Glad to have found this place!

Texan

New Member
I'm a certified electronic technician and CISSP, and will be building a new house in Texas in about two years. My goal is to wire my home myself for automation as much as practical and very much appreciate the presence of this forum to glean information from. Although I have a strong electronics background (25+ years) I have limited experience with home automation in general and would appreciate any/all advice from folks who have "done it" and can suggest products.

I'd be willing to post a .pdf of my home plan and would love to get some ideas from the HA wizzes here.

Thanks!!!
 

elcano

Active Member
Your welcomed. You will find a cooperative community here willing to help each one together. I have enjoyed it very much too.
 

carry15+1

Active Member
Home automation is a pretty broad subject.

Tell us what you want to automate and you should get a bunch of replies.

There are 3 basic means to control HA

1) power line signals (PLC) with x-10 type components
2) rf
3) hardwired
 

DeLicious

Active Member
Also, if you happen to be in the Dallas area at all, you could bring your plans to a meeting of the North Texas Home Automation Users Groups and get the experts' opinions in person.
 

Texan

New Member
carry15 said:
Home automation is a pretty broad subject.

Tell us what you want to automate and you should get a bunch of replies.

There are 3 basic means to control HA

1) power line signals (PLC) with x-10 type components
2) rf
3) hardwired
What do I want to automate? I'm retiring and want to build a home that's "cool". Lighting controls for sure and more if I can get away with it. The home is a single-level in the Texas Hill Country below Austin on 3 acres, about 3000 square feet including the garage. I've designed in a data closet for servers and what not, there's also a media room with an overhead projector and screen on the wall. So I guess in addition to lighting controls I'm looking at the controls for the media room, audio distribution throughout the house, air conditioning controls, security, and access controls. Because I'm on a large plot of land in the country, I'm also concerned about security outside the home so I'll be wanting sensors for entering vehicles and security lighting controls. Hi-tech door locks (biometric plus code) would be a neat feature. Touch screens on the walls would be nice.

Why do I want to do this? Well, "because". It's fun, and I'll have the perfect opportunity since I'll be acting as my own general contractor and have the technical skills. What I don't have is the familiarity with the brands/types of equipment out there.

Unless an alternative has proven itself, I tend to be a "hardwired" kind of tech. Wires are good, they make a solid connection. I've heard that the X-10 stuff, as well as the RF-controlled devices sometimes leave a lot to be desired. But maybe I've heard wrong on that.
 

Texan

New Member
DeLicious said:
Also, if you happen to be in the Dallas area at all, you could bring your plans to a meeting of the North Texas Home Automation Users Groups and get the experts' opinions in person.
I appreciate the offer, but I'm living in Virginia at the moment (DC area). Can't wait to get back to Texas permanently, though. My property is near San Marcos in Hays county.
 

Mike

Senior Member
Well put 'wires are good'!

The question I know is coming: What kind of budget do you have in mind...
 

Texan

New Member
Mike said:
Well put 'wires are good'!

The question I know is coming: What kind of budget do you have in mind...
I don't have an unlimited budget of course, but the approach I'd like to take is to figure out what I'd need to do it with quality equipment, and all the features I'd like, and then cost that out. If it's too expensive, I can start scaling back and tweaking, substituting this-and-that until I find a comfortable balance. So for the moment let's just assume I have an unlimited budget, but I'm reasonably cost-conscious.
 

Mike

Senior Member
I think you will find it will be a series of choices based on your wants and specific items that appeal to you.

A summary of what I went with (or am still considering) to spark interest for you:

1. Security and Automation - Elk M1Gold - Security and automation panel. A favorite around here.

2. Lighting Control - Insteon - This is a heated topic. This is the cheaper solution. I have found it to work well once I got it setup across the house. This is tied to the elk for automated lights.

3. Thermostats - HAI RC80B thermostats hooked into the Elk so rules can trigger the heating/cooling

4. System Sensor 2-wire smoke detectors hooked to the Elk (although I would probably go with 4-wire if I did it again).

5. General Electric CO2 detectors - Nuff said

6. System Sensor Heat Detectors for the attic and garage - Hooked into the elk

7. CQC - Automation software. I have not finished setting mine up yet, but you should look at IVB's posts as I hope to one day have a setup like his.

8. Motion detectors - Mine are not in yet, to trigger events or for alarm. Internal/External. If you are building you might want to get opinions on Pulsar (I think they are called) sensors that go in the floor boards. Supposed to be very reliable but need to be put in when you build. I have no experience with them.

9. Irrigation controls - I have wiring from my sprinkler to the elk so that once I finish hooking it up it will control the sprinklery. Add rain/wind/freeze sensors as well.

10. Glass break sensors - To determine if a window has been broken

11. Driveway sensor - To sense cars coming onto your property

12. Camera's - Tied to other events to allow you to see the properly (i.e. when a car arrives, the doorbell is rung, etc).

13. Sound proofing - Acoustiblock or equivalent for soundproofing/insulation?

14. Keypads - I went with Elk LCD keypads (KP2), but they have nice touchscreens as well (~$1200).

I'm sure I am missing a lot, but that should give you some ideas. I did not even touch home theater yet. I am sure there will be no end to the posts though.
 
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