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The New ETS4: Easy, Fast, Open

The New ETS4: Easy, Fast, Open

Singapore, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, London, Berlin, Moscow – building automation engineers from all over the world, use ETS as product and manufacturer independent programming tool in order to increase energy efficiency of buildings. This standardised tool is currently available in 15 languages, and supports KNX installations for all media: twisted pair, radio frequency, Ethernet/IP and power line.

To meet the latest technical and economic requirements and globalisation demands, KNX Association has now completely redesigned its Engineering Tool Software (ETS) including a set of many new functions. ETS4 makes it possible to implement KNX projects in a easy and fast way. Moreover, the use of the platform-independent universal standard XML makes it possible to access all KNX project related information in text form. The ETS4 is available from October 2010.

With the new ETS4, KNX Association has responded to new, tougher requirements in terms of handling, technical features, and economy – after all, the range of applications for which bus technology is used has recently tremendously increased. The average KNX installation has now also become quit larger. The functionality that non-residential buildings and intelligent residential buildings need to offer has also become more diverse.

KNX solutions need to handle current challenges like making buildings as energy-efficient as possible.

The demands from a technical and economic point of view for Electricians and system integrators designing, installing,
commissioning and supervising KNX systems, have increased.

Practical focus

It was essential that the new ETS4 would offer a clearly-structured, intuitive user interface meeting these increased demands. A new design for its user interface design was simply a top priority in its further development. A market leader from this sector was consulted in order to accomplish this requirement – which indicates the importance that KNX Association attaches to its device and manufacturer independent standard tool for home and building automation.

An international investigation was set up in order to optimise this new user interface, not only KNX professionals but also beginners with little or no KNX knowledge were consulted. System integrators with ETS3 expertise had the opportunity to try out the usefulness of the new features and at the same time the chance to give feedback based on their daily experience.


The tests with beginners were conducted to determine how intuitive the restructured work flows really are. In workshops held around the world, both professionals and beginners tested the tool on its daily usefulness in respect to maintaining projects quickly and offering highly demanding services.

The result of all of this research work is a stateof-the-art tool that meets the needs of a modern home and building control technology.

Highly visual interface

The tool’s new user interface is characterised by an up-todate, highly visual design. A new feature is for example an overview page, where users can view projects and access further information such as KNX news and the current ETS4 configuration. The project administration view, which shows project data and properties, is clearer than the ones from its predecessor.

The selective lists for opening databases, opening projects, importing data and viewing the most recently opened projects are together with the central toolbar, very useful features.

Initially ETS users – when working on projects – might miss the ‘old’ overview, because it’s no longer divided into three parts – topology view, group address view and building view. But professionals will quickly appreciate the simplified navigation and larger overviews of the “single window interface”. This is because of integrating various system views into one, crucial information is always visible and this without the need for additional menus.

In the topology overview for example, it only takes a mouse click via the line and device menu to quickly and easily reach communication objects, device details and comments. Important information can always be called via a sidebar. There is also a special Favourites window which can be personalised in order to quickly access customer-specific elements such as preconfigured devices or entire lines.


pic4Another advantage of the new ETS4 user interface is the “guided workflow” – a step by-step tutorial for creating bus configurations. Especially the topic-based Help features and the possibility to undo and repeat actions are very convenient.

System checks can be carried out at any time – this allows possible configuration errors to be detected quickly and in time. Drag & drop for e.g. assigning group addresses to communication objects, makes working with ETS4 yet even more intuitive. Thanks to the free-configurable views (dynamic folders), professionals can put together their own
interfaces in order to suit them to the way they work.


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An Example Of KNX Project Design

An Example Of KNX Project Design

It is basically possible to design a residential building according to criteria similar to those of a functional building and with that to plan the same functionality. The building installations usually seen up to now have for years been based on the distribution and switching of electrical energy. This method is long outdated. Private clients still tend to derive their requirements and expectations regarding electrical installations from their experiences with familiar installation technology.
But in terms of:

  • comfort
  • possibilities for flexible room usage
  • centralised and decentralised controls
  • security
  • the intelligent linking of systems across different building disciplines
  • communication possibilities
  • environmental considerations as well as
  • a reduction in the energy and operating costs,

modern installations have changed dramatically.

During a consultation, the private client is largely unaware of the range of possibilities and opportunities for future extension that are offered by an EIB installation. This information must be passed onto him as clearly as possible without overloading him with unnecessary details. He must be told that it is easily possible to expand or complete his EIB installation at a later date. Good and comprehensive consultation is the best foundation for follow-on contracts for the completion and extension of carefully planned EIB systems.

