1). A control device (1) preferably for domotic applications, comprising a monitor (3), a motherboard (4), predisposed for overall control of the device, and a plurality of electronic cards (5) provided with communication ports (7) for control of peripheral devices, wherein the monitor (3), the motherboard
(4) and the electronic cards (5) are connected to one another by flexible cables (8), one or more port multipliers (9) being used between the communication ports (7) of the motherboard (4) and the communication ports of the electronic cards (5), predisposed to increase the number of electronic cards (5) connectable to the motherboard (4).
2). The device of claim 1, wherein the communication port (7) of the motherboard (4) and of the electronic cards (5) and the one or more port multipliers (9) interpositioned between the communication ports (7) define a branched structure.
3). The device of claim 2, wherein the monitor (3), the motherboard (4) and the electronic cards (5) are parallel to one another and contained internally of a casing (6).
4). The device of at least one of the preceding claims, wherein the communication ports (7) and the port multipliers (9) of USB type.
5). The device of at least one of the preceding claims, wherein the communication ports (7) and the port multipliers (9) of PCI type.
6). The device of at least one of the preceding claims, wherein the communication ports (7) and the port multipliers (9) of PCI EXPRESS type.
7). The device of at least one of the preceding claims, wherein the communication ports (7) and the port multipliers (9) of AGP type.
8). The device of at least one of the preceding claims, wherein the monitor (3) is a video LCD.
9). The device of at least one of the preceding claims, wherein it comprises a touch screen (2) predisposed to enable commands to be sent relating to at least some device operations.
Description A Control Device for Domotic Applications
The invention relates to a control device for domotic applications, i.e. for domestic automation, communication, security and the like.
Known devices at present used for domotic applications include a control panel, fixed to a wall or portable, to which a motherboard is connected, of a type usually present in computers. The motherboards used for these devices can exhibit slots, or connectors, in which electronic boards can be inserted for special tasks, or they can exhibit components of the boards, specially miniaturised, directly incorporated in the mother board itself, so as to reduce sizes. The components in these applications, however, must be made to measure, which complicates the production line and increases production costs as well as those for maintenance and hardware updating. Furthermore, with devices realised ad hoc, no modularity and adaptability of components is possible. The present of slots, on the other hand, leads to greater sizes and limits possibilities of choice in the number of electronic boards that can be inserted, and therefore the number of peripherals that can be managed. The main aim of the present invention is to resolve the drawbacks present in the prior art by providing a control device for domestic automation which eliminates the above-mentioned drawbacks.
In particular, a principal aim of the present invention is to realise a control device for domotic applications which is not subject to production
complications and to increases in production costs, and which reduces the overall mass of the application while not reducing the number of manageable peripherals; indeed, the invention increases the number of peripheral possibilities. A further aim of the present invention is to realise a device which affords a good degree of system modularity and use of standard components which guarantee the adaptability of the components.
These aims and more besides, which will better emerge from the following description, are attained by a control device for domestic automation, according to what is described and claimed herein. Disclosure of Invention
Further characteristics and advantages will better emerge from the detailed description that follows, of a preferred but not exclusive embodiment of a device for control of domestic automation, according to the present invention. The description will be made with reference to the accompanying figures of the drawings, provided merely by way of non-limiting example, and in which: Figure 1 is an exploded diagram of a preferred embodiment of the control device for domestic automation of the invention; Figure 2 is a schematic realisation of the interconnections between a plurality of peripherals and a motherboard.
With reference to the figures of the drawings, 1 denotes in its entirety a control device for domotic applications.
Figure 1 shows that the control device 1 comprises at least a monitor 3, for example an LCD video screen or plasma screen, or a wall projector. The monitor 3 is connected to a motherboard 4, predisposed for overall control of the device 1, which is similar to the boards normally used in computers and
provided with a CPU, a RAM 5 hard disk controller, video card, audio card and so on.
The control device 1 is further provided with a plurality of electronic cards 5 predisposed for controlling a plurality of peripheral devices, for example electrical domestic appliances, telephones and any other type of device which in general requires any form of command for activation and deactivation of the functioning thereof.
A substantial difference between the cards normally present in computers and the one inserted in the device of the invention consists in the interconnections between cards and the motherboard, i.e. the process used for causing the single electronic cards 5 to communicate with the motherboard 4. In prior art devices electronic cards communicate directly with the motherboard 4, through standard slots or due to incorporation in the motherboard itself. This means that the cards have to be arranged according to configurations which are not especially compact, typically in perpendicular reciprocal positions. In the control device of the present invention, the motherboard 4 and the. electronic cars 5 are provided with communication ports 7 which are interconnected by means of flexible cables 8. This means that the elements composing the device 1 can be arranged rationally, especially parallel to one another, so that the overall depth of the device when assembled is very contained. An advantage connected with this characteristic of the device of the present invention is that the control device 1 can be contained within a casing of an LCD or plasma television device. Advantageously one or more port multipliers 9 are interpositioned between the communication ports 7 of the motherboard 4 and the communication ports 7 of the cards, so that the peripheral devices can be connected to a single port 7 of the motherboard 4 by a port multiplier 9. The port multipliers 9 connect
the cards 5 to the motherboard, creating a branch connection structure which starting from a single port 7 on the motherboard 4, enables a considerable number of peripherals to be driven. This eliminates problems connected to the physical shape of attachments on the motherboard. Also, connecting in this way creates a certain degree of system modularity at low cost, as standard components can be used, dedicated parts for the particular motherboard being unnecessary.
The communication ports 7, the flexible cables 8 and the port multipliers 9 can be of various types, for example USB, PCI, PCI Express, mini PCI, AGP, ATA, SATA, PATA. No substantial difference is involved among any of the above.
The control device 1 can advantageously be provided with a touch-screen 2, connected to the motherboard 4 and predisposed to enable control over at least some of the operations of the device. Alternatively controlling device operations can be done using a radio remote command device.
The peripherals connected to the control device 1 comprise, for example, electrical plants such as light controllers or blind adjusters, anti-thief security devices, environmental alarms, such as water gas and fire alarms, heating or conditioning plants, audio-video devices, domestic appliances and telecommunications systems for land-lines, mobiles and internet, including PLC and radio. All of these are managed by the control panel touch screen or other devices for inputting data, such as a keyboard, mouse, remote control unit, vocal command unit or remote control by phone or from another pc, all of which can be used for setting domestic appliances, lights, TV etc. The slimness of the unit enables the control device to be housed internally of a small casing 6, or even to house the device in a casing made for another appliance, such as for example a television set. It is also possible to house the
control device 1 on a mobile base support, where it is more useful to have it housed so, so it can be carried around and then returned to a set place. It can also be fixed to a wall using standard Vesa attachments, with systems included for its positioning; the device can also be built into walls or furnishings.
These control devices 1 for domotic applications, which include a new type of shaft connection, i.e. not a direct connection between the mother board 4 and the electronic cards 5, affords a considerable simplification of the connections to the mother board 4. The control device 1 thereof overcomes the limits encountered in control devices at present used for applications of any type, as it reduces construction complications and production costs, as well as maintenance costs and updating expensed. Furthermore, with this configuration, control devices can be produced for any type of application which devices are small but at the same time provide an increased facility for peripherals. The system is also susceptible to . a certain . degree of modularity, and can use standard components which eliminate device maintenance problems.