Hilldes

Please critique my HA design

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I've seen schematics posted in other ares of Buildhub (e.g. heating and plumbing) and found them really useful. I've seen some¬†very nice HA cabinet pics, but no schematics (you know who you are ūüėÄ). ¬†I've not seen a schematic¬†for HA, so here here is one I have just created.

 

This is a Loxone based system. I've bought various components for a proof of concept but not got round to hooking them up in a test rig as yet. Where I am is... clear about the major components but less so about where they actually sit (e.g. LED light PSUs in the main cabinet or with the light fitting). Also still thinking about the types of cable to use - again less sure about lighting.

 

Still uncertain about the feasibility of some integrations e.g. last time I looked Alexa voice control of Loxone required sign up to a third party service.

 

What I'll do ultimately is refine the design and produce a full parts list with links if anyone is interested - I always find these useful.

 

Let me know what you think...

 

 

Schematics v0.1.pdf

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Posted (edited)

How is your heating controlled exactly - are they just open/close circuit sensors in the room? I've used Loxone one wire sensors in each room, so my heating logic is sat within my Loxone programme. Has allowed me to run weather compensates circuits (possibly not so important on low energy houses), with a 0-10v signal to my gas boiler of the required temperature (say 40 degrees if UFH running, 55 on my towel rail circuits which run for say an hour a day, and then max temp for hot water).

 

PIRS are useful - we've used them in walk in wardrobes and cloakrooms to bring the lights on. Great not having to faf around with light switches when you are popping in and out of these rooms.

Edited by Trw144

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56 minutes ago, Trw144 said:

How is your heating controlled exactly - are they just open/close circuit sensors in the room? I've used Loxone one wire sensors in each room, so my heating logic is sat within my Loxone programme. Has allowed me to run weather compensates circuits...

Had not thought about weather compensation as yet. My thinking was to avoid cluttering walls with kit so use the Touch Pure temperature sensor and avoid a room stat. That’s the theory have not tried to configure as yet. That of course is only rooms with a Touch pure which won’t be many with not much change from £200 each.

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4 minutes ago, Hilldes said:

Had not thought about weather compensation as yet. My thinking was to avoid cluttering walls with kit so use the Touch Pure temperature sensor and avoid a room stat. That’s the theory have not tried to configure as yet. That of course is only rooms with a Touch pure which won’t be many with not much change from £200 each.

 

Yes the touch pures are expensive. I installed the one wire sensors inside the retractive light switches as the hidden solution. The air extension plug switches have a built in temperature sensor and are great for controlling lamps on the lighting circuit, but quite possibly you wouldn't have them in every room.

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I have no knowledge of automated systems, so am following these threads with interest... 

 

One bit does confuse me... 

 

image.jpeg.4cc6730f760dc4c1eae84525d55b4e77.jpeg

This image appears to turn up the extractor if someone has a ‚Äúmovement‚ÄĚ whilst on the pan... but if they have a ‚Äúcolossal movement‚ÄĚ I.e. a big sh*t??..¬†then all the light in the house flash to warn the occupants!¬†

  • Haha 3

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25 minutes ago, Gav_P said:

I have no knowledge of automated systems, so am following these threads with interest... 

 

One bit does confuse me... 

 

image.jpeg.4cc6730f760dc4c1eae84525d55b4e77.jpeg

This image appears to turn up the extractor if someone has a ‚Äúmovement‚ÄĚ whilst on the pan... but if they have a ‚Äúcolossal movement‚ÄĚ I.e. a big sh*t??..¬†then all the light in the house flash to warn the occupants!¬†

Ah you found it. There is actually 3rd level of escalation to the logic. If the motion sensor detects a ‚Äúsuper collossal¬†movement‚ÄĚ then sound the alarm siren to alert the neighbours too. I wanted to see if anyone actually looked at the detail ūüėé

  • Haha 3

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HaHaHa.........I'm going to have suggest that to Loxone for a new product!!!

