New home install - How to approach

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:01 am
boisy offline
User avatar
Posts: 144
Joined: Jun 25, 2013

New home install - How to approach

I'm looking for automation approaches for a new home (e.g. new construction).

My current home is automated mostly with Insteon, but I've started to introduce Z-wave. Getting his home automated was a multi-year process... changing out a switch or an outlet here and there and slowly building out what has come to be an elaborate system with Indigo as the centerpiece.

With the chance of doing this all over from scratch on a home that will be constructed, I'm wondering what the best approach is. Some thoughts:

  1. In my experience, Insteon devices have been prone to failures over time, especially garage door controllers and the EZ-Flora sprinkler.
  2. Also, communication has been sporadic. For months, a device will work on the first tap of a control in Indigo, and then months or a year later, the reliability goes down, and I have to send the command multiple times. I haven't used Z-wave long enough to notice if it degrades that way, but so far it's holding up.
  3. Aside from outdoor accent lighting and house fans, I'm not convinced I need to have an automated light switch in every room of the house.

Right now, I'm considering Z-wave for everything: a few light switches, celling fan switches, outside lighting, and garage doors.

I'm interested in hearing what others who have been down this road have to say.

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:50 am
jalves offline
Posts: 629
Joined: Jun 16, 2013

Re: New home install - How to approach

I went through that process 6+ years ago when I moved to FL. Before that I have a few devices in my home that I controlled through Indigo. They were pretty much all Insteon devices, mainly switches, simply because it was either that or X-10 at the time. When I moved to FL I started with Insteon and have thus far been fortunate not to have issues. But, as I proceeded to expand my HA I've started to move more to z-wave devices. I'm not going to make a wholesale remove/replace program, but as things need to be changed I'll replace Insteon with Z-wave.

As far as not needing every light/switch to be automated goes, yes I agree. But then again as I sit here typing this I realize that yes, all of my lights and switches are included in my Indigo system. I am careful to be sure that switches are still fully functional without Indigo control.

Running Indigo 7.4.1 on a 27" iMac (mid-2017), 40G memory, 1T Fusion Drive, OS X 10.15.7
Jeff

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:15 am
jay (support) offline
Site Admin
User avatar
Posts: 16767
Joined: Mar 19, 2008
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: New home install - How to approach

If I were starting fresh, I'd be using Insteon FanLinc/KeypadLinc combos for fan control and Z-Wave for all other lighting/load control. I used to use direct Insteon links for door sensors to automatically turn on/off closet and pantry doors, but that's now something I can do with Z-Wave through associations (just have to make sure both support the necessary associations). I'm currently using MyQ for garage door control though I'm not fond of cloud-required integrations - it's not super critical and I have a separate sensor on the door so I do know if it's open or not without cloud access.

My biggest fragile piece is using Rachio for sprinkler control. I don't use it's "intelligence" but rather as just a dumb controller with Indigo doing the logic. I was hoping that the GoControl sprinkler controller would become a real alternative, but it appears that it was only on the market for a short time and is now unavailable. If I were thinking of ever doing hardware, this would probably be the first thing I'd try to build. I know it's possible to use I/O devices, etc, but I just don't have the time to do all the work to make me confident in a completely home-grown solution.

Jay (Indigo Support)
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:50 am
mundmc offline
User avatar
Posts: 814
Joined: Sep 14, 2012

Re: New home install - How to approach

For lighting, I have been very pleased with the responsiveness and reliability of Lutron’s Caseta Pro line. Plugin is very good, but obviously not native Indigo. Their price point is very appealing to me as well.

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:55 am
FlyingDiver offline
User avatar
Posts: 5305
Joined: Jun 07, 2014
Location: Southwest Florida, USA

Re: New home install - How to approach

Boisy -

If this is a large house, or you have many built-in lighting fixtures, or you're going to be installing automated shades, then I suggest you look at using Lutron. The reliability and configurability of Lutron systems is an order of magnitude better than Insteon or Z-wave, IMO.

