Author Topic: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?  (Read 3840 times)

Raginglynx

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Hi all!

I'm perplexed about which HA system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house
Until now I've just seen wired solutions as the only option. I thought Knx was too expensive so I wanted to go with industrial PLC.

A few days ago I watched this video:

http://www.google.se/url?sa=t&source=video&cd=1&ved=0CDMQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.com%2Fvideoplay%3Fdocid%3D2176025602905109829&rct=j&q=linuxmce&ei=LbBkTbSLDsSfOsHkgNEF&usg=AFQjCNHBQjbuYW3p0taVNz3lEpC_blRAxQ&cad=rja

After that I started thinking maybe wireless isn't so bad. He uses Z-wave. Before I've been of the opinion that wireless won't do the trick as the "air-space" is limited and is being filled up with communication of more and more devices over time. I see the possibility of future interruptions, among other things. A wired solution with it's own bus is likely to be more reliable.. Or?

Please help me choose.
I want to keep it simple, but still reliable. My home will be VERY automated, so it's important it works as it should at all times. And I wouldn't want to shut any doors for the future.
In Sweden, when reading in home automation forums, people sometimes suggest wireless home automation, but when building new house, they still advice you to install empty cable tubes/hoses for a future installation of wired system..

Of course, cost is also an aspect. I can see that Knx is very expensive. X10 is very much cheaper, but as a wired solution it's not reliable enough in Sweden with having 3-phase system.

Maybe I should also add that we have 230V feeding in Sweden too.

X10 wireless? Z-wave? Zigbee? I'm very confused.. And when building new house one wouldn't want to do the mistake of not installing a wired system if that is what the future holds, and if a wireless isn't reliable enough..

Thanks!
Christian
« Last Edit: February 23, 2011, 08:17:49 am by Raginglynx »

posde

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 08:14:35 am »
KNX is very expensive is a myth. Details are scattered in the forum and in the wiki. On a new build, I would ALWAYS go KNX.

aico

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 08:25:18 am »
Hi Christian,

in my home I use this Bussystem http://www.international.bticino.com/webInternational/techguide/searchtechguide/detail.page?uri=/international/en_US/browser/xml/techguide/techguide_59.xml.

It works wired and wireless and it is cheaper than KNX. In my home, I can control lights, heating and a multiroom audio system. the Bussystem is connected to the ethernet. So I can control the Bussystem using LinuxMCE GSD-Devices.

Regards
Johannes

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 10:05:35 am »
Hi all!

I'm perplexed about which HA system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house
Until now I've just seen wired solutions as the only option. I thought Knx was too expensive so I wanted to go with industrial PLC.

A few days ago I watched this video:

http://www.google.se/url?sa=t&source=video&cd=1&ved=0CDMQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.com%2Fvideoplay%3Fdocid%3D2176025602905109829&rct=j&q=linuxmce&ei=LbBkTbSLDsSfOsHkgNEF&usg=AFQjCNHBQjbuYW3p0taVNz3lEpC_blRAxQ&cad=rja

After that I started thinking maybe wireless isn't so bad. He uses Z-wave. Before I've been of the opinion that wireless won't do the trick as the "air-space" is limited and is being filled up with communication of more and more devices over time. I see the possibility of future interruptions, among other things. A wired solution with it's own bus is likely to be more reliable.. Or?

Please help me choose.
I want to keep it simple, but still reliable. My home will be VERY automated, so it's important it works as it should at all times. And I wouldn't want to shut any doors for the future.
In Sweden, when reading in home automation forums, people sometimes suggest wireless home automation, but when building new house, they still advice you to install empty cable tubes/hoses for a future installation of wired system..

Of course, cost is also an aspect. I can see that Knx is very expensive. X10 is very much cheaper, but as a wired solution it's not reliable enough in Sweden with having 3-phase system.

Maybe I should also add that we have 230V feeding in Sweden too.

X10 wireless? Z-wave? Zigbee? I'm very confused.. And when building new house one wouldn't want to do the mistake of not installing a wired system if that is what the future holds, and if a wireless isn't reliable enough..

Thanks!
Christian

I agree with posde if your building a new home then I think KNX is a very good choice indeed and we have installers who only use KNX. However because KNX encompasses many more and various devices and its setup/programming/config is much more complex than the other technologies such as X10 & ZWave you should bare that in mind.

But overall I would say KNX in a new house is the right choice - it may be slightly more expensive (depends how you do the math etc...) but longterm you are future proof pretty much...and after all there is no reason why you could not add in some ZWave later alongside KNX eg have a ZWave wireless light switch control a KNX dimmer circuit (with LinuxMCE acting as the 'glue' to make that happen)

Best of luck with your project.

All the best


Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
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Raginglynx

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2011, 12:20:21 pm »
Thank you for all the input!

One thing I want to achieve is dimming LED's (downlights, stripes, etc.) both with switches and programming situations. Is that possible with bticino, Johannes?

I will have another look at the knx system, but when I've looked earlier I've realised the inputs and outputs are very expensive..

Have anyone btw experinced the need to expand change their ha system over time?
Some people I've talked to say that after a year or two you usually don't use all the modules you think you will use when putting together the system in the beginning. Is this true for anyone of you?

