Niall HamptonSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Editor's Blog’ written by Niall Hampton
When testing motorhomes of late, we've become increasingly au fait with and ever-more impressed by Truma’s iNet system, which allows you to control your Combi heating unit while you’re away from your ’van. Most recently, I enjoyed the benefits of this when pitched in the Benimar Mileo 286, as detailed in our review. So, what is it and how does it work?
If your motorhome has an ‘iNet ready’ logo on its grey Truma Combi control panel – the one with the LCD screen and rotary controller – then you can add remote-control capability to your heating system. To do this, you’ll need two things: an ‘iNet box’, which retails for £369, and the ‘Truma’ app, which is free of charge from the App Store (for iOS devices) or the Google Play Store (for Android users).
The iNet box is a small unit that your local motorhome dealer will install next to your Combi heater (this will take around one hour). The box carries the electronics to provide remote control via the mobile-phone network (GSM) or Bluetooth. Cleverly, the system switches over from GSM to Bluetooth automatically when your smartphone or tablet is in range and ‘paired’ with it. So if you’ve gone some distance from your ’van and have fired up the heating half an hour before heading back, then you can make fine adjustments over the Bluetooth connection on your return.
A SIM card wasn’t fitted to our iNet box, so we used it solely on Bluetooth, but the system works very well indeed. After enabling Bluetooth on your device, set-up is effected through the app, with screens to walk you through the process. In case you have to download an update for the iNet software, you’ll need access to a cellular data or Wi-Fi network.
Once the iNet box and Truma app have been paired, you can control your Combi space and water heating using sliders on your device. Mode, temperature and fan settings can be selected easily, and a simple-to-use timer function is another feature. Set-up of iNet is easy and operating it is a breeze; the whole process is far more intuitive than using the physical Truma controller, which can occasionally befuddle you with its icons and abbreviations. Having used the Truma app on a tablet and smartphone, we believe a ‘phablet’ hybrid would offer the best user experience.
The Truma app has one other useful function: you can also use it to control your Truma Aventa roof-mounted air-con unit, should you have one. Just tap the ‘AC’ tab to access the controls.
The iNet system only works with Truma CP Plus controllers; if your ’van doesn’t have one, a retrofitted unit will cost around £200. Want to find out more? Head to Truma's website and watch the video.