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  1. #1
    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Default Retrofitting Idratek in soon to be our house

    Firstly, hello to everyone here - I think I have read every page on the Idratek site, and every post on this forum - and I think Idratek has drawn me in now, so I have a couple of things I want clearing up before 'taking the plunge'!

    Am I able to wire a Idratek module (If so, which one?) to every double plug socket on the ring mains, so in theory every double socket is controlled (but still locally switched although don't have to be)?

    Also, I have noticed in our soon to be house that theres a light downstairs by the front door, and a light at the top of the stairs. The light at the top of the stairs has a dimmer switch at the top of the stairs, but downstairs has a normal switch which is a double (one switch turns the light by the front door on and off, the other the light at the top). How would I go about changing the light at the top of the stairs to be Idratek controlled whilst also having the light at the bottom also controlled?

    Thanks in advance

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    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Welcome eddr,

    I am in the same position as you retro-fitting Idratek modules to my home. In my situation I am using DRH modules to individually switch two sockets, however this means using four patress fittings, one for a switched fuse spur, one for the DRH and two individual wall sockets, in essence I use the following guide:

    http://www.idratek.com/public/docs/g...RH_modules.pdf

    HTH

    Paul

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    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Paul,

    Thanks for replying - So you are pulling a spur off the ring mains then ?

    Is it possible to do this but not have a spur (have it 'in-line' with the ring) or is this the only way it can be done? If so, that's a shame

    If the above is the case - If Idratek did something like the SRH-002 but with 2 fused 13A relays instead, could you use this?

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    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    Have a look at the DRH-002 that's a SRH-002 but with two 13A relays in the same format.

    I'm 90% sure you're not allowed to connect a 10A relay to a socket as the socket implies it can deliver 13A which obviously it can't.

    EDIT: To be pedantic.....I'm also 90% sure the low voltage wiring for the Idranet in the pdf Paul posted is also now forbidden as it is outside deemed safe zones and so doesn't have the metallic, earthed, protection covering it that cables chased at that depth require. Would hate to see someone wire there house up that way and then have the BCO come round and request it is changed.
    Last edited by Geps; 22nd March 2011 at 10:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Sr Member eddr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geps View Post
    Have a look at the DRH-002 that's a SRH-002 but with two 13A relays in the same format.

    I'm 90% sure you're not allowed to connect a 10A relay to a socket as the socket implies it can deliver 13A which obviously it can't.
    Hi Geps,

    So a DRH-002 would be fit for purpose in controlling a double socket that's on the ring mains ?

    From what I understand, a FCU has to be used if you are using a spur off the ring-mains, is that right ?

  6. #6
    Automated Home Guru Geps's Avatar
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    It's an option but you need the FCU and suitable sockets connected.


    Yes as under UK law when installing a circuit you have to have a means to isolate it from the mains, that's why there is a switch. Then you have to have over current protection, hence the fuse.

    However, you can't control a double socket, only a twin socket - a twin being made up of two singles. If you have a double socket, they have a single terminal for both sockets, so you'd have either both on or both off.

    See how much of a pain retrofitting is

  7. #7
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geps View Post
    H

    I'm 90% sure you're not allowed to connect a 10A relay to a socket as the socket implies it can deliver 13A which obviously it can't.
    I don't think that is correct. Provided that the circuit protection is correctly rated for all components in the circuit you can use what you want. It might be inconvenient but it would be legal. If the 10A fuse in an SRH provides protection for the subsequent components then it is performing the job of the FCU.

    If your argument held you couldn't fit a 5A fuse in a power strip.
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  8. #8
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geps View Post
    EDIT: To be pedantic.....I'm also 90% sure the low voltage wiring for the Idranet in the pdf Paul posted is also now forbidden as it is outside deemed safe zones and so doesn't have the metallic, earthed, protection covering it that cables chased at that depth require. Would hate to see someone wire there house up that way and then have the BCO come round and request it is changed.
    This one is somewhat contentious. I have always interpreted the building regs as identifying "safe" zones for wiring not just from the aspect of avoiding injury if someone were to hammer a nail into mains wiring, but also from the aspect of avoiding damage to any wiring, even where there is no shock hazard. It would be deeply inconvenient to damage your control wiring. So I personally feel that all control cables should be run in safe zones. This creates it's own challenges in terms of preserving isolation form the mains, especially in the back box and also recommended separation distances from mains cables.

    It is one reason why using mains rated insulated CAT5 is helpful. If you separate the low voltage and mains in separate sleeving or conduit then you could provide insulating sleeving to get round the back box issue.

    Whether you _have_ to provide metallic earthed conduit to buried low voltage cables (with no shock hazard) under the building regs I am not sure, but I can certainly see the case of mechanical protection.

    The best thing you can do is use a very genn'ed up sparky who has some experience with wired home automation systems or at least is prepared to discuss what is do-able without too much sucking of the teeth.

    You should rely on professional advice and not what we have written on the InterWebs.
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    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    My final suggestion...

    In a retrofit situation I would consider using an SRH and a single outlet. You can spur this from an existing double socket provided it is on the ring main and it can be done with two single pattresses. The single outlet is limited to 10A, but few household items need this kind of power. Safe zones can work nicely here, since you will wire the mains cabling horizontally from the existing double and can drop the low voltage control cable vertically in the "new"safe zones inline with the Idratek module pattress.

    Remember that you don't want to be changing your control scheme in Cortex all the time, so your controlled socket is likely to be used for fairly static equipment. This approach works well to give controlled outlets for table lamps and the like, and can also be used for powering down equipment with poor or non-existent standby modes, possibly ganging them all up on a power strip.

    For example, I reviewed my TV/Hifi cabinet standby power draw and found all the modern stuff had negligible standby draw, certain items like PVR/Sky that needed power all the time, so might as well be in the standard uncontrolled socket and then just one or two items with noticeable standby power that I could usefully control. So a single controlled socket was adequate in that position.

    If you have lots of heavy current loads, like heaters or things with heaters in them then you might want to review your ring main design anyway.
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  10. #10
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    Did I say finally? I lied

    Quote Originally Posted by eddr View Post

    Also, I have noticed in our soon to be house that theres a light downstairs by the front door, and a light at the top of the stairs. The light at the top of the stairs has a dimmer switch at the top of the stairs, but downstairs has a normal switch which is a double (one switch turns the light by the front door on and off, the other the light at the top). How would I go about changing the light at the top of the stairs to be Idratek controlled whilst also having the light at the bottom also controlled?
    We were having so much fun discussing SRHs and DRHs I don't think the lighting question got answered.

    So I'm guessing that the dimmer controlled light is wired to be "2-way" controlled, that is, you can turn it on and off both at the switch at the bottom and at the dimmer at the top (probably by depressing the dimmer knob).

    The first thing is to understand how 2-way light switches work (time for a bit of ASCII art):

    Code:
                      o---------------------o
    Live -------o                               o--------- BULB ------- Neutral 
                    \ o---------------------o/                        
    
                    SW1                      SW2
    With two way switching both switches are two-way and there are actually two current paths to the bulb (top and bottom in the diagram - usually in a 3core+earth cable). If both switches are up, or both switches are down, current will flow, bulb on etc. If switches are differnt, current can't flow, bulb stays off.

    With IDRATEK control, you don't need this, a single relay unit switches power to the bulb and multiway switching is done by communications over the control wiring as configured by Cortex. This can be done with Reflex as well, so your fallbacks can continue to operate as multiway. This makes multiway switching much easier to wire for, since you don't need the mains wiring between all switch positions.

    Therefore, you could replace the top switch with an SLD dimmer module and the bottom switch with a DRB. Only one relay of the DRB is used, to switch power to the bottom light. The second button on the DRB can be configured to toggle the light connected to the dimmer by controlling the dimmer. The SLD buttons can be configured to control the dim level in up/down fashion, or, in fact, can be reassigned to do something else. So you could have one button cycle dim level up and down and use the other button to do 2-way switching to the downstairs light.

    Since you are a retrofit, you would need to check where the wiring for the 2 way actually goes, since the load and live feed can be at either end. At worst youd need to use the existing 2-way cable between positions to carry the live to the dimmer ie a terminal block in the back box to join stuff up.

    Of course, the whole delight of having properly automated lighting is that you don't need to touch the light switches much...
    Last edited by Gumby; 23rd March 2011 at 01:41 AM. Reason: pressed the wrong key
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