Hardware in the Australian market - cbus, legrand etc

Thanks everybody who responded. In summary what I got back from you all (and with some of my own research):

C-Bus is robust and reliable but expensive, there are existing installations with openHAB, but not many, and there is little activity on forums.

Z-wave is good solution for controlling hardwired and plugged in devices.

  • It is not “cheap”, but a wired in-wall light controller is ~$80AUD locally, and cheaper imported.
  • Products can be imported but must use Australian/NZ/Brazil frequency 921.4 MHz
  • There is lots of activity/support in the community
  • There is an open issue on the Raspberry PI with openHAB related to duplicate messages, but otherwise it seems to be reliable and working well.
  • Z-wave locks are not yet supported (security classes not implemented in binding)
  • Can be used for sensors, but if you have lots of sensors, there are much cheaper options.

Some other alternatives is to control lights using wired relays (certainly possible but I like house wiring to be fairly standard), other protocols like Zigbee didn’t get a mention…

So now I think I am in the same boat as a few of the responders, and try to source cheaper z-wave products.

Hey Peter,

I’d still consider CBus for any installed fixtures (ie. overhead lights etc), In my experience its:

  • Fairly supported by electricians
  • Very reliable.
  • It can operate as a standalone system meaning that if you do sell your house down the track it becomes less of a hassle for the new owners
  • OpenHAB can still integrate to it quite well.
  • I’d say its a comparable cost if you consider reliability etc as well… I’d purchased some new relays from TLE and you’d be looking in the region of $80 per channel (available in blocks of 4, 8 or 12).

Other comments:

  • Things like occupancy and security you could do with cheaper sensors if you find you’re on a budget.
  • Other appliances which aren’t fixed (ie. lamps) make sense to do with Z-Wave, Hue or Wemo rather than CBus.
  • A central wiring cabinet certainly makes sense!


There’s currently no ZigBee binding for OH1, and it’s unlikely there will be as OH1 is near end of life. I am working on a ZigBee binding for OH2 though - ZigBee devices work quite well when wired, but battery devices are problematic (more so even than ZWave battery devices!).

Hi Peter,

C-bus can use almost any twisted pair cable. Standard C-bus wiring uses pink Cat5 cable. If you put Cat5 cables in your new house, you can use C-bus or almost any other type of wired home automation interface.

The only difference between pink C-bus cable and any other Cat5 or Cat6 cable is that C-bus pink cable is certified to be laid in the same conduits where mains wires are. Apparently pink cable has slightely thicker jacket. But if you separate Cat5 cabling from mains wiring then you can use any Cat5 cable for C-bus. And it is a good idea to separate signal wiring from mains wiring anyway.

I’d caution about using non-Clipsal pink cable. Clipsal will not provide a warranty for any installation done without the pink cable. Bear in mind that if you installer goes bust, Clipsal will find someone to assist with it in the future and if need be will provide tech support which is very, very good.

As Alex has said, the pink cable has a voltage rating allowing it to be used alongside mains wiring. Note that since C-Bus relays are mounted on DIN rails, the cables WILL run inside distribution cabinets where the mains voltages are.

I’ve never seen a C-Bus installation that doesn’t use the pink stuff. I doubt you will find an installer who will use anything else.

Note : I don’t work for or have any commercial relationship with Clipsal but spent a number of years working in R&D in a product that used C-Bus extensively.

C-Bus is expensive and to be honest it’s getting on a bit now, but it is extremely reliable and maintenance-free if installed properly.

Interesting thread. Another Australian here. We’re considering doing home renovations in a few years, reasonably extensive and tossing up options.

Personally I’m leaning towards C-Bus, mainly as it

  1. It is well supported and here in Townsville, I can find one guy doing KNX and all the others at least know a bit of C-Bus.
  2. I did have Z-Wave going at my last house but it is mainly still DIY, when selling the house I removed everything which is one of the main advantages of C-Bus.
  3. The other issue I had with Z-Wave was being wireless it wasn’t 100% accurate or trouble free. I would find some switches weren’t updated or occasionally lost commands, hence the preference for something hard wired.

Was tossing up what options I had for logic around the C-Bus, either Wiser (Clipsal), Openhab or something else like AMX/Crestron.

Would really be interested in the C-Bus binding as I believe that is going to be the way to go for us. With regards to the wiring cabinet, I have read of some people on the C-Bus forum advocating more sub-boards for the C-Bus as it reduces the amount of 240v wiring required and having C-Bus pink cable linking the sub-boards up.


I tend to agree with the others - if you have the choice to hard wire your system then that would be my preference as well. For most this is not an option however, and as far as retro-fit systems go Z-Wave is hard to beat IMO.

I noticed with openhab that there is a lot of support for KNX but KNX isn’t that big in Australia yet, it is still mostly C-Bus.
Did have a brief look into KNX but in the end I’ll go with what is supported the most and also when we sell the house, what is manageable for the average person.

I’d love to see the binding for C-Bus.


KNX/EIB and C-Bus are very similar, they share the same fundamental principles. No wonder, originally they were developed by the same people in Denmark. C-bus first came to market, while KNX was delayed and influenced by Siemens.

