Lights, AV, Thermostat, Fireplace all integrated - point me to the right direction - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 27 Old 11-20-2015, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Lights, AV, Thermostat, Fireplace all integrated - point me to the right direction

So, after procastenating for a year, now I am back at it, thinking of home automation... things have changed slightly from last year, but I am not really up to speed to all of the latest developments. Last year I was leaning toward Control4, but the cost was too much, and not sure if there's anything new available that could serve my purpose now.

Here's exactly what I want to do:
  • Automating lighting with dimmers in 9-10 rooms, including sensor switch
  • Mix of LED, Halogen, and incandesant lights (now mixed, just need dimmer variety)
  • Two wall outlets, 8 regular outlets
  • Control 2 Nest for 2 rooms
  • Control a Gas Fireplace switch to be turned on/off by Nest based on temps, or via remote/app, PLUS adding a baseboard heater when needed
  • Control AV system (Pioneer Elite SC-67) including changing sources, and switching zones
  • Control AV connected items (Xbox, Bluray, HDBox, Plasma)
  • Control Sonos
  • Mood lighting pre-set
  • Bathroom lighting to be programmed --> Regular during the day, then turn on/off with on a motion sensor at 20% light at night
  • Ability to do the control via App (could mount an iPad on the wall), or via a remote control (prefer to have both options)

Now, last year only C4 was something that could most of the above, what's the situation now? I *wish* to kinda purchase best of breed of each item (best dimmers, best outlets, etc...) and just have one central box to tie it altogether. The most important items are (1) Integrate Nest so it can turn fireplace on/off (2) Light control, dimming, (3) AV control with ease. I know Revolv could do most of these, but it's not availale anymore (bought by Nest), is there anything else coming up, or available now?

Thanks!

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post #2 of 27 Old 11-20-2015, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Anyone? Is there a Bette site for home automation? It looks pretty dead here.
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post #3 of 27 Old 11-21-2015, 08:35 AM
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If you want to DIY, take a look at Logitech Home Hub (for AV systems) which integrates with Insteon Hub (mostly for lighting), Nest, locks, etc. I use it just for my AV and lights, using my iPhone Home Hub app. You can also get a Logitech hand held device.
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post #4 of 27 Old 11-21-2015, 01:30 PM
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cause probably most of the 'integration' is still for rich people
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post #5 of 27 Old 11-21-2015, 03:07 PM
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If you aren't centralizing audio or video maybe a diy like irule could work? Otherwise you really need c4, savant, urc, elan etc if you want 1 app and clear ability for interaction amongst all systems cleanly.

Just my $.02
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post #6 of 27 Old 11-21-2015, 07:55 PM
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I can help you with all of that. Use an elan gSC2 system. Ontroller and radio ra 2 for the lighting/outlets. It's really easy, it's just all about programming.

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post #7 of 27 Old 11-22-2015, 10:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I'll look into those. The biggest problem or challenge is that "conditional scenarios" are reserved mostly for $$$ systems.

@JT, can you do conditional programming? Like for Nest to turn fireplace on or off?

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post #8 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 12:23 AM - Thread Starter
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@JT, why not Elan g1? Wouldn't it be sufficient (condo 2 bedroom).
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post #9 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexb76 View Post
@JT, why not Elan g1? Wouldn't it be sufficient (condo 2 bedroom).
Assuming that you are only controlling one AV receiver than a g1 should be fine, in a 2 bedroom space you shouldn't hit any of the other limitations of a g1.
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post #10 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 10:42 AM
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iRule can do all that

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.
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post #11 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 11:19 AM
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iRule can do all that
The learning curve is a bit steep, but iRule is definitely powerful and highly customizable. I've just finished my panels for my AV setups in the living area and bedroom and now looking into home automation myself. iRule sells modules for various home automation systems such as Leviton, Lutron, Vera, and others at a very reasonable price. They also have modules for Nest and Sonos. I believe their ISY module may work with Insteon products which opens up quite a few accessories. Here's the site to the available modules:

http://getirule.com/features/modules/

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post #12 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by rnatalli View Post
The learning curve is a bit steep, but iRule is definitely powerful and highly customizable. I've just finished my panels for my AV setups in the living area and bedroom and now looking into home automation myself. iRule sells modules for various home automation systems such as Leviton, Lutron, Vera, and others at a very reasonable price. They also have modules for Nest and Sonos. I believe their ISY module may work with Insteon products which opens up quite a few accessories. Here's the site to the available modules:

http://getirule.com/features/modules/

I used irule for my theater and various TVs around the house. YEs, if you have the time, they have modules or will help you control anything!

