Sunday, October 21, 2012

Product Review: Lux TX500E Thermostat

My first ever product review... maybe. I decided to do one this morning since I'm sitting here rather chilly. I could almost say I'm freezing! 40 degrees outside but the thermostat says it's 58 in here. No way!

I was thinking of doing this review a week or so ago on They have over 40 product reviews for this thermostat. The majority seem to give it 4 or 5 stars. I won't be nearly so generous.

I held off installing the unit for over two months since it recommended turning off power to the room while doing so. I didn't want to hassle with that. Finally I gave it a try without turning off the power. That worked ok, except the tiny screws were a pain to deal with, as this amazon reviewer explained. I must have dropped those screws 30 or 40 times myself, and lost some of them.

Once installed, I put 2 AA batteries into the back of the face piece and popped the face piece on to the wall mount. Then we had to figure out how to program it.

The instructions, as with most things nowadays, were in print so small I couldn't read them with my naked eye. I even had difficulty with reading glasses. Connie could read them easier so she took charge of that.

One mistake we made was trying to program it while it was mounted on the wall. It was too high and was over a table making it hard for her to read and adjust it. We should have just popped the face piece off, programmed it, then popped it back on. Didn't think of that until much later.

Once we thought we had it programmed, we had to test it to see if it would go on as I still wasn't sure I had the two wires attached properly. Both wires were black, instead of colored as the instructions suggested they would be. After some tinkering with the temperature settings, the heater came on so I knew I had it right.

Then we started hassling with the main problem we have with the unit: The temperature gauge- or thermometer- doesn't read the temperature right. I don't know it's ever gone below 58 degrees since we installed it, and we'd still feel quite chilly in the house at times.

We have a thermometer/ barometer on the wall just below the unit and it always shows the room temperature four degrees lower. A soil thermometer we placed next to it shows the temperature as 10 degrees cooler. We don't know which one to believe, but I know it's not 58 degrees in this room when it's 40 outside, we haven't had the heater on since the morning before and I'm still cold.

As I sit here, the heater should be on, maybe. I believe Connie set it to 60 yesterday morning. It should start the heater when the room goes below 60, but it shows the temperature at 57 right now and no heater. I'm guessing that's because we might have it set lower for the morning hours or the weekend? I'll have to check that. I forget what times I had it set for.

The reason I bought this unit was it allowed you to set night and daytime temperatures, with special settings for weekends. It's kind of hard to figure those times out when we're still trying to figure out what the comfortable temperature ranges are with the unit.

One other thing I noticed while reading some of the Amazon reviews, is these units don't seem to last very long. Some say just a couple years. Some say up to eight. How soon will we have to go through this hassle again? I hope it doesn't stop working in the winter!

I'm wishing now that I didn't bother buying this thing and just stuck with the old style manual thermostat we used without hassle since we bought the house. Unfortunately, I threw that away as soon as we had this unit up on the wall. Maybe I'll give this unit 3 stars, if we can ever figure out the right temperatures and get it programmed right.

I'll probably give it 1 star if it stops working within the next 2 years.


At 8:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Day-by-day programmable thermostats are the worst idea ever. You'll likely find that you want the same program schedule for 5 or even 7 days a week, which makes such extreme customization useless. But worse, if you decide to change the programming, you have to change it on every single day, and each day typically has several settings so you can vary the temperature 4 or 5 times per day.

I eventually replaced my thermostats with non-programmable ones because I couldn't find a thermostat that would let me have a 1-day schedule instead of a weekday/weekend schedule (or 7-day schedule).

At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Ellin said...

I have one of these from at least five years ago. Maybe they've changed how they work, but I don't remember it being really hard to program and it's worked flawlessly since. Perhaps they changed factories since mine was made?

Mine is in a hallway with nothing in the way of seeing it. Most of the time when it's not "really" heating season, I just leave it OFF.

The flip switch to run the fan without the heat is really handy for those damp mornings where you just need some air floating around and the push to make it heat NOW button is also very nice.

