Domotica

/, Me/Domotica

Domotica

In October of this year (2010) we bought a house in Apeldoorn (the Netherlands). The idea in my head is to make this the most energy efficient house possible. Home automation is one of the essential things to achieve that. My investigations lead to many solutions. Once upon a time I did some X10 so started looking there. The Home Automation world goes fast. New protocols like KNX, ZigBee and Z-Wave passed by. Then my eye caught the Loxone system. It is a KNX based system but has many Extensions (DMX, EnOcean, RS232, RS485, 1-Wire) which makes it the most compatible system I could find. The EnOcean extension is very interesting. I’ve read a lot about it and got convinced that is the way to go. EnOcean is a wireless and battery less standard for Home Automation that is big business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In the Netherlands it is not so popular but that goes for Home Automation in general here. Big energy-neutral buildings have been equipped with EnOcean already. The combination of KNX and EnOcean makes it a very powerful solution.

In my youth I learned how to build electrical installations at School. EnOcean has a huge impact. Traditionally wiring was needed to all switches and power outlets. With EnOcean the wiring to switches becomes obsolete which means less cost during the building process and less magnetic fields in the home. One can even glue a switch to the wall. Many manufacturer deliver their switches with double-sided tape. Each outlet for light has to start and end in the distribution box which is normally not done. For existing houses this is hard if not impossible to fit later on. The advice to have empty pipes to each corner of your house needs to be revisited. They are still needed but can be a lot less with EnOcean.

If you only use the KNX wired switches you will also need piping to each switch in the home ending in the distribution box too.

The nice thing about EnOcean materials is that they are battery less too. They have developed a technology they call ‘Energy harvesting’. The energy efficient transmitters en receivers get the needed energy from their environment. Until now 3 harvesting methods have been developed.

1. Kinetic energy which is produced when you press a button.
2. Solar energy.
3. A new one is energy from temperature differences.

At the moment I am writing this article there are not yet servo controllers for radiators without batteries but my guess is that it is a matter of time.

A disadvantage of EnOcean at the moment is that it is relatively expensive in comparison to materials for other techniques. You will need to take the omission of piping and wiring into account to calculate the total cost. In our new House an extra empty pipe would cost me 45 Euros. An EnOcean switch of Eltako costs 40 Euros. For the power outlets you will still need piping and wiring.

For a long time Z-Wave was my favorite but reading about it in many blogs gave me the impression this was a failing standard. I read about lots of problems and that was something I really did not want. So I dropped Z-Wave as an alternative.

Loxone, default, supports my Sonos and several other streaming devices (Squeezebox, etc.). So less remote control head age.

06-05-2012 Bought Loxone.

Well the delivery of our home is nearing and I had to decide. Last Friday I ordered the Loxone System. It will be here in a few days (from Austria).

What I ordered is:

  • Miniserver
  • Extension module
  • Dimmer extension module
  • EnOcean extension module
  • 8 Servo controllers 0 – 10 volt
  • M30 adapters for the Servo controller on the Floor heating and Radiators (Hope they fit).
  • 3.8 A 24V Power supply

A total of 2300 Euro. That is a lot of money and I’m not finished yet.

Because Home Automation is not big in the Netherlands, finding a company that has EnOcean materials is hard. I found a company in Deventer Klusspullen.nl. They have the following brands

I mailed the Eltako dealer in the Netherlands a mail. He promptly reacted with the question “Can we test this?”. I am curious to what his intentions are. The list below is what I need specifically for our home.

