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#1 drelky

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 02:29 AM

This is my first attempt at home automation. I have been doing a lot of reading on the internet and at least one book on home automation and security and decided to give it a try. This is my journey through a new hobby and experiment in home automation.

First off we are building a new home that is about 3300 square feet with a full unfinished basement. I started with just putting together a “home security” and whole house audio system together but the more I read the more limited I realized I was. I started to read smart homes for dummies and realized I needed more. So I scoured the internet for more information. I found Cocoontech and read several post and the wiring 101 guild and found all of them very useful. I found that examples of others system seem to help the most. So I felt obligated to start this post. I also need advice as I go so feel free to help me build my system.

Here is my overall plan:

Security:
I will use the Elk M1 gold system and include the following parts:

ELK M1 Gold ELK-m1gsys4s - Main panel
Insteon powerlinc V2
Elk m1xsp serial port expander
Shure SCM810 audio mixer
Magnetic Contacs
Rollerball contacts
Insteon Switches
1000' 22/4 Security Cable
1000' 2 pair 22 west penn Security Wire
2 Wire smoke/heat detector
22/4 half shielded wire
Bosch Smoke detector lot
Elk-m1dbh
elk-m1xin
2 carbon monoxide ge esl-coe
290' 18/4 fire alarm cable
Ocelot Controller
500' 16/4 fire alarm cable
Carbon Monoxide GE ESL 240-CO
ELO ET1545L 15" Touchscreen for keypad
Visonic K985 Pet-Smart Digital PIR Detector
IntelliSense CK-FG1625RFM - Round Flush Mount Glassbreak Detector
Elk ELK-WK1 - Wall Mount Kit for ELK-SL1 Strobe Light
ELK ELK-SL1R - Strobe Light Indoor/Outdoor - Red (SL1-R)
Ademco 112 - Tamper Switch for Closed Circuit
Elk ELK-M1XIN - M1 16 Zone Input Expander
Visonic DISC Miniature 360o Ceiling Mount PIR Detector
Elk ELK-930 - Doorbell & Telephone Ring Detector
GE Interlogix MP-MPI47B High Performance Piezo Screamer
Elk ELK-M1ZTSR - M1 Zone Temperature Interface with 7 Foot Remote Probe
crown PZm-11
Elk M1DBH Data bus hub
Insteon Dimmer Switches and phase coupler
Hal 2000

Whole House Audio:
Nuco Grand Concerto and Tuner EBAY $2,755.88
500 ft. 14/4 Speaker Wire Paypal $189.00
1000' Cat 5e red cable Paypal $45.23
3-way in ceiling MA audio

Ethernet:
I was able to get 1500’ of cat 6a cable to use for ethernet and video distibution. I plan on using putting cat 6a to all tv jack areas and at possible computer locations. I also will put in a wireless N system. I have yet to buy anything but the cable. I just need to get it in before the drywall.

Video distribution:
All I have planned is running 2 quad shield coax rg6 to each tv jack. One for input one for output. I also am running an extra Cat 6a to each jack for future use. I thought this could be video, but who knows. In the future I will put video modulators for a centralized unit. This is mostly pre wireing/planning.

Video surveillance:
I plan on pre-wiring for cameras using a cat 5e cable, 18/4 and coax. This should cover future needs

IR distribution:
This subject is a bit confusing to me. Ideally I would like to control any remote controllable item from anywhere in the house. But It looks I can only send IR signals back to one place. I am still trying to find more info on this. But so far what I have planned is to put a cat 5e cable to each tv jack for IR distribution. This would give me 4 pairs of wires to run IR distribution on. I am going to use the ocelot for IR commands and the secu-16ir and the xantech 79520 for distribution. Right now I am putting the Cat 5e cable in the wall and will figure out the rest later. This is a budget issue!!!

Telephone Network
If I have enough cat 6a cable, I will use this. Otherwise Cat 5e cable will work. I thought That I could use this as an extra data cable if need but it depends how this is set up. I am leaving the phone network up to the contractors with some guidance from me. I am thinking of using a 110 punch down block for this but not sure. I need to talk to the electrical guys first.

Home Automation:

I decided to go with HAL2000 and use a insteon type of power network. I will also try to set up an open air microphone system to control Hal. Boy I hope this works!! Also my wife doesn't know I am putting together a automated home. She thinks I am putting together a "home security" so some of the HA blends with the security. Boy I hope she doesn't bit my head off when she finds out really whats going on. I have read about the dreaded "wife acceptablilty factor" and know mine is low.... but if i can prewire, i can add everything else slowly!


