Ness M1G and C-Bus interfacing

Discussion in 'C-Bus Wired Hardware' started by fleetz, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. fleetz

    fleetz

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    Ness M1G and C-Bus interfacing

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    I current have a Ness/ELK M1 Gold panel which I am configuring at a test bed level prior to installing it in a new homw which I will be building next year.

    I have a C-Bus interface unit for the Ness M1G currently on order, they are due hopefully to be released for production in the next few weeks. I now want to place an order for the bare essentials C-Bus gear to add to the the test bed so I can continue the test bed integration. Firstly I have to say I am really impressed to date at the robustness of the Ness M1G unit. It was the pending C-Bus interface which swung me over to deciding on the Ness/ELK M1G controller.

    I have been assured by Ness that the functionality and control from the Ness M1G into the C-Bus system is extensive and fully support by Clipsal in it's implimentation. What I want to be able to do at the test bed level is using standard light batton holders and lights (probably 6 of) is to drive some via relay (1) and the others by the dimmers. This will enable me to become familiar with setting up scenes from within the Ness M1G control envirnoment.

    I was thinking that the basic C-Bus bits I would require are as follows

    1 X L5512RVF 12 channel DIN relay unit
    1 X L5508DIA 8 channel DIN relay unit
    1 X SC5034BNL 4 gang C-Bus switch with learn enable

    I am happy to buy what ultimately will be installed in the new house so the price is not necessarily the issue.

    I was wondering if the C-Bus interface will via the M1G RP interface allow C-Bus devices to have their unit address set or do you require a 5500CN network interface? Are there any other essential C-Bus bit required to get the C-Bus bit of my test bed going?

    I am intending to install the Ness M1G system into the new house and have a qualified sparky do the 240V stuff. What of the Clipsal training course might be appropriate to better understand the C-Bus control interface given I will be using a Ness M1G controller? Obviuosly I wouldn't want a course that focused on the Clispal C-Bus controller. Just want to get the need to know stuff on the C-Bus interface and how C-Bus units are configured ie unit address and programming device functionality be it from the device or via the C-Bus.

    Do Clipsal do DIN housing that I can accomodate the relays and dimmers in or is that a 3rd party product? Any recommendations? I will probably have a couple of the relay and dimmer units going into the new house again I don't mind buying what would be the final solution.

    Appreciate your comments and feedback.

    Fleetz
     
    fleetz, Dec 12, 2005
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  2. fleetz

    dbuckley

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    If you do the Clipsal integrators course you not only get to play with some CBus kit, and be guided by someone who knows their stuff and will answer your questions, but you get to bring the toys home, which is then your testbench. When I did the course (in the UK) the price of the course was less than the cost of the kit on its own. I still have and use the testbench.

    I've just looked on the clipsal website and assuming you're Aus/NZ the course is the BCB1 at A$990

    Have you knowledge that the ELK CBus interface wont require the 5500PC? Most systems (apart from Comfort) need the 5500PC.

    Is your sparky familiar with CBus? if not, its going to be a bit of a culture shock for him/her. The sparky doesnt need to understand how to programme up a CBus system, but does need to understand it's mains wiring concepts. Its best to find a sparky who has done this before, or plan it all up-front and hand a diagram and schedule to the man, you dont want him making it up as he goes along.

    Its generally best it you programme up every CBus "thing" on your test bench prior to the install, and label it up for the sparky to install and connect. As you've incrementally programmed up modules they should just "fit and work". Its easier to programme sitting at a desk than squatting on the floor...

    Yes, Clipsal do DIN rail boxes that will be suitable for mounting the DIN rail items in, hell, Clipsal and the wider Schneider group of which they are part make just about everything electrical imaginable. However you may wish to look about to the wider market, for either cost or aesthetic reasons. You also need to think about the number of circuit protection elements (MCBs, RCDs) that you need or want - "need" and "want" can be different.

    Finally, think about CBus power, how much you need and at what points in the insallation you want to supply it, and if you want to plan for still operating if breaker(s) pop.

    Be armed with what it is you want to build when you go on your course, and you've got relevant questions ready to go :) Hint - especially CBus power!
     
    dbuckley, Dec 13, 2005
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  3. fleetz

    fleetz

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    dbuckley,

    Thanks for the detailed reply.

    I will take your advise and do the BCB1 course a good investment indeed essential by the sounds of it. Yes I am in Australia Adelaide in fact the capital of Clipsal!! You located in the UK?

