What Equipment & Skill Set Is Needed To Add NEW Circuits To Existing Network

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by MGBV8, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. MGBV8

    MGBV8

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Everyone,
    I am a NEW Player in the C-Bus Community Forums.

    Our home was 100% C-Bussed when built 14 Years.
    Full installation done by Licensed Sparky & C-Bussed by Clipsal Accredited Installer.
    The Network currently works well.

    What I Now Want to Do
    I want to "Add" two NEW circuits to the existing Network and Programme these two NEW circuits accordingly.

    Basic Info About My Existing Network
    The existing network consist of Many Dimmers & Relays of varying sizes.
    Numerous Switches & Scene Controllers make up the Network.
    A C-Bus2 Network interface [CNI] is also incorporated into the Network.
    A PC with the latest Windows operating system is also permanently hooked up to the Network.
    From the PC the home Lights can be operated without any issue. [Although we never use it].

    About Me
    Pretty up there with computers but in the past 12 years heavily into Apple Computers.
    Average with Windows PC but I can get by doing a Google search and completing the task at hand.
    Have always been a good thinker and handy at fixing minor things around the home.
    I never take risks, I always research my subject.… plan well and execute the task.

    Task At Hand - Add Two NEW Circuits To Existing Network
    The C-Bus "High Voltage" side will be done by a Licensed Electrician. [No Exceptions]
    The Licensed Electrician knows the C-Bus hookup…. but he knows nothing about programming of C-Bus.

    No. I am NOT Interested in getting someone out here to program a C-Bus Switch.
    Currently unemployed and also want to learn to do it myself
    .

    I want to start learning to programme the switches etc myself this is the whole idea of this project.
    I have a few Spare 1, 2 & 4 Gang switches that I would love to know how to program.
    Tons of Cat6 Cable - Crimping Tool - Connectors including the Pink Shielded type etc etc.
    Fully conversant with 568A - 568B - Straight - Cross Over - Rollover & Loopback etc.

    I am confident and I will be doing the low voltage side of the lights in the Garden area.
    Fully aware of Voltage Drop - Wire Types - Wire Sizes - Conduit requirements & Lights in concrete canisters and terminations etc etc.

    The two NEW Circuits will be connected into an Existing Dimmer in the C-Bus cabinet.
    The Existing Dimmer has two Unused channels…. We plan to use them.
    The Maximum load on each of the Circuits is within the allowable limits of the Dimmer.
    [This has been checked and confirmed].

    Your constructive advise on
    [1] What I need to look out for
    [2] ALL needed Equipment for Programming and the Hook up sequence.
    [3] What I need know and do safely to complete the programming
    [4] How to bring these two NEW circuits "Online" into the Network
    [5] Any other valuable info including "Tips" & Pitfalls….. will be very much appreciated.

    I would love to programme one of those spare 1, 2 & 4 Gang switches that I currently have in hand before I start jumping onto the Existing Network.

    There are several Wall Switches currently within the home that have a few "Unused" "Key Groups" !!!

    Thanks in advance.
     
    MGBV8, Apr 15, 2018
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. MGBV8

    Ashley

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    The training manuals are available on line. They will answer all the above questions. Then if you have a specific problem we'll be happy to help.;
     
    Ashley, Apr 16, 2018
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. MGBV8

    MGBV8

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Ashley,
    Thanks for the response.

    The training manuals are available on line.
    I have gone online and got the following "Basic Training Manuals" to read up on.

    C-Bus Basic - Training Manual
    Volume 1
    1A. Introduction to C-Bus
    1B. C-Bus Concepts
    1C. C-Bus Hardware
    Revision Number: V2

    C-Bus Basic - Training Manual
    Volume 2
    2A. C-Bus® Toolkit Software
    2B. Basic Programming
    2C. Advanced Programming
    2D. DLT
    2E. Network Bridges
    2F. Fault Finding
    Revision Number: V2

    Am I heading down the right track here !? Please advise. Thank you.
    All I want to be able to do is programme a couple of NEW Circuits [Loads] for my own personal use.
    Then I want to get a feel for changing existing lighting scenes in my home.


