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Thread: Power over ethernet lighting

  1. #1

    Default Power over ethernet lighting

    Hi,

    We are planning to re-wire our house in the UK. From what I can tell Power Over Ethernet LED lighting only seems to be taking off in in the states right now and only commercial installs.

    Pumping DC rather than AC around the home is supposedly more energy efficient and won't need as many conversions.

    I am also disappointed with the wireless technologies as they all have their downsides (usually cost).

    So I am planning to put CAT6a cables to every fixture and light switch in the house (5 bed) alongside regular Part P high voltage cable as an insurance policy in case I decide to sell the house.

    Hardware:
    1. A Power over Ethernet switch capable of taking the load of LED lights throughout the house (a second one if necessary).
    2. RJ45 PoE or even better RJ45 non PoE light switches.
    3. A raspberry Pi/some other lower power device (perhaps a Sinology Nas)

    I am looking for or thinking about setting up an open source project to do the following:
    1. Using nodejs and net-snmp create a server on that listens to changes on the switch. E.g. PoE/non PoE switch change ala port activation deactivation.
    2. Based on one RJ45 becoming connected (the light switch) enable a or many mapped PoE port/s which will supply power to the LED lights in that room.
    3. On disconnect of the light switch, disable the same range on the server via SNMPset.
    4. Make the solution resilient i.e. run on two raspberry pis in case one fails.

    Does anyone know any projects/companies who might create low power/no power light switches?

    The upsides...
    Lower power consumption
    Flexibility to support newer products not on the market yet without rewiring.
    Depending on how good the pi/nas server is, fine control of the lighting circuit - it could be remote controlled via web page.

    The downsides...
    The switch is still connected to the socket ring so if that fails, no lights - though I could probably ask the sparky to hook up some sockets to a different ring to reduce the chance of other devices tripping it out.

    I am a software developer and can do the SNMP/node/server bits but not good with electronics.
    Can anyone point me in the direction of light switches/light fixtures that might be on the market in the UK over RJ45?

    thanks

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Default

    I haven't come across anything similar to what you're proposing, so good luck with it

    What I will add though, is that you will need to ensure the sheath of the data cable is rated for mains voltages, if it is to be present in the same locations as mains cables. If the data cable sheath isn't suitably rated, you'll need a physical barrier between the mains and data cables. A barrier obviously makes it very difficult to have both cables in the same enclosure!

    Such outer sheath rated Cat5e cable is available here:
    http://www.laser.com/product_info.ph...roducts_id/173

    Will you really need Cat6 cable to your lights? Cat5e is good for gigabit Ethernet...

    HTH,
    Tim.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    I've been watching the market for led's that are controlled and powered from Ethernet for a while as it makes a lot of sense in many ways, but the thing I find annoying about it is whilst they are built *mostly* on standards, the final control protocol always seems to be manufacturer specific despite suitable standards being available.

    For this idea to really take off they need to use standards all the way through, competition should be on a level field on product quality and features rather than lock-in!

  4. #4
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobby View Post
    Hi,

    We are planning to re-wire our house in the UK. From what I can tell Power Over Ethernet LED lighting only seems to be taking off in in the states right now and only commercial installs.

    Pumping DC rather than AC around the home is supposedly more energy efficient and won't need as many conversions.

    I am also disappointed with the wireless technologies as they all have their downsides (usually cost).

    So I am planning to put CAT6a cables to every fixture and light switch in the house (5 bed) alongside regular Part P high voltage cable as an insurance policy in case I decide to sell the house.

    Hardware:
    1. A Power over Ethernet switch capable of taking the load of LED lights throughout the house (a second one if necessary).
    2. RJ45 PoE or even better RJ45 non PoE light switches.
    3. A raspberry Pi/some other lower power device (perhaps a Sinology Nas)

    I am looking for or thinking about setting up an open source project to do the following:
    1. Using nodejs and net-snmp create a server on that listens to changes on the switch. E.g. PoE/non PoE switch change ala port activation deactivation.
    2. Based on one RJ45 becoming connected (the light switch) enable a or many mapped PoE port/s which will supply power to the LED lights in that room.
    3. On disconnect of the light switch, disable the same range on the server via SNMPset.
    4. Make the solution resilient i.e. run on two raspberry pis in case one fails.

