By Thomas Weinzierl, Weinzierl Engineering GmbH.
Using KNX to upgrade existing buildings may seem like a contradiction to some installers because often, it is not an option to open walls to lay bus lines. However, a detailed analysis of the existing inventory and installation can provide interesting solutions. Important installation points can, in many cases, be accessed with a little effort, especially in office buildings were there are often cable ducts that are easily accessible. KNX also offers interesting solutions for wireless connections, such as KNX RF and EnOcean.
Compact designs in demand
In addition to the difficulties of laying bus cables, the free space in existing distribution cabinets can be very limited. To help with this, Weinzierl offers a particularly compact series of IO devices for DIN rail for cabinets that have little remaining space. All devices of the KNX Compact IO
Impulse switch with KNX
A special problem solver within the Compact IO series is the KNX IO 511
This means that the installer can install the device and put it into operation without programming, and KNX integration and corresponding functions or Internet connection can take place later.
Extend your smart home with KNX RF
If the KNX bus is available in your home – even only on some floors or in some areas – it can be easily extended without wires. The KNX standard offers the possibility of wireless communication with KNX RF. The main advantage is that KNX RF devices are programmed with the ETS (KNX programming software) in the same way as wired KNX devices on the cabled bus. The wireless KNX RF devices just need to be connected to the bus via a media coupler such as the Weinzierl KNX RF/TP Coupler 672.
The integration of KNX RF into the ETS took place with the release of ETS5, so it is still relatively new. As a result, the range of KNX RF equipment offered by manufacturers is still relatively modest, but is clearly developing rapidly.
EnOcean – the wireless alternative combined with KNX
An alternative, with already many available products, is the EnOcean standard. EnOcean technology is characterised by its battery-free sensors – devices that ‘harvest’ the required energy from the environment. EnOcean buttons generate their energy when pressed, and EnOcean room operating units can be supplied with small photocells. Over recent years, EnOcean has become such an important wireless standard that numerous components with batteries or mains connection have also been developed. Various actuators from different manufacturers are available too.
Weinzierl offers bidirectional gateways for combining KNX TP (Twisted Pair) and EnOcean radio, which also support the encrypted variant ‘EnOcean Security’ for secure wireless connection. The compact blue translucent KNX ENO 626
Wired or wireless – be prepared for upgrades!
Whilst the order books of most installation companies are currently more than well-filled, the market situation can always change again, quickly. In this case, the retrofitting and upgrading of existing buildings offer considerable potential for additional business. In the meantime, there are also numerous existing buildings with KNX where the installed range of functions no longer corresponds to today’s needs. These buildings can also be made safer and more comfortable with compact wired components or wireless components – KNX RF or EnOcean. Either way, the property will be significantly upgraded.
Dr.-Ing. Thomas Weinzierl is the CEO of Weinzierl Engineering GmbH, manufacturer of KNX products and provider of a full range of hardware and software development and testing services.