The "Automated home while keeping up the WAF" Thread - AVS Forum

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Home Automation

bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
09:00 PM Liked: 11
post #1 of 64
02-14-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
Hi Guys (and gals),

I am starting this thread to document my travels through home automation / AV Distribution land. I am finally to a point where I am ready to give back to the community and share my lovely experience with all of you wonderful people. Full disclaimer - I am an Audio Video installer/designer/operator by profession. I share that because I always wonder what people do for a living that drives them to do these crazy things to their homes...

We do not live in new construction so this will be quite an endeavor, but it will be absolutely worth it in the end. Following is a scope of work that I am going to complete in the next year (yeah you read that right...I like a nice LOOOOOOONG deadline, lol...this will allow for the monstrous amounts of headache that will ensue for my poor wife and myself over the coming months.

-Distributed Audio to 7 or 8 zones. This includes the garage, patio, kitchen, dining room, both kids bedrooms, the master bedroom, and the bathroom.

-Pre-wire for the possibility of video distribution over 2x cat5/6 cables to each audio zone.

-Relace ancient Ademco alarm panel that we have no control over (programming wise, I mean) with an Elk M1-Gold

-Lighting control will be via Insteon network, and controlled with a Serial PLM module.

-Replace dumb thermostat with something controllable like a nest or integrated thermostat (see below)

-Extensive home networking setup (2-3 network drops per room, allowing for phones, computers, smart devices, squeezebox alarm clocks, etc...)

-2 coax RG6 to each room just for the hell of it since i'll be pulling the cable anyways...maybe just 1 to the smaller bedrooms and the bathroom (behind the mirror of course...always nice to have that option, right???

-Garage Door integration since the garage is detached

-all controlled via Crestron Pro2 controller and keypads/touchpanels/RF remotes.

You may be asking yourself, how is he going to accomplish this pile of stuff? Don't ask me, but we will all figure it out together...

At the moment, I am pre-programming the Crestron processor with logic for the audio distribution (via Crestron PAD8A processor) and will be installing the first touchpanel in a central location so that we arent locked into one room for control. Going forward, I will be purchasing individual 12 button keypads for each kids room and the bathroom and garage, since they wont need a full blown touch screen. There will most likely only be three touchpanels, in the kitchen, master bedroom, and the upstairs hallway (all the typical alarm locations).

I will have simple contact triggers set on the garage doors when they are installed so that if we leave them open I can pop up a message on the touchpanels or blink the lights, or call the house, or whatever the case is...even just have them shut automatically.

Stay tuned, as I rip the master bedroom down to the studs, this project will be starting within the month. I just wanted a placeholder for myself here so I can keep track of everything!

Hang on to your hats and enjoy the ride!

az1324's Avatar az1324
11:52 PM Liked: 21
post #2 of 64
02-14-2013 | Posts: 380
Joined: Dec 2004
Here's a unique opportunity to ask what is your budget and what would you charge a customer for this system. Don't fudge the numbers. tongue.gif
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
07:46 AM Liked: 11
post #3 of 64
02-15-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
my budget is more or less pas as I go - I am purchasing almost everything from Fleabay and other forums around the net. So to better answer the question - as cheap as possible...I think so far my running budget is around 2k, and I still need the rack (Slim5 37 space) as well as the speaker cable and alarm panel. To start, I am concentrating on the audio distribution part of it.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
11:04 AM Liked: 11
post #4 of 64
02-15-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
Here's a list of equipment purchased so far:

Crestron Pro2 processor
Crestron ST-TUNE AM FM tuner
Crestron C2N-TXM XM Tuner
Crestron PAD8A 8x8 Audio Distribution matrix
Crestron TPS-2000L Touchpanel
Crestron THSTAT Thermostat
Extron MAV Series switcher (for CCTV Signal routing to the touch panels)
Crown CtS4200 and CtS600 amplifiers for whole home audio
Sonance Moderno 6.5" in ceiling speakers (pairs and one stereo model for the bathroom)

Still need to purchase:
Insteon Serial PLM for Lighting control
Elk M1 Gold system board for Alarm retrofit
I'd like some sort of Audio server, like the Crestron Adagio servers (not sure about these though...)

Audio Sources will be:
AM FM tuner
XM tuner
Airport Express (AirPlay)
Denon CD changer (5 disc)
Bedrooms will have local source inputs routed back to the PAD8A - Three total
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
12:14 PM Liked: 86
post #5 of 64
02-15-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
12:20 PM Liked: 86
post #6 of 64
02-15-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
Which Elk M1 module will you use, and are you programming yourself? Do all the design work yourself, or is there someone at/through work that is helping?

