Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity?

Posted on
Sun Oct 10, 2021 7:17 pm
mundmc offline
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Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity?

As I’ve mentioned, three of the four stories of my 1920s house are completely gutted.
What an opportunity! Not having to snake ONE wire through a whole using a fiber optic cable!

Image
Above: Me at Ground Zero on the third floor, where one toilet that overflowed from a five-year-old is maxing out our homeowners insurance policy.

Seriously though, I had a previous post about whole-house audio (which I am going to do because it will be easy and cost-effective), and now I am curious about running DC current to different rooms in the house.

Why? Add a minimum, all environmental sensors and tablets still require either frequent battery changes (there are some that are better than others in my experience, whichever Zooz clone takes 3.3V batteries) or a 5V typically micro USB connection.

Before the water damage fiasco, I had nine of these using different ways of powering them, and I suspect pretty much all sensors get a little wonky when the battery is somewhat train but not entirely. Examples include battery powered sensors getting buggy with motion detection, or not reporting the temperature and humidity, but otherwise appearing like they might be healthy in Indigo. My experience with luminance is it has never been at all helpful.

Add in that I am an industrious but poorly informed DC electronics barbarian, and I am wondering what people would do if they shared any similarities with my used case and had the option to run low-voltage wire anywhere they want in their house.

Based on my very limited knowledge of any of this, I am worried 24VDV is too much at risk of arcing, so I was thinking of using 24 V AC, or possibly 12 V AC and using step down converters for whatever devices I am connecting. The step down converters can be in recessed wall sockets to save space. (Heck, I am considering using fake wall sockets purely as the outside for my DIY multi sensors).

What would you guys want in this kind of situation? It is really hard to predict where to put some form of outlet that is not standard means voltage without altering the value of the house because it just looks weird and out of place.

Posted on
Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:48 am
Korey offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

I think you are fine with 24V dc in cat5 /6 lines, POE is up to 57V DC on the 802.3bt spec.

You could just power your devices off a POE Switch that would limit current and offer protection incase of a short.

Use POE power adaptors at the device end to get the correct voltage you need:

5V breakout, 12V

I would run Cat 6 everywhere and break it out.

I'd run it to all my windows for blinds / shade control

POE cameras on outside of the house.

Alarm zones - windows / doors / motion sensors / keypads (alarm cable)

Hardwire to your garage door (sensor / control)

Doorbell, just to have extra conductors incase of a future POE doorbell camera.

Central IR / RS232 control to all your media device locations.

locations you think you might have a tablet mounted to the wall for Indigo control :D

I use these to break in and out of the cat5/6 lines for IR / relay / sensor.

If I ever build a new house it will have more wire than wood! :lol: :lol: :lol:

--
Korey

Posted on
Tue Oct 12, 2021 11:41 am
DaveL17 offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Korey wrote:
If I ever build a new house it will have more wire than wood!

Amen brother!

+1 to everything Korey said.

I use cat6 for all my data lines and cat5 for low volt (with the exception of landscape lighting). Nothing special about cat5--I have a big spool of it to get rid of, and my One Wire sensors run off 5v DC (so it's plenty). One thing I'd add is running wire to the kitchen (and anywhere similar) for under/over cabinet lighting.

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Posted on
Wed Oct 13, 2021 12:00 am
RogueProeliator offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

If I ever build a new house it will have more wire than wood!

We built our house in 2012 and I may have run over 9000' of cable myself... there is a slight possibility this was overkill, unless the wife asks in which case it was all 100% necessary for her internet to work at top speed. :wink:

What I did, and it has turned out really well, is that I ran to keystone style outlets, allowing me to put up to 6 customizable connections in each box. I mostly ran Cat6 and RG6 coax -- the Cat6 is very versatile and allows power (PoE), network, video (HDMI over Cat6), phone, IR signal, etc. Also ran speaker wire and camera wire (though the latter has been deprecated in favor of IP cameras). I also abandoned the HDMI-over-Cat6 as I found the hardware too unreliable (when it worked, it worked well... but it didn't always work).

My biggest hint is this -- before you start closing walls back up, take pictures of every single open wall from all sides. I have a TON of pictures but it has saved me many times when trying to locate where the wires are run or, immediately after drywall, to uncover a box they drywalled over, etc. It has been a very useful reference.

Adam

Posted on
Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:13 am
Dual offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity


My biggest hint is this -- before you start closing walls back up, take pictures of every single open wall from all sides. I have a TON of pictures but it has saved me many times when trying to locate where the wires are run or, immediately after drywall, to uncover a box they drywalled over, etc. It has been a very useful reference.

Adam


+1

I do this for all wiring.

I ran my drone and got 100s of photos of my irrigation lines before burying.

Invaluable!


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Posted on
Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:24 pm
mundmc offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Somehow I didn’t get alerts about these incredibly helpful responses, thank you very much everybody!

Is there any trade secret for inexpensive PoE injectors? I definitely am not showing out cash for Unifi powered switch if all it’s doing is running little doodads that don’t need Internet connectivity over ethernet. (I do like Unifi for everything else.)

Put another way, I understand there are several different standards for power over ethernet; what is the most cost effective hardware that still has enough flexibility to power things that run on different standards?

