AVS Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

We are just finishing up building our new house.

 

My wife is paralyzed from the shoulders down ( she can use her arms but not her hands ).  She can type on a computer with the use of splints.

 

We were on a very tight timeline with the bank (who kept wanting us to roll ever the construction loan in spite of the fact that twice we had contractors just disappear on us) and we are tight on money.

 

I had done a house over once before for a friend using X10.  I realized this was "old" technology.

 

I also realized that no matter what I put in today, in a few years I might have to switch out the entire system.

 

So ...... what I did was home ran every light to a panel (4 ft x 4 ft box with lots of terminal blocks).  I also home ran every switch using 3/14 wire to the same panel ( for now on two way switches, I just do not use the red wire).  I "jumped" the wires in the panel so that right now, the house lighting is wired in a conventional manor, the only difference is that rather than going from the switch right to the light, I go from the switch to the panel and then to the light.  I have included two pictures of this.  Power is fed from the breaker box to the black wires ( bottom of second and forth row ) ... black wire goes to switch ... read and white wires on left side of first and third row return from switch .... black wire on top of second and forth row go out to lights ... white wire in middle of second and forth row come back from lights and go back to breaker panel.  Jumpers between rows connect switch with lights.

 

My thinking is that I now need to find a PLC ( I have a background in industrial electronics so this is common to me).  I was going to put two momentary push buttons in place of the switches and feed this to the PLC input.  I would then take the lights and hook them to the PLC outputs. In other words, the PLC inputs and outputs would take the place of the jumpers between rows one and two and rows three and four.

 

I am hoping (thought I have not done any homework yet as I am still working on the  house .... we are living in VT in an RV while I finish a lot of items .... we just did what was necessary to get the bank off our backs) that there is a PLC that will have an app or that I can find an app that will work with a PLC so that she can control all the lights from a tablet hooked to WiFi or something similar.  The momentary switches ( I will run them on 24 vdc) are so I can control the lights from a normal switch.

 

Does anyone have any thoughts on what I have done so far?  Any suggestions on a PLC or controller I could/should use?

 

I did zone the furnace and put in three WiFi thermostats.  She is able to set the temperature of the house from inside the RV.

 

I still need to think about door openers.  I just got a quote on a unit ..... $1500 ... out of our budget.  I am thinking about how I can build my own.

 

I am in the middle of building an elevator to get to the second floor.  A purchased unit (with door closers and such) was quoted to use at $40K!  We were told we could get a grant so we built a two story house ( .... long story why ) anyway, grant was approve for ony $5K .... we don't have $35K.  I purchased an electric forklift for $850.  I have now stripped it and have the mast section inside the house.  I am going to begin putting it back together ( mast section and hydraulics only ... not the body) and that will become the elevator.

 

Any advice will be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks ..... Mike

 



 

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
I'm afraid I can't answer your questions. But I can say that you do some pretty wiring...



At risk of sounding like a simpleton - Have you considered just putting in a bunch of WeMo switches ? That would certainly take care of your app problem...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Price .... one of my overriding considerations.

 

I have 48 lights I am controlling  .... some of these have three and four way controllers.

 

Even having just one switch per light at $50 per switch ( i am guessing) that is $2400!

 

And again, I am at the point that if in 5 or 10 years that becomes "obsolete" technology, I may need to go through every switch are replace them with what ever is on the market at that time.

 

I am thinking that a "cheap" PLC ( say from automation direct ) should be around the $500 mark..... maybe less.  My real problem is the app / WiFi part of the system.  I just have never done anything like this before.

 

Thanks ..... Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
248 Posts
I think you're price point (being below $50 a switch) is not something you will be able to accomplish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
376 Posts
He's already got the wiring and din rail enclosures in place. All he needs is some din rail mount relays and cable guides. Then some relay driver boards with shift registers and a raspberry pi or similar board. Could be done for around $200.


The problem is getting approval of the field installed wiring once you start mixing class 1 & 2. And of course if you have no software experience you are going to need to find someone who does.


Alternatively, pick up something like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Leviton-Z-MAX-Plus-Relay-Control-Panel-R48MD-L48-Lighting-Control-System-/171239840689 ?


which is basically the pre-built code-approved version of what is described above. And you may be able to find some existing DMX apps that can control it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Mike,


First off, hats off to you with the neat panel wiring. You are obviously a DIY orientated guy judging by your post so what I'll suggest below is just one way you could possibly get to where you want, without breaking the bank by drawing on your own creativeness. It's also similar to a solution I came up with for my own installation.


Secondly, clever thinking having all lights homerun to the panel as this makes it easy to implement/upgrade whatever system you want to install into the future.


Take a look at the ClickPLCs that are available from automation direct. These are small, cheap yet very reliable (going by the research I have done) and are also easily expandable. The programming software is also free which is a plus. However my suggestion doesn't actually involve much actual PLC programming as you'll see below, but the option is there if you do go down this route.


