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New Construction Home Automation w/o Video Switching. Thoughts?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
Cheers all!

I'm sure there's been many a thread devoted to this topic as this is an enormous board, but creating my own thread will allow me to centralize my idea's and keep a running log of what I've done and considered without adding confusion to other people's threads.


I'm in the early planning stages on a new 3000sq ft house. This will be a custom home and my first house as I've lived in condos and town homes to this point. Since I'm constructing from scratch I have the oppritunity to intergrate whatever I want into the house, provided it is within my budget.


My Initial Goals:

Home Audio Distrobution
Remote Climate Control
Remote Lighting Control
Remote Shade Control
Remote Garage Door Control
Security Intergration


Future/Possible Goals:

Home Video Distrobution


I had originally considered going with something like a Crestron system, but after the initial sticker shock I've reconsidered my needs. It seems adding home video distrobution doubles if not triples the cost of the project and there are concerns about HDMI HDCP tokens to consider. As such I've decided to shelve the video switching. I also considered using something like a Kalidescape box to centralize my media, but decided against it for the same reasons. It seems many of these appliances come with a "shut up" price associated with them.

Instead I've decided to distribute my video using a central media sever (RAID5 4U Server) running Mezzmo to deliver my photos and video to a series of Western Digital TV Live boxes. It's every bit as feature rich and user friendly as the Kalidescape system for 1/10th the cost. It does require more user input to get the movies and such on there, but that's my concern and something I can handle.

This brings me to my questions.

1.) What home audio distribution system can you recommend that will read music from a NAS or external storage device. I'd like to keep both my movies and MP3's on the same server.

2.) What are your opinions of the RA2 setup from Lutron? Will this meet my home automation needs as listed under "Initial Goals", minus perhaps the audio distrobution?

3.) Any general recommendations you can make for the project?
post #2 of 27
Thread Starter 
Also, does anyone have any experience with the NuVo systems?
post #3 of 27
Starting wth the components, I would recommend you go with the following:
-HAI OmniPro2 controller as the core/hub of your automation system to tie all of your sub systems together and automate (security is built in)
--also you'll need to add some relays for the outputs of the omni to control a garage door opener
-HAI thermostats (wired or wireless)
-Lutron Ra2 lighting and shade control
-HAI Hifi2 audio distirbution
-HAI HTX2 controller for a/v equipment (ipad control w/ full customization)
-Win media center for your digital entertainment-add HAI home control software for OSD

*if cost is your major concern you can swap out the RA2 lighting with HAI lighting control and keep the RA2 main repeater for controlling shades. I have done this for my clients.
**since you want to manage your digital content, hfi2 is a good recommendation becuase it uses Remote Input's for any device to be on your dist. audio network. You can use your HTPC as a souce, ipod docks throught, etc. Also, there is a blue tooth version of the input module so you can beam stuff from your hand held devices to be on the network as well.
post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 
The HAI stuff is pretty promising looking. It looks more like what I'm accustomed to in terms of wiring with less "flashy" components in the server room. It looks very much like a typical structured wiring panel as opposed to most of the rack mount systems I've seen.
post #5 of 27
Why not go with a cheaper video distribution system like an Octavia or a Monoprice? The initial costs of the Crestron video distribution shocked me as well but the more I read the more I'm seeing a lot of guys on the forum and others using matrix switchers from the companies I mentioned.
post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MMMorish View Post

Why not go with a cheaper video distribution system like an Octavia or a Monoprice? The initial costs of the Crestron video distribution shocked me as well but the more I read the more I'm seeing a lot of guys on the forum and others using matrix switchers from the companies I mentioned.
Mostly conerns about HDMI HDCP. Maybe that's been overblown though.

Most due to concerns about HDMI HDCP issues and concerns about delivering HDMI via balun over very long CAT5E runs. Then again, maybe these issues have been overplayed.
post #7 of 27
Make sure you look at Savant as well.
The way the systems are put together gives somewhat more flexibility than a Crestron system for starting off small and building as you go while still providing the features you want from the start.
A Savant system can provide the Automation across almost all platforms and with common and practical interfaces too.

I am sure you are planning on a Pre-Wire that takes the Video into account whether you intend to implement it from the start or not?
Issues with HDMI over long haul are not overblown at all,this is turning out to be a real pain for most of us installing these systems.