Floor Location # Price Total Brand Type Extra Description
Ground floor Hallway 1 € 47,50 € 47,50 Eltako FT55 Double Switch for light in hallway and Front door.
1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the ceiling
Front room 1 € 47,50 € 47,50 Eltako FT55 Double Switch for lights on the ceiling
1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the 1st Floor hallway
1 € 90,80 € 90,80 Eltako FTR55H Thermostat
Stairway clauset 1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the ceiling
Diningroom 1 € 47,50 € 47,50 Eltako FT55 Double Switch for light on the ceiling
1 € 90,80 € 90,80 Eltako FTR55H Thermostat
First floor Hallway 1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the ceiling
1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the 2nd Floor
Bathroom 1 € 47,50 € 47,50 Eltako FT55 Double Switches for 2 lights in the Bathroom (Ceiling and washbasin.
Bedroom 1 1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the ceiling
1 € 90,80 € 90,80 Eltako FTR55H Thermostat
Bedroom 2 1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the ceiling
1 € 90,80 € 90,80 Eltako FTR55H Thermostat
Bedroom 3 1 € 37,50 € 37,50 Eltako FT55 Single Switch for light on the ceiling
1 € 90,80 € 90,80 Eltako FTR55H Thermostat
Second floor Attic 1 € 47,50 € 47,50 Eltako FT55 Double Switch for light on the 1st and 2nd Floor
General House 9 € 60,40 € 543,60 Eltako FTK Window/door sensors
€ 1.535,10
Tax 19,50% € 299,34
Total € 1.834,44

The prices are the Eltako catalog prices. It costs a lot all together. Especially the Thermostats, Presence-sensors (not yet in the list) and Window/Door sensors make it expensive. Without these components it would be a lot cheaper but then the system would not be energy-efficient. In that case it is only luxury and the system will not finance itself over time. I estimate that energy reduction is about 20% on electricity and heating. My return on investment will be about 12 to 13 years. We do not only look at this economically but also the environmental aspect is important. We want to invest into our worlds future and then money becomes less important.

After careful considering piping and wiring for our new home I still made a mistake. I had asked for empty pipes to all rooms for wired presence sensors which I dismissed in the very end. I should not have done that. EnOcean sensors are much more expensive then the KNX wired ones. The Bathroom still has to be build and since it is a central room on the second floor I can reach most of the rooms from there. We will have to do that ourselves after the house is delivered.

17-05-2012

The Loxone System has arrived a week ago.

WP_000013 

WP_000012

The date for delivery of the house is set on june 6th. Take a close look. On the inside of the lid of the box a resistor is taped. You’ll need that to terminate the Loxone bus.

18-05-2012 Test setup

WP_000017

I did a test today with the Loxone System. At ‘Besselink’ in Arnhem I bought a Eltako switch which enables me to test the system. I had read a lot before buying and that payed off. I was able to connect all modules in less then 2 hours and then the excitement, did I do it correctly.

A problem I did not anticipate is that the Loxone system is tested before delivery (which is a good thing of course). But during testing a test setup is installed on the MiniServer that does (of course) not correspond with my setup. So at the first start all modules started blinking orange (except for the MiniServer). It took me a while to understand the software and load a correct setup into the MiniServer. After that all modules started blinking green (hurray) and I was able to do my first tests.

The software of Loxone is very extensive. In principal you can bind any input to any output. Not that this is what you would want in the end but in a test situation it’s nice to play around a bit Glimlach I have reached the point that I am starting to understand the full potential of my new Home Automation system and it is big.

20-5-2012 Eltako

It is very easy to transform the FT55 double switch it into a single one. On the left you see the double switch configuration and on the right the switch cover for the single switch.

WP_000024

Here is the switch as configured into one switch.

WP_000025

21-05-2012 Translated the article into English

08-06-2012 House owner

Since 6 June we are the proud owners of a nice house in Apeldoorn. Today I brought my test installation to the electrician that is going to install the system. The idea is that the current installation is completely replaced by a new one. He can do all the preparations at home. The first changes to the electrical system have already been done in the house. It is getting exciting now.

