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'LON and CAN'
1999\08\04@213442 by l.allen

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Anybody using the LON these days?
I gave up attempting to comply with the rules and expenses associated
being a LON developer, but now am considering applications similar in
principle to the LON.
The CAN bus looks attractive, what pitfalls await the hapless
developer, will I get screwed blind by some accountant, lawyer,
vampire (previous two occupations rolled into one) wanting their
royalties and requiring expensive proprietary tools?

Thx in Adv


_____________________________

Lance Allen
Technical Officer
Uni of Auckland
Psych Dept
New Zealand
_____________________________

1999\08\04@222511 by Bob Drzyzgula

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On Thu, Aug 05, 1999 at 01:33:44PM +1200, Lance Allen wrote:
> Anybody using the LON these days?
> I gave up attempting to comply with the rules and expenses associated
> being a LON developer, but now am considering applications similar in
> principle to the LON.
> The CAN bus looks attractive, what pitfalls await the hapless
> developer, will I get screwed blind by some accountant, lawyer,
> vampire (previous two occupations rolled into one) wanting their
> royalties and requiring expensive proprietary tools?

EDN just ran a story about "Home Networking" protocols,
which -- since they were being marketed in that direction --
included some protocols that were traditionally used in
industrial applications, such as LONworks.

LON was seen as being a leading contender in the home
market because of its maturity, but despite the price
and the onerous problem of having to shoehorn a Neuron
into every application. The whole article can be found
at:

http://www.ednmag.com/ednmag/reg/1999/070899/14cs1.htm

or in Acrobat at

http://www.ednmag.com/ednmag/reg/1999/070899/pdfs/14cs1.pdf

The pdf is about 188KB.

After reading the article, I had the overwhelming reaction
that this home networking stuff was in dire need of an
"open source" type solution. This appears to be one
of those situations where there is so much money to be
made in the long run, that the IP-mongers (IP meaning
intellectual property in this case) are going to rip
each other to shreads before they let each other grab
the market share. If there was a good, implementable
design out there, that could be used without having to
dump half your profits into your competitor's pocket,
I could see a lot of small manufacturers and independant
contractors using that instead of the high-priced spread.
I know that I shudder just to think about having to use
something like Lon to control my sprinkler system; I'm
much more likely to hack something togther myself.

But then, I'm not normal, and I probably don't understand
the real issues involved in all this home networking
stuff.

--Bob

--
============================================================
Bob Drzyzgula                             It's not a problem
spam_OUTbobTakeThisOuTspamdrzyzgula.org                until something bad happens
============================================================

1999\08\05@095113 by Barry King

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> > Anybody using the LON these days?

No.  I looked at it seriously too, both for home and commercial use,
but concluded that its 1) too complicated and 2) too proprietary, and
therefore 3) too expensive.  In turn, the critical mass of equipment
which conforms is NOT there.  Nothing like a second source to keep
you honest and keep costs low, LONworks has none.

I, too, have hacked various home control systems, and wished for
some backbone protocol that would be cheap enough that small
companies could build around.  Something as simple and cheap as
X-10, but that worked.

X-10 is so lousy in some applications, that it falls into the
not quite expensive enough catagory.  Is very old tech, and cost
performance is no longer good enough.

I like the fact the LONworks defines several media and how to
interconnect them.  Its important to be able to mix IR, RF, wired and
Powerline, because most of us can't afford to start over.

There is a newsgroup for home control, comp.embedded.home or some
such.  Anybody here follow it?  Any consensus on an emerging
standard?

> The CAN bus looks attractive, what pitfalls await the hapless
> > developer, will I get screwed blind by some accountant, lawyer,
> > vampire (previous two occupations rolled into one) wanting their
> > royalties and requiring expensive proprietary tools?

I *thought* CAN bus was an open standard, attempting to be the
automobile internal LAN.  (So the door lock computer can chat with
the left rear tire computer, ad nauseum.)  Can anyone confirm or
deny that its open / liscense free?

I'll bet there's plenty of CAN expertise on forums about Motorola
micros, since Motorola was an early adopter / developer of CAN, and
their high end microcontrollers have built-in CAN bus peripherals.

>
> EDN just ran a story about "Home Networking" protocols,
> which -- since they were being marketed in that direction --
> included some protocols that were traditionally used in
> industrial applications, such as LONworks.

Well put.

> After reading the article, I had the overwhelming reaction
> that this home networking stuff was in dire need of an
> "open source" type solution.

Yes!  My reaction too.  I'll bet there is an emerging standard
amongst home-control hackers.  I'm betting on RS-485 half duplex
or its analog (you should pardon the expression) on powerline
carrier.  But maybe since 10baseT is getting so cheap... Nah. ?

I agree with Bob that if a good system was promoted using the
"open source" (and "open schematic"? for the hardware) model, it
might take off.  But early fragmentation kills these things, so
that's why I want to know what others are doing right now.

Its time to go hit the 'net newsgroups and the web sites for the
doorbell, alarm, high end stereo, and automatic sprinkler
manufacturers.  Many of these guys are small, and in reality I think
they will drive the market for real home control that can be cheap,
extendable, and reliable.

Easy for me to say, I have babies at home.  One hobby at a time :)

------------
Barry King, KA1NLH
Engineering Manager
NRG Systems "Measuring the Wind's Energy"
Hinesburg, Vermont, USA
http://www.nrgsystems.com

1999\08\05@182611 by Eric Smith

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Lance Allen <.....l.allenKILLspamspam@spam@AUCKLAND.AC.NZ> wrote:
> Anybody using the LON these days?

I don't know a whole lot about it, but Motorola is exiting the business
of manufacturing and selling the Neuron chips.  That doesn't exactly
give me a warm fuzzy feeling about it.

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