However for automation, lighting, HVAC, Zwave door locks, I route all through my security system. It's pretty darn seamless. I have a Honeywell system and Tuxedo Touch keypad. 30 light switches, 3 TSTATs, Door Lock, etc. The scenes are very customizable.

Goodbye to a great audio and video genius and writer... JOHN GANNON. I enjoyed your friendship, wit and a nice long run we took around Indianapolis at CEDIA years back... and for buying my Runco 980 Ultra years back... you saved my ass! Rest in peace.

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post #13 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post
I used irule for my theater and various TVs around the house. YEs, if you have the time, they have modules or will help you control anything!

However for automation, lighting, HVAC, Zwave door locks, I route all through my security system. It's pretty darn seamless. I have a Honeywell system and Tuxedo Touch keypad. 30 light switches, 3 TSTATs, Door Lock, etc. The scenes are very customizable.
Not that your solution isn't a good one, but if possible getting EVERYTHING on to one interface really is the way to go. The power of an automation system grows exponentially with each "category" of devices that is added. It may come at an added expense, but if possible it is well worth doing correctly.

PS. I love your theater, just a fantastic job in a relatively small space.
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post #14 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 01:28 PM
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@alexb76

Yes, you can do conditional programming, really to any extent you want. It is a solution that has to be professionally programmed though, if you want it to be DIY then iRule might be a better way to go from what I hear. I don't have any experience with it, so maybe drill down into other people's recommendation.
@XJBaylor

I don't think the g1 has any relay outputs... it depends how he wants to control the fireplace. If it's some interface other than relay input then yeah, a g1 would work great in a home that size. I totally agree with you on the importance of a single user interface for all home sub-systems.
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post #15 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JT Babin View Post
@alexb76

Yes, you can do conditional programming, really to any extent you want. It is a solution that has to be professionally programmed though, if you want it to be DIY then iRule might be a better way to go from what I hear. I don't have any experience with it, so maybe drill down into other people's recommendation.
@XJBaylor

I don't think the g1 has any relay outputs... it depends how he wants to control the fireplace. If it's some interface other than relay input then yeah, a g1 would work great in a home that size. I totally agree with you on the importance of a single user interface for all home sub-systems.

Thanks, what do I need the relays for? As much as possible, I do NOT wanna do any hardwiring, as it's a condo and it's super difficult to do. I wanted to put a wireless switch for the fireplace, and had Nest tempreture setting to trigger the on/off of that switch.


Question on G1:
- Does it come with Remote? Is the remote IR or Wifi could be used from anywhere?
- Does with a fully functional app for iPad (or should I get their own module)?
- If used with Lutron keypads, is there an issue or limitation?
- What about scneario keypads? like "away" to turn everything off, or Movie, etc...
- If I integrate Nest, does the system take over what Nest does totally? or Nest on its own could still do things?
- How does the AV-Components-Elan architecture works? Meaning right now, I have everything connected via HDMI to Receiver, one HDMI to TV, and then have one 5.1 speaker setup, one 2nd zone 2-ch setup, all wired directly to receiver. Where in the loop does the Elan go? Between components and Receiver?
- How easy/difficult it is to change programs, add/remove components? Do I have to call everytime I need to do something?
- How does it compare to C4 systems? Sounds very similar.


Thanks

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post #16 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland View Post
I used irule for my theater and various TVs around the house. YEs, if you have the time, they have modules or will help you control anything!

However for automation, lighting, HVAC, Zwave door locks, I route all through my security system. It's pretty darn seamless. I have a Honeywell system and Tuxedo Touch keypad. 30 light switches, 3 TSTATs, Door Lock, etc. The scenes are very customizable.
Hmm,.. interesting, why did you go the iRule route instead of an integrated system like Elan or Control 4? Do you lose any functionality this way?


Since it's Cloud-based, what happens if internt is down? You lose functionality? or just ability to customize during internet down?

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post #17 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by JT Babin View Post

I don't think the g1 has any relay outputs... it depends how he wants to control the fireplace. If it's some interface other than relay input then yeah, a g1 would work great in a home that size. I totally agree with you on the importance of a single user interface for all home sub-systems.
Obviously that could be done with a GC IP2CC, but honestly I wasn't even thinking about the fireplace as it is liability that I don't like to take on as a system designer.

I would at least urge the OP that if he MUST have control of the fireplace to not even have the ability to light it on ANY remote interface. By that I mean unless you are on your home wifi don't even have a button on the screen to allow you to turn it on. The ability to turn it off remotely is ok, but save yourself potential pain and avoid giving yourself the ability to accidentally create a hazardous situation.
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post #18 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by alexb76 View Post
Thanks, what do I need the relays for? As much as possible, I do NOT wanna do any hardwiring, as it's a condo and it's super difficult to do. I wanted to put a wireless switch for the fireplace, and had Nest tempreture setting to trigger the on/off of that switch.


Question on G1:
- Does it come with Remote? Is the remote IR or Wifi could be used from anywhere?
- Does with a fully functional app for iPad (or should I get their own module)?
- If used with Lutron keypads, is there an issue or limitation?
- What about scneario keypads? like "away" to turn everything off, or Movie, etc...
- If I integrate Nest, does the system take over what Nest does totally? or Nest on its own could still do things?
- How does the AV-Components-Elan architecture works? Meaning right now, I have everything connected via HDMI to Receiver, one HDMI to TV, and then have one 5.1 speaker setup, one 2nd zone 2-ch setup, all wired directly to receiver. Where in the loop does the Elan go? Between components and Receiver?
- How easy/difficult it is to change programs, add/remove components? Do I have to call everytime I need to do something?
- How does it compare to C4 systems? Sounds very similar.


Thanks

The g1 comes with an IR based remote and an IR receiver. It's kind of a throw away, I've never usedit. You could give it a shot and if it doesn't work out just use an HR200... expensive, but glorious remote.

The app is fully functional on any Android/Apple device.

It can do up to 32 keypads/scenes, 24 loads. gSC2 is 256 loads.

I'm sorry, that was my mistake. It doesn't integrate with Nest. C4 does, but the driver is not approved by Nest, which is a liability because it's pushing data over the Nest cloud, not directly to the stat. Elan is working with Nest, but I don't know when or if the driver will come out. If you're using RA2 for your lighting, use a Lutron Touchpro thermostat, great integration. Full scheduling from elan, but you can change it from the thermostat and Elan will display the new temp. The only thing you can't do with the Touchpro is graph the heating/cooling usage which, I personally, don't find to be useful.

If you're talking about the OSD, just put it onto an input of the AVR. It's not a pass through like other systems.

You need to call for reprogramming whenever you change something. For a programmer it's very easy though. I do it on the cheap if I don't have to leave the office. This could very well be a deal breaker for you! I definitely understand that, I imagine it's frustrating if you know and understand how it works but can't change it.

Elan is in the same category as C4. I personally like it a lot better, but others will make the case for C4 and I won't say they're wrong. C4 has a lot more available drivers for integration, but while Elan has less it's more stable. Nest is actually a good example of that.
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post #19 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Obviously that could be done with a GC IP2CC, but honestly I wasn't even thinking about the fireplace as it is liability that I don't like to take on as a system designer.

I would at least urge the OP that if he MUST have control of the fireplace to not even have the ability to light it on ANY remote interface. By that I mean unless you are on your home wifi don't even have a button on the screen to allow you to turn it on. The ability to turn it off remotely is ok, but save yourself potential pain and avoid giving yourself the ability to accidentally create a hazardous situation.
Basically right now I have to walk to the fireplace to turn it on/off via a simple 120volts switch. My parents have it via a remote control, so I *assume* a Lutron switch or something similar should do.


Then, I want Nest to turn that on/off based on tempreture.

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post #20 of 27 Old 11-23-2015, 10:25 PM - Thread Starter
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The g1 comes with an IR based remote and an IR receiver. It's kind of a throw away, I've never usedit. You could give it a shot and if it doesn't work out just use an HR200... expensive, but glorious remote.

The app is fully functional on any Android/Apple device.

It can do up to 32 keypads/scenes, 24 loads. gSC2 is 256 loads.

I'm sorry, that was my mistake. It doesn't integrate with Nest. C4 does, but the driver is not approved by Nest, which is a liability because it's pushing data over the Nest cloud, not directly to the stat. Elan is working with Nest, but I don't know when or if the driver will come out. If you're using RA2 for your lighting, use a Lutron Touchpro thermostat, great integration. Full scheduling from elan, but you can change it from the thermostat and Elan will display the new temp. The only thing you can't do with the Touchpro is graph the heating/cooling usage which, I personally, don't find to be useful.

If you're talking about the OSD, just put it onto an input of the AVR. It's not a pass through like other systems.

You need to call for reprogramming whenever you change something. For a programmer it's very easy though. I do it on the cheap if I don't have to leave the office. This could very well be a deal breaker for you! I definitely understand that, I imagine it's frustrating if you know and understand how it works but can't change it.

