Help on selecting C-Bus Product

Discussion in 'C-Bus Wired Hardware' started by michael_tantp, Aug 13, 2004.

  1. michael_tantp

    michael_tantp

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    Hi All, its great that you are doing this so people of the world can exchange information on the product and learn from the inside engineers. Great work.

    Anyway, I'm building a house and I'm really interested in installing C-bus system. Now I'm not an elecrician so I have to rely on others like intergrator and electrician to install the system for me. I'm a little confused about the products that Clipsal offers. I wanted to have the C-bus system which control my lightings etc and perhaps home minder to do the extra stuff like doing the away mode etc.

    I've been told by an intergrator that I don't really need homeminder because he can program C-bus itself to whatever Homeminder can do. Another is trying to sell me both and said that I can use home minder in replacement of a security system.

    I'm on a real tight budget here and want to spend as little as possible and may be add more later. But I need to know what I need at the minimun initially so can add mode modules and controls later without riping out walls for rewiring purpose.

    Sorry for the long message but I really appreciate if you can help me on this. Also I'm Sydney Aus and was wondering if you can recommend and intergrator or installer that will not over charge. Thanks you.
     
    michael_tantp, Aug 13, 2004
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  2. michael_tantp

    Wilko

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    C-Bus can't be programmed to do everything Minder can do, but chances are it can do everything you need it to. The addition of a C-Touch (a C-bus LCD touch screen), as well as giving you cool graphical menus to control your house with, will allow you to have extensive schedules, like the holiday mode you mentioned.

    Minder can take care of more complex scenarios and logic, and of course can be used as a security system. But do your research on the prices - you're probably much better off buying a basic standalone security system (as long as C-Bus can do everything you need it to without Minder).

    For your basic installation, you'll just need to allow enough relays/dimmers to control all your lights (and anything else electrical you'd like to include). If you're saving costs, you might just want to start out with basic key inputs (C-bus push buttons) in each room for switching.

    The C-Bus communications cable (a pink Cat5 data cable) will daisy chain to all key inputs. Ask your electrician to run this cable to anywhere else you might want things down the track - examples being motion sensors, a light level sensor (sunset switch) outside, and of course a touch screen. It's even worth running C-Bus cables to places like your entertainment system - perhaps you'll want C-Bus to control things via infrared down the track. You can get all this cabling in for next to nothing while you're building, and over the next few years spend a few hundred bucks here and there to add things to the system without running new cables.

    I hope this helps. My preference is to go with C-bus alone, and not Minder. But I'm sure there are plenty of Minder fans on this forum who'll have something to say about that!

    PW
     
    Wilko, Aug 13, 2004
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  3. michael_tantp

    Colin Smith

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    I agree with Peter. At least get the C-Bus pink Cat5 run to places that you think you might like control. Even if it is not connected as at this time. If the budget is really tight then look at running it to places that are extremely hard to get to once the wallboards are in place. (The outside walls for example where the cable might need to pass through the eves.)

    New TV systems come with at least 6 speakers that are positioned around the room. The cables are unsightly, they are difficult to vacuum around and they are a trip hazard across doorways. Consider having the speaker cables mounted in the walls. If you want to have a LCD or Plasma wall mounted you will need to consider where the cables are going to be run so they are hidden. This will dictate where your AV gear is going to live. If you want a projector on the ceiling then you will need to have power and signal cables run to a suitable location.
    Satellite TV has been here for a while. In NZ the TV decoder requires access to a telephone line for pay per view. You may have cable TV become available in the future if not already. There are Internet multimedia programs being developed so your AV gear will need to have broadband access to the internet at some stage and there are already home media centres available. This equals a lot of cables to one area just for the TV. If you plan a whole house audio video system at some stage, say 6 zones then this adds a further 6 pairs of speaker and video cables as well as control to the same area.
    If you follow any of the TV suggestions then be aware that because the cables are inside the walls rearranging the room can become a job of renovation not just moving the TV to a new location. For this reason you may need to pay it a little more attention to where you might want to have this equipment positioned. Easy access to the wall cavity is probably a priority.

    Food for thought.
    I hope I have not scared you off!