 

Mind you, being German/Austrian maybe they've thought of it already.¬†ūüėÜūüėÜ

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Anyway...back to the serious business of this schematic.

 

Let's look at some lighting basics such as what goes in the cabinet and what cable to use based on a few scenarios in the schematic:

  1. Non dimmed mains LED lamps - easy peasy, the DMX relays in the cabinet essentially are the switched live to the mains lamps. Using the most appropriate 240v T&E cable from the cabinet for the wattage/current.
  2. Dimmed mains LED lamps - the DMX dimmers will take care of this. Again, using the most appropriate 240v T&E cable for the wattage/current from cabinet to fitting.
  3. LED strips 24v non dimmed - the DMX relays provide switched live at 240v. The PSU (that drops to 24v) for the lights will be installed adjacent to the light fitting? The cable from the cabinet to PSU will be the most appropriate 240v T&E cable for the wattage/current.
  4. LED strips 24v dimmed - the DMX 24v dimmers...take power from one of the large PSUs in the cabinet and reduce current supplied to the 24v strip? For the cabling, ribbon cable won't be used between cabinet and LED strip, so we need to using something like mains cable but with 5 cores, so more cores than 3 core & earth?  Assuming 'data' cables such CAT6 will not handle the required current. 

@joth @Dan F @jack @Rob99

 

 

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19 hours ago, Rob99 said:

Mind you, being German/Austrian maybe they've thought of it already.¬†ūüėÜūüėÜ

 

ahh! Perhaps this was the purpose of the Austrian Poo Shelf all along? Forward thinking folk.

 

Good work on the schematic, I'll try and have a more detailed look but a few things popping (not pooping) out from my exerience:

 

- I decided to keep the miniserver relays for low voltage switching only . I didn't like hainvg 240V that near the other low voltage connections around the central nervous system of the house, and I had plenty of need for low voltage anyway (texecom alarm latch-key to arm, ASHP call for heat and MVHR boost, main water stock cock disconnect)

 

- If you have a lot of channels of 24V dimming (e.g. LED strips) you can also use them to drive zero-crossing SSRs that are quieter and potentially longer lived (no arcing current) that mechanical relays for the 240v loads

 

- don't underestimate the space you'll need to terminate CAT6/7. All the unused cores are a pain to deal with. I almost wish I'd cut them all very short and terminated on IDC blocks and then had thinner jump wire bundles (just for the cores needed) from there to the loxone panel termination blocks.

 

- I didn't bother with the iButton, interested if that's actually useful

 

- Does the alarm siren really need to be Tree? Seems there's plenty of sirens out there you can just trigger with a relay, maybe I'm missing a big benefit of that

 

- I ended up with 2 spare 24V PSUs (10A TDK one and a 20A random aliexpress one) in case they're any use.

 

- I'm in the process of switching all heating to loxone control. it's basically just 2 zones of 'call for heat' to the FTC6 ashp controller, and 2 zones of schluter  electric mats in upstairs toilets. The latter came with (expensive) thermostatic wall controllers and thermistors to embed in the tiles: these are really annoying as they're noisy when turned on, and leave a ugly temperature control hanging on the wall outside the bathroom that I don't need. I've reverse engineered the thermistors enough I can connect them to the Loxone analogue input and driver the UFH loop direction from a 240V SSR.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, joth said:

- I decided to keep the miniserver relays for low voltage switching only . I didn't like hainvg 240V that near the other low voltage connections around the central nervous system of the house, 

 

We are using Loxone relays for all 230v switching.  We have bathroom UFH, bathroom towel rails and external blinds which all need 230v switching. The relays/dimmers will all be in the lower (230v zone) of the cabinet.   I may avoid using the relay outputs on the miniserver itself though, just to keep 230v away from top half of the cabinet.   Minirserver relay outputs will be used for motorized lock on front door (24v), and potentially heating controls that need low-voltage. relay output too.

