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Messages - trentend

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Users / Re: Where to start with Merten?
« on: March 05, 2009, 08:20:31 pm »
When you say Merten, I don't know if you mean their KNX stuff? If you do, and you need help programming it, feel free to let me know.  I have access to the ETS software for programming KNX devices, a Croatian wife, and get over to Split and Zagreb pretty regularly.

Installation issues / Re: RS232 interface on an onkyo sr706...
« on: January 10, 2009, 11:54:14 am »
I didn't know exactly what I wanted, but I think that's probably it.

Thank you for your help.

Installation issues / RS232 interface on an onkyo sr706...
« on: January 09, 2009, 02:04:40 pm »
...does anyone know what this does, or is capable of doing? Even better does anyone know how?

I've been looking at the manual, and tried searching for information, but not found anything.  Any help with this receiver, or more specifically controlling it, would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you Andrew (and a Happy New Year to you) for the knowledge your experience brings. Generally I'm not fond of battery powered devices as part of core infrastructure, but I will definitely consider z-wave devices for adding to the system that I already have planned.

(An aside) Interestingly (or not) spending a bit of time on here and just getting feedback has led me to consider using LinuxMCE exclusively as my security system, and dispensing with the comfort alarm panel. I don't envisage needing the alarm for external validation, but more for my own purposes.  I think the comfort may be unecessary for me, particularly if I can wire alarm sensors directly to the core and use KNX integration to trigger events (like room PIR senses an occupant, and if it is after sunset, the lights come on, etc.).

.....In your case of course you have KNX bus cabling in place and already have a load of KNX devices & your comfortable with it so go with that - take a look at our Bash-KNX package for 0710.....

Thanks for that, although I'm still unsure how z-wave devices are powered.  I also think the scenario I have (individual power wires return to an electrical cabinet, where sockets and light fittings can be wired to on/off or dimming actuators as required) allows me to do what z-wave may be less good at - switch and control every individual socket and light fitting in my home. Also does z-wave require a separate controller?  Once programmed KNX devices remember their function and status, even after power outage, and can operate as a self contained sub-system needing nothing more than the wall switches that mirror a more traditional wiring scheme operation (good for more technophobe family and guests) - I very much like the simplicity, low footprint, and inbuilt resilience of a programmed KNX system - even if installation is more onerous.  Clearly this would be less suitable for a retro-fit.

The knowledge of another technology capable of integrating into my house project is all good.  I will certainly consider z-wave for additional (as yet) unplanned functionality. The time you have taken to alert me to the possibility of z-wave is very much appreciated.

We are installing both ZWave and KNX for customers currently. We like both to be frank. Hari has done an excellent job with his new open Zwave driver and we will be using that and contributing functionality and capability around that in the new year.#

I'm not doubting that z-wave is good, but I'll take a good wired system over a good wireless system every day of the week.

The customer I mention here with the KNX installation that we are currently installing was already partway through installing the bus wiring when we got involved and so there was a good reason for going KNX. However we are seeing 75% of our customers decide to go the KNX route at this end of the market when they weigh up all the pluses. Reliability wise we see no issue at all with ZWave as the Mesh network it forms improves as the number of devices increases. In terms of latency & speed we see very little difference in the two either - the difference is marginal at best. In terms of installation cost ZWave wins hands down to be frank as there is no cabling to be run and the individual devices are for the most part less expensive than KNX equivalents - in addition the flexibility to extend/add/change your ZWave network without limitation is an immensely powerful benefit to us and our customers.

All the best

I'm sure your knowledge and experience of implementation outcomes exceeds mine, and I'm happy to defer to you on that. I come from an old school perspective on networking (I'm a systems manager in "real life"). I always prefer a physical wiring solution over a wireless solution.  It has higher bandwidth (potentially), lower latency, no blackspots, can be used to transmit power as well as bus messages, is less susceptible to interference, and is not subject to significant EMI.

I do not suggest that KNX is a cheap solution, but it really is a quality one, with a wide range of support and compelling advantages.