Cool - more Aussies :wink:

If it were me building a new place, I would cost up CBUS vs Zwave for all lights, including the wallplates, likely Saturn series.
Shop around for the Zwave devices, ive paid a lot less that $80AUD for Aeon modules.

Dimming circuits… Some Zwave dimmers don’t perform all that well with LED downlights etc - so if you do go the Zwave route, then research which LED downlights perform OK with the various Zwave dimmers. Fibraro seem to be the most reliable in my experience… but there are a few other brands now available which may also be. Aeon/DWI are very good dimmers for incandescent lights which you probably wont be using!..

You then cable accordingly…

Don’t worry about what controller for zwave, as this is the cheapest component…and its OpenHAB anyway ;-)… but if u use Aeon Zstick or a Vera with Guessed’s MIOS binding is not really a consideration cost wise…

Sensors… I would ( and do) make my own using MySensors. Ideal for anything that isn’t mains connected, but will consume time!

As already mentioned above, ensure you allocate a nice spot to bring ALL cables back to.

  • Assign 2/3 cat5/6 per room - may not be data ( could be HDMI/Voip )
  • Assign 3 RG6 for each TV location - 1 FTA and 2 Foxtel ( u might not use now, but good to do later)

You may not need to terminate these cables at the patch or at the allocated room, but running them during the build phase is cheap and saves pain later.

Dont forget about speaker cables for any outside areas or multiroom you may want to do…

Locks… I use a RFID system which isn’t connected at this time to my HA system. It is TCP/IP based for programming and seeing access logs etc. Cheap off Ebay, and 100% rock solid for last 3 years. My front door is a swinging door, so I used this lock:

-Very tidy solution :wink:

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How did I not stumble across MySensors.org before!?!
Brilliant, thanks.
I was trying to work out how to make some low cost, low power sensors but those guys have it sorted out.

As mentioned above, I’m likely to try C-Bus, I know it will be a lot more cost but it is easier to sell the house and also hard wired which is a big plus. I found in the previous house with Z-Wave that it could be a little flaky.

I’m going to try running 3 Cat6A to each TV, Going to try HDBaseT for one. That should leave me two spare for either TV to Lan and a spare although I read the latest HDBaseT standard will do HDMI and also Fast Ethernet.
Going to see if I can centralise my XBMC machines etc.


My 2 cents worth would be if you are building a new house, then I would recommend going down the wired path, and in the NZ/Aus context, the main player is C-Bus - Here in NZ, plenty of electricians install/support it, and I believe it is the same in Australia, which means your house remains saleable to someone without an IT/Engineering Degree,. However, as others have pointed out, it is not cheap, but it just works (and is very responsive), which meets a key requirement of mine - When I hit the switch, the light comes on immediately, everytime…, and we are nearly 9 years down the track. (I hope I do not jinx my system by saying this now :slight_smile: )

When I researched it (some years ago), AV control/integration was not a strength for C-Bus, and others I know installed other products alongside it to control their AV, but given my focus on automation was around sustainability, not AV, that aspect was not an issue.

My house design was based around using independent subsystems, which just do the task intended -e.g. C-Bus for lighting, fans, bathroom heaters, towel rails, and other various loads, Zelio for Solar Water, Wetback and Underfloor heating control, and many other subsystems which can work on their own.

This is then where OpenHAB comes into play… I am starting to use this for Integration, monitoring and Orchestration between these various subsystems, but not be part of the direct operation of these subsystems, hence maintaining the reliability aspect…I am slowly moving more basic/low-level integrations over to OpenHAB.

So for that part of the story, if you do get the C-Bus, obviously don’t even think about getting a C-Bus Wiser, and use OpenHAB to play that role (let alone all the integrations you can do ‘off-the-shelf’ with OpenHAB).

I am using the MQTT<-> CBUS integration developed by another member on this site (as per the link you have in your original post), which works well.

@talltechdude - Would be keen-as to give the native binding a go, and help also with testing the OH2 code (not that I have a OH2 test environment yet).

Good luck with your research/search for your lighting control system…

@TimO is working on an “native” OH2 binding here:

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Speaking of hardware in the Australian market, what are people using for heating/cooling control? Specifically, what do people use to control their gas heating systems or evaporative cooling?

Nest seems to be a bit hit and miss (and costly) for the Australian market, so far and it doesn’t seem like the best fit unless you have combined ducted heating/AC. I have two separate systems and am exploring options for controlling each separately. I’ve seen the Remotec ZTS-100 - which we’re getting gauged for compared to its cost in the US (maybe we can use the US version), but what else are people in Aus/NZ having success with integrating into their OpenHAB systems? Cheers.

I have an underfloor hot water heat pump for heating which runs nightly on its own thermostat. I can override the thermostat using openHAB via a simple Arduino connected to a mains rated relay. The Arduino receives the thermostat signal and passes it to openHAB which then decides if it should actually turn on the heatpump (via the relay). Works very well, means the thermostat just does its thing, and if I am away or on holiday I can set openHAB to ignore it and not unnecessarily heat.

I also have a normal Daikin air-to-air heatpump in the living room which is only used during the dark depths of winter, when the underfloor system can’t keep the living room at a comfortable 22 degrees (I have a reptilian wife who is extremely sensitive to the cold). For this I wrote the Daikin openHAB binding which allows me to automatically fire up the heatpump if the living room temp drops below 22 degrees, and someone is home (and not in bed).

The system is very bespoke I guess, but works great. Just another example of the power of openHAB - being able to integrate completely different systems together to provide whole home automation and control.

I am using the Telemecanique (Schneider electric) Zelio logic to control my heating (Underfloor, solar HW, and wetbacks, boost element etc). It basically works standalone, and I am currently using OpenHab to monitor/log performance, and had other direct integrations for influencing control, which I am slowly moving to OpenHab.

But plenty of other options out there, e.g. Siemens logo, but just find something which meets your heating control requirements (e.g. number of sensor channels, and relay outputs), and can work standalone, and has some form of interface which you can use for OpenHab integration.Just stay away from cheap no-name plc’s, unless you like cold showers :slight_smile:

You should then end up with a reliable heating subsystem, with OpenHab just monitoring, influencing, and orchestrating it with other bespoke systems in your house.

Zelio has a nice Function block diagram programming approach, which is easier /quicker than traditional ladder logic for a basic heating control (but you can still use ladder logic if you prefer).

I do not use Zelio for individual zone control on underfloor heating, and am going to knock-up something arduino based for that…

I thought I revive this thread, with a bit of opinion of mine.

I am owner-building a house 100km west of Brisbane… not your average house, but a passive house, yes, in Queensland :slight_smile:

It will sit on 10 acres, have 12kW of PV panels, 2 x KACO 6002, and aSelectronic SP PRO GO with 10kW in LiFePO4 batteries… pretty much self-reliant… using the gird as back-up only.

I will import most of my ‘stuff’ from Germany; e.g double-glazed windows, water storage tanks with multiple heat exchangers, ventilation, some appliances, combustion heater, etc. – all put in a 40-foot container and shipped over.
Yes, I am an ex-German, who migrated 20 years ago… the point being, I can culturally connect to the boys over there and their approach to things.

While lots of wiring tasks can be done in Germany, it is illegal to do any (above low voltage) work as an unlicensed person. Even data cabling needs to be done by a licensed cabler.

All pretty much a joke (in this nanny country), plus, anything is actually darn expensive here.

My point: I have the electrician run the power points, everything else will be low Voltage, which I can (and am legally allowed to) install. There won’t be light switches; all controlled by ambient light sensors, time of day, motion and presence sensors.

As for the resale value of homes; this will be my last home (will only get out in a coffin), as such, I couldn’t care less what the resell value --, or possible off-putting reasons for any potential buyer may be.

My approach is almost exactly what CeeCee described in Full house rebuilding incl. home automation installation - my approach
(what a co-incidence)

What I will do though, is documenting the installation, components and code; provide redundancy hardware (spare rPi, Arduinos), and never upgrade after the system is full functional (locked down).
While I sincerely wish that openHAB will be around in 20 years, in reality, this is a total unknown, hence the above approach.

All the best to my fellow Aussies and their approach to home automation :slight_smile:

Hi Max - Good luck with your project. Are you looking to do any integration with the Selectronic SP Pro? This has been my only frustration with the device… It is really well engineered, great warranties, reliable, and all that - so you made a good choice there, but it is a complete pig to integrate in a meaningful fashion with a home automation system. Whilst it does have plenty of I/O’s and relays, I am seeking to read various parameters from the Inverter, including Solar Input, Battery level, grid status, alerts etc, and get these back into a supervisory system (in this case, OpenHAB).

Whilst they do provide a .Net based example program (under NDA) to create integration tools, this obviously limits platform choice, and the ability to create/share a binding for a project such as OpenHAB. The basic issue is the requirement for the peer system to authenticate using password hashing etc, over a dedicated serial/USB connection, even only just to read information (no issues with approach this for writing info). For this reason, it has sat at the bottom of my integration list, as whilst it would be the most useful, its just the hardest… Let us know if you have any more joy with SP PRO integration, than I have had. Cheers.

Hi Glen,

I have written a set of processes to automate the data extraction for the SP PRO GO; as you said, I love the engineering, even German KACO sells it under their name, but also as you said: the real-time data access is simply a shocker.
I know only of one company having the NDA with them; at least I could not get my hands onto it.
However, if it would not for the current owner-building of my house I would hack their protocol which feeds into the SP-Link software (and which is updated in real-time). One day I will :slight_smile:

  • as for the process: I use their SP_Link command line option generated by a batch file, it extracts the last day’s data, processes it all, corrects some issues with their logging and then posts the data on PVOutput (http://www.pvoutput.org/list.jsp?id=11239&sid=34144)

However, I have a battery management system , which provides me with battery data from my 10kWh LiFePO4 battery. At least I have the A, SoC, and V info.

However, I think some CTs on each of its wires should provide some insight in what it is doing (dis/charge, load, export).
I do have a NDA with KACO for the comms between the inverters and SP PRO GO… but no time yet to listen to the RS485 traffic.

Sorry, no better news on that front.