 

1 hour ago, joth said:

- Does the alarm siren really need to be Tree? Seems there's plenty of sirens out there you can just trigger with a relay, maybe I'm missing a big benefit of that

 

Well it has siren + light, so two relays maybe.   You have thought they would have put a temperature/humidity sensor in here at least, but seems not.

 

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2 hours ago, Hilldes said:
  1. Non dimmed mains LED lamps - easy peasy, the DMX relays in the cabinet essentially are the switched live to the mains lamps. Using the most appropriate 240v T&E cable from the cabinet for the wattage/current.
  2. Dimmed mains LED lamps - the DMX dimmers will take care of this. Again, using the most appropriate 240v T&E cable for the wattage/current from cabinet to fitting.
  3. LED strips 24v non dimmed - the DMX relays provide switched live at 240v. The PSU (that drops to 24v) for the lights will be installed adjacent to the light fitting? The cable from the cabinet to PSU will be the most appropriate 240v T&E cable for the wattage/current.
  4. LED strips 24v dimmed - the DMX 24v dimmers...take power from one of the large PSUs in the cabinet and reduce current supplied to the 24v strip? For the cabling, ribbon cable won't be used between cabinet and LED strip, so we need to using something like mains cable but with 5 cores, so more cores than 3 core & earth?  Assuming 'data' cables such CAT6 will not handle the required current. 

@joth @Dan F @jack @Rob99

 

 

 

Looks like you have decided on DMX then?  I guess this is primarily because these are lower cost than than loxone relays/dimmers

 

If you have a central LED driver/controller and are then running 5-core to an LED stip, be careful to calculate the the cable cross-section carefully.    We have some runs of up to 12m and our electrician has put used 0.5mm cable.   If this is an issue will depend on wattage of the LED strip, but it is cutting it quite fine.   The safest approach is to keep driver fairly close to fitting, but this isn't always ideal if you want to use a mult-channel din-mounted device.

 

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13 hours ago, Dan F said:

 

Looks like you have decided on DMX then?  I guess this is primarily because these are lower cost than than loxone relays/dimmers

 

If you have a central LED driver/controller and are then running 5-core to an LED stip, be careful to calculate the the cable cross-section carefully.    We have some runs of up to 12m and our electrician has put used 0.5mm cable.   If this is an issue will depend on wattage of the LED strip, but it is cutting it quite fine.   The safest approach is to keep driver fairly close to fitting, but this isn't always ideal if you want to use a mult-channel din-mounted device.

 

 

Not finalised DMX, but going to have play and see.

 

What specific cable have you used please with 5 cores?

 

For the option of putting the driver close to the LED strip, I guess the Loxone RGBW 24V Compact Dimmer Tree is an option, but it is still running at 24v along the Tree cable and you would need to be careful with what other devices the Tree cable is supplying power to.

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15 hours ago, joth said:

 

ahh! Perhaps this was the purpose of the Austrian Poo Shelf all along? Forward thinking folk.

 

Good work on the schematic, I'll try and have a more detailed look but a few things popping (not pooping) out from my exerience:

 

- I decided to keep the miniserver relays for low voltage switching only . I didn't like hainvg 240V that near the other low voltage connections around the central nervous system of the house, and I had plenty of need for low voltage anyway (texecom alarm latch-key to arm, ASHP call for heat and MVHR boost, main water stock cock disconnect)

 

- If you have a lot of channels of 24V dimming (e.g. LED strips) you can also use them to drive zero-crossing SSRs that are quieter and potentially longer lived (no arcing current) that mechanical relays for the 240v loads

 

- don't underestimate the space you'll need to terminate CAT6/7. All the unused cores are a pain to deal with. I almost wish I'd cut them all very short and terminated on IDC blocks and then had thinner jump wire bundles (just for the cores needed) from there to the loxone panel termination blocks.

