Initially I was planning this post just as an expansion of original Loxone video which I found a bit too brief. In the end the story was not as successful as I would think it could be, so in case you are considering or even planning a Loxone Miniserver swap for the second generation, be prepared for this.
My current Loxone smart home installation consists of 21 extensions on Loxone link with few other things as a network device.
The current config file is spread across more than 90 tabs and memory usage on the first generation of Loxone Miniserver was more than 80%. This started to become a problem with every update as the upgrade procedures required some space to roll out and often required restart to shake down and toss out unused things from the memory reducing the overall utilization and perform the update procedure to install new version. Because I stayed on Config v12 I could not take the advantage of newer config building blocks for energy management, which, after I installed photovoltaic energy system, became another serious reason to upgrade.
The second important reason why I was considering the switch to the 2 gen. Loxone Miniserver was the overall speed. With the size of the config file, the number of recorded statistics and remanent items it started to be really annoying to wait 10 minutes for propagating any changes to live. This was almost unusable for any kind of debugging, because not only was it very time consuming, but you really had to think when to save changes into Miniserver. Moreover, such a 10-minute interval meant nothing could be changed in terms of lighting etc., which even more narrowed down moments when any configuration changes could have been made in a fully occupied family house.
The last advantage that could be named here is the remote access through secured channel, not requiring VPN when accessing your house from the outside. Well, it wasn’t mandatory in the first generation, that’s true, but everyone who maintains at least some level of network security would agree with me. There are also other tiny improvements like the SD card placement that in the second generation is inserted into the slot from the top and not a side, but these are not triggers for upgrade, I think.
So, in case you have decided to do the Miniserver upgrade in your existing and fully running installation, here are my recommendations and observations.
What to prepare in advance prior to the Miniserver swap
- Serial number of new MS – You’ll need that later in the upgrade process, might help you in case your MS would not be found automatically.
- Check that you are not using any of the deprecated ports on the old Miniserver. If on your current Miniserver you are using Analog Outputs (AO), Analog Inputs (AI) or KNX bus, you need to reroute these, if possible, to a different extension in case you have any with these free ports or purchase some additional small ones for this purpose. This might result in the need to rewire! In my case I had to move connections to Analog Outputs from Miniserver to a Loxone Extension. Luckily this was a close route. Also, on the old Miniserver the first green digital input (DI) terminal was +24V, and the last one was the Ground. If you have been using one of these (for instance for feeding magnetic sensors), you need to find different way how to do it.
- Make sure your cables are ready for the new socket types! This is very important. I am not a huge fan of “modernizing” the connection terminals into the “wago” push-in style. Call me old-school, but I simply found the screw terminals more versatile and easier to use for various cable types. Surprisingly the biggest pain I had was with the 24V DC power terminals, where I am using much thicker wires than the new terminals can handle. There was obvious shift in the ideology over the time, about how 24 Volts gets supplied to the extensions, from the “bus” topology where the extensions would be connected and fed one from the other, to a star topology allowing tiny pairs to feed each extension from a central 24V point. Maybe it is nothing new for recent installations.
There is a solution for the Power Supply, Link and Tree sockets. I just found suitable screw terminals.
- Update to most recent Loxone Config before the swap procedure. My upgrade path was from 184.108.40.206. to v14. I was waiting for 13.2. to be released to get the feature for statistics data conversion from the old meter blocks, however that version did not make it post beta. Also, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I could not upgrade to a higher version as my Miniserver already reported low remaining memory to perform the upgrade task. Looking back to the whole procedure and how I did things, this step was the critical moment that caused things to go wrong. However, I am not sure how I could persuade my old green buddy to perform the update before I initiated the Replacement wizard.
- Backup – Backup your statistics, logs, your config, be prepared for worst case scenario. Better safe than sorry. After this point we should be ready for the real action. BTW: New Loxone Miniserver comes with SD card in it, so you’ll be able to keep your old config together with the old Miniserver. One would think that this could work as a fallback scenario for a case where there would be anything wrong after the swap. However, given the hassle with the wiring and removal of various inputs Loxone made it almost impossible.
- It might not go smoothly. This procedure was probably not well thought of in terms of all corner cases that might appear in some installation scenarios. Make sure you have enough time, and your home environment is well prepared for this procedure. You don’t want to end up fixing anything in a hurry, stressed by your family members complaining about staying in complete darkness.
- If you still want to do this despite my previous warnings 😊 you can start in the Loxone Config the whole procedure.
Here it starts!
- In the Loxone Config click the icon Replace Miniserver and follow the wizard
- Select what type of Miniserver will be the replacement (Miniserver 2nd generation)
- Select Backup and let it complete
- Replace the Miniserver physically when instructed – This obviously means to shut down your Loxone infrastructure entirely and your home suddenly finds itself in the darkness. Be prepared for that. In my case that took very long, considering all the adjustments I had to make to fit everything properly and load a working version of a config file. But continue reading …
- Warning appeared: “Chosen Miniserver has newer Loxone Config! Update your Loxone config or choose a different miniserver”. Well obviously the new Miniserver had a newer system installed.
