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Thread: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

  1. #1
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    Default A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    Grateful for your thoughts & comments on the following :-

    Clipsal UK Technical Support - is there any or am I the only one not to get any responses? Send an email over 3 weeks ago that was passed to 3 Clipsal personell still without response! Seems to me if your not shelling out for an integrator then you can suffer!

    Software Pt1 - from a user perspective; what PC based software are you using to control (not configure) the hardware; is HomeGate the only option?

    Software Pt2 - from a developer perspective; has anybody bought the development kit? is it work the 1k price tag or should I resort to a packet sniffer & reverse engineer? has anybody tried developing their own software?

    Unshielded CAT - still unable to get a valid technical reason why using shielded causes problems, any body know why or is it similar to the "Pink" cable? (Pretty critical for us as the Bang & Olufsen MasterLink protocol requires 2 shielded pairs to minimise interference, so we would prefer CAT 6 STP.)

    These are all for now (though many to follow) as it was time I was down the pub!
    Cheers
    Greg...

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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    I apologies for the typos and bad grammar!
    Cheers
    Greg...

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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    Howdi BeoLinker,
    Clipsal UK Technical Support - is there any or am I the only one not to get any responses? Send an email over 3 weeks ago that was passed to 3 Clipsal personell still without response! Seems to me if your not shelling out for an integrator then you can suffer!
    Can't answer that one for you. I guess they have their reasons.

    Software Pt1 - from a user perspective; what PC based software are you using to control (not configure) the hardware; is HomeGate the only option?
    Minder, Schedule+, Homegate (wait for V3 and almost ready to ship), Clution, Cgate.
    Software Pt2 - from a developer perspective; has anybody bought the development kit? is it work the 1k price tag or should I resort to a packet sniffer & reverse engineer? has anybody tried developing their own software?
    Buy the developer kit, if you are serious about developing front end solutions then why reinvent the wheel.
    Unshielded CAT - still unable to get a valid technical reason why using shielded causes problems, any body know why or is it similar to the "Pink" cable? (Pretty critical for us as the Bang & Olufsen MasterLink protocol requires 2 shielded pairs to minimise interference, so we would prefer CAT 6 STP.)
    Shielded cable can be used, as can fencing wire. The "pink" cable you so loosely denigrate is the only cat 5 cable I'm aware of that has a certified 240V insulation specification. The normal Blue or other such cable Cat5 or 6 or whatever Cat3,4 has an insulation rating of 48 volts and as such should not be used to enter a switch board. The "pink" offers a visual difference as well.
    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    Ross,

    Thank you for your comments.

    Can't answer that one for you. I guess they have their reasons.
    The rumour has it that they have won the Wembley Stadium contract here in the UK; if so, maybe the investment in commercial kudos will pay off for residential in the end, I just hope they dont under estimate by 8 meters of Pink cable ....

    Minder, Schedule+, Homegate (wait for V3 and almost ready to ship), Clution, Cgate.
    I feel Homegate, albiet cheap in comparison, should be freely available to any C-Bus customer purchasing core hardware i.e. buy a Dimmer or Relay. PC / Network Interface and at least 1 switch (or input in Clipsalish) and you get the software thrown in. The "deal" would not only promote the product in a tabloid fashion but would help build a "bought in" customer base that would generate higher revenue in the future.

    I have been quoted between 3,500GBP to 25,000GBP for the C-Lution software alone; I didn't realise there was a DIN module that lays golden eggs!

    Buy the developer kit, if you are serious about developing front end solutions then why reinvent the wheel.
    By definition; development is evolution; to develop is to progress; in order to progress you must rethink; a quantum leap requires reinvention.

    What you buy is not necessarily what you get! I understand the reasoning behind inflated costs for SDK's although you wouldn't buy a newpaper you have already read!

    At the end of the day I will need to pay a sum of money to be part of the C-Bus Enabled programme, this is just the start!

    Shielded cable can be used, as can fencing wire. The "pink" cable you so loosely denigrate is the only cat 5 cable I'm aware of that has a certified 240V insulation specification. The normal Blue or other such cable Cat5 or 6 or whatever Cat3,4 has an insulation rating of 48 volts and as such should not be used to enter a switch board. The "pink" offers a visual difference as well.
    Interesting.....
    We have been considering a CAT 7 cable from the US (their classification, not ours) It consists of 4 pair, each shielded (containing 2 individually shielded solid copper strands) with an insulated sheaf. Although the cable is higher in cost than the C-Bus Pink (higher than 110v costs more!) it is also faster, allot faster!

