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How to wire my renovation


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I'm renovating my house so its going back to brick so have the opportunity to go all SMART. I am willing to spend money on 'infrastructure' now knowing that I can change most other things later on.

 

I was originally going to DIY the solution with Shelly relays and openhab but realised it may make it harder to sell or pass on if necessary...

I contacted a company about a KNX and control 4 solution but the cost was eye watering and there were ongoing maintenance fees....

 

I can see a few ways forward but they all seem to be not ideal:

 

1. Wire everything as a standard house but add some PIRs for lighting and neutrals to light switches for smart switches. This feels like it could be done to any house so am I making the most of the opportunity I have?

2. Wire all the light zones and switches back to a central point where it could be changed later. I think this would be massively complex and lots of wiring as the house will be a 5 bedroom with multiple light zones in each room.

3. Wire in a KNX setup by DIY to be added to later. I think I have the skills to do this myself if I buy the software, but the switches are expensive and if I don't go down add to it I have overcomplicated what is a pretty simple system

4. Wire in Shelly relays to the lights that I want to control by alexa etc so that it can all be simplified when I leave the house

 

I've read everything I can find around this subject and keep switching back and forward about what the best thing to do. I only get this opportunity once...

 

What flexibility has everyone else put into their wiring?

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I am personally not a fan of "smart" wiring and not every buyer would be.

 

For a half way house, I would wire all the lights and switches to a central point in a well accessible cupboard where you could put all your smart controls in one place, with the flexibility that if a future buyer wanted it all "normal" you just replace all the smart controllers with one big junction box and normal light switches.

 

Documenting everything will be key.

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I rewired my house a couple of years ago, and I ran individual t&e to every switch and light fitting to two central junction boxes, one mounted on a board in the loft for the upstairs lights and the other in the cupboard at the top of the stairs for the downstairs lights. Again easily assessable and mounted on a wooden board in the cupboard.

Inside each JB the terminals are all DIN rail mounted and ident sleeves put onto each core to identify it.

Did it that way so that I had the option to easily make it SMART or easily modifiable in the future.

Just found a pic of the JB at the top of the stairs when it was about 3/4 done.

EDB55A42-3285-4913-A268-F4A954DCAB2F.jpeg

Edited by Roys
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That looks manageable. I'd be wiring everything to one location but I think I have space.

 

When i was doing more searching last night I found some ethernet controlled shelly relays which would work with that kind of layout as well.

 

I'm probably over thinking it and trying to get a perfect solution when I don't know what the technology will be when I finally get round to doing it. I have to build it first.

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9 hours ago, FrankHouse said:

KNX and control 4 solution

Have a look at Loxone too. It's not perfect, but it's a little more accessible for DIY than either knx or C4, and it generally has the option to be installed professionally without obligation for ongoing support fee (although of course the installer will want to sell one. And this is a benefit over shelly etc, that if you were unable to maintain it future your family could easily get professional support in for Loxone, assuming they don't go bust of course).

 

I went for your option 2, and self installed Loxone in the wiring cupboard, with the thought eventual house sale will highlight the option of professional Loxone support or the relative simplicity to rewire it to another system

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I seem to have lost the home automation understanding I had.. everyone says its about the house doing stuff automatically, without having to interact with an app or controller...

 

then you get a quote for 10s of thousands for the central controller which brings everything together...

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1 minute ago, joth said:

Have a look at Loxone too. It's not perfect, but it's a little more accessible for DIY than either knx or C4, and it generally has the option to be installed professionally without obligation for ongoing support fee (although of course the installer will want to sell one. And this is a benefit over shelly etc, that if you were unable to maintain it future your family could easily get professional support in for Loxone, assuming they don't go bust of course).

 

I went for your option 2, and self installed Loxone in the wiring cupboard, with the thought eventual house sale will highlight the option of professional Loxone support or the relative simplicity to rewire it to another system

 

I have seen mention of that but also mention that they don't want DIY any more.

 

I'll look at what I need to add to try and do both. Lexonne scares me as a sole supplier and I hate the way term's change over time. for example my Google photos are nearly full now and they want a fee which wasn't the case for years and years...

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Yeah, Loxone is very much about the house doing everything automatically, we never use the house day to day.

It has a more centralised architecture mostly to simplify programming, although it's hybrid architecture really as you can slave miniservers together so could do one per floor / area.

 

To achieve any useful automation with shelly you'll probably need a central server (Home Assistant or similar) which is logically the same thing. For example during nighttime you want all rooms to know to use a low level mood to act as night lights for bathroom trips. Programming 50 Shelly's to know about global state like "it's night time now" and then reprogram when you want to alter logic sounds soul destroying (e.g. I now have an additional cut out to stop the cats triggering lights all night, or to interlock it with burglar alarm state, or whatever. It's a life of continuous tweaking)

 

Totally agree on the concern of single vendor lock in. I did the central wiring plan to mitigate the impact of that a bit, and also used DMX for all lighting (Dali also valid choice). 

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Lighting controller at work just gone faulty, all lights on full 100%.. 7 days and still waiting for a Lu@@@n engineer to come to site.

 

I wish we had a light switch.

 

 

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What ever you do smart, will be old hat in 10 years time and not supported.  Keep it simple, and replaceable, but install cat 5/6 data cables to TV points.

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1 hour ago, FrankHouse said:

 

I have seen mention of that but also mention that they don't want DIY any more.

 

I'll look at what I need to add to try and do both. Lexonne scares me as a sole supplier and I hate the way term's change over time. for example my Google photos are nearly full now and they want a fee which wasn't the case for years and years...

 

I suppose it's possible Loxone will one day start demanding ongoing fees for the software (app, miniserver updates), although I've had it for over 6 years and there's been nothing to suggest they're planning to go this way.

 

Their disengagement with the DIY community is more to do with the fact that they no longer directly sell or support the product themselves. You can still buy it through resellers, and there's plenty of support around on the Loxone Google Groups forum (and probably others). 

 

Personally, I think their miniserver and programming environment is a great combo. You can avoid the rest of their expensive proprietary hardware by sticking to DMX for outputs (dimming and relays). There are other options for inputs, although I don't recall what they are. 

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1 hour ago, joth said:

Programming 50 Shelly's to know about global state like "it's night time now" and then reprogram when you want to alter logic sounds soul destroying (e.g. I now have an additional cut out to stop the cats triggering lights all night, or to interlock it with burglar alarm state, or whatever. It's a life of continuous tweaking)

It's simply the price you pay for independence from a commercial ecosystem - which would probably still require continuous tweaking anyway.

 

My 'poor mans' approach has been to retain conventional wiring/switches/light fittings and simply populate with smart bulbs. The only 'unconventional' addition is occupancy sensors in all rooms which supply node-red with the necessary info to automate the lights. We're all used to ignoring the wall switches now we're got virtually 100% automation and voice control over everything. Given that the smart bulbs can default to full-on at power-up, replacing the wall switches with N/C momentary open switches would restore a degree of functionality to them but I've not really felt the need.

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2 hours ago, Radian said:

It's simply the price you pay for independence from a commercial ecosystem - which would probably still require continuous tweaking anyway.

 

No, not at all. You're conflating the discussions of commercial and centralized system.

With 50 shellys (or tuya relays) adding one Home Assistant server (or similar) still has total independence from a commercial system lock in, but will VASTLY reduce the number of times you're reprogramming/configuring the individual devices.

 

Better to say: enduring the pain of programming a distributed system is the price you pay to avoid a central point of failure.

 

Interesting to note that even with the very distributed architecture of KNX  to do anything interesting you'll need a Gira HomeServer, LogicMachine5 Power, or similar, which brings you right back to single point of failure

 

 

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7 hours ago, TonyT said:

Lighting controller at work just gone faulty, all lights on full 100%.. 7 days and still waiting for a Lu@@@n engineer to come to site.

 

I wish we had a light switch.

 

 

Flick the appropriate MCBs.

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Agree that automation should “ just happen “ where possible . I do have my own web interface so I can play / spy - SWMBO doesn’t use it nor need to . Cat 5/6 everywhere . Then you can add sensors etc. you wish ( even if the cat cable is simply for poe ) . I use z wave ; but ultimately that will be replaced / become redundant . All my wiring does go back to a central “ the bridge “ command centre . If I sold the house it wouldn’t be too difficult to make it ‘normal ‘ again .

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Just now, pocster said:

Cat 5/6 everywhere . Then you can any sensors etc. you wish ( even if the cat cable is simply for poe ) .

My electrician thought I was crazy pulling cat 6a to every bathroom. 

All our electric toothbrushes charged from PoE. Who's laughing now!

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, joth said:

My electrician thought I was crazy pulling cat 6a to every bathroom. 

All our electric toothbrushes charged from PoE. Who's laughing now!

 

 

 

Even my toothbrush doesnt charge from poe . But it does have Bluetooth to an app . It shows we how well I brushed my teeth . I got (expletive deleted)ed off with it . Now it just shows a sad face .

image.jpg

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7 minutes ago, joth said:

My electrician thought I was crazy pulling cat 6a to every bathroom. 

 

When building a house - you can never put too many runs of CAT 5/6 in. When we did our house (over 10 years ago now!) I insisted on what was considered an absurd amount of cable runs - people were laughing at me over it.

 

Years later I wish I'd done more. The cable costs very little - but dealing with the lack of a cable in a finished house is expensive and miserable.

 

Whatever you think is plenty of cable runs - double it then add some - and you will still wish you did more...

 

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32 minutes ago, pocster said:

Typical Cornish response . Your house powered by coal and cream teas 

Wind and solar.

And lots of gas from the Plymouth plant, though I think my nearest non RE is the diesel generators in the Island of Scilly.

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45 minutes ago, reddal said:

 

When building a house - you can never put too many runs of CAT 5/6 in. When we did our house (over 10 years ago now!) I insisted on what was considered an absurd amount of cable runs - people were laughing at me over it.

 

Years later I wish I'd done more. The cable costs very little - but dealing with the lack of a cable in a finished house is expensive and miserable.

 

Whatever you think is plenty of cable runs - double it then add some - and you will still wish you did more...

 

It is possible, in a bind, to split a cable and use 2 pairs for one connection 2 pairs for another assuming no POE etc. Has its limitations such as only 100mbit, but I have done it and it works fine for things like printers.

 

 

Edited by Carrerahill
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8 hours ago, JohnMo said:

What ever you do smart, will be old hat in 10 years time and not supported.  Keep it simple, and replaceable, but install cat 5/6 data cables to TV points.

I always wonder if its that way or in 10 years time everyone will expect it as a standard....

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1 hour ago, reddal said:

When building a house - you can never put too many runs of CAT 5/6 in. When we did our house (over 10 years ago now!) I insisted on what was considered an absurd amount of cable runs - people were laughing at me over it.

 

Years later I wish I'd done more. The cable costs very little - but dealing with the lack of a cable in a finished house is expensive and miserable.

I must just be a dinosaur then.  I put Cat 5 to every room, and so far ONE is in use.   

 

A bit like a telephone cable to every room, yes only one of those is in use as well.

 

Everything else works on wifi. 

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