- Casa Smed: Calgary smart home ditches DALI for Bluetooth
- Introducing Xicato's full Designer Series portfolio
- Control system reliability and distributed intelligence
- XCT now supports XIM Designer, Beauty, and 3000LM Artist
- How do you program an Umbrella?
Casa Smed Smart Home Ditches DALI for Bluetooth
How do you plan, provision, program and verify the control of 220 networked lights from scratch in 2 days, all while solving thermal issues and training a new controls integrator? This was Xicato’s challenge in our first residential project using XIM Gen4.
In late 2016, Mogens Smed, CEO and Director of DIRTT Environmental Solutions, contacted his friend Rolf Hurbin, CEO of Senso Lighting, to help him in the design and implementation of “Casa Smed”, his new rustic-modern home south of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.
Choosing the Lights
Casa Smed incorporates prefabricated building modules from DIRTT, including exposed wood plank and beam construction, with wood floors, a large stone fireplace, wood and leather furniture, a large marble counter, and multiple works of art on the walls. Senso Lighting created custom Latona 5 recessed downlight fixtures to fit into the wood plank ceiling. To properly display these rich, varied materials, they chose Xicato Artist Series in 3000K, which provides halogen-quality lighting with TM30 fidelity index (Rf) of 96 and gamut index (Rg) of 103.
Designing Smart Home Controls
DIRTT is heavily focused on innovation in the construction of high quality buildings, and Mogens wanted his new home to incorporate the latest Smart Home technology. Rolf recommended Xicato’s XIM Gen4, which not only integrates a deep, smooth dimming driver, but offers the choice of DALI or Bluetooth control.
But Mogens wanted to control everything. So he hired Greg Fukushima of GiCor Home Technologies, who worked with electrical contractor James Robinson of Wave Technical to design and implement a sophisticated, multi-vendor controls system. Greg designed a complex, multi-vendor system that included:
- Amazon Alexa™ voice controls
- Control4 smart home central controllers
- Lutron RadioRA2 bedside controls for audio, window shades, and ceiling fans
- Zigbee motion sensors in the bathroom to control bathroom lighting
- Adeo DALI controllers
Alexa, Zigbee, and RadioRA all talked to the Control4 system, which issued the appropriate commands to the various devices. The original concept was to use DALI to control the lighting. But there were problems.
Problems with DALI
Greg and James had a devil of a time getting the DALI system to work. Was it the cables? Was it a DALI addressing issue? Was it power? Was it the Adeo controller? Was it the Control4 programming? In all, they spent 2 months trying to debug the system. No success. Much frustration.
So Dylan Halliday, Controls Engineer at Senso, contacted Xicato for help.
Diagnoses and Cures
The first day on the site, Dylan and Xicato fired up the Xicato Control Panel application and noticed a number of issues. Some of the XIM had not finished updating, and were still running old firmware. So the first thing they did was to perform an over-the-air (OTA) update on several of the modules. This was not affecting the DALI system, but it did enable full Bluetooth functionality, including operational data gathering and diagnostics.
Still on Day One, the team began a new plan, using the Xicato Bluetooth control system.
First, they assigned Device IDs and Device Names according to room. With a capacity of 32,767 nodes per network, there was plenty of address space to assign a group of 100 Device IDs to each room… 700-799 for the theater, 200-299 for the kitchen, etc.
Then, they arranged the XIM into nested Groups. Each XIM can be a member of up to 16 groups, and these groups can entirely independent of each other, or they can be nested, or they can overlap. For Casa Smed, the team created one group containing all lights, a group for each floor, a groups for each room on each floor, and groups for areas within each room. In all, each XIM was a member of 3 or 4 groups.
The team managed to diagnose, update, provision, and program most of the lights on Day One.
After naming and grouping the last few lights, the next thing they noticed was that the fixtures were overheating. XIM has a built-in fold-back mechanism that causes the lights to dim when they get too hot, and to shut down if they continue to be too hot after dimming. The downlights were installed in a confined plenum space with very little airflow. Without airflow, the fixtures couldn’t perform at full output.
