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Thread: Am I a fool

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Red face Am I a fool

    I am an approved electrician with my own company, I have experience in general electrical installation domestic and commercial including the usual pir/photo cell control, boiler and heating control, remote control add on's, security systems, addressable fire systems.
    I have a domestic extention job underway at the moment with 30 lighting points in one room, I am looking at the C Bus system but cannot get on the training course. How easy is the system to set up without a PC. Hardwear will probably be neo or E2000 switches, 4 way dimmer, 8 way relay, 3 x external movement sensors, 2 x inernal movement sensors.

    How reliable is the C Bus equipment.

    Should I steer clear and just install the usual electrical switches and dimmers.

    More customers are showing and interest in home automation, so I have been looking on tnet and have been amazed at how much equipment is out there. However which one's should I use and which should I keep clear of.
    One post on a forum in Australia said C Bus was hopeless and he would never touch it again, but there does seem to be a lot of people using it.

    Thanks for you time.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Unhappy

    Hi
    This is my first post on this forum.

    I have approx 50,000 of Cbus equipment in my house, to include 12 way relays, 4 and 8way dimmers, 19 temp sensors, 30 reflection 4,6 and 8 way switches.
    4 Touchscreens.
    CNI,PC INTERFACE, ext and internal pir's.
    Also linked to this system is a Comfort alarm system and nearly linked is an Opus 500 multiroom sound system.

    Anyway I have had all this installed for nearly 3 yrs and it has been very reliable approx 90%.
    Some minor issues are the PIR.s sticking on the temp sensors are a bit hit and miss.

    But the main issue with Cbus is the integrators in this country, I have not come across one yet who is capable of programming Cbus never mind integrating Comfort and Cbus.

    I have gone through 3, the first one went bust and left me in the lurch, the second one was not capable of doing such a complex system because I knew too much about its capabilities so therefore he took my money and never came back
    The 3rd one talked a good job and started off encouragingly but yet again left it unfinished.

    I have tried speaking to Cbus to no avail, these integrators were recommended by Cbus.

    Sorry to go on I now have a 75,000 dimming switch.

    To put things in perspective this system was supposed to future proof this house that was specially built for my daughter who is seriously disabled and confined to a wheelchair.
    What a waste of money!!!!!!
    But then again the equipment is ok if not slightly expensive, it is the support and integrators that let it down.

    UNLESS THEIR IS ANYONE OUT THERE WHO CAN PROVE ME WRONG?

  3. #3
    Automated Home Guru FrankMcAlinden's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi
    >How easy is the system to set up without a PC.

    Never tried programming without a pc ,can be done but i would imagine it would be a very basic setup....Its much easier with a pc.......

    have experience in general electrical installation domestic and commercial including the usual pir/photo cell control, boiler and heating control, remote control add on's, security systems, addressable fire systems.
    I have a domestic extention job underway at the moment with 30 lighting points in one room, I am looking at the C Bus system but cannot get on the training course. How easy is the system to set up without a PC. Hardwear will probably be neo or E2000 switches, 4 way dimmer, 8 way relay, 3 x external movement sensors, 2 x inernal movement sensors.

    How reliable is the C Bus equipment.

    Very reliable........

    >Should I steer clear and just install the usual electrical switches and >dimmers.

    Well depends...If your not comfortable with using a pc then i would stick to what you already use...But as you stated people today want more and more HA features........

    Im a sparkie as well and i didnt do any CBUS courses ...Just purchased the CBUS manual here in Oz and some kit and had a play.....So long as you can use a pc you can setup a basic CBUS system without any issues....
    Heres a link to my CBUS ...The programming here is using the old version2 software.......

    http://www.hobby.armaghelectrical.com.au/page38.html


    >One post on a forum in Australia said C Bus was hopeless and he would >never touch it again, but there does seem to be a lot of people using it.

    Can you send me a link to this forum ...??? ..In my previous experiences people who bag a product usually dont fully understand how it works and therefore end up having problems and the first thing they blame is the product....

    Frank












    Quote Originally Posted by $parks View Post
    I am an approved electrician with my own company, I have experience in general electrical installation domestic and commercial including the usual pir/photo cell control, boiler and heating control, remote control add on's, security systems, addressable fire systems.
    I have a domestic extention job underway at the moment with 30 lighting points in one room, I am looking at the C Bus system but cannot get on the training course. How easy is the system to set up without a PC. Hardwear will probably be neo or E2000 switches, 4 way dimmer, 8 way relay, 3 x external movement sensors, 2 x inernal movement sensors.

    How reliable is the C Bus equipment.

    Should I steer clear and just install the usual electrical switches and dimmers.

    More customers are showing and interest in home automation, so I have been looking on tnet and have been amazed at how much equipment is out there. However which one's should I use and which should I keep clear of.
    One post on a forum in Australia said C Bus was hopeless and he would never touch it again, but there does seem to be a lot of people using it.