Incomplete or inadequate consultation can quickly turn an initially satisfied customer into a very unsatisfied customer, if he later learns that his investment in a bus installation cannot be fully exploited.  It must be made clear however, that the answers themselves do not define the installation. They only serve to analyse the customer’s requirements as a basis for determining the feasibility.

Some of the questions hint at technical solutions that will only be available on the market in the months or years to come. They do however play a role in the suggested solutions, as it is possible to take them into consideration for implementation at a later date (preparatory cabling). Completion of this questionnaire essentially represents the specifications. An offer can then be made on the basis of this document, using the “ZVEH calculation aid”. Project design begins once the contract is awarded.

KNX Project

Fig.1 - KNX Project

Writing the specifications based on a given example

The answers marked in the questionnaire yield the following basic requirements on the EIB project:

  • The private customer is building a one-family house with garden and garage on a remote site.
  • There are distinct demands on security.
  • Value is placed on ways to save energy and costs.
  • Particular demands have been made regarding comfort.
  • Some of the wishes cannot yet be technically realised, which means that a system planned with foresight is extremely important for follow-on contracts.
  • Subsequent extensions to the system and functionality must be taken into consideration.
  • A few of the possibilities mentioned in the questionnaire are viewed as critical; further information and more detailed explanations could extend the project and offer approaches to a service contract.

The system requirements essentially comprise the following:

  • Within the house, switching points should be located near the doors as well as in the sleeping and seating areas.
  • Lighting control with movement detectors should also be planned for the garden and access paths.
  • Security lighting should be incorporated.
  • The simulation of an “occupied house” by adjustable sequences is required.
  • The lighting control should be integrated into the Home-Assistant.
  • Switchable sockets should be provided for the exterior areas, kitchen, workroom and bedrooms.
  • Sockets must have child-protection.
  • For the simulation of an “occupied house”, switchable sockets should be planned for lights.
  • The switching status of the sockets should be represented in the HomeAssistant.
Room heating
  • Single room temperature control should be included, which in addition to manual intervention also allows monitoring and control via a HomeAssistant.
  • The radiators should be switched off when the windows are open.
  • Remote control and remote signalling should be possible for the heating system.
  • Reporting to a customer services department should be planned for a later date.
Heating system
  • The heating system should be adapted to the requirements in a way that saves energy and costs. It should also be possible to monitor it from a central position; i.e. it should be connected to the EIB and integrated into the HomeAssistant.
Hot water supply
  • The hot water supply should be investigated separately, as a combination of gas, electricity and perhaps at a later date solar energy must be taken into account.
Blinds and shutters
  • The blinds should be motorised and must react accordingly in adverse weather conditions.
  • In addition to manual operating possibilities located near to the windows, it should also be possible to control and monitor them from a central position.
  • In rooms subject to dazzling sunlight, it should also be possible to adjust the angle of the slats.
  • The open or closed status should be centrally displayed.
  • They should be incorporated into a security system.
  • In addition to manual operating possibilities, awnings installed on the patio should be automatically retracted in strong wind or rain. It should also be possible to use them to influence the temperature of the shaded room.
  • They should also be used to simulate an “occupied house” and allow the possibility of control from a central position.
Window monitoring
  • The closed status of the windows should be monitored and displayed centrally.
  • Any tampering should be detected and incorporated into a security system.
  • Motor-driven operation should be included as a possibility for use at a later date.
Door and gate monitoring
  • The closed status of the house doors and garden gates is to be incorporated into a security system. Additional visual monitoring is also desired.
Monitoring the supply lines
  • For extra safety, the water and gas supplies should be monitored and integrated into a security system. As this is not yet on the market, a provisional installation must be planned.
Meter monitoring
  • As a prerequisite for measures to save energy and costs, the meter readings and running costs should be displayed. The installation should be designed for the future implementation of remote meter reading.
House appliances
  • Regarding new purchases, interest lies in the use of devices with a bus connection. It is therefore necessary to plan, at least provisionally, the corresponding number of communication sockets.
Garden system
  • In the garden and along the path to the house there should be lighting and movement detectors and these should be integrated into a general security system.
  • It should be possible to operate a sprinkler system depending on the dampness of the ground.
Security equipment
  • Measures should be included to increase security. This must include interior and exterior lighting, the windows, blinds and the entrance doors.
  • Monitoring at the HomeAssistant with remote signalling possibilities should be planned.
  • It should be possible to trigger emergency and help calls, quickly and easily.
Central operating and control unit
  • A device, which is capable of receiving television signals in addition to allowing the simple operation and control of the household installations, should be fitted in the kitchen (HomeAssistant).

There is also interest in the following extensions, planned for the future:

  • Cultivation of a winter garden with shadowing and utilisation of the heat energy that is produced in the transitional period.
  • Lighting in the living area.
  • Isolation of the bedrooms to avoid electromagnetic fields.
  • Connection to service stations for the various devices.
  • Construction of a garden pond with the ability to monitor the circulating pump and maintain a constant level.
  • Installation of a solar panel and integration into the existing hot water supply.

An example of designing a project

Although in comparison with a large functional building, we are dealing with a much clearer installation here, a  installation should be planned. This has as much to do with the variety of functions desired as well as with the high probability of later expansion. A separate line should be provided for each floor to ensure simple and clear structuring. Because this example deals with a new project, the project design is carried out with ETS 3. The result is an extensive set of detailed lists. For projects where there is a high probability of expansion or modification within subsequent years, other documents should be provided in addition to the lists.

Results of the project design stage form the foundation for all subsequent steps of the installation, commissioning and maintenance, and with that of course for all future expansion. Reference is made to the documents or wiring diagrams in accordance with the standards of the EN 61082 or DIN 40719 series, in particular to the bus devices and bus lines with physical and group addresses that are marked on the ground plan (see Fig. 1). The logic diagram indicates the bus devices and their physical addresses as well as allocation to the lines. If the complexity of the project demands, it may also be necessary to draw up a functional diagram. This saves a considerable amount of time during subsequent expansions or modifications.

If you also draw the parameter block for each of the bus devices, you are left with an excellent and very clear set of documents. The HomeAssistant necessary to implement this example system demands exact adherence to the rules of ETS 3 and to the design guidelines. Of particular importance is the entry of room structure, completion of the key fields and the addition of extra groups (so-called single actuator groups).

Adherence to these guidelines is important because the terms and names for the rooms and devices are derived from this data and appear in the operating menus of the HomeAssistant, allowing the end user to recognise his own individual system. The database created with ETS 3 is transferred into the HomeAssistant using the HomeAssistant Tool Software (HTS), which is included in the scope of supply.

SOURCE: Project Engineering for EIB Installations


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ABB i-bus KNX - Constant lighting control

ABB i-bus KNX - Constant lighting control

Lighting in modern buildings is more than a basic requirement – it can play an important role in the architectural design and the energy efficiency of the building, not to mention the health, safety and well being of the occupants.

With an impressive spectrum of products for the control, measurement, regulation and automation of lighting, ABB i-bus® EIB / KNX can perform challenging lighting tasks.

The following elaboration on the topic of constant lighting control should provide adequate background information to:
- better understand the method of operation of a constant lighting control
- ensure optimum placement of the light sensors required to detect the actual value
- recognise critical ambient conditions which interfere with the function of the constant lighting control
- evaluate the physical limitations to which a constant lighting control is subject.

For this purpose it is necessary to understand the most important terms used in the field of lighting technology.

How does constant lighting control function?

In constant lighting control a light sensor installed on the ceiling measures the luminance of the surfaces in its detection range, e.g. the floor or the desks.

How does constant lighting control function?

This measured value (actual value) is compared with the predefined setpoint value, and the control value is adjusted so that the divergence between the setpoint and actual values is minimal. If it is brighter outside, the share of artificial lighting is reduced. If it is darker outside, the share of artificial lighting is increased. The exact function of the light controller is described in detail in the manual of the Light Controller LR/Sx.16.1.
A Luxmeter placed underneath the light sensor, e.g. on a desk, is used for setting the setpoint. This Luxmeter detects the degree of illumination which illuminates the surfaces underneath the light sensor.

The objective of a constant lighting control is to retain the set degree of illumination when a setpoint is set. To perfectly implement this objective, the light sensor should be placed exactly on the spot where the Luxmeter was placed to adjust the setpoint value, in order to also determine the degree of illumination. As this is not possible for practical reasons, the light sensor is generally mounted on the ceiling.

This is a compromise. For the reference setting of the setpoint, a Luxmeter is used for measurement of the degree of illumination; however, the light controller primarily detects the luminance underneath the light sensor. In this way the light controller indirectly maintains a constant degree of illumination. If certain constraints are not observed with indirect measurement, it can mean that the constant lighting control will not function or not function as required.

This is not a specific phenomenon just affecting our constant lighting control, but rather is the case for all constant lighting controls.

What is the difference between degree of illumination and luminance?

