Why does my heater have a USB port?

September 6, 2010

A few days ago, I moved into college. I have a dorm room. And on the dorm room wall, there is a thermostat. It looks like this:

But, being a nautrally inqusitive person, I got to wondering what lay beneath the thin veneer of beige platic. As it turns out, it’s this

The control board is conveniently labeled for the most part. There’s a thermisistor, a slidey potentiometer thing to tell it how hot you want the room, some sort of mometary button on the side, and the wires connecting it all to the actual heater.

And there’s a USB port hanging out at the top. Even more strangley, it is labeled not “superflouos USB port”, but “LO61 port” Which returns exactly no results on google, suggesting it’s something propietary or EXTEMELY obscure. A USB cable plugs into it fine, in any case.

So…does anyone have any idea what that thing is/does?

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4 Responses to “Why does my heater have a USB port?”

  1. David R. said

    Actually, I know what that port is for. The thermostat on your wall has a temp. sensor and controller, which feeds to a master line controller for the dorm’s HVAC system. The USB port is there so that they can flash the thermostat’s firmware, or plug a diagnostic tool in for “commissioning and maintenance”, according to Automated Logic’s website. I couldn’t find a manual for your exact model, since it seems to have been replaced with a more recent, but seemingly functionally similar line of HVAC controllers – here’s a link to the spec sheet:

    http://www.automatedlogic.com/files/documents/products/csrsrev12.pdf/

    Or, it could be there to save on post-installation wiring costs just in case the entire college gets assimilated by the Borg. Your pick.

  2. kate said

    Huh, I wonder if that lets you reflash the main HVAC or just your individual thermostat. Cuz if it was the main one you could totally do a (variant of) the hackers roof pool scene.

  3. nathanww said

    Our rooms just have radiators(no one needs AC because Massachusetts never gets that hot), so I doubt there’s a whole lot more besides the sensor panel you could hack into.

  4. Zander (alex m) said

    i found the software to access the floor plan and the live building data from your thermostat. i think. try both links. the second one is a movie demo. and yes the hvac seems to have heating int the system, as well as cooling. you could totaly freeze the whole wing of your building, and you could be the only one with heat. evil laugh.
    http://www.asicontrols.com/products/software/asi_weblink/index.html
    http://www.asicontrols.com/products/software/asi_weblink/weblink_demo_2.swf.html

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