//Christian

hari

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2011, 01:11:35 pm »
get KNX
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

posde

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2011, 08:08:22 pm »
One thing I want to achieve is dimming LED's (downlights, stripes, etc.) both with switches and programming situations.

If you are planning on using LEDs, you should be very careful on selecting dimmers and all. Get in writing, that the PSUs and the dimmer do work together. Or do it, like I do it: Don't use dimmers, but multiple lighting zones. Depending on need, I only have a few lights turned on. And for kicks, add some RGB LED stripes controlled by Chromoflex (the old version, not the new one)
Quote
I will have another look at the knx system, but when I've looked earlier I've realised the inputs and outputs are very expensive..

KNX is very expensive, when you use the complex room controllers and single port actors.

I've select simple 4 button switches, which give me light on/off and shutter open/close. For everything else, I use LinuxMCE orbiter. For output, make sure to select the multiport REG devices. A 8-port shutter actor will cost around 240EUR, i.e. 30EUR per shutter.

Raginglynx

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2011, 12:28:36 am »
I've run into the LED dimming situation with KNX earlier..

Most of the lighting in my house will be leds, and I'm really into the soft-light/soft-dim function that is possible by dimming them. When I thought I had decided to use a PLC-system I was going to solve it by 1-10V analog outputs that controlled pwm-inverters and digital inputs that the rocker-switches were connected to.

The analog outputs on a plc-system costs around 30 EURO each, so there I won't save a lot of money compared to knx. It's the digital inputs that are really cheap. 16 inputs for 80 EURO.

I do believe that a wired dedicated bus-system is the best over time, but I still haven't found one that fulfills my wish to dim everything in a good way.

rgds,
Christian

trentend

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2011, 09:13:52 pm »
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.

Raginglynx

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2011, 10:43:17 pm »
Thank you trentend!

That was nice info. :)
Analog outputs as cheap as 15-20 GBP each and inputs even cheaper? That's more like it! But I haven't yet found 1-10V analog outputs for the LED dimming or just LED dimmer modules. Without that a part of the dream vanishes, I'm afraid.

I'm frankly a little surprised there aren't more led dimming modules and 1-10V analog outputs on the home automation market by now. The way I see it LED is the future lighting and the scientific research to develop better and better products there goes very fast.

However I've been able to find Dimming inverter modules perfect for scenes of leds, like downlights in a living-room/kitchen area, that are controllable with 1-10V and are built with PWM-circuitry. In my earlier intended PLC-system I could control those with Analog outputs.

rgds,
Christian

hari

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2011, 11:31:28 pm »
there are 1-10V knx output modules. Another option would be to use a DALI/KNX interface.

br Hari
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

posde

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2011, 09:25:29 am »
or (KNX/)DMX

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2011, 09:44:23 am »
there are 1-10V knx output modules. Another option would be to use a DALI/KNX interface.

br Hari

In case this is of any interest...

We're testing some pre-production ZWave load controllers that will dim standard GU10 LED replacement bulbs... Should be available later this year. We have seen a ZWave controller pre-production unit that will dim fluorescent lights - it needs an N feed and supports both 0-10 and 1-10V control wires and will be rated around 6AX. Again should be available later this year.

All the best


Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom

Read My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Contact me for Smart Home consulting advice here;
@herron on Twitter, totallymaxed+consulting@gmail.com via email or PM me here.

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iOS Orbiter: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Dianemo_iOS_Orbiter
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trentend

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2011, 10:47:39 am »
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.

Raginglynx

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Re: Home automation system to use with LinuxMCE when building new house?
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 11:03:15 am »
there are 1-10V knx output modules. Another option would be to use a DALI/KNX interface.

br Hari

I haven't been able to find any yet, do you have a suggestion of one?

or (KNX/)DMX

Ok, I haven't really dug into DMX (haven't even heard of it before, actually). Does it have the dimmer modules or the analog outputs that can be integrated into KNX? Is it a lighting network only?

In case this is of any interest...

We're testing some pre-production ZWave load controllers that will dim standard GU10 LED replacement bulbs... Should be available later this year. We have seen a ZWave controller pre-production unit that will dim fluorescent lights - it needs an N feed and supports both 0-10 and 1-10V control wires and will be rated around 6AX. Again should be available later this year.

All the best


Andrew

Sounds interestning, I was up for zwave, but everyone here seem to think it's a better choice to prepare the house for a wired bus system I'm searching for wired products matching led. But it's very nice to know there are coming more products modified for led lighting ;)

What price will they land at?

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.

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.

Intriguing to hear about your setup, thank you for sharing :)

I know that switching outputs will be both easier and cheaper in the initiation, but I hope it will pay off in long term and that I will enjoy the smooth light-up and light-down it will lead to and less energy costs too.

Cost is always an issue, but I need to know how cheap I can get away with what I exactly want and then weigh if it's worth the money :)
If I didn't enjoy the technology I wouldn't think of automating the house, because I really think it's more a cost than a saving. In 20 years when I hopefully will have had a great time of living with the family in my house I don't think the automation products will be worth anything anyway when selling. But that's just my way of looking at it ;)

//Christian