Need some education/help on Home Automation - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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My house is currently being built - I have talked to a few home automation specialists in my area. I want to put it out to you guys to see what I need and determine how bad these people are filling me up with nonsense.


Things I want in order of importance home automation:
1. Motion Security camera - I want it to be Network Based. I do NOT want a dvr. I want the camera to house a memory card and ONLY take photo's every time that motion is detected. This camera MUST be able to be viewed via WEB/Android/APP. I only need one of these in main hallway that gets motion from both front door and garage door.

2. Ability to turn my alarm ON / OFF from app based program. If I am out of town or up at work - I need to be able to let certain people in and out. Want this to be secure - if someone steals my phone I want this to be encrypted or have password so they cannot access my house.

2.2 Ability to open/close my garage from ANY point in US. Same reason as above. (need people in and out when I am not home)

2.3 Need some sort of access panel in garage that will allow me to automatically let people in. If this is an absurd cost - a simple MULTI code lock would do - allows me to give 1 code to all the help and delete as needed.

2.4 Ability to have alarm beep and indicate when doors open/close etc. Garage open/close.

3. HVAC control via web/app based. Want to monitor this at all times to keep energy consumption down. I really like "NEST" but not sure how that device integrates into home automation systems like Control 4/Savant etc.

4. Lighting - I would definitely like to get a lighting feature. I honestly dont want to go crazy on lighting. Dream solution would be - when I walk into a room their would be a motion sensor that lights up that room (or specific light). So grocery's in hand I would never have to hit a light.

4.1 More realistic solution would be a few dimmers in all the rooms and 2 control panels at garage and master bedroom that has auto kill - and i can terminate every light or turn on every light (security purposes and energy savings). Would be great if I could access this via web. have the ability to kill lights would be great.

5. Ability to open front door from roof top via cell phone. Meaning - control panel of some sort on front door with video camera (ip driven). They would be able to dial me up, I would get a call on my cell phone and based on who it was I would be able to open the door. Obviously Its upon the people who come in to shut the door, But then I have my camera in entry way as a measure to make sure the guests shut the door properly. But a contact point would be clutch - that being wired into my alarm system would allow me to see if it was truly closed.

Audio-Visual needs: I have 7 TV's ALL WALL MOUNTED. All are Ethernet ready. I want to try and minimize the clutter - everything will be run into 1 closet with air conditioning. So I need a concept for IR etc.

1. House will be pre-wired with 2 Cat 6 to ALL tv outlets. But for media room and Living room I will have 2 HDMI run as well for back up purposes.

1.1 House is going to be prewired for control panel access in every room for audio etc. (not trying to install that, yet). Also, Every room will be prewired for speakers (only 4th floor in ceiling will be installed).

2. I would LOVE an 8x8 HDMI switcher that way i dont have to have a DVR in every room along with cable and Sat... Save on apple tv/blue rays as well. Is this over kill or necessary? Every way i look at it - its at least 5-10k.

3. I want in ceiling speakers in master bath/shower (1 in each). I want in wall speakers on 4th floor (2). I want OUTSIDE Speakers on rooftop deck (4). I think Sonos has been recommended to me. I want to be able to walk into each different room and open up ipod/ipad and change song. I also want multiple sources - Radio - Sirius - Itunes etc.

3?. Can sonos handle this? Do I need a full integrated system? Whats the price savings.

4. Only in wall wiring will be in living room. That will be pre wired to receive all in wall audio system. TV will be on wall. I want the ability via remote to control all my sources that will all be housed in 1 closet on main floor.

5. Media room is also a bedroom for next buyer - So everything will be bookshelf driven or placed on wall. Nothing will be installed in wall.

From everything I have read - Crestron/Savant is EXTREME overkill for what I need. I consider myself tech savvy and i am not opposed to having MULTIPLE apps to control various things. I do NOT need it all stored in 1 location. IS that concept cheaper then going all one way? If so what companies do I need in order to complete my requests. I guess what I am looking for is 1. education and understanding of how everything works. and 2. Getting someone to explain what it is I need and dont need so I can better talk to these audio guys and get what I want, not what they want to push on me.

Thanks-

Jason
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 11:18 AM
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What you want is ridiculously expensive, DIY or professionally installed. It will cost you a lot of money.

Once you've understood that concept, I suggest spending as much time as you can reading online. The pros have the advantage of spending years learning this stuff, with formal manufacturer training.

I think what you need is a low-voltage wiring plan that will allow you to do what you want after the drywall is up. You've got the basics, but there are some pitfalls to avoid, e.g. distance limitations of HDMI.

Your local LV installer may be able to offer you additional options than you've provided. But that takes time to put together, and prepare to pay for it. If you don't want to DIY eventually, bite the bullet and do it now.