    Thanks for you time.
    Home of FirM - the Multi Zone IR Transport System
    http://www.armaghelectrical.com.au/index.html

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default

    Have you thought about EIB/Konnex. A lot of manufacturers support it such as Siemens, ABB and Jung. I think there is over 60 odd companies that support this platform.
    More information such as training manuals, starter CDs etc at www.konnex.org/knx-tools/ the ETS 3 Starter pack is free and the software is full version 30 day trial I believe.
    Have a look here at the EIB shop www.eibshop.co.uk, this will give you an idea as to what is available.
    As you mentioned an Australian forum in your posrt I'm assuming that is where you are from, I don't know of any EIB distributors in Australia but I guess the main konnex website will be able to help.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Default

    Thank you for your information. For the moment I have been frightened off by the complexity of some of the equipment. I can now see I will have to spend a lot more time looking at the different options and playing with some of the equipment before I risk installing it on one of my trusting customers.

    The complaining installer was on an Australian C Bus forum http://www.cbusforums.com/forums/index.php unfortunately I have looked at so many pages I can't find the exact one.

    My home and business are in the uk.

    I use the PC a lot and have programmed many analogue addressable fire systems mainly Morley, Kentec and an odd EMS radio system, security systems usually Scantronic and Abacus, however that was a few years ago before I started my own business, I try to steer clear of the alarm systems due to the 24 hr call out.

    The electrical installation work keeps me going 7 days a week, but some times it's good to have something a bit more challenging to keep the brain in gear.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Jr Member nickgale's Avatar
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    Default Wise decision

    Installing a control system is very different from normal electrical installation and involves far more than just an understanding of what each component does.

    My advice would be get a control system designed to your requirements, you install it ('cos that's what you do for a living) and get someone with experience to program it. Using 'Learn Mode' (without a PC) will only provide basic 'one touch' button control, scene setting is where systems really come into their own.

    You asked "Should I steer clear and just install the usual electrical switches and >dimmers" The answer is what do you want to achieve from the control system? If the answer is you want to walk into a room press a button and a light comes on then stick to switches and dimmers, if you want to have different lighting scenes for different room uses, a house all off button, etc. then install a control system.

    Someone mentioned KNX / EIB, which is a very good system and you can mix and match components from different manufacturers, we are a KNX partner and it has cost us over 1000 so far to reach that status, money well spent as far as I'm concerned but you have to make a clear business decision to move into the market and do it properly. We have built up a number of good working relationships with electrical contractors where we provide a design and programming service. This enables them to offer more to their clients whilst concentrating on what they do best - electrical contracting.

    BTW I'd install Dynalite or KNX over CBus.

    Hope this helps?

    Nick
    Last edited by nickgale; 7th March 2007 at 11:35 PM.

  7. #7
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    Hi Nick

    Thanks for your input, I hope to get down to the Smart home show at Birmingham NEC so I can learn a lot more about the home automation industry before I make any decisions.

    BTW are all these units damaged by a 500V insulation resistance test and if so is it common practice to fit warning labels at the distribution unit.

  8. #8
    Automated Home Jr Member nickgale's Avatar
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    You're welcome

    I will be on the Ivory Egg / EIB Shop stand on Sat & Sun at the Smart Home Show, if you're there on either of those days come a long a say hello.

    Yes you will need to test all outgoing circuits individually when they're disconnected from the dimmers. Relays are less of a problem but I usually try to do a dead test i.e. insulation and R1 + R2 as we're connecting.

    Also be aware that some dimmers will not switch on 'enough' to power a loop tester for a Zs reading, this is due to the Triac in the dimmer needing a certain amount of current flowing through it to keep it on through each cycle. I often just add R1 + R2 to Zs taken at the input to the dimmer or put a load (60w lamp, for example) on the cicuit I'm testing.

    Also when looking at this you'll need to allow for an individual test per circuit as the dimmers almost become a distribution board. But the cost of this is often off set against the ease of wiring - no more 2 way and intermediate switches and loads of switch wiring!

    HTH

    Nick

  9. #9
    Automated Home Guru vex's Avatar
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    The altenative in the short term is you install it and get someone in to program it for you.

    I have an installer in Glasgow who is a whizz on CBus and I am sure you could contract his services of a day or so.

    All you need then is a good distributor who can supply and support you.

    I wonder who that could be?
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    Last edited by vex; 10th March 2007 at 05:39 PM.
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    NOW PART OF INVISION UK, One of the leading home technology distributors to the CI Market.

  10. #10
    WowLighting
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    Default Try Nikobus as an alternative

    Like you I have heard a few bad things about C-Bus so consequently do not recommend C-Bus to my clients.

    I really like the EIB/KNX system as it is a very widely supported, flexible, high quality system.

    However if easy setup and configuration is important to you then you can't do better than the Nikobus system from Niko. This can be programmed 'manually' or through a PC. Is very very reliable. Very flexible. And well priced.

    I will be at the NEC show on the Ivoy Egg / EIB stand on Thursday and Friday. Do drop by and say Hi and I will show you around the stand. I can also show you around the Nikobus stand as we use their equipment extensively in the projects we work on. If you do visit the Nikobus stand ask for Karen or Steve and tell them I sent you and I can arrange for you to get a discount!

    Good Luck!



    Quote Originally Posted by $parks View Post
    Hi Nick

    Thanks for your input, I hope to get down to the Smart home show at Birmingham NEC so I can learn a lot more about the home automation industry before I make any decisions.

    BTW are all these units damaged by a 500V insulation resistance test and if so is it common practice to fit warning labels at the distribution unit.

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