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Thread: First foray into HA

  1. #31
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Wexford, which sensors are you using? I'm worried that a standard PIR will not be sensitive enough to know if a room is occupied or not. For example when watching TV you will be not normally moving enough for a sensor to detect it.

  2. #32
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    presence sensing is better done by more than just by motion sensing on a PIR ...

    using clues from other sensors, too, can help a lot ...

    eg: no movement for a while, but have you left the room - door sensors & PIRs in the next room would likely show if you have ...

    etc etc etc ...

    Idratek does all this & more ...

  3. #33
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biccies View Post
    Irdatek looks promising but my understanding is that it would require rewiring lighting to a central location.
    Just by way of explanation: It is possible to use switching or dimming pattress box type modules but you'd still have to run a bus cable to these. It can sometimes be more cost effective and in some ways easier to run some lighting cable to the lighting fixtures and control a number of light circuits using 4 channel DIN rail style modules located in a ceiling void / loft. So the old wiring is still in place 'in parallel' and you'd then disconnect and probably blank off the old manual switches.

    I agree that wireless modules would be electrically easier for retro fit. We're not so keen on types that can't be interrogated because this breaks some automation requirements and we end up having to treat them mostly as 'dumb' on/off loads, hence a bit of reluctance to include more such interfaces beyond our early foray into Rako and X10 (groan). Z-wave might be a bit more of a contender in this respect.

    BTW I've noted Chris's posts . He doesn't work for IDRATEK incase you wondered, but I'm aware that he has a rather large installation...

  4. #34
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    As I've said before, the IDRATEK system does appear to be very powerful. The draw backs for me, and they are personal tome and not knocking the system, are the appearance of the modules and the electrical work required.
    Comfort allows me to choose a protocol such as zwave and I can run data cable to what ever sensors I decide upon.

  5. #35
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    must say I'm now very much regretting having got involved in this discussion - was only trying to be helpful & counter apparent misconceptions, or so I thought, but it's all got rather out of hand !

    anyway, as I said, good luck ..
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 10th December 2012 at 01:04 PM.

  6. #36
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    Chris, I sincerely apologise if I've offended you. I appreciate everyone's input to this thread. I really like the look of IDRATEK as cortex and reflex seem to suit my needs perfectly. Especially the presence detection. The only problem is that I'm not willing to do the electrical work. If it was the case of swapping a traditional switch with a module and running cat5 it would be perfect for me. Or even better if the software could interface with other HA protocols.

  7. #37
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    don't worry, no offence taken ... 'twas nothing you said ...

  8. #38
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    We've got a small-ish Idratek installation. As everyone has said the choice is absolutely horses for courses with a fair lump of personal bias thrown in (that's being human). Rather than get into the whys and wherefores of what I wanted the system to do (mostly covered above) I wanted to post to put the record straight on Idratek's looks!

    I'd nearly passed Idratek by as I wasn't a big fan of the look either, but with help from Karam and a bit of homework, I'm pleased with the look of our Idratek system (I'm really pleased with Idratek itself). I've attached a few photos of a switch and a PIR/light sensor. They're not great photos, but hopefully they give you a flavour of how Idratek can look.

    Here's a typical switch - how I'd wished I'd found an alternative to heatmiser from a looks/ease of use standpoint
    P1040284.jpg

    Up close
    P1040283.jpg

    We have a number of different switch configurations for different rooms. The switches also have LEDs, but I don't bother with them.

    Spot the PIR!
    P1040286.jpg

    It's beyond the light.
    P1040285.jpg

    Whilst I'm here, I'd also say that Karam and Viv are the most helpful guys I've come across in a long time...

    It doesn't really help your choice, but I feel better! Good luck.

    Peter.

  9. #39
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    Thanks peter! Looks like a very nice setup you have there. Could you give us a bit more detail, how its worked and which modules you have used?
    Karam did mention in a previous post that there were some modules that could be retrofitted, did you use these?

  10. #40
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    I went for a centralised system using the DIN rail modules as we were putting in all the wiring. Our set up uses Jung (www.jung.de) switches (they are just straight momentary switches) connected to an Idratek module (a DIO to be precise). The DIOs are flashed as switch modules to make the Cortex set up easy. I took the face plate off the the DIO modules which are in the back box behind the Jung switch. This worked well in those walls which are just stud work as there's loads of space, it was a bit more of a pain in the brick walls, but still do-able

    For the PIRs I took the face plate off and mounted the PIR itself on a couple of flying leads so I had flexibility of where the PIR went for best detection. The Idratek PCB is hidden in the ceiling void near a down lighter hole for easy-ish access.

    I'm not an expert on the Idratek relay modules, but they also have volt free inputs, so I guess that a similar scheme to mine would probably work (as long as you isolate mains and LV connections property and safely). That way you'd still have to get CAT5 to each switch point, but you wouldn't need to change the mains wiring.

    I suspect our set up is simple in Idra-world (and we certainly ask less of it than Chris' set up). Apart from PIRs and light sensors we have a couple of door magnets and stair tread pads which help with the presence sensing. We also use it to control the gate and interface with an IP camera at the gate to take smiley photos of visitors. I've also used the API to hook up a bit of custom stuff with an Arduino to control some RGB LEDs via DMX, so there really is no limit if you want to take it beyond the Idratek modules.

    We're probably half way between your and Karam's vision of home automation and the more usual "remote control" style - the are some "pathway" lights which come on with presence and darkness and some who's scene is only controlled by a switch. It works for us and we can move more in one direction or the other at a whim.

    One day I will interface it to the burglar alarm and the heatmiser controlled central heating which both look eminently do-able.

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