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Home Automation setup help

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Need help in setting up my system. Looking to have a HTPC which will run CQC? to control the system for playing my hundreds of DVDs that I will copy to my HDD. This connects to my AV system which I have sent to my TV and throughout the house. Want to have a security system, ELK M1-Gold? which will be interfaced with it also so I can see the status from my HTPC. Want to add video cameras that with motion can start recording to HDD but also activate the alarm system and I can view on my system so can monitor: ie: baby or if doorbell rings will show the camera on my TV if on. Have Insteon lights so want to control them and have the alarm system be able to turn them on also. If motion in a rm at night it will turn on the lights, say 50%, so you can walk around the rm.
Is all this possible and if so how? Have the HTPC already running Vista, this good? Any help anyone can give me will be great as I am lost with all the information that is out there and the different software and hardware solutions, but none do it all.

Thanks,
Javan
post #2 of 11
oh yeah, sure, all that is pretty basic stuff that many of us are doing.

Before we get into it in detail, check out this pdf i wrote up with my system details. There's a system architecture slide in there that shows how my stuff is connected. CQC is the main glue pulling it all together, so that changes or requests in on area (ie, door opened or alarm disarmed) trigger a change in another area (turn on the light.

BTW, I think ripping hundreds of DVDs to HDD was the wrong move for me - too much heat & noise generated, too much power consumed, hard disks die, takes too long to rip. I went and got a 777 megachanger instead and am much happier.
post #3 of 11
This is great IVB.

I just got on this site about a week ago and have been doing a bunch of research. I'm currently building a ~3750sqft home, and its just starting to frame. So I'm looking to prewire the house for everything that I may eventually want to do. I have a few questions I would love to get help on.

1) Is there a wiring guide somewhere as well? For example, in this guide you talk about RS232 to the thermostats, what kind of wire do I run for that? Does Cat-5E work for RS232?

2) How does lighting get controlled? I don't want to use Insteon or powerline controls since I have the option to prewire. I want to use something like Lutron Homeworks or Vizia RF. Is it better to go Wireless or wired when building new? I'd assume that I run wires so I can do either or, and wired controls are cheaper.

3) If I home run a wire from all lighting switches to a panel, what kind of wire should I use Cat-5E? I understand that if I use homeworks, they would all connect to the homeworks controller. What about cheaper alternatives by Leviton for example? Then what do I need to connect the computer to this lighting controller?

4) Here's a summary of what I gathered throughout all my readings, any suggestions greatly appreciated.


Security

external video camera - RG6 + 18/2 + Cat-5E
external motion detectors - Cat-5E?
smoke detectors - 18/4 or 22/4 Firewire
external siren + strobe - 18/4 Firewire
auto unlock/lock doors - what hardware do I use for this?

A/V distribution

speaker wires - 14/2 or 12/2, and run by future wall panel
each entertainment location - 4x 3ghz RG6QS and 2x Cat5-E
4 coax for each dish

HVAC

thermostats - Cat-5E?

Interior

touch panel controls wiring - 2x Cat-5E
window blinds control, Cat-5E + 18/2 zip cord
remote RF antenna with wireless antenna - Cat-5E?

Exterior

external weather sensor - Cat-5E
event wire at doorbell - Cat-5E?
automatic sprinkler - special 7 wire conductor that is UV resistent

Garage

garage door sensor - Cat-5E
garage door controller - Cat-5E


Thanks in advance,

Paul
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by IVB View Post

oh yeah, sure, all that is pretty basic stuff that many of us are doing.

Before we get into it in detail, check out this pdf i wrote up with my system details. There's a system architecture slide in there that shows how my stuff is connected. CQC is the main glue pulling it all together, so that changes or requests in on area (ie, door opened or alarm disarmed) trigger a change in another area (turn on the light.

BTW, I think ripping hundreds of DVDs to HDD was the wrong move for me - too much heat & noise generated, too much power consumed, hard disks die, takes too long to rip. I went and got a 777 megachanger instead and am much happier.

Do you have touch screen control over your 777 or using the factory remote?
I've been thinking about getting the 777. How's the osd for the disc menu. Is it difficult to locate a movie within the 777's menu system?

Chip
post #5 of 11
Yep for touchscreen control, but no idea about the 777 system.

I use CQC on a Fujitsu 3400 or my laptop for it. I don't leave the 3400 in the H/T room, so if I'm feeling lazy and don't wanna get up and get the bluetooth mouse and the 3400 isn't nearby, I just use the laptop. I'm sure you've seen my screen 101 times, but here's #102; this is rendered either directly on the plasma, or on the laptop, or the 3400.


post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulkhsu View Post

This is great IVB.

1) Is there a wiring guide somewhere as well? For example, in this guide you talk about RS232 to the thermostats, what kind of wire do I run for that? Does Cat-5E work for RS232?

I'm actually writing up a pre-wiring 101 as between the forums and my neighbors, this is one of the most common questions. But, that ain't done. This is a decent start, and this thread has a lot too.
Quote:


2) How does lighting get controlled? I don't want to use Insteon or powerline controls since I have the option to prewire. I want to use something like Lutron Homeworks or Vizia RF. Is it better to go Wireless or wired when building new? I'd assume that I run wires so I can do either or, and wired controls are cheaper.

Wired is always better,homeworks is awesome if you can afford it.

Quote:


3) If I home run a wire from all lighting switches to a panel, what kind of wire should I use Cat-5E? I understand that if I use homeworks, they would all connect to the homeworks controller. What about cheaper alternatives by Leviton for example? Then what do I need to connect the computer to this lighting controller?