 

- I didn't bother with the iButton, interested if that's actually useful

 

- Does the alarm siren really need to be Tree? Seems there's plenty of sirens out there you can just trigger with a relay, maybe I'm missing a big benefit of that

 

- I ended up with 2 spare 24V PSUs (10A TDK one and a 20A random aliexpress one) in case they're any use.

 

- I'm in the process of switching all heating to loxone control. it's basically just 2 zones of 'call for heat' to the FTC6 ashp controller, and 2 zones of schluter  electric mats in upstairs toilets. The latter came with (expensive) thermostatic wall controllers and thermistors to embed in the tiles: these are really annoying as they're noisy when turned on, and leave a ugly temperature control hanging on the wall outside the bathroom that I don't need. I've reverse engineered the thermistors enough I can connect them to the Loxone analogue input and driver the UFH loop direction from a 240V SSR.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Joth, good tips. I'm about to order the connector blocks and can envisage it getting quite busy.

 

On the 24v dimming, where do the relays come in to this please? I was assuming you either dimmed or switched on/off (relays being the latter). Out of interest, would you have a link to a specific SSR product please by any chance?.

 

I bought the alarm siren a while back and think Tree was the only option.

 

P.S. thanks for the link to the Austrian¬†poo shelf article. I¬†made the mistake of reading it while I ate breakfast - but did add a wonderfull new phrase to my repertoire: "lay-and-display". I can now see even greater¬†potential for automation¬†ūüėĚ.

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1 hour ago, Hilldes said:

Thanks Joth, good tips. I'm about to order the connector blocks and can envisage it getting quite busy.

 

I've been mucking about with our installation a bit recently. I don't recall how many CAT6 cables we have arriving in the cabinet, but most only use a single pair out of the four available (because most cables are to light switches). We ended up stripping the outer sheath off each CAT6 cable before it enters the cabinet, and peeling out the pair that's needed for each connection. The remaining cores are neatly coiled in a separate box adjacent where the CAT6 cables arrive at the cabinet. Even with this approach, it gets very congested given the number of runs and the mixture of low and high voltage in the same cabinet.

 

I've only recently become aware of the fine detail of this arrangement, and believe we missed a real trick when installing. Instead of taking each twisted pair up to whatever Loxone component it's connected to, we should have split the twisted pair, terminated one conductor in a busbar-type din rail termination, and the other in a multi-terminal din rail termination like this:

 image.png.8155ac656bb5d4e99a24c700bdfa011c.png

 

Then you just need to run a single wire up to the relevant input. This approach also lets you use a thicker hook-up cable for the internal cabinet runs, which is far nicer to use than CAT6. You can also get double-insulated hook-up cable, which improves safety.

 

It will absolutely cost more to do it this way, but every future interaction with the wiring in the cabinet will be easier and safer in my opinion.

 

Once I get a bit further through my long to-do list, I'll be converting to this wiring approach.

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2 hours ago, Hilldes said:

On the 24v dimming, where do the relays come in to this please? I was assuming you either dimmed or switched on/off (relays being the latter). Out of interest, would you have a link to a specific SSR product please by any chance?.

 

Yes I thought I was being a bit obscure. The tip came from loxone-english forum, but I'm now using this for towel rads, UFH mats, outside lights, the 24V PSU for LED strips, and can even thing about powering off the other mains dimmers when not needed.

I'm using:

 

The spare channels on one of these https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32840212924.html

to drive three of these https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32871053064.html

 

You need to set the DMX outputs to be digital (either fully on or off, no dimming) and then logical output of 1 the 24V dimmer output is driver low which turns the SSR on (it's ideally suited to common cathode driver)

 

2 hours ago, Hilldes said:

I bought the alarm siren a while back and think Tree was the only option.

 

 

Ah no worries, I was meaning more why use a Loxone one at all, any alarm sounder could be used really

https://www.alertelectrical.com/alarms-and-cctv/burglar-alarms-systems/alarm-bell-boxes-sounders.html

 

(Besides, I was reluctant to advertise the fact I have Loxone on the outside of my house, but that may just be me)

 

2 hours ago, Hilldes said:

What specific cable have you used please with 5 cores?

