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Thread: System Implementation Advice

  1. #1
    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    Default System Implementation Advice

    Hi Guys,

    Iím in the process of renovating my house and am taking the opportunity run the data/ comms connections to all the places that I think I would need them. Iíve managed to find a good deal on CAT6 cable so have decided to go with that and am going to have the comms cabinet in the loft. So all in all things are moving along.

    Iíve managed to convince my wife that HA is a wonderful thing and will help make life easier, save energy , blah, blah Ö blah. The problem Iím having is that she hates the look of the Idratek control panels. So Iíve been thinking about how to get round this hurdle and have come up with the following and would appreciate any advice you may have.

    1. Try and butcher the panels (e.g. QBI001) to look nicer by using different buttons and face plate. I'm not too keen on this idea and very much doubt it would actually look any better after I'm done.

    2. Make my own face plates (CLICK ME) that match the ones which we are planning to use around the house and then use some nice buttons (CLICK ME) (possibly with illuminated rings) and have the contacts running back to Node-I (which I'm still trying to find a place for) via CAT5 cable (because I'll have 8 cores so could potentially have 7 switches per cable and it's cheap) into a ODI001 and then have QRI002s and QRH001s to do the actual switching. This does mean that I'm going to have to run extra mains lighting cable from Node-I to all my lights but this is not too much of an issue as I have most of the house torn apart as it is. It also gives me an easy roll back solution (put the old switches back in and switch the wires at the light source).

    3. Pretty much the same as the above with regards to the face plates but instead of the QRI002s and QRH001s, have ODO001s at Node-I and then have a mains rated relay at the light source (in the ceiling) to turn the lights on and off. Ideally I'd like to use a pulse activated relay so it doesn't need to be powered all the time during operation. i.e. 1 pulse to turn it on and another pulse to turn it off but I haven't really found anything along those lines yet. In the event of needing a dimmable switch then I'd have to locate an Idratek module in the ceiling.

    I'm open to suggestions on how to proceed and the longer I let this drag the more like the wife is going to turn around and say get the damn house finished and forget about the HA stuff ... lol. So all ideas and suggestions will be considered.

    Also ... does anyone have any good ideas on how to turn the power on and off at a 13A socket using Idratek gear? I'd like to be able to turn off all devices from the socket when they are not being used (i.e. I arm the alarm to leave the house and all non-essential devices will be powered off at the socket and then only be powered back on when the device is needed.

    Thanks in advance.
    Nad

  2. #2
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    Hi Nad,

    I have found that DRBs in white are not that offensive in situ. Perhaps it's worth buying one and mounting it to a wall switch position to see. However, if you are meeting an irresistible force ...

    I think we have all considered re-casing the MFP at some point, but I don't think it is realistic. Given that there are potentially mains voltages hanging around behind the panels you would need to know what you are doing.

    So you probably have to go for off the shelf switches and run them to logic level inputs such as the ODI. Don't forget that DIN relay units such as QRIs also have logic level inputs, so you may be able to save money on ODIs. My reservation with this scheme is that you will need to be careful about noise pickup with your wiring and total length of wiring. If you are retaining mains cabling to switch positions for fall back reasons you also need to consider separation of the cabling. You also lose the ability to use the LEDs for feedback on operating state.

    To really get the full benefits of the Idratek system you also need to be thinking about door switches and PIRs for presence, thermal sensors for heating control (and actuators) and possibly window switches for security/heating.

    To switch power at a 13A socket you can either use the SRH module adjacent to the socket (so perhaps have a twin box and a single outlet). The SRH is wired as a spur to the ring. Or, if you can get away with it aesthetically, you can add an SRH + socket as a spur to existing socket. Idratek have some apps notes covering this on their website.

    The alternative is to wire individual feeds to particular sockets and switch them using a DIN mounted relay unit centrally.

    You can also take this approach for dedicated lighting sockets if you tend to use side lamps - including the option to use the DIN mounted dimmer.

    Don't forget to think about curtain automation and include the facility to wire it in later.
    ----------------------
    www.gumbrell.com

  3. #3
    Automated Home Guru Nad's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick response Grumby

    I've already installed a Texecom Prem 48 (after advice from your self and a few others on here) with PIRs in all the rooms and door sensor on the front door. I'll be putting door sensors on all the other doors along with 2 pressure mats on the stairs so cortex can tell the direction of travel on the stairs (I haven't been able to get an optimum balance for the location of the PIRs in the hallway).

    Ultimately I'm aiming to have sensors on all the windows too but I'm going to wait till I change the windows before I implement that so I can hide the sensors and connections. I'll also be installing light and temp sensors in all the rooms, which reminds me of a question I've been meaning to ask ... is there any way of compensating the temperature against the height of the sensor? Ideally I'm looking to place the sensors on the ceiling but want to know what the temp is at about 1.5m off the floor.

    Initially I was planning to control the radiators from a central control point on each floor with an electric distribution manifold but the length of pipe runs and costs involved made me ditch that idea. So I plan to have RVA001s in all the rooms (except bathroom and Hallway). So I'll be leaving a RJ45 connection running back to Node-I near the existing TRVs so I will be able to just plug the RVAs in when I get round to getting them.

    I've also decided to use the Vaillant VR430 to control the heating timing and the advanced features of the boiler. I'm looking for a way to have cortex control heating timings and have the VR430 control the settings for the boiler but not having much luck with that at the moment.

    I had completely forgotten about the curtain automation though, but I will make sure that I leave connections for that too.

    Going back to my original issue ... It's safe to say I'm facing an irresistible force so I think running wires from a central point would be the best option. The wire runs from the switches to Node-I won't be too long and if need be I can opt for shielded cat5, but this does mean Node-I will have to be somewhere central (and not too far from the original CU) ... this just leaves the under stairs cupboard where the Texecom and the existing CU lives which means there are going to be lots of mains cable running round that area. So with that in mind STP cable may not be such a bad idea. Another concern is having so many mains cable in such close vicinity to each other, will this be an issue?

    Thanks again.

  4. #4
    Automated Home Guru jpdw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nad View Post
    Going back to my original issue ... It's safe to say I'm facing an irresistible force so I think running wires from a central point would be the best option. The wire runs from the switches to Node-I won't be too long and if need be I can opt for shielded cat5, but this does mean Node-I will have to be somewhere central (and not too far from the original CU) ... this just leaves the under stairs cupboard where the Texecom and the existing CU lives which means there are going to be lots of mains cable running round that area. So with that in mind STP cable may not be such a bad idea. Another concern is having so many mains cable in such close vicinity to each other, will this be an issue?
    If you find the cable length is too long (as Gumby suggests you might find), the another alternative might be to find somewhere nearer your button panel where you could mount the idratek unit you're wiring the buttons to. This unit would need to be on Idranet but the Idranet signal will run over a longer distance better than the switch inputs (even though it's the same cable). The unit could be hidden in a cupboard etc, so putting it out of sight of your wife.
    Jon

  5. #5
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Nad,

    Have you considered the recently introduced DFP-H02 as user interface points (As well as providing a bunch of sensors and more useful than you might think audio functions)?

    Cortex does have a facility for creating an offset output from temperature sensors as well as applying a dynamic filter to this, but you should bear in mind that temperatures in a room can vary across all dimensions and the gradations themselves will vary depending on inside and outside conditions. Consistency and good signal to noise is probably more important than absolute values.

    Cortex has pretty extensive HVAC management and temperature control including 24/7 occupied and non occupied temperature profiling on any number of individual zones/rooms, outside temperature compensation for each of these and even more subtle stuff like ability to use average or min/max of groups of sensors. It also has a separate hot water control structure which allows setting of different temperatures at different times of the day. But I imagine your question is how do you then connect this through to the boiler. With more traditional boilers its a case of relays switching the boiler demand input (Cortex pretends its the thermostat), but I'm not sure how this fits into the system you're describing since I can see that it has elements of eBUS in it. So does the VR430 take in the information from the temperature sensors and then provide a simple signal to demand boiler heat but only use eBUS for more elaborate stuff such as setting the boiler circulation temperature for example? Or is it all done via eBUS?

    Karam

  6. #6
    Automated Home Sr Member n07tv's Avatar
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    I remember seeing some nice face plates at the Smart Home Show from Ivory Egg ... http://www.ivoryegg.co.uk/welcome.htm

    These may be of use to interface to IDRATEK digital input modules hence creating a switch input.

    Neil.

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