(I realise that this message might be more appropriate for America's
comp.home.automation but I'm UK-based and, having lurked on this newgroup
for some time, I know that there are some knowledgeable contributors who
might be reading this.)
Since my house is being totally rewired for power, I'm taking the
opportunity to cable up for as much home automation as I feel I might
require in the future.
A first floor cupboard (6ft height x 2ft x 3ft) in the centre of the house
with front and rear access doors will act as the central distribution point
for all cables except mains power and central heating controls. I'll refer
to this cupboard as "Node Zero".
As a total newcomer to home automation, I've done my best to read up on the
subject and have drafted an outline spec (see below). My personal preference
is to avoid wireless and X-10 technology. I would very much appreciate any
comments by you experts out there on any omissions or errors in the spec
but, in particular, I wonder if you could help me answer the following
(a) Is it better to have fixed IP security cameras transmitting pictures to
a central server, or CCTV cameras connected back to a UHF distributor?
(b) The distance from the TV aerial to the UHF distributor in the "Node
Zero" cupboard is 30ft. If I put the distributor in the attic instead, the
distance would be only 15ft. Would this make any meaningful difference to
the signal quality? Is there any reason to keep the TV "loftbox" away from
the Node Zero LAN equipment?
(c) What hardware and cable-type is required to enable me to have an IR
remote handset to select the video signal source (i.e. select terrestrial TV
or CCTV cam 1 or CCTV cam 2 or CCTV cam 3) in any room?
(d) Can anyone recommend a digital audio server compatible with a networked
music player and a Windows XP p.c. network?
(e) Does anyone know of a system whereby I can connect 4 intercom units over
Here's the spec:
PC Network and Telephone...
Each room (except the bathrooms and utility room) will have a minimum of two
RJ45 sockets which will be connected back to a patch panel at Node Zero by
Cat 6 UTP cable. The longest Cat 6 cable run will be 200ft from the garage
at the bottom of the garden.
The two incoming telephone lines, one of which has ADSL, will also be run to
the patch panel so that any of the RJ45 sockets can be patched as a
telephone outlet. Next to the patch panel will be a router/hub which can
create a 10/100 Base-T network between any computers with an ethernet
connection to the house's RJ45 sockets. It will also enable internet access
to any of these computers.
The house will have 6 PIR sensors and 3 door contacts. The alarm code will
be set on either of two keypads (front door and back door locations). Any
alarm condition should cause a siren to sound and (up to) 3 telephone
numbers to be automatically dialled for acknowledgement. The sensors and
keypads should be wired back to a central controller (maybe in the Node Zero
cupboard, maybe elsewhere).
Ideally the top floor of the house should have a "panic alarm" switch to set
off the siren even if the alarm is not armed.
A wireless keyfob should operate the door strike at the back garden gate
(next to the garage). If it is night, this keyfob should also operate the
path lights from the gate to the house. The gate should also have an
intercom linked to the house to facilitate access for non-keyfob holders.
The garage forecourt should be surveilled by a security camera. When
activity is detected by the forecourt PIR sensor, the camera should record
the activity either to a hard disk or video recorder in the Node Zero
An additional two security cameras will monitor activity at the front door
and in the garden. Pictures from any of the cameras should be accessible on
one TV in the house (or one p.c., not sure which yet). It might also be
useful (but not essential) to access the camera pictures over the internet.
There should be 4 master intercoms around the house (1 on ground floor, 2 on
first floor, 1 in attic) to allow communication between four distant areas.
Downstairs lights will be digitally controlled (Mode Lighting's Evolution).
Upstairs lights will have normal (make/break) mains switches.
6 mains-powered loop-connected smoke alarms (Kidde or similar) will have a
local control button to silence the alarms. There will be no connection to
A digital television aerial will be connected by CT100 cable to the input of
a Node Zero UHF distribution amplifier (LoftBox?). The outputs of this
distribution amplifier will be connected by CT100 to a maximum of 8 TV
sockets in various rooms thoughout the house. Each outlet point should be
able to receive normal terrestrial TV, FM, and DAB. Each outlet point will
require a separate Freeview digi box (e.g. Sony VTX-D800U).
At the moment, I don't have cable or satellite TV, nor do I have any plans
to add these.
Ideally, the three security cameras mentioned above should also be input
into the distribution amplifier so that their pictures are viewable on any
TV. This will require some sort of IR switching control to select the source
signal. Alternatively, I could use cameras with an IP address so that I can
view their pictures on a p.c. connected to the LAN.
Being able to watch the output of any DVD or VCR player in the house on any
TV in the house ("whole house video"?) is not a requirement.
Any p.c. or networked music player (e.g. Slim Devices' SliMP3) on the LAN
should be able to access a single standalone LAN-connected MP3 storage
device. For this I suppose that I require a digital audio server. The
digital audio server should be designed for multi-zone installations so that
users can simultaneously select and listen to different music in different
The bedrooms, bathroom and reception rooms will have their own local speaker
connections. I do not intend to wire each set of speakers to Node Zero as I
cannot see the advantage.
If I want to switch the speakers from say p.c. sound card output to TV
output, I'll have to do this manually.
Thanks for reading this, guys.
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