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  • What would you do if starting anew?

    I'm moving to a new house and will essentially create a whole new Home Automation and Home Audio/Video setup. It's been awhile since I first set up my current setup and a lot has changed in home automation and I'm afraid that a lot more will change in the next few years.

    I've used an extensive set of Insteon devices (probably 100+ different devices) and Control4 (which I hate... a different thread maybe...). This post would get VERY long if I started listing all the things I've controlled previously, my wish list, etc.

    I'm thinking of getting a HomeTroller S6 or HomeTroller S6 Pro since it just seems like the one device that does the most stuff and supports the most different protocols. Thus I'm posting this question here.

    Now, imagine you got to start a whole new project wanting the best of what's available now and *trying* to future proof as much as possible. What would you do? Give me a wishlist to research further

  • #2
    I too use mostly Insteon, but also have some Z-Wave. I'd do it all the same way, but I'd use all Insteon Dual Mode devices. Many of mine are AC only, no wireless. I'd have done Z-Wave smoke / CO2 detectors. I'd still do HS3 on a Wintel box. I like the low power and stability of the embedded devices, but I like the power and expansion on a full PC.
    My home is smarter than your honor roll student.

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    • #3
      I read nearly every post on this board, and have so for maybe a year. The number of issues that people seem to have at times with having to restart their controllers, the Z-Wave interface goes offline, etc., etc., etc., -- well, I have absolutely zero problems. I'm running a HomeTroller SEL-PRO. I think Linux is just more stable than Windows. We have two homes, with an SEL at each, and for six months of the year they just plug away. The only time I have to reset/restart anything is when I'm messing with something.

      Therefore, unless there's some plug-in that requires Windows, I recommend -- highly -- the SEL boxes. I'm starting to "stress" them enough (a lot of plugins!) that I will be upgrading memory.

      In terms of "having to do it all over again," my only regret is going with Alarm.com and a local alarm company for our alarm. I'm waiting for our contract to expire, and then I'm ripping everything out, putting in a DSC 1864 system, getting a dirt cheap basic central alarm monitoring contract, and doing all the remote stuff through EnvisaLink and HomeSeer.

      My Z-Wave network -- originally with a Z-Stick and now with a Z-NET (upgraded really just for NWI) -- is and has been rock solid. Everything Just Works. I don't miss events. When things are supposed to be controlled, they are. Etc.

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      • #4
        I think I would do it all the same. When I moved to HS3 I had wired distributed audio, Z-Wave lights, and thermostats, a wired DSC system and so on. The only thing that could have been better out the door was the Z-Stick I used. That thing never worked very well. When moving to the Z-Net all of the Z-Wave issues I had magically went away. I run HS3 on a Windows server. I got HS3 pro even though I don't think I use any of the HST plugins. After about 2 years I decided to start experimenting with HSTouch designer so I guess pro was worth it.
        Originally posted by rprade
        There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

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        • #5
          One word.. WIRE.

          plan out as many things as you can and drop Cat6 ( not cat 5 or cat5e) and pull 2 runs to every place, that way you have either a backup OR a 2nd wire for unexpected expansion.

          while wireless is getting better all the time, nothing beats the reliability of a wired system.

          Then zwave for all the wireless stuff with a znet unit.
          detail of setup in profile. Link to videos of my projects there as well. Over 300 scripts running every min and counting

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          • #6
            Originally posted by collegeboyslive View Post
            One word.. WIRE.
            God yes, I know... and it bugs me that people (non-nerds) don't understand this...

            Thanks for all the responses, I love reading these

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            • #7
              Originally posted by collegeboyslive View Post
              One word.. WIRE.

              Amen!
              Originally posted by rprade
              There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

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              • #8
                Well too it depends what it is you want to do relating to automation / multimedia / audio and television.

                Automation is a hobby here and Homeseer allows me to play.

                Before automation playing here created a sound and future proof electrical infrastructure, HVAC, lighting, low voltage, et al.

                Without a basic infrastructure; nothing else really matters.

                It is that whole chicken and the egg thing.
                Last edited by Pete; January 15th, 2016, 10:52 AM.
                - Pete

                Auto mator
                Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
                Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

                X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by mikedr View Post
                  My Z-Wave network -- originally with a Z-Stick and now with a Z-NET (upgraded really just for NWI) -- is and has been rock solid. Everything Just Works. I don't miss events. When things are supposed to be controlled, they are. Etc.
                  Ditto. My only regret when starting out with home automation/Homeseer a year ago was starting with the Z-Stick, the Z-NET is just far superior. Stuff just works with the Z-NET like it's supposed to, the Z-Stick would lock up at inopportune times, miss events or have unknown status' for nodes...just basically creating a beginners's nightmare. Because as a beginner you don't know if it's a hardware issue or of it's something with software/HS3/plugin's itself. The amount of time I wasted troubleshooting, I would have been ahead of the game by shelling out the extra $100 and getting the Z-NET from the get go. I wouldn't advise anyone getting into HA to use a Z-stick...