    Just for the record…. 14 Years ago our fully C-Bussed Lighting system cost us 145 Grand Plus.
    No, not a typo.. 145 Grand. Whilst it has got all the Bells & Whistles we feel so helpless in using this product.
    We have thrown away so much "Hard Earned" money over the years… it is just unbelievable.
    Now we just use the system for ON / OFF 98% of the time, because we are scared of things going wrong!

    Over the years our C-Bus System has cost me more than my Heart Surgeon, hence the reason we are sincerely asking for your kind help in guiding us down the Straight and Narrow to learn the basics of Programming & Fault Finding via the Error Log.

    We are retired and no longer afford Exorbitant charges for C-Bus advise or repairs.
    Most of the time you can smell the BS a mile away.
    Then when they get here… After a few minutes, I feel the pockets in my pants getting damp even though it is not raining.

    Your advice, sincerely appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    MGBV8, Apr 16, 2018
    #3
  4. MGBV8

    Ashley

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Cbus is an extremely robust and reliable system, so if you aren't finding that there is a problem somewhere. Large systems by their very nature are quite complex and require significant expertise to install and fault find. While I don't want to put you off, starting from scratch will be a huge learning curve and you could easily end up creating more problems than you solve. Also, you haven't really explained what your actual problem with the system is. Is there a fault somewhere? Does it not work as planned? Why do you feel helpless using it? Are there features you want that current aren't there? Do you just want control over the programming?

    If the system actually works but you just want to change the programming that is a different issue. The documents you downloaded will tell you everything you need to know to get started. To connect to the system you will need a cbus interface (PCI, CNI or Wiser) and a PC running windows. You may already have one of those on your system or you may need to obtain one.You can download Tookit, the installation and programming app, from the Clipsal CIS web-site for free. Ideally you would have a copy of the configuration file (called the Tag file) the original installers should have left with you, but if you don't have that it can be recreated, although that can be quite time consuming but not difficult for a big network.

    We are happy to help with specific questions, but we can't see your network and most of us are practical people and weren't blessed with psychic powers :)
     
    Ashley, Apr 17, 2018
    #4
  5. MGBV8

    MGBV8

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good morning Ashley,
    Thank you very much for your detailed response.

    If the system actually works but you just want to change the programming that is a different issue.
    This is "Exactly" what I eventually want to achieve.

    The documents you downloaded will tell you everything you need to know to get started.
    Perfect.
    Again this is exactly what I wanted to know from you…. A confirmation that I am on the right track to achieve my fairly ambitious goal.

    To connect to the system you will need a cbus interface (PCI, CNI or Wiser) and a PC running windows.
    There is a CNI permanently connected to the Network 24x7, but we never use it.
    There is a PC hooked up to the CNI running the latest Windows platform.

    You may already have one of those on your system or you may need to obtain one.
    As discussed above. Have a CNI and Latest Windows installed on the PC.

    You can download Tookit, the installation and programming app, from the Clipsal CIS web-site for free.
    Toolkit: The "Latest Version" is already installed on the PC.
    The installation and programming app:
    I have NOT started the ONLY PC in this home.
    This is a very "Apple" driven home when it comes to Gadgets.
    So I will have to get back to you on this one. What is the "Installation & Programming" app called.


    Ideally you would have a copy of the configuration file (called the Tag file) the original installers should have left with you, but if you don't have that it can be recreated,
    The "Original" was created about 14 Years ago.
    Since then, the "Original" installer has been here numerous times and updated several items & versions of "Toolkit" as new versions were released by Clipsal. Every visit by the Original Installer is a charge to me…. and this is where the BS starts and the Stench is just unbearable anymore. Going to the Clipsal CIS website and updating Software is a simple task. I can do this in my sleep!!
    Anyway getting back to the task at hand…

    although that can be quite time consuming but not difficult for a big network.
    Once I have caught on the reading and learnt the Basics of C-Bus
    Via these two publications [C-Bus Basic - Training Manual - Volumes 1 & 2]
    I will be in a better position to ask you more questions from you and Interrogate the Network and get the "Latest" configuration file.

    What I Want to Do And Achieve
    Learn C-Bus and have enough knowledge to get by using my own network in our home. Just minor "Programming & Tweaks" for simple Scene changes ONLY.

    Now to other matters
    Cbus is an extremely robust and reliable system,
    I sincerely hope so.

    so if you aren't finding that there is a problem somewhere.
    There has been a minor "hiccup" from "DAY ONE" of installation.
    I will touch on this point and elaborate further down.

    Large systems by their very nature are quite complex and require significant expertise to install and fault find.
    Fully accepted.

    While I don't want to put you off, starting from scratch will be a huge learning curve and you could easily end up creating more problems than you solve.
    Again, accepted.
    I ONLY want learn how to "Navigate & Drive" the existing Network.
    Change a Scene or Two.
    No "Hardware" changes.

    Also, you haven't really explained what your actual problem with the system is.
    Yes, you are 100% correct.
    So far to date… I have NOT talked on the Forum about our "actual Problem"…. this is because I do not know enough about our Network and its contents…

    I want to be forearmed and prepared with C-Bus Basic understanding to be able to discuss the issue in the Forum with some confidence when seeking advise, Hence my Learn Basics first... ask the "Right Questions" approach on this matter.

    Is there a fault somewhere?
    Short Answer. Yes.

    Does it not work as planned?
    It definitely is does NOT work as per System Design.

    Why do you feel helpless using it?
    C-Bus is a fairly complex system to the End User.
    I know very little about using it to its Full Potential & Capabilities.

    Are there features you want that current aren't there?
    No.

    Do you just want control over the programming?
    Yes.

    Our Network Issue
    I really did Not want to talk about this point as yet but since you asked….

    Basic Info About The Network
    The home is supplied with 3 Phase Power.
    It has 2xLarge 1xSmall Industrial Grade IP 66 Rated Cabinets Strategically positioned throughout the home.
    The Network consists of Nearly 100 Loads [Circuits] Driving 100's of Lamps and Power Sockets.
    The System works perfectly fine…. No issues most of the time.

    The Issue
    Now, whenever there is a Power Black Out in my neck of the woods….. we have a problem with approximately 4 to 6 switches. I say 4 to 6 Switches because the number varies, BUT the culprits are always the same.
    I know the Unit Addresses / Decimal Group Addresses & Hexadecimal Group Addresses of these Units.
    There are also 3 to 4 Loads - Garden Lights - [Circuits] that are activated via PIR as well Switches that do not work after a Power Black out. Likewise…. sometimes a few Bathrooms - Toilet Lights & Exhaust Fans don't want to play after a Black out, BUT the culprits are always the same ONLY the number of items/units affected varies.

    The symptoms on the Switches & PIR's
    The little LED inside the Light Toggle Switch stays Permanently ON or sometimes Blinks!!
    The PIR's Located around the Garden no longer light up when movement is made in front of them.
    The same is true for PIR's in Bathrooms - Toilet Lights & Exhaust Fans.

    Some History
    The Switches & PIR's have been replaced a couple of times but the Problem still exists.
    The Original installer has been here numerous times spent hours fault finding to no avail.

    What I have To Do To Get These Switches & PIR's Up & Running
    The solution…..
    Remove the offending Switches off the wall… then remove ONE wire of the TWO Power supplying contacts to the Switch…. Then reinstate Power back to Switch and fit back on wall.

    This how we have lived for 14 Years… it is wearing thin as a solution and is downright BS put in the most polite manner.

    Ashley,
    I honestly did NOT want to bring this issue up until I knew the basic operation of the C-Bus Network. I hope you can give me some pointers to follow through. I personally believe that the issue has a simple fix that some out there knows how to put right.

    Thanks in advance.
     
    MGBV8, Apr 17, 2018
    #5
  6. MGBV8

    znelbok

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    4
    I feel your pain. But keep at it, read those manuals and you will get to know it. Toolkit is not that difficult to use, especially for what you want to do which is to just browse the network and check a few minor things.

