Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22

Thread: New installation - heating, presence and pets

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    26

    Default New installation - heating, presence and pets

    Hi to all

    I have been corresponding with Karam about a new Idratek installation. I originally came to Idratek after finding this forum when searching for heating control automation.

    We are soon to be installing central heating (radiators from a coal fired boiler) into our home in New Zealand (and no, the South Island of New Zealand is not warm in winter, sub zero outside temperatures most nights, with no existing heating in an edwardian house).

    For slightly more than the cost of a basic 2 zone control system in New Zealand, and quite a lot my time laying cable etc, we can have individual radiator control via Idratek.

    However, we would quite like to consider adding more automation in the future. So i have been thinking about which temperature sensor to install. It would make sense to have a PLT or LTS rather than a simple DTS (I am unlikely to be allowed to have more than 1 sensor/room by SWMBO). Possibly with the sensors remotely mounted in the more appearance critical locations, which after discussion with Karam seems DIYable.

    We also have 2 very active kittens and 2 small children. So my question (got there eventually) is:

    what success have others had with pet immune PIRs (I have read one post that suggested they were slower than the Idratek ones and not that good at small children - both of the children are under 20kg) and/or how well does using the standard Idratek PIRs cope with cats? So would we be better of with the Idratek PIRs or some 3rd party - any recommendation? A further complication is that my wife is a musician and very noise sensitive so the click of relays in a 3rd party PIR probably wouldn't do down very well.

    Thanks

    Thomas

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

    Default

    Can't comment about using pet immune PIRs with Idratek. But we have installed them as standard when we have done alarm installs. The Visonic ones are excellent, either their wireless or wired ones we have done both. One client had a cat, and it never once triggered the alarm. Another client has 3 cats and 2 Jack Russels. And one of the cats launched it self at the PIR from a cupboard and set the alarm off. The cupboard wasn't there during the initial install. Moved the cupboard and no more problems.
    Be careful when using the ones that use a removable lens cover, this is usually a piece of plastic which has a slot in it, and you just rotate it or take it off depending on what you want, not as reliable. The Visonic ones don't have this.
    Last edited by toscal; 7th March 2010 at 03:10 PM.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    26

    Default

    Thanks Toscal. I had already seem your recommendation in another thread and had bookmarked a local supplier :-)

    We barely need a burglar alarm as the area we live in has a low crime rate. In fact, when we moved in, 2 of the doors did not lock, one was pushed shut and did not even have a latch, showing how seriously the previous owners took security.

    What I was interested in finding out was if my children will trigger the pet immune sensors - for example the visonic K9-80 says pet immune to up to 38kg but I am a bit concerned that at 15kg (an only about the hieght of a medium sized dog) and 20kg my children won't trigger the sensors and presence sensing will fail! So a few false triggers from a cat (ours are unlikely to ever be heavier than 5 or 6kg) might be less annoying than not ever triggering for a toddler mistaken for a pet by the sensor. Probably not normally a problem for security PIRs as a 15kg, <3 foot tall person is unlikely to be breaking into your house.

  4. #4
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Near Alicante Spain
    Posts
    2,010

    Default

    Unless your animals learn to walk on their hind legs all the time or your children crawl everywhere then it shouldn't be a problem. Mind you knowing my kids they would crawl just see if they can get into a room without the sensor being triggered, but at least it would keep them quiet.
    The way the Visonic sensors work, is that their field of view is divided into zones. So an animal can be thought of 1 zone high by 2 zones wide. A child would be 2 zones high and 1 zone wide. Also if this zoning pattern starts 1m off the ground then it must be a pet unless you have got ninjas in the house. The larger the pet the more problems you get as it starts to cover zones that it thinks only humans can cover. This is a very simplistic over view of how it actually works, but I think you get the general idea. Visonic guard their protocols etc like a country guards its firing codes for nukes. So you will probably find them on a laptop in a train
    Last edited by toscal; 8th March 2010 at 01:36 PM.
    IF YOU CAN'T FIX IT WITH A HAMMER, YOU'VE GOT AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM.
    www.casatech.eu Renovation Spain Blog

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Posts
    26

    Default

    That sounds good. My 3 year old thinks she might be a cat at the moment so does spend quite a bit of time crawling around. In terms of what presence sensing might achieve, she can't reach the light switches (unless she drags a chair over) anyway.

  6. #6
    Automated Home Sr Member MrFluffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    79

    Default

    what if you sit still, do the pir's stop registering the presence?
    I ask because I had x10 pir's switching lights in another install, and still have vivid memories of sitting on the loo waving my arms to trigger the presence pir into turning the light back on...