    Does the couse cover the specifics of the C-Bus power you are flagging? I will be engaging a sparky who hopefully is C-Bus savvy however it is good to be fully informed on any potential gotcha situation. Is there any where on the forum that has gone into this in detail? What is in "the kit" you get as part of the course?

    Do you any recommendation of alternative DIN housing that I should have a look at? You point about cost or aesthetic is valid and also the RCD and MCBs. Appreciate your input.

    No I don't know if the ELK/Ness will function without the PC5500 yet the prelimenary info is yes it will, however until the C-Bus interface is released I will not know for sure.

    Can the CN5500 be used instead as I would prefer a network capable unit rather than RS232, I totallt agree with your comment about programming the C-Bus units at the bench and then incremently installing them. I suspect I will get a CN5500 or PC5500 anyway.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Regards,

    Fleetz
     
    fleetz, Dec 13, 2005
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  4. fleetz

    dbuckley

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    Nope, NZ, but I used to live in the UK a few years back and did the course there. Funny actually, they have never actually given me a certificate for completing the course, the buggers, since I took the course I believe Clipsal in the UK have been trhough two big reorganisations...

    Yes.


    Read all about it here: http://training.clipsal.com

    Not really, there must be literally dozens if not hundreds of stocking manufacturers of this stuff, plus if you have something extra special in mind you can get them custom built, theres no real black magic to a DIN rail box. The only points worth noting is they do get a bit full of cable, so full size neutral and earth busbars are handy, as are holes in the right places. Ask your sparky

    Speaking of tossy regulations, in NZ and Aus it is a requirement now that all socket and lighting circuits now have to be fed from a RCD, so some sparkies are literally complying with the requirement and installing a whole house RCD. One minor fault somewhere or random glitch whilst you're away and thats the freezer contents gone. Many folks are now thinking that combo MCB/RCDs are the way to go.

    Theres also the debate as to whether you should fit output MCBs on every dimmer and relay channel, advice has varied over the years, if you search back on this forum you'll see its been discussed a few times, and again talk it through on your course. Adding MCBs for every channel adds cost, but they do seem to protect the dimmers most of the time, so the convenience of not having a dimmer block out on repair when its your own house (and not the sparkies problem!) may be a swinging factor.

    I believe so, as I understand it the CN is a PC interface in the same box as a Lantronix terminal server and the modern CBus software supports direct connect to the CN.
     
    dbuckley, Dec 13, 2005
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  5. fleetz

    fleetz

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    Thanks you have been extremely helpful . I have just completed the mini C-Bus on line pre-requiste course and registered for the BCB1 course.

    Cheers,

    Fleetz
     
    fleetz, Dec 13, 2005
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  6. fleetz

    JohnC

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    AS/NZS3000:2000 (which isn't really that "new") definitely says that, and there have been some cases of "whole-house" RCDs. I would say however that the majority of these are driven by homeowners and builders who are looking for the cheapest price. Remember, the Standard stipulates the MINIMUM standard required, and I can imagine a common situation where the owner says "I don't care what you (electrician) recommend, just do it the cheapest way possible. Remember that combo RCD/MCBs require approximately twice the space, which means a larger enclosure is required too!

    I see a lot of new houses, and most that I have seen have individual RCD/MCB's on each power circuit, or at least a couple of RCDs to split the loads up. I am just rewiring my own house and have used individual RCD/MCBs for all 8 x 16A power circuits (basically 1 circuit per room, 2 in the kitchen). There is also a separate Fridge circuit, but I'm using 2 x 40A RCDs which will have 2 lighting circuits + 1 mixed circuit on each (this is simply for physical space reasons, and will be rectified after a new switchboard goes in).

    Given the fairly small additional cost of individual RCD's per circuit, I think that this should be classed as "highly recommended for your future sanity". I doubt very much if it increases safety however, it just reduces grief if there is earth leakage fault in the future.

    ***************

    Regarding individual MCBs on each output of dimmers and relays, I honestly don't think it's needed. We have 2 HUGE lighting showrooms that both run with Cbus. There are 500 or 600 channels (probably more) across the 2 sites.

    The showrooms are constantly revised, but we have almost no control over who connects what load to what device. For example, dimmers have had Metal Halide loads connected to them, etc. 300W lamps have been connected on 1A dimmer channels... Absolutely NO failures of Cbus devices in over 4 years operation !

    Furthermore, there a complications in that lighting loads have an "inrush current". That means that the load draws heaps more current for a short period while it starts up. The dimmer or relay is designed for that inrush current, but the MCB won't cope with it. For example, trying to protect a 1A dimmer channel with a 1A MCB doesn't work, because if a short-delay MCB is used then it continually trips, but if a higher rating and/or longer-delay MCB is used then it can't protect the dimmer channel anyway.

