Author Topic: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.  (Read 11433 times)

ggraja

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LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« on: November 18, 2010, 11:49:07 am »
I am new to LinuxMCE

I have been exploring Home automation and in due coarse with Hari's encouragement and a google video on LinuxMCE I decided that I would use LinuxMCE for my project.

I was considering a Z-Wave Vera based solution with ACT Dimmers to kick off my HA project, I was going to later add a Global Cache GC-100 for interacting with my AV equipment. A NAS device for storing media. I would later expand the project scope by including network media players for each room, IP cameras Schlage Z-Wave deadbolt locks.

In the course of my exploration I happened to write an email to Hari and that changed things forever. He was kind to reply and suggested I use KNX/Instabus for my HA project.

I did not know anything about LinuxMCE or KNX, sleepless nights and google kind of helped me scratch the surface.

So here I am looking for links documents on KNX implementation and Hardware. Can someone using KNX help me the the Hardware they use for lighting solution. I have read on multiple forums about Z-Wave status polling either delayed or at times inaccurate. I am looking for a solution that can use KNX and Z-Wave together. As well as exploring solutions to eliminate Z-Wave completely and depend only on KNX.

Looking for all the help I can get. I am in India and on 220V.

posde

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2010, 04:56:58 pm »
I don't know about products available in the Indian market place. I am using KNX stuff from MDT Automation. Good price and quality imho.

You need
* a KNX PSU
* a gateway to access KNX from the computer (I am using an IP/KNX gate, but there are others available)
* KNX actuators to control the lights
* KNX sensors to give input (the switches the user presses, or the motion sensors that send telegrams to the actors to switch lights)

The actuators are centrally installed in the switch panel. The sensors are locally installed. All actuators and sensors are connected with a KNX cable.

ggraja

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2010, 08:21:52 pm »
Thank you for your reply

ABB products are availaible in India. I am meeting a sales guy tomorrow.

In the mean time after reading a lot about KNX and going through some manuals. I have understood a few basics. I have gone through the product manual of DALI-Gateway DG/S 8.1 from ABB since I was interested in lighting and everywhere I explored the only word people swear by is DALI. I have figured out the wiring and working of DALI-Gateway. I figured out that I need a IP/KNX gateway to interface with my LAN there by enabling me to connect my computer to assign addresses to each of the lighting nodes.

I have read about EnOcean Radio Receiver. This does not fit into my scheme of things. I am planning on using an IPOD Touch / IPAD / Android phone / pad as the controller. I have also decided that LinuxMCE will be my chosen platform, since there would be a lot of media streaming involved once we are done with the lighting.

I am trying to figure out what happens if something goes wrong with the network and since I do not have any physical switches, and there would be no way of getting to control the lights. Me and my friend discussed this at length and he was strongly suggesting Z-wave since it fits into the existing conventional wiring and the worst case scenario, we get rid of the Z-wave switch and install a normal physical switch. To be honest the promotional Video of Micasaverde Vera got me interested in HA, but sadly no hardware or support is availaible in India. I have to deal with two standards and source my equipment from Europe, since US is on 110V and to make matters worse there is a different frequency for India (http://www.z-wave.com/modules/xoopsfaq/index.php?cat_id=2 India: 865.22 MHz CEPT*: 868.42 MHz ). So if Z-Wave does launch in India my existing investment is down the tube. I have written to Z-Wave, not even an automated mail which is the least you would expect of a global alliance. so long story short, Z-wave is out of my scheme of things.

I am sure KNX being a standards based system someone has already figured out what to do incase the network goes down. Any help is welcome, I am a voracious reader and worked with Hardware technical support for Dell as well as troubleshooting network issues for Verizon. So I will figure out building the computers, NAS boxes, dlna network media players. Right now I need to know what to if and when things don't work as planned with my lighting.

hari

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2010, 08:31:48 pm »
Enocean does not use batteries, so you can use e.g. a wireless switch to control knx or enocean actuators

Br hari
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

ggraja

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2010, 08:40:36 pm »
Thank you hari for the reply. And thanks so much for replying to my post, you are the one who has show me the right direction and opened my eyes to KNX.

I understand Enocean does not use a battery, but I would need to buy the hardware which is redundant since I would be using IPOD touch as the chosen way to interact.

And I don't see how that will solve the problem that may arise when there is a network/controller failure. I need help on a solution to lighting incase of a system failure.

ggraja

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2010, 08:44:46 pm »
The reason for the choice of IPOD touch is the neat feature that was show using the remote with Gyro on the LinuxMCE Video on Wiki. Since IPOD touch / Iphone have the angular velocity sensors unlike my Samsung Galaxy S

ggraja

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2010, 09:00:30 pm »
Ideally I would have chosen the Ipad, however the current version does not have a front camera and a teardown showed that there was a provision for a front cam as well as gyro chip was missing but provisioned for. So thats apple parlance for an upgrade coming with those features present.

Hari, your take on how well a LinuxMCE would work with the Ipod touch or Ipad?

posde

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2010, 01:35:40 pm »
I would never depend my lighting needs on a personal computer alone. What I do is, I set up each room with a regular KNX switch, which can control the light and the blinds. On top of that, I use mobile touch based devices, like n900,n810, iPod Touch etc. to control the system. Both work fairly transparent with each other, i.e. when I use a KNX switch to turn on the light, it is reflected on the touch screen devices. Always think about the non-nerds trying to turn on a light. Also think about the time, when the core is down for maintenance. Do you really want to stand in the dark, and not be able to switch lights?

