Author Topic: Home Automation Idea  (Read 10445 times)

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Offline -DOM-

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Home Automation Idea
« on: April 03, 2013, 11:19:03 am »
Hi all,

please move if this is in the wrong section..

I am looking into a cheap option for control of the light in our home in perth australia. I found these power switches that are normally used in data centres. I guess the question is can i put Iec connectors on the end of the lights and plaug in this device legally?





http://www.digital-loggers.com/220.html

I was going to get an electrician to do the work.

thanks Damien
 

Offline David_AVD

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 11:42:25 am »
Are you talking about the fixed (ceiling, etc) lights?

Why not use one of the proper devices from Clipsal, Dynalite, etc ?
 

Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 11:51:00 am »
Mainly due to the fact that this is only $190 us delivered and take simple http commands that can be delivered from a web server andriod setup that also will control xmbc.

Not to sure on the dynalite pricing but cbus is really expensive. I have looked at Z wave but at $88 a light slowy adds up in price.

 

Offline nctnico

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 11:57:03 am »
IMHO its a very clever idea. I never knew these devices where that cheap. You'll need to watch the maximum load though. I don't know why it would be illegal to use a device like this. As long as there is no fire hazard you should be OK.
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Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 12:11:19 pm »
For my particular use i will be installing a number of 4w led downlights and a few 10w led flood for outside so shouldnt come close to the 15A max input.

Yeah i cant see an issue i was hoping a sparky maybe a member of the forums :)
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2013, 12:17:10 pm »
Especially since in a lot of newer installations they all just use sockets in the ceiling cavity anyway, you could just get IEC tails and fit them to the lights or tails with sockets on them so you could just plug the lights into the tails.

For the price and the format, these look very nice; I beleive i have seen IP-serial remotes for android, so you could just make a remote with buttons for serial commands that did stuff. would be nifty.
 

Offline Rerouter

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 12:22:19 pm »
i'm no sparky, but i would imagine if all of the runs out to the lights where terminated in a patch panel with IEC sockets, and possibly the input run to the conventional breaker for lockout, i cannot see why there may be much of an issue, as then it would only be a case of you swapping around IEC 0.5m extension leads, with no lethal voltages present on exposed connectors,

though i would also imagine the feed ins would need to be in metal conduit until they enter the wall (if along the floor, otherwise may only need pvc) and the cabinet / rack would need to be bolted in place to prevent easy access to the mains terminations,
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 12:38:08 pm »
I just would have done the lazy thing, get a sparky to put a GPO in the ceiling, throw the box in the ceiling and plug the lights into the box, the box into the GPO and then run the ethernet to your patch panel.
 

Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2013, 12:53:02 pm »
i have a feeling that the cables from the lights need to done by a sparky due to them been run in the roof space?
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 01:03:33 pm »
I don't believe so, you can put whatever you want in your ceiling; it becomes a sparkys job as soon as it doesn't have a plug on it, downlights ect these days often have plugs on them, or you could add them and no one would be any the wiser.
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 01:32:05 pm »
I'll tell you, living in a region with no electrician licensing is both a blessing and a curse. Seeing you talk about dragging in a sparky for this kind of stuff makes me so happy I can do it all myself, but then I'm practically living in fear of a house fire all the time until I finish getting my house rewired because the guy who did it initially was a complete dunce...
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Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 04:14:53 pm »
I wish i could do it myself would be so much cheaper!!

So i spoke to a sparky and he didn't think there was any issue with the idea. I think i might get one and see how it goes.

 

Offline C

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 07:11:21 pm »
Where I am at they have the "national electric code" and it's not hard to get access to a copy.

note: All the rules change when the voltage is under 50 volt.

You might look at the rules for your area for something like "In Wall Extension Wiring"
Like an extension cord, the rules prevent two sources being connected by the types of connectors.

Here most of the time, it's ok if you pull the wire and the sparky puts on the ends.

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Offline buster7

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2013, 12:01:39 am »
Ok I am a sparky and just having a quick look at this as for as i am concerned the first thing is this device certified for use in Australia
second the reg's deal with fixed wiring so is this fixed wiring ? the gray area i would say no if run with leads so plug device where you want
make up lead with iec plug at one end socket on the other and plug in you light etc  do not connect to any fixed house wiring not very elegant but what do you do i might look into this a bit more later
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2013, 12:04:21 am »
Where I am at they have the "national electric code" and it's not hard to get access to a copy.

