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  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Yet another 'just starting out' question!

    Hi,

    I'm about to do a complete re-wire in my house and I don't want to miss the opportunity to do a spot of automation.

    I don't think I can really afford the cost of CBUS stuff or similar, so I've been looking at the other end of the scale at X10.

    I've spent quite a while searching the various forums (of which this is the most helpful so far) but there are some areas I'm still not clear on. I'm sorry if I'm asking daft questions...


    I should explain what I want to do:

    Lights:
    I want to be able to control lights in each room (a variety of 12v halogens and dimmable energy saving stuff I think).

    Heating:
    I'd like to be able to integrate the heating into this - in a basic way at first. I'm considering more localised control in the future with individually controlled radiator thermostats like the Z-wave ones just out. Is it possible to easily integrate Zwave with X10? Or, is there a better way to deal with heating control more natively to X10?

    Security:
    I also want to integrate security - basic CCTV and access control, and also possibly use motion sensors to trigger events.

    Software and Macros:
    I realise I need some kind of computer interface and software to manage more complicated events - I'd like to be able to create macros which respond to the doorbell etc. I'd also like to create macros for various things which may be triggered from the tv remote, a switch in the hallway or motion sensors.

    Controlling it all:
    I want to be able to control all of this in a variety of ways - I want local light switches in the usual places, but also the option to control the system from a one-for-all style remote, and ideally via my laptop/desktop computers.

    Something I haven't managed to work out with X10 so far- there are some locations where I have only one light but would like a dual switch so that one switch could control the light and another could be used to trigger a macro.. is this possible or do all switches have to be linked to a specific light?



    As far as the reliability of X10 is concerned - I've read (somewhere on this forum) that I should install a whole house filter which I will definitely do, but I am interested in people's views on the reliability of the new X10^2 stuff. Is this the same as the X10 Domia branded range?

    Are there alternatives to X10 which I should look at? I’ve seen a lot of comment on the US forums about Insteon – but am I right in thinking that it’s not available in the UK?

    I'm sorry so many questions, I'm very grateful for any help anyone can give me.

    Thanks
    toast0r

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Welcome to the wonderful world of Home Automation. Warning its very addictive.

    Lets see:
    Definitely fit a whole house filter.
    Lighting - X10 can do this. But be wary that some transformers can't be dimmed, and the energy saving bulbs can cause interference with the X10 signal. Though the fitting of a local filter can prevent this interference. The new X10^2 modules are a definite improvement over the older type. While I haven't actually used their micro modules we install something similar which we call a mini-module its about 2mm thicker, slightly cheaper and has the same spec. These have all worked very well. We are also developing a special adapter so that either the micro modules or our mini modules can be Din rail mounted.
    Heating can be controlled via a digimax thermostat, This can be coupled with an SC9100 alarm panel and your heating controlled via this. Up to 4 separate zones can be set up with the panel. You could use mains operated valves for each rad, and link them to appliance modules.
    Security - The Sc9100 panel will give you basic security functions, and has a built in telephone dialler, so it will phone you when the alarm triggers, also you can phone the alarm and switch lights on or off. We also do a GSM module for this unit, though it doesn't support SMS messaging.
    CCTV and access control. What sort of access control are you thinking of. And what type of CCTV system where you thinking of. Do you want to be able to access it via the internet, see it on your TV. How do you want to record the images etc.
    To control it all, basic control functions can be done from the SC9100 panel. You can set up timers, there is also a random event timer which will turn something on around a set time I think its plus/minus 30 minutes of the stated time.
    For more advanced control you have 2 choices PC based and non-pc based. I used and recommend the Homevision controller www.csi3.com This is a non-pc based system, though it does require a PC to program, and uses an XM10 interface rather than the CM11 or CM12. Homeseer www.homeseer.com is a PC based application which is very good.
    If you require somewhere between basic and advanced control then the Active home software that comes with the CM11 or CM12 is not bad. Its not great and the Clock in the Cm11 loses quite a lot, over a period of 6 months it can lose about 45 minutes.
    What about structured wiring have you though about this.
    If you require more info or brochures etc, just PM me and I can send them to you.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Thanks for your rapid reply!

    So I’ve had a look online and I’ve so far found the Digimax thermostat and an SC9000 panel (can’t find the SC9100 – is there a difference?) – how do I then use the outputs from the panel – presumably I need up to 4 thermostats and the same number of radiator valves? Any recommendations on specific valves which are compatable?

    As far as CCTV is concerned, I’ve had a look at the software that you can now get in the Domia range; it uses a PC and will work with a variety of cameras, both capture cards and USB stuff I think. I haven’t thought through access control really yet – I’d quite like a couple of relay activated doors, though not sure whether I want keyfobs, code entry or whatever. Is that something the SC9000/SC9100 can handle?

    I’ll have a look at Homevision – I want to be able to get quite complex with macros and stuff, but I’m not sure whether I want to rely on a PC being on all the time. Do you know whether the CM12’s clock is more accurate? What about the CM15Pro?

    As far as wiring – I’ve thought a little about this but I don’t yet know enough to make an educated decision. At the moment I’m thinking of wiring it in the traditional manner, though with a few more loops (rather than just upstairs lights, downstairs lights etc, more like lounge, kitchen, office, bedrooms, bathroom). I’m definitely open to better ideas though if this sounds like nonsense.

    Thanks for your help with this.

    toast0r

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Homevision can handle very complex macros, and conditional macros. To give you an idea I have one macro which control my pool pump. I have it set up so that when its summer it comes on 3 times day for about 2 hours each time. Then during the rest of the year it automatically changes to only about 3 hours a day. I can also if need be cycle the pump for 24 hours and then it will switch back to the normal settings. All this is done via Homevision. And if you couple it with Schelte's version of the Homevision software you can get quite a good looking touchscreen control setup. Have a look here http://hv.tclcode.com/
    I posted a few of my LCARS screens on the homevision forum here.
    There are differences between the SC9000 and the 9100 The SC9100 can't remember off hand, but I think they have a slightly better setup for the Digimax theremostats.
    For rad control you can have more than 1 valve per thermostat. You just set your appliance modules to the same house and unit number. As long as the valve uses mains operated, and it can handle the temp then it should be OK
    Have a look here www.betavalve.com and here http://www.idratek.com/public/datasheets/RVA001_DS.pdf
    For CCTV I would go for a standalone Hard disc recorder with network connectivity. Depending on type they normally allow for at least 4 cameras to be connected, some can handle upto 16.
    Last edited by toscal; 16th February 2008 at 11:09 PM.

  5. #5
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    Default Digimax

    Thanks for your help so far. The plumbers are in this week, and I'm getting a bit confused with the various options for heating control. Am I right in thinking that the most basic thing would be-

    Digimax 210 Thermostat -> SC9100 -> Digimax 210 Receiver?

    How does that link to the combi? Does the receiver have a relay or does it trigger an X10 module?

    Toscal: I've read elsewhere that you supply a re-badged SC9100 - are there any differences with this unit?

    Can all of this then be linked in to the rest of the X10 control? I haven't yet chosen the software, but I want to be able to use macros and other sensors to control the heating.

    I've also been looking at the Danfoss Z-wave radiator thermostats, and they're pretty difficult to track down at the moment it seems. I can't get them in time for the install this week so I'm going to have to fit them afterwards - a bit annoying, but it does mean that I can wait and see how other people get on with them first!

    Thanks everyone
    toast0r

  6. #6
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast0r View Post
    Am I right in thinking that the most basic thing would be-

    Digimax 210 Thermostat -> SC9100 -> Digimax 210 Receiver?
    This is not correct, the Digimax receiver is used if you want a stand alone thermostat controller. What you need is a digimax210-->SC9100-->X10 module (connected to the boiler). The setback temp is set in the SC9100.
    I know there are quite few differences berween the SC9100 and 9000, and one is with heating control, the 9100 has slightly better heating control. If you want I can email you the manual for the sc9100. Just pm me.
    I would also allow for the possibility of using mains valve actuators, just in case , this would mean a small conduit near each rad valve location, going to a suitable location. These actuators could then be controlled via X10.

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