 

 

I bought two drums of  https://www.edwardes.co.uk/products/1-5mm-3185y-5-core-white-circular-pvc-flexible-cable-100-metre-coil

(actually ordered 2x 50m but later realized they sent us 2x 100m !)

 

As well as RGBW strips these proved useful for a load of other use cases. 1.5mm2 totally overkill for most things we used it for, but offers a lot of flexibility and very low voltage loss on those long 24V runs. Had we gone with Dali I'd have used it for that too, of course.

 

 

49 minutes ago, jack said:

I've only recently become aware of the fine detail of this arrangement, and believe we missed a real trick when installing. Instead of taking each twisted pair up to whatever Loxone component it's connected to, we should have split the twisted pair, terminated one conductor in a busbar-type din rail termination, and the other in a multi-terminal din rail termination like this:

 

 

Yes, this is the strategy I used, but it's still very congested around those terminal blocks! Mostly because I want to leave "slack" on all the CAT6 pairs in case I need to reassign them in future. Hence the thought to cut the CAT6 as short as possible by  terminating into a patch panel, then use patch leads from that into those loxone terminal blocks. If anything changes, easy to throw out the patch lead and replace with a longer one. 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, joth said:

Yes I thought I was being a bit obscure. The tip came from loxone-english forum, but I'm now using this for towel rads, UFH mats, outside lights, the 24V PSU for LED strips, and can even thing about powering off the other mains dimmers when not needed.

I'm using:

 

The spare channels on one of these https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32840212924.html

to drive three of these https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32871053064.html

 

You need to set the DMX outputs to be digital (either fully on or off, no dimming) and then logical output of 1 the 24V dimmer output is driver low which turns the SSR on (it's ideally suited to common cathode driver)

 

 

Will note this trick for the next one.....

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3 hours ago, jack said:

I've only recently become aware of the fine detail of this arrangement, and believe we missed a real trick when installing. Instead of taking each twisted pair up to whatever Loxone component it's connected to, we should have split the twisted pair, terminated one conductor in a busbar-type din rail termination, and the other in a multi-terminal din rail termination like this

 

Thanks Jack, I'm about to purchase some Loxone banks of connectors like the one in the pic. Can I just check for the switches, your are feeding these to digital inputs - say supplying +24v from a PSU in the cabinet to the switch and when the switch closes this applies +24v to the Loxone digital input? .....so the busbar-type din rail termination would be a common +24v? Do you have a specific product in mind? 

 

I guess the alternative to keeping spare CAT6 pairs in a box outside the cabinet, just leave plenty of slack when pulling the CAT6 cable through then simply cut off unused pairs. To use more pairs later pull, through some of the slack in the CAT6 cable?

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5 hours ago, Hilldes said:

What specific cable have you used please with 5 cores?

 

0.5mm2.  But, as I said I'm concerned this isn't enough.  Loxone recommend a maximum of 1V voltage drop, so you need to calculate what cable you need based on the total wattage of your LED strip.

 

5 hours ago, Hilldes said:

For the option of putting the driver close to the LED strip, I guess the Loxone RGBW 24V Compact Dimmer Tree is an option, but it is still running at 24v along the Tree cable and you would need to be careful with what other devices the Tree cable is supplying power to.

 

Yes, but you still need to look at total load and distance and calculate volatage drop.  Tree cable is 1.5mm2

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2 hours ago, joth said:

As well as RGBW strips these proved useful for a load of other use cases. 1.5mm2 totally overkill for most things we used it for, but offers a lot of flexibility and very low voltage loss on those long 24V runs. Had we gone with Dali I'd have used it for that too, of course.

