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Thread: New Installation Help

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default New Installation Help

    Hey all some help please? I have had help already but not too sure after reading up, if it will do what I want.
    Requirements.

    1. Distribute audio/video around the house between 5 rooms, (sky plus, Terrestrial, DVD, DAB digital radio) and be able to control it from anywhere, for example if my wife is watching dvd downstairs, I can watch Sky plus up-stairs.

    2. Distribute my Pc screen around to the same five rooms so I can watch Divx movies straight from my hard drive.

    3. All rooms + two bathrooms to have speakers in, to listen to mp3, DAB and TV as before. Different audio in different rooms possibly? Rooms to have volume controls on the wall possibly?

    4. Be able to control lighting systems/dimmers by remote and or automation,

    5. I want the radio to come on over the ceiling speakers and my lights to go on to wake me up for work.

    I am looking for a cost effective solution for this that I will be able to integrate further systems into it as funds become available e.g Alarm system. Is this a lot to ask, am I looking at megabucks? I am a structured cabling installer so I can do all installation myself. What sort of price will I be looking at for this type of system? I donít want top level gear, just good gear. Looking for a cheap system that works and is reliable. What software/hardware is good to use?

    I have been informed that X10 maybe the way to go for the lighting and abitana for distribution, but can they perform all these functions. I could not work out if it did or not.
    I know its long winded, but any help would be greatly appreciated guys

  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Installation Help

    Hi again
    Abitana will do most of the distribution. Did you get my email.
    For your Divx I would go with something like the Pinnacle show centre. This can play DVDs, DIVX, XVID, MP3 and internet radio oh and display your photos as well if you want. (That way the Abitana system can distribute it much easier, either as a home channel or as a direct scart feed. The show center can be connected dirrect to your computer via a network card, or router or wirelessly b/g. It does require the pc to run the Showceter server software. There are also some homebrew servers out there as well for it. If you go wireless DVD play back isn't that good. DIVX etc is fine. Its also possible to connect more than one unit to the same server. Though I don't know what the performance would be like when running more than one simultaneously. The Showcenter can output Scart, composite video, analogue stereo, Didgat audio, and is high definition compatible. The other thing with the Showcenter is that if you have a compatible tuner card in your PC, it will take control of this as well.
    An audio solution for you might be the Sonos system, www.sonos.com.
    X10 systems if designed correctly are quite reliable, and very good for lighting control. You do need to put an X10 filter at your consumer unit to stop stray signals entering or leaving the house. Flourescent lighting and some low energy bulbs can cause a few problems. But in the installations I have done it hasn't been a problem so far.

  3. #3
    Automated Home Jr Member
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    Default Re: New Installation Help

    Toscal,

    Got your email thanks, I spoke to a bloke at minitran today for about half an hour, very helpful, the only problem I have with the system is that it is only line level audio, and no wall switches or remotes. unlike opus octopus. where you have different sounds for different rooms. if you understand my meaning. I dont think you can have dolby 5.1 on either system either. I dont think that after spending the money on abitana, people would want to fork out more for sonos. although there is no denying it is brilliant.
    Ulti looks good but it is expensive. Can you create scene lighting with x10?
    Is there a way with x10 i would be able to time my radio to come on in the morning with my lights?
    also dim the lights when i turn my dvd player on?
    Am I getting Stupid now? dont answer that!!

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Installation Help

    Oh and that show centre looks ideal for sending over abitana.

  5. #5
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Installation Help

    Yes you can create scene lighting with X10. And yes you can dim lights when you press play on your DVD and when you press pause or stop the lights can brighten again.
    To do these things you would need a controller such as HomeVision or if you want to go the PC based route then Homeseer. HomeVision has the advantage of already having a built in IR eye and IR transmitter, the pro version of Homevision just has sockets so you can fit the eye and transmitter in a more suitable loaction, but these need to be bought seperately.
    I've only had my HomeVision controller for about 6months, but it has worked flawlessly. Its easy to set up, and use. I used to use HomeSeer, and loved it, but I really needed a non PC based solution for my set-up, which was the reason for the switch. Both HomeSeer and Homevision allow the creation of scene lighting.
    Here is an example of a morning set-up using Homevision. Its 6.00am HomeVision sends out an IR command to turn on the radio. Also the lights come on at 20% brightness. At 7.35 the lights are now at 40% brightness. At 7.45 the lgiths are at 100%. If your radio does not have a IR remote control, then as long as it can be left switched on then connect it to an appliance module. Then within the schedule for the lights have the appliance module switch on. I do something similar with the kettle.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Installation Help

    Is it worth ordering stuuf from the usa with regards to x10 stuff and whole house av systems, are they compatible, it just seems a lot cheaper.
    Just for example how much did your own x10 setup cost? and what is it? is it easy to configure?

  7. #7
    Automated Home Guru vex's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi Danny,

    A couple of things to consider in the commercial market.

    Personally X10 is to unreliable to use as a volume solutions for automation, depending on what you want to do you could look at Rako or Ulti for your lighting control and IHC for whole house automation. Alternatively we should see UK/EU Z-Wave stuff turn up in the UK this year and that should make a big impact on the retro-fit market.

    Be carefull with anything electrical from the US, it could only be 110v rated. It also has the possibility of not being CE marked or even operate on different frequencies to UK systems or even Law. Less of an issue if you are buying for yourself, possible court and jail if you are reselling it!

    I am sure people have seen my comments on the Abitana system and looking at the prices on the Minitran web site it looks more expencive than a full blown Cat7 based system from Lexcom, even when you apply a trade discount. I need to do more research on that one.

    As you said it is only a distrubution system and doesnt not have a good AV matrics / speaker system. This is typically where an integrator will earn his money, by bringing two or more systems together and giving the client a single point / interface making it look and feel seamless.

    Chat soon

    Chris
    www.intouchtech.co.uk (trade)
    NOW PART OF INVISION UK, One of the leading home technology distributors to the CI Market.

  8. #8
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Installation Help

    Buying from the US has many downsides.
    Normally the modules are for 110V 60Hz, and by the time you have modified them the cost and time involved makes it about the same price as in Europe. Also any wireless stuff from the US is on a different frequency. And you will definately need the CE mark to avoid any nasty surprises or court cases. This is unfortunate. The CE mark seems to add to the price. I have seen an Active power line filter and repeater in the US for about half the price it is in Europe. Even after shipping and tax it is still cheaper, but doesn't carry the CE mark. IF you still want to go down the US import route there are a few companies that make 220/240 volt modules, as many appliances in the US run on 220/240 volt.
    As I have said before I have found X10 very reliable. But on all intallations I do I always use a filter at the consumer unit after the main power breaker. And always check the background mains noise levels and the X10 signal voltages. This makes sure I don't get any headaches later. The micromodules now available transmit quite a strong signal which also helps. I think in the past X10 was unreliable, but the new breed of modules seem to be much better and more reliable.
    I think Z-wave will be a good product but it needs more modules. I know these are comming but how long will it take before we actually see them in the market place.
    On a side not about a Cat7 distribution system . Cat 7 can only handle a 600Mhz signal where as the Abitana Omni media cable can handle upto 900Mhz.
    Basically at the end of the day a lot of it is down to personal choice. One product suits some people better than another product which suits other people.

  9. #9
    Automated Home Guru vex's Avatar
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    Cat7 cable is only limited to 600Mhz by the TIA/EIA and most manufacturers actually test and publish specs to at least 900Mhz in frequency range.

    If you buy any of the Fluke or Ideal Cat7 standards testers they will test to these higher frequencies. In fact the Ideal meters have the Lexcom cable spec pre-loaded which make it a more complete test.

    However I do agree with Toscal it is personal and cost drive choice and here in the UK a simple and effective system can easily be acheived using a Cat5e and Coax mix.

    This is mainly because of the size of properties that we build, rooms dictate where furniture is placed, which inturn dictated where TV's, Telephones and PC can be placed.

    In larger or open plan properties Lexcom (cat7) and Abitana come into thier own for flexibitly.
    www.intouchtech.co.uk (trade)
    NOW PART OF INVISION UK, One of the leading home technology distributors to the CI Market.

  10. #10
    Automated Home Guru FrankMcAlinden's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Installation Help

    Hi Danny

    Like Toscal i use and Homevision as my main controller....I also use xPL as my pc based controller and this software is free and has lots of plugins such as x10 and CBUS etc....Check out the link below...the other link is to my website where i sell some Homevision addon modules..

    http://wiki.xplproject.org.uk/index.php/Main_Page

    http://www.armaghelectrical.com.au/index.html

    HTH
    Frank
    Home of FirM - the Multi Zone IR Transport System
    http://www.armaghelectrical.com.au/index.html

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