What is LonWorks? It is a technology developed by Echelon Corporation that controls the networks in a system. It stands for local operating network where devices in a network are connected together.
The media of networking can be radio frequency, twisted pair, power line, coaxial cable or even fibre optics.
If you have many different types of air conditioners installed in a building, you may want to connect all of them together where you can monitor, control and troubleshoot each of them.
For example, you may have chillers in some floors of the building, packaged air conditioners in another part of the building, rooftop units, room air conditioners, heater or individual heat pump units installed throughout the building.
Implementing LonWorks will enable you to monitor each individual unit from a central control system. In order for this to be done, you will have to design each equipment with this networking protocol. The other alternative is to purchase them from manufacturers who have built-in this technology and integrate them.
One way to identify it is to look for the LonMark certification in the equipment. This certification is a guarantee that it has been approved by LonMark Association and this particular equipment can inter-operate with other LonMark devices in the network.
The HVAC application in commercial building is only one of the many applications that you can do. If you have the budget, you can even network all the devices in your home to do home automation.
Security system, lighting system, utility smart metering are some of the projects that have been implemented in many parts of the world. Today, there are over 90 million devices that have been installed using this technology. More than 950 products have been certified and installed in over 500,000 buildings globally.
When it first started, an embedded micro controller known as Neuron chip developed by Echelon had to be integrated into the design of the electronic controls. This chip does most of the functions needed in implementing the LonTalk protocol. It consists of a EEPROM where the data can be written or erased, RAM, ROM, EPROM, media access CPU, protocol firmware, network CPU, application CPU and I/O pins.
However, since 1999, the protocol has been released and other general purpose processors can also implement LonTalk.
Electronic Controls Project
If you are into electronics and networking design, this is a good project to go into as this technology has been proven to work effectively and many manufacturers have jumped into the bandwagon to ensure that their products are able to interoperate with other LonWorks devices.
All networking design must comply to the standard communication protocol.
Products that have been tested and approved to conform to the above standards where applicable will be eligible to carry the LonMark logo. Join the LonMark International membership if you are keen to expand the use of your devices globally.
Find out how you can certify your products at LonMark official website.