You may want to reconsider your sources. Not many people listen to FM, AM, and CDs anymore. If you can use a music server, it will give you access to all ripped CDs, downloaded music files, Pandora, online SiriusXM, and streamed AM/FM stations. An Autonomic Controls music server would be ideal, but not realistic, in terms of cost. Squeezebox and Vortexbox seem to be popular, but I've read that these have issues. I'm using a Nuvo music server myself, love it. Music servers are the best thing since sliced bread. It's the only source component I use.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
09:49 PM Liked: 11
post #7 of 64
02-16-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
Hi Neurorad,

I'm flattered - my first sub ever! Woohoo!!

Elk M1 Gold is what I am going to use. Our Siemens alarm guy from work does home security systems on the side and has offered to help me (for a small fee of course) figure out the current system (wiring) and adapt it to the Elk. Shouldn't be too difficult, but I need to map out cables and see what's what.

I am doing all the design, programming, and install myself. Keeping up the WAF factor is big which is why we have AMFM tuners in the mix - she loves herself some talk radio...and I like to be able to listen to shows that we broadcast live from work if I'm at home, hence the FM capabilities. We are both musicians, we have music degrees from Temple University, and have a lot of CD media from our own recordings and CDs that we purchased. I also just like the capability to be able to throw anything at the system. XM and Itunes are my two biggest at the moment - the airport express (I am adding a second one) will enable us to listen to itunes media (1+tb so far and growing...). I am looking into the possibility of some other media delivery system, and had a connection for a rock bottom price on a Kaleidascape system but that fell through. womp womp. That would have been nice.

Since you have the Nuvo server you're the one to ask for this - do I NEED to have a nuvo headend or could I integrate that player with my system? My other option was to add in the Adagio Audio server from Crestron, which, integration wise, would be easiest but I'm not sure about the details as I havent looked into it much yet
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
07:26 AM Liked: 86
post #8 of 64
02-17-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
I believe there is a way to use the Nuvo MPS4 without the GC or Essential controllers, but it would be a big hurdle without programming experience. jautor has mentioned it, but I don't know anything about it. It's not something I've looked into, and frankly I wouldn't know where to start. Autonomic Controls has engineered the MPS4 for Nuvo, and it would be much simpler to use Autonomic's Mirage music server. But, maybe Nuvo or Autonomic could help steer you with integration of an MPS4 without the controller.

For integrating the M1 into the system, you'd use a programming 'module'. You haven't mentioned Crestron software -just to be clear, your firm installs Crestron? You've used Toolbox at work?

Your company broadcasts FM shows? Very cool! What type of musicians?
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
05:04 PM Liked: 11
post #9 of 64
02-17-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
I have a feeling that shoehorning something like the MPS4 would be more headache than it's worth. Yes, I will be using the Elk M1 module in Simpl for comm. and feedback with the alarm panel. No firm - just me. I work for a large casino and do all the AV Design, Install, and production. Just me - it's fun but very time consuming! I also have my hand in our simpl code and touchpanels at work so not an issue there - although I am by no means a pro with Crestron programming!!

We broadcast an oldies show every week with Jerry Blavat (google is your friend there - some hate him some love him) and I like to be able to check in on him from time to time. We also do local radio shows like the Preston and Steve show and a few others when they have special events on property.
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
07:01 PM Liked: 86
post #10 of 64
02-18-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
After thinking about it more, I feel MPS4 integration with Crestron should be straightforward with IP control. You may have to pay a licensing fee, though. Might be cheaper than Autonomic, though unsure. Same functionality as the Autonomic Mirage server.
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
08:51 PM Liked: 86
post #11 of 64
02-18-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
If you look at the MPS4/E sell sheet, you can see that IP control is possible with the MPS4E, but not the MPS4.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
12:30 AM Liked: 11
post #12 of 64
04-16-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
SO........long time no post. Lots to update - and pictures to come.

What's new is that the Pro2 now has what I consider to be a very basic program written to it. I have completed Crestron 101 thanks to my job, and will be going out for 201 later. Then on to the certification track to become a CAIP.

TPS-2000L touchpanel now controls two zones of audio, with inputs consisting of XM, Radio, and an AirPlay streamer (Airport Express). Works like a charm. Wrote another piece of the program to control the thermostat and push data to it - that works too. I have the page ready for the CCTV View but nothing written for control yet.

I ordered a keypad for the bathroom, so I can see how it will perform. Stereo speaker in there should suffice.

I'll get some pics up within the next few days - I still need to get an actual rack, not a 2 post one but that can come later.
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
04:50 AM Liked: 86
post #13 of 64
04-16-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
Wow, very cool. Are you using any of the Core 3 software for programming? Did you mount the TPS into the wall, or still bench testing?

