My Plan - Feedback Requested

Hi, as you may have seen from previous posts I’m in the process of building a new home and am trying to put together a plan for my builder/electrician for what I want out of my HA system. Below is my current thinking. I’d love any feedback on:

  • Known Issues with any of the devices
  • Recommendations for “superior” devices than what I listed
  • Anything I may be missing
  • Anything I’m doing that seems silly/wrong

Quick word on the house itself (in case it helps). It will be a 2800 sq foot colonial with a basement & garage. First floor is living/dining/family room and kitchen. Upstairs is all bedrooms, and basement will have an entertainment area (TV, bar, etc) - well at least one day it will.

In advance I’d like to thank anyone who takes the time to read/respond as it greatly helps me out.

The Plan:

VeraLITE

General:
Run Cat-6 home runs to all rooms. Also run to camera locations. (front door, back yard)
Make sure to use three conductor cabling so that there is a neutral in every switch box.
Connect Router, Vera, Alarm to a UPS

Alarm:
Alarm:

LCD Panel or Std Panel:

PTK5507:
http://www.dsc.com/index.php?n=products&o=view&id=1393

RFK5564:
http://www.dsc.com/index.php?n=enduser&o=show_panels&keypad=1394

1864 panel:
http://www.dsc.com/index.php?n=products&o=view&id=3

Siren:

Door/Window Contacts:
Mix of (probably stick with Ademco)
http://www.homesecuritystore.com/c-219-hardwire-contacts.aspx

Motion Sensors:
http://www.dsc.com/index.php?n=products&o=view&id=93

Battery:
8ah: http://www.amazon.com/Elk-ELK-1280-Sealed-Lead-Battery/dp/B000HB03MM

Smoke/CO2:
http://www.detectorsandalarms.com/USI-MICN109-combo-smoke-carbon-monoxide-detector-natural-gas-alarm.aspx

Vera Integration:
http://www.eyezon.com/?page_id=176
http://code.mios.com/trac/mios_dscalarmpanel

Controls:

2 Nest Thermostats (plan to use plugin)

Dimmers & Switches for all first flaw lighting, outdoor lights and some second floor lighting
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductDetail.jsp?partnumber=VRI10-1LX&section=44140&minisite=10251
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductDetail.jsp?partnumber=VRS15-1LZ&section=44141&minisite=10251

A few Receptacles:
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductDetail.jsp?partnumber=VRR15-1LZ&section=44148&minisite=10251

2 Scene controllers (main living room, basement entertainment)
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductDetail.jsp?partnumber=VRCZ4-MRZ&section=44143&minisite=10251

Locks (2)
Door into house from Garage, backyard door:
https://shop.micasaverde.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=YAL-YRL220ZWTSL

  • Note, I didn’t put anything on my front door, still not sure about that.

Motion detection - near stairs, master bedroom, entrance ways.
Have alarm system company wire a few extra motion detectors.

Camera- (2) outside front entrance, backyard
http://foscam.com/prd_view.aspx?id=165

SQ Blaster http://www.squareconnect.com/products.html for TV (perhaps more than 1 for master bedroom TV and living room)

Garage door & Fireplace - both of these seem to be things that are controlled by relays and dont require anything special up front (please correct if I’m wrong).

Btw - you may notice a bias to Leviton, I know someone who works there and may be able to get a nice discount so I’m leaning towards their stuff when it seems practical.

THANKS again - any / all comments appreciated.

In an “open walls” situation, I’d never plan on using Battery-based Z-Wave motion sensors. I’d always simply wire for a standard alarm system, and put in a few more locations for regular (wired) motion sensors.

I have the HSM100, as well as another Z-Wave motion of an earlier generation, and I’d never use them due to finicky reliability. Others will have different experiences, but do you want to roll that dice?

Also, for the cameras, think about what you’d like to be able to see. For me, it’s the front door, the back yard, and down the driveway/out to the street (to get advanced notice, esp with motion-detecting cameras). I don’t have to put the camera in, but having the wiring will save a bunch of work later on.

Put an Ethernet jack into a central closet/cupboard on each floor. My current house has this, and it’s where all the Wireless router goes. It’ll also help if you need to deploy multiple Z-Wave gateways (for coverage of the space) since you’ll have a place to put them. Wire for 2x Ethernet ports per location, so you don’t need to have a local switch/router (I use Airport express units, since they’re compact and low power)

See my other response, to your previous posting, for the fuller list of things that I’d also do. Incorporating the wiring (if not the device) for these now will save you a LOT of pain later on.

ie. What happens if you want a Android/iPad like control device near the entry ways… how are you going to power it?

[quote=“guessed, post:2, topic:174918”]In an “open walls” situation, I’d never plan on using Battery-based Z-Wave motion sensors. I’d always simply wire for a standard alarm system, and put in a few more locations for regular (wired) motion sensors.