    BTW: Check out Belden (http://www.belden.com/) you will suprised how cheap the panther is..

    Ross, thanks again for your comments, you obviously hold much asteem for C-Bus that I cannot be objective to. I would be interested to know more info on your setup & how long you have been a C-Bus user?
    Cheers
    Greg...

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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    The rumour has it that they have won the Wembley Stadium contract here in the UK; if so, maybe the investment in commercial kudos will pay off for residential in the end, I just hope they dont under estimate by 8 meters of Pink cable
    Hmm, I think they were out by a few meters and just broke even.

    I feel Homegate, albiet cheap in comparison, should be freely available to any C-Bus customer purchasing core hardware i.e. buy a Dimmer or Relay. PC / Network Interface and at least 1 switch (or input in Clipsalish) and you get the software thrown in.
    You should suggest it to them. I feel they may disagree with you but stranger things have happened.
    At the end of the day I will need to pay a sum of money to be part of the C-Bus Enabled programme, this is just the start!
    no one has your arm up behind your back. I guess the purchase sorts out the tyre kickers from the developers. If you are serious about a partnership and thats what it would be by default then there are costs involved. The smallest of which would be the SDK.
    We have been considering a CAT 7 cable from the US (their classification, not ours) It consists of 4 pair, each shielded (containing 2 individually shielded solid copper strands) with an insulated sheaf. Although the cable is higher in cost than the C-Bus Pink (higher than 110v costs more!) it is also faster, allot faster!
    Nothing is as fast as 12 gauge fencing wire. Cat 5 is overkill for C-Bus transmissions as it is, it is used for many others reasons not just speed.
    Ross, thanks again for your comments, you obviously hold much asteem for C-Bus that I cannot be objective to. I would be interested to know more info on your setup & how long you have been a C-Bus user?
    C-Bus the product, (not CIS the company) and I have a love/hate relaionship, we are mutual aquaintances by design and necessity. I have been dabbling for some 9 years.

    Cheers

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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    Hi guys,

    It looks like you can download C-Gate from the clipsal website (follow the download link).

    I'm not sure if you require a license to run it, but if you do I beleve it is around GBP120 or so (retail from Clipsal UK). As far as I understand it, the C-Gate software allows you to integrate your own software with C-Bus whereas the HomeGate is kind of like the C-Touch just running on a PC. The developers kit I beleve is more geared towards hardware vendors than software developers.

    Hope it helps,
    Rune

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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    Hi Rune,

    Thanks for the info. I am trying C-Gate at the moment although cannot determine whether it is free for a single network or not given I have seen conflicting views on various websites.

    From Automated Home...

    "C-Gate is available from the Clipsal Integrated Systems web site free of charge for use on a single C-Bus network..."

    "xPL Support for Clipsal C-Bus" article posted by mark on June 16.
    Cheers
    Greg...

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    CGate IS free for a single network.
    Cheers,

    Duncan Margetts
    Clipsal Integrated Systems.

    Personal Blog http://www.duncanmargetts.com/blog/

    Views expressed in this post are not necessarily those of Clipsal Integrated Systems.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    Quote Originally Posted by BeoLinker
    Grateful for your thoughts & comments on the following :-

    Clipsal UK Technical Support - is there any or am I the only one not to get any responses? Send an email over 3 weeks ago that was passed to 3 Clipsal personell still without response! Seems to me if your not shelling out for an integrator then you can suffer!


    I am the General Manager for Clipsal Integrated Systems and are concern about your finding with my companies responce - I am building the technical team due to the high growth in my business so I certainly feel in the next few weeks you will start to see a significant change in CIS

    Software Pt1 - from a user perspective; what PC based software are you using to control (not configure) the hardware; is HomeGate the only option?



    Software Pt2 - from a developer perspective; has anybody bought the development kit? is it work the 1k price tag or should I resort to a packet sniffer & reverse engineer? has anybody tried developing their own software?