Glad to see you found an affordable alternative to the music server.

I've been shopping for a new rack for a few years now, myself. Probably will be a MA RCS, prebuilt, ships with door, sides, casters.
jimathome80's Avatar jimathome80
04:02 PM Liked: 10
post #14 of 64
04-16-2013 | Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013
Hi Jon

Sounds like your gonna have your hands full for the foreseeable future.... May the force be with you!!!
I'm also in a similar situation except I decided to flattened my house with the exception of the front wall and then tried to build my dream.. Which has now only recently recovered from nightmare status!,
I'm to using a pro2 and intending to use the tps4l to control audio zones via aads and idocs but I'm also new to programming so any help would be really appreciated.
I've only recently accquired the software so ive only managed to build a simple GUI and assigned join numbers but that's as far as I've got.
drdaveradman's Avatar drdaveradman
10:13 PM Liked: 10
post #15 of 64
04-16-2013 | Posts: 6
Joined: Oct 2007
Jon -

I'm working through a similar process of setting up Crestron for my home automation. Rather than using the PAD8A, I bought an Adagio AES. They go for around $500 on ebay which seems like a steal for that much functionality. Ironically you'll pay close to that to get enough keypads (depending on how many you need). The 12 button keypads are decent. I have an AM/FM tuner card as well, and that's nice to have. I opted to not do XM however -- didn't feel like paying for another subscription that was hardwired to a receiver. Instead I have a Logitech Squeezebox interfaced. You don't really need any Logitech hardware. Build a small PC and install the build on it. There is then a very nice simpl module on google code that talks to the vortex box. I use mine for Pandora and Spotify. (just google for crestron-squeeze) The squeezebox/vortex quite frankly does a lot more than the adagio media server card. All the code is free/open source.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
10:04 PM Liked: 11
post #16 of 64
04-23-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
Neurorad - I am currently torn between a rack with sides and a top since it is in the basement, and a bit noisy (sides would def. cut down on the noise), and the ERK series, which is what I probably spec and use most with work and jobs.

On to the Core3 bit - I like the new keypads, but I think that Crestron has a long ways to go before Studio and Core3 are ready. (Besides the obvious confusion that seems to exist around the 3 series processors, Core3, Core3 UI, and the new touchpanels). The Foundations opf Crestron programming 101 class that I took was changed a week after I took it. We focused heavily on the new SQL based, buggy Crestron Studio software. All of the classes were done using this (our teacher did go into simpl with us though because even he agreed that Studio isnt ready). It lacks basic functionality like undo in the Core3UI Designer, it crashes frequently unless you have a fast processor and lots of ram (as an example I have a 4 core i7 processor and 16 gigs of ram, with a 2 gig video card and i crashed twice in four days).

I would like to get a new TSW Core3 Panel and test it out with a regular Simpl program, so we will see how that works out. It should be doable.

Jimathome80 - there are a ton of example programs available to you on the Crestron website, depending on your status with them. Take a look under resources and see what it says there. There are also several little online blogs that have some helpful things for the beginner. You can also google the SIMPL manual, which helped me a bit.

drdaveradman - We have an XM subscription that was grandfathered from a Sirius sub back 15 years ago almost. I find that I use it far more than anything else, and we have it in the car, so it was not expensive to add anothe reciever. I like the Adagio system but it has nowhere near the processing power of the Pro2 series if you want to be able to do mobile g pages etc. It wasnt the product I was looking for - having two rooms with Denon surround systems that I would like to control, and a rack of amps to power the rest of the 2 channel rooms. The Pad8a was a perfect match. Sources in, rooms out. BYOD for the rest of it. I am also trying to keep it as much in the Crestron family so I have support with everything from them. I will probably use some code because I also rely heavily on Spotify, but I can stream that through the system on the AirPlay network we have set up alongside the wifi.

I never expected such a big response to this so thanks guys for reading my journey and I hope I keep you interested all the way through in some of the cool stuff that can be done with this system.
:edited for clarity:
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
10:40 PM Liked: 11
post #17 of 64
04-23-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
On to the gritty details. As i said before, I have audio working now, in 2 zones, but off one touch panel. I havent done anything with the camera feeds yet, as I need the IP decoders first. Havent made a decision on those yet. Here's what I DO have working great in addition to the audio functionality:

Thermostat controls: The thermostat is installed, and pretty well mimicked on the TP. I got the Scheduling piece of it working (which took me waaay longer than I thought) and put a little fire icon on the home page of the panel so you can see if the heat is on without going to the Climate page. Here's a shot:

Here are the main and scheduling pages:


Physical thermostat in DR (to compare with TPS Screen):

Lately there have been having problems with *******s stealing **** in my neighborhood. Something to do with the tough economy makes people think it's OK to go take things others have worked hard for. The latest victim was my family, when last week some ******* stole our patio table. On 2 cameras. In the middle of the night. Just lifted it up and put it on his truck and drove off. Since no scrap yards in the area take wrought iron (it had the glass taken out of it for the winter), it is probably sitting in the trash somewhere. What a waste. ALSO a thing that got me thinking. (ask my wife- me thinking is never a good idea!)