Savant goes so far as to buy a Key for each piece of hardware they sell so there is no negotiating after the initial configuration and it also provides true Broadcast quality HDMI switching which I believe is unique to their system?
but getting to the endpoint over cat5 is still tricky at best.

I just noticed we are both in STL?
Talk is cheap so......

Ed
post #8 of 27
I installed my own NuVo system, and use a separate video distribution system. The issues with HDMI distribution are "better" now (HDCP bugs being worked out), but there will always be issues with "common denominator" audio/video settings and HDMI switching. With the exception of Crestron, which handles those... I avoided all of those issues by using a component video HD distribution system, which always works. Dedicate a few local devices in key areas (especially BD players, and $99 streaming devices) and there's no practical difference between HDMI and component...

"Integrating" the systems is where a lot of the step up in cost comes from. Getting everything into one keypad/interface is where all the integration magic happens. If you don't need full integration, you can piece together a lot f the same functionality for significantly less money. The non-obvious downside to this can be usability issues if it's not well thought-out.

Jeff
post #9 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVService View Post

Make sure you look at Savant as well.

I just noticed we are both in STL?
Talk is cheap so......
Ed

Savant is definatly on my list. If I could find a show room where I could play with their product I'd be thrilled. Yep, sure am in St. Louis. West County area. Not sure about the "Talk is cheap so...." comment though?


As for control, I think you're spot on jautor. I think really that's one of the big things you pay for in most of these systems. A friend made a good suggestion to me about considering 1st gen iPads mounted in wall for control as they can be cheaper, will work with nearly every system, and are portable when need be. Plus I could install a VNC client on them to access the media server from any room in the house in case it needed some "coaxing." I know Crestron has some interesting options for the iPad.
post #10 of 27
I meant we could get together and talk about it.
I am not trying to solicit business here really but I would be happy to give a tour of the Savant Interface and talk options enough so you get enough info to give it some thought.
You can also download the Savant True Control app to an iPad or iPhone and get an idea of what it looks like and does,there is a simulation or Demo mode that makes it fairly obvious.

There is also something to be said for running the video as Component but I don't think that is a long term solution unfortunately. It does work every time because it is straight Analog switching but before long there will be no source devices with component output I am afraid?

Anyway in general most systems are more alike than different as they try to do the same things but only a few of them really integrate an entire home into a seamless interface and those systems are not all alike in that the buy in on most of them is steep no matter how little you want to do.

That is one major area where I think Savant sets itself apart.
It is also the only Mac OS based option which gives it some strong advantages too.

Ed
Edited by AVService - 6/7/12 at 6:29pm
post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 
Here's the floor plan I'm looking at.

2952TD-Modern-ML.jpg

2952TD-Modern-UL.jpg

Larger images and full specs can be found here.


These are the plans I'm considering using for construction of my house to get a general idea of what I'm looking at. I plan to make a few minor alterations to the plan. I plan to swap the dining room and family room. Putting the dining "area" off the kitchen and the "family room" area adjacent to the living room.

The "bonus room" over the garage will be made into a dedicated home theater/media room with the windows being removed. This will give me absolute light control and isolate the theater room from the rest of the house to keep sound distrubances to a minimum. I'm considering having the plans altered slightly to move the stairs further into the living room slightly. This would allow me to make the theater room more trapazodial to help deal with first and second reflections and possibly give more seating.

I'll likely install all of my equipment in the mechanical storage room on the second floor. This will help keep it tidy and in close proximity to the theater itself. In the beginning I'm going to isolate down to 6 zones initially with 4 more possible in the future.

Initial Zones

1 - Master Suite & Bath
2 - Kitchen & Dining Room
3 - Living Room
4 - Shop
5 - Den
6 - Home Theater

Future Zones

7 - Guest Bedroom 1
8 - Guest Bedroom 2
9 - The Loft
10 - Outside


I'll likely install 4 runs of CAT5E/CAT6 to each room of the house. This should hopefully "future proof" it a bit by allowing me to use baluns and IP based solutions to distributing media.

For control I'm leaning towards wall mounted iPads to control whatever system I end up with. I would use three of them. One in the kitchen, one in the master suite, and one in the living room near the enterance.