Yes, there are ways to avoid paying really high costs, but they involve limitations to the system. IMO, it's a lot easier to control a home with an integrated system, using a whole-house controller, vs. multiple apps.

Find an AV installer with good references, preferably from someone you know. Ask around at work. I think that's the first step to finding a pro who doesn't make you feel 'ripped off', a common feeling I have when speaking with ANY salesman. Like shopping for a dentist or physician, hopefully this is a long-term relationship.

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post #3 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the response. So I guess there is NO easy solution. Do you have preferences as to the better lighting/alarm/hvac concept. IE is control 4 vs lutron vs others. Do you have any recommendations on what to avoid?

Sounds like app based is NOT the way to go... Is there any reason for this?

Without doing whole home audio - is sonos the best solution? Or is there a better more robust product out there that saves money and doesnt require me to go full tilt.


For full disclosure ive committed 30k for all this and the tvs/speakers. Is there a solution that gets most or all of this for under that?

Thanks for the response again
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 12:16 PM
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What area of the country (or world) are you in?

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Chairman/CTO, Charmed Quark Systems, Ltd

www.charmedquark.com

 

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post #5 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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post #6 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 01:43 PM
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I think you can get part way there with $30K - easier with $60K. You need to find a good integrator who will work with you to help figure out what you really want. I say cable for everything, install the basics, and expand as you can in the coming years.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #7 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 02:18 AM
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Take a minute to really think about down the road. If you plan to keep this home for long time and foresee more money being available in the budget and I highly would recommend cabling to everything you could possibly ever imagine to want to do. It is so much harder down the road and expensive to add the cabling that it really would be a mistake not to do it now. As time goes on add more and more. 30k will spend very fast. Especially on 7 TVs.

You also have to learn to trust your integrators. we spend years learning this stuff and it is highly technical. if you can't trust us to provide you with a solution then why even waste your time. That is what you are paying us for..... your trust that we have the knowledge to do the job right and not second-guess everything we recommend. Your Dr. spent years learning his field as well. do you trust him when he does his diagnosis on you? or do you feel that he is feeding you a line of BS just to make a buck.

Neurorad is correct, what you want is expensive and it is a much better solution to have a home controller system in there. Crestron is rather pricey. there are a lot of other options I wouldn't recommend Crestron. Having to load multiple apps all the time to control stuff sucks and will get old very fast. you're going to spend all this time and money and have to deal with that rather than have one integrated system. now there is an added cost with having the convenience but I think in the long run you would find it well worth it. Savant is very pricey too, both of those brands are the most expensive in the industry. Control four is a capable system that has a modest cost, RTI makes really nice stuff, HAI is decent. Some of the stuff you can score on eBay but the control systems you need access to dealer software to be able to program everything. you will need a relationship with an integrator.


Also nest currently will not cooperate with any of the home control systems and allow drivers to connect to their device. it is very unfortunate and it's bothering a lot of people in the industry

Solution 4 is much cheaper than solution 4.1
motion sensors are cheap
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 06:31 AM
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with regard to your #2 the 8x8 HDMI switch:

a really good one can be had for around $1800.00 (Gefen Toolbox 8x8): I just installed one and it works well to control 5 HDMI displays in the same room (and 3 in other parts of house via HDBase T). It is controlled by RS232

the displays are controlled mostly by IR from an RTI processor: each is programmed separately (each has its own discrete port for the IR emitter on the RTI processor) and there is a cover over the IR emitter/ eye so each display only sees IR commands intended for it (if displays have ability for serial or Ethernet control, that is a better way to control them)

Neurorad gave you good advice: I had grand plans to integrate everything in my new home as it was being built: best advice I got was to prewire the heck out of the house and go slow and expand over the years

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post #9 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 04:01 PM
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"I had grand plans to integrate everything in my new home as it was being built: best advice I got was to prewire the heck out of the house and go slow and expand over the years"

I really like this advice too...I am currently in the design stages of building a new house and would love to have everything under the sun automated as I will be living in it for a very long time but will not have the funds initially.

Can you or anyone else in the thread suggest what kind of wiring I would need in each room to bascially get it set up to be able to home automate everything as years go on?
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post #10 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 04:04 PM
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wiring specs change over time.

run conduit.
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 08:02 PM
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Empty conduit to each video display, for future cables.

Install cables to each location outside of the empty conduit.

Use the search phrase "new construction".

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #12 of 12 Old 08-18-2012, 10:07 AM
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Use cat6 instead of HDMI, then use a Cat6 to HDMI converter at each location. I can get you the IP based surveillance camera you want, snapshot, app, and sd card with remote access is no problem. That sounds like an amazing project you have going on, I wish I was a part of it.
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