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General => Users => Topic started by: max666 on November 14, 2011, 09:30:35 am

Title: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 14, 2011, 09:30:35 am
Hello all!

As I am currently building new house - I have come to stage of sorting out electrical installations - so I can choose to add additional lines for home automation.

Current main tasks are:
-controlling lights
-controlling shutters
-possible FL/LED dimming (if it is achievable)
-later the HVAC will be added - depending on the heat pump type, but it is not current priority.

The house has 220V/1-phase AC current, the shutter motors are 220V with 3 wires, and the most lights will be CFL, some LED flood lights.
For the dimming purposes I was considering FL with electronic ballasts (0-10V or DALI) - but as I am still unable to find good ballast/module combination I am about to give up dimming :(

Major concern now is which the protocol to choose - the more I read and ask for quotations the more I am unclear
-X10 Taiyito micro modules - very cheap (~1000USD total) and very easy to implement, but I am concerned about interference from CFL and switching power supply
-PCLBUS micro modules - more expensive (~2500USD total), probably more robust?!?
-KNX/EIB - the expense with micromodules is sky high (about 150EUR/module), could be great solution but out of my price range
-centralized KNX - expense is quite high and needs lots of customized wiring which could lead to lots of problems with upgrades in decades to come
-zwave or zigbee - cannot find applicable micromodules, especially for shutters and again gets very expensive

As I have said I have a clear book to start with, my electrical installations can be customized if a good solution emerge.

Here is my floor plan with some simplified lightning zones (A-I):
i.imgur.com / UD9jg.jpg
(cannot post img?)

Please give suggestions and keep in mind that the budget is not limitless :(
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 14, 2011, 10:03:35 am
KNX
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 14, 2011, 11:00:36 am
Can you elaborate just a bit? At least which KNX - centralized or eib modules behind switches?
And we are talking about at least 30 circuits, so the switch actuators at 200EUR/switch and 500EUR/blind are way way to much money.
Especially when you compare to taiyito X10 at 15-20USD/module.

Maybe there are some more affordable KNX solutions?
I've gone through siemens, gira, merten, abb, mdt, etc...
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: coley on November 14, 2011, 02:01:20 pm
re zwave - did you check out micro-modules from fibaro?
I haven't tried them myself but seem reasonable price and have what you want; relays, dimmers and shutter control.
see ftp://ftp.zwaveeurope.com/pub/man/en/FIB/

-Coley.
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 14, 2011, 02:56:03 pm
thnx for the information about fibaro, I havent yet seen their modules.
It looks fine, and prices are about 60EUR ppc

this could be viable solution - what about zwave range? are there any problems around typical house?
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: posde on November 14, 2011, 03:52:27 pm
max666,

I've recently rewired most of my home with KNX. Using REG type KNX/EIB equipement the price for blinds is around 40-50EUR per port, for on/off type stuff between 30-50EUR (depending on load type). The wall buttons are expensive, starting at around 80EUR for a two port, up to 110EUR for 8 port. Going REG there works as well, and reduces the price to 20-30EUR per port.
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 14, 2011, 05:00:44 pm
get KNX. I did the z-wave driver and designed the KNX driver, so I know what I'm talking about :-) Z-Wave is quite nice for retro-fitting but if you're building a new house get KNX. Using a more centralised approach with REG actors will help to save money. Dimming can be done with DIM actuators or with a KNX-DALI gateway.

br Hari
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 14, 2011, 05:06:38 pm
i forgot to add when you're building a new house I can't recommend X10/PLCBUS either (I did the plcbus driver so I also know what I'm talking about here)

re zigbee, there are no products to buy yet, at least not where I live (same situation as two years ago..)

EnOcean could be nice, but it lacks wires ;-)
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: trentend on November 14, 2011, 06:48:37 pm
There is a potential low cost DIY route into a knx implementation with Freebus (http://freebus.org), for personal non-commercial use only.  I don't have any experience with it, or where the project is in terms of reliability.  Generally I accumulate KNX devices via ebay, where some occasional bargains are to be found.
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: posde on November 14, 2011, 08:14:13 pm
When I did the calculation with Freebus based stuff, I quickly found out, that it did not really make sense for me. KNX via eBay is a good way to get cheap devices, as well as sourcing from less known vendors.
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 14, 2011, 10:59:50 pm
OK you got me hooked on KNX and I am already trying to find actuators on ebay :)
BUT - as I have read lots on X10/PLCBUS/Zigbee/ZWave - I am unfamiliar with KNX.
Can you point me to the good documentation for KNX?

REG actuators are the ones that can physically be controlled via momentary-switch?

I understand I need KNX powersupply, KNX RS232/USB interface, KNX actuator for blinds and for lights and I'll go for DALI.
Something special to look for regarding LinuxMCE connectivity?

thnx to all!
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: posde on November 14, 2011, 11:06:22 pm
search our wiki on knx
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 15, 2011, 11:56:35 am
Just read wiki, there is good description which RS232 interface to buy.

But I will use forums knowledge a bit more :)

There is one major thing I dont understand about KNX: switches
I know there exists KNX switches and binary inputs. Does it mean that I have to buy those for every switch, and more importantly use 2 inputs for every motor blind? This is getting very expensive :(

Or are there actuators which accept binary inputs for switches? Shutter motors are special because they would use 2binary input each.