My IP cameras have GPIO outputs on them. I am going to run a thin alarm cable alongside each cat6 that feeds the camera now, and feed the Output of the camera GPIO into the Crestron Pro2 IO input. When the camera senses motion in a defined area of the picture, it will trigger this connection. When this happens, i will trigger a relay on the pro2 to activate lighting on the side of the house to deter theft. The Pro2 relay is connected to an Insteon IO Linc (I have a fair bit of Insteon already - will be selling that off and buying Crestron wireless dimmers in place...but i digress.).

Still with me? The IO Linc will then signal the switchlinc or Insteon device to turn on the security lighting.

Here's a nice diagram:

When the camera senses motion, it triggers the SIMPL program to activate a 1 minute timer that will turn the lights on as long as it is after sunset. 60seconds later, the lights turn off. Rinse lather repeat. I could also trigger a CEN-TIA to play a message through the outdoor speakers that the police have been called, but i havent decided if I want to shell out that kind of $$ for that functionality.....

More to come - stay tuned!
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
03:38 AM Liked: 86
post #18 of 64
04-24-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
Outdoor motion detection is something I've been researching. I have been leaning toward Optex motion sensors tied to the alarm directly, to trigger RA2 controlled exterior lights.

I read of the class redirection back to SIMPL in the yahoo group. One of the reasons I asked. wink.gif

Which cams? I'm not familiar with GPIO, but I'll read up on it. I thought camera motion sensing was done in the camera software.

Are you using SIMPL much, or SB?

Will you move the thermostats to the closet?

I think I'm years behind you guys, at this point, but without a real need, I have found an enjoyable hobby. smile.gif

Removable sides make rack work a lot easier, IMHO, especially for frequent changes. But, if the rack isn't too deep, the ERK fixed sides shouldn't be a big deal.

Edit - and Daverad - good to see you again. wink.gif
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
05:50 AM Liked: 11
post #19 of 64
04-24-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
cameras are Grandstream vndal resistant cameras - inexpensive and great PQ. GPIO is General Purpose Input Output. Great for a multitude of uses. As for the motion detection, I didnt want to be adding more stuff to the outside - but the actual motion detection can be set up on the cameras themselves, so that helps - I try not to rely on the software for anything but recording.

All my code is in SIMPL - I like needing to think through the logic steps in my head first instead of making the software do it for me. Same applies to Studio.

Still up in the air about the rack - I'll probably do Slim5 because of the cost, lol
jimathome80's Avatar jimathome80
01:16 PM Liked: 10
post #20 of 64
04-30-2013 | Posts: 10
Joined: Mar 2013
Hi Jon

How's the install coming along?

I don't know if your able to help me but I'm having some issues with a supposedly simple crestron setup. I've asked questions on the yahoo forum but I'm still unable to discover a device and its driving me mad!
System as follows
1x aads 1x tps4l and 1x idoc
In the setup wizard it finds both aads and tps4l(set to crestnet) but it won't find the idoc? I have the ipid set to 05 and its the same in the setup can you help??
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
04:16 PM Liked: 86
post #21 of 64
04-30-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
This thread may help with the idoc issue.
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
04:35 AM Liked: 86
post #22 of 64
05-01-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
Jim, looks like you're almost there, from your yahoo thread. You should send someone a bottle of wine for that one. wink.gif
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
08:57 AM Liked: 11
post #23 of 64
05-01-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
The day is soon coming that I will be tearing open walls to get at electrical to replace the knob and tube as well as run AV cable to each room. Question - i am planning to pull 2xcat5/6 to each display location so that I can thrown either component or HDMI over it with baluns. I think to begin with I will switch sources with Component since I can get a component matrix cheaper, what do you guys think? Looking at the CEN-RGBHV
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
09:17 AM Liked: 86
post #24 of 64
05-01-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
As long as you plan for the future with your cables, you'll have no problem upgrading to HDMI when required.

