking much nicer

This t-stat maintains its 5 star rating, but it’s starting to look dated next to Honeywell’s new WiFi RTH9580WF.

 

Incomplete Installation Instructions 1/5/2013 (3 stars)
Pros
Cons
Incomplete Installation I
Best Uses
Comment:
I bought this termostat on the recommendation of Consumer Reports. It was to replace a non-progammable four wire battery powered display thermostat that came with my house. It wasn’t until after I connected the wires according to the instructions in the installation manual that I found that I needed a fifth wire to power the display. The cleanest remedy for this problem was to purchase an additional device for $23 called Add-A-Wire. The alternative was to add a jumper on the heater control, something I was not willing to do as this remedy removes independant control of the fan. I think Conusmer Reports should highlight this problem in their review because most people who purchase this thermostat are doing so to upgrade to a programmable model. I should also say that nowhere in the company’s product litereature does it even mention this. In the installation instructions it simply states to move your existing wires to the approriate terminals in the new thermostat.
How long have you owned it:

A month or less

Bottom Line
No, I would not recommend this to a friend.
Like the control I have – anywhere 9/12/2013 (5 stars)
4 of 5 customers found this review helpful
Pros
Can Change Display
Easy to use
Love Mobile App Controls
Cons
none
Best Uses
Override Kids Settings
Phone App Control
Send Messages To Family
Comment:
My energy cost went down with the phone app feature. Temp settings are easy. Like how I can change the display. Like how I can send messages to my family.
How long have you owned it:

More than six months

Bottom Line
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
Great WIFI thermostat  5/8/2013 (5 stars)
Pros
Easy To Install
Cons
Cant think of any
Best Uses
Great If You Travel A Lot
Comment:
I live alone and trave a lot. A programable thermostat does not work for me because I never know what my schedule is going to be. This thermostat saves me a ton of dollars. I just turn it to vacation mode when I leave via my i-phone and put it in to comfort settings an hour or so before i return. It has cut my utility bill by 60%.
How long have you owned it:
Three-to-six months
Bottom Line
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.

 

 

After reading all these reviews, if you think you will be happy with this thermostat, you can purchase it from this link (Venstar T5800 ColorTouch Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat).

Personally I believe this thermostat really deserve 4.7 points out of 5 and this score really shows the quality of it. In the many of the reviews that you have already read, this product is given 5 stars… I didn’t pick only the high ranking reviews, it was really hard to find bad ones :-) If you have any kind of experience with this thermostat, please let others know by using the comment box below.

 

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