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Messages - trentend

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Users / Re: KNX hardware list
« on: March 02, 2011, 07:33:37 pm »
Perfect. I have no problem having the computer run 24/7. Thanks for the help posde.

There are problems with this.  What happens if your computer stops working?  One of the nice things with KNX is that once the local devices are programmed, they keep working. You can make much basic functionality work without needing a running computer (LinuxMCE) to make things happen.

I know I said 24 hours, and it's much more than that.  I am going to add some stuff here tonight.  I tried to setup a wiki user page, but couldn't find out how to get it published.  I'll just post some stuff in this thread.....

Users / Re: KNX hardware list
« on: February 26, 2011, 01:12:42 am »
I'm busy right now but if you give me 24 hours I'll try to give you an explanation of how KNX works and parts breakdown of what I did to give you a comparison.  I'll also try to fill a few gaps in what you need, to what I know, where I can.  I've only used knx on my own house, but I have also been on a training course in it.

I call my centralised point the electrical cabinet, but you can call it what you want.  Is that where your mains electrics come in?  Do you have an RCD consumer unit in there?  I only ask because it makes splitting the various functional modules down into circuits much easier.

......BTW, does anyone think it's better to leave some parts of the automation to the wireless?
Motion detectors, fire-alarm's, thermostats for floor heating etc......

I have a load of unused inputs, partly from these ACTinBOX Classic Hybrids, but also from other various KNX inputs.  Potential free inputs work for push buttons (like a door bell) and magnetic reed switches (like door sensors), there are inputs for temperature sensors and movement sensors.  I made a decision to go with a standard fire alarm panel for resilience (mains powered, with battery backup) and take a switched relay output from that, to a knx input, to alert the knx/linuxmce system of an alarm condition. Motion detectors I wire to knx inputs.  This allows me to perform alarm functions in linuxmce via knx (theoretically, I've not done it yet).  Heating I actually have on a separate system controlled by a Heatmiser unit (see discussion elsehwere here) so my HA control of that will be knx->Linuxmce->Heatmiser - but there is no reason you can't do it all in knx.  There are knx heating control units, and the InZennio z38's I mentioned have thermostats and control modules for HVAC.  In this case you would need at least one in each heating zone.  I intend to use these for the upstairs radiators (knx valves on the radiators, z38's as the thermostat control) and the contrived heatmiser scheme for the downstairs underfloor heating.

I like subsystems that work independently, so if the linuxmce box goes down my house still works.  I don't mind so much about security alarm, but I wouldn't trust basic house functionality or fire alarm.  so for me the HA/Linuxmce control is a layer on top of resilient systems, not a required component of it.

Users / Re: Why use a NAS like i.e. Unraid instead of disks in the Core?
« on: February 25, 2011, 11:08:35 am »
Is there a network traffic / core load penalty for having NAS based storage, over local storage?  Does this have an impact when scaling a system up?

I can imagine that for a couple of HD streams a NAS is going to work, but when you are recording a number of HD tv programmes along with playing a number HD streams there comes a point where pushing it backwards and forwards over one network link might not be ideal (I will have four satellite tuners and two or three terrestrial tuners with up to five media serving streams potentially working at once). My experience with NAS is that the processing overhead can sometimes slow everything down when it's loaded, where a dedicated server with storage copes better.  Or am I imagining problems that aren't there?

With knx I believe the standard accepted way is through a Dali/knx gateway, as mentioned by hari.  You can get gateways, on ebay to control 64 Dali devices (128 in total with 64 mirrored etc.) for between £100 and £200.

As an aside the much maligned Heathrow terminal 5 building (which is not much maligned for its lighting) uses KNX/Dali.  It's a very commonly used commercial solution.

Personally I felt that it was overkill for my house. I have fixed LED's (for example on the stair treads) which I switch with an ordinary output turning on or off the power supply.  I have ordinary light fittings (including lamps) with fixed bulbs, which are all with non-dimable eco-bulbs, that are switched with ordinary outputs.  I have ordinary halogen bulbs, again switched with ordinary outputs.  I create lighting scenes by turning on, and off, a different pattern of lighting, not by dimming.  It was a design decision we made.