It's entirely feasible that I will add additional devices using wireless technologies (I am particularly compelled by enocean devices that require no power supply), but this will be to add devices where my wiring scheme has not accommodated unforeseen requirements.  I have a similar view when it comes to networking.  I would always hard wire, over wireless, given the choice.

I may be misguided, and I've no doubt that solutions that you suggest can be resilient and effective.  I just have a preference to wired over wireless for technical reasons. As an example I can attach KNX valves to turn on (and off) radiators through KNX valves. The bus pair in the KNX cable carries the bus signal, and the spare pair carries the power. I have allowed for that in my KNX bus wiring scheme.  How would you do that with z-wave?  Because the KNX bus can operate on a tree topology it becomes relatively easy to add devices in at any location where a cable passes near by.  I like physical connections. I'm not against using wireless technology, but I would favour running a LinuxMCE distribution over a physical network, and I feel the same about my electrical and control devices. Of course wireless allows a flexibility that is invaluable in situations where cables cannot reasonably be run.  Horses for courses.

We are installing both ZWave and KNX for customers currently. We like both to be frank. Hari has done an excellent job with his new open Zwave driver and we will be using that and contributing functionality and capability around that in the new year.#

I'm not doubting that z-wave is good, but I'll take a good wired system over a good wireless system every day of the week.

We are also in the middle of a very large KNX installation for a customer in the London area - it has all the KNX features you have listed and probably a few more too ;-). We are installing our LinuxMCE-0710 based Dianemo software which will be used as a secondary controller for scene changes etc as you describe. See my earlier post to this thread for information on the Bash-KNX API we have developed. Our Bash-KNX is built on top of our DCE-Whisperer which is a DCE API written in Bash that makes building new DCE device interfaces easy (DCE-Whisperer is included in the Bash-KNX package). The Core is centrally racked in this installation, will include 3 x Freesat cards and will also control multiple external Sky-HD boxes and a 6x6 Kramer HDMI Video Matrix for routing the HD over Cat5 to multiple Screens and a large Home Cinema Projector installation. In this system we are using multiple ASUS Eee-box's (one mounted behind each display and running at 720p) and one Eee-Box in the rack for the Home Cinema. We also have a wall mounted Eee-Top touchscreen in the Kitchen area. We will also be using a Comfort alarm panel with a KNX interface.

I also have a central wiring room/cabinet.  In my case it's about 0.8m wide and just over 3m long. It stretches under the stairs and at the two ends it touches the lounge and the dining room.  I mount all my A/V equipment in hatches into the electrical room, and all the cables return there.  Consequently all of my wiring is terminated in that cabinet/room (which also houses a 46U rack).  There's a lot of wire, but it leaves the whole system very flexible and easy to rewire or reprogram.

The Eee-box will upscale SD content to 720p and also to 1080p but is not really suitable for playing true HD encoded content. However for upscaled SD it is really an excellent choice even when driving 2.5-3m wide projected Home Cinema installations. The Eee-Top is a great machine too but curently the only way to get this unit working is to use the Vesa driver and the Intel driver does not handle the backlight correctly currently. However the performance under the Vesa driver is adequate and we do expect that the Intel driver will get a fix for the backlight bug in the near future.

Thanks for that information.  For the large full HD screens in the lounge and dining room I have MD's mounted in my electrical cabinet (accessible from the respective rooms). I have a 28" 1080p screen that I was planning on using as a portable with a eee box.  I might try building a custom MD to handle full HD for this.  I'm very tempted by the eee top's for portable controllers/integrated MD's.  I'll probably buy one and have a play.

So in many ways this installation seems to match the one you are planning.

All the best for Xmas and the new year.


Thanks for that.  I imagine it's a project that's going to take me a while.  It should be fun.  The fact that all of my systems work independently means that the integration is icing on the top, rather than critical.  I'll be playing over time to try to get everything working together.  It should be fun.

.....Couple of questions,

Did you go with DALI for your lights, (with one of the KNX-DALI gateways)?
Did you pay for the full version of ETS, or stick to the ETS Basic devices?
Have you looked at HomeServer from Gira?


Thanks for the background, and suggestions.

