Plan Your Own Smart Home System
|Prewire Planning Guide
The following is an overview of the system features that can be included in our Smart Home Systems. The pre-wire plan should be included in all new construction.
Not so long ago, the majority of homes were wired with little more than the AC electrical powerlines, a few phone lines, and a few TV cables. Times have changed. Electrical and security system contractors routinely install low voltage communication cabling for a wide range of smart home systems. Of course, the new technology does still, for the most part, require connection to the same old AC powerline; but some unique and highly specific requirements must also be met.
The term 'prewiring' refers to the installation of cables and wires during a new home's construction. It includes the AC electrical wiring, as well as the low voltage, home systems cabling. The book, Structured Wiring Design Manual, by Robert N. Bucceri, is an excellent source of information for prewiring, and will also introduce you to the smart home systems for which the prewiring is installed.
If you're considering opting out of prewiring based on the wide availability of wireless devices today, remember that, despite industry pushes toward standardization, many wireless devices still use proprietary communication protocols, making them incompatible with other manufacturer's products. Partly for this reason, most home systems products are designed with structured wiring in mind. Remember also that prewiring is a permanent upgrade to your home, increasing its value at sale time.
Some of the home systems that require prewiring are security; home theater and entertainment; phones, door-phones and intercoms; PC and internet networks; surveillance cameras; driveway vehicle detection; communicating thermostats; motorized window treatments; entry systems; and irrigation systems. In addition to installing access ports for these systems, you should (remove 'also') decide upon at least two locations for centralized controls, i.e., one in the living room and one in the master bedroom.
The Prewire Planning Guide below is intended only as a general frame of reference, and should be altered to meet your specific requirements. It's a good idea to keep such a document as talking paper for discussions with your contractor. A written specification ensures that all contractors are bidding on the same effort. Discuss your requirements with each contractor and request that they include the details of their work plan in their proposals. Have them take the time to write up a scope-of-work and, if possible, to accurately markup the builder's floor plans. Specify where in each room you want the cable terminations, as well as the type of jacks and wall plates to be used at each termination. All cables running into the home control distribution center should be labeled with a room name and function. Lastly, all cables should be tested for continuity to ensure there are no shorts, opens, mislabels, or incorrect runs.
The prewiring of an average size home entails the running of miles of cables and usually requires several days for two installers to complete. The cost of low voltage prewiring varies, depending in some measure upon the number and length of cable pulls, as well as the number of terminations, but you can expect a range of between $2000 to $7500 for medium size homes, to well above that for larger homes.
Prewire Planning Guide
This plan was developed in accordance with the EIA industry practices identified in the Consumer Electronic Bus standard, which defines how information should travel throughout the home. Compliance with these guidelines insures that the residence will be prewired for all future needs.
A home control center (HCC) should be established in an area adjacent to the electrical service panel in the basement, garage or service area. A 4X6' backboard should be installed to secure the prewired cabling to their appropriate positions in preparation for the installation of the security, cable/satellite distribution, phones, PC/Internet network, audio distribution, and the X10 power line carrier systems signal conditioning equipment.
Two cable runs of RG6 quad shield coaxial cable should be "home run" from each applicable room or area back to the HCC. RG6 cable is used for cable modems, cable/satellite, DVD, & video cameras. The quad shielding on coaxial cable insures a minimum loss of signal quality even if the cables are routed with 90 degree bends.
Two or more cable runs of Category 5E cable should be "home run" from each room planned with a phone, PC, system wall controllers, digital audio controls, thermostats, IR receivers, and cameras back to the HCC. Category 5 enhanced cable consists of 4 pair of twisted wires. The cable is immune to electronic noise and is tested and certified to communication speeds that far exceed the speed of our home networks. We suggest using different color cable for each application to easily identify cables in a bundle.
High quality jacketed 14 and 16 gauge stranded speaker wire should be prewired to each of the rooms and exterior areas of the home identified with speakers and analog volume controls, from the area identified for the home entertainment center.
A category 5E cable should be prewired from the home's primary PC to the HCC for programming and control of the PC based home controller.
The electrical contractor should be instructed to insure that the line, neutral, & switch legs are available at all switch box locations and that only deep switch boxes be used for all planned smart switch and receptacle locations.
Specify that a minimum of 12 receptacle outlets be installed at the HCC & entertainment center areas.
Security, Smoke Detection, & Access System
We recommend that a central station monitored Napco Gemini security & smoke detection system be installed. This is a Hardwired / Wireless multi-tasking centrally monitored system. Monitored contacts should be installed at all first floor and basement exterior doors and windows, as well as glass break detectors, interior motion detectors, heat detectors and smoke detectors. Plain English keypad stations should be located at three locations including the Master BdRm.