To achieve this I have wired each power socket (and light fitting) individually back to my wiring cabinet where it is switchable by an output (on the live terminal).  I felt that I didn't want to deviate from a standard device for each light fitting - so I wanted to keep them all 240V switchable, not dimable.  I don't preclude the possibility that I may want to change this down the line.  If so I need to just replace my ordinary outputs with appropriate dimable outputs in my electrical cabinet.  The point? Well, I would say that initially your wiring scheme is more important than actually how you connect your devices.

If cost per output is an issue to you it seems likely that you might be somewhat limited on the scope of complex lighting that you end up using.

I find it interesting that knx is being so roundly recommended now.  When I put my house together it seemed that the stronger recommendation was z-wave.  I went knx, because I would always take wired over wireless.....and there is a wider range of devices and cosmetic options.

Anyway.  You wont regret knx.  There are some options that can make a budget go further by doing more - for example the InZennio Z38 which is a nice touch panel/switch with a built in thermostat that can control heating/cooling, blinds, scenes, and act as a switch.  There are some room controllers that have inputs and outputs built in which can be competitively priced (I picked up an ABB RM/S 1.1 for just over £100, new on ebay, which is a bargain).  Also there is a thriving second hand market (see ebay, mainly in Germany) - second hand knx inputs and outputs tend to be pretty good, as it tends to be made to a very industrialised build quality.  I've picked up a number of things cheap that have not given me any problems.  You can get knx at about £15-£20 per output (at circa 16A) if you shop about.  I don't think that's too bad.  Inputs you can get cheaper.

It depends on whether you can be bothered to shop around, and what your attitude is to second hand/ebay.

The one thing you do need to be aware of with knx is that you need to have the software to commission your system. 
It's not cheap.

Users / Re: Integration with Heatmiser or other (UK) heating controllers.
« on: February 10, 2011, 10:23:09 am »
I realise it will be a bit more hassle, but an arduino board with ethernet shield and io shield (with RS-485) can be had for about £50 against the £120 for the heatmiser ethernet to RS-485.  It will also provide some inputs and outputs that can be better integrated with home automation.  As I say, I haven't got much past the initial thought process.

Users / Re: Integration with Heatmiser or other (UK) heating controllers.
« on: February 09, 2011, 11:24:03 pm »
I'm a bit cold on it at the moment, because it was a while since I looked at it and then I set it aside to come back to later.  Let me pull a few of my support enquiry replies out for you (Heatmiser also do a pc connect package - windows not linux):

it is possible to send data to the thermostats along the RS485 network  but not directly to the netmonitor.
the protocol is attached  please note we cannot give technical support on its use.

You can connect to any y,b terminal and Y = A and B = B   you can draw up to 800mA from the UH1 the thermostats take a maximum of 70mA each.

The netmonitor can only be accessed from the web interface

So, basically, the netmonitor provides a web interface that allows you to set and control everything controlled by the heatmiser (plus some extra inputs and outputs - although I have some reservations over how useful they are).....which is fine if you want a web interface to your heating system (which is a good enough first stage for me).

If you want to integrate the heatmiser fully into a home automation system then you need to connect to the heatmiser bus using RS485 and use the control code protocol that heatmiser supplly (documentation not brilliant, it might be a bit trial and error to get it going).  My initial thought was to use an arduino with an RS485 interface powered by one of the unused thermostat feeds.

I didn't get much further than that, because I haven't got my linuxmce system up and running yet.  Down the line I would help out if anyone wanted to collaborate on this - unfortunately a network meltdown at work currently means I have zero spare time.

Hope it helps. 

Users / Re: Integration with Heatmiser or other (UK) heating controllers.
« on: February 04, 2011, 06:02:00 pm »
I have a heatmiser based system (an underfloor heating installation bought from Nu-heat), with a netmonitor (not the current version).  I have a copy of the v2 protocol that heatmiser kindly sent me (as well as answering a few other questions).

It is my intention to integrate this with my home automation syste, although I'm currently some way off - I don't yet have a working linuxmce system that I've settled on.

Users / Re: LinuxMCE 8.10 --> 9.04 upgrade fail
« on: January 03, 2011, 01:36:39 am »
I don't know the insides of Linuxmce, but I would imagine a distribution upgrade could break a whole range of things.  From one distribution to another some packages are upgraded, some are added, but also some are removed and no longer supported.  Some things also move location and/or change name.  Given the Linuxmce hooks into a lot of things, I would imagine this could make a real mess.

Users / Re: anybody using 1-Wire devices?
« on: August 09, 2010, 01:30:21 am »
I have some 1-wire devices (though not yet connected - although I have a weatherstation mounted on my roof, and some pressure/temperature/brightness sensors).  It is my intention to wire them to a NSLU2 to record data in a database on a connected usb stick, and then to query the database when I need information.

A long term project - i.e. don't expect me to actually do it any time soon.

Users / Re: LinuxMCE Alarm Panels available in the UK?
« on: August 09, 2010, 01:22:46 am »
There are many ways to achieve this.  Linuxmce has nice alarm features, so in principle you only need sensors and inputs (to recognise them) - you can let Linuxmce do the hard work.  This is the cheapest way (if you're already planning on a Linuxmce system).  However, it may not be recognised by your insurer, and you will not be able to link it to emergency control rooms.  If Linuxmce stops working, so does your alarm system.

Personally I have a separate fire alarm (so that it always works) and am intending to use knx inputs to recognise intruder alarm sensor activation (running from a ups to make it immune from power cuts).  I try to stay away from individual activators/sensors requiring battery, because I don't want to have to be constantly changing batteries to maintain the integrity of the system.  The knx power supply can power the sensors that I have chosen, so one ups keeps the whole system up.

KNX isn't cheap (though some bargains can be found on ebay, if you're patient in building up what you need).

Users / Re: Why many CATx cables?
« on: April 27, 2010, 12:05:33 am »
I haven't run as many cable as some of you, but probably more than the average person thinks is reasonable.

Generally I have one bedroom with only one Cat6 socket, but the others have two, three, and four respectively. I have 2 cat6 to the front door, along with a power cable and a KNX cable.  I have 2 cat6 to my boiler cupboard (one for the webserver for the heating system, plus an additional one just in case). I have none to the lounge (but all appliances connected directly to the electrical cabinet), one to the kitchen and two to the dining room.  In addition every door contact and pir is connected by cat6, as is every in ceiling speaker and fire alarm sensor or sounder. I also have a one wire circuit in cat6, along with a number of spares to the roof space (about five left spare).

There's over a kilometre of cat6 in my house, the conduits in the wall are packed full, and I've almost run out of potential cable runs that meet building regulations.

Wish I'd run a few more outside to be honest, although I may be able to service those needs from the spares in the roof space.

You could argue for more, but I've got enough.  There comes a point where there is a practical limit.  The cost of running the cable and terminating all the connections was not insubstantial.  Simply because there were a lot of them.

Remember to buy yourself a good label printer, label every cable at both ends as you lay it.  Don't miss one. It will pay off in the long run. We only have one cable that is not working (to the power socked in the walk in wardrobe), and one not used (was for an extra dining room light but we've decided to make do with the two). Considering how many cables that's not bad.

All of the cat6 has tested out ok.

Users / Re: Alarm question?
« on: April 22, 2010, 07:48:57 pm »
I was going to use a Comfort alarm with KNX, but I don't really need an approved alarm so now intend to use some spare inputs (KNX as it happens) and LinuxMCE as my alarm system.

It all rather depends what sort of control you need.  There are a range of options from a standard alarm panel with a switched output to indicate just an alarm condition, through a system designed to integrate with other standards (like the comfort system), to specific integrated systems (like this Jung KNX integrated alarm system), to a series of discrete devices that perform specific functions without a de-facto control panel (KNX is very good for this sort of stuff, given that it is so highly integrated across device types).

It comes down to what you need in terms of an authorised system, the control over the system, and how the system integrates with other devices.

As an example at either end of the extremes: For my smoke/heat detection I have a standard panel that works in an approved way.  It communicates an alarm condition via an output relay that it sets when triggered (and some very high pitched internal sounders to awaken any occupants) which is monitored by a KNX input. The only remote control I have is to be able to switch it off, or reset it via KNX (and hopefully via LinuxMCE KNX control) by usung output relays to interrupt the battery and mains power supplies.  On the other hand my security/intrusion alarm system is a set of contacts and pir's connected to KNX inputs that require LinuxMCE (or some other control software) to integrate it into a system - there is a much higher level of control over individual devices though.

Users / Re: Anyone used a Valcom SIP Door Intercom
« on: April 20, 2010, 06:07:58 pm »
The big problem for me might be how to get power to this. The fact that the aviosys works with a PoE injector is a big factor.  Perhaps this does too? If not you'll need a local power supply - which can be problematic outside.

Also you need to think about weatherproofing.

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