Fortunately, XIM periodically broadcasts its temperature and intensity levels over Bluetooth. This data can be monitored using the Xicato Control Panel and the modules reprogrammed to lower maximum intensity levels. The installers watched the temperature rise to fold-back temperature, and estimated what maximum intensity would provide margin for hot days. In the end, they reprogrammed most of the 220 lights to limit intensity to between 60% and 85%. Thermal problem solved.
At this point, it became clear that the DALI system was misbehaving. Not only was it still unable to control about 30% of the lighting, but it was competing with Bluetooth for control… it wouldn’t shut up!
Rather than spend a lot of time diagnosing DALI – and much to the chagrin (but eventual satisfaction) of Greg, who had spent many thousands of dollars on DALI control equipment for the job – the team ultimately decided to shut it down.
In lieu of DALI, the team decided that the best way to interface with the Control4 system was through Xicato Intelligent Gateways (XIG). XIG is an inexpensive, standalone, programmable computing device with Ethernet and WiFi interfaces on the LAN side, and a Bluetooth interface to XIM and other control devices such as sensors, switches, and LED controllers/drivers. Xicato publishes two types of application programming interface (API) to the XIG, including a set of Python code libraries, as well as a simple HTTP interface that is used by the web server embedded in the device. After a quick review of the HTTP interface, Greg and James were confident they could develop a driver for the Control4 system that could control the XIM modules through the XIG, including on/off/dim and scene commands by individual light or lighting group.
Initially, the team installed two XIG in the house, one on each floor. But some of the lights in the very back bedroom could not reliably receive transmissions from the upstairs gateway, so it was decided to add an additional XIG to that wing of the house. Between the 3 gateways, all 220 lights in the house could be controlled.
It’s important to note much of the house was built with pre-fabricated walls/interiors from DIRTT, some of which have a metal frame along with a thin wood panel that is either textured with paint or fabric. It wasn’t clear how much the metal walls changed the RF dynamics in the space, but in the end 3 gateways covered 220 fixtures on 2 floors and about 3000 square feet (300 square meters).
Both Greg and James were very impressed by how quickly Xicato was able to set up the lighting control, as well as by how feature rich and responsive the system proved to be. Greg noticed right away that the Bluetooth system response was much faster than DALI. He was skeptical on the first day, but by day 2 he was a believer. In fact, he was considering the idea of selling Control4 drivers for future such installations throughout North America, and will definitely recommend Xicato Bluetooth for future projects.
James Robinson was effusive. “Thank you for all the great work and support with programming the lights at the Smed residence. In 2 days you programmed the lights via Bluetooth, after we had spent two months trying unsuccessfully to get the fixtures working using Dali and Control4. Plus, you programmed all the fixtures to a safe temperature! (this was my biggest concern).”
Dylan Halliday at Senso agreed. "The Xicato system is so fast and easy to set up, it gives lighting manufacturers the ability to offer commissioning services to their customers."
For more information, see the links below:
Xicato Releases a Full Portfolio of Designer Series Products
A Better Balance between Quality and Efficacy
Xicato is pleased to announce the immediate availability of Designer Series in a full portfolio of color temperatures (CCT) and lumen output levels up to 4500LM. For the first time, the Designer Series is now available in 3500K and 4000K CCT, and in the Xicato Intelligent Module (XIM).
Designer Series creates an outstanding lit effect, with a full color pallet including CRI Ra greater than 90, R9 greater than 50, and high R values across all 15 swatches. Its light quality is even better represented by its TM30 numbers: color fidelity (Rf) of at least 88, and color gamut (Rg) of at least 101. The high color gamut score, in particular, means rich, saturated colors.
Designer Series efficacy is also impressive, with up to 117 lumens/watt at standard drive current and up to 150 LPW when under-driven.
Of course, Designer Series shares the many other valuable attributes of Xicato products, including:
- Initial color consistency within 1x2 SDCM
- 70% lumen maintenance warranted for 5 years on XTM, and 7 years or 50,000 hours on XIM
- Color maintenance within 3 ∆u’v’ warranted for 5 years on XTM, and 7 years or 50,000 hours on XIM
- B0/F0 warranty means NO failures of either lumen or color maintenance during warranty period
- XIM dimming performance – smooth, deep, IEEE 1789 compliant dimming to 0.1% and to “off”
- XIM warranty includes the electronics!.. 7 years or verifiable 50,000 hours on both driver and Bluetooth transceiver (when installed)
XTM Designer Series is available today with 2 week lead time in 19mm LES, 2700K, 3000K, 3500K and 4000K CCT, and in 1300LM, 2000LM, 3000LM and 4500LM output. XIM Designer Series is available in the same LES, CCT and lumen output options up to 3000LM.
Designer Series Color Rendering
Color Fidelity (Rf) 89
Color Gamut (Rg) 101
Typical CIE Color Rendering
Designer Series Lumen and Efficacy Performance
XCT now supports XIM Designer, Beauty, and Artist 3000LM
Xicato has updated the XCT Admin Panel software to support the recent releases of the XIM in 3000LM Artist and Vibrant Series V95, as well as XIM Designer Series and Beauty Series. Contact your local Xicato Representative or Xicato Authorized Distributor if you are not already on the list to download this important update.
The Xicato Configuration Tool serves several important functions:
1. It allows luminaire manufacturers to limit the maximum output (current) of XIM LED modules. This might be necessary to prevent overheating of an XIM in a small luminaire, or to fit the thermal envelope of a specific application.
2. It allows the manufacturer to pre-configure many of the behaviors of the XIM so that commissioning is faster and easier.
3. It allows the manufacturer to digitally brand their luminaires - to program into the XIM such things as the manufacturer's company name, the luminaire model number and serial number, contact information, etc.
Check out the Xicato website for more information.
Xicato Intelligent Gateway (XIG) acquires more features
In a minor upgrade, the XIG can now collect more operational data from XIM nodes -- such as temperature and intensity histograms and configuration data -- and present them instantly to remote users through an upgraded web browser interface. By extension, this means that this capability is available to those 3rd parties who are communicating with tge XIG using its open HTTP interface.
Contact Xicato for more details.
How do you program an Umbrella?
Xicato's vision for lighting control is for automated, "hands-off", adaptive control based on any number of conditions -- time of day, day of week, time of year, occupancy, ambient light level, etc. This capability is already built into the XIM modules, and is programmable using the Xicato Control Panel.
We received a lot of interest in the "Under the Umbrella" article in our last newsletter, and thought we would use it to show some of the more powerful capabilities of the State Machine that can be programmed by Control Panel into our XIM modules.
Part of the "Vivid Sydney: Light, Music & Ideas" festival, Under My Umbrella was created by the Beam Collective, with help from Webster Chu of Xicato. We thought you might want to see how this magical effect was created...
Step One: Describe what you want
Describe the behavior you are looking for. In this case, the goal looked something like this:
During show hours (17:00:00 - 23:15:00)...
When nobody is under the umbrellas, create the impression that the umbrella up and down lights are flashing randomly.
When visitors walk underneath the canopy of umbrellas, trigger a more organized, sequential pattern of light.
When you don't see anyone for a period of time, go to a fixed lighting level before timing out again to pseudo-random flashing.
Programming an Umbrella Group
Below is the sensor setup for one group of umbrella lights. The numbers on the left refer to State numbers, in this case, 0 to 9.
Line 1 tells the lights to go from State 0 to State 1 based on the T0 schedule (shown beside (1) in the lower left)... in this case, T0 is the event hours. Initially, they go to a "Direct Intensity" of 100%, with a fade time of 0.5 seconds, after no delay. Note that in this state machine, there are no delays, but that this is a configurable parameter which is used with other groups to give the impression of randomness to the reactions of the umbrellas. Also notice in line 2 that the state does not last long.