I haven't implemented the electrical system yet (it's the big job remaining, and circumstances in the progression of the build and other external complications have meant this is the case),apart from the cabling. It is my intention to just use KNX actuators. All of my cabling comes back to a central wiring cabinet (it's actually a small 3m2 room with locking double doors into the hall, and some equipment portals into the lounge and dining room so that A/V equipment is in the electrical cabinet but accessible from the living areas). Each light fitting, each socket, each alarm or speaker component, all have separate cables running directly back to the electrical cabinet/room.  I've done this so that I can wire these in any way that I choose.  The light fittings and sockets will come back to KNX actuators (effectively programmable relays or dimmers) and the switches are all wired to the low voltage KNX bus, so that they can be programmed to activate any (one or group) of the actuators.  The upstairs switches have built in temperature controllers to control the individual room radiators.

I have the full version of ETS and also a couple of the additional licences that allow everything except for printing (it might ultimately be nice to have this running as a virtual machine on one of my servers so that I can re-program the KNX devices whenever I want to).  I'm not of the view that you can make a satisfactory or cost efficient system using the ETS starter system. 

I've looked at homeserver, and it's an option that I may return to, but first I shall try to use LinuxMCE instead. If I go with comfort that can also send KNX control signals, and so can LinuxMCE......I don't really want another controller on the bus.

I had my KNX/ETS training at the splendid Ivory Egg/KNXShop peoples offices down on the south coast, and I shall purchase my stuff from them.

Feature requests & roadmap / Re: Multi-WAN, anyone??
« on: December 19, 2008, 02:00:05 pm »
Personally I'd rather do, what you already have.  That is keep the router seperate from LinuxMCE. There are all sorts of network connections that it is possible to have now, and in the future.  I see absolutely no reason to have LinuxMCE developers tied up supporting them.

you must have missed Z-Wave. KNX looks a bit shopworn in comparision (for our usage patterns, I'm not talking about a some hundred floor office building)....

I didn't miss z-wave. I imagine it might be good for retro-fit, or where wiring is not practicable.  As a technology, in terms of available devices, and aesthetically for the range of co-ordinated switches and sensors, I'd take KNX every day of the week - if I needed to add wireless devices I'd probably look to EnOcean before z-wave.  I'm not against integrating some z-wave devices, but availability where I am (UK) is poor and there's not a lot of useful choice.  Apart from the fact that the prices have gone up due to exchange rate fluctuation, KNX devices are highly available in Europe. It's all very personal, but I'm, really comfortable with my choice of KNX - I think it's a brilliant system, with great product diversity, and commercial level resilience.

I have trained on designing, programming and managing KNX projects, and I have the ETS software for programming the devices. I'll get involved and try to help better integrating the KNX system with LinuxMCE.

....You may want to read a bit farther, because yes. LinuxMCE can control devices itself in very complex ways that no current hardware solution can duplicate. However, your choice of KNX may have been a bit foolhardy. Our implementation of EIB/KNX is very basic......

Thanks for the response. I am in the UK, and I will look into what you say.  Yes it was my intention to use VDR, and I will probably be looking for a way of driving the outputs to the t-amp via sound cards, as a preference (core, or md's or dedicate hardware with lots of channel outputs). The trend audio external soundcards are nice, and I'm using one of those to give a nice clean output via a t-amp to Klipsch RB-61's.  If Linux supports more than one of those via the USB controller that may be a potential solution for me.

My choice of KNX is based on a number of factors.  Clearly it is a European based system, and less well supported in USA based software projects. However, in my view, it is very good. In fact I would go as far as to say that it is the best integrated control system in the market place.  It's superior to everything else available in my territory, and over the last five years I've researched them all.  I can program my KNX devices so they work, they will work without a controller, they will reset themselves after power cuts.  They can integrate a wider range of items than pretty much anything else.  You can send bus messages via pretty much every medium, including powerline, wireless and dedicated bus. I will only be using the dedicated bus.

