Product Article: Upgrading Existing Buildings with Wired and Wireless KNX Devices

Thomas WeinzierlBy 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 series have a very small size of only 18mm width. In addition to switching actuators, blind actuators and binary inputs are also available. Various dimmers were introduced by the beginning of 2019, and the line will be extended further.

The Weinzierl KNX Compact IO range comprises binary inputs, switch actuators, blinds actuators, and dimmers.

The Weinzierl KNX Compact IO range comprises binary inputs, switch actuators, blinds actuators, and dimmers.

Impulse switch with KNX

A special problem solver within the Compact IO series is the KNX IO 511 . This is also available in a version supporting KNX Data Security. It offers one switching output and two binary inputs for 12 – 230V. The device comes into its own where a certain infrastructure already exists. For example, many installations for lighting corridors and stairwells have impulse switches in the distribution system. These are usually mounted on the top-hat rail with a width of 18mm. The KNX IO 511 is factory programmed by default so that it can take over the function of an analogue impulse switch without further programming. For this purpose, the existing push-button circuit is connected to input one and the lamp circuit to the relay output. The second input can optionally be connected to phase L to synchronise the switch-on time with the zero crossing. This increases the service life of the relay, especially for lamps with LEDs.

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.

The Weinzierl KNX Compact IO 511 is an out-of-the-box replacement for conventional impulse switches.

The Weinzierl KNX Compact IO 511 is an out-of-the-box replacement for conventional impulse switches.

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.

Weinzierl offers various KNX RF and EnOcean products for wireless extension of KNX installations.

Weinzierl offers various KNX RF and EnOcean products for wireless extension of KNX installations.

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 offers 8 channels and fits into a flush-mounted box. The KNX ENO 636 with an attractive surface-mounted housing offers 32 channels and has an illuminated display for quick and easy commissioning. Both devices support over 100 EnOcean device profiles (EEPs) and their power is supplied via the KNX bus. Both can be easily set up with the KNX ENO tool .

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.

www.weinzierl.de

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