    Can I ask what area you are in? There maybe another installer that is willing to help out as it sounds like the original installer is holding you tight by the short and culry's.

    if you have Skype/team viewer (or other) available I could run you through toolkit one day to show you the basics of starting toolkit, scanning the network and more. Better still would be to connect to your system and show you on your own network. I use tools like team viewer to get remote access to clients networks via their own computers and toolkit - this makes call outs for changes to configuration almost non existent. As you have one connected specifically for C-Bus this would be a pretty simple task to add the required utility and connect remotely while talking over the phone
     
    znelbok, Apr 19, 2018
    #6
  7. MGBV8

    MGBV8

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Znelbok,
    Thanks for the response.

    Just to bring you up to speed. I have just started doing some additions to our home.
    One area involves Extensive Landscaping & Two Lighting Loads [Circuits] in the concrete walk area.
    Though this forum, I have managed to find out the "Maximum Wattage" safely allowable and the Wire Guage /Sizes needed to do the 12V Side. A Licensed, Accredited Electrician will be doing the 240V Side.
    [No Exceptions on 240V Side]

    I Just want to add these Two loads [Circuits] to an existing Dimmer on the Network that has got Channels.

    I am getting long in the tooth and just want the Satisfaction of adding these Two loads onto the network myself.
    I feel, I have got all the equipment needed to do the programming.
    Once, I have read the C-Bus Basic - Training Manual - Volumes 1 & 2, I feel I will have enough understanding of the C-Bus System for Basic Programming of a Switch.

    I am very NEW to this Forum and still learning the ropes for navigating within this site.

    At this stage, I am happy to make contact with you via phone to have a chat with regards to finding a solution to fixing the following issue.
    I personally believe that the issue has a simple fix that someone out there knows how to put right.

    Basic Info About The Network

    The home is supplied with 3 Phase Power.
    It has 2xLarge 1xSmall Industrial Grade IP 66 Rated Cabinets Strategically positioned throughout the home.
    The Network consists of Nearly 100 Loads [Circuits] Driving 100's of Lamps and Power Sockets.
    The System works perfectly fine…. No issues most of the time.

    The Issue
    Now, whenever there is a Power Black Out in my neck of the woods….. On ANY one of the 3 Phases - Red, Blue or White, we have a problem with approximately 4 to 6 switches. I say 4 to 6 Switches because the number varies, BUT the culprits are always the same.
    I know the Unit Addresses / Decimal Group Addresses & Hexadecimal Group Addresses of these Units.
    There are also 3 to 4 Loads - Garden Lights - [Circuits] that are activated via PIR as well Switches that do not work after a Power Black out. Likewise…. sometimes a few Bathrooms - Toilet Lights & Exhaust Fans don't want to play after a Black out, BUT the culprits are always the same ONLY the number of items/units affected varies.

    OK, about making contact… I do not want to put our personal contact details here!.
    How do I do a "One On One" comms with you to enable me to pass on my Phone details to you.

    Cheers.
     
    MGBV8, Apr 19, 2018
    #7
  8. MGBV8

    znelbok

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2004
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    4
    PM Sent
     
    znelbok, Apr 19, 2018
    #8
  9. MGBV8

    MGBV8

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Mick,
    Thanks for all the valuable information passed on to date.
    Once I know "How To" extract a "Config File" I will be to happy to pass it onto you.

    Cheers.
     
    MGBV8, Apr 20, 2018
    #9
  10. MGBV8

    Ashley

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Fire up your windows PC. Using file manager go to C:\Clipsal\C-Gate2\tag where you will find a number of .xml files. One of those is your config file. It will have a name relating to your installation. (PICEDMRA.xml and PODEMO.xml are demo files).
     
    Ashley, Apr 20, 2018
    #10
  11. MGBV8

    MGBV8

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Ashley,
    Thanks for this info.
    Over the next few days, I'll follow through with your tips.

    I will update the Forum as I progress.

    Thank you.
     
    MGBV8, Apr 20, 2018
    #11
    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.