Home Automation

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New Generation of Home Automation

Home Automation has has gone through a bit of a transformation in recent years. With the growth in numerous technologies, the possibilities of putting together an advanced level of Home Automation (HA) is now within the reach of anyone with a reasonable knowledge and skill set. The componenets being used are becoming less specialised and more generic, easy to use and much cheaper than previously seen. In my view, a truly Smart House should need very little interaction from the people living in it, but instead should be setup to automatically meet the needs of the people living in it where possible. Where not possible, it should be as simple and straightforward as possible to control the environment around them.


There are various elements and levels of Home Automation.

Control interfaces

The interface between you and the systems will normall take the form of wall mounted touch screens, smartphones, tablets and normal multiway remote controls. Needless to say, the ability to control evertything manually in the normal way needs to be maintained as well.

Security

Security includes all elements that aid the security of your home. This includes but isnt restricted to CCTV cameras, movement sensors around the home, detectors on doors and windows and sucurity lights around the home. When linked into a common system, these elements can be viewed, managed and controlled from anywhere in the world from a laptop, Smartphone or tablet. The CCTV element would need to include the cameras in appropriate locations around the site along with an appropriate viewing mechanism and some form of recording platform.


Lighting

Where lighting is concerned, in an ideal world, lights should be turned on and off automatically with the right level of brightness dependant on the time of day etc. The elements that make up a good lighting system will link into and utilise elements of the other systems such as movement detectors for Security. When looking at Lamps fittings and bulbs, ensure that what you are buying is dimmable as this is a useful and very cool key feature of Automated Lighting.

Lighting falls into several categories:
Primary
Secondary
Effect\Concealed
Internal
External

Types of Lighting

There are several types of Bulb
Halogen
LED Dimmable and Non Dimmable
Energy SavingDimmable and non dimmable
Incandescent
Flourescent

in the main, in my humble opinion, the best option these days is LED, both for energy efficiency and longevity of the product. An LED lamp will cost one tenth of the price to run it, will last ten times longer but will initially cost you more, although the price is coming down all the time.

Light Fittings
Downlighters
Concealed lights
Switches

There are multiple options when it comes to light switches. These range from simple on/off toggle type switches, Standard Dimmers, Remote control or WiFi enabled Dimmers and Touch sensitive switches or dimmers.

Lighting Circuits

Lighting Circuits can become quite complex when you start introducing multiple light cicuits and multiple switches in different areas of the Home. Ultimately it can be broken down into multiple instances of one of the following:

  • One way circuit - a single switch and single light circuit
  • Two way circuit - Two switches controlling a single circuit
  • Three way or Multi Way Circuit - Three or more switches controlling a single circuit

This is a whole subject on its own, So I have put some explanations of how these circuits work HERE


LightWaveRF TEl 0845 373 1353 second line tech helpline - 01902 500 562

Intercom

The intercom system


Audio/Visual

The Audio visual System in a home is one area that can potentially push the cost of a project through the roof. It does not have to, but the cost of every component used in this area, can vary wildly depending on the quality and branding of the compoinents being used.


Other Automation

Blind Controller


Resources

Components For Home Automation

The Velleman System

LightWaveRF System

HAI systems

Omnipro IIe

BCC

HomeSeer

CQC

ELVE

Quadomated

Wiring Guide

Home Automation Superstore

Lutron Lighting

MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printer.... very cool
Replicator 2

Screwfix bathroom lighting
Project Blog

In-Build Fit VS Retro-Fit

When you are looking to implement some level of home automation within your home, it can be quite disruptive. Depending on the equipment used there will varying amounts of cabling. Ideally, this should all be within ceiling voids or chanelled into walls or beneath floor boards etc. Surface mounting the cable runs should always be avoided where possible, although sometimes there will be no other way. Where possible, any cable runs should be run in during any building or decorating phase of your home, In many cases the fit out will need to be retro fitted in and around the existing build.

In-Build Fit

Retro Fit

When Retro Fitting a home automation system, the biggest challenge is going to be where and how to run your cables


Considerations

Miscellaneous Tasks

Ceiling Mounted TV

There are various methods to do this, but to get started here is how Chris in the US did it:

Ceiling Mouted TV Part 1


Ceiling Mouted TV Part 2


Ceiling Mouted TV Part 3


Ceiling Mouted TV Part 4


Useful Links

FHEM

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