Everything else at this point is negotiable. I may or may not add skylights in the living room. If I do so, I'd want them on remote controlled shutters/blinds.
post #12 of 27
Do want some opinions/feedback on that floorplan?

Well, here's some anyway... smile.gif
  • It's got three "living" spaces that are all open to each other (living/family/loft). That's a lot of space built - what do you intend to use those spaces for? With them being open to each other, think about how noise from one area's "activity" will impact the rest of the spaces.
  • The plan has an odd mix of "public" and "private" spaces. I can't say I've seen a plan that puts the master bedroom doors opening into the foyer.
  • At least in the layout, they've also sized in three eating areas. The "nook" doesn't look like a place I would use...

But back on topic, when you say 4 cat5e's per room, do you mean "all four to one drop", or "two cables to two drops"? For pre-wiring, good to have multiple drops in most rooms. And run RG6 to each room as well.

Is your zone list for audio, video, or both? I'd separate master bed/bath into two zones for sure.

Jeff
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Do want some opinions/feedback on that floorplan?
Well, here's some anyway... smile.gif
  • It's got three "living" spaces that are all open to each other (living/family/loft). That's a lot of space built - what do you intend to use those spaces for? With them being open to each other, think about how noise from one area's "activity" will impact the rest of the spaces.
  • The plan has an odd mix of "public" and "private" spaces. I can't say I've seen a plan that puts the master bedroom doors opening into the foyer.
  • At least in the layout, they've also sized in three eating areas. The "nook" doesn't look like a place I would use...
But back on topic, when you say 4 cat5e's per room, do you mean "all four to one drop", or "two cables to two drops"? For pre-wiring, good to have multiple drops in most rooms. And run RG6 to each room as well.
Is your zone list for audio, video, or both? I'd separate master bed/bath into two zones for sure.
Jeff

Jeff,

I'm aware the floor plan seems a little... odd. I'm not super crazy about the location of the master suite either but this floor plan is the closest I've been able to find to what I really want. I've been toying with ways to block off the master suite but haven't come up with anything I like just yet.

The zones in question were designed to specifically be audio zones. I'd have three video zones initially, the living room, the bedroom, and the theater room. I'd possibly add two more upstairs later. Again, the system is being designed "up front" without video switching. I plan to run 4 CAT5E or CAT6 runs to each room as you said, two drops of two wires each. I'm on the fence on RG6. I know it's useful now, but I question it's long term viability. Where I'm at now there is no RG6 at all in the house at all.

My idea is to use a Xeon based RAID5 server to store my music and video collection and deliver that to each location throughout the house via GigE. This will provide maximum fault tolerance and convergence. I plan to partition that RAID server out for video, audio, and network storage. As necessacary I can add additional storage. That equipment would likely be located in the mechanical room on the second floor adjacent to the theater. This also provides interior access to the garage directly beneath it for running the home run necessacry for which ever internet service I choose to use. (AT&T Uverse if available)

I'd also install two WAPs, one each side of the building to ensure wireless communication.
Edited by Skippman - 6/8/12 at 11:19am
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippman View Post

I'm aware the floor plan seems a little... odd. I'm not super crazy about the location of the master suite either but this floor plan is the closest I've been able to find to what I really want. I've been toying with ways to block off the master suite but haven't come up with anything I like just yet.

Then keep looking... Or take a pile of floorplans that have elements you like, and get an architect to figure it out for you.
Quote:
Again, the system is being designed "up front" without video switching.

Switching / distribution - you want to plan and pre-wire for as many possible outcomes as you can, taking budget and likelihood of use into account.
Quote:
I plan to run 4 CAT5E or CAT6 runs to each room as you said, two drops of two wires each. I'm on the fence on RG6. I know it's useful now, but I question it's long term viability. Where I'm at now there is no RG6 at all in the house at all.

I'm not using any of mine in the 'zones' either currently, but I still had it run. As it's the most common form of residential video distribution today (worldwide), very likely that there will be future products based on it. Same reason we run lots of cat5 - it was built for Ethernet, and lots of new solutions take advantage of the fact that those cables are in the walls.

Also, from a resale perspective - you don't want your house to be weird... Not having "cable TV outlets" anywhere in the house?
Quote:
equipment would likely be located in the mechanical room on the second floor adjacent to the theater. This also provides interior access to the garage directly beneath it for running the home run necessacry for which ever internet service I choose to use. (AT&T Uverse if available)

The exterior "service entrance" point is one of the good places to run flex conduit that terminates in your mechanical room...
Quote:
I'd also install two WAPs, one each side of the building to ensure wireless communication.

Wire for it, but you probably won't need two... Start with one and add-on if necessary.

Jeff
post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the input Jeff. I'm not planning on moving out of the house once it's built. But you're right that long term it might be a wise investment to install the RG6. Since I'm acting, largely, as my own contracter and installer this really isn't an issue of cost.

I'd planned to use the flexable conduit. My original plan was to deliver the internet via CAT5 from the NID to a punch down block in the mechanical room. From there I'd run it into the modem. The modem would be wired to the uplink port on a managed GigE 12 port 1U switch which would in turn be connected to a patch panel. This patch panel would be wired to each of the CAT5E, CAT6 runs to the rest of the house and allow me to adjust wiring as needed for matrix switches, baluns, and servers. I'm simplifying my explination here and it is, of course, subject to change. But keeping all of this centralized makes the most sense to me from my IT/Networking background.

As a side note, I have to say this whole project is very VERY frustrating from an IT perspective. I come from a world of standardized communication protocols (bluetooth, TCP/IP, NetBUI, IPX/SPX, 802.11N, etc). The fact that nearly every vendor of home automation product insists on using it's own closed language makes designing a system neigh impossible. You have to make due with relays and RS-232 commands to things that should occur nativily. The industry really does itself a disservice this way.
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippman View Post

I appreciate the input Jeff. I'm not planning on moving out of the house once it's built.

Most people don't plan to move. But average American moves every 7 years anyway. (I just figured that I'm right on average!)
Quote:
I'd planned to use the flexable conduit. My original plan was to deliver the internet via CAT5 from the NID to a punch down block in the mechanical room. From there I'd run it into the modem. The modem would be wired to the uplink port on a managed GigE 12 port 1U switch which would in turn be connected to a patch panel. This patch panel would be wired to each of the CAT5E, CAT6 runs to the rest of the house and allow me to adjust wiring as needed for matrix switches, baluns, and servers. I'm simplifying my explination here and it is, of course, subject to change. But keeping all of this centralized makes the most sense to me from my IT/Networking background.

And you've described a perfectly normal and correct residential "structured wiring" setup...
Quote:
As a side note, I have to say this whole project is very VERY frustrating from an IT perspective. I come from a world of standardized communication protocols (bluetooth, TCP/IP, NetBUI, IPX/SPX, 802.11N, etc). The fact that nearly every vendor of home automation product insists on using it's own closed language makes designing a system neigh impossible. You have to make due with relays and RS-232 commands to things that should occur nativily. The industry really does itself a disservice this way.

CE guys need to learn about open standards/interoperability from the IT guys. IT guys need to learn about simplicity and usability from the CE guys... Playing in both realms, they are both overdue for a good beating. biggrin.gif

Jeff
Edited by jautor - 6/8/12 at 3:45pm
post #17 of 27
Interesting and one of the biggest reasons I install Savant really.
The Savant System was designed to be an IP based system with all components easily discovered and networked through the Bonjour Protocol. At the heart of the system topology is an enterprise grade network with throughput being important so all interface devices can update at the same time and in real time.

Not a lot of proprietary requirements and by using Mac Mini's throughout the system for UI and Control it can leverage Apple Automator and Apple Script to create and implement everything it needs to do.

I agree about the Cat5 and RG6 drops but I would also double up everything you are proposing and even add more in key areas. Wiring is cheap and easy compared to adding it later no matter the provisions in place to help.
I also bring the speaker wiring through a point in each room if possible as it aids in layout and troubleshooting later if problems arise.

Finding a central location to create a wiring closet is a fundamental as far as I am concerned. You also want to look at lighting and curtain/drape and environment control and include these in there if possible.these are systems that are candidates to be automated but rarely as current in design as other low voltage systems in a house.