U.S.? Yep, sparky licensing (Do we even say "sparky" here? I seem to have acquired that word with no sense for where I first heard it. I like it, though) is regional in the U.S. New York State doesn't have it. Many counties and cities in NYS implement licensing, but the little one I'm in does not.
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Offline buster7

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2013, 12:12:29 am »
Quote
New York State doesn't have it.
so can you do as you please?
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2013, 12:17:16 am »
If you're in one of the regions within NYS that don't implement their own licensing, sort of. It's still "required" to be according to code, but they're not exactly sending the NEC police around ripping out people's outlets to check their work. Sadly, I've seen more work done poorly than not. It's amazing we don't have more house fires.
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Offline C

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2013, 01:29:43 am »
Some locations do the smart and easy thing and pass a rule saying just use national rule.
national rules are slow to change, but

then you run in to a local know it all that pushes requirement for something like cast iron pipe for sewers and a ban on plastic pipe for sewers.

For a lot of areas,   licensing is just a protection racket nothing else.
C



 

Offline mswhin63

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2013, 10:57:01 am »
I currently have X10 devices although not installed I will eventually. They come from www.smarthome.com.au and they are reasonable in cost for Australia that is. So of the products will require installation but are minimal effort and in a couple of case do not require an electrician to go into the roof so should be cheaper. The only concern I have is main noise and whether there will be an affect on other equipment in the house.

Looks like they ha done away with X10 and gone with Z wave
« Last Edit: April 05, 2013, 10:59:08 am by mswhin63 »
.
 

Offline buster7

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2013, 11:19:12 am »
at first look this look's good not like cbus that is priority and the hpm one icontrol
 

Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2013, 03:43:10 pm »
I currently have X10 devices although not installed I will eventually. They come from www.smarthome.com.au and they are reasonable in cost for Australia that is. So of the products will require installation but are minimal effort and in a couple of case do not require an electrician to go into the roof so should be cheaper. The only concern I have is main noise and whether there will be an affect on other equipment in the house.

Looks like they ha done away with X10 and gone with Z wave

Looking at sort of future proofing and i have heard that some solar systems cause trouble with the signal.

I also am changing over a bunch of lights so i need to get a sparky in anyway.

So if can i run extension cords through out the ceiling with out an electrician?
 

Offline C

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2013, 05:52:03 pm »
DOM,
The power line is a very noisy environment for communications. Most X10 devices do not supply feedback. With human feedback this may not be a big problem. If you want computer control to work correctly, you really need feedback. I have seen all kinds of things cause trouble with X10, the blender, the mixer, the motor starting. some light dimmers. While some X10 devices may supply feedback, a lot of the controllers do not use it.

Probably the best way is to get to a system that uses separate control wires. For lights you may want to look at
"DALI" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Addressable_Lighting_Interface
"DMX" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMX_%28lighting%29

C

   
 

Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2013, 04:15:23 am »
DOM,
The power line is a very noisy environment for communications. Most X10 devices do not supply feedback. With human feedback this may not be a big problem. If you want computer control to work correctly, you really need feedback. I have seen all kinds of things cause trouble with X10, the blender, the mixer, the motor starting. some light dimmers. While some X10 devices may supply feedback, a lot of the controllers do not use it.

Probably the best way is to get to a system that uses separate control wires. For lights you may want to look at
"DALI" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Addressable_Lighting_Interface
"DMX" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMX_%28lighting%29

C

   
Have the central controller constantly "refresh" the state of all the modules and repeat a command several times in a few seconds on every state change.
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Offline mswhin63

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2013, 05:31:09 am »
I bought my equipment ages ago, cant even remember when. If no one want them I may put them to use or the bin.
.
 

Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2013, 05:59:00 am »
yeah i didn't think of everything else causing issues with the x10. Pretty sure there is a similar product that includes confirmation signals.

I am thinking of getting on of these as long as it meets aust specs ( value my insurance) and connecting it up to one light allowing for some testing then roll out through the house.

Does anyone know the answer to the previous question? If the cords have plugs can i lay them through the roof space?
 

Offline David_AVD

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2013, 06:17:55 am »
A quick Google search showed this from a home automation web site:

Quote
It should go without saying that you can't do any electrical wiring yourself, you must use a registered electrical contractor. It is also illegal to install extension cords or power cords as fixed wiring.

I seemed to recall an electrician friend saying the same thing.
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2013, 06:49:51 am »
A quick Google search showed this from a home automation web site:

Quote
It should go without saying that you can't do any electrical wiring yourself, you must use a registered electrical contractor. It is also illegal to install extension cords or power cords as fixed wiring.

I seemed to recall an electrician friend saying the same thing.

See, this is where it gets a bit confusing, because doesn't that mean downlights with plugs that plug into sockets in your ceilings are illegal as they have power cords (and if they have dodgy SMPS drivers, they also have power chords)?
 

Offline David_AVD

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2013, 07:04:32 am »
I think the key to it all is "extension cords", not "power cords".  Of course the power cords on down lights, etc are perfectly legal.
 

Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2013, 09:32:11 am »
Sorry buy extension leads i meant power coble with plugs at there eands allowing the downlights to be plugged into.

 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2013, 06:58:15 pm »
Inside the transformer/driver for the downlights the cords are usually in screw terminals, so just unscrew and stick some IEC leads on, plug em in, plug this into a socket in the ceiling, tada!
 

Online NiHaoMike

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #30 on: April 06, 2013, 07:07:18 pm »
yeah i didn't think of everything else causing issues with the x10. Pretty sure there is a similar product that includes confirmation signals.
Don't bother with making general purpose switch modules two way since that greatly increases the complexity. Just have the central controller repeat commands many times on every requested state change and also have it resend the state of all modules periodically.

For critical applications, you'll want some form of feedback to check if the desired end result is accomplished, so you'll be able to catch faults due to reasons other than the switch.
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Offline C

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #31 on: April 06, 2013, 07:27:50 pm »

X10 devices can be effected by happenings on the power line because it is using power line communications.

The device DOM listed does not use power line communications, it uses network communications to control power line. It should only be effected by network problems.

C
 

Offline kxenos

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #32 on: April 06, 2013, 07:40:18 pm »
If you are in the mood of making this on your own, an arduino with a cheap SMPS 5V adapter, ethernet shield and some 5V relays would do the trick just fine.
 

Offline C

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2013, 08:53:27 pm »
If I was going to build one of these, I would not start with an arduino. Yes an arduino could do the job. When you start doing USB with an AVR, you should use a AVR with a USB Controler built in unless you wish to cripple your options on USB. The same is true if your project is connecting to Ethernet. Yes you can do both of these with the arduino, but your device will always be a cripple on that connection.
Add up the costs and add in the complications/limits imposed by an arduino like choice.
If you start with something with more power you could do more faster and cheaper. I would start with one of the arm cortex chips with a Ethernet controller and more programming space. When an arduino is at memory limits, a arm cortex would still have room to grow.

An arduino with a USB to serial adapter is like the first digital cameras that talked serial, they required a special program to function with a PC. Later digital cameras act like mass storage and are quick and easy with a PC, but this step requires a proper USB controller. You can not upgrade the software to the later if your hardware is based on a USB to serial adapter.

C

 
 

Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2013, 06:35:02 am »
I thought about making my own however at the price questioned if it was worth it?? Once you take into account plugs case Etc..

 

Offline kaindub

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2013, 09:09:14 am »
DOM
my background is:
Lve in Australia
Electrical Engineer
Have an electricians licence
I guess itlokks likes I'm big noting myself, but its just to establish where I am coming from. The question you pose has many answers depending on who you talk to
I also worked for awhile for HPM

You can use the device you show but I'd check that it has C tick. If your house burns down and the device is at fault you may have problems with your insurance.
You can install this yourself, provided you jusy plg it into an exisiting power point.
Here's where it gets tricky. AS3000 (the wiring code in Australia) covers any fixed wiring in residential, commercial and inustrial buildings. Since you are going to run the wiring to several lights, your local supply authority may consider the wiring between this device and the lights as fixed wiring. In which case you need a licenced e;ectricianto install the wiring and possble the switch.
Because there is no inspection of buildings after construction, you can get away with anything, even if it does not comply with the wiring rules.
But as I mentioned if a fire occurs because of the device  or wiring, you'll face some hard questions.
In addition, if someone gets electrocuted, you'll have even more questions to answer.
What you actually propose is a sound idea. But its not what an electrician and the authorities would expect.
Maybe stick with the usual solutions. There are a number of relable home automatin systems available though they tend not to be cheap.

You also may want to consider the costs of all the wiring. Most home automation systems have the switch part close to the switched device to reduce wiring costs.


Robert
 

Offline -DOM-

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Re: Home Automation Idea
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2013, 12:52:04 pm »
Cheers Kaindub much appreciated and very informative.

I am still waiting to see what approvals there are on the device and if it has a c tick.

I may try and find a copy of the Australian codes, worst case scenario i learn something new :)

As for the wiring costs i am installing new light so cant see that side being that much more in the scheme of things

Cheers again.
 


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