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Image Home Automation with the European Home System (EHS)

A modem allowing information exchange between domestic appliances over mains cabling and a software component for small microcontrollers, makes a reality a cost effective and flexible home automation system.


The European Home System (EHS) is a home automation network designed to interconnect devices in the home such as heating, energy management, lighting and security equipment. Typically, various appliances, utility controls, telephone interfaces and TV displays exchange data through the powerline. The silicon component developed in this project, the ST7537 modem (for high volume consumer markets), not only allows appliances to transmit data over domestic powerlines without the need of extra cabling but also allows appliances to be connected to the "network" simply by plugging them into the nearest wall socket. The latest development is a software library, HS-Lib, which can be used by small microcontrollers and provides a full, optimised and easy to use implementation of the EHS protocol.

Business perspective

The move towards home automation is increasing, with consumers looking for more 'intelligent' and safer homes. This is delivered by the EHS protocol and the modem chip, already being used in a new family of domestic appliances that are not Image only "smart" in responding to their surroundings, but which also communicate with each other. For example, if a fire sensor is triggered, then a warning is sent over the powerline and picked up by electrically controlled gas valves which cut off the gas supply; simultaneously an alarm system alerts anyone in the house and the telephone interface issues an automatic call to the emergency services. Apart from the obvious saving in installation cost, the virtual network provided by the ST7537 modem chip also makes modification and enhancement very simple, since new devices just 'plug-in'; the release of HS-Lib will aid in the implementation of this technology into a variety of domestic appliances.

Technical perspective

The extremely powerful EHS protocol includes sophisticated network management functions for the automatic configuration of nodes (plug and play) and an object-oriented command language allowing applications to communicate and interoperate. It covers several media such as powerlines, coaxial and twisted pair cables, as well as infrared and radio transmission. HS-Lib is a comprehensive library of communications software, currently available for 8051, ST9 and H8 microcontrollers for two EHS media, powerline and twisted pair 1. The software is capable of operating on monochip versions without external RAM (Random Access Memory) or ROM (Read Only Memory), simplifying design and reducing component costs. EHS is an open technology, so hardware and software can be supplied by different manufacturers and interoperability is ensured, enhancing consumer choice.

Contact Point

Jean-Yves Boivin
EDF Direction du Développement
2, rue Louis Murat
F-75384 Paris
Cedex 08 France

e-mail : (email removed)

Ulrich Fielder
SGS Thomson
Bretonischer Ring 4
D-85630 Grasbrunn bei.München

e-mail (email removed)

Bruno Jean Bart
Trialog 25
rue du Général Foy
F-75008 Paris

e-mail (email removed)

Research Area Technology and Components for Subsystems

Project HS-Components

Related Results MOMENTUM

Keywords home automation systems; interconnect; modems for domestic appliances;

Project Participants
Daimler Benz Research DE
EDF (Electricité de France) FR
EHSA (European Home Systems Association) NL
Landis & Gyr FR
Orphelec FR
Schneider Electric FR
SGS Thomson FR
Thomson Multimedia FR
Trialog FR
University of Bristol UK

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