I would only use LinuxMCE as a secondary level controller to change scenes, or instigate certain actions.  If there isn't a lot in place already, I guess that's an area that I will be contributing to the project, over time.  I've really looked at every other type of integrated automation system, and everything comes short of what KNX can do.  If it never becomes integrated into my LinuxMCE system it's not the end of the world.  I can program it to just work, using the alarm system and the integrated logic built into each device.  There are dedicated web controllers for KNX, and that is another possible avenue I can pursue.

I see LinuxMCE's big advantage in my situation as Audio/Video distribution.  If I can add in the other elements and get a totally integrated system, all the better, but my house is designed so that each sub-system works independently with no single point of failure. The devil will be in the integration, but there's a better chance with LinuxMCE, as far as I see it, than with any other project that I'm aware of.

Hello all. Just a quick introduction.  I have a long standing interest in this project (interested in it initially when LinuxMCE didn't exist, and I followed the meagre information available on Pluto) as the automation solution for a housebuild project that I have been engaged in (for seven long years - don't ask, long story - my "grand design").  The project is reaching a physical conclusion of the build and I'm approaching the final specifications that I build in as the AV and controller equipment.  Just a short description of what I currently have: Fully Cat6 wired house. KNX Automated lighting, sockets, and upstairs temperature controller for the radiators. Downstairs underfloor heating with programmable zone temperature controllers and an ip interface. Two satellite dishes with quad LNB's - one fixed, one motorised. The Comfort alarm with KNX interface, and comprehensive PIRs to detect presence in rooms, will be used to turn on certain room lights under set circumstances.  A KNX weather station for temperature, pressure, rainfall, and ambient light will help with the light measurement.

The core will sit in a rack in the central electrical cabinet, and each media director will sit in a recessed panel in the walls of the living room and dining room driving large full HD (1080p) screens mounted on the walls.  The KNX system will be programmed and have well located distributed switches capable of controlling the lights.  It would be nice if LinuxMCE could override this for more sophisticated scene setting control, and to allow for switching the relays controlling the power sockets (to switch off things for energy saving, and to control lamps plugged into 'ordinary' power sockets). I have some mono-speakers mounted in certain rooms, driven by t-amps.  I would be interested in the best way of piping music/announcements through these mono-speakers - 6 in total (in addiition I have a nice stereo+surround setup for the living room)  I also I have a nice portable 1080p LCD widescreen monitor, on which I intend to mount an eee Box on it's VESA mounting, and use as a portable machine to be plugged into the Cat6 outlets in whichever room it currently resides.  I have what I intend as the core system in a dual opteron 2U server - because of its size it is ill suited to take tuners, and I also will need something like 4 Freeview, and 8 Satellite (primary target freesat HD compatible) - the intention being to supply 2 televisions with direct freeview aerial connections, to have two ordinary dual tuner satellite boxes for the two primary televisions, and to have 2 freeview, 2 motorised dish tuners (HD?), and 2 fixed dish HD tuners (to Astra for freesat - Sky a possibility?) connected to the LinuxMCE system for view/record.  It strikes me that the new eee Top would make a lovely portable TV/controller for this system - anyone using it?

I apologise if this post offends anyone.  I have read at length over many years, and some of these issues remain unresolved in my mind.  So just to recap, the questions:

What is the current state of integration with KNX? What is the best interface to connect it to LinuxMCE, and how?
Anyone using the new eee Top with LinuxMCE? How does it perform? Are touchscreen drivers available?  Is 1080 (p or i) a non-starter using the eee Box as a MD for the full HD screen?
Can I have no tuners in the core, but add them all to the MD's for the primary screens, or am I better getting the tuners in the core, and using my 2U server (with huge storage) as a storage server? Is network/remote storage supported (at all) by LinuxMCE?

If nobody has anything to offer on these, or considers them inappropriate questions, I will proceed on the basis I currently understand, and see how I progress. These are valuable questions to me, however, and I will appreciate any efforts you might make to set me on a better course.  Ultimately as I progress with my install and setup I will be happy to put the knowledge gained into helping others.

Thank you all, and major kudos to the developers. I feel LinuxMCE offers a unique opportunity in Home Automation and AV distribution.  I'm such a geek that I'm building my house around a series of related broad hunches, in the hope of proving them.  Your help in that appreciated.


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