NEW GIRA HOMESERVER 4

 

GIRA presented new solutions at the „Light+Building 2012”. Some of them seemed to be innovative – bidirectional radio technology, door communication system integrated into wall-mounted panel and iphone. But for me most interesting thing was expansion of the GIRA HomeServer functions with new GIRA HomeServer 4 device and new GIRA Interface. At that time nobody knows how it will work in the future, and exactly in what way it will expand the KNX network possibilities. If you tried to understand news from GIRA, you had to rely on fragmentary information from „Neuheiten L+B” brochures. No, it wasn’t easy.

 

Today GIRA HomeServer 3 was repleaced with the new model. New hardware, new housing in old price, but what is most interesting – new firmware with new functionality. Here is first positive suprise – new HomeServer Expert (version no 4.0.130321) is compatible with previous hardware – HS3. Old GIRA fans do not have to change hardware into new version, at least for now, when newest HomeServer Expert is this above mentioned.

Hardware.

knxblog_gira1

 

At left – GIRA HomeServer 4, at right – GIRA HomeServer

 foto: own

What is the difference between this two versions? GIRA HomeServer 4 has integrated power supply, more powerfull procesor/ram etc (1.2 Ghz / 1GB RAM / 1GB mSATA), smaller dimmension (HS3: 215x88x270, HS4: 225,88×230). New one in my opinion has also better design, but is it really important? Important is performance of both devices, and how they are doing it’s tasks. After few test I think the differences aren’t so big as we expected reading the technical data. Both devices needed similar time to transfer small-sized project, the rebooting last also almost the same time, the temperatures are in both similar, they make no noise and they both work quick, what means there isn’t any annoying delay of reaction after clicking „turn on light” on iphone.

Designation

Comment

HS3

HS4

Project size (16% of memory)

The value of occupied memory from HS expert program

16258 kB

16258 kB

Project transfer time

From the begining of the transfer bar to the end of the transfer bar

24,3 sek

22,4 sek

Project transfer time (with restart)

From the begining of the transfer bar to the three “beeps”

1 min 49 sek

1 min 46 sek

Case temperature

Temperature measured by pyrometer after 30 min of working

~31°C

~31°C

Software

 

Now we are getting at the heart of the matter. After releasing new hardware, GIRA released few weeks ago new firmware.

It’s compatibile with older HS version, so you can download new software also into HS3.0 or probably earlier versions too. What’s new?

Android client for GIRA HomeServer 4

 

I wasn’t waiting for this so much, as some of my customers. Today for KNX absolutly „must have” is Iphone/Ipad app, but tomorrow for sure application for android phones will  be necessary for all reliable Home Management Systems. Because of different hardware types and different display resolutions, this target wasn’t so easy to achive. The application for Iphone and Ipad has fixed resolution ratio, but the application for android should be scalable. You can find this application in Google Play.

 

New templates

KNX instalation is designed for the customer and home requirements. You can visualise some simple functions as turn on/off light, dimmer or shutter, but in previous version of HS-Experte there were not many templates for technical purposes. Often I was using 14-byte text (from template „Date and time”) to display some technical statuses. There were also lacks of other functions. Now in new version there is plenty of templates. Below is list of templates added in HS-experte 4.0:

  •  Dimmer plus
  • Switching with PIN query
  • Switching with block function/Automatic
  • Switching with counter
  • Switching with forced entry
  • Switching plus
  • Window/Door plus
  • Heating plus (setpoint value specification)
  • Heating plus (operating mode switching)
  • Sensor with limit
  • Shutters/Awnings/Roof window
  • PIN
  • Audio volume
  • HS scene
  • Light scene auxiliary unit
  • Sequence plus
  • Blind with slat adjustment
  • Value entry plus
  • Text display plus

There are also new symbols, which are simplifying and making more legible interface for final customer. Aren’t they pretty? 🙂

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 photo : Gira Hs-Experte

 

Filtering functions and counters

This function I was waiting for. In bigger building with plenty of rooms and lights etc, the main problem is monitoring lights which are turned on. In previous version you should enter „Lightning” from „Function range”, and scroll down all lights. This was problem if you have more than 100 circuits. But seeing what actually is turned on, is desirable function. Now you can make some filtration function and from main menu by one click you can enter page on visualisation, where only turned on lights are shown. Moreover, you can prepare counter, which will display on main menu how many light are currently switched on. This funtion improves legibility a lot !

 

New functions on the main menu

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Photo: media.gira.de

 

Counters (mentioned above) arenot the only novelty in the main menu.

New functions are:

  • LED on/off. You can turn on and off LED dot if some event occurs. I’ll probably use it to show information about warnings. The color of LED can be selected.
  • LED Multicoloured. The main different is that LED will get the color from the 1-byte value object. You can make some logic to send status of some events. I think I’ll use it in security systems integrated with KNX. If burglar alarm occurs, the red LED will be displayed in the main menu. If sabotage occurs, the yellow LED will be shown in the main menu. Simple and useful.
  • PIN Protection. By 14-byte object where 4-digit PIN is stored you can authorize access to some submenu or page.
  • Counter. On the main menu specified value can be displayed.

 

Time clocks grouping

Using time clocks are very helpful every day. But what if we are leaving our house for few days? It will be good to deactivate time clocks for the internal lightning, heating etc. But looking for all functions on the visualisation isn’t nice. Now you can activate and deactivate time clocks using communication object. So you can freely group the time cloks and make few buttons on visu to activate and deactivate several time clocks by one click.

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Photo: Quad-Client 4

 Summary

Engineers from Gira have researched the KNX-customers needs. Gira HomeServer 4 is one device, which increases the level of KNX-instalation as much as any other device. In my opinion HomeServer 4 is worth it’s price. Experienced and skilled KNX-integrator will not implement more than 20% of whole HS-functionality, but final customer will be very happy with most popular functions. Nice-looking and easy in operation interface brings good solution for even the most demanding customers.

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