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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi folks,


I do not have any knowledge about Home Automation. But sometime ago I had experiences programming PLCs.


I am buying a new condo soon, but it will not be done until 2012. I have been thinking of having my curtains/blinds automate. Perhaps using my AVR (Denon 2809CI) or with a Harmony Remote. Perhaps even some lights.


What advice would you folks recommend?
 

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If i) you have never done this before and ii) you are not very technical then I have two suggestions:


1. Read, read and read more on this and other forums to educate yourself; and


2. Hire a professional unless you are prepared to spend many hours getting your system going.


HTH...
 

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Hardwired power for curtains/drapes/shades is superior to battery powered.


Wire for things that you might want in the future - futureproof your new construction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joelc /forum/post/19538017


If i) you have never done this before and ii) you are not very technical then I have two suggestions:


1. Read, read and read more on this and other forums to educate yourself; and


2. Hire a professional unless you are prepared to spend many hours getting your system going.


HTH...

I have never done this before but I would say I am technical



But I guess I will have a lot of reading.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRAISKI /forum/post/19549836


I have never done this before but I would say I am technical



But I guess I will have a lot of reading.

As am I but unless you want to invest a lot of time and truly love doing this get a professional...


And, there is the issue of technical support to consider, case in point...the Crestron AV2PRO in my home is doing weird things and the CI got Crestron involved to troubleshoot ans solve problem...this would be tough to do on your own..
 

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To reiterate what has already been mentioned:


Do have the place prewired at the minimum for what you just mentioned (lighting control, shades, surround) and ideally have it wired for a lot more


Do consider using a pro, it will save lots of time and heartache and more than likely money


The 2809 has very few automation characteristics on it's own, same goes for the Harmony. The Harmony struggles with multi-room programming, and although possible to make it do shades and lighting, do you really want to make that your exclusive point of control? iPhone, iPad, dedicated touchpanels, remote access from your mac/pc, etc are other points of control to consider. With a sophisticated enough control system, it would not take much to add in security, surveillance, temperature, multi-room audio, etc
 

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If you just want to do a single room URC has some very good products that can do what you need, URC has their own lighting solution as well as a basestation with relays to control the drapes, just ensure you get drapes that are controlled by contact closure or RS232.


Dont really think about the Denon as a processor its just an AV receiver and it should have some triggers on it but they work everytime, maybe you dont want the drapes closed this time? URC seems like its your solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info folks...


If I ask them to pre-wire the place what kind of wiring should I ask them to pre-wire?


Also for the lights do I need to ask them to wire it differently? If so how?
 

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When I wire houses this is what my standard run is. I run these cables anywhere a client wants a touch panel, phone jack, ethernet jack, tv outlet, CCTV cam, IP cam, WAP or keypad. Just because they are all run there doesn't mean they are all terminated, sometimes a client just wants a phone jack on the kitchen counter so I will only terminate one single Cat6, the rest is just there to try to future proof the house as best as possible.


3 x Cat6

2 x RG6

1 x 18/4 Shielded


If you are doing any distributed video I always run the above cables plus 2 x Cat6a or Fiber for HDMI baluns.


Depending on budget I run either 12/4 or 16/4 for multi room audio and/or 7.1 prewires.


Security uses it's own cabling and is run over and above everything listed so far.


I always put a minimum of 1 conduit from the attic to the control room and put this in for Radio / Sat. Radio / Sat.


8 x RG6

2 x Cat6

1 x 18/4 Shielded


Hope that helps.
 

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tictactoe2004 - How would I find someone who does this level of wiring that I can trust to do a good job at a reasonable price? Any idea what I would expect to pay to have this level of wiring done for a 4000 sq/ft home (2 story)? I'm considering all of the wiring you mention. I don't suppose you can buy bundles of that combination, can you?


Thanks in advance,

Mark
[email protected]
 

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Braisky, call your builder. Often they have prearranged for someone to do that kind of work and will refuse to let anyone else to do it. That company would come in at pretty low cost to pre-wire, hoping to get your later business to add A/V and control.


If you are going with someone else, you need to make sure they have done condos before. The code is different for multi-dwelling from safety point of view (e.g. type of cable that is allowed to run in walls between units).


All of this said, I would caution against using canned recipes such as what is stated here. There is no way you can future proof anything. You are going to spend money to run a bunch of wires, just to find out you didn't run the right wire here and there. Yes, conduits can be a help but unless it goes everywhere, that is no good either. Imagine if you wanted to add automated shades for when you are watching the TV one day. That would require power (and optionally) control to where the window is. Running that wire now as part of a complete design someone would do for you is cheap. Running it later is not.


So my advice is either spend the next 6 months learning what wire you need *and why* (some of which can be very hard to figure out due to professional nature of some of these products), call your local system integration companies, tell them what kind of automation you need and they will bid systems for you. You can tell them that you only want the wiring now and first phase of the equipment installation. The rest you would want to do in the future but have the wiring to enable it.


What you will find in the above is that they will explain useful scenarios they have executed for others in your situation and give you new ideas of what else you can do that you may not even have thought of. Most companies will not charge you for the up front design either (assuming it is not a complex system).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by tictactoe2004 /forum/post/19594669


When I wire houses this is what my standard run is. I run these cables anywhere a client wants a touch panel, phone jack, ethernet jack, tv outlet, CCTV cam, IP cam, WAP or keypad. Just because they are all run there doesn't mean they are all terminated, sometimes a client just wants a phone jack on the kitchen counter so I will only terminate one single Cat6, the rest is just there to try to future proof the house as best as possible.


3 x Cat6

2 x RG6

1 x 18/4 Shielded


If you are doing any distributed video I always run the above cables plus 2 x Cat6a or Fiber for HDMI baluns.


Depending on budget I run either 12/4 or 16/4 for multi room audio and/or 7.1 prewires.


Security uses it's own cabling and is run over and above everything listed so far.


I always put a minimum of 1 conduit from the attic to the control room and put this in for Radio / Sat. Radio / Sat.


8 x RG6

2 x Cat6

1 x 18/4 Shielded


Hope that helps.


Great info! Thanks...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfeferman /forum/post/19602206


tictactoe2004 - How would I find someone who does this level of wiring that I can trust to do a good job at a reasonable price? Any idea what I would expect to pay to have this level of wiring done for a 4000 sq/ft home (2 story)? I'm considering all of the wiring you mention. I don't suppose you can buy bundles of that combination, can you?


Thanks in advance,

Mark
[email protected]

I'm in Canada so I'm not too sure who you could use in Houston. The rate up here for a pull like that in a house of that size is about is about $300-$400 installed per pull, not including trim out. Around $100-150 to trim out each location. It wouldn't be hard to use 40 pulls in a house like that... but I'm sure the prices are far less in houston.


I'm not aware of a bundle that consists of that exact number of cables although there are some cable bundles that exist. We pull individual cables ourselves.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If I want to use automation for the lights in the living room or even the entire condo. Will they wire this differently or just go tap on the main circuit breaker?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRAISKI /forum/post/19603719


If I want to use automation for the lights in the living room or even the entire condo. Will they wire this differently or just go tap on the main circuit breaker?

There are different topologies:


1. Central. In this mode, all the dimmers go into their own cabinet. Power from the main panel goes to dimmer modules which control up to 8 loads (each of which can be multiple lights). The switches are then low voltage devices connected with specialized wiring to the dimmer cabinet. This is the most reliable system but also most expensive. It is what I have in my home. Major companies like Lutron and Crestron provide such a system.


This system gets rid of the "wall acne" as you can have a single light switch controlling as many lights you want anywhere in the house. Gives you total freedom.


2. Local. Here, you replace a normal light switch with a controllable dimmer. Power would go to it as it would normally. But there is either wired or wireless control for each light.


In its default configuration, you have the wall acne problem as you might end up with multiple switches next to each other controlling multiple lights. Some people bury some of the dimmers in a closet and then using a single one with multiple switches to control lights in the rest of your house.


Local systems can be somewhat less reliable since the heat generated from the dimmer has no where to go inside the small box. In reality, high-end solutions such as Lutron make this problem moot but it is a concern if you use much cheaper products.


Needless to say, #1 require completely custom wiring. #2 can use normal wiring although if you want to hide the extra keypads, then the configuration and hence wiring would change.


This is a quick intro but should give you an idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
^^^Thanks


I think I'd still like to to have the "wall acne" the reason is that I may be staying in the condo for about 3-5 yrs max then I "plan" to move to a house. That being said it might be difficult to sell the condo if there are no "wall acne" esp for "normal" ppl.


However that will be good for when I buy a house with a dedicated HT room/basement.
 
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