I don't know exactly where you will be building but in some areas in STL there are some fairly severe restrictions about what you can do as your own contractor?
Also I understand you eagerness for a variety of reasons to do this yourself but I think you will find it tough to find a major control system available to you as an end user to install.

Looks like an interesting project though.

Ed
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVService View Post

Interesting and one of the biggest reasons I install Savant really.
The Savant System was designed to be an IP based system with all components easily discovered and networked through the Bonjour Protocol. At the heart of the system topology is an enterprise grade network with throughput being important so all interface devices can update at the same time and in real time.
Not a lot of proprietary requirements and by using Mac Mini's throughout the system for UI and Control it can leverage Apple Automator and Apple Script to create and implement everything it needs to do.

Well, it's all very Apple... I wouldn't call it open / industry standard, though. It's "Apple de facto", which of course, is not a bad choice, and Savant was smart and lucky to tie themselves to iDevices before it became painfully obvious that it was going to really change up the industry...
Quote:
I agree about the Cat5 and RG6 drops but I would also double up everything you are proposing and even add more in key areas. Wiring is cheap and easy compared to adding it later no matter the provisions in place to help.

I was trying to ease him into all of that... biggrin.gifbiggrin.gif Yeah, run twice what you know you need, and that won't even be that crazy. Still managed to find some places I would have liked some more cat5e (some future wallpanel location and some places where I'm fully utilizing the cables and could use some more).
Quote:
I also bring the speaker wiring through a point in each room if possible as it aids in layout and troubleshooting later if problems arise.

At the switch-height potential volume/keypad location, along with a cat5e to that box - CEA recommended wiring... Yep!

Jeff
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Well, it's all very Apple... I wouldn't call it open / industry standard, though. It's "Apple de facto", which of course, is not a bad choice, and Savant was smart and lucky to tie themselves to iDevices before it became painfully obvious that it was going to really change up the industry...

Jeff

All of the device control and response is written in HTML which is clearly an open/industry standard. In order to edit or customize already built profiles one uses an HTML editor,I am not sure how it could be any more standard than this?

They chose Apple as it is an established UNIX platform as is LINUX which many of the Savant gear runs on.
If you know the history of the company and the platform you would see these guys come from a serious place where they developed digital switching circuits and platforms that are in worldwide use Today.
Compared to all other systems I have been aware of it is a uniquely open and flexible system.

Savant was around before the iPad was around and before the iPad they offered a dozen different touch screen options for control.
2 weeks after the iPad was introduced they discontinued the touch screens(mostly) and went to IOS devices almost exclusively.

I have 1 job where I started installing it with Touch Screens and ended up yanking them all and now I can sell 10 iPads for the price of 1 10" Touch Screen.

Crazy!
post #20 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVService View Post

All of the device control and response is written in HTML which is clearly an open/industry standard. In order to edit or customize already built profiles one uses an HTML editor,I am not sure how it could be any more standard than this?

Unless I'm mistaken, one can't interface with it without "permission" (aka a dealer)... That's what I meant by open, but yes, certainly based on industry standards. Don't want to get into an argument about keeping the system closed to end users or not. There are good arguments for both ways.
Quote:
Savant was around before the iPad was around and before the iPad they offered a dozen different touch screen options for control.
2 weeks after the iPad was introduced they discontinued the touch screens(mostly) and went to IOS devices almost exclusively.
I have 1 job where I started installing it with Touch Screens and ended up yanking them all and now I can sell 10 iPads for the price of 1 10" Touch Screen.
Crazy!

I give Savant a lot of credit for leveraging the web standards and adapting very well to the economics of the post-iPad touchscreen market. Even though a CE company really can't make a dedicated 10" touch screen, with "less functionality than an iPad" for the price of an iPad (volume, volume, volume!) - it's a really tough argument to make to a customer. "Why does this cost 3x an iPad?" "Um, it's complicated..."

Jeff
post #21 of 27
OK I think we are talking about different interpretations of "Open" here?

I am not referring to a system being open to modification or use of special programming software to access the guts of the program I am talking about the ability as a programmer to use standard,accepted and open methids of interfacing with the system and controlled devices.

All of the systems in the market have to consist of some type of architecture that is proprietary in some way.
The idea being that through the manufacturer provided interface a programmer can create a job and then have it compiled by software to run the hardware.

I think it may be a common misconception here that these systems are a glorified remote control and that the reason the software is not widely available to everyone is to keep the dealer in business but I can promise you that even in skilled and experienced hands any of the advanced automation systems will not give you your moneys worth without a system specific,trained programmer. Further these systems are a combination of Hardware and Software tailored to each job and the combining and efficient use of resources to even spec one is something not to be taken casually. Very often the most expensive or complicated hardware is not right for a particular task.

What I think sets the Savant apart from Crestron for example is the lack of device specific hardware and the fact that the devices are driven by universal controllers programmed to do what is required vs. proprietary modules that only perform specific tasks. This is the way I am using the term "Open" in this context.

Once you understand the way the device drivers are designed and can look at them in an HTML editor it is fairly straightforward to go in and modify them right in the field and not rely on drivers being modified or updated by the factory to get things working. This can be huge in the field and lets me get a lot more accomplished on my own and while I am already on a site.
Whether it is a device controlled by IR,IP,RS232 etc. they are all the same HTML inside the Savant software.

I am not knocking any other systems capability but just commenting on the nature of the design and architecture under it all.

Ed
post #22 of 27
Thread Starter 
When I use the term open I mean an industry standard protocol that is clearly defined and used by all major vendors. Zigby and Z-Wave seemed to start pushing towards that trend but it doesn't seem to be very heavily adopted and probably won't be.

I get it. It's like that for a number of reasons. It's in no home automation company's best interest to write in an open language. For starters it would require them to start competing based on features rather than on compatability. It seems like any system I look at is designed around the concept of "you'll use our stuff, and only our stuff" in much the same way as Apple does. I have nothing personally against Apple. I own an iPad3 and an iPhone4. However, I don't think I can see myself owning an Apple desktop.

In your parlance Ed, Savant definately does seem to be a more "open" system, although in this case I think the word "compatable" would be a better term. The fact you can see things in HTML does indeed lend itself to openness.


However, I feel we're getting very off topic here as we're devolving into an argument on the state of the industry.


I wanna take a moment aside and comment on jauters theater room. That is damn impressive! I don't even want to guess as to how much you have in construction costs let alone equipment. I hope one day my final project will look as nice as that!


I'm still in the data gathering phase. I think running as much CAT5E or CAT6 as I can is a good idea. I'll likely run RG6 as you suggest as it's not a substantial cost. Not sure I follow on the speaker wire issue, can you elaborate?

Right now I have a more pressing concern. My KEF subwoofer lately has started sounding like it's grounding out, producing a hum for no apparent reason. I'm hoping it's not damaged but I can't really see any alternative. I've never really used it hard as I live in a town house now and don't want to disrupt my neighbors. I'm going to have to play with it in the next couple of days and see what happens.
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippman View Post

It seems like any system I look at is designed around the concept of "you'll use our stuff, and only our stuff" in much the same way as Apple does. I have nothing personally against Apple. I own an iPad3 and an iPhone4. However, I don't think I can see myself owning an Apple desktop.
In your parlance Ed, Savant definately does seem to be a more "open" system, although in this case I think the word "compatable" would be a better term. The fact you can see things in HTML does indeed lend itself to openness.

Yes, that's what I was trying to convey as well. I'd call it "properly leveraging the Internet/IT infrastructure and standards". Savant has done a good job of realizing where their value lies and what kind of company they should be. Building LCD control pads is not their business - that's just a gateway to their software and infrastructure... And being "developer friendly" helps get talented programmers up to speed quickly...
Quote:
I wanna take a moment aside and comment on jauters theater room. That is damn impressive! I don't even want to guess as to how much you have in construction costs let alone equipment. I hope one day my final project will look as nice as that!

Thanks! The pie charts are in the thread, so you can figure it out from there. If you know how much these rooms cost, then mine was on the "cheaper" side. If you don't know how much they cost, then it was REALLY REALLY expensive... biggrin.gif
Quote:
I'm still in the data gathering phase. I think running as much CAT5E or CAT6 as I can is a good idea. I'll likely run RG6 as you suggest as it's not a substantial cost. Not sure I follow on the speaker wire issue, can you elaborate?

No one here will ever tell you that you ran too much wire.

CEA publishes a standard (must be purchased to read) for Whole House Audio wiring, which means that most the product manufacturers build their stuff to work with that standard. The standard can be summarized, for our purposes as:

1) Home run speaker wire from a central distribution point (the A/V closet, structured wiring center, etc.) to each "zone". Loop the speaker wire through a wall-switch-height plate on its way to stereo speaker locations in the walls/ceiling. This wall location becomes the location for either a volume control, in-wall amp, or control panel.

2) Run a Cat5e cable in parallel, terminating at the same wall plate.

Most installers run a 4-conductor speaker wire from the hub to the wall plate, then individual speaker wires to each speaker - easier to run that way and less wires to deal with at the head end.

If you follow that standard, you'll be set up for just about any whole house audio system.

Jeff
post #24 of 27
I think you are both sort of missing my point really but I don't want to continue to Hijack your thread trying to make it more clear.
All I can say is that you are entirely backwards as far as compatibility and using their components is concerned,it is more the opposite of that being able to be compatible with anything and not being locked in.

As for the wiring the bottom line really is that if you run way too much wire and need it later on you look like a Genius but if you didn't run it for whatever reasons you look like.........Wire is cheap,re-wire usually is not.

Anyway describe the system that the humming sub is in a little more and tell us if you changed anything at all before the hum started.
Is it a Powered Sub? Where does itas signal inout come from? Etc.
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by AVService View Post

I think you are both sort of missing my point really but I don't want to continue to Hijack your thread trying to make it more clear.

I got your point, and basically agree with you.
Quote:
All I can say is that you are entirely backwards as far as compatibility

Well, so much for not trying hijack the thread. rolleyes.gif

Compatibility is a two-way street. Everyone allows some amount of integration with others' products to some degree. Some better than others. Savant probably one of the better ones. Leave it at that.

Jeff
post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 
Jeff,

With the ammount of work you put into that, you deserve some compliments. I only hope when I move into my home I can construct something half as nice as what you have achieved.


Ed,

Thank you for your continued input. I'm not trying to belittle the Svant product line at all. If anything it's one of the better looking interfaces I've seen. Just expressing my views of the home automation/custom installation enviroment. Jeff and I both come from IT backgrounds if I understand it right and I know I'm used to taking things like that for granted. The more I get into home automation and home theater in general the more I realize that IT is rare in that regard.


On the subwoofer issue:

It's a KEF PSW2500 powered subwoofer. It's connected to a Yamaha RX-V1600 via a single RCA and to a Tripp Lite ISO bar surge supressor. It's giving what sounds to me like a 60hz hum. It's completely random and occurs even with the RCA disconnected. The subwoofer is 5 years old and I'm not certain it's under any kind of warrenty any longer. I'm going to have my installer friend come take a look soon.


On the Home Automation Issue:

I'm beginning to think my budget will not allow me to do many of the things I'd like to do "up front." Climate control and total lighting control seem to be achievable for about $5000. I figure audio distrobution would likely be another $5000 minus speaker costs. Maybe I'm way under budgeting this here but I'm lucky in that I have a friend who does Lutron work and can install and configure the system for me which saves me a fortune in labor costs. As for running wirel, I'm no stranger to that and can do it myself. I've also done many carpentry projects myself and come from a family of general contractors so building things comes down mostly to materials cost, not labor costs.

Right now I'm thinking Radio Ra2 from Lutron for lighting control. That should interface with just about ANY home automation system. Is this what you guys would recommend?
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippman View Post

I'm beginning to think my budget will not allow me to do many of the things I'd like to do "up front." Climate control and total lighting control seem to be achievable for about $5000. I figure audio distrobution would likely be another $5000 minus speaker costs.

That sounds pretty accurate. The big uptick in cost is when this all gets "integrated" into a system control system. If you start with separate systems, and choose those that are well-supported by the integrated solutions, you'll have better luck integrating it all later...
Quote:
Right now I'm thinking Radio Ra2 from Lutron for lighting control. That should interface with just about ANY home automation system. Is this what you guys would recommend?

RadioRA2 is my next step, too. Probably something for this fall, after CEDIA and hopefully the BLAST training to get access to the software "officially".

Jeff
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