And what does REG mean?
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 15, 2011, 12:16:55 pm
for switches you have multiple options:

1) Use a good old plain dumb momentary wall switch and hook that up to a central binary input (8-, 16-, x-way REG module, depending on the number of switches needed in your house).
2) Same as above but not using REG but small distributed modules behind the switch itself -> less cabling, but using such modules behind every switch is going to be more expensive than REG units
3) KNX switches, they're attached to the bus, feature multiple buttons (usually about 1 to 8), can be programmed, some vendors offer combined units (with temp sensor, thermostat function, ...)
4) mixture of the above

REG==ReihenEinbauGeraet, a standardized size for devices to fit on a DIN-Rail. The width is specified in TE (TeilungsEinheiten). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DIN_rail
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 15, 2011, 12:23:24 pm
btw I'd go for 1), that way you could replace everything easily should KNX get obsolete (but I don't think that will happen soon). Or use some cheap relais for channels that you don't want/need to be automated.. or where you want to upgrade to KNX later so reduce the initial costs

br Hari
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 15, 2011, 03:16:13 pm
OK, so I definitely need binary inputs or switches.
I was hoping that some actuators have binary inputs incorporated.

Swtiches or binary inputs alone are hefty expense, mostly because of shutter switches - they take 2inputs each and there are quite a few of them.
I am just doing calculations of everything I need on online shops and the sum for KNX is heavily over budget :(

Have to rethink my approach now.

Thank you all for your time and knowledge!!
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 15, 2011, 06:01:44 pm
when you are a bit smart you should be able to get a much cheaper per channel price than with z-wave. Forget X10/PLCBUS.. it is too slow and not reliable. With z-wave you're quite limited in choices regarding the style and reliable units tend to not be in the cheap segment (e.g. look at the price of high quality Merten Connect products).
some KNX I/O modules allow for single input blind operation, they toggle direction on every press

How many channels do you need?
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: davegravy on November 15, 2011, 07:38:02 pm
Hi Hari, I understand KNX is EU-only. Are you at all familiar with the NA market? If so, what would you recommend over Z-wave for a new build in NA?
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 15, 2011, 07:51:25 pm
KNX is available worldwide.
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 16, 2011, 01:09:53 pm
How many channels do you need?

I have pretty much decided to start with 12 lights and 8 blinds to keep the cost down.
And will prepare all electrical installations for future KNX by routing all the switches and wires to central location.

Can you recommend blind controllers which work with one binary input?
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 16, 2011, 02:01:25 pm
that is no function of the blind controller, the input module needs to support toggle operation by toggling two group addresses on each press
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 16, 2011, 02:02:08 pm
you should also check ebay quite often.. you can get good deals there with a bit of patience
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: max666 on November 16, 2011, 02:17:19 pm
I am already all over ebay.de for KNX/EIB modules :)

So I have to watch which binary inputs I buy?  Any recommendations?
Is this function to toggle addresses normal or only some binary inputs have it?
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: bwhitson on November 17, 2011, 07:45:40 am
Unless I'm incorrect - happens from time to time - Europe is on 220v where as in NA we are on 110.  Are the KNX/EIB devices I find on ebay.de compatible with our 110v system?

If not where might I find 110v compatible products as from what you guys are saying it is the best to go with?
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: davegravy on November 17, 2011, 03:11:45 pm
See the bottom of http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/EIB/KNX_Devices

Looks like http://www.elementcontrols.com/ has some products.

No one selling this stuff in Canada as far as I can tell :(

Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: posde on November 17, 2011, 05:23:39 pm
Siemens sells KNX stuff worldwide.
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: bugui on November 18, 2011, 07:20:51 am
Hello Hari,
I'm using your PLCBUS Driver with 4 dual micromodules.
I have some issues, when I reload the dcerouter but, at the time I got good results, that was the only thing that I can see on it.
I know that KNX it is more reliable, but the difference with the price between PLC ans KNX so high that I thinking that maybe, PLC can be good solution on a hybrid installation (KNX inside the house, PLCBUS for outside lamps).
I would like to ask to you if we can combine this two technologies in order to offer a good price-reliability solution.

Thanks in advance
Bugui
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 18, 2011, 11:54:30 am
Hello Hari,
I'm using your PLCBUS Driver with 4 dual micromodules.
I have some issues, when I reload the dcerouter but, at the time I got good results, that was the only thing that I can see on it.
I know that KNX it is more reliable, but the difference with the price between PLC ans KNX so high that I thinking that maybe, PLC can be good solution on a hybrid installation (KNX inside the house, PLCBUS for outside lamps).
I would like to ask to you if we can combine this two technologies in order to offer a good price-reliability solution.

Thanks in advance
Bugui
I'm not aware of a specific bridge device between KNX and PLCBUS but of course you can run both interfaces on your lmce system and include both KNX and PLCBUS lamps in your scenarios

br Hari
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: posde on November 18, 2011, 12:29:35 pm
KNX exists for various transport media. Most people install KNX with a dedicated wire. But KNX can be run over powerline and RF as well.
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: hari on November 18, 2011, 01:59:35 pm
KNX exists for various transport media. Most people install KNX with a dedicated wire. But KNX can be run over powerline and RF as well.
you might also want to add that the layer 1 fore PLC and RF is not specified in the standard, so only KNX TP products interoperate between vendors. For RF and PLC you need to stick with one vendor..
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: bugui on November 19, 2011, 07:34:16 am
Hari,
I was looking for KNX devices here in argentina, I only found ABB, I tolk with them and they told to me that your own consumer business unit is not developed yet, then they don't know the home automation product line of your own company - ;-p
But I would like to know if all KNX branches supports transport over powerline (is that transport an standard of KNX?), could you give to me the name of a verdor that supports KNX w/powerline, no matter were it comes because, I will need to import this product to argentina because KNX is very new here.

Thanks in advance,
Hernan
Title: Re: New house - help to choose home automation protocol to work with MCE
Post by: posde on November 19, 2011, 12:50:12 pm
hari,

do you have a link where it says that KNX over power line is vendor specifc?