From Z-wave to wired solution

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Hi!

I recently bought a house that i’m renovating and i’m looking into the option to use domotics.
The electricity is wired in a star topology, so all switches and lights are returning to the main board.
I’m also planning to use 24V impulse switches.

Until now, I have a basic Openhab2 setup with a Rpi3, Razberry2 Z-Wave controller and a Fibaro dimmer switch.
This works greats but I also read that once you scale it up, it tends to fail sometimes. The radiation of all those components is also something that concerns me.
And since I will have all my wires in the main board, I would like a wired solution.

The needs at this point are dimming/switching lights and controlling blinds. And all of the components have to fit on a DIN rail.
I would also like the components to behave like the Fibaro switches. Meaning that when my RPI3 breaks, I still want to control everything manually.

From what I read KNX would be a great solution for this but is too expensive.
At this point I was looking at PLC’s and maybe DMX for lighting.

Are the things I want to do even possible with PLC ? And could someone explain me a bit how a basic setup would look like and what pros and cons there are ?

I also looked around for DMX but I can’t find any DIN modules for that. Ideally in that situation I would want “dumb” lights wired to a DMX DIN module that I can control.
But if dimming and switching is possible with PLC I would like to stick to that.

Hi

Would you consider Velbus as a solution?

It meets a lot of the requirements that you have listed.

It’s a completely stand alone solution, holding the programming within each module, meaning it doesn’t have a central controller / single point of failure.

The technology can handle so much more than just lighting.

Each glass panel has a very powerful HVAC thermostat, so by adding a handful of zone actuators to your heating / cooling, you’ll have a fully controllable multi zone climate control system.

The Velbus binding for openHAB2 is very stable and easy to setup.

It’s important to know that Velbus is scalable, so you could start with a small selection of modules to get a feel for the technology, then add modules when you are ready.

The programming software is…

  • Free
  • Unlimited
  • Multilingual
  • Contains firmware updates for modules

Velbus dealers and installers can be found here.

As for Pro & Con

Pro

  • Totally modular
  • Scalable (up the 254 base addresses, multiple Velbus networks can be bridged with openHAB2)
  • Extremely stable
  • Longest cable length between first and last module could be 3Km (with the right cable).
  • The output modules can be used in various situations to give you control of a huge amount of hardware.
  • The selection of input modules range from the very basic push button detectors to interactive glass panels.
  • Proper low voltage lighting is so much better that mains replacement, Velbus VMB2LEDDC low voltage dimmers work well with a range of lamps. 12v to 24v (VMB2LEDDC requires 2 channels of VMB4DC)
  • Can be powered from multiple 15v PSUs to build in resilience. (There are PSU failure change over systems that were designed to give extra resilience)
  • Now integrated into many HA platforms.
  • 12+ years old, with over a million modules operating around the world, on land and at sea.
  • Uses a 16.6kbps version of the automotive CanBus protocol.

CONS

  • Requires a fully wired infrastructure
  • Leading edge phase chopping triac dimmers only work with high quality mains replacement LED lamps

I’ve got one of these on my shelf that I still haven’t got around to testing.

https://www.vieep.com/index.php/2channel-din-rail-ac-triac-dmx-dimmer-s1-dr-for-led-strip-light-fixture.html

Thanks for the -very- complete answer! :slight_smile: Helps a lot.

Can you also explain what a basic setup would look like physically ?

You’re very welcome.

When you say…

“How it looks physically”

Do you mean, how is it all wired together?

Take a look at this generic wiring plan PDF for heating and lighting control.

Digital Control wiring

N.B.
While this wiring plan shows the input devices wired in a BUS, they work just as well when wired in “Hub & Spoke” / “Star” format.

Or

What do the glass panels look like on a wall?

I meant the wiring indeed :slight_smile:
i’ll take a look at the scheme

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Hi

How did you get on with the schematic?

Would you like any more information or does it all look like it easily would suit your new home?

I did a test this weekend with a very basic setup (input module + output dimmer module)
Wired everything together andit works :slight_smile:
I also connected the openHab velbus binding and now I can control everything with my Google Home :slight_smile:

Thanks for the help, if I have some time i’ll update this post with the steps i’ve taken to accomplish this so other “OH-velbus-beginners” can use this too

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That’s excellent news.

Congratulations :smile:

Did you use a network bridge to access your Velbus setup?

If there’s anything I can help you with, specifically regarding Velbus, please do ask.

Best wishes,

Stuart

Ok, just a little recap of what my setup looks like now. Can be usefull for future reference for new users:

(Don’t pay attention to the wire colouring, I only had black laying around)

So 4 modules to start with:

  1. 15V Power supply
  2. VMBRSUSB interface
  3. VMB7IN input module
  4. VMBDMI-R Dimmer output module

These modules can easily be configured using the velbuslink software (which is free). https://www.velbus.eu/products/view?id=376994
There are several manuals on this velbus page to do so, so I won’t go into detail on that.

Next steps:

  • I connected the USB Port into my RPI3 and installed the Velbus Binding
  • In your OH Things there will be a thing named “Velbus Bridge”. You need to edit this to change the serial port your setup is connected to.
  • Now you can go to your inbox and find things based on the Velbus binding.
  • Et voila, you’re velbus system is setup, can work independently from OH and can be controlled from within OH.

Upside: The setup is amazingly easy
Downside: The velbus dimmer needs a minimal load of 40 watts. Velbus says that you can add an electronic preload to cover this. To me that looks like i’m artificially adding some unwanted load to my electric chain. I don’t want a 5w LED buld to become a 40w buld just because of the preload.

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That’s a cute demo rig you’ve got there.

The VMB7IN is a nice little unit, especially if you are wanting to use redactive / push button switches / door sensors / window sensors / shock sensors etc.

Don’t forget that the first 4 inputs also report the rates of pulse inputs, like water flow sensors, with the Button event representing threshold states.
IE, if >150 Litres of water is flowing (as an example)

This is true to a degree.

Osram SuperStar GU10 Par16 Dimmable lamps

EtiamoPro GU10 lamps are labelled as “Velbus Compatible”

I’ve done lots of tests with different lamps, just take a look at my YouTube channel playlist if you are having trouble sleeping.


One tiny other detail.

The version of the Velbus binding that can be loaded via the PaperUI, is currently VERY old.

It has support for a direct connection to the USB interface and most of the 2nd generation modules, but if you want more functionality and flexibility, I would suggest removing the PaperUI version of the binding and downloading the latest JAR file.
Then… Running a TCP server to share the USB device between the localhost and the rest of your network.

That way you can access your Velbus setup from openHAB2 and VelbusLInk at the same time.

Setup instructions for both the latest binding and TCP servers can be found below

Velbus Binding

New Velbus Binding thread on this forum

openHAB2 Velbus Binding thread on the Velbus Forum

TCP Server options

Velbus official Snaps TCP server

VelServ Velbus TCP Server how to

Resource

This matrix of Velbus actions is really useful, even though I’ve been working with Velbus for 8 years, I still refer back to it.

https://www.velbus.eu/downloads/velbus/00_general/guide_velbus_actions_descriptions_en.html

Hi

I hope this isn’t too late…

Did you know that the Velbus glass panels will work perfectly well if you use the individual cable runs to your switch locations.

It might work out cheaper than using VMB7IN modules.

You’ll also get a LOT more functionality.

Good luck.

Stuart