New System Advice

J0be269

New Member
I'm currently in the process of building a home and would like to include some home automation/security. I am an ex-residential electrician and a current industrial Electronics Tech so I'm not new to wiring or logic control. I am new to the automation field tho, and was wondering if I could get some help.

I see all these different controllers and don't know which to choose. The home is 2300 sq. feet in size and is currently in the framing stage so I would like to decide on something before long so I can pre-wire for parts of the system. I've read a bit about the M1 gold and the HAI systems, but let me tell what I want to do and get some input.

I would like to have security (min of 16 zones) and the possibility of cameras, the ability to control lighting by timer, sensor (photo cell, etc.), or security system event (front door opens, foyer light comes on etc.) I would love to one day have the ability to add music but this is not a must. I would like to interface the system via keypads, wall switches, touch screens, and remotes.

Thanks in advance for any replies
 

liftn

Member
I currently use the Elk. I think both panels will do what you want. The best suggestion I could give is to research now why the walls are open and try to wire as much as you can now. Even is it means cutting back on the hardware now in order to prewire as much as possible.
 

J0be269

New Member
I agree with that, Still open to input on controllers. As far as pre-wiring, what would be recommended to have the greatest flexibility? I'm already planning on running a min of 2 probably 3 RG6 coax to every location that I put a low voltage box as well as a minimum of 2 cat5e to each location, all running to a central distribution panel (know of a good cost effective home auto friendly solution to this one?) Oh, and of course the security to each door and window (all home runs) any more suggestions on the pre-wire?
 

IVB

Senior Member
I personally chose to not tightly integrate the CCTV stuff with the security. I use the M1 via keypads, touchscreens, no remote but I could easily if I wanted to, in order to accomplish tasks.

You can easily accomplish 99% of what you're looking to do via an M1G alone (i don't know about the HAI so I can't speak to that). Presuming "remote" means an IR remote, you'd need software to integrate something like a USB-UIRT. As of now, your software options are HomeSeer, MainLobby, or CQC. The nice thing about software control is that you can easily extend the software logic to your music stuff, and also create custom UI screens (ie a custom floorplan to match your house). You can even control the system over PDA cellphone when not in your house and even view the cameras remotely, but that's far off for you so I won't bother you with that now. Nice tease though...

At this point, I would venture to guess that you don't necessarily need to finalize Elk vs HAI, but rather deal with the prewire meaning which sensors, where, how many, etc. Design & run the pre-wire for your A/V and mock up integrated control so that you don't miss something and regret it later.

Are you creating a central wiring location? I personally ended up with 2, one in the basement for the 60-odd security/network/telco runs, one on the mainfloor for an a/v location. I ran a few CAT5 and several 18-4 between them so I could integrate the control. I'm retrofitting so I ended up moving stuff around between the closets, so I'm sure I ran too much between them, but better that than too little.
 

Steve

Senior Member
I would suggest looking around here for a while. Just in the past month or two there have been several threads with people doing the same exact thing with lots of replies. As has been said, the single most important thing you need to do is design your wiring plan. For help with this, check out the Cocoontech pre-wire guide. I would implement a modern structured wiring system where everything is homerun to a central closet. If you're serious about this stuff, try to find a good location where you have room to comfortable put all your wiring and equipment with some room to grow.

The next biggest thing is lighting - hardwire or PLC or RF. That is my order of preference. Look at this recent thread for a discussion of hardwire. If that is not an option and you do PLC (x10, Insteon, UPB), make sure you have neutrals at all switch locations.

The panel comes down to a few questions to help you decide. Do you want solid UL listed security AND basic to moderate automation in a single panel? Do you want separate security and automation? Personally, preference is opposite what I normally do with stereo systems, etc, and I prefer an all in one panel like the Elk M1 or HAI Omni/Lumina. The Elk is more DIY friendly and easier to program. One of HAI's big strengths is the integrated video hardware, but unless that is your primary concern, I like the M1 for price/performance, ease of setup/programming and support. The other option is a separate security panel like the Caddx or even Elk EZ8 coupled with a dedicated HA system like the Cortexa, Startgate or Homevision. Like I said, I prefer a single manufacturer panel solution for simplicity, but others prefer the component solution - they both have merit.

And last, at some point you will want some software to complement your system, but you can decide that as a last step after everything is complete.
 

J0be269

New Member
Thanks for all of the replies. I have been following up on the information that everyone provided which has just led me to even further distress. I saw where it was recommended to use an EDT i-LiNE lighting controller for a hardwired system, I like the fact that you can traditionally wire your home and use the simple CAT5e pipeline between switches to add lighting automation later. I found the EDT web site, but I haven't found anywhere to look at this hardware online with prices and the like????? Even tried their web site under "where to buy" and it just gives the number to EDT to call them and ask I suppose.

Is there anywhere to purchase this equipment online? Or at least so I can get a cost idea. Since I'm doing all this on new construction I would love to go Hardwire but I want to use the wiring system that the EDT system does. Are their any other options? Also the i-LiNE does communicate with the M1G correct?