- Hit Update Loxone config → Update procedure initiated, and after a short while: Failure, crash. The only option was Report.
From this moment the sequence of events diverted from the standard upgrade procedure, I believe. I hope you won’t have to go through the hassle I had to cope with. Normally, the story should continue like this (I hope).
- Here I had to install new config to the newly started Miniserver
- Open stored old config file – This is why I recommended having a backup handy.
- Connect to the newly installed Loxone Miniserver 2nd gen. (It is sitting on a different IP as DHCP is the default network configuration, and also default password is there because of the empty config that it comes with it from the factory)
- Update config in Miniserver (do not download the config from MS), just push your config there. This replaces the original empty one.
- Wait until the update procedure in MS completes (takes a while…)
- Save config in Miniserver – Warning that the version is different, and it must be converted
- Save / Warning about serial number mismatch
- Cable for Loxone Link wrong polarity. This is an interesting nuance. Back in 2014 there was probably no guidance on how to wire Loxone link, both terminals were in blue, so my obvious choice was to use blue and blue-white pair. I have everywhere in my installation blue-white on the left and full blue on the right terminal. With the introduction of the new Loxone components that are fitted with the screwless terminals, they are color coded blue and white. And guess what, it is exactly the opposite than I have it 🙁 I had to fix that, there is a way how to swap the terminal colors as well by pulling these out of the pins.
- After this was fixed, all extensions were awakened to life, and they started consuming updates from Miniserver in the background. Please note that until here the whole system was non-operational, and nobody could turn anything on. Also, most probably because of the version mismatch and background updates, the extensions were appearing live in a kind of staggered way. This has triggered multiple alarm signals in our home, where first the outdoor siren lost signal from extension and started to be “very vocal”, then few moments after the fire alarm was triggered as it seems that inputs of the smoke sensors cycled together with extensions settling up. I am sorry for being so concise here but that was a bit of a panicking moment for me and I was more looking on ways how to quickly resolve the situation than checking for any details causing that behavior.
- Check if what needs to be ON is really ON. The places where I had a remanence present to keep things up and running were obviously shut down, as no remanence information was stored on the new SD card. Unless you have an impulse on system boot in your program, you’ll need to trigger these manually on in the app again for the first time. This is case by case, depending on how you designed your home automation.
- Similarly, some virtual input values were out of range – I had to set these again. For instance, if you use sliders to set some temperature or humidity threshold in the Loxone visualization, these defaulted to zero and triggered warning in the Config and in the Loxone app. Values returned to defaults also for virtual inputs. I had to set things ON which I expected to run, and obviously all values were erased. Basically, everything was as if the program was started for the very first time without any previous values stored.
- At this moment everything should be back up and running – Voila!
- I immediately noticed that the utilization of Loxone Miniserver went from 80% in the old one to 29% in the new Gen2.
- Any Config change and saving time into Miniserver 2 is now reduced drastically. From 10 minutes to 10 seconds!
- But obviously all statistics are gone. Or better said are not on the new card, there are in the backup but were not placed on the new Miniserver, so there are no historical data and measurements.
- On all devices where you use Loxone app you’ll need to add the new Miniserver (as it has different serial). Also that serial number needs to be registered under your Loxone account at Loxone in order to be able to use the remote connection service and their “Cloud Mail”.
So how was it?
Happy? Not really. Yes, it works, but there are remaining things where I need to find a ways how to sort these out. Mainly the statistics, if I manage to push the historical data back in. I am also prospecting the idea of having these stored and visualized separately using Influx database and Grafana. But this will be a topic for next time. At the same time, with the v14 I used the opportunity to upgrade many building blocks (mainly energy related ones) which are feature rich with better data visualization functionality.
Also, this episode was a small but important lesson learned for me about how I have handle programing of the config. Starting with small things like setting initial values after program start, cleaning up the code which has organically grown throughout the years of tweaks and updates to the home functionality. But also, after almost ten years of constant Loxone evolution and development it is obvious that things that I could formerly achieve only with complex structures consisting of elementary programming blocks and difficult to read mess, can now be replaced by newly existing advanced blocks. That spans from simple toilet ventilator or pulse meters for consumption, through light scenes handling, towards complex energy management of the entire house.
Any other consequences related to the update from v12 to v14?
I still have in use one old iPad Air which is wall mounted in the living room. That device is no longer getting updates from Apple, it stagnates at the iOS version 12.5.7. And because for some unknown reason (planned obsolescence?) Loxone requires higher iOS version, the iOS Loxone app cannot go beyond 11.0.3. on that particular device. This conservated the UI at a time of May 2020. Now what does it mean? Obviously the older app cannot visualize new blocks that were not present back then. But I heard that some people were experiencing issues with displaying icons, as these were redesigned since then. Well, not in my case. All the rooms, categories and also custom icons I made so far are working surprisingly fine. Just in some scenarios, mostly coming from the status block, there are few cases with empty icon being displayed. Need to investigate this more. Bot otherwise I think the backward compatibility is well managed. There will be more on this topic when talking about the Energy Monitor block in one of my future posts.
If you have any suggestions, similar or different experiences, I’d love to hear this. Please write in the comments below. Thank you.