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                  • #10
                    I have 22 runs of conduit. Conduit! Once installed then you can write however you want.

                    I did forget to prewire the basement. Another story. Ran out of time before sheetrock came. Not that big of a deal at least the theater room is good.
                    HomeSeer 2, HomeSeer 3, Allonis myServer, Amazon Alexa Dots, ELK M1G, ISY 994i, HomeKit, BlueIris, and 6 "4k" Cameras using NVR, and integration between all of these systems. Home Automation since 1980.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Krumpy View Post
                      I have 22 runs of conduit. Conduit! Once installed then you can write however you want.
                      Problem is, although it's a new house, it's already built... I missed that opportunity

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                      • #12
                        You can do anything post build. It is resource intensive and can cost a bit of money.

                        That said depending on the contractor's knowledge base and want of money; it can be an expensive endeavour during construction.

                        Many contractors today charge the same amount of money for LV as they do for HV cabling.

                        IE: here put a chandelier lift in the attic. (it is a winch of sorts that supports up to 600 Ibs of chandelier) I added new electrical circuits, beefed up the support infrastructure (IE: the lift is twice the size and weight of one GDO) and concurrently built a cat walk in an unfinished attic, put a chase in from the basement, added lighting and more electric to the attic. This was done before any new LV cabling was installed to the second floor. If you do not DIY this or do not have any sort of knowledge base relating to LV/HV wiring then you pay a contractor to do this.
                        - Pete

                        Auto mator
                        Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
                        Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

                        X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Pete View Post
                          You can do anything post build. It is resource intensive and can cost a bit of money.
                          I know... that's precisely why I didn't fall asleep for hours last night cause my brain is still working on "how am I going to get this (2 story + basement) house wired the way I want without pissing off the wife! LoL! But I think I've done and seen enough by now to get this done real nice, even post-build.

                          Maybe if I get this chandelier thing put up like you describe, then that would impress her? HaHa!

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                          • #14
                            Yup; here the main floor is all wood floors except for the laundry room which we redid in tile. I did LV wire the main floor from the basement. One night after work decided to wiring up an LV sensor to one of the kitchen walls. That said I missed the wall and drilled up to and through the finished wood floor in the kitchen. It was very low on the WAF.

                            Relating to the chandelier cleaning we have a cleaning service. I did a sort of instructional class with them on how to lower the chandelier to clean it and how to clean it only when it is requested though. I did utilize the chandelier project as a kick off to my attic stuff. The purchase of the chandelier was a project on it's own and a real PITA initially any ways. It is in the middle of the entrance foyer and you cannot change a light bulb on it without a 20 foot plus free standing ladder. Even if you used a ladder it is not something easy to do. Thinking about this endeavor I also redid the attic staircase using a Werner heavy duty telescopic aluminum ladder with new door. Way better than the piece of crap wooden staircase it replaced.

                            One neighbor had a landing built under the top window such that he can climb to the landing then pull the chandelier over to change the light bulbs. He uses the landing for a Christmas tree around Christmas time (so there is electric there too).

                            I have redone just about every room in the house. Wife redid window dressing / colors and floor in most rooms. I DIY'd it taking my time and LV wired the rooms with speakers, tv, multimedia, automation, et al each time baby steps fashion as I did work much slower than if we had contracted some one.

                            Local neighbor here contracted a granite company to install granite everywhere for a very good price. (IE: granite fireplace base, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room et al). The granite was installed in one day. Only thing he forgot was the plumbing and new spigots et al and it was very low on the WAF for a few days.

                            IE: we literally gutted the family room 2 years after the house was built. (new fireplace, new flooring, new walls new windows dressing et al). Hardest part was redoing the fireplace as it was a real fire place done the modern way and I didn't like it so we had a mason built a new rock fireplace (he was a guru as we literally hand picked the stones he used).
                            Last edited by Pete; January 16th, 2016, 03:09 PM.
                            - Pete

                            Auto mator
                            Homeseer 3 Pro - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e 64 bit Intel Haswell CPU - Mono 6.4X
                            Homeseer Zee2 (Lite) - 3.0.0.534 (Linux) - Ubuntu 18.04/W7e - CherryTrail x5-Z8350 BeeLink 4Gb BT3 Pro - Mono 6.4X

                            X10, UPB, Zigbee, ZWave and Wifi MQTT automation.

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                            • #15
                              I've already told my wife. We don't buy another house unless we build it. You can do anything post build, but I'm not starting g over again running over 7,000 feet of cat6 and rg6 through my existing house.

                              Besides that I would go all insteon for the lighting. I heavily rely on fast on/off commands which z-wave just doesn't give me. I'm currently in the process of switching my lighting and its low on the WAF because not all the switches operate the same, but I'm not gonna outlay all the money at once. It's just too much. I'm replacing and selling off the z-wave to cover the costs of more switches.
                              Thanks,
                              Frank

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