Common approach to maping HA infrastructure?


Active Member
Just jumping in the home auto game as part of building a new house. This is my first posting on this forum but I can assure you, I have a million questions that still need answers. I have been researching the technology for some months now and have managed to narrow my focus on an approach that best fits my needs and budget. I am now ready to build my first cut at a shopping list of components but I have not been able to build a good way to document the infrastructure I have in mind and identify the specific components and model numbers I think I would like to use. I have tried several different approaches on a spread sheet but I always find some tidbit of info I need to add to tell the whole story (locations, components, wiring, etc) that I can use to document my design and make a list of components needed. As a result, my spreadsheet is not very pretty and is getting messy. I also have been using Visio but it has some shortfalls also.

Is there a commonly used design template that I should be looking at to capture and document my intended design? I want to be able to document the design, help me build a shopping list and also use it as a punch list during construction to make sure I have all my wire in place before the walls are closed up. I have also considered buying a CAD program for wiring that might do the trick. If anyone here has used that approach, I would like to hear your opinions on that approach vs a giant spreadsheet.

I do not expect to move into my new house until late in 2008. In the meantime, I want to buy a bunch of the components and build a small prototype system that includes as many functions as I can so I can experiment with different components and learn the ins and outs of the system.

For reference, I want to be able to tie together all the key functions (HA, security, HVAC, video, audio, etc) found in a home. I am anticipating that I will be using a HAI Omni Pro II and UPB as key building blocks. Security and audio solutions are stilll up in the air. I know what I would like to do with security and audio but I have not been able to reconcile my desired solution with my budget yet.

Welcome Paul,

Like most things there are a dozen different ways to go about it and they all are right. I'll tell you what I did for my home and you can take from what you like.

I made a floor plan of the house using AutoCad, but you can use Visio and get the same results. I made several copies of this plan. I then identified wall plate locations on gave them a unique numbering scheme on one copy. For me these took care of phone, network, and video. I would use another set of plans for security contacts and sensors. Another set could be misc wiring HVAC, irrigation, blinds, touchscrees, etc. Trying to put all of these on one set of plans could get pretty cluttered, so that why the multiple sets. Then use a spreadsheet to idea the location, type, price, source, estimated amount, etc for each of the locations you identified.

And of course look at the Wiring 101 guide here to get an idea of what you need and what you could do.