Home automation - new construction

jlirotJanuary 15, 2012

i'm just pouring concrete on a new home. I have a limited budget but want to put in all the wiring i need for a future complete automation system.

i could do it all wirelessly - but at since this is starting from scratch i think it makes sense to have a hub with a couple of control points.

can anyone provide a good guide for me to review?

i want to be able to control, audio, video, lights, security, etc, from my pc - and control panels in the house.

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Ron Natalie

There are other forums around on home automation. The problem with most of the wired home automation stuff is it's pretty manufacturer specific. I went with ZWAVE because of that.

The key things are to make sure you run sufficient data wiring around for other purposes (even if you plan to do wifi) and (this was my mistake) double coax (because the hd satellite tv units all want that).

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 8:08AM
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ionized_gw

Use lots of conduit?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 4:11PM
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johnboy70_99

+1 on the conduit

Here is a forum that has loads on info on home automation

Here is a link that might be useful: Cocoon Tech

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 8:09PM
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brickeyee

Smurf tube (non-metallic flexible conduit, often blue) is likely to be your friend.

It allows you to easily pull in required conductors at a later time when they are identified.

Most of it is an expensive pipe dream for home use, and it often has problems in commercial buildings.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2012 at 9:57AM
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stinkytiger

Hi,

I vote for Z-wave. This seems to be pretty "standard" and hence spares etc and support will be available. One important thing to know is that at each light switch point you need to bring in a live, neutral and ground. This is so that you can power the Z-wave switch electronics even when the light is off. Some standard switch wiring only has live or power at the box when the switch is on and the light is on. This is something that does not cost a lot more at the wiring time in new construction. I.E. it is just more power wire required.

The other thing I would do is to make sure you have a 24v A/C common power wire to all thermostat points that you have. This is because if you want a WiFi hookable thermostat, you need that wire to power it. Some thermostat wiring only has four wires, and power for the thremostat is supplied by batteries. Again a cheap fix at build time.

Best, Mike.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 7:48AM
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brickeyee

And with the pending demise of many 'standard' incandescent light bulbs the inability of many compact florescent bulbs to deal with electronic switching of their power source is going to return as an issue.

Even when fully on, solid state switching distorts the voltage waveform supplied, and can cause problems for florescent lights with ballasts not designed for the distorted waveform.
Compact florescent listed as compatible with dimmers (even though they often dim poorly) should be able to operate with solid state on-off switching.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 8:47AM
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alan_s_thefirst

Brickeyee, I agree re cfls. I am fervently hoping LEDs will kill them off in a couple of years, since they are so unreliable and restrictive (vis a vis dimming and solid state switching.) I assume LEDs will cope better.

OP, run cat 5e and cat 6 in plenty, make sure tv outlets have 2 or more - one for tel, one for data. The tel connection should actually run where your cable box/blu-ray player will be. Between the tv and the blu-ray spot you need a conduit, either the flex or 2" vacuum pipe which is cheap. Don't forget a pullstring. Eventually you will run HDMI through there. True re cable you need two to each potential hi-def outlet. It's cheap, so go for it. Use at least double gang rings, singles get too crowded. They make some nice recessed boxes that work well behind tvs.

Even if you plan to use wifi, wire for data. It's better and faster - you won't regret it. Keep wifi for your portable devices.

You do need to decide on an automation system and wire accordingly.

Consider also wiring for security, which ties in with your home automation - doors and some motion sensors at a minimum. The motion sensors can talk to the home auto for light switching, and I think can also be used as 'occupancy sensors' for heating etc also.

Consider wiring accessible windows for security also, it's cheap to do now.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 1:07PM
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