Your Lutron installer can help here (homeworks is installer-only). To hook up to PC, you connect via RS232 to the homeworks controller.
Quote:


4) Here's a summary of what I gathered throughout all my readings, any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Security

external video camera - RG6 + 18/2 + Cat-5E
external motion detectors - Cat-5E?

no, use 18/4
Quote:


smoke detectors - 18/4 or 22/4 Firewire
external siren + strobe - 18/4 Firewire
auto unlock/lock doors - what hardware do I use for this?

I haven't yet done this, but all you'd need to prewire is 22/2 to the door. The locks are power-based, and you use an on/off relay @the Elk to either complete the circuit or break it.
Quote:


A/V distribution

speaker wires - 14/2 or 12/2, and run by future wall panel
each entertainment location - 4x 3ghz RG6QS and 2x Cat5-E
4 coax for each dish

HVAC

thermostats - Cat-5E?

Yep. Matter of fact, run 2 in case you want to install any remote thermos later.
Quote:


Interior

touch panel controls wiring - 2x Cat-5E
window blinds control, Cat-5E + 18/2 zip cord
remote RF antenna with wireless antenna - Cat-5E?

what do you mean by remote RF antenna - for what?
Quote:


Exterior

external weather sensor - Cat-5E
event wire at doorbell - Cat-5E?
automatic sprinkler - special 7 wire conductor that is UV resistent

Garage

garage door sensor - Cat-5E
garage door controller - Cat-5E


Thanks in advance,

Paul

i believe that's all the questions there.
post #7 of 11
Thanks IVB,

"remote RF antenna with wireless antenna" is the antenna that would be used to recieve RF remote signals and send it to the computer for automating lights, etc, basically and antenna with a wireless remote instead of the wall panels.


Any Homeworks dealers here can tell me what wires to run to the light switchers?

Thanks,

Paul
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulkhsu View Post

Thanks IVB,

"remote RF antenna with wireless antenna" is the antenna that would be used to recieve RF remote signals and send it to the computer for automating lights, etc, basically and antenna with a wireless remote instead of the wall panels.

Ah. I use an MX850 IR/RF remote and MRF300 base station. It sends IR to local devices (ie, turn TV on), and RF to the MRF300 which then retransmits the desired IR command to the local device. Or, in my case, sends IR to the PC (via USB-UIRT), which then controls my devices over serial. That's huge overkill for cost, but I got sick of the cheaper remotes not working well so I got this.

I was about to post this screenshot tonight on my "IVB's HA Progress" thread, but since it's topical i'll do it here too. Note that there's control over
- the TV (bottom left turns on, HTPC & 777 buttons switch video inputs),
- Stereo (Denon 3805 in a different room, controlled via serial).
- Lighting (the "bdoor" on bottom right via zWave hooked up to PC),
- and PC itself (Sage or CQC button bring up that app).

post #9 of 11
Thanks for your help, here comes another barrage of questions.

Quote:


Quote:
3) If I home run a wire from all lighting switches to a panel, what kind of wire should I use Cat-5E? I understand that if I use homeworks, they would all connect to the homeworks controller. What about cheaper alternatives by Leviton for example? Then what do I need to connect the computer to this lighting controller?

Your Lutron installer can help here (homeworks is installer-only). To hook up to PC, you connect via RS232 to the homeworks controller.

Does that mean the ELK actually doesn't control the lights. The PC hooks up to both the ELK and the light controller? Meaning, rather than PC->ELK->Lights, We use CQC or something to get signals from ELK and relays that to the HW controller?


From all these wiring, it seems easier that I just buy a bunch of 18/4 solid core to all security stuff ( contacts, smoke, siren, door, etc ). Is there any reason not to and use 22/2?

I keep seeing solid, does it matter if its solid or stranded? I have a tough time finding solid online at 18/4. Whats a good place to buy all these wires?

I've also started looking at the security contacts etc because the contractor would be wiring them into the windows, etc. I found some like:
http://www.smarthome.com/7358.html
http://www.smarthome.com/7309.html
http://www.smarthome.com/7455.html

Would they work with ELK, what should I look for to know something works with ELK? Is the ELK a closed circuit system?

And finally, what places to buy?

Thanks again,

Paul
post #10 of 11
"Does that mean the ELK actually doesn't control the lights. The PC hooks up to both the ELK and the light controller? Meaning, rather than PC->ELK->Lights, We use CQC or something to get signals from ELK and relays that to the HW controller?"


The ELK M1 supports a few lighting systems. Most of of the popular powerline technology ones especially.

There are several PC software automation packages that also can interact with the lighting systems control methods.

many of these external controllable lighting systems use RS232 (serial) or a USB connection (which typicall is also serial communication).

If the software package also supports the ELK panel, you can:

PC <> ELK <> lighting controller hardware <> powerline <> the device

Or:

PC <> lighting controller hardware <> powerline <> the device

Or some also support both methods at the same time (you typically need two controllers).

There are pro / cons for each.

The first method doesn't require a PC to be on. Less things in the way, means less things to not work. Keep in mind, that for the powerline systems, you can still control the lights manually at the switch even if the control system isn't running (the good ole fashioned way).

The second method which is PC centric typically will get better touchscreen and automation system response and results (less links in that chain).

The third gets complex to administer and not many "do it". keeping things in synch gets challenging.

So, if automation in your home is "behind the scenes" Do option 1.

If you want to interact with your hardware and do more sophisticated setups, do option 2.

Once you do one or the other, you can play with Option 3 as a hobby
post #11 of 11
If you are going to mount the touchscreens in wall, don't forget to add wire for power. 16/2 or 14/2 depending on distance.
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