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Thread: Which automation system

  1. #11
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    And a link for Velbus, would be nice plus your thoughts as well on it.
    Sorry, was afraid of sounding like a broken record :-)

    Link to www.velbus.eu I installed my system over the last 1 to 2 years having migrated from an x10 setup.The system is a modular din rail system, with 4 wire control bus, and cat5/twisted pair cabling to wall switches. It has a number of different control options, from built in control functions in each module, to server type controllers, including free and paid options. It also has a din mounted server option with iphone control.

    Most importantly for me, it integrtes fully withmy comfort alarm system, which by default provides full iphone/android control of security,alarm,video camera, lighting and heating control.

    I did a bit of a write up on my own set up here:- https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1z...GVJdnY3WGtYamM for more info.

    Overall, I find it an exceptionally reliable and affordable solution, costing 180 euro for a 4 channel relay module,works out at 45 euro per channel, for what I see as cbus type functionality and reliability.

    Regards,
    Eamon
    Last edited by Wexfordman; 8th November 2012 at 12:11 PM.

  2. #12
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    It actually looks quite interesting but no built in web server.
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  3. #13
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    It actually looks quite interesting but no built in web server.
    There is homecentre, which is the official server, and this http://www.velbus.eu/news/?id=402 coming soon,which is the build in webserver type solution.

    Also, some rf devices, keyfobs, some lovely new glass panel keypads with lcd, touchscreen, temp control modules etc.

    Very nice range of stuff, with loads more coming out, and again, quite affordable.

  4. #14
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Is that price correct 699 euros. Seems very expensive.
    And the software for pc conctrol I guess without the need for Homecentre server thingy is also expensive.
    I think the Loxone still looks a good bet at 498 with built in webserver free pc config software, and free apps for iOS and Android.
    A similar Velbus system looks to cost somewhere between 500 and 1000 euros with free config software but no webserver, that will cost extra. But it is very modular and you can start for an initial cheaper cost which is a bonus.
    Like many things people will always prefer one system over another and sometimes it can boil down to a single feature. And money of course.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  5. #15
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    Is that price correct 699 euros. Seems very expensive.
    Yeah, price is correct, and it is a bit pricy, but lots of alternatives, opensource etc. For me, as a seurity system was also a requirement, I have cytechs comfort, which is fully compatible, and has iphone app free, so no need for controler,server etc. I wouldnt bother with the server, I would install comfort as the controler and server, and having had comfort for over 10 years, no doubst about reliability, functions etc.



    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    I think the Loxone still looks a good bet at 498 with built in webserver free pc config software, and free apps for iOS and Android.
    A similar Velbus system looks to cost somewhere between 500 and 1000 euros with free config software but no webserver, that will cost extra. But it is very modular and you can start for an initial cheaper cost which is a bonus.
    Like many things people will always prefer one system over another and sometimes it can boil down to a single feature. And money of course.
    Yep, although I love the fact that I am not totaly reliant on one system, comfort and velbus will work independently if I want them to, and comfort has so many interface options. I think price wise, these type of systems are getting more feasible, and once you have the proper wiring system in place, it should be relatively easy to migrate from one to another.


    As I said, it is the comfort/velbus integration that gives me what I consider the ideal system.. security, iphone control, telecoms, temp sensing, light and heating control etc, and 100% reliable to date!

  6. #16
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    I think you hit the nail on the head.
    it is the comfort/velbus integration
    .
    We have to many systems that won't talk to each other so the more systems that can talk to one another the better.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wexfordman View Post
    Yeah, price is correct, and it is a bit pricy, but lots of alternatives, opensource etc.
    Plus an annual fee for software licence of c100euro (or is that just for updates?) What are the opensource alternatives - do any of them look promising? A Raspberry Pi should be able to handle the logic easily and the Velbus apps dont look great anyway. To be honest I'm not that interested in 'out of the home' control nor in iPhone control (waking up, starting app etc all a bit of a faff once the novelty has worn off).

    Really what I'm looking for is -
    Scene control in kitchen and living room controlled by physical buttons.
    Some smarts using PIRs to turn on lights at certain times of day
    Ability to simulate someone being home - more effective than a bell alarm in my opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wexfordman View Post
    For me, as a seurity system was also a requirement, I have cytechs comfort, which is fully compatible,
    As I say, somewhat unconvinced by an alarm system. I fitted a Visonic Powermax in our current house and it worked but too many false alarms (almost certainly cat related) so I'm thinking a simple bell box on a switch that I set off every couple of weeks would be just as effective. We never arm ours now.

    It would be good to integrate with an entryphone system but doesn't look especially sophisticated or cheap compared to an http://www.evervue.co.uk/contents/en...ue_VD-720.html for c500 with colour camera and two comms stations.

    The Loxone stuff looks interesting - very smart site and the software looks well developed and flexible. Reliability could be a concern though - this stuff can't be buggy. Does anyone have any more experience of it?

    This is probably newbie ignorance, I'm not clear how you control the Loxone - Assuming the digital inputs are for momentary switches (wired with UTP to the wall switches?) what would the analogue inputs and outputs be used for? From my review so far the starter unit looks very good value but the add ons and extensions quickly get very expensive. I probably need to price up a full system but the Velbus LED dimming kit looks much more reasonably priced. Loxones suggested security camera is 1200 euro (again, compare to the 600 system above.)

    Whilst they suggest you can build an 'alarm' system using Loxone it's not very clear. The 1 wire extension, just to add a key, is 170E and info is opaque - "since the iButton is the active component in the system, you can attach only one iButton reader for each 1-Wire extension, as if there were more, then it would be impossible to tell which reader the signal was coming from. Maximum number of iButtons per reader: Unlimited."

    Actually, that makes more sense now - just means it would not be possible to tell which reader a disarm signal came from.

  8. #18
    Automated Home Jr Member philipp.schuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b33k34 View Post
    The Loxone stuff looks interesting - very smart site and the software looks well developed and flexible. Reliability could be a concern though - this stuff can't be buggy. Does anyone have any more experience of it?
    Thanks for the praise about our configuration software. We tried to create a configuration software that was simple and intuitive to use, yet still offered you total flexibility to design your own logic. I don't think anyone can claim that a piece of software has NO bugs and since my background is in software development I certainly will not make such claims. I can however reassure you that our software is not full of bugs and that we have got strict QA rules in place to ensure that our products work reliably. We put significant effort into testing our all parts of ou solution (hardware, firmware, config software & apps) internally and also have got a large community of beta testers to ensure that once products are released they do what we say they do.


    Quote Originally Posted by b33k34 View Post
    This is probably newbie ignorance, I'm not clear how you control the Loxone - Assuming the digital inputs are for momentary switches (wired with UTP to the wall switches?) what would the analogue inputs and outputs be used for?
    • You are right about the digital inputs are for any devices that provide contact closures, momentary switches, toggle switches, presence sensors, window/door cotacts, pulsed energy meters etc.
    • Analogue inputs can be used for a whole host of sensors. This can be for functions like temperature, humidity, light level (lux) sensing etc.
    • Analog outputs on the other hand can be used for controlling any devices that require more than simply "on/off" control. Common functions include 0-10V dimmable ballasts, proportional manifold valves for heating circuits, mixing valves for weather compensation in heating and many more.


    Quote Originally Posted by b33k34 View Post
    Loxones suggested security camera is 1200 euro (again, compare to the 600 system above.)
    • You can in fact use any IP camera with Loxone that provides a jpeg or mjpg stream. You can find a few suggested cameras that their image urls here.
    • For 2-way audio the camera has to support SIP. The same protocol that is used for VoIP. ProVu offer SIP enabled door stations.


    Quote Originally Posted by b33k34 View Post
    Whilst they suggest you can build an 'alarm' system using Loxone it's not very clear.
    You can connect sensors, i.e. PIRs, reed contacts from windows etc. to the system using the digital inputs.
    How you arm/disarm the system is entirely up to you. This can be done form the apps (including PIN entry). Or by pressing a combination of buttons on your switchplate. Using 1-wire iButtons is yet again another option. If you are controlling the heating, then you are likely to already have a 1-wire Extension for temperature sensors as 1-wire temperature sensors are very cost effective (4 per sensor) and adding an iButton reader for 10 is then very cost effective.


