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Data bus systems in the modern home

KNX, Loxone, btcino and many more combine the common feature of a bus system, a single cable used by components to communicate with each other. Lets have a loot into the basics and what does it entail?

Considerations

We'll start with the simple example of a single light switch connected to a ceiling lamp. In conventional wiring, the functions are quite manageable, switch on means light on, switch off means exactly the opposite. That's it. In smart home philospohy, this is by no means enough, instead direct connection between switch and lamp, several switches ("sensors") and countless lamps ("actuators") can be connected to each other by a single cable, the so-called bus. Special software then ensures that various sensors are assigned to the respective actuators or even entire groups and operate them. The function of simple on / off is also expanded - long on or double off are popular control commands in modern homes.

Customer loyalty

Most popular bus systems are tied to their manufacturers. Conversely, this means that only devices, sensors and actuators from the same manufacturer can be used in the system. KNX is an exception here, although it is listed as a protected brand, it can rather be seen as an open standard offered by numerous manufacturers. In general, however, bus-compatible components are exponentially more expensive than purely mechanical or electrical devices.

Alternatives

The same functionality can be achieved if all sensors and actuators come together in a common distributor, an electrical cabinet, and are managed there by a central control unit. In this way, conventional and inexpensive components are used, if a defect occurs, a replacement can be obtained quickly and easily, possibly at the hardware store.

Errare humanum est.

Cicero
From an economic point of view, bus systems can make sense in large systems, where they are practically used. Examples can be factory halls or shared areas in apartment buildings.

Highly flexible solutions as central controls, on the other hand, are ideal for smaller properties such as single-family houses, in the following articles we are going to explain how this is done and show examples and solutions from our system partners.
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