The Security system should be integrated into the JDS Stargate system at the HCC for automatic control of safety lighting when the security system is tripped.
A 300' range Street Smart ultra-secure coded remote control system with (2) 4 Button Key Chain remotes can be provided for control of gates, garage doors, interior doors, interior and exterior entrance lighting and the security system from arriving vehicles. The system can be expanded to include exterior motion detectors or driveway vehicle detector probes integrated with Stargate at any time.
Distribution System for Cable, Satellite & Camera Video + PC Internet Network.
A Channel Vision RG6 Coax Cable & Catagory 5 Cable distribution system will be installed at the HCC. This Panel combined with Xantech Infrared components will perform the signal amplification, modulation and distribution of the video signals from of Satellite, Cable programming, and entrance cameras to those rooms planned with a TV or PC. An IR target will be installed in the rooms planned with a TV to enable video source selection and control of Satellite programming, Cable & the Entrance Camera. If a Dual LNB Satellite Dish is utilized this will allow connection of 8 or more Satellite Receivers with individual control. Programmed Universal Remotes such as the SL9000 or PUR08 should be usede for control of TV, A/V, and lighting.
The Cat 5 distribution portion of the panel provides the convenience of a patch panel to distribute voice and data to each room directly from the phone system. A PC LAN 8 node Hub will be included in the panel. High Speed Internet Cable Service or DSL Service can be established on the network to allow all family members to be online simultaneously. Multimedia outlets installed in each room will provide phone service, video, and PC Network connection data where required.
A Panasonic Advanced Hybrid Phone System should be installed and integrated at the HCC. The system is expandable to 6 incoming lines and 24 extensions. The system will include Caller ID, a door phone at the front entry, hands free intercom & paging. The available phone handsets include 90OMHZ cordless system phones, corded LCD and non LCD system phones.
The 900MHZ cordless phones offer the convenience of remote and local control of anything electrical from any point in the home or on the grounds.
Great Wireless Phone System alternatives to the Hardwired Panasonic Phone System would be the two incoming line, 10 extension CyberGenie with voice recognition & PC/Internet integration, as well as the two line, 8 extension Siemens 2.4 GHZ Gigaset which is extremely clear, high performance, and attractively priced.
Home Control and Automation System
An X10 PLC network will be created on the house electrical service using Surge Protection, Signal Couplers, Amplifiers, and noise filters as required to ensure rock-solid system operation.
A JDS Stargate, the most comprehensive and best supported integrated home controller available will be installed. Stargate is a Windows based, PC programmable home control system that interconnects the Phones, HVAC, PC,TV, Video, A/V, Lighting and all other home systems, allowing them to communicate with one another for control purposes. In addition to X10 control offered by Stargate, it also includes digital and analog inputs as well as relay contact closures for reliable interfacing to all other home systems. The Power Line Carrier (XlO PLC) network will be established on the electrical service to enable control signaling on the AC power line throughout the residence and exterior lighting and recreation areas. Phone control is integrated into Stargate turning any touch tone phone into a great system controller. Voice response and Caller ID are also integrated in Stargate. Check Stargate out at www. jdstechnologies.com.
Smart Wall Switches / Modules will be located to insure adequate safety, security, and scene lighting. TouchScreens, and 4 Button Leviton Wall Controllers will be installed to enable automatic and remote control of selected interior and exterior landscape and pool lighting, house audio, and status conditions. This insures that the residence will always present a lived in appearance. The 4 Button Wall Controllers and TouchScreens also provide a means to trigger Scenarios such as Party Time, Away, Movie Time, Good Night, I'm Home etc. that involve several home systems automatically with one button control. Voice Response can be provided for Scenario selections, Guest Arrivals, and Wake-ups etc as desired. An RS232 cable should be routed from the Stargate at the HCC to your primary PC for both control and programming from your PC.
Optional Home Control Sub-Systems:
Whole House Audio System
A Niles or equivalent based audio system will be installed at the designated Entertainment Center location. The system can will consist of a AVR Audio/Video/Receiver, Niles Flush Mounted In-Wall and In Ceiling multipurpose speakers and Niles OS10 exterior speakers with Niles RVL6 speaker zone, source selection, and volume controls. This system can be upgraded to include other amplifiers or speaker types as well as by adding room TouchScreens or KeyPads for remote source selection and volume control in place of the proposed room volume controls.
This system shall be integrated at the HCC to permit Stargate Voice Response through the house audio system for audio caller ID, audio reminders, and house status such as the temperature in each room security status, garage door position and more as desired.
The SmartHomeUSA.com Team