  7. #7
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    818

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MrFluffy View Post
    what if you sit still, do the pir's stop registering the presence?
    I ask because I had x10 pir's switching lights in another install, and still have vivid memories of sitting on the loo waving my arms to trigger the presence pir into turning the light back on...
    No, if you have a sufficiently sensorised system (e.g. at least a PIR in each room) Cortex will infer occupancy even if you sit still. Additional sensors such as door sensors (if you are in the habit of closing doors) and other types of sensors such as active IR or beam break types can help improve the accuracy/speed of the inference. Some less obvious sources inherently feed into the occupancy inference - for example pressing a button tells Cortex that there must be someone at the button location.

  8. #8
    Automated Home Sr Member MrFluffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    79

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Karam View Post
    No, if you have a sufficiently sensorised system (e.g. at least a PIR in each room) Cortex will infer occupancy even if you sit still. Additional sensors such as door sensors (if you are in the habit of closing doors) and other types of sensors such as active IR or beam break types can help improve the accuracy/speed of the inference. Some less obvious sources inherently feed into the occupancy inference - for example pressing a button tells Cortex that there must be someone at the button location.

    So how would sufficiently sensorising the bathroom fix this? Since you wont be moving for x minutes (x being variable between humans!) surely both the pir's would just not see any input and whatever logic is watching them has to decide what to do in the situation, ie best guess someones still in there.

    I can see a situation where this would be the wrong decision for the logic, opening the bathroom door without closing it for example just to change a loo roll or empty the bin quick, would the door sensors then report that they hadnt seen a re-opening event and leave the light or heating on all day overriding the pirs which are saying nobodys there?

    You could say "when pir bathroom triggers, watch for event in pir hall indicating the person has come back out before timing out" in whatever logic way you choose, but even that I think will result in odd situations, for example someone else walks down the hall while your in there, so the sensor logic decides you've come back out and switches off the heating zone. Even beam breakers cant say which direction you were going in...

    Maybe for that zone you could say "when the lights on, switch the trv on". But what about during daylight hours, I only turn my lighting on at night but ive had a soak during the day and has been known to fall asleep in there. On the bathroom I spawned watchdog processes which watched the pir statuses for a set duration then took a second decision if it was still reporting occupancy after a period (I think 40 mins from memory, that was my old house), I assume cortex lets you do stuff like this too. Its a sensible timeout because by then someone will probably be wondering why its gone quiet in there and why your not outside putting some fence up or doing the garden. Dont want it too quick as it might be my wife snoozing while Im downstairs looking at motorcycles on ebay

    And then to a second case of bedrooms, your going to be still in bed, so you want to not have them under desensitized pir occupancy control, but your not going to want to heat empty rooms but you cant take the lighting input as the trigger to keep the zone on because people sleep with the light off.
    So how do you decide someones asleep, but without having the family pet nipping in the spare room causing that zone to stay on all night?

    I think they're valid situations to think about, and its more about the logic than whatever HA system you finally get to implement it, because only when you've decided the behaviour of how you want things work can you actually decide if system xyz matches your requirements.

  9. #9
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    201

    Default

    We have both a cat and children and have used cheap pet-immune PIRS, Honeywell Activ8. They have varying sizes for the pet down to IIRC 10kgs, which seemed to suit cats better than some which suited large dogs more. In the rooms where they are I've removed the DFP/MFP PIR from influencing occupancy.

    These worked very well for the old cat we had but when she was replaced with a kitten, they haven't worked as well. I suspect its because the cat jumps onto the table/work tops.

    In the future I will be replacing the Activ8s with dual tech sensors which cost about 5 times as much, but are supposed to work much better even with jumping/ climbing cats.

    HTH
    JonS
    Last edited by JonS; 9th March 2010 at 07:38 PM.
    JonS

  10. #10
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    201

    Default

    @Mr Fluffy
    You raise a number of good scenarios. My experience is that in rooms where I've had odd behaviour I've been able to tune it out largely. Its not perfect in every respect but I'm not into writing complex macros to supplement the built in logic.

    In the case of popping into a room, cortex reliably works out where people are. If a door is closed Cortex wipes out presence on both sides of the door until it can work out where people are. Occasionally presence is registered incorrectly but I've thought about where to supplement the sensors

    e.g. In our open plan kitchen / living space I have just purchased a beam break device to act as a "virtual door" as at the moment occupancy flits from one room to the other. This is fine when there is lots of activity but can lead to a sofa dweller being plunged into darkness while someone busies themselves in the kitchen. With teh virtual door the shifting of even sedentary person is enought to trigger the PIR and hopefully occupancy won' t occilate between rooms. The next step will be to add pressure mats in the sofa - I'llbe using some structured wiring ports to bring the signal back to a DI in Node 0.

    For me this underlines the importance ofthinking really hard about the sensor layout at the start and the cables needed. Flood wiring should IMO include sensor cables for PIR, door beam break and windows etc as well as data / HDMI etc. Wireless is helpful but much more expensive.
    2p
    JonS

Posting Permissions

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