    Hope this clarifies a few points for you. Don't hesitate to get in touch with us if you have got any questions or simply continue to post them here.

    All the best,

    Philipp

  9. #19
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    I have a Loxone mini server here that I have been evaluating for a few weeks. The initial interest came after an enquiry about replacing a HomeVision system (now discontinued) + xAP gateway with something similar in terms of reliability, I/O , programming / ease of use plus would be easy to retrofit. I was so intrigued by the potential of this product that I sourced one myself to see if I could include xAP support for Loxone within the xAP Gateway and potential C-Bus integration.

    I haven't had as much time as I would like to explore the product but so far I am very impressed with most of it with just a couple of reservations on some aspects. From a quality viewpoint both the hardware and the software are top notch. The technical people (provided you can engage directly with them by email) are very competent and responsive. Loxone is an established Austrian company that is now expanding into international markets and so their main developers, literature and forum is mostly German. There is an English forum too although it's content is sparse in comparison to the German content and I have often not been able to get responses to my posts there. Hopefully this is a temporary issue as I know the UK office has been recruiting marketing and support people to provide better localised support. In the meantime Google translate is your friend...

    An interesting aspect of Loxone is their abstraction of functionality within pre built modules , that allows for very sophisticated modelling of more complex tasks like heating control. This is similar to the approach that IDRATek have taken with their PC application Cortex, but running on the mini server directly.

    I have an initial xAP (BSC - Basic Status and Control schema) running on the Loxone mini server now - and am able to introduce on/off, level and text information from external xAP devices with integration in the visual design/configuration software and also display within the web / device visualisation. I can also control xAP devices this way. There are one or two things still to smooth out but it's looking promising.

    The web server / visualisation interface that Loxone provide is very nice but essentially a fixed template in which you allocate your devices to categories and rooms. You can't customise it further yourself which enforces a tidy, intuitive and functional interface. It updates very responsively in real time . I expect to see enhancements in this area as the product evolves. The visualisation is provided either via a web server or using dedicated applications (iOS , Android) and so it's very efficient but will need some careful development to ensure all the interfaces remain identical.

    The HomeVision user who made the initial enquiry was using X10 and via xAP it should be possible to include those devices within Loxone, although my preference would be to use the opportunity to migrate away from X10 , Insteon might be one path.

    The whole integration of mesh radio network devices and Loxone is still an unknown although there is plenty of experience within their employees here. I am exploring the C-Bus integration as that is my chosen lighting system and basic scenes seem fine although there is some awkwardness still in supporting ramp times.

    I agree that the mini server itself is attractively priced although some of the Extension modules (if required) seem quite expensive and also offer limited functionality sometimes. One thing that is really attractive for European markets is the inbuilt integration with KNX, although less so in the UK.

    Hopefully (although not in the immediate few weeks) I will write a review for AH as I am still very enthused about this product . It's attractively priced has been very well thought through and the configuration software is good. A very capable product yet the implementation / programming is still within the capabilities of HA enthusiasts. Importantly , even if you get an integrator to set up the system it can be easily be tweaked as your needs change - something not possible with the well know higher end end $$$ systems as the programming environment is not available to the user.

    From a retrofit point of view it still requires a star wired system back to the distribution board although Extensions or even another mini server could be used for more convenient wiring, perhaps in the loft or a nearer cupboard space. Loxone are setting up installers for those not wanting to tackle such tasks.

    If anyone has any specific questions I'll try and help and I do recommend talking with Loxone UK too as they are most knowledgeable and helpful as per Philipps post above...

    Kevin

    PS (edit) If you're considering Loxone I too recommend watching the 'seminar' videos and downloading the config software and some example projects. It will give you a good insight into the capabilities of the product and how it's programmed. The intention to provide quality documentation, examples and support is very evident , even if the English side is still evolving...
    Last edited by Kevin; 30th December 2012 at 07:26 PM.

  10. #20
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Kevin.
    I too have to say that the customer support direct from the UK and also Spanish offices is excellent.
    The English German issues in some of the software will be sorted in the next release version. I don't know if you noticed that some examples in the English manual where still in German.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

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