I have the HSM100, as well as another Z-Wave motion of an earlier generation, and I’d never use them due to finicky reliability. Others will have different experiences, but do you want to roll that dice?[/quote]

If I dont use a z-wave motion detector how can I have the z-wave system react to the detector being tripped? Perhaps I’m missing something about how z-wave and non-zwave (hardwired) devices communicate.

i think this thread is very relevant: http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,14182.0/topicseen.html

i think this thread is very relevant: http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,14182.0/topicseen.html[/quote]

So the “key” here is the alarm panel. I guess I was hoping to not make much dependent on that since I plan (due to my wife’s request) to have a “regular” alarm system. I wasn’t sure how easy it was going to be to have a company like ADT give me a z-wave compatible panel. Honestly, I was just hoping to avoid that conversation with there sales people as I was working under the assumption they would look at me like I have 3 heads. That said given the feedback I’ll dig further.

Any other feedback on the locks, garage, etc?

There are a bunch of standard Alarm panels that can integrate with Vera. The top of this block lists a number of them:
http://code.mios.com/account

They’re all in varying states of completeness, but if you read through the Security control sub-forum, you’ll see most of the discussions, along with a bunch under the plugin space:
http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/board,28.0.html
http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/board,20.0.html

Lots of discussion, since it’s probably the most asked for item after people do basic lighting.

Ultimately, you end up with a standard Alarm panel (high WAF), the ability for standard Alarm system monitoring (high WAF), DIY Install (most options), but integration for automation, and lower overall costs and greater choice/flexibility in sensors (esp when you put in a LOAD of extra Motion sensors)

My sensors are all zwave and I can verify that guessed is giving you very sound advice 8)

Thanks -
Of course now, I went and looked on ADT’s site and came across ADT Pulse. http://www.adtpulse.com/

I’m assuming I DONT want that as it would be a bit redundant with the Vera. I dont see any forum posts about Pulse so I’m not a 100% sure.

No, you don’t want that since it won’t integrate (see the link I posted above for supported options)

It, and ones like it, may have Z-Wave options but they’re very limited. You also end up with a walled garden solution with monthly fees for the privilege of limited [Z-Wave only] device support.

Don’t know if i’m paranoid… but if I were a (hi tech) thief and found a TP cable connected to a camera (outside) in the backyard I could tap into your home network and perhaps access your future Vera unit (turn of alarm/open door?).
So… create a separate LAN for outdoor termineted TP-cables.

[quote=“guessed, post:9, topic:174918”]No, you don’t want that since it won’t integrate (see the link I posted above for supported options)

It, and ones like it, may have Z-Wave options but they’re very limited. You also end up with a walled garden solution with monthly fees for the privilege of limited [Z-Wave only] device support.[/quote]

I feel like I’m missing something. I see all the supported panels but how do I find which alarm companies use them? ADT has always been the primary alarm system I’ve seen in my area and they dont see to use a supported panel. THey use Safewatch for their regular systems and the Pulse panel.

On a related note - I’m assuming that when I settle on an alarm system for all the reasons mentioned above I do not want wireless detectors & sensors - which seem to be the default on all the cheaper packages.

@hek,
True for all external wiring. Power injected into [accessible] low voltage wiring (Ethernet, Coax, etc) does wonders to destroy whatever is at the other end if it’s not correctly isolated.

BTW: I wasn’t thinking about “Jacks” so much as simply having the wiring present. Once there, you can add all sorts of enclosures, conduit (etc) to minimize impact when you’re ready to put something it. It frustrates me no-end that I have to pull cables into tight-fit locations to do this stuff now.

In my case, the Camera’s would be up 2x Stories… so I’d have a little warning before they were hijacked, and you can set them up in such a way that a device disconnect will also give you a warning (like the Motions with internal micro-switches, and the extra wiring, or ones that use a smarter Alarm-bus protocol)

You’ll want to read through some of those other threads. For example, the DSC Panel, with the Envisalink adapter, can readily be attached to a monitoring service.

Details, experience (etc) are covered in the DSC threads, so I won’t rehash it here (it comes up as a topic every week for the last 3-6 months)

Additionally, since these are standard/commodity alarm panels, many of them can communicate back to standard monitoring services (using the extra GSM Module, for example). For this, you’d need to talk to your local monitoring service provider to see what they support.

Of course, they’ll push for Pulse (etc), so they can get the additional revenue stream for automation services.

PS: Most of these HA integrations, for the supported panels, use some sort of adapter that works alongside any existing monitoring infrastructure. They’re complimentary.

On a related note - I'm assuming that when I settle on an alarm system for all the reasons mentioned above I do not want wireless detectors & sensors - which seem to be the default on all the cheaper packages.
I use Wired where I was pre-wired, and I have a few wireless ones for those places that I didn't get pre-wired (regrettably). Currently I use wireless are for front-motion, garage-door and [eventually] rear-and-perimeter monitoring. Eventually I'll add a few wireless internal Motions for rooms where I'm too lazy to pull the wire (I have a bunch of wired ones sitting around when when I want to do that).

