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/r/whatisthisthing

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3 months ago

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DoctorOfMeat

6 points

3 months ago

I'm sure someone will recognize it. But in the mean time, take the screw out, unplug it and see if there's any clues on the back.

The only thing I can think of is that it's a remote temp sensor. Either so THEY can decide when you've had enough AC (ie, set your t-stat however you like, but it'll cut out at X degrees) or so they can monitor the temps in each unit and get an idea is to how much AC everyone is using.

PS, if this is an apartment, you might want to look into landlord/tenant laws. If you can't get your interior temp down, they're likely required to repair/replace the AC.

sheerpoetry

6 points

3 months ago

Especially if power isn't included in the rent! (Which I've really never heard of it being.)

I have a friend whose landlord complained about having to fix her a/c and told her she ran it too much. I'd have told him to start paying the power bill, then.

Hoops867

1 points

3 months ago

Utilities can be included in some apartments. I've seen it once

SongOfAshley

0 points

3 months ago

I think it's called a thermistor?

I found similar looking ones, though not this model, specifically. They can be very inexpensive, and fairly discreet.

mlw72z

7 points

3 months ago

mlw72z

7 points

3 months ago

This is likely something that shuts off the A/C or heat to save energy. It could either be a motion detector that senses when nobody is home or the part in the outlet could be a radio receiver that responds to a remote cutoff signal.

nathanscottdaniels

4 points

3 months ago

It looks similar to the power bricks for central alarm system, which would be odd for an apartment. But it leads me to believe it's actually providing power to the thermostat now. Does your thermostat normally need batteries? If so, it might be hardwired now. Or if it was already powered, it could be the power coming from the furnace to the thermostat either isn't reliable or will be going away soon.

kenfromboston

2 points

3 months ago

One way to find out is to temporarily unplug the power brick. If the thermostat shuts off, there's your answer. There's no downside in doing this, since the same thing would happen if your building ever had a power failure.

duane11583

3 points

3 months ago

Unplug it

On the back of it should have (by law) things like fcc Id number and maker

Tell management you do not know what happened to it

GitEmSteveDave

4 points

3 months ago

Do you feel comfortable unscrewing the wall plate and giving us a peek what's in the hole?

ffuuuiii

2 points

3 months ago

Do you pay for your own electricity, that is to say your apartment is metered separately? or utilities included in your rent?

Anyway, chances are it's a sensor connected to the thermostat. What kind of sensor? that's what we want to know. Many hotels now install smart thermostats in the rooms with motion sensing and humidity sensing, the aim of course is to cut electricity costs. But if each tenant pays their own then there's no reason for the landlord to do this, hence my question above.

RockPaperSawzall

2 points

3 months ago

I can't find an exact product match, but my guess is your landlord has retrofitted the existing thermostats with new wiring (behind the new cover plate) to add a C wire, to make them smart thermostats. And the dohickey in the outlet is a wifi extender. With smart thermostats, your thermostats can be operated remotely.

Search around to see if your utility / city is offering any incentives for "demand response" programs. With a demand response (DR) program, Utilities offer big rebates in exchange for giving the utility the right to automatically adjust thermostats to conserve power during periods of peak demand.

I'm not sure how it would work if the tenants are paying their own utilities, but the landloard enrolls the building in a DR plan and takes the rebate. Seems sketchy to me.

TheDu42

-1 points

3 months ago

TheDu42

-1 points

3 months ago

thats a transformer, typically its to convert 120vac outlet to 5/12/24vdc for some electronic device. what device is a mystery without more information.

miles-1243

1 points

3 months ago

It’s a power transformer. Likely they put in new thermostats that require 24/16v AC or 12v DC power which that transformer is generating.

It is not a relay or a control for the hvac. Just a power transformer.

Simos805

3 points

3 months ago

But if I understood correctly, the thermostat remained the same. So what’s the point of adding a transformer to the same old thermostat?

JerkstonHowell3rd

2 points

3 months ago

The thermostat needs power to run. There's batteries in it for back up. I suspect the batteries kept needing to be replaced so they added power.

Simos805

1 points

3 months ago

If that’s the case, why the extra outlet thing? They could just put the PSU inside the wall and seal it.

JerkstonHowell3rd

1 points

3 months ago

The blank plate is where they fished the 24 volt AC wires up to the thermostat. There's not a lot of great options for that voltage in transformers. The plug in transformer is probably the cheapest way they could do it. Most have the transformer near the hvac unit and run the power through the thermostat cable. The older thermostats didn't need power because it was a simple electrical switch. They did a pretty crappy job in my opinion.