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Thread: First foray into HA

  1. #21
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    At the time of my upgrade, I did look into idratek, but, rightly or wrongly, decided not to go for it in the end. It looked an excellent system, similar topology, but the two things that went against it for me was, not supported by comfort, and the look of the switches. With velbus, I had both, and the option to go for whatever brand of switch I wanted.

    Now, saying that, idratek was a close runner, those were the only two reasons I didnt go for it, but it looks like a great system, lots of stuff to play with.

  2. #22
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    horses for courses, of course ...

    starting-points vary, too ...

    most Idratek modules have digital inputs to which favourite switches could be connected ...

    lots of options for interpretation, too ...

    datasheets here :

    http://www.idratek.com/products/datasheets/

    something to be said, as well, for considering options for switch locations ... traditional ones might not be the only option, now - they came-about in the face of constraints that might not necessarily apply today ...

    eg: if HA is switching the lights - based on presence, say - maybe no need for light-switches by door ...

    eg: having switches by a window might be helpful when looking out, to switch yard lights & open gate, say ...

    or by the bed, or sofa, or work-surface, etc ...

    eg: HA switches are input devices to the HA, so can provoke multiple things, context sensitively, depending on time of day or light-level or whatever ...

    changes are easy, too, in the light of experience, as needs evolve, etc ...

    other big pluses (for Idratek) are its interconnection capabilities (between multiple objects, at all levels) and its historical logging, which allows review & compare of variations over time, for any time-period, since the beginning - temperature, humidity, switching, motion, light-level, errors, whatever, graphically & precise instance ...

    objects being anything from individual sensors to complete heating & ventilation & lighting & security management arrangements, etc ...
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 4th December 2012 at 01:18 AM. Reason: further thoughts

  3. #23
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    The Idratek system looks very powerful, although it does appear there is more electrical work required with it. I don't mind doing some minor work, but Comfort seems to offer a system that is still powerful without as much electrical work required.
    If I having a house built, something like Idratek would be the way forward. However, I require an effective retrofit- and one that I can slowly expand.

  4. #24
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    not sure I follow that ... IIUC, wiring-wise, the disruption-factor seems much the same ...

    http://www.cytech.biz/comfort_wiring...category_id=99

    http://www.velbus.eu/starthere

    http://www.vellemanprojects.eu/downl...velbus02en.pdf

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

    or even to favour Idratek - ie: Idratek wiring topology is free to choose (things can be wired back to the centre and/or off each other, as convenient, so long as at least one goes back to the centre) while Comfort needs everything run back to the centre (not sure about Velbus, but they seem to assume things will be, too)

    anyway, good luck - it was just your post #10 that we were picking-up on ... don't forget to post on how it goes !
    Last edited by chris_j_hunter; 5th December 2012 at 08:39 AM.

  5. #25
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    With Comfort the only wiring I'll need to do will be for the alarm and intruder sensors. I can use Z-Wave or even LightwaveRF for the automation.

  6. #26
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    thanks - good luck !

  7. #27
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by biccies View Post
    With Comfort the only wiring I'll need to do will be for the alarm and intruder sensors. I can use Z-Wave or even LightwaveRF for the automation.
    I would be carefull about that statement too. With any automation setup, one of the most important pieces is giving the system the ability to sense as much as possible, so I would not look at comfort wiring simply as cableing out requirements for a standard alarm system.

    I would propose you exeed the requirements of a normal system, includng wiring door sensors to internal doors, allowing for wiring for temp sensors, internal keypads, scs switches etc. If you are in a new build or renovtion, I would propose you relook at the entire 220v wiring schematic also, and go for a modular dinrail system rather than a wireless system if you can (cheaper and better).

    But in anycase, sensors are the most important bit, dont limit it to just to external door and internal motion sensors!

  8. #28
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    Its a good point wexford, I've been looking for some presence sensors that I could use in a standard alarm wiring. I agree that more sensors is best. The main goal is automating lighting and then heating. I'm happy to look at any system but I'd prefer to not undertake massive electrical works. I'm happy to run data cable as I intend to run CAT5 for Ethernet purposes so can always run additional cable.
    Irdatek looks promising but my understanding is that it would require rewiring lighting to a central location.
    Comfort is my current favourite but looks like it would require a lot of programming. It also needs extra modules buying for it.
    My other option is to use zwave controller on a PC and find a software solution (I'd buy a desperate dedicated alarm system)

  9. #29
    Automated Home Guru Wexfordman's Avatar
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    I'll speak from the perspective of comfort again, and not being an idratek user, I am sure others can comment better on idratek.
    You need to look at comfort as both an alarm system, and a HA controler, so its an integrated system. It controls whatever ha protocol you add to it, and integrates the alarm and sensors together as well. So, a pir or door sensor on your comfort system, not only does the security function, but also uses these same sensors for HA. If you use a seperate controler, such as a zwave controler on a pc, then you will need seperate sensors wired to the controller as well, meaning twice the amount of sensors.

    So, by integrating security and HA into once device, you not only reduce the sensors, you also make it easier to mamage actions based on security mode etc. For example, a motion sensor might activate a light based on different security status, away mode, night mode etc, and comfort can do that within itself.

    Simple example, a corridor light which is a main pathway for route to the toilet at night from the bedrooms. When the system is armed to night mode, you want the corridor light to turn on for 3 minutes and then off again. Or if its not armed to night mode, and its dark, you might want the light to turn on for 20 minutes instead, or perhaps even leave it to manual control only.

    Another example, is you come home after dark, and the alarm is armed to away mode. When you enter the house, the entry lights are turned on, and then when you disarm the alarm, it turns on the main living area lights for the route into the house.

    Basically, without being able to integrate your security system into your HA system, you are going to be limited in the functions you can get your system to do, without having to do some complex integration and wiring of alarm system outputs to your zwave controller inputs.

    Comfort is DIYable, it does require programming, and a bit of a learning curve, but its exceptionaly powerful and flexible.

    Hope this makes sense!

  10. #30
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    >rewiring lighting to a central location ...

    not necessary with Idratek - free topolgy, works both ways, so can or not, as you choose - so do whatever's easiest given local circumstances ...

    it's very flexible, easy to add-to later, too ...

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