Line 2 says to go from State 1 to State 2 after "StateTime" of only 0.7 seconds, at which time the lights dim to 0.1% over 0.3 seconds with no delay. Then, line 3 says to go back to State 2 after 0.7 seconds, etc. This is is a little loop (indicated by the red circle marking), with the pattern repeating every 1.4 seconds.
What breaks this loop is line 4 -- a Motion event on motion sensor M0 (see (3) in red, below), which has a Device ID of 1987. When the motion sensor sees someone, the lighting group jumps to a new cycle between State 3 and State 4, which as you can see by the longer StateTimes, is slower (2 x 3 = 6 seconds).
Line 7 says that if motion sensor 0, motion sensor element 0 (M0.0) does not see anyone for 6 seconds (M0.0 Time > 6.0) the lights go to 0.5% over 3 seconds. From State 5, if M0.0 sees motion, it jumps into yet another loop (defined by lines 8 and 9), looping between states 6 and 7 that is slightly quicker even than loop 1-2.
After no motion for 5 seconds, the group goes to State 8, fading for 0.3 seconds to 1% intensity.
Line 12 tells the group to go to 1% over 0.5 seconds and State 0 from State 3-8 if no motion is seen for 20 seconds.
Line 13 tells the lights to do whatever a Light Controller says (LC Evt), and call that State 9. But only for 2 seconds, as instructed by Line 14.
Line 15 tells the lights that, regardless of what State they are currently in, they should go to State 0 at 0% intensity when the T0 time schedule is Inactive, and the next line tells them to ignore Lighting Control commands (i.e. stay in State 0 at 0%).
Notice something very important about States: they are not the same as scenes! For example, State 0 here is defined at 1% or 0%, depending on the state from which the State 0 was entered. Also notice that there must always be a way both in and out of every state. If you forget, Control Panel will highlight the field in yellow to remind you. As opposed to Scenes, States can only be entered and exited under specific conditions, and the state defines not just a setting, but constrains behavior to a certain path.
But this is about as complex as it gets.
Using the Control Panel "State Machine" you can create simple occupancy/vacancy sensor behavior. Or you can tune a room to maintain a specific light level by tracking a lux sensor and providing compensating illumination (i.e. daylight compensation). Or you can create simple, repeating scene patterns. Or you can simply tell a light to listen to a switch for on/off/dim, or to a mobile app. There is really no practical limit.
Contact your Xicato sales representative or authorized distributor for more information, or to receive a demonstration of the Xicato control system. Better yet, order an XIM Gen4 Evaluation Kit (see below) and try it for yourself!
Xicato Galleries Continues to Grow, with Beautiful New XIM Gen4 Luminaires and Installations
Get inspired by the Xicato Galleries! This is already the most frequently visited area of our website, but now you have even more incentive, as we have added luminaires and installations that incorporate our new XIM Gen4 and other Xicato smart lighting products.
The Applications Gallery includes photos, descriptions, and credits to the designers and manufacturers.
The Luminaires Gallery includes a listing includes luminaire descriptions, photos and links to the manufacturers' websites.
Both galleries are expanding rapidly, so keep an eye on them!
What can YOU do with Xicato XIM Gen4?
More and more lighting designers, specifiers, and OEMs are getting familiar with wireless Bluetooth control, sensors and beacons using our XIM Gen4 Evaluation Kit. The XIM Gen4 development kit comes with two XIM Gen4 modules on heat sinks, with optics and power supply, a USB BLE dongle, and the Xicato Intelligent Sensor (XIS), which is a Bluetooth integrated sensor with passive infrared (PIR) motion sensing, lux sensing, temperature, humidity, and an accelerometer.
Making full use of the kit requires the Xicato Control Panel software for Windows, and the XIMtroller iOS software, both of which are free from Xicato and the Apple iTunes App Store. Click below for more information.