    Colin Smith
     
    Colin Smith, Aug 13, 2004
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  4. michael_tantp

    michael_tantp

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    Thanks for the great feedback guys, cheers.

    Well I think LCD touch screen a bit expensive but I was thinking to get a few Neo switches in replacement of that. Will that still work? Also for the holiday mode, will C-bus (without minder) switch on particular light at set time, next light so on etc and the schedules that you mentioned, do I need a PC, HomeGate software or C-bus can be program to do that? Will C-Bus alone also do good bye mode and good night mode.

    So I presume I can still add homeminder sometime down the track if I win lotto or something right :) ?

    I want to run Network (CAT5) cable for PCs in the house to all rooms so I'll need CAT5 cables for that, can I use the Blue CAT5 cable for C-Bus or I must use the Pink one?

    I'm not going for the Starserve system as its pointless as I'll use a switch for my network and I don't really think the audio video distridution system is what I would use. The Audio and Video system that Colin mention is another story but that way out too expensive for me.

    I've got quotes for a two storey 4br house around AU$9000 for the Basic C-bus system (without minder) and AU$15000 (with minder). Do you think its reasonable?
     
    michael_tantp, Aug 13, 2004
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  5. michael_tantp

    Wilko

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    Neo (as well as Saturn and Reflection) switches will allow "scenes" to be programmed, where a number of events can be triggered at the touch of a button (eg you could turn off all the lights and close the blinds when going to bed, or set lights throughout the house to preset levels when entertaining).

    Adding a clock unit allows switching at set times, although these are relatively limited, as they can only control 2 things. They are suited to security lighting etc.

    If you want to have sophisticated schedules controlling numerous things, eg simulating a lived-in house when you're away, then you'll need one of the following:

    - C-Touch
    - HomeGate
    - Minder

    C-Touch and Homegate will also give you a vast capacity for scenes.

    As for C-Bus cabling, Clipsal recommend that Pink Cat5 is used. If your installer is a Clipsal Approved Installer, he'll have to use it as part of the criteria that keeps his Approved status. Aside from all this though, it's really handy to have your C-Bus cables distinct in colour from other Cat5's. It makes them easy to spot in a wall, roof, or duct.

    I can't help with evaluating the quote you got - my job is just to design and install while other guys do the estimating. There's plenty of contractors on the forum though, hopefully someone will give you some feedback.
     
    Wilko, Aug 13, 2004
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  6. michael_tantp

    Newman

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    Michael

    Although the blue Cat5 will work for C-Bus I'd strongly recommend you use the pink stuff. It probably won't make much difference right now but in years to come when you're modifying/changing your system, adding extra units etc ect the fact that the cable is distinctly pink will be well worth it.

    Example, you're adding a PIR somewhere in the ceiling and you need to tap into the C-Bus network to supply it. If all your cables are blue which one are you going to cut? Save yourself the future grief by putting in the pink stuff now.

    C-Bus can handle your goodbye, goodnight etc modes by setting Scenes. These can be set from any Neo/Saturn/Reflection unit. What it won't do is your Scheduling of events at certain times of the day (except functions you want to have happen at sunset via PIR's). For that you'd need the C-Touch, Minder or PC based control.
     
    Newman, Aug 13, 2004
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  7. michael_tantp

    michael_tantp

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    Is there any Contractor out there who are willing to give me a quote on installing C-bus? I'm in Sydney so please let me know and we'll chat offline.

    I want to have C-bus install and be able to do things like holiday mode (live-in simulation), goodbye mode, good night mode and some scenes. I'll need security system as well.

    Please suggest the best and economical way of achieving but not restricting future expansion. Cheers.
     
    michael_tantp, Aug 13, 2004
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  8. michael_tantp

    Ross

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    Ross, Aug 13, 2004
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  9. michael_tantp

    Colin Smith

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    I was told during my training that the Clipsal pink Cat5 cable outer insulation has a higher insulation rating. That is - it was specifically designed to be allowed to be used in a mains rated fuse box. This was done to ensure it meets wiring regs.

    Colin Smith
     
    Colin Smith, Aug 14, 2004
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  10. michael_tantp

    Advantex

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    re: Colins comment

    this was my understanding also, hence the reason it should be used
     
    Advantex, Aug 14, 2004
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