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Hardware and Wiring, about to renovate the house.

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    Hardware and Wiring, about to renovate the house.


    I am still to decide which front end to use, Mainlobby or Xlobby, but i am pretty sure that Homeseer will be the software for home automation.

    I am very new to this and having just bought my first house that needs lots of work, i would like to get all the necessary wiring/hardware installed as the kitchens bathrooms etc are renovated.

    Compared to some of the solutions i have read about i am only looking for a basic system;

    Automate/schedule all of the lighting wall and ceiling sockets, the normal power sockets and curtains. While also being able to directly control them via PPC (wireless network) and maybe a basic wall panel. Including dimming, would i also be able to do different moods, e.g selecting different combinations of spot lights in the kitchen

    Voice recognition would be kinda cool but not something i would want to lose weekends over.

    I am fairly competent with PCs etc but in terms of understanding the hardware needed and planning the wiring schematics i am totally lost.

    I am based in the UK and have heard lots of people speak about X10, however i get the impression its used becuase its easy to install rather than 100% reliable. Is there a better solution that i can use as i am already re-doing the house?

    Any help would be really appreciated even if its to tell me to go and see a specialist shop, as the time the builders are coming in is approaching ever nearer.


    Hi Oreoboy,
    Welcome to the board!

    There are many technologies (here's a few most popular ones) :

    1) X10 - Very popular, but as you said there are many different factors which can bring instability to the system as its a powerline technology (signals carried down the powerline).

    2) Z Wave / RF - These are the coming out now . . . many good reports about it. It works on secure RF radio signals (all registered with a master controller) so reliability is very very good. There are a few places that stock UK ZWave at the moment ( in USA has some, also homeseer store, or See here) For a demo check out here.

    3) Finally, the hardwire solution . . . where all your light switches are special ones that are connected using low voltage control cables. A popular form of this is C-BUS, you can buy C-Bus at this site in UK. Its super slick and reliable. . . but require a total rewire (low voltage cable to every light switch) and is expensive as you will see.

    Personally, RF home automation seems ideal for me. . . Z-Wave seems a great technology, coupled with HomeSeer you have a killer combination!!!

    Of course .. . its never that easy, there are problems with every combination, but i hope to give you a taste of whats on offer!!

    Its good to see another UKer on here. (There is a special UK/Europe forum here if you want). Also I woul highly recommend and the mailing list for general UK Home Automation (UKHA) info!!!

    Hope this helps,
    Let us know if you have any more questions.



      If you are going to use Homeseer, then you really have one choice (argueably?) between ML and XL and that is ML with MLHSPlugin. XLobby will not 2 way integrate with Homeseer (today) and this is a huge difference to a HS home.


        Another front end (free ) is

        Check it out! Not great homeseer integration compared to MainLobby but still worth a look (the support forums are very good at

        MainLobby seem very committed to HomeSeer and general home automation not just as an entertainment centre!


        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> CocoonTech Chat Log on June 2004 with Dan Reicher of Cinemar
        Chatting about Main Lobby and its interface with Homeseer via the new MLHSPlugin! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


          Thanks for all the help;

          C-Bus looks like a good solution.

          Do you think it would cost a lot to get a specialist shop to do the wiring schematic for me.

          Had a look at myHTPC, didn't really get on with it.


          If i give you an idea of what i want to do, maybe you suggest the best front end; this is what i posted in another forum.

          I have bought a two storey flat with a large double bedroom with an on-suite, and a small second bedroom/study, with a communal bathroom upstairs. Downstairs is a hall, large sitting room generous kitchen and toilet. There is natural light in every room, and access to the roof through skylights upstairs.

          It is a georgian building in some disrepair, as such i will be renovating all the bathrooms and kitchen, sanding and making good the original floorboards, and general decorating.

          Now this would seem to me to be the perfect time put in all the cables i need for future toys.

          However i need some help; i am not completely useless, i am a mech eng, built a PC last weekend and took 6 floorboards to hide the s-vid cable/speaker wire as a temporary solution in the sitting room.

          Maybe if i spell out what i would like to do i can be pointed in the right direction;

          What i would like to do;

          UPSTAIRS; have in ceiling speakers in all the rooms including bathrooms; with PPC control and Dimmer switches (for volume) on the walls. Have all the lighting(lamps aswell) and curtains controlled/automated via the PPC1.

          I know how to do some of the stuff but not all, i would run a music/video server with xlobby/mainlobby and interface with a wireless lan. BUT i dont know how i would use the dimmer switches or the lighting or the wiring?


          Have the Home cinema (amp, hcpc) stuff in the cupboard under the stairs controlled by the PPC2 (another instance of xlobby server, pulling from the file server upstairs), but have a dimmer in the kitchen to control the volume on the amp. I also wouldn't mind sending a stream of the SKy box to the second bedroom.

          Have all the lighting(lamps aswell), curtains controlled by PPC2

          I have SOME idea in theory how to do the Hifi stuff using file servers, xlobby, wireless networks etc (i imagine i can pay for mainlobby if xlobby is to buggy), but i am Totallly lost on the lighting, curtains, Dimmers and integrating the control with the PPC.

          And i am totally lost with the wiring though.

          I am thinking about going in and seeing a specialist dealer and having a chat with, but they are so expensive.

          If you have a read this far, thank you! If anybody can point me in the right or give me any help, i would be very grateful.


            Oreo, careful, Homeseer doesn't support C-bus right now. It certainly could since there is a C-bus to RS232 interface, but it hasn't been done (most likely because it's not a very cost effective solution).


              Thanks for the headsup.


                Oreo, a correction. It appears this plugin may support C-bus.