good lord man, that's a diary... sheesh, waay too much to plough through and I never did see any diagram. I'd be curious what you're doing with the panel but too hard to find a drawing.
I did read and scroll a bit. How you found time to do the work and write all that is beyond me. You saying something about not having to spend a lot of money and then, elsewhere you say this: I know I said I could do a smarthome for $10K-$15K, but now it looks like DIY Home Theater Automation is going to cost me $200K-$300K.
Still think your an end-user with no financial stake? Why are you re-inventing the wheel? I f you have that kind of coin to throw around, get a professional in there and do it right.
Thx for reading & for the feedback. Here's some clarifications
FYI - It's not meant to be a single posting for folks to read; it actually is an online diary of my work, there's posts spanning 2 weeks there.
If you look at
, you'll see the links at the bottom of the first post. Here's that first post: Somebody about how the basic wiring/etc was done. I'm sure I got a ton of stuff wrong, but the basic theory I think is sound. Here's an example sensor layout according to how i'm doing it. [not my house, don't worry].
Also, on the how-to, I just got 2 training CDs from Elk in the mail today. I'm going to setup myhomeautomationpc.com as a holder for any salient content from end-users as to how they've setup their systems, and will be hosting the training content there.
That was meant to be facetious. If you look at this page
, and add up all the PC and sensor costs, you'll see that I'll have spent about $7500 for a 3-machine HTPC/HAPC system including 40 sensors. Considering I have 3TB of storage in those systems, that's pretty dang cheap.
Step 8 is me deciding to spend $5K to build out my attic, which wouldn't have occurred to me unless I started climbing around up there to lay down wire.
Step 10 is my wife deciding that if I'm going to build out the attic, we may as well put a 2nd floor on the house.
Step 9 was: As long as I'm building out the attic, I better put speakers in every single room now even if I don't know if I want it. It's cheap now as I just have to drill holes in the ceiling and mount speakers - it's much more expensive once the attic is built out.
You don't necessarily have to install all the speakers now. You can just run wires for them possibly for a multi-zone A/V controller for now. If you want to be ready for *most* of the current systems, wire as follows using cable that is rated for in-wall use:
From the music center (or HT rack) to a volume control location in each room (2) CAT5 cables plus 14/4 stranded speaker cable. At the VC location leave a couple of feet of extra cable in the wall. Do the same behind the music center or AV rack.
From the volume control location to each speaker run 14/2 stranded speaker cable. Again, leave a couple of feet of extra cable at each end. Make an
18-24" service loop in one of the CAT5 cables at the VC location and bring the end over to one of the speakers. It makes no difference whether the CAT5 goes to the left or right speaker but be consistent from room to room. Leaving a couple of feet of extra, cut off the other CAT5 cable at the VC location.
If there will be a TV set in the room, also run (1) CAT5 and (2) RG6Q/S cables from the AV rack location to the wall behind the set. Some folks recommend running composite cable to remote TVs but IMO it's overkill. Other than in the family room / home theater locations it's not necessary.
The CAT5 at the volume control locations will allow you to install any number of multi-zone entertainment systems. By running speaker and video cables as well, you also have the option of using simpler (less expensive) impedance-matching volume controls. The CAT5 at the speaker will allow you to connect an IR receiver to control whatever system you use by pointing your remote at the speaker. That's especially handy in bedrooms where the VC near the door may not be within view.
Many of the better quality in-wall and in-ceiling speakers can be installed without using pre-wire brackets. Proficient Audio, for example, has swing-out clamps on their speakers which grip the sheetrock. The advantage of not using brackets is threefold. You save the cost of the brackets, you can cut the speakers in later when funds allow and there's one less thing to rattle later. The advantage of using brackets is there's a huge hole in the ceiling so your wife will let you install the speakers immediately. :^)
Take a look at Proficient Audio, Russound and Niles Audio for DIY whole-house AV. Proficient, a division of SpeakerCraft, makes really good sounding architectural speakers. Russound's speakers are good too, though having listened to and installed most both I prefer Proficient. Russound and Niles both make excellent controls and distribution goodies. Another brand worth considering if budget permits is Xantech. Their MARC88 system is one of excellent.
Note: I sell most of these brands (except Niles) online so I have a vested interest in promoting them but they really are good stuff. Niles is fine quality too. I just don't carry it.