Elan is in the same category as C4. I personally like it a lot better, but others will make the case for C4 and I won't say they're wrong. C4 has a lot more available drivers for integration, but while Elan has less it's more stable. Nest is actually a good example of that.
Thanks, so can you do everything remote? or must first for a setup (I don't think I am your local).


Also, with C4, I don't think it works with Lutron, right? Needs their own switches which I find quite ugly!

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post #21 of 27 Old 11-24-2015, 05:13 AM
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Everything can be done remotely, even the first setup. PM me if you're interested, I can ship pre-programmed with a static IP and system named to make things easier.

I thought that C4 did support Lutron? I can't keep up with C4, but maybe someone else can help? I see some drivers out there, but they don't look like they're coming from C4, which makes you question if they will work well or not.

Does C4 work with Lutron, anyone?
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post #22 of 27 Old 11-24-2015, 06:42 AM
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Everything can be done remotely, even the first setup. PM me if you're interested, I can ship pre-programmed with a static IP and system named to make things easier.

I thought that C4 did support Lutron? I can't keep up with C4, but maybe someone else can help? I see some drivers out there, but they don't look like they're coming from C4, which makes you question if they will work well or not.

Does C4 work with Lutron, anyone?
C4 does work with Lutron, but they make it much easier to integrate their own lighting. On a moderate sized project I would probably just use Control4 lighting if I insisted on using Control4. If I was looking at a HWQS sized project I would certainly stick with Lutron...if I am investing that much I am doing it with Lutron.

Any other control system I am using Lutron.
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post #23 of 27 Old 11-24-2015, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by alexb76 View Post
Basically right now I have to walk to the fireplace to turn it on/off via a simple 120volts switch. My parents have it via a remote control, so I *assume* a Lutron switch or something similar should do.


Then, I want Nest to turn that on/off based on tempreture.
A lutron switch would have no problem controlling the fireplace. I understand what you are thinking, but I would encourage you to have it turn off automatically, but not on. What if you were out of the house and didn't put the home in "away" mode. Do you really want the (I assume) gas fireplace lighting with no one there to verify that the pilot is lit and the house isn't just filling with gas? I am sure there are plenty of safeguards against it, but not everything should be automated, even if it is easy to do.
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Hmm,.. interesting, why did you go the iRule route instead of an integrated system like Elan or Control 4? Do you lose any functionality this way?
iRule is very inexpensive by comparison to Control 4 or similar, but the catch is you have to do everything yourself. This can also be a positive though as you don't have to wait on someone to tweak your setup in the event of new hardware, etc. iRule runs on IOS, Android, and Amazon Fire OS so it'll even run on Amazon's $49 7" tablet ($35 for Black Friday) and the iTach gateways for IR and/or RS232 control aren't terribly expensive either.
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post #25 of 27 Old 11-24-2015, 11:06 AM
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iRule is very inexpensive by comparison to Control 4 or similar, but the catch is you have to do everything yourself. This can also be a positive though as you don't have to wait on someone to tweak your setup in the event of new hardware, etc. iRule runs on IOS, Android, and Amazon Fire OS so it'll even run on Amazon's $49 7" tablet ($35 for Black Friday) and the iTach gateways for IR and/or RS232 control aren't terribly expensive either.
This true, but in all honesty if a technically savvy customer installs the equipment themselves a dealer could remotely update an Elan g! system in minutes. That might be even more convenient than using iRule to do it yourself.

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post #26 of 27 Old 11-24-2015, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
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This true, but in all honesty if a technically savvy customer installs the equipment themselves a dealer could remotely update an Elan g! system in minutes. That might be even more convenient than using iRule to do it yourself.
So, if I installed the hardware myself... I could just have someone to program it remotely?

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post #27 of 27 Old 11-24-2015, 01:41 PM
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So, if I installed the hardware myself... I could just have someone to program it remotely?
Sure, if you can find a dealer willing to do so. I would be hesitant myself as it isn't my business model, but there are plenty of programmers I am sure would be willing to do so. A couple of caveats:

  • You need to know things like where to place IR emitters on a device. Simple, but would need to be done correctly.
  • You might need to be able to set the router up to allow remote access to the programmer (not for the g! system, but for ancillary devices.)
  • You would need to provide a system schematic to the programmer so he knows what to program into the system.

In the end, you may be better off having a local installer do the work. The labor will have a warranty, the dealer will have buy-in on the project, you will save an incredible amount of time and it should be done correctly (assuming you choose a good dealer.)
XJBaylor is offline  
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