Jan 26, 2014 Home Automations
X-10 is a communication protocol designed for sending signals over 120 VAC wiring. X-10 uses 120 kHz bursts timed with the power line zero-crossings to represent digital information. Plug-in modules available from various vendors enable users to create home automation systems by using the AC wiring already installed within a home.
Readers who would like an overview of the X-10 signal format may refer to Appendix A. PICmicro® microcontrollers can easily be used in conjunction with X-10 technology to create home automation applications.
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Microchip X10 Technical Specs PIC16F877A
The specific PICmicro microcontroller (MCU) used should be selected based on RAM, ROM, operating frequency, peripheral, and cost requirements of the particular application. The PIC16F877A was selected for this application because of its versatility as a general purpose microcontroller, its FLASH program memory (for ease of development), data EEPROM, and ample I/O.
This application note discusses the implementation of X-10 on a PICmicro MCU to create a home controller that can both send and receive X-10 signals. The reader may implement the home controller as is, or adapt the circuits and firmware to other applications.
A library of X-10 functions is provided to facilitate development of other X-10 applications using PICmicro MCUs (see Appendix E). Operating instructions for the home controller are included in Appendix B.
Buy Commercial X10 Products:
Oct 28, 2013 Home Automations
- 5.7″ Touchscreen Control Panel
- Dual Joystick Control and Adjustable Speed Knobs
- Network can accept up to 250 separate cameras or other controlled devices
The CPC-2000 also includes a CN-RJ11 to convert 4-wire Cresnet cable to a modular Cresnet cable.
Crestron CPC-2000 Pro Video Camera Controller
Oct 16, 2013 ELV Systems
UC40902M, Vega actuator
UCSW56572W, Momentary Contact Switch
UC40822K, CRM4 Window Controller with Inputs
You can control the Vegas with just the momentary contact switch, but you would have to press and hold the switch to actuate the motor. Fully opening or closing the actuator could take up to thirty seconds. If you want don’t want to stand there with your finger on the switch, then you must use the window controller. The controller accepts the momentary signal from the switch and applies power through four outputs to drive the motors. In addition, if environmental sensors are used, such as a rain or wind detector, the window controller will accepts these signals to automatically close the windows.
Original post: Home Controls
Oct 9, 2013 Energy Talks
Trezium is not a new element; it’s a registered trademark for a system to drive higher efficiency electric motor energy output. It could be an important motor market choice through the management, implementation and use of the electron flow. The mover for the technology is Thor Power. The idea is to increase motor efficiency at the shaft output by controlling the electrical current going in. Basically the system starts by correcting the power factor, converting from single-phase 120v or 240v (in a range from 100v to 264v) up to three phase and administering flow to meet demand for the desired speed. It’s a technology that’s available now.
AC electric motors are notoriously efficient now compared to internal combustion engines. Many can get to 90%, but that’s a simplistic view. What matters is the mechanical watt output from the shaft that’s applied to the load to the watt level coming in off the line. From an efficiency standpoint, one hopes to have an electric motor sized just at or above the load. That works in perfect circumstances, which don’t usually exist, so motors are always oversized to some extent. Thor Power believes they can solve that. As electricity gets more expensive, they will be correct where prices climb most.
The Thor Power motor on display is diminutive, 7 or so inches (about 180mm) long by 2.4 inch (62mm) across outputting 2.68 hp (2.0kw) at 30,000 rpm with a variable range from 3000 to 30,000. Combining the controller and the motor sets up Thor to claim the patent pending ‘TREZIUM’ electric motor system will cause a shift in product design. It cuts electricity loss by up to one-half, is half the weight and delivers twice the power of current systems up to 5kw/6.7 hp.
Maxed out at 6.7 hp covers a lot of territory. Thor is pointing out that at 6.7 hp they can cover 80% of the AC motor applications. The main difference is substituting the electromagnets and carbon brushes seen in more conventional designs with using powerful permanent magnets. The windings are simplified as well using multi strand coil windings. The Thor Trezium system also takes three-phase design to markets without three-phase access.
Thor uses iron-neodymium-boron magnets to form the 2-pole rotor, three-phase slotless permanent magnet synchronous motor. Called the ‘Grismir,’ the motor is a synchronous, sinewave, permanent magnet motor that is also brushless, slotless and sensorless. It provides the benefits of variable speed, forward/reverse, high power-to-weight ratio, and unparalleled efficiency. The motor is classified as a brushless AC motor and shares the positive characteristics of a brushless DC motors.
But the big gains have to be coming from the drive controller. As the electric vehicle market watchers know, the controllers of great interest. The time getting used up is from the blending of three engineering disciplines, electronics, electrical and mechanical. There doesn’t seem to be enough engineers in the combined field right now. That has opened the door to innovators like Thor to kick off a market.
The Thor controller, with a twist of marketing ‘engineering’ naming the system Trezium shows their process to take incoming line AC, correct the power factor, convert the power to DC, boost the voltage, then convert back to AC. It allows blending the DC voltage boosting efficiency advantage with the three-phase AC motor advantage. In itself, this isn’t really hard to do. What makes Thor different is the use of insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) instead of the more common metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFET). IGBTs are improving fast with a sixth generation expected in the market soon. Not that the MOSFET market is standing around, the competition here is getting to be quite advantageous.
Thor also adds a microchip system for power oversight with integrated drivers, short circuit protection and over temperature protection. Using an application specific integrated circuit chip, the Thor design is the basis for a sensorless field oriented control of the motor. The ICC provides open-loop startup of the motor to approximately 3,000rpm then using a controlled speed ramp up to design speed. Once past the minimum speed, the field oriented controller algorithm adjusts the drive to the motor in order to optimize the power output. Speed is then regulated with a closed loop speed control algorithm that keeps the speed nearly constant from no-load to full-load.
Another dedicated microcontroller chip supervises the system by monitoring input voltage, the DC bus voltage, fault registers in the other chips, output power levels, temperatures. The system is smart and flexible enough to recover power when the motor slows down. Complicated for sure, but two current transitions, the switching up to three phase and the “once in, all in” opportunity that comes with using integrated circuits really pushes the working efficiency up.
One matter left unanswered is applying the Thor technology to the most common motors – the ones running at 1850 rpm commonly seen in fans and a huge array of smaller devices. Thor offers the controller and motors separately, but where the low speed examples are isn’t addressed. One doesn’t get the feeling a reduction gear arrangement isn’t going to be cost efficient.
But is it cost efficient? Well, in uses where a motor would run at variable load 24/7 you better call Thor. Electric rates won’t need to be all that high to get a payoff. If your job is infrequent, easy start, light duty you can wait. But it’s a certainty that motor controllers are coming to your home, business and that electric vehicle. The EV will have to have one, and every electric motor can benefit from one. Thor might be right; a country could do more than half again more work for the same power generated.
Original post: New Energy and Fuel