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post #1 of 22 Old 10-14-2013, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all!
I have been sitting on the sidelines for a few years, enjoying the topics brought up by members, but now have joined to get some advice on my new house build. To start it is a 2900 square feet 2 story walkout and is currently just a hole in the ground with the foundation just poured. I plan on using control 4 for the home automation. Looking to control the lights, HVAC, Distributed audio, video, security, etc... I will be running CAT6a and CAT5e in a few weeks after it is framed. My first question is how many wires would you recommend I pull to each location? Also how many of each kind? I will be buying it from Monoprice and am unsure how much to order, so far I think 2 1000' boxes of CAT 6a and 3 1000' boxes of CAT5e. 2nd question is what switch to get? I was thinking a 48 port POE switch. I want a good quality switch that will provide Optimum transfer rates. I also would like recommendations on a good router as well. The brains of the system will be a control 5 HC-800, with HC-250's at each TV.
Thanks for the help. I have lots of questions but don't want to write a novel and put everyone to sleep.
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-15-2013, 09:30 AM
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Generally speaking, to any TV location I want one control wire (cat5), one video wire (cat6), one Ethernet wire (cat5/6), and one spare (cat5/6) as a minimum. I typically will put in one or two extra wires to my equipment rack location (head end) if I am doing full video distribution. I also typically pull coaxial wire to the room from the head end so if there is ever need to put a cable box in the room, that can occur easily enough.

So, minimum of 2 cat5, 2 cat6, and one coax to each TV location.

You then run cat5/6 as appropriate for the networking and to each wired panel/control location.

Any in-wall keypads need at least a single cat5 typically. I'm not familiar with C4 systems, so I'm not sure what their specification calls for. You want to be very sure though that you have the right wires in place.

You also mentioned that the C4 system would control your video... Did you have a full plan for this? Is it fully distributed, or a bunch of local systems, or a bunch of local systems which are centrally distributed? The price jump to fully distributed HDMI systems can be very significant and cause a number of headaches along the way.

Pick you zones carefully if you haven't already. Plan, plan, and replan...

I would say that we really need a lot more detail here to ensure that you are fully covered and you will want to give details of your zones and expectations for those zones.

You will also want to consider local room control and how it will be achieved. Looks like C4 has a couple of decent remote control options available.

C4 certainly has a lot of product which will work as long as you play within their game plan, which is a pretty good way to go.

I don't know how well their 8x8 HDMI matrix handles EDID management, but I would want a lot more detail on that before any purchase was made.

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post #3 of 22 Old 10-15-2013, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Great, I was not sure as to how many cables to pull for each specific location but will follow your recommendation, and maybe + 1 or 2 for good measure. I see that a list of my components and future components is in order.
Currently: network & computers
Router( Linksys EA6500)
Switch (
NAS ( Synology DS1512+ with 5 x 2tb western digital red drives)
2 desk top computers
1Laptop
2 Tablet
iPhones

Currently: audio
2 receivers.
2 Sonos zp90's and 1 S5
1 DAC

Currently: video
3 TV's
1 projector
4 Boxee Box's
1 bluray player
1 xbox
PVR's and digital boxes

Currently : automation
Bought so far but not in use as it is for new house.

LSZ3W1B) 2 button keypad, white.
(C4-16amp3-B) 8 zone 16 channel zone
(HC-250-B) Home controller
(C4-KP6-Z-W) 6 button keypad
(TSE38C2W) Control 4 Ethernet Mini Touch Screen
(C4-KP3-Z-W) Wireless 2 button keypad
(C4-FS1-Z-WH) Wireless Fireplace Switch.
(LSZ3W1B) wireless 2-button keypad.

My plan

I plan to have all of my components centrally located in the basement. The 16 channel 8 zone C4 amp will handle the audio to house. I also plan to integrate the sonos into the system as well. ( well my dealer is going to since control 4 can not be installed and programmed otherwise).

Video will not be a HDMI matrix. Way to expensive! Would rather take the whole family to disney for that kind of money, and I live in Canada! Planning on having Baluns to go from the centralized location to each TV. Will have 4 Boxee boxes and 4 TV digital boxes as well as a 400 disc bluray player. An HC-800 will be located with the other centralized components and HC-250's will be at each TV. We do want to have a 5.1 theater setup in the upstairs but I am unsure as to the logistics of the hardware, do I have a receiver next to the TV or in the centralized location.