I came across the ClickPLCs as I am a user of a home automation software package called CQC ( www.charmedquark.com ) and one of the users in the forums wrote a driver/plugin that allows CQC to integrate/control the ClickPLC and its expansion modules. Now this software may take a while to learn but it does offer a serious amount of control and automation and certainly would fit in with the app control you are looking for.


Basically, you would install your PLCs and have an RS232/USB control wire connecting it to a windows PC which would run CQC software. CQC then would allow you draw user interfaces(touchscreen interfaces) for both PC/Android/iOS devices and use these interfaces to control the lights. If the PLC itself is underrated for switching such loads you off load switching to a relay (solid state or solenoid type 'contactor'). The one issue with using a PLC however is that dimming may be a non option. However you could look into a product called Clipsal C-Bus (which I think is available in the US at this stage) and while they are quite costly, I have found them worth it as they are extremely configurable, expandable and reliable.


The useful thing with using a home automation package like this is that it would allow you to, as an example, easily configure a single button on a touchscreen interface to switch on a bank of lights. It does allow you to do a lot lot more and would allow you to expand into areas such as AV, HVAC, Media control etc in the future if required.


What I have listed above is just one solution I am aware of but I'm sure you will be suggested a lighting controller that may be more suitable to your needs. The ones I can think of off hand are C-Bus/Insteon/Lutron/Z-Wave type devices/Dynalite


Whichever way you go, I think even others will agree, that you definitely need to look into a home automation package of some sort at this stage so as to get the system you require and to ensure you purchase the correct equipment so that it is integratable. Options here would include; CQC, Cinemar Mainlobby, iRule, Homeseer, Elve(defunct I believe), MiCasaVerde, HAI, Elk (last 3 are hardware options) and many more but again just going with the ones that I am aware of and CQC which I use and can recommend highly. I don't mention any 'dealer only' solutions here such as Control4, AMX, Crestron etc. as I don't believe they would suit your obvious DIY tendencies or budget for that matter and leveraging your DIY skills with the planned and informed purchase of the necessary equipment would indeed save significant cash. Another site that you may find quite useful is www.cocoontech.com


Sorry for the long, quickly typed post. As I previously stated, I'm not remotely attempting to push you towards any product but just giving you a 10,000 ft view of things from my perspective and would like to see you succeed in your en-devours. I hope other posters will chime in with the equipment they use and can recommend to you for your unique project.


Best of luck with it,


Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Hey!  I've been so busy working on my elevator project this week I forgot to check my posts here.

 

OK ... so I think I am on the right track.  I am planning to use an Automation Direct PLC for my I/O .... again, mainly because of price.

 

My problem comes in interfacing it so some sort of laptop or tablet.  I appreciate the info!  I just took a quick look at CQC. 

 

I now need to do a bit of homework and compare all this software.

 

Learning software should be no problem ... have always just taught myself by using it ( way way back Basic, then about 5 different Cadd packages ... every place I worked used a different one and to get the job I always said yes when asked it I could use it, ... data bases, plc programming, ....).

 

The Z-max panel is interesting!  I am not really worried about "code" ..... we are in a small town that does not even have an inspector!  I could go on for hours about the horrible time I have had trying to get builders in the area to follow any code!  I was even told by one contractor to "throw away my code book"!  I do want everything to be "safe" and I will be very careful in my building of my panel. 

 

I am sure as I start to read about software, I will have a bunch of questions for all of you!

 

Thanks so very much again for all the advice!!!!!!!

 

Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
490 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by xtal01  /t/1521033/can-i-pass-an-idea-by-everyone#post_24461338



....My problem comes in interfacing it so some sort of laptop or tablet.  I appreciate the info!  I just took a quick look at CQC. 


I now need to do a bit of homework and compare all this software.

I have no vested interest with his product, but FWIW Dean Roddy, the guy that owns/runs CQC is a real stand-up dude - if CQC is appealing to you, but you have questions or concerns, I'd suggest contacting Dean directly and tell him what you're trying to achieve. Dean has been active on AVS for many years and is incredibly knowledgeable and creative.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,297 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by xtal01  /t/1521033/can-i-pass-an-idea-by-everyone#post_24461338



....My problem comes in interfacing it so some sort of laptop or tablet.  I appreciate the info!  I just took a quick look at CQC. 


I now need to do a bit of homework and compare all this software.

I have no vested interest with his product, but FWIW Dean Roddy, the guy that owns/runs CQC is a real stand-up dude - if CQC is appealing to you, but you have questions or concerns, I'd suggest contacting Dean directly and tell him what you're trying to achieve. Dean has been active on AVS for many years and is incredibly knowledgeable and creative.
It has been over a year. What solution did you use to make this all happen...
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top