Posted on
Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:28 pm
Korey offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Treat yourself! Get a nice 48 Port POE, use it for your network and then use the unused ports for your do-dads! :) :) :P
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--
Korey

Posted on
Thu Oct 14, 2021 10:39 pm
RogueProeliator offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Is there any trade secret for inexpensive PoE injectors? I definitely am not showing out cash for Unifi powered switch if all it’s doing is running little doodads that don’t need Internet connectivity over ethernet. (I do like Unifi for everything else.)

Not going to lie, I'm with Korey here and went all UniFi when I could... HOWEVER, before switching to that I was using a rack-mount, 16-port PoE injector. The secret to keeping it cost effective was to ditch the gigabit and go 10/100 (obviously this is for low-network usage devices... but assuming that is what you are referring to for the "doodads" :-))

Posted on
Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:06 pm
mundmc offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Korey wrote:
Treat yourself! Get a nice 48 Port POE, use it for your network and then use the unused ports for your do-dads! :) :) :P
Drooooool….
Sexy fiber uplink……

Posted on
Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:19 pm
mundmc offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Haha- perhaps I should have been more descriptive than “doo-dads!”

Doo-dads: noun. Devices I use, exclusively home automation related, that don’t need hardwired Internet connectivity, but that do need 5 V, possibly more if that is an accessible option.
Examples:
5V for ESP 32 homemade multi-sensors
5V for Amazon Fire 5 tablets (running Domopad)
3.3V if i want to hard-wire power any of my existing multisensors (i.e. run dc wires to battery leads)

When I moved into my house (the one being repaired) over four years ago, I remember getting 10 Unifi boxes in the mail. Looking back, it is still one of the best home related decisions I have ever made (currently a gen 1 USG, gen 1 cloud key, 2x24 port switch, 6 AP’s). I am incredibly happy with it. However, if I am just running power and no data, I am a little less inclined to use one of their glorious, 10 Gb fiber, power over ethernet switches.

I won’t lie though, I have done a lot of mental jumping jacks to try and justify wiring for a 10gbit system using their new hardware.

Posted on
Fri Oct 15, 2021 10:25 am
Korey offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

If you did use UniFi POE switch you could use Karl's UniFi plugin to power cycle the POE ports via Indigo trigger or schedule.. :wink:

--
Korey

Posted on
Fri Oct 15, 2021 11:55 am
mundmc offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Oh, I have been using Karl’s Unifi plugin for years; but I am having trouble justifying using a unify powered switch purely to power $13 multi sensors I made; my wife works in fashion (which has not done well during the pandemic), so the family is on austerity measures :)

Posted on
Fri Oct 15, 2021 12:19 pm
RogueProeliator offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Devices I use, exclusively home automation related, that don’t need hardwired Internet connectivity, but that do need 5 V, possibly more if that is an accessible option.
Examples:
5V for ESP 32 homemade multi-sensors
5V for Amazon Fire 5 tablets (running Domopad)
3.3V if i want to hard-wire power any of my existing multisensors (i.e. run dc wires to battery leads)

I had this to power non-network (and non-network intensive) devices. Ends up being roughly $6-7/port for power at current prices. And this way you have a central location to power them from with one power source (versus individual line injectors). I imagine there are similar/different brands.

Posted on
Fri Oct 15, 2021 1:55 pm
mundmc offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Awesome, that is the kind of thing i hoped to use but wanted to confirm it wasn’t missing some fancy whiz-band feature.

Posted on
Sun Oct 17, 2021 11:43 pm
GlennNZ offline
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Re: Gutted House = Low Voltage structural wiring opportunity

Hi all,

Very limited experience in wiring a whole house and would have to leave it to the experts, but would put in a warning regarding surge protection.

I have just experienced a lightning strike that took out Amps/Sonos amps/projector/4 Fibaro light switches/AV receiver (that went bang ), speakers unknown at this stage, 2 Unifi flex switches, 2 IP cameras, Unifi 24 switch (well cooked some of the ports - which is a real pain figuring out what’s what). Finally modem/router NIC

Seems to have come in on power and internet, and out through Ethernet. My main switches are connected to each with fibre as is the router out; so a lot saved by this. Limited damage to one switch. Took out modem and router/server NIC in. All the cooked powered stuff Sonos Amps etc had surge protection power boards..

A while ago I did a little upgrade/spent some time to run fibre to main house desktop computers (wanted to use the Unifi SFP+ sockets!). Also discovered that fibre was actually very cheap, these fibre PCs survived 100%. Some of the others have had there onboard NICs cooked. One of these 2 desktop computers had fibre run to it, but not in use, I had stolen the SFP+ card to use elsewhere… and was using Ethernet. That ones NIC is cooked.

Seems best option is to use fibre where possible. Will plan to use a SFP+ to Gigabyte cat converter between the modem and the router. Modem will be fired if history repeats, but hopefully router and upstream will survive; should limit incoming surge on Ethernet.

https://www.tp-link.com/au/business-net ... ry/mc220l/

Something like this pretty inexpensive and doesn’t seem to have a speed impact. Particularly to between bridged modem and router where don’t have a 1Gbps internet connection.

Might be overkill to fibre a whole house, but depending on your lightning frequency might pay to have some at least for the internet side of things…. Or look at separating parts of the network..

Rest assured I’m also looking at the unifi surge thingies (look to little to do much good…), and whole house mains surge protection. Issue with these are basically die and you have no power until electrician replaces - which will be a pain; depending on how sensitive they are.. Tempted also next storm to pull the mains breaker and just run off battery until over; presume that would limit incoming mains surges, and hopefully the fibre gap limits incoming internet surges..


Glenn


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