    Keep in mind that the cost of all the MCBs, plus the increase in wiring and larger enclosure will cost quite a lot... and only installed on the off chance that something MIGHT go wrong?

    If a Cbus dimmer or relay dies (but was not overloaded), then I class it as a warranty issue with CIS. No use me spending my money to protect the supplier from product failures in real-world installations :rolleyes:

    I'd rather spend the money on some extra lighting load circuits so that the rooms can be split into separate areas in future and make better scenes.

    My 2C (probably worth nothing) - JC
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2005
    JohnC, Dec 13, 2005
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  7. fleetz

    znelbok

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    John

    You seem to be interchanging the use of the words RCD and MCB in your reply. The statement I believe was around using MCB's to protect the dimmer, hence 8 off 1A MCB's would be required. I saw no mention of a RCD being used on the individual channels (just the main one feeding the supply to the dimmer). As for inrush, that is where you select the correct tye of MCB. I would be very surprised if a d curve MCB would trip for a light starting up.

    Don't take this as me being an advocate for individual circuit protection. As you mention there is more to it than just the cost of a MCB, hell of a lot more, and many people seem to forget this.

    Although everything I have said above could be way off track as I am very good at misreading stuff.

    Mick
     
    znelbok, Dec 14, 2005
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  8. fleetz

    dbuckley

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    I think you guy are violently agreeing :)

    The use of combo MCB/RCD units seems a good idea at the distribution level, so each dimmer or relay pack gets a combo, so that a fault takes out only part of the installation. Ditto for sockets expected to be use by freezers etc. I'd even go as far as to say that a clever integrator on a medium size install would split rooms across modules, so a singe combo trip doesnt throw every circuit in the kitchen to dark. Means areas dont work as they might, but I think thats a price worth paying.

    The whole-house approach does appear to be driven by builders, as a cost reduction measure. Though if it were my brand new house, I'd wonder that if he's skimped a few bucks on the RCDs and bought me a lifetime of inconvenience, where else has he skimped, and what problems am I going to have down the line, in areas I dont have the expertise to understand.

    The MCB per CBus output is more contentious. As a customer, I'd say sod the MCBs, its the sparkies problem, if the module pops then fit me another and take it up with Clipsal. As a self-installer, it all becomes my problem, so there is a slightly different perspective, and a maybe different cost / benefit analysis required.

    I'm still of the "no MCB per channel" mentality, as its my opinion that a triac will usually lay down its life to protect a MCB, though that opinion isn't univerally held :)
     
    dbuckley, Dec 14, 2005
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  9. fleetz

    JohnC

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    OOOPS ! yep, you're absolutely correct - have just edited the post above to correct my typos (I hope I found them all)

    Absolutely - but I have some doubts if a D-curve MCB would reliably protect the triac either... for example, say you have a 1A dimmer "protected" by a 1A D-curve MCB :
    According to my Clipsal Price List - at 15A, that D-curve MCB will take up to 0.5 seconds to trip. So, would the supposably "delicate" 1A triac survive for 0.5 seconds at 15A ? I reckon if the Triacs were really *that* delicate, they'd blow up on the first few 1/2 cycles at 15x rated current...

    To protect the triac properly you really need to use "quick-blow" MCBs - but if loaded up near maximum capacity those MCBs tend to trip from the inrush current.

    I guess my main problem with this subject is that I cannot understand what the "one MCB per output channel" is attempting to protect *AGAINST*. The only protection I can see is for a complete short of output, and I am unsure how this could occur in a proper installation.

    Self-installs... ummm, hopefully only in the UK... well, for the price of all those MCBs and the huge cabinets to fit them in, it would be cheaper to employ an electrician to wire it up nice and safely :eek: Or at least come through and check / finalise the installation prior to energising it.

    As I said previously, just our (small) company has supplied literally thousands of channels of Cbus in many various sites both commercial and domestic - none of it individually protected - yet have never have ONE dimmer or relay channel fail due to overload.
    - What about all those other installers & integrators?
    - So why is it that some people advocate individual MCBs per output in a strictly controlled (own house) domestic situation?

    I hope it isn't recommended to consumers to bump up the price of the installation? Sounds like a good story, like a car dealer saying "you should buy this second car from me, so that you'll still have something to drive when the first one I am selling you blows up"

    If the channel is overloaded, then you have to resolve it anyway - putting a bigger dimmer in, etc. If the channel wasn't overloaded, then the warranty from Clipsal would still apply wouldn't it... it's a warranty issue.