For me, it was imperative to use a semi-panelized system where I didn't need an actual dimmer/switch on the wall for each lighting load. Most of the rooms in my house have single keypads instead of a bank of switches. I had a rule when designing the lighting system for the house - there are NO switch plates anywhere with more than three switch locations on them. And most of the places where there's more than one it's because there's a keypad plus a fan controller.

Yes, it will cost more than Insteon. But you're getting a rock-solid commercial grade product, not a DIY product with questionable quality control.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:57 am
FlyingDiver offline
User avatar
Posts: 5305
Joined: Jun 07, 2014
Location: Southwest Florida, USA

Re: New home install - How to approach

mundmc wrote:
Plugin is very good, but obviously not native Indigo.


Other than using the Lutron software to set up the direct "associations", what does the plugin lack that native Indigo (Insteon and Z-Wave) give you? I'm always looking for feedback on the plugin.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:16 am
mundmc offline
User avatar
Posts: 814
Joined: Sep 14, 2012

Re: New home install - How to approach

FlyingDiver wrote:
mundmc wrote:
Plugin is very good, but obviously not native Indigo.


Other than using the Lutron software to set up the direct "associations", what does the plugin lack that native Indigo (Insteon and Z-Wave) give you? I'm always looking for feedback on the plugin.
Hey! Firstly i wanted to complement you but wasn’t 100% certain it belonged to you vs one of the other plugin devs.

I suppose all i meant was that it would not work out-of-box on Indigo, and that it relied on gracious plugin-developing members!

I love the plugin and use it almost exclusively instead of the Lutron app! I’ve never had an issue, unlike zwave and insteon. My thanks again and apologies if my meaning was lost.

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:25 am
jay (support) offline
Site Admin
User avatar
Posts: 16767
Joined: Mar 19, 2008
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: New home install - How to approach

Does using the Lutron stuff still require some kind of training (I believe this was the case but maybe I'm conflating with something else)? Any other platform needed for setup (Windows or something else)?

Jay (Indigo Support)
Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 10:33 am
FlyingDiver offline
User avatar
Posts: 5305
Joined: Jun 07, 2014
Location: Southwest Florida, USA

Re: New home install - How to approach

jay (support) wrote:
Does using the Lutron stuff still require some kind of training (I believe this was the case but maybe I'm conflating with something else)? Any other platform needed for setup (Windows or something else)?


Caseta products are direct consumer, no training required. Programming is done with a mobile app. Caseta is limited to 75 devices per bridge. I think this used to be 50.

RadioRa 2 requires on-line training (4-6 hours) to get the "Essentials" software, which is limited to 100 devices. The "Inclusive" software requires in-person training, but allows access to more devices and up to 200 devices. That software is Windows only. I use Windows 10 in a Parallels VM.

The plugin can auto-create matching Indigo devices for all your Lutron hardware for either of those product lines. Also, the plugin supports multiple Bridge devices (Repeaters for RRa2), so even if you hit the Lutron limit for your install you could use Indigo to connect multiple otherwise independent systems.

The plugin also works with Homeworks, but I have no direct experience with that product line.

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:54 pm
akimball offline
Posts: 549
Joined: Aug 07, 2013
Location: Sandy, Utah

Re: New home install - How to approach

Consider the communication back bone if this is a new home. I’d install 2 or more GbE connectors in any room in any wall which could support a tv or computer. Outdoor spaces too. They all don’t need to connect to your switch but having them available and labeled is sweet.

If you think you may need to be able to pull wires from one attic to another install conduits between those spaces. Same thing for your yard. 3” or 4” conduits. 3 separate conduits for 110VAC, comm signals, and another for whatever....audio comes to mind.

If the home is large plan for multiple wifi routers connected via copper.

-Al

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 1:59 pm
FlyingDiver offline
User avatar
Posts: 5305
Joined: Jun 07, 2014
Location: Southwest Florida, USA

Re: New home install - How to approach

akimball wrote:
If the home is large plan for multiple wifi routers connected via copper.


Terminology nit - plan for multiple Wifi "access points", not routers. Ethernet only back to your central wiring hub is fine, as you can get really good access points (UniFi) that are POE.