Ok cocooners, Let me know any advice you have before the drywall goes up. This is in 1 month!

#2 mustangcoupe

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 12:27 PM

This is my first attempt at home automation. I have been doing a lot of reading on the internet and at least one book on home automation and security and decided to give it a try. This is my journey through a new hobby and experiment in home automation.

All I can say is read, read, read some more. Ask questions... come visit us in the chat room too....

Insteon powerlinc V2
Elk-m1dbh
Elk M1DBH Data bus hub
Insteon Dimmer Switches and phase coupler

Read about insteon before you sink any amounts of money into it.. There are a lot of very unhappy people here, and some who don't have problems. I for one switched to UPB to overcome the problems I was having with missed missed communications and a few bad switches.
You have 2 DBH's in your list so you might want to switch one of those out for a Ethernet module. I find connecting remotely from the comfort of my office better then going to the panel location.

She thinks I am putting together a "home security" so some of the HA blends with the security. Boy I hope she doesn't bit my head off when she finds out really whats going on. I have read about the dreaded "wife acceptablilty factor" and know mine is low.... but if i can prewire, i can add everything else slowly!

Good luck increasing WAF...

#3 Steve

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Posted 27 January 2009 - 08:10 PM

This is really simple for me - you want WAF - and you have the opportunity at new construction. It would be an absolute no brainer for me to put in some sort of hardwire lighting control. If everything is all wired already, drop in Cat5's and go with ALC. Anything short of that, you will have some sort of potential issues. I also think you'd be absolutely crazy to sink any amount of money into Insteon right now.

Be careful with buying Nuvo off ebay - be sure it is an authorized dealer (probably not on ebay) or you may be sorry if you need any support down the road.

Open air mics are very difficult to setup and get working in a typical family home.

I would wait on HAL or any software until you get everything else working. IMHO the only reason to get HAL over others is possibly for voice, but get that all working right before putting $ into the software.

Most important thing at this stage is getting the wires in. In fact, I would put a Cat5 to each switch even if you are going to still try Insteon. Make sure all switch locations have neutrals (including multiway locations).

#4 Neurorad

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:14 PM

This is really simple for me - you want WAF - and you have the opportunity at new construction. It would be an absolute no brainer for me to put in some sort of hardwire lighting control. If everything is all wired already, drop in Cat5's and go with ALC. Anything short of that, you will have some sort of potential issues. I also think you'd be absolutely crazy to sink any amount of money into Insteon right now.

Be careful with buying Nuvo off ebay - be sure it is an authorized dealer (probably not on ebay) or you may be sorry if you need any support down the road.

Open air mics are very difficult to setup and get working in a typical family home.

I would wait on HAL or any software until you get everything else working. IMHO the only reason to get HAL over others is possibly for voice, but get that all working right before putting $ into the software.

Most important thing at this stage is getting the wires in. In fact, I would put a Cat5 to each switch even if you are going to still try Insteon. Make sure all switch locations have neutrals (including multiway locations).


Personally, my biggest issue with lighting control is price. The cost of hardwired switches (ALC, Lutron Homeworks) - just the switch - is over the top expensive (IMO), compared with a dumb rocker solution. Very hard to justify the additional cost.

I know, ALC switches ~$100 each, Homeworks $200, but both are just too expensive.

Currently, I choose not to install any lighting control because I only want something that is top quality (no Insteon, UPB), and I can't justify the additional costs of the top-of-the-line products.

Running ethernet cable to light switch locations, though, is probably a good idea, for future proofing.

Edited by Neurorad, 29 January 2009 - 12:17 PM.


#5 Neurorad

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:18 PM

You'll prob need more than 1 cat6 run to each TV location.

#6 Neurorad

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 12:33 PM

Is the builder letting you install it yourself? Kudos.

That unfinished basement may come in handy - keep it in mind when budgeting.

Rent or borrow a label maker. In a pinch, a Sharpie should work. When you have time, you can add some nicer labels.

Terminate your cables after the build. Doing it now will add time and cost.

Any 5.1 viewing/listening areas planned? Wire it now.

Decide now the exact location of the home run enclosure(s)/rack (which stud bay(s)). You won't need as much 'service loop' (extra cable) if you know exactly where it needs to terminate.

Don't waste time now buying an enclosure and rack. Plenty of time later.

4 Weeks will go fast. GL!

Edit - prioritize. Recruit friends to help. Use electrical tape to pull many cables together.

Edited by Neurorad, 29 January 2009 - 12:35 PM.


#7 Steve

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 01:12 PM

Currently, I choose not to install any lighting control because I only want something that is top quality (no Insteon, UPB), and I can't justify the additional costs of the top-of-the-line products.


