New house - new to cbus

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JCR, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. JCR

    JCR

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    Hi. This year I moved into a house which has a starserve network and cbus lighting installed. The house was built about 8 years ago so I assume that's how old the cbus system is. I don't have any experience with either of these systems but I'm keen to get the most utility out of them.

    The touch panel for the lighting only allows me to turn lights on/off/dim around the house but has no scenes programmed and nor can I set timers which I would like to do.

    Can anyone offer some beginner's advice on how to get to know more about the lighting system? Specifically I'd like to know the following:

    - The cbus has a RS-232 serial PC Interface so I assume I need to connect my PC to this to set up timers and scenes etc; what software can I get to do this?

    - Can I use a serial-ethernet converter to connect the cbus PCI permanently to my home network and access the lighting system using an iPad application?

    Many thanks for your assistance
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2014
    JCR, Sep 5, 2014
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. JCR

    rhamer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    The first thing you will need is the C-Bus Toolkit software. this can be downloaded from the Clipsal CIS website.
    Of course you will then need to learn how to use it, and indeed how C-Bus works in general. There is also documentation available on the CIS website to get started.

    Be aware that unless the last homeowner has left you a copy of the Toolkit programming file, when you scan the network you will not get any meaningful names back, so you might be in for some work to learn and rename each device and group address with a sensible English name.

    With regard to scenes, so long as your network contains a device that can store scenes (there are a few different units that can do this) then Toolkit will allow them to be programmed. Timers can be done as well, however if you are talking about scheduling then that generally requires some more hardware or software (there is a few choices there as well)

    The serial PCI is your best starting point for connecting Toolkit for programming.

    Yes you could connect a serial to Ethernet device to your PCI or you could get the C-Bus produced version called a CNI which is like a PCI but with Ethernet.

    And if your looking for iPad control, well all I can say is look below.

    Cheers

    Rohan
     
    rhamer, Sep 5, 2014
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. JCR

    znelbok

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,117
    Likes Received:
    13
    Toolkit (download from CIS website - link here in teh forums) will allow you to connect to the network and work with it. Unless you have all the previous programming you will not have group names associated with group addresses and you will have to fix that yourself (not hard just time consuming).

    Go to the clipsal CIS site and download the manuals and start reading. You will learn a lot from there.

    Yes there is a CNI - C-Bus network interface which is basically a PCI (Serial interface) with a Lantronix serial - Ethernet gateway installed. There is no reason why you could not just add a serial server onto the PCI you have.

    To access via an iPad you have a couple of options
    CQC (full home automation possible and my preference)
    translink - will give iOS integration to C-Bus only

    There are probably a few others that I am not that familiar with.

    Mick
     
    znelbok, Sep 5, 2014
    #3
  4. JCR

    JCR

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    Thanks very much for your advice Gents; that's definitely a good starting point for me.
     
    JCR, Sep 5, 2014
    #4
  5. JCR

    rhamer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    You'll get all the help and answers you need here, but you will have to put in the hard yards and do your homework as well.
    C-bus has simple concepts, but can get quite complex when doing the really clever stuff, so try and make sure you understand the principles well before tackling the harder stuff.

    Cheers

    Rohan
     
    rhamer, Sep 5, 2014
    #5
  6. JCR

    DarylMc

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Hi JCR

    Since you already have the RS232 CBus interface.
    If you are wanting to connect to the CBus network I strongly recommend using a serial device server.
    I've used a number of these and they are a solid product.
    http://www.moxa.com/product/NPort_5100A.htm

    It's the cheapest way for you to connect to the network other than a USB converter.
    It will allow you to use your laptop wirelessly when making changes with Toolkit and allow you control CBus with programs like Piced/Homegate or apps like TouchSoft and Android versions.

    Translink product does look good for ios control.
    You should check out their website.

    There is also Clipsal's Wiser product.

    Perhaps Rohan can confirm for me does the Translink device act as a PCI for use with Toolkit and Piced?

    In any case I would still consider buying a serial device server for your PCI.

    Piced is the software used to alter the Touch screen programming.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2014
    DarylMc, Sep 5, 2014
    #6
  7. JCR

    rhamer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Unfortunately not.
    It could, but Clipsal don't allow it.
    You don't however need a dedicated PCI or CNI for its own use, it effectively has one built in.

    Cheers

    Rohan
     
    rhamer, Sep 5, 2014
    #7
  8. JCR

    DarylMc

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Hi Rohan

    Thanks for the info.

    To me it seems better to have a dedicated CBus network connection for diagnostics and programming anyway.
     
    DarylMc, Sep 5, 2014
    #8
  9. JCR

    JCR

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    Hi all, thanks for the replies thus far; I think I am getting a good idea of what I need to do. I just have a couple more questions if you don't mind.

    From what I understand I need to use Toolkit to make changes to the lighting configuration as well as creating scenes and scheduling. Once scenes are created they should be available for me to control using the C Touch screen (http://updates.clipsal.com/clipsalonline/Files/Brochures/W0000335.pdf)

    Is the C Touch the hardware that will store scenes and schedules that you mentioned or is that a separate piece(s) of hardware? How can I be sure I have this hardware?

    I take it that programs such as Touchsoft can 'control' the lighting similar to the C Touch panel but it cannot make changes to the system that you would otherwise do using Toolkit.

    Thanks again
     
    JCR, Sep 5, 2014
    #9
  10. JCR

    DarylMc

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Toolkit is the software for configuring everything except the Touch Screen.
    Some input units can do scenes and they would be programmed with Toolkit.
    Since you have a Touch screen which can also do scenes it is probably easier to do them there.
    Piced is the software to create the pages, schedules, scenes and logic for the Touch Screen.

    Both the software packages have excellent help files for you to read through.
    I suggest you do quite a bit of reading and consider some training courses.
     
    DarylMc, Sep 5, 2014
    #10
  11. JCR

    JCR

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    Thanks DarylMc

    Although the touchscreen has a scenes menu in it, it doesn't seem to have the functionality to create them; hence I thought I would need to program them using Toolkit.

    I will read up on Toolkit and Piced help files before doing anything
     
    JCR, Sep 5, 2014
    #11
  12. JCR

    DarylMc

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Just my opinion but if you want ios control of your lighting Translink is probably a better option than TouchSoft.
    I've not used Translink but TouchSoft requires me to kill the app every time I want to connect to the network to ensure the status indication is correct.
     
    DarylMc, Sep 5, 2014
    #12
  13. JCR

    DarylMc

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Piced is the software for the Touch screen
     
    DarylMc, Sep 5, 2014
    #13
  14. JCR

    rhamer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    JCR

    Just to clarify your last point, the only programs that can make programming changes to C-Bus units are the ones released by Clipsal. i.e. Toolkit, Piced etc.

    Third party applications and devices can only issue and process operational commands, and can not do programming.

    Rohan

    Too Slow beaten by Daryl.
     
    rhamer, Sep 5, 2014
    #14
  15. JCR

    JCR

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2014
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney
    Yes Translink probably is. I just want to make sure I know what I'm doing before I go forking out for new pieces of equipment or software. I'm just taking the first steps in this project so there's going to be plenty of reading between now and then.


    Thanks Rohan for that additional clarification.
     
    JCR, Sep 5, 2014
    #15
  16. JCR

    rhamer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    I have been refraining from voicing my obvious opinion on this.

    Suffice to say Translink and Touchsoft are not equivalent products and the way they work is quite different.

    I'm happy to explain the differences but only if directly asked.

    Rohan
     
    rhamer, Sep 5, 2014
    #16
  17. JCR

    Roosta

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2011
    Messages:
    560
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Australia
    I find this whole thread rather eye opening... At no point has anyone recommended the worthwhile investment of having someone who is appropriately trained and experienced come along.. Dont get me wrong I am all for people wishing to get involved and have a go however there are certain benefits with the above.. And isnt this the business most of you are in anyways?

    For iOS/android control you also have the option of Clipsals own Wiser, and iOS only i believe at this stage there is also Push Control, which looks very trick...

    Just my opinion.. :)

    Cheers..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2014
    Roosta, Sep 5, 2014
    #17
  18. JCR

    DarylMc

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    Messages:
    1,134
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Roosta
    Why are you raising issue with what other members have omitted instead of just making the point.
    I don't think it is appropriate on CBus forum.
     
    DarylMc, Sep 5, 2014
    #18
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.