But the low voltage pre-wire plan deserves it's own thread. ;)

joe (aka FlyingDiver)
my plugins: http://forums.indigodomo.com/viewforum.php?f=177

Posted on
Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:03 pm
tjm000 offline
Posts: 60
Joined: Aug 03, 2008
Location: Gambrills, MD

Re: New home install - How to approach

I agree with the low voltage wiring comments. When I had my house built back in the early 90s I had two low voltage outlets added to every room. One was a typical floor outlet and had two coax connectors (at that time an upstream and downstream coax was considered high end) and one RJ-45 Ethernet cable connector. The other outlet generally was located next to the light switch near the entrance for the room and had a blank cover with an Ethernet cable routed to it. All of the coax and ethernet cables were home run to a location in my basement where I installed two wiring boxes, one for cable and one for Ethernet. I also had a plastic pipe installed from the attic down to the basement which I had the builder install a coax cable in to support having a TV antenna in my attic.

In addition to having coax in every room for cable TV it is also nice to have wired Ethernet in every room. If I had to do it again, I would just run a single coax instead of the dual coax to every room. Having an upstream coax (every room back to the basement) wasn't useful once Ethernet steaming took over. Also, I really have not figured out what I'm going to use the Ethernet cable next to the light switch for. At the time, I thought of having some custom capability in every room but that so far has just been a dream. So perhaps I "over provisioned", but better to be in that state than wanting to add wiring after the house is built.

Tim

Posted on
Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:44 am
siclark offline
Posts: 1568
Joined: Jun 13, 2017
Location: UK

Re: New home install - How to approach

I agree with all the comments above about wired ethernet to all rooms and POE to WiFi APs.

I would add that running extra dedicated cat6 to likely TV points that dont go through the patch panel gives you the option to distribute TV over Cat6 from a central hub. I have my cable box, bluray, apple tv etc all in the server cupboard, and hdmi goes through a 4x4 matrix then HDMI to Cat6 converters so I Can watch the same TV on 4 different TVs. Or watch cable in any room without having multiple boxes.

Posted on
Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:05 am
jalves offline
Posts: 629
Joined: Jun 16, 2013

Re: New home install - How to approach

akimball wrote:
Consider the communication back bone if this is a new home. I’d install 2 or more GbE connectors in any room in any wall which could support a tv or computer. Outdoor spaces too. They all don’t need to connect to your switch but having them available and labeled is sweet.
.


This is good advice. I'd add to it that you put extra electrical outlets every place you think you might have a TV or computer. There are never enough!

Running Indigo 7.4.1 on a 27" iMac (mid-2017), 40G memory, 1T Fusion Drive, OS X 10.15.7
Jeff

Posted on
Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:52 am
lalisingh offline
Posts: 166
Joined: Mar 27, 2007

Re: New home install - How to approach

I suggest snaking a single mode fibe r backone from one length of the house to the otther with two or three junctions in between. One junction being where the internet facing router sits and the other being thg the media room. Moving to IP based cameras in the 10-12 mb range, video walls, and streaming video and audio content all benefit form a a 10G or higher bandwisth. 40G and 100G are on my horizon waiting for the active network components to come down in price :D

Using pre terminated fiber is easy and does not cost much more than copper. Moreover, you may have some cost avoidance , if you run all your low voltage wire in a zone to a junction point rather than home running to a central location.

Helps with power distribution too for all the poe based network and lighting control devices - AP's, pi's, lutron repeaters, I/O controllers to name a few.

My two cents....


ps: Really good and important discussion and a lot of good ideas here. This should be made a sticky.

psps: Run fiber in fiber conduit to all other undetached from main residence too. gate, gardening shed, garage. Eliminates grounding issues.
bonus: Not wiring related, but plan on running a icecast based server and you have instant whole house sound.

[url]https://www.VillageWorker.com[/url]
Extreme data analytics, Sensing, Control integration work.
Indigo • Barix • Kentix • Mobotix • Mikrotik • Apple

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests