Any products that can output an RS-232 serial string can utilize UPB devices. In fact there is a software tool, the “UPB Command Wizard”, to help write UPB serial strings (i.e. drivers).
Smart Home Interview - Simply Automated
Millard Schewe | Simply Automated
Simply Automated, an industry leader in home lighting control and home automation, offers the broadest, most cost effective, flexible assortment of products utilizing powerful ultra-reliable UPB technology.
From simple anywhere 3-way lighting controls to UPB dimmer controller switch, to UPB scene controller switch, 3-speed fan controller switch, UPB lamp module, UPB appliance module, UPB fixture dimmer module, UPB fixture relay module, UPB wall receptacle, UPB low voltage I/O module, UPB tabletop pedestal, scheduler-timer and revolutionary UPB universal controller dimmer base that can take up to 13 different faceplates in 6 color combinations -- an industry exclusive.
No new wiring is required making Simply Automated products ideal for both new and retrofit construction. Simply Automated products offer an optimum feature, function, price tradeoff versus alternative X10, Insteon, Z-Wave or ZigBee from Lutron RadioRA, Lutron RadioRA2, Vantage, Centralite and Leviton Vizia.
Notable suppliers of UPB lighting control such as Leviton (Home Automation, Inc.) and PCS (Pulseworx) buy and resell OEM branded products manufactured by Simply Automated. Simply stated, you need look no further than Simply Automated, the industry leader in lighting control and automation solutions in the residential marketplace.
Which technologies do your products use to communicate with each other and how does it work?
UPB technology provides an inexpensive and reliable solution for residential and commercial powerline communications applications. While other powerline communication technologies exist, none compare to UPB in cost per node, functionality and reliability.
Highly Reliable -- The UPB method of communication is 100 ~ 1000 times more reliable than current X-10 technology and 10 ~100 times more reliable than CEBUS or LONWORKS powerline technologies. UPB is 99.9% reliable versus 70%-80% reliability of X-10.*
UPB transmits farther (over a mile), is less susceptible to powerline noise and capacitive attenuation (signal reduction) than other technologies for three reasons:
Pulse Position Modulation is a highly reliable time based method of sending bits; it narrows the possibility of power line noise affecting communication, unlike X-10 and other carrier modulation technologies.
UPB pulses on the power line are approximately 40 volts; more than five times greater than the 5 to 7 volt signals of X-10.
UPB transmits at low (4 to 40 kHz) frequencies, carrying much more power than higher frequency technologies like X-10 that transmits at 120 kHz.
When put on one phase of a home’s two phase power line, the signals are so strong they go out to the street side transformer and are induced on the opposite phase, returning back to the home. Since UPB transmits at a low frequency, it does not affect other powerline devices or appliance/loads.
No New Wires – UPB dimmer switches are installed exactly like regular dimmer switches. They connect to a home’s standard wiring. Since no new or special wiring is required, they work great in retrofit applications too.
Affordable -- UPB dimmer switches can be as affordable as high end non-communicating dimmers. When comparing costs of home upgrades (theater TV, remodeled bath or kitchen) adding lighting automation and control to a room or whole home provides a surprising improvement in quality of life at a comparably low cost.
Simplicity – Adding lighting control can be as simple as plugging in dimming modules or replacing dimming switches Pre-Configured Series. Unlike radio frequency (RF) wireless switches, where reliability is proportional to the number of ‘mess-networked’ switches installed, UPB provides reliability and performance anywhere in the home without the need of repeaters.
Peer to Peer – No host computer or central controller is necessary for single, point-to-point control or group (lighting scene) control. UPB is a no-host, peer to peer network. Interruption of power, or single point controller/repeater failure, will not affect a stand-alone UPB network.
Two Way Communications – Hardware, software and protocol design allows for two-way communication in all products. Status can be confirmed with polling or automatically transmitted upon local/manual load changes.
House Separation – Neighbors with UPB will not control each other’s lights. The UPB addressing scheme allows for 250 systems (houses) on each transformer and 250 devices on each system. It incorporates over 64,000 total addresses compared to 256 for conventional X-10.
Interaction – UPB communication can be used in the presence of all X-10, CEBus, HomePlug or LonWorks compatible equipment with no interference between either. The UPB technology uses a completely different frequency range than any of the wide-band, narrow-band, or spread spectrum technologies. The physical method of UPB communication is entirely different than the modulation-demodulation techniques of all X-10, CEBus, or LonWorks.
Higher Speed – 20 to 40 times the speed of X- 10 in terms of data transmitted. This is equivalent to over ten full commands per second. The average latency of command to action is less than 0.1 second.
Do your products communicate with products from other manufacturers using a standard protocol? (which one)
The UPB powerline interface accepts standard ASCII serial strings using the common and reliable RS-232 serial standard. Any products that can output an RS-232 serial string can utilize UPB devices. In fact there is a software tool, the “UPB Command Wizard”, to help write UPB serial strings (i.e. drivers). It can be downloaded for free at http://www.simply-automated.com/tech_specs/ . Given that UPB device control uses common ASCII / RS-232 standards there are dozens of software, security panel, remote (handheld or smart-phone) and whole-home controller manufacturers providing standard products that interface and control UPB Devices. Some of the more popular manufacturer’s include: Crestron, Elk Products – M1, Leviton - Omni Panels, Home Automated Living, HomeSeer, Home Control Assistant, RTI and Web Mountain – RUC01. There are even products that will convert, or bridge, old or limited technology, like x10 or Z-wave to UPB.
What types of devices do you manufacture or provide?
- Lighting and Automation Devices
Can your products be installed by the homeowner or are special skills and tools required?
Yes, Simply Automated has many solutions that can be plugged in to a standard duplex receptacle. Wired installations should be done by a qualified Electrician; or a home owner, with technical skills, who can install a dimmer wall-switch.
In a short paragraph or 2 please describe how your products fit into a Smart Home scenario and how they are set up to work together to perform automated tasks.
Simply Automated solutions fit the simplest applications (2) switches to the most complex (250 devices, 250 lighting scenes and 250 network addresses). The Anywhere Virtual 3-Way Switch Kit and accessory modules provide 3-way (or more way) lighting control anywhere on a property’s electrical service, without the use of new wiring, batteries or line of site RF communication restrictions. Especially good for electricians and landscape lighting designers, the Anywhere Virtual Lighting Controls and Scheduler-Timer require no software or computer programming. Just use the switch’s rocker or module’s button to select the channel. They work straight out of the box and will communicate up to a mile on a standard #14 AWG circuit.
Conversely, Simply Automated’s Custom Series offer the flexibility needed to automate the largest of homes (up to 20,000 Sq. Ft.). They are set up with a free, PC based, software package called UPStart. And, when using a UPB computer interface module connected to the PC, each switch can be configured with UPStart to respond to as many as 16 lighting scenes, each with variable fade/dim rates from less than 0.5 seconds to 4 hours. The UPStart Wizard makes getting started easy with a step by step process to set custom dim levels, control LED and fluorescent fixtures, even opening garage doors or automatically turning off lights (countdown timer). Compatible with dozens of whole home controllers, including Crestron, Elan and Savant, Simply Automated solutions have been used reliably in tens of thousands of custom homes for over 10 years.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of HomeToys
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