I use the synology heavily for movies and TV shows which I think will go through the Boxee Boxes. I am unsure if I can just feed straight to the HC-250's and have it decode and play since it does use grace note for meta data.

I will also be using (Nest) as my climate control unit and various ( card access) packages for thermostats, security, and so on.

As a side note my current network sucks. When I transfer data from one computer to another or my NAS I get about 700 kb/s.. Brutal. This is over a wired connection! Wasn't always this bad so I am not sure what is happening. This is why I feel the need to update my switch and router to something a bit more powerful.

I also plan on getting an access point or two for the new house to provide good wireless coverage. My dealer so far will be providing the access point and all of the new control 4 goodies. The control 4 items listed above are what I picked up cheap on eBay to help out on the budget. Items seem to cost a lot more up here. All items are new but I have my fingers crossed they will all work lol.

Hope I painted a good picture of my setup. I really want to be sure that I do everything I need to while the house is just framed and I do it right. Also that my over all plan provides me with a solid backbone that can take me into the future and can continue to add on without issues. Compatibility of control 4 devices is also a concern but the structure is first and foremost. I am completely open to comments and suggestions from fellow members.
Thanks to all
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post #4 of 22 Old 10-15-2013, 09:30 PM
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So, separate systems with a single head end.

Make sure you think about how video is getting to your displays. HDBaseT is a replacement for an HDMI cable, so if you have multiple sources you want to feed a single display, then you will either need a decent HDMI switcher in the rack for each source, or you will need separate HDBaseT extenders for each source. I would recommend the former as this will cost a good deal less.

I'm not going to comment on your network. I'm not a networking guy beyond some basics that can get me in trouble.

Not sure if Nest works with C4 still or not. At one point it was, then I heard it wasn't... Nest really is cool, but doesn't play well with others and is really, REALLY stupid in that regard. You may want to talk to your C4 dealer about other thermostats which may be about as cool looking, but play a lot better with C4.

For any surround areas, you have to figure out if you want a local rack to run things, or if you want local sources, and your receiver in the basement. I personally run a rack in the basement and have three local sources in my family room on the first floor. I extend all A/V to the basement using HDBaseT and component video, digital audio, and analog audio for my distribution system. You can certainly run a centralized rack, but it may harm your capability to matrix everything in the future when (not if) HDMI matrix pricing drops.

The key is looking at your drawings and really figuring out where things are going in your home. Where each TV goes, where speakers go, where network and phones will go, then pulling plenty of wiring.

In audio only rooms, I strongly recommend a keypad by each door at the very least. This really allows you to use the system - as you walk into a room you can turn on your audio, when you walk out of the room, you can turn the audio off with one button press.

Video zones can get by with a hard-button handheld remote.

Don't try to get by with an iOS interface exclusively. Handheld remotes are just worlds better and easier to use. The iOS interface is great for complex tasks, but for normal TV viewing, they it just doesn't make sense.

Once you have your list of rooms, zones, etc. make a wiring list. Room by room, location by location. Use the drawings along with the list to ensure that you get all the wires every location they are meant to go.

Finally - Consider ALL the places which are uniquely available and make sense to be wired right now.

My last home was about 2,900 square feet on two levels. We wired for audio in 4 bedrooms, two baths, the family room (surround), kitchen, dining room, living room, study, front porch, back deck, and the garage.

So, 14 zones of audio were pretty easily met in that much space without a problem. My current home is running at over 20 zones of audio.

Unless you are just positive you will 100% never ever even want something, then go ahead and wire for it now. Wiring, in the grand scheme, is really inexpensive overall.

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post #5 of 22 Old 10-15-2013, 10:36 PM
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Sub'ed, I am looking for pretty much the same info, also in Canada, keep asking questions!

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post #6 of 22 Old 10-16-2013, 11:17 AM
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Do i miss something somewhere, where all you need is 1 cat6 cable for HDBaseT now instead of 2?

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post #7 of 22 Old 10-16-2013, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdika17 View Post

Do i miss something somewhere, where all you need is 1 cat6 cable for HDBaseT now instead of 2?
Didn't you just ask this in another (more appropriate) post?

HDBaseT has always been a single cable solution. There are other non-HDBaseT single cable solutions, and there are also non-HDBaseT dual cable solutions, which don't work as well in my experience.