I'm sorry your unit doesn't work as well as the one at my house... even so these aren't the most confusing thermostats. Now they have one that people with smartphones can call their thermostat and tell it what to do! I tried reading the instructions for that one; you need engineering degree for it!

At 9:01 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

You'll likely find that you want the same program schedule for 5 or even 7 days a week, which makes such extreme customization useless..

That's what I wanted. This one allows for Mon- Fri, Sat-Sun. Then you have two time periods to set during the day- not each separate day, just M-F, Sat-Sun. I don't know that I'd want a different program set for weekends and we'll probably just set the whole week the same.

I would have preferred 3 different periods during the day. Set a relatively cool one for when we're usually in bed. A slightly warmer one for first few hours after I get up (I can handle cooler temperatures better than Connie) and then the warmer setting for once she gets up until her bedtime.

As it is, with only two periods to set, it will probably end up being 10pm to maybe 7am for the cooler setting. After that, the "Connie" setting.

Most of the time when it's not "really" heating season, I just leave it OFF..

That's what we've been doing, although we had it on all day yesterday through today and it never came on. Connie just got up, was freezing, and had to mess around with it to get the heater going. She had to set it to five degrees over what it said the current temperature supposedly was to get it to go on.

...and the push to make it heat NOW button is also very nice..

I've read there's supposed to be a temperature override on this. Which button is that?

I've also found a couple instruction videos for the unit I haven't watched yet.

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Ellin wrote, "Perhaps they changed factories since mine was made?"..

Don't know about factories, but I believe the design is changed a bit.

I was reading in the Amazon reviews from one guy whose unit stopped working. He went and bought another one and hoped to just leave the wall mount in place and pop on a new control unit. I guess that didn't work as the new ones don't fit the old wall mounts.

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The override is not usually a button, but a mode switched between. In override mode, the thermostat ignores all of your custom settings and goes with whatever temperature you have set.

I have two forced-air heaters in my home. One thermostat is fine. The other thermostat chronically gets the temperature wrong, but only because if the house layout. In temperature is warming in the hallway where the device is located, also close to the heater iself. It's typically 5 degrees colder in my main room which is just a few feet away. I've tried closing certain vents, but it hasn't helped. I just jack the thermostat up to 75 (or whatever) to compensate.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

The override is not usually a button, but a mode switched between..

That must be what she does when she presses the up arrow button while it's in Run mode?

She might have just found a good daytime temperature. Setting it to 63 degrees seems to be pretty comfortable, although as 9:24 notes, it varies by room. On this side of the house 63 is good, but the living room, being furthest from the heater, is always the coldest.