When you say 'top quality' are you referring to overall reliability and usability or more the actual physical manufacturing quality? If the latter I would have to differ with you wrt UPB, notably PCS products which are of very high quality.

#8 AutomationDetails

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 01:19 PM

drelky

Have you thought about the lawn sprinkler system? ;)

I have a ADI Lepord II if you want to try it out ? This is a touch screen version of the Ocelot Controller.

Let me know. Just PM me if interested.

Automation Details
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#9 sic0048

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 01:41 PM

For telephone distribution I would recommend running it as normal network cabling. In other words, don't break up network and telephone into two separate systems. Run and terminate the wires the same for both systems.

At the centralized end, all those cat5e/cat6 wires should be terminated in a network patch panel. It is a simply process to have another 1u network patch panel (probably a 24 port version) wired with the telephone source on the back. Then it is a simple process to use a short patch cable to connect the two patch panels together to connect a specific wire run for telephone. You can also connect the patch panel to a network switch instead of the telephone distribution panel in case you ever need to use the wire for computer use. In other words, doing this will allow you to use any cat5e/cat6 wire for either network or telephone by simply swapping a cable.

For IR distribution, you are right in the fact that all the IR receivers generally come back to a central point (the IR distribution controller). You will then need to have IR blasters from that distribution point back to any peice of equipment that you need to control via IR. So you might need more than 1 set of wires running to and from each room. Of course if you have all your equipment in a centralized location, the blasters can just be hooked into the distribution controller directly. But if your equipment is spread throughout the house, then plan on running the wire for the IR blasters in addition to the IR receivers.

Whatever you figure out you'll need to wire at each location, double it (at least the network wire). Seriously, run a lot more network cable (cat5e is fine) than you think you could ever use. Trust me, you'll be happy you did in the future. Most signals can be run over network cable with the use of baluns, so running more network cable allows you to future proof as much as possible. But already some baluns need two full sets of network cables to run the needed signal.

#10 drelky

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 12:40 AM

Wow! Thanks for the replies! Steve…. I have not read much about the ALC stuff. But at $100 a switch! I'd need a bailout plan myself! Looks like a solid system thought. I never thought of putting Cat 5e drops to all the switches. I guess you should home run them to the wiring closet? The best part about a new construction is "Pre-wire" So I can do it. Again with the open air mic I realize it will be load in the house but again it is more of a pre wire. I am thinking of a way to put a mute button on the switch to turn it on and off as needed. I already bought the nuvo, so hopefully I will be ok I am gonna ask the dude if he is an authorized dealer. If not, ???? well hopefully all goes well. I just read something that Nuvo was cracking down on unauthorized sales over the internet. Besides the super cool keypads, it seems very pricey.

Neurorad…
I am running 2 cat 6a, 1 cat 5e, 1 cat 6 or cat 5e and 2 rg6QS

The builder is pretty easy to work with. If there is anything I want to do myself, I can. He just expect it done in a certain time. (But if he's not on schedule it's ok, huh) We get to do the trim, paint, clean up and install shelves! I plan on labeling the wires with a piece of paper, sharpie and packaging tape, for now. I will label it properly later. Time line thing. I also plan on terminating them later as well and build the control room/rack later. That will take more than 2 weeks.

Joe…
As far as a sprinkler system, that is on the 5 year plan, no room in budget right now. I will explore that option later. Any prewire concerns though?

Brian…
I like you patch panel ideal. I thought the same thing about using network/telephone lines interchangeably, I just did not know how. Thanks, I will look into that. As far as IR distribution I thought that with 4 pairs of wire in the cat 5e cable, I could use one as incoming, one as outgoing. If that fails I guess I could inject a signal into the coax. Thoughts?

Here’s some general questions for the peanut gallery:

1. How can you control or monitor a gas line? I just saw a post on a solenoid valve, would this work?
2. Besides running cat 5 to TV spots, places for computers, light switches and possible future camera places, where else are some suggestions to run. Even if I don’t use them now.
3. What is with the Insteon bashing? I have not read a lot of bad stuff. I have bought several switches so I guess I will try them. If they suck, I’ll sell them on ebay. They are still expensive at $45 a piece but better than $100 each. If they work, I’m starting an insteon fan club!
4. If I am pre wiring for security cameras, what wires should I use. I am planning 1 of each 18/4 firewire, cat 5e, and coax. Good enough?
5. I plan on a driveway sensor to alarm me when a car pulls up. Any suggestions on what to use and any pre-wire thoughts.
6. If you put in window contacts, Any problems with leaks? I think I might seal them anyway.


