A customer from Switzerland used the Unipi custom development programme to obtain a prototype Neuron controller with EnOcean functionality.
The modular design of Unipi controllers offers customers with a wide array of hardware customization options. Circuit boards used in Unipi controllers have a universal design and can be freely combined or swapped if a new combination of I/Os is desired. This means customers that did not find a suitable model among standard Neuron or Axon models have the option to order development of a prototype featuring a customized architecture (a new combination of I/Os, additional serial interfaces etc.) or additional functionality (DALI, EnOcean, M-Bus, LTE etc.)
LAHOCO, a Swiss-based company focused on the development and installation of smart home and BMS systems, is among the companies that chose the Unipi custom HW development programme. The main product of the company is Lahoco software based on open protocols and designed to integrate a wide range of smart home automation components (lighting, HVAC, blinds, shutters etc.) into a single user interface.
Originally, the company utilized PLCs from a different vendor as an HW solution. However, as the development progressed, a need for a controller featuring EnOcean wireless standard arose. The company thus approached Unipi.technology with a requirement for a prototype controller that would not only feature EnOcean functionality but would also support the M-Bus industrial bus used primarily to collect data from various metering devices.
Upon examining the requirements the Unipi development team decided to use an Unipi Neuron as a basis for the prototype. Neuron controllers are based on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B computer which is provided with an Unipi-developed HAT module that features a free hardware slot ready for various additional technologies. This HAT was then used for a quick and cheap implementation of the EnOcean module. A direct implementation of the M-Bus was also considered this solution would however significantly increase the development cost and prolong the whole development. To come up with a solution as profitable for the customer as possible, a decision was made to solve the M-Bus compatibility with external M-Bus/RS485 converter that converts M-Bus data for RS485 serial interface - a default feature of all Neuron controllers.
In its final form, the prototype was based on Unipi Neuron S103, featuring not only the EnOcean module but also a removable antenna. Per LAHOCO’s request, the controller was also coloured with RAL 1016 contrast colour and branded with LAHOCO’s logo and custom model designation. The resulting product was named S103-EnOcean and is currently in a prototype stage.
A software openness of Unipi controllers based on open-source Linux OS was used during the development. That gives the customer an option to choose from a variety of supported software platforms, not limiting the choice to a single proprietary solution. Aside from the officially supported Mervis control software (included in the package of all Unipi controllers) the customer can also opt for both commercial and open-source solutions, or can use the open-source EVOK application programming interface (API) to seamlessly integrate Unipi hardware into already existing solutions, or to combine Unipi controllers with a custom code.
Due to all the above-mentioned advantages of Unipi controllers’ modularity, the whole prototype development took only two months from the initial requirement to delivery of the prototype.
If you are interested in obtaining a custom-developed Unipi controller as well, get in touch with us! Our development team will surely find a way to make your idea real. Alternatively, you can also visit the OEM programme webpage where you will find a step-by-step OEM manual and all necessary information about the whole process.