In order to fully appreciate the problems relating to indirect measurement, it is necessary to examine the most important terms used in lighting technology. Only the basic terms are explained and we will forego a more exact and detailed explanation or mathematical derivation of more complex terms, e.g. luminous intensity = luminous flux/steradian.
A luminary, e.g. a fluorescent tube, converts electrical energy to light. The light rays emitted by a light source (luminous exitance) are referred to as a luminous flux. The unit is the Lumen [lm]. Luminaries convert the input energy to light at varying degrees of efficiency.

CategoryTypeOverall luminous
efficency (lm/w)
Overall luminous
.Incadescent lamp.5 W incandescent lamp.5.0.7%
.40 W incandescent lamp.12.1.7%
.100 W incandescent lamp.15.2.1%
.Glass halogen.16.2.3%
.Quartz halogen.24.3.5%
.High temperature incandescent lamp .35.5.1%
.Fluoroscent lamp.5 – 26 W energy saving light bulb.45 – 70.6.6 – 10.3%
.26 – 70 W energy saving light bulb.70 – 75.10.3 – 11.0%
.Fluorescent tube with inductive ballast.60 – 90.7%
.Fluorescent tube with electronic ballast.80 – 110.11 – 16%
.Light emitting diode.Most efficient white LEDs on the market.35 – 100.5 – 15%
.White LED (prototype, in development).up to 150.up to 22%
.Arc lamp.Xenon arc lamp.typ. 30 – 50;
.up to 150
.4.4 – 7.3%;
.up to 22%
.Mercury Xenon arc lamp.50 – 55.7.3 – 8.0%
.High pressure mercury vapour lamp.36 (50W HQL) –
.60 (400W HQL)
.up to 8.8%
.Gas discharge lamp.Metal halide lamp.93 (70W HCI) –
.104 (250W HCI)
.up to 15%
.High pressure sodium lamp.150.22 %
.Low pressure sodium lamp.200.29%
.1400 W sulphur lamp.95.14%
.Theoretical maximum .683.100 %

In addition to the luminous flux there is the item luminous intensity, also referred to as the lumi- nous flux density. The luminous intensity is measured in Candelas [cd]. The Candela is a mea- surement unit for luminous intensity emitted by a light source in a particular direction. An exact definition will lead to a complex mathematical analysis, e.g. the explanation of a steradiant.

Simplification: A luminous intensity of 1 cd corresponds to the measured degree of illumination of 1 lx at a distance of 1 m from the light source.

The luminous flux emitted by the light source illuminates the surfaces that it meets. The intensity with which the surfaces are illuminated is referred to as the degree of illumination. The degree of illumination depends on the magnitude of the luminous flux and the size of the surfaces.
It is defined as follows:

E = Φ/ A [lx=lm/m2]

E = degree of illumination
Φ = luminous flux in lm
A = illuminated surface

In accordance with the above table, a 100 W incandescent lamp with 15 lm/W generates a maximum luminous flux of 1500 lm. If the entire luminous flux of the incandescent lamp is not emitted in a spherical manner into the room, but rather concentrated and distributed evenly on a surface of 1 m2, then the value for the degree of illumination at every point on the surface would be 1500 lx.

The perceived brightness of an illuminated surface depends on the illuminated surface and the reflectance of the illuminated surfaces. The reflectance is the reflected share of the luminous flux from the illuminated surface. Typical values for the reflectance are:

  • 90% highly polished silver
  • 75% white paper
  • 65% highly polished aluminium
  • 20% – 30% wood
  • < 5% black satin

The perceived brightness of an illuminated surface or a self-illuminating surface, e.g. an LCD monitor, is designated as the luminance. The unit of luminance is cd/m2.

If white paper is subject to a degree of illumination of 500 lx, then the luminance is about 130 – 150 cd/m2. At the same degree of illumination, environmentally-friendly paper has a luminance of about 90 – 100 cd/m2.

On what does the luminance measured by the light sensor respectively the measured value of the light sensor depend?

The luminance “primarily” detected by the light sensor depends on different criteria. It depends on the degree of illumination which the surfaces in the detection range of the light sensor are illuminated. The higher the degree of illumination, the higher the luminance of the illuminated surfaces.
The same applies for the reflectance of the surfaces. The higher the reflectance, the higher the luminance of the surfaces and thus the measured value of the sensor. The measured value of the sensor is the actual value used for lighting control.

The installed height of the sensor also plays a role. If the light sensor was an ideal “luminance measurement device”, then the luminance which it measures would be indepen- dent of the installation height of the light sensor. As this is not the case, the measured value of the sensor decreases as the installation height increases.

SOURCE: ABB | Practical Knowledge: ABB i-bus® KNX Constant lighting control


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