That’s it for now. More to come later!

#11 AutomationDetails

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 02:22 AM

"As far as a sprinkler system, that is on the 5 year plan, no room in budget right now. I will explore that option later. Any prewire concerns though?"

Drelky

You might drop a cat 5 near the area were the sprinkler controller would be located. ;) This could be used for serial or Ethernet to talk to the sprinkler controller.



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#12 BraveSirRobbin

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 10:14 AM

"As far as a sprinkler system, that is on the 5 year plan, no room in budget right now. I will explore that option later. Any prewire concerns though?"

Drelky

You might drop a cat 5 near the area were the sprinkler controller would be located. :) This could be used for serial or Ethernet to talk to the sprinkler controller.



Joe Hatfield
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This is good advice from Joe. Also, place an outlet near where you believe the controller will be installed (for example I have one on the inside of my garage and run the wiring via a conduit from there to the valve box which is located on the other exterior wall side).

#13 JimS

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Posted 30 January 2009 - 01:49 PM

Lots of good suggestions from others. It sounds like you have a pretty good handle on what needs to be done, what can be done later, etc.

I was the general contractor for having our house built a few years ago and did some of the work myself including all the wiring (power and LV). I think I did a pretty good job of thinking ahead for things but missed a few things. Here are a few thougts. YMMV...

Put lots of outlets in. Code doesn't require many in unfinished spaces/garages/large bathrooms but they are very handy. I put the garage outlets at workbench height along the side walls. If your wiring closet is in unfinished space you need several outlets there.

If you think you might need something in an area but are not sure what then just run PVC conduit and pull wire later. 3/4" is big enough for most things unless you need multiple cables. Bigger is better. For example I ran 2 runs to the area under our deck and over a patio. One may end up being power for hot tub or who knows what. The other could be low voltage for sensors, speakers, etc.

Put in at least 1 conduit from your wiring closet to attic (and basement if it's not in the basement). Make it bigger than you think you need. I used 2"

If your breaker panel is in a finished wall run conduit up to the attic or some other place you can route wires from. Makes adding circuits much easier. This should be ok but may be an issue with some inspectors. Make sure you have some empty breaker slots or plan to add a subpanel later - especially if you finish the basement later.

Put a "cat walk" in your attic. I nailed 2 x 4s across the trusses above the insulation level and put down 1/2" osb so I could get around the attic without balancing on trusses. Just one path down the center with perhaps a few side runs to major areas. Makes running wires MUCH easier, provides a place to lay down tools, etc. When we decided we wanted to add a wall mount TV for the kitchen it was right at the end of the cat walk. :) I also put several lights and a switch near the attic entrance and a few outlets for tools.

If you ever think you may want a central vac then now is a good time to install it. Might help WAF too. Although with an unfinished basement the install wouldn't be too bad later.

The unfinished basement will be a big plus when you need to add something later (and you won't be able to think of everything ahead of time so this WILL happen).

Not an automation issue but make sure all the pipes and wiring into the attic are sealed before the insulation. Reduced air leakage will keep the utility bills down. A few minutes with a can of spray foam is all it takes.

Keep track of the work being done. I had occaision crazy issues come up with people who had enough experience I thought they would know better or know how to work around issues - it didn't always happen. Even if they are honest and skilled they may miss a few things. Don't pay for things with the promise that they will fix things unless you are VERY sure it will happen. Payment may be the main leverage you have for getting things done/fixed. I had an experienced concrete contractor plug both basement floor drains with concrete. I would have never seen him again if I had paid the bill. Luckily I caught the problem before I paid the final payment. He just about walked away from the final payment to avoid fixing it. That was the worst problem but I had some others.

#14 MavRic

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 10:06 PM

You didnt mention the attic, will you have access to the attic? What type of insulation will be used? If it's the blown in insulation kind it will be hard to get around in..if it's matt then it's easy to get around.

From the basement and from the attic you can pretty much get anywhere in your house. Exterior walls are a bit more complicated due to insulation..but if you end up forgetting something it's certainly doable.

I've been preaching use of conduit for new construction, but if you can do the pre-wire work youself and don't have to spend a fortune on a contract it's easier to get it in when the walls are open.

#15 drelky

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Posted 01 March 2009 - 12:12 AM

Wow, just ran about 9000' of wire this week! Holy shizzle! I put in alot of work over the last 2 weeks and a ton more to go! I will post pics soon. Tomorrow I am vidoe taping and getting pics and monday the insulators are comming! Can't wait to show you my mess downstairs!




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