NOTE: DSC Wireless Motion sensors have a long (6sec) delay, which won’t be fun for HA use. Pull wires (4x, Alarm grade) to wherever you “think” you might [one day] need any form of motion/presence sensing capability.

I use a different panel which doesn’t have this problem. It’s more industrial, but it’s expensive and not widely available for DIY.

Overall, the SLOWEST component of my System is Vera. It has completely variable response times to stuff from the panel that is consistently delivered <1s.

Ironically, I contacted http://www.safemart.com/ to look into a DIY alarm system w/ their monitoring, and they highly recommended the wireless system over the wired for flexibility. My mind is spinning right now ???

I think a company like Safemart though gives me a lot more flexibility and may be easier to work with.

Wire, wires, wires.

You use wireless where you forgot to put wires. You’re building a new home, install wires.

@guessd knows of what he speaks.

A few comments:

a) On flexibility vs cost.
In my house, ALL the windows and doors are covered. In each room, there are 3-6 casement windows, and I have sensors on both the top and bottom panes of each. This was part of a standard “pre-wire” package when the house was built.

That’s a lot of sensors.

Since they’re wired, it’s basically the cost of wiring them, plus a very cheap (<$3 per) magnetic sensor for each contact.

All the windows in a single room are part of a single zone, but they’re all individually pulled back to the central panel so technically I could go nuts. At one point, I “split” the wires in a room across a few Zones to determine which sensor was failing…

Compare the cost of that to what would happen if each “sensor” were Wireless. :wink:

eg. http://www.homesecuritystore.com/c-218-wireless-transmitters.aspx#Filter=[ManufacturerID=7*ava=0]

Not to mention, they’re all a bit fugly…

The Wireless stuff is great for retrofit, but you have the walls open and the cost parameters aren’t the same. Many of the Wireless setups cover front/back doors and a few windows. They’re flexible because they don’t require you to chase wires in existing/closed wall cavities.

b) SafeMart seems to be Honeywell.
Odd, most providers support many more than one panel, since the communications interfaces (to alarm monitoring companies) have been standardized. In the case of SafeMart, they seem only to support Honeywell gear:

http://www.safemart.com/helpfiles/tc-comp.html

If you read through that list, there are definitely options that will work with Vera, although their plugins are far less used than the others.

Seriously if you can hardwire your sensor, this is the best option; especially whilst your house is still in construction phase. Wired/wireless sensor are very reliable but no battery to replace and as pointed out with the DSC motion sensors there is a 6 sec reporting delay.

I alway suggest you think outside the box a little when doing this. There are physical security and your HA requirements and they are by nature two distinct things. Most alarm company are only now starting to bridge the gap in their understanding because HA has not been their focus in the past but it is a growing market for them, so you may not get the same answers here as you would get for them. I always remember the an alarm companies (for their first complete wireless system) marketing to installers and it was a push to install wireless because it was a faster install and higher revenue with wireless sensor… The public marketing was different, cheaper, easier and no wiring required.

Back to think outside the box. Plan your security and plan your HA requirements (both must and nice to have) and they compare where a cross over may exist. A simple one is a door sensor in the pantry is a purely HA but can be performed by the Alarm system but has no attributes to do with security or physical protection of your assets at all. Most installers will not look at internal walk patterns to turn on lights during night as their trained to think about perimeter security and turn off internal security whilst occupied.

I am trying to plan the same at the moment for a pre-established housed we have just purchased and still moving into… I will bit the bullet and have as much wired as possible. I will still be using wireless to cover the garage a a separate workshop which is dislocated a fair distance from the house, so wireless are very useful and in this case, a great option for the given distance.

it isn’t cheapest option to start with but I know on the long run, it is both the correct and economical option.

I trust you all more than I did the guy I spoke with. So wires it is.

Another question though, are there some panels that work with both wires and wireless? Or is it one or the other? E.g. can I buy a wired panel then add a wireless sensor later on?

The common or most popular on the forum is the DSC power series from DSC.com. There are several available wireless integration options available from different keypads with wireless integrated modules embedded to separate wireless components and a module to add multiple wireless components for very large range. Note: the wireless range is about 1000 ft/300m.

Most other systems offer similar capabilities.

[quote=“Brientim”]The common or most popular on the forum is the DSC power series from DSC.com. There are several available wireless integration options available from different keypads with wireless integrated modules embedded to separate wireless components and a module to add multiple wireless components for very large range. Note: the wireless range is about 1000 ft/300m.

Most other systems offer similar capabilities.[/quote]

Sorry forget to say, it can be added anytime using one of the above options.