    Does anyone know any projects/companies who might create low power/no power light switches?

    The upsides...
    Lower power consumption
    Flexibility to support newer products not on the market yet without rewiring.
    Depending on how good the pi/nas server is, fine control of the lighting circuit - it could be remote controlled via web page.

    The downsides...
    The switch is still connected to the socket ring so if that fails, no lights - though I could probably ask the sparky to hook up some sockets to a different ring to reduce the chance of other devices tripping it out.

    I am a software developer and can do the SNMP/node/server bits but not good with electronics.
    Can anyone point me in the direction of light switches/light fixtures that might be on the market in the UK over RJ45?

    thanks
    Hi Bobby,

    I'm working with a small group here in Australia on a light switch product that we're prototyping in our homes with a plan to take them to market.
    The units are PoE as you've described with UTP (Cat5 is all that you need as per TimH) back to a patch, but rather than driving the lighting from PoE, each light-point is still cabled with conventional mains.

    The reason for this is two fold:
    1) non-Poe on the lighting is the power engineering of the PoE. Most PoE switches are yet to get to 90% efficiency on the PSE (ie the PoE source), and similarly, most PoE PD (Powered Devices) are no better. So you're up for about 15% energy loss in the best case.

    2) Simpler use of existing wiring / wiring-standards
    Nearly all homes have power to their lights. Rather than building something completely custom, we can leverage the existing wiring or in the case of a new home, wire "similarly" and not scare the electrician. Which, from experience, we've found they scare easily - which is OK at this point.

    So the solution uses PoE for the light switches (complete with RGB illumination for each button/dial) and then the lighting has mains to "near" the light itself with an in-line PSU to drop down to 12/24VDC for the LED lighting. The LEDs are then controlled with an in-line WIFI-based PWM controller - we're looking at a wired solution here too.

    The whole solution is controlled by NodeRed - you said that you're across Node - have a look at www.nodered.org it truly rocks. We're running the NodeRed on a BeagleBone Black, but you could equally use a Pi.

    We're in prototype stage at the moment let me know if you're interested in participating.

    Anthony

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Hi Anthony,

    Will the protocol you'll be using be completely open or will there be some propriety stuff in there?

    Will the internal layout of your switches circuit board lend itself to being fitted into other country's light-switch form-factors such as the UK's?

    Neil

  6. #6
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Quote Originally Posted by back_ache View Post
    Hi Anthony,

    Will the protocol you'll be using be completely open or will there be some propriety stuff in there?

    Will the internal layout of your switches circuit board lend itself to being fitted into other country's light-switch form-factors such as the UK's?

    Neil
    Hi Neil,

    The protocol is all IPv4 - HTTP-REST.
    We use MDNS (Bonjour) to allow the devices to be autodiscovered and once "claimed" turn of the Bonjour to conserve power leaving just the REST.

    There are two boards, a "CPU board" with the ARM Cortex processor, Wiznet (for Ethernet/IP) and PoE this board has an edge connector using the mini-PCI formfactor. We chose this to keep the size small enough to fit Australian, US and European formfactors. This board is also "punchdown" rather than RJ45 to allow tight fitment - such as inside a typical electrical mounting box.
    The second board, the "button" board carries the LED inidicator driver and the switches. This one is where we customise the formfactor. Our prototype is a six-button form factor based on the Australian template - this we plan to adapt to match the mounting of the various markets.
    We chose the mini-PCI socket because we can purchase them for AUD0.28 at volume thus keeping down the cost of goods.

    The biggest need we have the moment is an industrial designer. The cost of the externally source mounting plates etc is a big area for cost reduction.

    Does that pique your interest?

    Anthony

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