Those KNX switches are around 50EUR each, if you wire non-KNX momentary switches into KNX binary sensors, you might end up with 20-30EUR per switch.

bongowongo

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2010, 02:27:16 pm »
Do you have a visual overview how you did your networks in your house?

ggraja

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2010, 02:59:32 am »
@posde - Even if I were to use a regular KNX switch, my beginners understanding is that it sends a control signal for the dimmable light to turn work. In a conventional switch there is an electrical contact established. If in case a Z-wave switch is used and things dont work, yanking it out and replacing it with conventional switch is very simple. In the case of a KNX switch I am looking at only the control wires coming to the switch board.

So whether it be an ipod touch or a KNX switch, both of them send control signals and do not close the electrical circuit, in that context ipod touch would have an extra dependency on the working of my wireless LAN.

@bongowongo - A simple implementation would be all the ballasts would be electrically wired, if I were talking about one zone, then a set of control wires coming from my DALI-Gateway. The DALI gateway connected to an KNX/IP router which in turn connects using a cat5 to my wireless LAN. All the control devices like the IPAD/IPOD touch are connected to the same network using something like openremote to interact with the devices.

Please do give me your suggestions.

So I met the guy from ABB who actually come with all the models of KNX switches, and a whole load of other switches. And with my limited knowledge I had to explain what I really needed was a DALI gateway like DALI-Gateway DG/S 8.1 from ABB. A few phone calls later. I am put across to a technical expert on the subject, who has not heard of EnOcean. Long story short, I need to pick and choose what I want and buy without any expert advice.

So my first shopping list would contain DALI-Gateway DG/S 8.1 from ABB and KNX IP controller.

Now this guy tells me I need to have a licenced copy of ETS4 without which I cannot configure any of this stuff. I have checked out some european brands like Wago which talks about WAGO I/O-PRO CAA software.

Stupid question #1 - Can I not access and configure my Dali network using LinuxMCE ?
Stupid question #2 - If no - is there an opensource alternative, that will get the job done?

« Last Edit: November 21, 2010, 03:01:59 am by ggraja »

posde

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2010, 10:27:40 am »
ggraja,

the difference between a KNX switch and an iPod Touch is, that the KNX switch talks directly to the KNX actuator. The iPod Touch talks to a computer which talks to an IP/KNX gateway, which talks to the KNX actuator. I guess, you get my drift about what has more points of failure.

Re DALI: I would re-think about DALI. DALI is great in larger installations, but imho for most houses DALI is not the way to go, especially if you use a KNX network already. In my setup I don't use dimmers but use multiple light zones within a room, and lower light levels are achieved by turning off some of the zones. ATM there is no direct DALI control within LinuxMCE, but as the KNX DALI gateway exposes the DALI light zones to the KNX world, they can easily be controlled.

ggraja

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2010, 07:21:26 pm »
Forgive me if I am wrong, but I thought KNX was a solution meant to work without a computer as well, I get my LinuxMCE box into the whole scheme of things to kick in the media into my HA.

I thought my IPAD / IPOD can talk to the KNX system through my router that talks the IP/KNX gate. Is that not the case?

Tomorrow I am getting my hands on a test kit, with one dimming and one on/off circuit. Trying to convince the guy to give me a IP/KNX gate so that I can get it into my home network using an ethernet cable between the gate and my router.

Try something like open remote on my existing android Samsung galaxy S. Will tinker around, see how it goes. I will keep the forum posted.

So for the test rig I am planning on the following stuff.

IP/KNX gate
DALI dimmer
On/Off actuator
connect this rig physically to router and figure out the addressing through the ETS4 trial version.
Test it with openremote on my Android phone.

I dont know whether this makes sense.

An extended discussion with my electrical contractor revolved around centralized and de-centralized wiring.

Any views additions, suggestions, any particular products from ABB are most welcome, since ABB is kind of helping me out by providing some of this material for testing.

The next thing on my plate would be an IR blaster that would fit into my knx scheme of things. Global cache GCH-100 or NEVO IR solution if I went with Z-Wave.

I haven't ruled out Z-Wave completely because, Vera comes with the software without extra money and the ease of deployment is enticing. I should have a Vera based test rig in a couple of weeks as well.


posde

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2010, 08:30:41 pm »
KNX is a solution which works without a computer. That is correct. If you want to utilize iPod Touch to control your KNX network, you have two choices:
1) Use LinuxMCE - This means, your iPod Touch tells LinuxMCE to do stuff. LinuxMCE talks to the IP/KNX gate, which in turn talks to the KNX actuator.
2) Have a KNX capable software running on your iPod Touch - I do not know of any, but that does not mean nothing exists.

Centralized wiring is always better imho, than decentralized. Or a mixture of both, which is what I have.

What you should think about is, whether or not LinuxMCE fits into your scheme of things. If it does, I would use IR blaster/receiver which are LinuxMCE compatible, regardless of KNX vs. ZWave, i.e. either a regular GC-100-6 for example, or, if you have MDs scattered around, USB-UIRTs.

ggraja

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2010, 08:44:45 pm »
Thanks a ton posde! From knowing nothing about either LinuxMCE or KNX a week ago. I feel I have come a long way thanks to you and Hari.

In a full blown setup, I want LinuxMCE system to be on all the time. I would be going the way mentioned in step 1).

However, I don't want complete dependency on a system to act as a server, alternately I want to explore the possibilities availaible to implement the solution in step 2.

I don't look at these solutions one better than the other. What I am looking at is that my Ipad talks to KNX through LinuxMCE when I am in the mood for media streaming. At times if and when my system is down, or I am not doing something too media intensive. I will go with the 2) option to fall back on.

allensawyer23

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Re: LinuxMCE / KNX hardware requirement for lighting solution.
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2010, 10:05:10 am »
this thread is a lot better than trying to choose among the possible handware on this link: newbielink:http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Category:Hardware [nonactive]

thanks a lot.