forgets home automation


so i've been into this home automation thing for about a year now, and while i never have enough money to get all the stuff i want, i'm progressing nicely.. learning as i go along. Cocoontech has been a great help, since it seems like no one else in miami is into home automation.. (well my brother seems more interested now that he sees i can turn on my garden hose wirelessly) ..

Anyway, since most of you on this site have the same toys as i have, i'm mostly going to try and show photo's of the actual hardware in my setup. I haven't really delved into the 'pc software' side of automation as i'm trying to accomplish it all through the elk m1.. not trying to have a pc on all the time, and generally be earth friendly.. (that takes more of a priority than home automation at this point).. Luckily automation and being more resource conscious go hand in hand, or can compliment each other most of the time. In an area of the world where cooling costs for most residents make them think paying $350 a month isn't doing all that bad, i've managed to keep mine around $80 at peak and $40 during winter months. I'm constantly trying to drive that number further down through the use of solar panels and other 'free' energy technologies.. It also works in combination with the elk's ability to switch lights on and off (mostly through relay's at this point) so as to have closet lights off when no one is occupying them, carport and other misc exterior lights.

I've seen lots of design styles with home automation when it comes to hardware setup.. some have their own dedicated closets or even rooms to hide it all, some like to display it all up front and center. My own style is to hide everything! to have all the hardware completely hidden from view,but i have no room to put it all, so i had to strap on the thinking cap, and i'm also trying to keep it in a central location.. hopefully you'll see what i'm talking about in the photo's coming up.. there's been a lot of moving around of components in my setup, but i definetly think i've got it almost all where i want it finally (and my girlfriend might kill me if she sees me moving it all again for the fourth time..)

anyway, the only spot i really had room to put it all was in my food pantry.. only problem is, that food goes in there, so i had to try and do it while taking up very minimal amounts of space..

so i came up with this,

which is actually a false wall, crammed with three 28" panels ..
maybe you wonder why it's a little off center, ( you can ask, don't be ashamed) it's because the power is going down the left side and then under all the panels.. (all leviton panels, since they can each take 2 duplex outlets, giving me a total of 6, since everything needs to be powered) ..

here's a shot with some of them closed (the girlfriend was ecstatic to know i could finally close them from time to time, since most of my main wiring is done now, (wasn't in that first photo)

here in the third photo, hmm.. i wonder what this is..

oh it's my nuvo concerto!, i freakin' love this thing, it's awesome to be able to play music all over the house.. right now i'm liking the way it's been mounted, (have to mount another shelf for the media server (1u height) and the nv-t2 (1u as well) so both shelves will be flush with the top of the pantry (with a little ventilation breathing room to which i might add low power fans to turn on in case the heat becomes an issue.. (which it hasn't, whoa i've run the concerto on 5 zones simultaneously already and it doesn't even break a sweat..)

i'll add more photo's later, it's quite a process to have had all this done since it has to be done on 'hobby time' all by myself, and since i have an older house whose structure isn't conducive to any additions (i have cross braces between all my walls so you can imagine how fun cable drops are)

anyway, i hope to keep adding to this thread as i go on, so check back every now and then, thanks for reading..

Nice job forgets.

If a burg breaks into your house he will have a tough time finding your ELK and disabling it!

Forgets, I like the minimalist mounting style and the pc at last resort philosophy. I think that was an ELK speaker just outside the cabinet if I am not mistaken.

I enjoy the DIY shots on this board too. Looking forward to more shots.
comments and questions for my showcase thread, fire away!

(p.s. i didn't even know this existed, whoa, new stuff to read)
That concerto of yours looks like it's in there pretty tight. How were you able to run cables there without having them come out of those little green connectors?

That's been killing me with my new concerto. I'm used to speaker connectors, not those little thingeys.

Great setup, btw.
oh those connectors, yeah they can be a little slippery at times, what wire are you using? .. I'm using 14/4 just to the patch panel for the speakers... when I was using 16 gauge it tended to slip out more, so try a little thicker gauge wire maybe, also just strip a little bit of wire, about 2/16 of an inch having a bit of the wire sheath on ther seems to help too, other than that I tighten with the eyeglasses screwdriver just till its snug, I've seen a couple people break the connectors by overtightening..

p.s. hey are you ever gonna show some of your hardware? I saw the new ones of the touchscreens, and that seems like an awesome idea for the kitchen, how do you hide the power wires for it? it gave me an idea to do something like that where it'd be a flip down screen from under the kitchen cabinets to have recipies and maybe music playback, etc...

oh maybe if I score one super cheap on ebay... now my girlfriend saw some cat trees from electron's showcase so that's my next peoject to build some of those before more automation stuff
i like the hidden system idea, but that NuVo up under an overhang makes me nervous. stick a temp sensor in there and check your heat. if it werent for the fact that i want my system to be a conversation piece, i would hide it like that. :ph34r:
oh, I added some fans on top of it to push air down on it, and I was even considering adding some underneath it to push air up onto it, but it doesn't even seem to need them, I still pull it out every so often just to check the temp and its never gotten very hot, but all things considered, I'll probably add those fans on a temp switch just in case, it is a pretty expensive piece of equipment
I put a PC in kitchen cabinets above a small counter for my wife in the kitchen. I just put an AC powered fan in the top (about five inches in diameter) which was fairly low RPM so it was quiet. I used a hole saw and cut a hole out the top, then used rubber washers to mount it, then just plugged it in.

I found if I had it exhaust the hot air from the cabinet (blow out) the PC would operate fine. Without the fan running the PC would get very warm (monitored the case and CPU temp to verify this).

I really like your install and think it makes excellent use of the space you had available for mounting this system. :ph34r: