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Thread: Home Automation Wiring

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    Home Automation Wiring

    Hi All,

    I am going to build a house and due to the fact that I have a passion for Home Automation I am considering to add some(a lot) extra wiring, but some comments and price indications would be great.

    I would like to wire all my lights back to the DB. One circuit per room. Then install Relays in the DB to be able to provide control. Instead of thus having Live wires in light switches I run low voltage cat5 cable(one per light switch box) to the light switches, all terminating in a seperate low voltage DB. The low voltage DB then connects to 220V DB to control relays(12V) via a controller.

    I would also pre-wire my network points.

    Any comments on the price for extra cable, labour and conduit would be great. 3 bedroom double story, 250sqm.

    I know it is a very open question, but maybe a % estimate would be great. e.g. 100% more.

    What make DIN mountable relays are advisable?

    Thanks in advance

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    Diamond Member AndyD's Avatar
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    Sounds lke you're about to try and reinvent the wheel. Why not look at the home automation packages that are available off the shelf? Coms cable (CAT5) is cheap as chips, I think I paid about R300.00 for a 100m coil of shielded late last year. Wiring every light circuit back to the DB would be more expensive although I couldn't even try to put a figure to it because there's so many variables. you'd also need to wire every light switch back to a central location.
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    Gold Member Sparks's Avatar
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    You also need to keep in mind that the lower voltage cables must also be in separate conduits.

    Have you considered wireless switches? What about sensors for the lights? If the circuit is on a timer or day/night switch you can have pir sensors fitted to the light fittings to pick up when someone enters the room.

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    mrmin24 (23-Jan-14)

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    If you are going to design the system yourself, consider a 4 wire signal cable connected as a ring using say an RS485 communication, which is open for expansion by simply continuing the line and terminating it effectively, allowing 255 points to be connected. Each point can then either be a control or receiver point. This would maintain typical house wiring with a control at each point where there would be a typical switch.

    There are also mains modems available, check this one out http://www.powerethernet.com/site/powerline.html
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    Thank you all thus far for the replies. I just tried to give a summary of the more "extreme" parts of the project.

    - Yes, separate conduit for low voltage.
    - Wireless switches are an option, but are expensive(more so than wire) and it then limits you to the specific brand usually.
    - I am considering using the distributed approach with a RS485 or one-wire comms link, this however means a smart device in each light box. It is usually a tight fit in there especially if there are 3 or more circuits running to the box. I thought about maybe having a separate light box right next to each normal switch box with a painted blanking plate. I am going back and forth between these 2 ideas. Each smart device will cost about R200 to make. Thoughts?
    - There will be motion sensors, light sensors, even possibly sound sensors etc.
    - Powerline communication is a great idea, but not all that reliable, especially not if Eskom power is noisy. It might work great or not, but you won't know until it is too late. Have you used it before?

    The thing is, wire / cable is not all that expensive compared to buying proprietary devices off the shelf and it keeps the options open.

    What makes the central approach appealing is that you can still use normal switches if you want or if the system is down, especially if it is still being developed. (I know there are nice systems available, but building it is half the fun, although my wife won't agree)

    I think the major cost involved will be labour. I would do it myself, but the contractor probably will not allow me to influence his time scales.

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    Relay type

    Hi mrmin24,

    I love the ideas... I'm a big fan of automation. You could even look at wireless in the future

    You will probably be needing plenty relays to do the job and the bigger relays take up a lot of space.

    Have a look at http://ab.rockwellautomation.com/Rel...l-Block-Relays with allen bradley relays that are about 6mm wide. Contacts are rated at about 10A.

    Good luck with the project.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrmin24 View Post
    Hi All,

    I am going to build a house and due to the fact that I have a passion for Home Automation I am considering to add some(a lot) extra wiring, but some comments and price indications would be great.

    I would like to wire all my lights back to the DB. One circuit per room. Then install Relays in the DB to be able to provide control. Instead of thus having Live wires in light switches I run low voltage cat5 cable(one per light switch box) to the light switches, all terminating in a seperate low voltage DB. The low voltage DB then connects to 220V DB to control relays(12V) via a controller.

    I would also pre-wire my network points.

    Any comments on the price for extra cable, labour and conduit would be great. 3 bedroom double story, 250sqm.

    I know it is a very open question, but maybe a % estimate would be great. e.g. 100% more.

    What make DIN mountable relays are advisable?

    Thanks in advance

  10. Thanks given for this post:

    mrmin24 (24-Jan-14)

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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrmin24 View Post
    - Powerline communication is a great idea, but not all that reliable, especially not if Eskom power is noisy. It might work great or not, but you won't know until it is too late. Have you used it before
    In fact all new smart meters are now using mains modems. What they do is wait for the AC signal to go through the zero area, and then do burst transmission. AT taht time there is no electrical noise since the AC is going through the zero period.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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    mrmin24 (24-Jan-14)

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    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gobbleteller View Post
    Hi mrmin24,

    I love the ideas... I'm a big fan of automation. You could even look at wireless in the future

    You will probably be needing plenty relays to do the job and the bigger relays take up a lot of space.

    Have a look at http://ab.rockwellautomation.com/Rel...l-Block-Relays with allen bradley relays that are about 6mm wide. Contacts are rated at about 10A.

    Good luck with the project.
    Rather use a triac with a zero switching opto coupler. Small compact and can switch 20Amps with out any difficulty.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

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    mrmin24 (24-Jan-14)

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    Hello mrmin24

    There are quite a few automation systems already out there. Some use the mains as communications routes ie X10 protocol but I am not a fan of this type of system. There are others which use Cat 5 for comms to propitiatory switches with or without LED's. The system (eg Click On) uses 24Vdc to communicate to all devices back to a central controller which in turn can be connected to a wireless / GSM module for remote switching and timed circuitry. This type is also available in a wireless version which connects to existing 220V wiring.

    Do a bit more research into established automation systems - there are quite a few out there ranging from quite reasonable to very expensive.

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    mrmin24 (24-Jan-14)

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    Have a look at Clipsal's C Bus system

    http://www.clipsal.com/homeowner/pro...s_home_control
    Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.

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