20-06-2012 Loxone installed

The installation of the system is taking its form. Here are a few pictures of the installation of the system by Henk Kooiman (in the picture) an independent electrician contracted by Rene vd Kamp (Van de Kamp Electrotechniek). The cabinet is, very professionally, equipped by Geyer (http://www.geyer.nl/).

image

image

image

image

 

 

By |2015-02-24T11:21:25+00:00January 1st, 2012|Loxone, Me|12 Comments

About the Author:

12 Comments

  1. cillian May 31, 2012 at 23:34 - Reply

    great post, thanks. I am ordering a miniserver and a few extensions for my own home. are you planning on integrating Jriver in the same way as Loxone has given instructions for Casatunes? like this example: http://www.loxone.com/Pages/en/service/DOCUMENTATION/accessories/CasaTunes/casatunes.aspx

    • Paul June 24, 2012 at 18:06 - Reply

      Hi,

      Nice idea. No I haven’t had any plans in that direction yet. I’ll think about it though.

      Regards
      Paul

  2. Florian Loxone September 10, 2012 at 13:04 - Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Just read your articles about Loxone. Cool installation!
    Have fun with your home automation system and if you encounter any problems – don’t hesitate to contact us!

    Regards,
    Florian

  3. Galina February 18, 2013 at 11:25 - Reply

    Hi Paul, it was very interesting to read about your experience with Loxone. Your last update was in June 2012. How are you finding it after more than 6 months? I also live in The Netherlands (Den Haag) and am considering setting up our new house with Loxone (nieuwbouw). As it is not so easy to find an electrician familiar with it, do you maybe have any contacts? Thanks!

    • Paul May 4, 2013 at 13:47 - Reply

      Hi Galina,

      Better late then never, sorry. We had contact with a local electrician that came recommended to us from local people in Beekbergen (where we stayed at that time). The best way to go is to ask family, relations and people building your new home you know you can trust. The electrician we hired never built a house with Domotica but he knew a firm in Deventer had did (Geyer.nl).

      Regards
      Paul

  4. Matt February 25, 2013 at 13:05 - Reply

    I’ve been looking at the Loxone system, and the various components, and I really wish I had about 3000euros to spend on something like this. Long term project, I think.

    Thanks for the in depth write up!

  5. Roman June 14, 2014 at 20:09 - Reply

    Its interesting. Why didnt you choose z-wave? What pros and cons did you consider?

    • Paul September 16, 2014 at 13:32 - Reply

      Z-wave is building a mesh network which causes electromagnetic smog we wanted to avoid as much as possible. Enocean on the other hand is more expensive. Z-wave is not supported by Loxone out of the box and I was/am charmed by Loxone. There is mention of solutions but I’ve never looked at them.

  6. Aart Wessels November 1, 2014 at 09:13 - Reply

    hi,

    Great posts!
    What’s your experience with the eltako switches? Do they work as expected?

    Thanks,

    Aart

    • Paul February 10, 2015 at 09:53 - Reply

      Hi,

      Sorry for the late reply. Yes, most of the Eltako switches and sensors work fine. We almost made the mistake to buy Eltako Switch FFT55Q all over the place. After receiving them I found out the switch is not working properly. Eltako took all of them back (except one with which we are still having problems). I also needed to install a repeater as the distance from the 2nd floor the the ground floor was becoming too far.

      Regards
      Paul

  7. Guy Van Hoeck November 22, 2018 at 03:26 - Reply

    Dear Sir,
    do you know how to get this switch-plates seperately because they are very weak and the small pins on the backside easily break ?
    I cannot find them as a separate order and allways ahve to order the complete switch ….
    regards
    Guy

    • Paul November 22, 2018 at 05:46 - Reply

      I guess you mean the button plate that comes in 2 shapes: devided into 2 up-down plates and 1 shared up-down plate. I have not had any problems with them so far and have a lot of spare plates. In our home there are about 20 Eltako switches and all have been functioning perfectly these past 6 years. There was some functionality I never new. The shared plate can be put on in 2 ways. Take it off turn it 180 degrees and put it back on. The data package sent differs when you do that. I don’t know what the use of that is but maybe that’s your problem? If it’s realy broken I guess you could try and contact Eltako in Germany.

Leave A Comment