Atmo: the smart heat pump controller with a difference 

Planet Devices is more than just a team of tech professionals – it is a close-knit team of passionate individuals dedicated to revolutionising the energy industry. 

With an exciting product on the brink of launch, Margaret Major met with George Reburn and James Davidson of Planet Devices

With an exciting product on the brink of launch, Margaret Major, Publishing Director for REI, met with George Reburn, Director, and James Davidson, Information Developer, to find out why both installers and consumers should be anticipating this solution with excitement. 

The team all live and work in Plymouth, having graduated from the university there at different times. Drawn together by a mutual passion for innovation and sustainability, the team’s declared mission is to provide sustainable energy equipment that not only meets the highest standards of quality and efficiency, but also empowers installers and suppliers with transparency and cost-efficient remote solutions. 

“We are offering a manufacturer agnostic device to monitor and control heat pumps to maximise efficiency,” James explains, with George adding: “It is scalable, takes 60 seconds to install and includes a control aspect. Our focus is on the installer, rather than the consumer. Although the consumer still has the visibility, our device empowers installers to provide a better service. 

“Across a wide range of manufacturers and models, the Atmo enables you to monitor, control, schedule, analyse and optimise all your installs from the office. 

“With government incentives to drive heat pump uptake, there is insufficient distinction between those who install a system that will do exactly what the customer needs, and those who just sell the heat pump with no real concern for the consumer outcome,” James suggests. 

“With this in mind, we’ve developed a simple plug-in device, that is priced competitively to enable installers to track, maintain, monitor and even control their installed heat pumps seamlessly in one integrated system. 

“With the Government so focussed on numbers, it is easy to lose track of quality, and that risks consumer confidence. But there are a lot of really good installers out there doing a really good job so we wanted to find a way they can easily monitor their installs to demonstrate, and maximise, system performance.” 

“For anyone genuinely interested in continued optimisation of heat pump systems, that’s what these devices deliver – from the one man band in a van that fits two or three heat pumps every quarter, to the larger installer, fitting thousands. 

“And it doesn’t just do one brand, it does all the leading brands with others being tested and added all the time. It enables engineers to see everything in one place.” 

In the development phase the team from Planet Devices hooked up with avid blogger and heat pump expert Graham Hendra who was very interested in what the device could offer. 

We caught up with Graham to get his take, and it appears it was a marriage made in heaven. ‘I’m good with spanners, not computers,” Graham shares, describing himself as a ‘typical engineer’ – rather self-effacingly I thought, until he shares how he once bought a new laptop because his Outlook stopped working… 

When he met George and discussed the controller, Graham listened to the ideas and said: “Give me a box that I power up and turn on.” 

“What engineers want is to dial in and see everything in one place and that’s what I like about this,” Graham explains. “You buy one bit of kit, you stick it on everything you install and you can see it all in one place. 

“Manufacturers have their own devices, and some of them are pretty good but, as an engineer, you don’t want to have to remember which device your units are on, you want one control panel.” 

Graham describes his relationship with Planet Devices as one where ‘they test the products on me to see if I can break them – if they can get me to make them work, then any idiot can make them work!” 

Having tested the device through various iterations, Graham is genuinely enthusiastic about what the Atmo offers. “It is a window into the unit for both the homeowner and the system engineer,” Graham says, describing himself as ‘an enthusiastic fan/prototyper’. 

“As a homeowner, you just want to know your heat pump is running well,” he continues. “Like driving a car. If your tyre loses pressure you want to know but you don’t want your tyre pressure on your dashboard all the time. 

“What the Atmos does is to make life easy for engineers. They learn one device not ten, can monitor all their systems in one place and it will flag anything that is ‘out of the normal’ so they can maintain system efficiency. It tells engineers what they need to know rather than what they don’t.” 

And the last word has to go to Graham: “I want to do some remote monitoring of my heat pumps. I want a tool which is NOT brand specific, I want the same tool and same platform for everything. Thanks to Planet Devices its possible. It’s so simple even I can drive it.” 

With the Atmo set to launch imminently we will watch with great interest. 

Image credit: Planet Devices