System KNX Instabus
The KNX (Konnex) (old name – EIB – European Installation Bus) is a system existing since 1990, devised cooperatively by leading European home appliance and equipment manufacturers. It is a completely new system for connection, control, signalling and administration of electronics. Currently, over 100 companies manufacture products that comprise the KNX palette. In Poland, SMARTech, among others, implements this system. It means, for the user, availability of manufacturer-independent service, expansion options and of course safety, proven through hundreds of completed installations. The KNX system had become a standard in the EU – one can meet it in more and more office buildings, shopping malls and sports venues, at banks, hospitals and blockhouses. It replaces traditional electrics, which cannot cope with growing demands set by users. KNX solutions are technically, as well as economically and functionally, better.
The main benefits of the system are: ease of coping with complex user demands as well as high system flexibility derived from the fact, that one uses only one control cable that reaches every spot. Future system expansion or reconfiguration do not require change in cabling, because the system is simple and transparent, sparing expenses on cabling and energy linked with building working costs, lowering risk of fire and accident proneness.
In the KNX system, traditional switches were replaced by digital control consoles, which communicate via the bus cable. Power (230V/400V) is delivered directly and only to the receiving appliances (lamps, electric receptacles, motors). Such an installation shows its advantages in buildings and homes/flats which are not clearly divided into separate rooms. The user can at any time change the functions of any element (e. g. that a particular console should no more control the chandelier but the blinds) without having to rearrange the electrics themselves.
A big advantage of the KNX system is the fact, that the bus cable is low-voltage (29V). This allows for a very flexible interior and installation arrangement (e. g. the light switch may be located directly by the shower).
The X10 and KNX Powernet systems – control via the power supply system
The X-10 system is widespread in Japan and the USA. It was developed in the beginning of the 70s. SMARTech brought it to Poland in 1997. This system allows for control of the appliances via the home power grid. It is characterised by simple installation and configuration. One can install it in a home, which already has traditional-style electrics; it is, comparatively, low-priced. The disadvantages are the lowest reliability among home automation networks as well as low appliance aesthetics. For this reason, SMARTech dropped it from its range, replacing it with KNX Powernet.
The KNX Powernet system allows the installation of an KNX-compatible system in buildings already possessing a traditional-style electric installation. Additional cabling is not necessary. The elements of the system may be configured via the power supply network (230V/400V). Non-invasive appliance installation is a simple feature – they are installed in existing boxes, replacing switches and receptacles, or on the DIN-rail (in the fuse box). This technology greatly reduces the costs and amount of work associated with the installation itself. Such an approach is, therefore, suitable for persons building a new home, as well as for those who would like to adapt their existing house to modern technologies without investing great sums. Installation of the single KNX appliances is possible even while the system is in use, which is also an advantage to current occupants as well as office or hotel owners and workers.
The RadioBus system – control through radio waves
The RadioBus system was constructed specifically with the thought of introducing automation systems in existing single- or multi-family houses, as well as blocks of flats, in mind. It is also ideal for small public buildings – shops, restaurants, offices and doctor’s offices. RadioBus does not require an infrastructure, and therefore is ideal for small-scale use, like control over light scenes or an emergency switching on of all of the lighting (an alarm 'panic button’). The system may be at any time expanded (including full integration with the Instabus KNX system). Main advantages are easy and fast installation without dirt and noise (control cabling is not required), high flexibility, expansion ease, a competitive price and ease of implementation not necessitating any training.
LonWorks – solutions for the industry
The LonWorks system was developed to manage industry buildings efficiently. Currently, it is also used in public buildings (hotels, offices). The system can be controlled via any means of communication (power supply, low-power bus, radio waves…). LonWorks is a complete solution for decentralised control networks. These are made up of endpoints, the intelligent appliances, which communicate with each other via the LonWorks protocol using any available means. LonWorks may be used to control 3, 300, 30000 or more appliances at once. It can be a small lamp controlled by a motion detector or a city traffic management system which monitors and controls the traffic lights, emergency situations and jams.