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post #8 of 22 Old 10-16-2013, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Your speaker setup sounds very similar to what mine will be, or at least what I will pre-wire for. I will only have the 8 zone distribution amp at first, but will pick up another when the time is right. You gave me something to think about pertaining to my sources centralized or situated in each room. Can you point me in the direction of a retailer that sells HDbaseT, also what price is appropriate to provide good performance? I guess I am asking " What would you buy" lol
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post #9 of 22 Old 10-16-2013, 05:48 PM
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post #10 of 22 Old 10-16-2013, 06:32 PM
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I use the HDMI extenders that are linked above, they work very well and are reliable. I've had a couple fail on me completely, but typically this has been within a few days of first use and Monoprice has taken care of replacing the unit which has then lasted for months, or years.

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post #11 of 22 Old 10-17-2013, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, will put that on the list. My next question is for speaker cable. Did you use 14 gauge or 16 gauge. At this point in the build I am looking to cut unneeded costs if I can. I will be ordering it from mono price with all of the other cables.
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post #12 of 22 Old 10-19-2013, 09:43 AM
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I pulled 14/4 cable everywhere, then jumpered from one speaker to the next. That is, I took the 14/4 to the left speaker, then continued the run over to the right speaker. A single 14/4 cable is easier to deal with than two 14/2 cables. But, yes, I went with 14 gauge cable everywhere.

While I fully agree that you look for ways to cut costs, do it by finding a good special on cables, not by using the wrong cable, or not pulling enough cable. I came across a special on Monster speaker cable for about $150 (or maybe less?) for 500' of 14/4 cable. I bought 12 or 14 boxes of it. Bought it about 4 years ago and still have several boxes left that I use on my installations, but I have used Monoprice cable in the past and it works very well at a good price.

BUT WAIT! Don't forget to check eBay.

Here's 250' of 14/4 speaker wire for $67.50 and it includes shipping.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/250-ft-In-Wall-14-4-14-AWG-Gauge-4-Conductor-Speaker-Wire-Cable-CL2-Bulk-250ft-/121134610805?pt=US_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item1c342f7975

That's about $50 less than the price from Monoprice with shipping.

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023902&p_id=4040&seq=1&format=2

So, find your savings if you can in getting decent product at the best price you can find. Haven't see that particular brand speaker wire before, but the price is the best I've seen in a long time. I may pick up a few rolls of it!

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post #13 of 22 Old 10-20-2013, 09:53 PM
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Look at the brand new C4 8x8 HDMI matrix with HDBaseT. It handles EDID very well. C4 also sells smaller (and larger) HDMI matrices from Leaf. I've used their 20x20 with excellent results.

Nest just announced they have opened up the API on their t-stats for control by automation systems and C4 is the first official partner.
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post #14 of 22 Old 10-21-2013, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the info, I never thought to use 14/4 that way, very inventive! Will have to try that. I agree with you also in regards to cable type and to not under wire trying to save money. My only question left is that cheaper speaker cable on eBay, could that not just be inferrer cable and reduce sound quality? Really asking as I just don't know. I will be using 14/4, 14/2, but looking closer into where to get it now. For ease I might just go mono price but the shipping thing is hard to pass up.
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post #15 of 22 Old 10-21-2013, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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As for the matrix, price seems to have scared me off and I have not been looking. I have seen a few on eBay, but do not know enough about them to confidently make that purchase any time soon. I think I will use Baluns from centralized location to the needed rooms. I assume I would need those Baluns if I move to a matrix later anyway. For those who are C4 savy, do any of you know if you can use the HC-250 or HC-800 as a media player. What I mean by that is right now I use Boxee box as my multi media player. I have 4 of them, each at a TV location. They are on my network and all pull from my 10TB synology NAS drive. The question is, do I still actually need the Boxee boxes? I have heard they use grace note to provide the meta data for music and I guess movies ( I always thought movies used IMBD) so would it be logical that it works as a player. And if so, would it play all formats? I have so far bought a HC-250, and will still need a few more plus a HC-800 to run the whole thing. Another question is dimmers and switches. Up here in Canada prices on some products seem to higher / less available. I understand that a smaller market and less compitition drive prices up, but the sufferance is huge. I have sourced a lot from eBay, trying to help the US economy 1 dimmer at a time lol. Any way, can any dimmer work with a new system. My integrated said I "can" source some of my own equipment, but does not seem overly enthusiastic about providing me with straight forward info on compatability and differences in older products to current. I am worried some of the products might not work or need extra programming that may nhigate the savings. All items I bought are new in box ( save for the H-250 but got it really cheap). I will be getting all the remaining items from the dealer and he will be doing the setup ( just not the pre-wire, as I will be doing that with a few friends) as well as the security an central VAC. Side note, if you have not heard of hide a hose, look it up. My wife and I saw it at a lottery home and loved the idea. The hose is located in the wall and is pulled out to use. When done you just cove the suction nozzle with you hand and the vacuum pressure sucks it back in the wall. I know this forum is not about vacuums but just had to share as he is installing that as well.
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post #16 of 22 Old 10-30-2013, 06:25 AM
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Hey Sleepwalking, just to let you know that the Home controllers are not Video media players. Control4 had media player but it was just discontinued a week or so ago. The home controller that runs the project will allow you to find a storage on  your network and be able to play audio files. The the meta data is will be taking off the network drive and shown to you on the GUI.