EDIT:
Ok so it would seem that EDT only sells through authorized dealers, I dislike that as it seems pricey are there any other similar systems that can be purchased online????
 

royalj7

Active Member
J0be269 said:
Thanks for all of the replies. I have been following up on the information that everyone provided which has just led me to even further distress. I saw where it was recommended to use an EDT i-LiNE lighting controller for a hardwired system, I like the fact that you can traditionally wire your home and use the simple CAT5e pipeline between switches to add lighting automation later. I found the EDT web site, but I haven't found anywhere to look at this hardware online with prices and the like????? Even tried their web site under "where to buy" and it just gives the number to EDT to call them and ask I suppose.

Is there anywhere to purchase this equipment online? Or at least so I can get a cost idea. Since I'm doing all this on new construction I would love to go Hardwire but I want to use the wiring system that the EDT system does. Are their any other options? Also the i-LiNE does communicate with the M1G correct?

EDIT:
Ok so it would seem that EDT only sells through authorized dealers, I dislike that as it seems pricey are there any other similar systems that can be purchased online????
AutomatedOutlet.com has a very good rep on the boards here and is competitive in price. hometech.com is also a great site for ideas and some harder to find things, though they tend to be a bit more pricey.

--Jamie
 

Spanky

Senior Member
A few years ago when we was testing the iLine switches and the power would fail, all the lights came back up in the OFF state when the power came back on. I hope they have fixed this issue, but it is worth checking out. A momentary power glitch would turn off all your lights in the middle of dinner.
The LeGrand OnQ line of switches did not exhibit this issue.
 

ctay

Active Member
J0be269 said:
Is there anywhere to purchase this equipment online? Or at least so I can get a cost idea. Since I'm doing all this on new construction I would love to go Hardwire but I want to use the wiring system that the EDT system does. Are their any other options? Also the i-LiNE does communicate with the M1G correct?

EDIT:
Ok so it would seem that EDT only sells through authorized dealers, I dislike that as it seems pricey are there any other similar systems that can be purchased online????
Check out this thread that I just found about I-line... I don't think it is that expensive (compaired to other hard wire systems).

Chris
 
Something to really think about if you are considering going with one panel to do both security and HA is the complexity of your HA needs. First let me say that I like the idea of going with one panel to do both since you won't have to worry about integration concerns with 2 panels. I am currently using the M1 for both security and what I would say is a moderate level of lighting/automation. I find the M1 and their rules based logic to be a good overall solution. I currently use Insteon for my lighting hardware and powehome for Insteon configuration.

What I am finding is that as my HA needs begin to expand and become more complex I am stretching the capabilities of the M1 and have filled up about 80% of the rules memory capacity. Part of the reason for this is the lack of "OR/Else" capabilities within the rules which leads to repeating alot of the same logic to cover a variety of scenearios. Also I am learning that the HA software solultions have an advatage when it comes to Insteon integration since they can use the Insteon SDK to interface with Insteon and can then inherently utilze some of the capabilties within Insteon that a hardware solution can't (from what I understand). For example, with Insteon you have to use about a 2 delay between lighting commands within the Elk rules (this is alot of programming) because the M1 doesn't have the same features that are built into the SDK to que up the Insteon requests while waiting for previous requests to be confirmed. Also, the lighting confiuration capabilities within the M1 for Insteon are very basic and I need a software solution to manage the lighting network anyway.

I think for me the ideal solution is shifting to a combination of the M1 and some automation software (yet to be determined).

Matt
 

DavidL

Senior Member
that is true Matt.
another archtecture strategy to consider is for streaming of the camera video. MainLobby natively supports cameras that are plugged into the client PC, and there is also a streaming video / audio plugin in beta to distribute the camera shots anywhere on the network (including via the Internet).
Best strategy IMHO is blended between and ELK or HAI and a PC based software system. Best of both worlds.
 

J0be269

New Member
Thanks to everyone for the input. I think I will be going with the M1G and the EDT lighting system(if I can ever get a reply from EDT that is). My next question is enclosure......is there something that I can put all of this in, including also my tv distrubition and telephone/data distrbution. Such as an OnQ panel? What size do you think would be right and will all of this equipment bolt into an OnQ enclosure?
 

sic0048

Senior Member
As far as enclosures, etc...

I think most people will use a combination of enclosures (like OnQ or Vision Channel, etc) as well as a 19" equipment rack to hold things like amplifiers (whole house audio), patch panels, computer equipment, and other things.

I think you should get the biggest enclosures your space can handle. Look at Electron's set up and he has 2 50" enclosures and at least two more smaller enclosures. Even then he has had to stack components on each other to make it all fit. I actually like the stacking idea and will probably incorporate it into my set up.

Electron's set up:
http://www.mydotsoft.com/products/my.Galle...nHome%20-%20tmp

Other people will forgo the enclosure and simply use a piece of plywood to mount everything to. There is really no right or wrong answer as long as you use some method to safely mount the equipment where it can be easily serviced and kept up in a neat and orderly fashion (OK, some of us never get to the neat and orderly fashion, but wire management should be a big priority).
 
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