I think you'll 'need' more than cat6 x 2, though, to each display. If they're within 40 feet, I'd pull Redmere HDMI too. And 1.5" empty conduit, for future cables (HDMI 2.0?, fiber, more category cables). And another 1-2 cat6 cables - LAN, control, remote source (BDP), Audio Return Channel, etc. At least, that's what I do for new display locations. Don't forget RG6, too, for flexibility; if you ever consider satellite with their distribution system you may end up using a client box at each display (unlikely, but possible).
weddellkw's Avatar weddellkw
10:12 AM Liked: 11
post #25 of 64
05-01-2013 | Posts: 159
Joined: Apr 2007
It's smart to pull an RG6/Cat5 combo to each bedroom/TV area like a standard production house would. You may plan on living in the house forever, but if something changes and you need to sell, not having basic, legacy cable/phone distribution ability can be a problem.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
09:40 PM Liked: 11
post #26 of 64
05-02-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
My current plan is to pull cat6/rg6 to two locations in the room, plus 2 black cat6 for video and 1 cat6 for control/ir/whatever. I may buy DM cable for the displays so I am ready in the event I want to do a DM system (which I do...dont we all?). The LEAST number of pulls to each room will be as follows:

Wall plate locations (each side of the room)
2 general network cat6
2 coax

LCD Location
2 Cat6 for video dist.
1 cat6 for Ethernet/Control
1 RG6 for ??
1 Belden Audio cable for ??

Touchpanel / Keypad location
1 QM Cresnet which is siamese cat5/cresnet cable

Speaker runs are 2 14awg home runs to the rack in the basement

So...all in all LV to each room will be 6 catx cables, 2-3 RG6, and 1 balanced line audio cable.

The Balanced audio cable is in the event that I want to provide a local source in the bedrooms for ipods, etc... even though I do have 2 airplay receivers in the mix already. Not sure but I like the flexibility of a local aux input.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
09:41 PM Liked: 11
post #27 of 64
05-02-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
I should also mention that our entire house is 1918 era lath and plaster that is starting to show its age. Beyond repair showing its age. As we go along, I will be tearing walls down to get to cable pulls easier, then drywalling back up. Not looking forward to installing speakers in the lath and plaster ceiling in the dining room though...I think a rotozip is going to be my best friend. At least it's not metal lath...
Neurorad's Avatar Neurorad
02:16 AM Liked: 86
post #28 of 64
05-03-2013 | Posts: 5,118
Joined: Sep 2007
Category cable will most probably suffice for line line level balanced audio - but do more research on that to confirm. It's the swiss army knife of cables.

Take a look at West Penn for Cresnet type cable (18/2 + shielded twisted 22/2). Some people use category cable for this, doubling up the power conductors for long runs. (Edit - West Penn 357, but every distributor carries something similar, from other manufacturers.)

Crestron DM cable is STP category cable. Cheaper alternatives, and I've read that some people don't use shielded. I'd install STP and use the grounded shield if needed.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
09:04 PM Liked: 11
post #29 of 64
05-05-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
DM Cable is Cat5 with a tighter twist and better pair seperation, is shielded, and is the only cable that Crestron will certify with support for their system. THAT SAID...........There are PLENTY of DM knockoff cables or DM alternatives, and it will work just fine in my application over STP cat6 since the runs will be pretty short.

Belden and West Penn both make a good alternative - I may just use cat5 though. I havent been able to make a decision! Crestron actually has an internal white paper on using catX cable for Cresnet cable. Still trying to get my hands on that one.
bravonoj's Avatar bravonoj
04:30 PM Liked: 11
post #30 of 64
07-30-2013 | Posts: 91
Joined: Dec 2006
SOO...I pulled the trigger and have a few new updates on some stuff.

Demo still has yet to begin on the second floor master. That will come in the next month or two - with pics!!

I bought pieces of Belden touch panel cable and will be using that for all Cresnet comm. cable, and anyplace there is a touchpanel will get Cresnet AND Cat6 pulled, just to be safe in the case of an eventual upgrade. I've only done 2 zones of audio and HVAC so far but just picked up a 8x8 CEN-RGBHV switcher and will be using that for the bedrooms, kitchen, garage, all the places a full on system is not needed. The switcher will share a Bluray player, two ATSC tuners, and a Boxee Box if I can get it working with a HDMI - Component cable or adapter.

I also just picked up (for free!) 2 42 space Middle Atlantic MRK racks. Gangable, in great shape! Woohoo!

I am now in need of the following:

3 (4) channel amps - I'm considering Behringer's new 1u 4 channel amps but have a lead on some Crown CTS amps that I'd like to use if I can get them still.

Anyone know a cheap resource where I could get 3 more 100' pieces of 3 conductor RGB mini coax cable such as the West Penn 3CRGB?

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