    I know I wouldn't waste money having a MCB to protecting my RCDs - just on the off-chance that a downstream MCBs fail or there is a short circuit in the cabling between the RCD and the other devices (make sense?)... if the RCD blows up and I haven't overloaded it, then Clipsal or Hager or ABB or whoever will just have to replace it under warranty ! And that is exactly what they do.

    Cheers, John
     
    JohnC, Dec 14, 2005
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  10. fleetz

    Frank Mc Alinden

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    Self-installs... ummm, hopefully only in the UK...

    Your making the assumption that the self installer isnt a sparkie ;-))


    - So why is it that some people advocate individual MCBs per output in a strictly controlled (own house) domestic situation?

    I *think* the UK guys do this as the Clipsal Cbus kit over there is a lot more expensive than here in Oz..........

    I have had one channel go down on one of my dimmers ,but Clipsal repaired quite quickly......

    Frank
     
    Frank Mc Alinden, Dec 14, 2005
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  11. fleetz

    fleetz

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    I am hoping a Clipsal member might be able to shin some light.

    The C-Bus interface for the Ness M1G home automation platform from my understanding is due any day and it would be good to get a thread happening on the interface.

    I am doing the Clipsal BCB1 training course early in the new year. I have a full Ness M1G set up on a test bed waiting for the C-Bus interface which is on back order. I have a bunch of C-Bus bit due next week which I believe will be required for the test bed however I am second guessing what the minimum essential bits are.

    Currently I have the following Clipsal items on order would be good to find out if I have any missing links so I can get them ordered. Especially before the Christmas break.

    Ordered are

    5500PC C-Bus serial interface
    USB to 232 interface from Dontronics
    L5512RVF 12 channel relay
    L5508DIA 8 channel dimmer
    2 X 5086NL 8 gang C-Bus key units
    DIN housing, MCB and RCD etc

    Do I require any of the Clipsal software to implement the C-Bus interface? I would have thought the firmware in the interface is talking directly to the C-Bus data bus. No sure about the setting of the addresses on the C-Bus devices, might require one of their packages to set them. Which I was able to get into the training course sooner than later! Is any required software part of the BCB1 course?

    Is there any thing that I have missed that I should have ordered to get the basics up and going? What is the minimum C-Bus requirement to get the M1G via new C-Bus interface happening?

    I have a Ness M1-XSP serial interface ready for the Ness C-Bus interface. The M1G is fully configured and operational.......l am most impessed with the robustness of the M1G system to date.

    It would be good to get some dialog happening on how the unit interfaces and any issues that relate to how the C-Bus interface integrates to the M1G and C-Bus gear.

    From the preliminary info I have on it to date it appears that the interface has fully implimenteed the C-Bus protocol. If my understanding is correct the M1G will a hard unit to beat from a home automation perspective. What limitations if any will exist in the implimentation of the new C-Bus interface?

    Be good to get some feedback from someone who has had the opportunity to get the interface talking to the M1G.

    Hope this gets some flow of Ness M1G C-Bus interface dialog happening just prior to the units hitting the decks.

    Regards,

    Fleetz
     
    fleetz, Dec 18, 2005
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  12. fleetz

    jr_away

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    fleetz, I agree it would be useful to get some details about the Elk-Cbus interface that seems to be an open secret!

    BTW if you go to www.elkproducts.com and click "view catalog" at the bottom right, Elk's new flushmount keypad is on page 7.
     
    jr_away, Dec 20, 2005
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  13. fleetz

    fleetz

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    Thanks JR,

    My undersatnding is there will be a total 7 different types of panels for the M1 including touch screen version coming through in 2006!

    Cheers,

    Fleetz
     
    fleetz, Dec 20, 2005
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  14. fleetz

    jr_away

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    If Elk was produced by Microsoft we'd have full details for 23 new keypads due during 2006 of which 7 would be delivered.. but at least we'd have something to base decisions upon! ;-)
     
    jr_away, Dec 20, 2005
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  15. fleetz

    PSC

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    Microsoft :eek: Don't start me...
     
    PSC, Dec 20, 2005
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  16. fleetz

    Richo

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    Hmmm... Microsoft creating SECURITY panels ... interesting analogy to make. :rolleyes:
     
    Richo, Dec 21, 2005
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  17. fleetz

    Ross

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    Great sense of humor Richo. lol
     
    Ross, Dec 21, 2005
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