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Thread: Getting Started

  1. #1
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    Default Getting Started

    Hi folks.
    Having some quiet time at work over the last few days so been looking into (dreaming) about Home Automation. New to all this so bear with my naivety.

    It's a new build.
    I want to automate the lighting & distribute Audio\Video throughout the house.
    I 'd like to have a central contol point (NodeZero) in my garage (about 60ft from house) containing audio\video server plus whatever other hardware is required.

    I've read that it's recommended to install a minimum of 2 CAT5 & 2 Co-ax to each room for Data\TV\Phone etc..

    But what of the lighting systems?
    Do I need to route control cables (CAT5) to individual light switches?
    And, how does this work..I'm sitting on my couch and want to dim lights using a remote. Is the remote signal somehow sent to the garage to a 'control module' which in turn sends back a signal (via CAT5) to the light switch to dim?

    Or is it done differently depending on the brand of modules?

    Will be a while before I buiild but planning now so I know what to expect.
    Thanks in advance for any pointers.

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    Anyone?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane79 View Post
    I've read that it's recommended to install a minimum of 2 CAT5 & 2 Co-ax to each room for Data\TV\Phone etc..
    Yup, still good basic advice. The newer foam-filled coax is better than CT100 these days though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shane79 View Post
    But what of the lighting systems?
    Do I need to route control cables (CAT5) to individual light switches?
    Not for a budget system like X10 (power line) or Z-Wave (Wireless), But yes for a more professional "bus" lighting system like CBus or EIB.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shane79 View Post
    And, how does this work..I'm sitting on my couch and want to dim lights using a remote. Is the remote signal somehow sent to the garage to a 'control module' which in turn sends back a signal (via CAT5) to the light switch to dim?
    Depends on the system. In most cases in a new build the actual dimmer module will be in Node Zero or your meter box so your remote will be communicating with it over the powerlines, CAT5 (IR) or Wirelessly.

    Have you read the wiring guide?
    http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/Conte...ing-Guide.html

    M.

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    Thanks Otto-Mate.

    I did have a quick read through the wiring guide but I'll admit to being a bit overwhelmed. Lots of unfamiliar terms etc but I'm understanding the concept (from a distance).
    I must warn you -I have lots of questions..a few of which are below.

    In relation to IR being used for remote control, would each room need an IR receiver hardwired back to NodeZero then? Thus necessitating another Cat5 cable?
    With the Rako system isn't this inbuilt, as in each receiver being capable of replicating the signal to other receivers? Thus no need for additional wiring or installing IR receivers..

    Also - with an X10 system can you control the lights with a locally installed control module in the actual light switch or alternatively by installing X10 Din rail modules (maybe in NodeZero)?

    How does the X10 Din rail module get its signal? You use IR remote in a particular room.. in that same room you have IR receiver plugged into power socket which sends the signal to the DIN module which in turn does whatever action you've set it up for?
    Does this mean that for each room you'd need a plug-in module that intercepts the IR and sends it down the power line?

    I basically want to aim for having the least amount of IR receptors or other plug-in types about the place..

    If you can help I thank you!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane79 View Post
    In relation to IR being used for remote control, would each room need an IR receiver hardwired back to NodeZero then? Thus necessitating another Cat5 cable?
    Thats best. While you can share cores in a single CAT5 cable, for example for IR and a PIR on the alarm system, it's best avoided if you want an easily managed "proper" structured cabling system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shane79 View Post
    With the Rako system isn't this inbuilt, as in each receiver being capable of replicating the signal to other receivers? Thus no need for additional wiring or installing IR receivers.
    I've no experience or the Rako system. It is RF but I'm not sure if its a mesh network as you suggest. No idea on how you control it for "logic" either - example - IF its dark AND there's movement detected on the hall PIR THEN turn on the hall light and start a timer for 5 mins.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shane79 View Post
    Also - with an X10 system can you control the lights with a locally installed control module in the actual light switch or alternatively by installing X10 Din rail modules (maybe in NodeZero)? How does the X10 Din rail module get its signal? You use IR remote in a particular room.. in that same room you have IR receiver plugged into power socket which sends the signal to the DIN module which in turn does whatever action you've set it up for?
    Does this mean that for each room you'd need a plug-in module that intercepts the IR and sends it down the power line?
    We use DIN Rail modules and we still have a switch in each room for each circuit. You can also control them (using the appropriate interface modules) via RF, IR, IP (Web) etc.

    M.

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    X10 gets its signals via the mains wiring. To put it simply X10 superimposes a signal onto the mains. If you need to know more about X10 signals then just ask. And I will write a more detailed description.
    There are X10 modules that can be installed behind light switches and controlled either locally or via a suitable controller. Though you will need momentary switches if the modules have dimming capabilities.
    If you have the chance and can afford to then I can see no harm in running a CAT5 cable to each light switch, try and use a different colour for the CAT5 going to the light switches, e.g. purple. If your running over 300m of Cat5 and its all grey having another colour for the cable going to the switches makes it easier to see what is what. Also run a neutral wire to each switch as well. Makes it easier not just for X10 modules but other systems sometimes require a neutral at the switch module. If you can't afford all this extra cabling just install the conduit, so its easier to do it later. Also check local regulations for wiring as I'm sure there may be a few things to take into consideration.

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    Otto-mate, Toscal - thanks both for your feedback.

    Things are beginning to make sense.
    I think I'll be giving my vote to the X10 Din rail modules..

    Toscal - as far as I can tell if I opt for the in-switch modules from X10 the wall inserts and switches themselves look slightly more bulky? And you have to use actual X10 supplied switches?
    I'll be aiming for a discrete install & would prefer standard wall switches - can normal switches be used with the X10 DIN modules? What about standard dimmer switches? i.e. having a manual option in the room if X10 fails.

    With regard the X10 DIN modules (ok, going to call them X10-DRMs from now on) are these installed by an electrician at the 'source' i.e. a) power cable enters building, b) then to fusebox, c) from fusebox into seperate X10-DRMs each of which controls a zone?

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    "Toscal - as far as I can tell if I opt for the in-switch modules from X10 the wall inserts and switches themselves look slightly more bulky? And you have to use actual X10 supplied switches?" Not strictly true as I was talking about the micro modules. These fit behind the normal switch, though some modules require a momentary switch.
    Oh and normal switches can be used with appliance modules and you need a momentary switch for the lighting Din modues. But depending on where you mount the modules you will need to run cable to the switch and back to the din module.
    In my fuse box I have I breaker for the office lights. This is then connected to the Din Rail modules (all in the same box) and then to the lights. My electrician fitted these when he was wiring the fuse box. So I just gave them to him. They are not difficult to fit but if you uncertain get a professional to do it. Electricity can be dangerous stuff if you don't know what you are doing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    Oh and normal switches can be used with appliance modules and you need a momentary switch for the lighting Din modues.
    So Toscal - if I use DIN modules for lighting then I can presume that I can't use a standard Dimmer switch in the actual room? (as it won't be a momentary switch - are there momentary dimmers available?).
    I'd prefer to have the X10 hardware in place but not use it initially hence my preference for having standard dimmer switches.
    Is there a way for it to just 'pass-through' the Din module when using normal switches?

    Quote Originally Posted by toscal View Post
    In my fuse box I have I breaker for the office lights. This is then connected to the Din Rail modules (all in the same box) and then to the lights.
    This does seem to be what I'm aiming for..but I only want to install the equipment first. Later I'll make use of the X10 functionallity but the significant other half has the 'deciding' vote as to when I go live! I'll want to play but she'll want standard issue!
    Hence the q regarding the use of standard dimmers in conjunction with Din module.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shane79 View Post
    This does seem to be what I'm aiming for..but I only want to install the equipment first. Later I'll make use of the X10 functionallity but the significant other half has the 'deciding' vote as to when I go live! I'll want to play but she'll want standard issue!
    Hence the q regarding the use of standard dimmers in conjunction with Din module.
    Why go to all the expense of buying normal dimmer switches then having to replace them with momentary switches later.
    I would just use momentary switches, these get connected to the lighting modules and one press switches them on and press and hold gives you either Bright or dim. another press and it goes off. The modules are also soft start, so they gradually turn on, to their last dim setting. It took about 5 seconds for my wife to get the hang of the switch in the lounge. I have a lighting micro module installed here, but a Din rail lighting module would do the same.
    Its not possible to use a normal dimmer in conjunction with any X10 module. Unless you wire it like this.
    mains -- X10 appliance module ---- dimmer switch ----- light . So the output of the X10 module is connected to the input of the dimmer switch then the output gets connected to the light. The problem with this is that the X10 module will only switch the light on if the dimmer switch is on., and like wise the dimmer switch will only work if the X10 module is on. Not an ideal situation, and I don't think worth the hassle.
    Last edited by toscal; 4th September 2007 at 01:54 PM.

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