At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

Ah yes, the trials and tribulations of factory businesses that pump out market share products. Directions seem to be written by college educated idiots to boot. Sometimes, after finally figuring things out from directions, one hits that point where they think, "why did the business do that instead of this...?" Today, it is more and more of "if ya can't follow the directions, you can call the business for help....for a fee $$$$ (so, intentionally and willfuly make directions messy so that more money $$$$$ is made on the phone call for help!)! As far as base plates not "meshing" with newer programmable thermostats, well that is because the business is "forcing you" to consume "something" as opposed to "nothing"! Why is America in debt AND the next generations surely guaranteed a lesser lifestyle of opportunities and success as compared to the previous generations? Partial Answer --> Wasted Wealths on consumer products that are manufactured to fail in a certain time frame so that the money continually flows toward that business from "re-purchases"! Then, connect the dots of government regulation, power and control AND ONE SHOULD UNDERSTAND that both business and government gain when laws force consumptary practices that steals wealth, opportunity and success from the little person that continually puts money into the pockets of extortionists (government and enough businesses). YET, when government and enough businesses have pilfered people's pockets empty from the extortionist tactics, the economy goes sour AND BOTH government and business goes sour too. SO, ya see, in business, it appears that a mentality of "take as much as you can, NOW" is the mainstream methodology for business and government in today's reality. This has led to excessive societal costs for which the individual has been "hosed" while the government and enough businesses made hella bank roll to stockpile for the lean economic times. If anyone disagrees with HOJ on this comment, then consider this "eye-opening FACTOID" ---> enough of these "market share businesses" have mega money just sitting in their portfolios making interest, but ready to dump into the economy WHEN the rules benefit their profit making ventures; and, government only has to turn to the Federal Reserve for "Quantitative Easing" (the government can always have the money it wants, whether by direct taxations or turning on the paper printing press). BOTH TACTICS are meant to get rid of any citizen who does not agree with the societal costs being manifested in the ways, attempts and schemes as they are to create a society where everyone is beholden to the same as a slave, and if your allowed, you too can pick-yourself-up and live in a society where only a well-paying job gets a person going forward and not backward. Tactics usually center around how much cost labor is gonna represent in the final product (this is where the cloudiness comes from when configuring facts to justify the expenditures when wanting a profit from a consumer product.) To gain the leverage over human beings, government and market share businesses NEED wide seperations between societal costs and base level minimum wages. Why? In order to make others believe that the value of their purchase is what it is, even though it is not. AN example can be the housing market too, not just programable thermostats (because it is illegal to install a new furnace using outdated technology that works near perfect). Keep the older thermostats with the wire coil as they are accurate (only real difference besides the digital numbers and options IS MANUAL OPERATION). Thinking about it, manual ain't bad at all, but it don't sell as great as a digital; and, since humans like toys and things that can be pushed, pulled, turned, twisted, flipped-on, etc... well, that desire to have something kicks in too. - HOJ

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, pressing the up or down arrow likely puts you into override mode. Look closely at the LCD display and you may even see the word 'override' appear. You probably turn off that mode by opening the panel and flipping the dial one setting over so it's not on 'run' mode and then return the dial to 'run' mode.

These customizable thermostats supposedly exist to save energy by not heating homes when people aren't home. If someone did a bit of research, I suspect they'd find the level of customization is so severe that people simply keep their thermostat in override mode and continue wasting energy... but now they do it with a circuit board in the thermostat (which is bad for all sorts of Earth-loving reasons).

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

It seemed like a good idea to me at the time I bought it. I quickly got the impression it would have been better to stick with the one we had. Connie just said a short time ago she'd probably prefer the old one, too, considering all the hassle with trying to set this thing where we want it.

After all, the end result is the same: warm air, except with the old one we didn't have to fiddle with it at all.

But, we'll give this one a chance, especially since the alternative means buying and installing a new (albeit cheaper) one.

At 1:42 PM, Anonymous grackle said...

The manual is available at

It says that you can calibrate the temperature. I'd suggest a cheap mercury indoor/outdoor bulb thermometer to check the calibration (not a bi-metal strip.

At 1:50 PM, Anonymous grackle said...

I also see that you should be able to program it for up to 4 periods in a day, as well as the 5 day/2 day periods.
When I have installed similar thermostats I have set them more or less as follows: Period of five days, on at 6 AM off at 8 am; on at 4 PM off at 10 PM; then for the week-end it depends how much time you spend at home.

In practice, we just use the up and down arrows to heat up the house and then turn the heater off until it gets cold again- no programming

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Hmmm...I could have sworn something said this one only did two time periods. I suspect that after all is said and done we'll just end up turning the heater on and off ourselves.

At 10:28 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Update: Yes, it programs 3 or 4 time periods a day. I still see no need for the weekend programming.

I think I figured it out and have the temperatures set about right: 65 during the times when both of us are up. 61, for sleep (thinking of changing that to 60) and 63 or something like that for around 6 to 9am when I'm up but Connie isn't.

What's driving me nuts now is there's a flashing on the displays saying "change filter" or something along that line. Seems like bs to me. How would this unit know whether the heater filter needs to be cleaned or replaced? I'm just ignoring it.

At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Turn the programming dial to air filter. Press next. Use the up arrow until it it comes to "OFF"

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Thank you so much. Done.


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