 

I wish our electician had used this or our LED strips instead of 0.5mm2!!    They did use for it DALI though, as they'd had a bad experience with voltage drop with DALI before where some fitting weren't getting signal from the bus

 

2 hours ago, joth said:

Hence the thought to cut the CAT6 as short as possible by  terminating into a patch panel, then use patch leads from that into those loxone terminal blocks. If anything changes, easy to throw out the patch lead and replace with a longer one. 

 

This is an interesting idea... might consider doing this..

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, joth said:

(Besides, I was reluctant to advertise the fact I have Loxone on the outside of my house, but that may just be me)

 

You mean if the savvy thief knew how much Loxone kit costs they'd want to steal it?¬†ūüėĀ¬†I quite liked the design of the Loxone siren and drew on my 3d CAD model (a bit sad I know):

1108583094_Screenshot2021-03-19at16_27_00.png.e2f53d5c0a12536ad7a27676336c0846.png

 

Thanks for the info on the SSR relays will take a look and I already have a 24ch dimmer on order from Aliexpress.

 

Thanks also for the link to the 5 core cable. I was thinking more like solid conductor cables such as mains cabling, but the flex is not a bad price and I guess if your carefull when stripping will be fine. 

 

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1 hour ago, Hilldes said:

Thanks Jack, I'm about to purchase some Loxone banks of connectors like the one in the pic. Can I just check for the switches, your are feeding these to digital inputs - say supplying +24v from a PSU in the cabinet to the switch and when the switch closes this applies +24v to the Loxone digital input? .....so the busbar-type din rail termination would be a common +24v? Do you have a specific product in mind? 

 

Yes, that's right. You supply 24V to one side of the switch and connect the other side of the switch to the digital input of interest. At the moment, we have a weird arrangement where each extension has a cable extending from the power supply to that extension, to which the wires for the 24V side of the switches for that extension are connected. It's fine if you never want to change or add anything, but it means you need to bring both wires in each twisted pair all the way up to the extension. 

 

The product I had in mind would likely be something along the lines of the one for which an image is posted above. It's called a DIN rail termination block. I think I grabbed that image from RS components, but let me know if you have any issues finding what you're after.

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, jack said:

The product I had in mind would likely be something along the lines of the one for which an image is posted above. It's called a DIN rail termination block. I think I grabbed that image from RS components, but let me know if you have any issues finding what you're after.

Thanks Jack, I have now ordered the Loxone terminal block sets - both interconnected and separate (latter very similar to the pic you posted). I did look at alternatives a while back and think I found some at RS or Farnell but were pretty much the same price as Loxone. I thought you had in mind some form of DIN mounted 'busbar' (like the neutral and earth busbars in a consumer unit) for a common 24v but I guess they would need to be split so one PSU only feeds one +24v busbar anyway.

Edited by Hilldes

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2 hours ago, Hilldes said:

Thanks Jack, I have now ordered the Loxone terminal block sets - both interconnected and separate (latter very similar to the pic you posted). I did look at alternatives a while back and think I found some at RS or Farnell but were pretty much the same price as Loxone. I thought you had in mind some form of DIN mounted 'busbar' (like the neutral and earth busbars in a consumer unit) for a common 24v but I guess they would need to be split so one PSU only feeds one +24v busbar anyway.

 

You can get busbar-type products as well, but I think this type is neater and now compact.

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Posted (edited)

Has anyone played with the System Schematic feature in Loxone Config? Looks quite interesting in that it can overlay various objects on a schematic diagram and then display the status of the objects (e.g. switch input=on, relay activated to call for heat etc.). Video here.

Edited by Hilldes
added link to vid

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13 hours ago, Hilldes said:

Has anyone played with the System Schematic feature in Loxone Config? Looks quite interesting in that it can overlay various objects on a schematic diagram and then display the status of the objects (e.g. switch input=on, relay activated to call for heat etc.). Video here.

 

Not yet, but plan to. Aside from floor plan, I like the idea of using it with our plant room schematic.  Wondering if makes to add some inline flow sensors.. not looked at this yet though. 

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