    We run an C-bus enable program and there are 2 levels -
    1) apply for full access to C-bus codes - cost 0.00
    2) apply for full access to c-b us codes + developers boards and sim modules etc cost 795.00

    You need to understand the what this program was designed for - I would beleive that with our PC interface and the codes you could get a high level of integration , the full dev. kit is for OEM's to use in their kit on a semi production level .




    Unshielded CAT - still unable to get a valid technical reason why using shielded causes problems, any body know why or is it similar to the "Pink" cable? (Pretty critical for us as the Bang & Olufsen MasterLink protocol requires 2 shielded pairs to minimise interference, so we would prefer CAT 6 STP.)

    Shielded cable is not a problem but a number of point to consider
    1) STP needs to be grounded correctly - otherwise critical ground loops will occur which will cause problems with the data
    2) The cable needs to be 240V rated
    3) we colour it pink for no other reason to identify it - great help when it sits in a tray with 20 data cable!


    These are all for now (though many to follow) as it was time I was down the pub!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: A Few Questions from a C-Bus Newbie!

    In answer to why use Cat 5 Unshielded Twisted Pair.
    A bit long but you did ask :lol:

    The C-bus Cat 5 Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)cable has the following characteristics and a brief explanation of the importance of each is included.

    The C-bus Cable is required to carry the C-bus communication data at 5000 bytes per second with a data transfer rate of 3500 bits per second.

    There are two particular features of Cat 5 UTP cable that made it the cable that Clipsal recommend for use with C-bus and it would be fair to say that C-bus products are designed to work correctly on networks wired with Cat 5 UTP and that the products are tuned to work within the electrical parameters that using Cat 5 UTP provides.

    Firstly cable capacitance:

    The cable capacitance of Cat 5 UTP is clearly defined in the Cat 5 standard, the capacitance should be between 20 and 40 pF per meter. This is a critical parameter when Cat 5 UTP is used to run eithernet LAN's where 1 Gbit/sec is required over a 100m length but it is just as important on C-bus network because even though the transmission speed is lower the maximum (total) cable allowed in a C-bus network is 1,000m. The C-bus network must be able to work reliably from a small net work of two C-bus units on a couple of meters of cable to a 100 unit network spread over the full 1,000m - the system relies on a stable predictable wiring capacitance to achieve this. The effect of too much capacitance would be to 'soften' or distort the edges of the communication data pulses and result in un-reliable bus communications with loads not turning on or off when required.

    Secondly cable twist:

    Noise immunity from electrical interference is an important factor in guarding against data corruption on the network. Voltage spikes will disrupt communication causing unreliable lighting control and in extreme cases high Voltages induced onto the Bus can damage the sensitive electronics in the C-bus units unless there is high 'Common Mode Voltage' Rejection. Both of these factors could be achieved by using a properly installed shielded cable but the shielding will always cause the cable to have a much higher capacitance per meter than Cat 5 UTP. The TP in UTP stands for Twisted Pair, the effect of this twist (between 1 and 2 twists per inch is the standard and a slightly different twist rate is set in each of the 4 pairs to limit cross talk) is to provide very high levels of 'Common Mode Voltage' Rejection. Failure to use cable with these features will not only lessen the reliability of communications but where the cable runs in close proximity to mains wiring will carry a very high risk of electrical damage to the C-bus units.

    Additional factors:

    Mains voltage separation - the C-bus cable should be treated as data cable and the same wiring rules apply to it as apply to data cable this includes:

    150mm minimum separation from mains cable or a physical barrier

    Cat 5 cable should cross Mains cable at 90*

    Where the cable passes into the switch board and may be exposed to single insulated mains wiring, the Pink sheathing is mains rated, however the mains and Cat 5 should be kept as separated as is possible and securely anchored.

    The communication protocol used by C-bus is very robust and conforms to the ISO 7 layer model, it has collision avoidance and detection, this will allow a certain latitude with cabling in that occasional close proximity to mains will be tolerated but long parallel runs are to be avoided.


    The safe reliable operation of C-bus relies on stable well installed bus cabling, the warranty of the systems performance and the products reliability is based on the installer using Cat 5 UTP the use of any other cable will void the product warranty and Clipsal will not be liable for any non performance of products installed in a network that doesn't conform to the above requirements

    Clipsal Technical Support Australia

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