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Topic # 93535 23-Nov-2011 15:05 Send private message

Hey folks,

This is just in the concept stage but was looking at a pool installation and how to run the electrics from inside the house when all the electrical stuff is outside in the shed.

My mate who is a sparky was talking about a PLC and relays for operating it all which would require comms cable from inside the house but I have had a bit of a look at c-bus and it looks like it would be a good option.

The setup is pretty simple.

1. Pool pump. On a timer. Runs daily. Not required to be operated from the house. Not required to be attached to cbus.
2. Second pump. On and off required and maybe a timer
3. Pool and garden lighting. On / off and maybe a timer.

From where I sit one 4 switch cbus wireless wall switch (with a couple of spare switches for later) and two wireless relays would do the trick. This would negate the need to run comms cable for the PLC and up and down the wall in the house (although we would be running power cables if it went ahead anyway)

The wireless switches look like they can be programmed to act as timers.

How much are these things? Are they horrendously expensive?

Do you need to be c-bus certified to buy the c-bus stuff?

I probably have more questions....

Cheers, Matt.




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  Reply # 548956 23-Nov-2011 15:34 Send private message

hairy1:
Do you need to be c-bus certified to buy the c-bus stuff?

I know Schneider have clamped down on this recently.  You used to be able to just buy it and/or do a course but they had issues with people having issues and blaming the products.  To protect the brand they have moved to getting trained/qualified people to do installs.  

If it's just one of the switches you might get away with buying it, can't be sure sorry.

Personally though, if you're going to have to lay cables, power cables etc, anyway, then lay a control multicore cable and a comms cable over there all in one go.  Wireless is nice and all, but where possible I'd honestly be recommending a physical cable.

Sounds like basically you need an electrician to setup contactors that can be controlled by low voltage relays.  Once this platform is in place the controller can be whatever system you want.  A PLC will work but may not be as accessible for you later on if you want to make changes to the system behaviour.  If the system is configured as above, then a smart relay or even a time could provide the control signal initially, but at a later date the control signal could come from something fancier, perhaps iphone integration etc that you just wont get easily via a PLC.

At the end of the day, all these systems will work, but just make sure it's scalable in case you change focus later on.

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  Reply # 548970 23-Nov-2011 16:27 Send private message

Couldn't agree more about control using RF - it usually works out more expensive and less reliable. Smart relays / mini PLCs are perfect for this type of application and not hugely expensive.

If you're running any type of feed from the house to pool a few meters of Belden/CAT5e isn't particularly expensive and it does a far better job than wireless will IMO.



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  Reply # 549032 23-Nov-2011 19:52 Send private message

OK. Thanks folks. I have rolls of Cat-5 and Cat-6 sitting around here so that looks like the way to go. How is the switching done from the house end?

Is it smart relays or mini PLC's or do you run mini PLC's and smart relays together?

One big advantage of the PLC / relay path is that my sparky can do those and I don't have to find a c-bus certified contractor.

Cheers! Matt.





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  Reply # 549039 23-Nov-2011 20:05 Send private message

Where I was coming from is, if your electrician installs this like an industrial control approach, then you'll have low voltage relays switching the mains voltage contactors out in the pump shed etc. Then you can control the low voltage side any way you want, which could mean via manual wall switches, time clocks, smart relays, small PLC, or other home automation controller.

I would be going with a low voltage multicore cable to switch the relays driving the contactors, and a single or dual CAT ethernet cable as well. I would not be using the data cable to do the switching as such, but you would use it communicate to any device that was connected to relays. The point is, if they install like this then you can go as basic or as fancy as you like, giving you the scope for iPad/iPod/Android phone control etc even at a later date etc.

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  Reply # 549045 23-Nov-2011 20:16 Send private message

A smart relay or mini PLC is much the same thing.

You can get them to run over networks depending on your budget. For your application I would suggest a unit with 2 digital inputs working off momentary push buttons off whatever your lighting switch system of choice is. You then run 4 cores (probably belden but TPS or a couple of CAT5e cores twisted together will work OK in a domestic environment for digital signals) is generally) out to your pump house to a smart relay/mini plc. This would handle all the timing functionality as well as giving you flexibilty for anthing else you want to run off it.

You then run the outputs into interposing 24V:230V relays (needs to be done by a registered electrician as described by Jaxson).

Device wise there are lots on the market, I work for Siemens so know a bit about the LOGO controller but there will be lots of choices. I'm certainly not out to push our products but there is a wide functionality out there to choose from. I'd suggest that you talk to your electrician about what his preferred product is that he can buy at the best price. Some info on the LOGO is below.

http://www.automation.siemens.com/mcms/programmable-logic-controller/en/logic-module-logo/modular-basic-variants/Pages/Default.aspx


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  Reply # 549244 24-Nov-2011 10:12 Send private message

Everything Handle9 has said is great, spot on I reckon.

Personally I'd put the controller itself inside the house, as this would make it easier to upgrade and integrate into a full building controller at a later date. I'd put local override manual on/off/auto switches out in the pump shed so you could switch anything manually out there if required.

Still use momentary push buttons inside the house as Handle9 says, just on a short lead back to the nearby controller in the house. It's all the same thing, just locating the bits in a different location, hopefully with the intent of being more flexible in future.

Schneider do Zelio relays, very similar to the Siemens LOGO controller. Whatever way you go I'd personally make sure the interface was simple and that you had a copy of the software and program code yourself. I'm not a fan of being tied to one company/contractor to make any alterations. Say you want to run a pump 5 minutes longer in the future, you want to be able to make that change yourself easily and cheaply.

Also, personally I'd look to get some feedback from the remote devices. You can get a signal off auxiliary contacts on the mains voltage contactors. This will tell you that the remote device has actually engaged. It's fairly simple and not as maintenance heavy as having an inline flow switch etc. If you go touchscreen or light indication etc, then animate the 'device is running' object on the feedback status and you'll feel more confident about what you're viewing. Maybe that's too deep, but thought I'd mention it anyway.


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