 

I have control 4 in my house as well as I am able to program for it. I am not currently installing C4 everyday but might be able to answer the odd question you need answered.

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post #17 of 22 Old 10-31-2013, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, have been wondering about that for a while. I currently use Boxee Box for multi media playing. Not sure how it will work together, if the Boxee user interface would just take over after you select to view a video on the C4 interface? I thought I might be able to just navigate through C4 to find my music or movies and then "just play it" but doesn't seem to work like that. My other question that is plaguing me is do I have to worry about current or older dimmers and switches that I pick up on eBay for example and have then not work with my new system? I will be buying a new HC-800 and I have bought a few switches, dimmers, keypads, display screens, etc from eBay, all brand new, but older models then what is on the C4 web site. Can you shed any light on this new vs older stock and compatibility issues I may have?
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post #18 of 22 Old 11-01-2013, 03:31 AM
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With the C4 you can pick what you want to watch, and the controller would be able to turn you TV on (as long as your tv is controlled with C4) and change it to your Boxee (if that was the input you picked). The boxee would be able to be controlled by the C4 via the remote or control device you use. as long as there is a driver for it Communication would have to be made via RS232, RS485, or IR. I am not sure off the top of my head if there is a driver for boxee, but your installer should be able to make one for you if the Boxee is IR.

 

I find what works best for music is to have a hard drive that is hooked up to my router. My C4 scans that hard drive every night. Any computer I am on in my house I am able to dump music on the hard drive and the next day my C4 can play it. This allows me to not have my computer(s) running in order to play music through the house.

 

As for the lights I am not sure if there are any issues with old lights and new lights. I am assuming you are talking about the new multi button lights that just came out in the last month or two. The reason I say that is because there are REAL old lights that run on Legacy, in which they do not communicate the same as any of the firmware (2.0 or above I think). You don’t see that stuff often on ebay.

 

The touch pads, as long as there the new style touch pads you should be good. The older I don’t believe are compatible with the new firmware. Don’t buy the small screens with the large round nob on them. I think some of the standalone touch pads might have issues with the new firmware as well. I can’t recall off the top of my head. It would be best if you contact an installer and get a game plan on what you want to do. Then you can get a better Idea of what your system will be able to perform.

 

You can always just get a "home" licence and run Android or Ipad tablets as your remote, this might be a better way than buying wall mount touch screens for everywhere. If you buy the full home licence you can hook up to 50 tablets or phones.

 

 

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post #19 of 22 Old 11-01-2013, 08:00 PM
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[quote name="ClayliketheDIRT" url="/t/1494967/new-house-build-automation-question#post_
You can always just get a "home" licence and run Android or Ipad tablets as your remote, this might be a better way than buying wall mount touch screens for everywhere. If you buy the full home licence you can hook up to 50 tablets or phones.

[/quote]

You do not have to purchase the device license anymore. It is now included with the controller price.
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post #20 of 22 Old 11-05-2013, 03:59 PM
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Have you looked at this Matrix from monoprice?
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10914&cs_id=1091403&p_id=10682&seq=1&format=2

It's a great price. Wonder if it works with Control4.
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post #21 of 22 Old 11-05-2013, 06:22 PM
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By the looks of that switch, and seeing that it says in the specs that it's IR. I would think one could easily program a driver for a C4 project to control that matrix system.

I bought 4x2 matrix switch from monoprice and programmed a driver for my system (quite easy)
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post #22 of 22 Old 11-05-2013, 07:18 PM
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I don't consider that to be a great price given that you can get 4 HDBaseT extenders plus a 4x4 matrix for around 800. Well, you could. It looks like the supply of HDBaseT extenders is drying up which means HDBaseT 2.0 may be close at hand.
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