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Thread: idratek solution for retro fit

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Default idratek solution for retro fit

    Hello all,

    Long time lurker here from when I purchased my current house. I'm now looking for a new place and this time have the funds to do what I need (want?!) to do for HA.

    I have spent the last few weeks researching the various home automation systems and have been disappointed at how little things seem to have moved since I was last looking (2006)! It seemed that X10 was still the only method to use (also a nice US system which I forget the name - but not over here yet)... so then I stumbled across Idratek. It sounds amazing.

    So, after spending the last week finding out more about the modules etc, I am ready to discuss what I actually need (as I am still a little unclear on a lot of this - new to HA really!)

    So... my current set up, I have a "node-0" set up for my networking. I'd like to keep this the same in the new house and have everything wired back to the "brain".

    If I write what I think should happen, can people please correct me?

    Node-0
    - Windows PC running Cortex
    - spurs from here to each room (one per room)
    - spurs using the c-bus pink Cat5 cable

    Each Room
    - spur modules off the single cable to the room
    - DFP on the wall where the light switch would normally be
    - radiator controls
    - window / door contacts

    CCTV
    - camera x1 at front of house
    - camera x2 outside in the garden

    Boiler Room
    - thermostat control

    Is that all I will need? Ideally, I'd like to use this for the lighting circuit first - then add in plug sockets to control lamps etc.

    Questions
    - the spurs from each room - what do they connect to in the node-0 room?
    - radiator controls and other modules which spur off the main branch to that room, how do these get wired? If I have the cat5 to the room, is there a junction box I use to branch additional cat5s to each module? that'd be ugly in my opinion! (for the radiator or window contacts)
    - does the DFP in each room replace the light switch? Does this act as the controller for the main light in that room?

    My main query is how to use this for lighting. Assuming the new house has a standard lighting ring set up, how does it integrate? There's a chance that I may need to have the house re-wired (lights & power) as I did with this house I'm in now. What should I consider when having this done - ie: this would be a new install so could potentially get it right off the bat!

    Thanks for any help. I'm technically minded, but not an electrician so have no idea about the insulating or amp ratings to use for these sorts of cables.

    [edit]In addition to the above I need to consider TV and Audio distribution. Currently I have a loftbox and a wireless speaker set up... I want HD ditribution and probably Sonos for the music next. Does Idratek integrate with any of these - or have a solution which does play nicely with them?? [/edit]
    Last edited by mfacer; 25th March 2011 at 07:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    Default

    a few points that might help :

    modules are usually daisy-chained together, starting with one that links to the PC, branching freely ...

    there are guideline papers available to help with wiring-up ...

    http://www.idratek.com/support/guidelines/

    pink C-Bus cable can make wiring-up easier, because of its mains-rated insulation, but it's not screened & intercom functions might prefer a screened cable ...

    Squeezebox might be better than Sonos, in terms of the integration possible ...

  3. #3
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
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    I think you are on the right lines :-)
    Yes the DFP can control the lights (up to 4) that are already wired back to the light switch, but you will have to excavate your walls to get the Idranet cable to the DFP. You don't need a separate distribution box in room, feed to the DFP and then daisy-chain on to another location.
    Heating is a bit more complex if you want to retain switch over to your existing controls. The thermometers are in the DFPs and the DFP relays (XRMs) could control the radiator - BUT you will have to run a cable between the controlling switch, to the radiator and another back from the switch to a suitable power supply (if using 24V actuators, if using main actuators you'll need to confirm that the lighting circuit can drive the actuators too.
    Basically the challenge you are looking at is taking a broad conceptual outline into the physical world.
    On my blog I've got some stuff on designing, which may help. It takes ages though, I spent hours and hours mapping things out in Visio working it all through and have benefited hugely form the generous advice of people on this forum and Idratek are v helpful too. So far the planning for me has worked and features have worked first time. The only shortcut IMO is to pay someone else to plan and install it completely.
    Even if you don't rewire you will benefit from a competent sparky who is not afraid of HA.
    HTH
    JonS

  4. #4
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Thanks for the replies. It does sound promising using the DFP boxes then. I'm don't mind having to dig out the walls etc - chances are the house will need decorating anyway!

    I am tempted by the thought of paying someone to plan and do the install... but most of me would feel that's a cop out! I enjoy doing this sort of stuff... but I also know how annoyed I get and how long it takes when I simply don't know what I'm doing!! (make it up as I go along usually). I had a look at the online resources for this sort of thing, but they charge SO much for installations. I'm not a premiership footballer!

    I checked out your site (neural home) before posting on here I think... Nothing posted since 2008, I thought it was dead. Will take a better look through and see what I can get from it!

    Thanks again.
    Last edited by mfacer; 2nd April 2011 at 05:34 PM.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Guru JonS's Avatar
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    you are right - the blog hasn't been updated for ages - but the thoughts on design are still relevant as technology is still about multiple overlay networks for audio, video, control etc. I will put more stuff there one day, incl on heating.
    JonS

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