Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26

Thread: Newbie saying hello... and starting to ask questions :-)

  1. #1
    Automated Home Sr Member ludditeal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    57

    Default Newbie saying hello... and starting to ask questions :-)

    Thought I had better de-lurk as I will probably end up asking lots of questions in the near future...

    Have been a UKHA subscriber for at least 9 years (looking at the vast mail stash) and attended the meeting in Hatfield where karam and Vivian unveiled Idratek on the HA audience.

    Having recently moved into a cottage which requires a total re-wire I have decided to go down the Idratek route for the automation needs. Planning on lighting and heating control as the starting point.

    The first sub-project I am planning will be the drive lights and this is based on an idea that Chris proposed in the forum. What I hope to achieve is...

    There will be 5 driveway lights fitted with dimmable CFL bulbs. Initially I plan for these to come on at a fixed starting time but hopefully later move to a light sensor triggered start. I will want them to run at a dimmed level say 25%. There will then be 2 PIR's, 1 at the top and one at the bottom of the drive. When these are triggered the light level for the CFLs should go to 100% for a fixed time period, say 15 mins before dropping back to the base level. For the added compexity twist, at 01:00 in the morning the lights should go off all-together, but retain the ability to be triggered by the PIRs if movement is detected.

    I have ordered the starter kit from Idratek with the addition of quad dimmer module which was delivered very promptly this morning and I have got a one month demo of Cortex which I will turn into a full licence when I work out which of the options I need/want!

    I have ordered the following PIR's http://tinyurl.com/a3wfkw which have a volt free contact but the minimum closure time seems to be 5 seconds.

    Anyone see any problems with my plans? From my first play with Cortex I am not sure that I can do the light shut off at 01:00 which wouldn't be the end of the world.

    Regards
    Allan

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    North Lancashire
    Posts
    1,674

    Default

    hello, and good luck ...

    thanks for the reminder, too - we need to order those Varilights, 'though before we can we have to choose which sort to go-for - dimmer-dimmable or switch-dimmable (the latter maybe more of a challenge from an Idratek control point of view, but would also allow - IIUC - easier local / manual intervention) ...

    looking through the Idratek price list the other day, I noticed the quad dimmer for the first time - is it new, or did I just miss it ?

    I'm pretty sure switching-off at 1:00 whilst allowing the PIRs still to do there job must be easy, with Idratek ... even more complicated arrangements, too, I would have thought ...

    Hatfield ... we went to the UKHA 2004 do, too ... was when we discovered Idratek (& xAP), 'though I think we missed the Idratek presentation (either that, or it was all so new to us we were punch-drunk) ... funny, just now, we're having a clear-up, and I found the delegate papers for the do deep in a pile of papers that need sorting !

    Chris
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 9th January 2009 at 02:50 PM.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Sr Member ludditeal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    57

    Default

    Was in B&Q today and they had some new dimmable CFL's which have just come in (weren't there on Monday)... can't remember what the name was but began with G at 8 each and a label "Packed for B&Q" so the market is expanding (was also interesting that they also claimed to be the 1st dimmable CFL from normal dimmer switches which we know isn't true!!). They looked to be BC fitting only and the bollard I am going for is ES.

    I think Idratek have had the quad dimmer for quite some while if always.

    I was also hoping to do some of the dimmer smarts by Reflex for times when I am playing with Cortex in the early stages so a good opportunity to learn :-)
    Regards
    Allan

  4. #4
    Automated Home Sr Member ludditeal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    57

    Default

    Have just found them...

    Govena which look to be Polish

    http://www.govena.com/KKen/CFL_DIMM.pdf

    Also seems Screwfix are selling dimmable CFLs but more expensive..

    http://www.screwfix.com/prods/59891/...immable-BC-20W

    Regards
    Allan

  5. #5
    Automated Home Sr Member n07tv's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    52

    Default

    Allan,

    Cortex is extremely powerful and not all the solutions are immediately obvious.

    Apart from a whole range of inbuilt functions, 2 very simple tools I use a lot of are extremely useful. The Event scheduler is simply a calendar in which you can configure virtually anything to do anything when you want anything done, I have mine set up for recycling reminders, test smoke alarms, auto everything off at 2am (just in case), running a small greenhouse for plants (lights and heating) etc etc. the other great tool is the macro where you cn set a sequence of events to play out and then trigger the macro on an event.

    I think you will find this forum very useful and everyone has a way of doing something with IDRATEK stuff. The technical support from both Viv and Karam is also very good and they are often the first to reply on the forums.

    Hope that helps.
    Neil

  6. #6
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    North Lancashire
    Posts
    1,674

    Default

    no idea about the G... lamps, but we have found there to be a lot of variation in the quality of CFLs, brand to brand ... many go dim over time (we've been tempted to throw them out well before half-life), some get slower to come-up as time goes on, and a good many have failed before even 1000 hours (eg: half the ones we have in the bollards at the moment) ... while others are just fine ... best we've had have been Philips long-life, but we've far from tried them all ! Recent Which? reports say much as we've found, but SFAIK they've not tested dimmable ones ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 9th January 2009 at 07:48 PM.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    North Lancashire
    Posts
    1,674

    Default

    the spec' for the Govena lamps looks pretty good, especially for bollard use ...

    BTW, our bollards are ES, too ...

  8. #8
    Automated Home Guru jpdw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    168

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ludditeal View Post
    Have just found them...

    Govena which look to be Polish

    http://www.govena.com/KKen/CFL_DIMM.pdf

    Also seems Screwfix are selling dimmable CFLs but more expensive..

    http://www.screwfix.com/prods/59891/...immable-BC-20W

    Regards
    Allan
    Slightly OT from the main topic but I bought one of these from Screwfix a couple of months ago. It seemed to have a noticable buzz which was rather too annoying. That said, if you dont mind the buzz it did seem to have a reasonable brightness curve. Not the finished article yet, but at least it's proof that at least some manufacturers are trying to answer the dimmable requirement as opposed to govt which seems to be killing the only working solution before there's a replacement.
    Jon

  9. #9
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Eastbourne, UK
    Posts
    603

    Default

    My favourite TLC-Direct have the varilights available as well as some Megaman

    http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Ind...CFL/index.html

    I actually sent an email to Megaman once to ask about the switching capability of their CFLs (I've often found cheap CFL don't like regular switching), they responded with technical details which read very well (something like >100,000 switches) led me to buying some.

    You can also get dimmable LEDs but they will be expensive to produce good light, with a good beam spread as this is cutting edge

  10. #10
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Near Alicante Spain
    Posts
    2,010

    Default

    LED lighting is coming down in price all the time,and as the lifetime of the led bulbs is around 50000 hours. You have basically a fit once and forget solution. Apart from the odd hiccup you shouldn't have to change an LED bulb, assuming an on time of 8 hours a day, for 17 years. Which is at least 3 times longer than most CFLs. They also consume a lot less power.
    If you are going the LED route be careful when selecting bulbs. As not all 3 watt LED bulbs are the same. Some use 20 leds and are rubbish (also very cheap) others use 3x1w Cree or Edison p4 LEDs, and are the ones to go for.
    IF you want to go for the more custom type install, then the LED lighting strips or rope that connect to a controller is another way. Many of these controllers can also dim the led strips, and come with a nice looking stick remote. Some controllers are also DMX compatible which makes controlling by computer easier. Use some RGB stips and you could have the drive way in a nice soft yellow (yellow doesn't attract the insects as much as a white light) which could gradually change to white when you drive up. And then should there be an intruder you could get the lights to flash red.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •