The e-magazine for KNX home & building control

New products to look out for

Simon Buddle looks at some of the new products which caught his eye from Light + Building and ISE that were showcased in the UK by distributor Ivory Egg.

Light + Building is traditionally where KNX manufacturers show off their new products and this year was no different. With over 150 exhibitors showing KNX technology, it is no wonder that so many view it as the go to show for KNX. Whilst ISE (Integrated Systems Europe) has a huge footfall too, it is Light & Building that shows the true breadth of the KNX industry. So large is Light + Building, that one needs to take a bus between halls to get around the show. You can see lights for car parks, curly LEDs, emergency fittings and everything in between. Sadly, this year I was too busy to go, but I did have an invitation to product distributor, Ivory Egg’s event which showcased many of the new products that had been on display, and here is just a few I found interesting.

Energy

The energy market is becoming increasingly important for KNX and its installers. For monitoring, managing, and billing, KNX has both the technology and platform to deliver meaningful data coupled with savings through control functionality. ABB’s new Circuit Monitoring System (CMS) allows for breaker level monitoring of electrical circuits either with ABB breakers or those from third parties. The system architecture enables the installer to add monitoring for water, solar panels, EV chargers and any meter that is Modbus enabled. All data can be viewed on a web server that provides real time and historical data. Crucially, with ABB breakers, the system can also provide load management via the intelligent I/O modules that can be added.

Gira and ise showed off their new smart energy controllers, Gira Eco and ise eCharge II. These products do the same thing, monitoring and managing EV car chargers. Currently the EV chargers they can work with are very much focused on European chargers, but expect that to change over time.

Gira Eco (left) and ise eCharge II (right) smart energy controllers for monitoring and managing EV car chargers.

And whilst we’re talking about energy (although not strictly energy) it’s worth taking a look at the Logd KNXMonitor software. This enables you to connect your projects to a cloud-based server where all datapoints are logged and recorded with no need to setup a connection via ETS. The benefit for the customer is obvious in that all data is available, meaning you can instantly mine the data to find issues without needing to set the system up to be recorded. I can see and graph setpoint vs actual temperature against demand signals, and know instantly if the system is performing as it should. Or we could know the exact point in time when external PIRs triggered, lights went on/off etc. This removes any subjectivity from conversations with customers about what may or may not have happened. Every data point is recorded.

A KNX show would not be complete without a plethora of new or updated keypads, and this was no exception. From Gira we saw the revamped System 55 E1 pushbutton sensor with a sleek fresh look. Whilst the JUNG LS TOUCH has had a major overhaul of the menu structure and available icons. The menu structure has been simplified and the vertical swipe is configurable, meaning you can remove it if you wish to make the menu structure a simple left or right swipe. Zennio has introduced the Tecla keypads in 1, 2,4 or 6 button configurations.

New or updated keypads from Gira System 55 E1 pushbutton sensor (left), JUNG LS TOUCH (middle) and Zennio Tecla (right).

Weinzierl has released the KNX IO 512 Secure 12-channel relay actuator. On first sight that is not exciting, but there are three remarkably interesting features.

  1. Zero-point switching. Turning relays on/off at the zero point of the sine wave, which is hugely important when switching high loads.
  2. Live testing of parameters, no need to download a new configuration each time.
  3. Internal connections for all outputs.

Weinzierl KNX IO 512 Secure 12-channel relay actuator.

Which leads me neatly onto a bugbear of mine – making linking cables for actuators. Recently we have seen Theben start to ship products with a jumper cable. Zennio has gone one step further with the Dim x4, which like the new Weinzierl actuator, is connected internally so no need for the jumper cables. And thankfully we’ve now seen both Gira and Zennio introduce busbars for actuators. Making jumper cables is expensive, tiresome, and quite frankly dull, so I would like to suggest to all manufacturers that you should a) make them for all your actuators and b) provide them free-of-charge in the box.

Conclusion

There is much to catch up with from Light + Building, and a vast number of products released at ISE too, but I have only been able to include a few which caught my eye here. Theben brought out three new PIRs alone and the quantity of new ABB keypads was too many to count. This wealth of new products shows us that KNX is alive and kicking, expanding, innovating, and rising to the challenges of new market sectors. It remains the only platform that can satisfy the needs of both residential and commercial projects spanning multiple disciplines and functional requirements. So long as the manufacturers continue to bring us new products, and we continue to install them professionally and to a high standard, the market will continue to grow, satisfying customers and growing our businesses.

Simon Buddle CEng MIET, is a consultant for Future Ready Homes, a specialist in BMS and ELV services system design.

www.futurereadyhomes.com

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