26.03.19

An install with a difference

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Home automation specialists POWERPLANT has recently added a new design and installation project to its portfolio with a new-build house project costing £45,000 in Haywards Heath, UK.

The homeowner was an existing POWERPLANT customer and kitted out the client’s previous home. Pleased with the installation of his old house and wanting a similar set up, this was a fairly straightforward design and installation project for POWERPLANT.

The company designed and installed a system for the entire house controlling the heating, audio, lighting and shading. This installation did however come with a challenge as the property had very few cables to work with being a new-build development premium house. 

Xavier Wilcox, director of POWERPLANT explained: “It was a new-build large house that was bought by a client of ours that lives overseas most of the time. We did a similar install in his previous house in Burgess Hill, but that house had been completely retrofitted, whereas this one was a challenge because it was a finished development property with minimal cable infrastructure. For this type of project we would normally centralise a lot of the system, but this property the individual room equipment had to be localised unless new cabling was to be installed.”

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The aim of this project was to deliver a high quality, simple to use system, with all the features the client required and enjoyed at his other properties.

“He wanted to have simple to use control of the lighting and shading as well as heating,” Xavier summarised. “He needed robust Wi-Fi throughout the house and great quality audio in most rooms. He requested 4K/UHD video distribution which we managed to do by using the few cables we had available to us. Our aim was to install the systems and features requested with as little disruption as possible.

“The Control4 lighting control system just replaced the existing lighting switches, so there was no cabling involved in that. The blinds are wireless, and they integrate to the lighting control system so there was no wiring involved in those either. The little amount of wiring we did have, we were able to use for the audio and video distribution systems.”

"He requested 4K/UHD video distribution which we managed to do by using the few cables we had available to us."

Having had the Control4 platform in his previous house, the client was happy to use this again for his new home. Xavier said: “He liked the comfort and convenience of using integrated technology in the home, but he didn’t want the disruption of building works. Control4 offers native Zigbee wireless control of multiple technologies, so we were able to deliver a clean, simple to operate and fully integrated wireless solution for the customer that’s robust, reliable and meets our client’s expectations and requirements.”

The automatic blinds from QMotion appeared to be a key feature throughout the house. Fitted in every room, the automated Roller Shade blind control is easy to activate using the Control4 interface on the homeowner’s phone, tablet or wall-mounted keypads. Using the app, the client has the option to group the blinds if he wants to control a room or multiple rooms all at once. It also gives the user the ability to raise and lower the blinds to 99 selected, programmable positions and receive accurate feedback on blind positioning. The QMotion blinds use ZigBee HA 1.2 to integrate seamlessly with all compatible devices in the Control4 system. 

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Xavier adds: “On this project, we were able to build a large and robust Zigbee network. All the house lighting keypads were upgraded to a Control4 wireless system and we installed a mix of Control4 CA1 and EA1 controllers for individual AV zones. With a Zigbee Mesh network, it is important to carefully choose Zigbee channels and signal path routing to ensure fast system response and reliability for all connected devices. For this solution, installation all house subsystems, including lighting, audio, video, heating and the automated shades feature Zigbee control and integration.” 

The lighting used a Control4 wireless lighting system and the audio used the Triad 1 Amplifiers in each room with Sonance in-ceiling speakers throughout the property. 

As previously said, this installation was a little different to the kind of projects POWERPLANT is used to because most equipment had to be localised. Having localised systems throughout the home is not a problem and indeed has many advantages. POWERPLANT carefully planned the installation to ensure that all the systems would perform exactly as required.

“This project was a little unusual for us. We’ve never installed a mostly wireless system in a house of this size and scale before, but it made it different and fun.”

“Lucky for us the client was very receptive to finding spaces for equipment in the rooms which can sometimes be an issue,” Xavier commented. “One of the reasons we centrally locate equipment in installations is because people don’t want to see, or allocate space, for local equipment, they prefer it all in one place and to do that we normally have to cable back to a single location. But this customer understood that there would be equipment in each room for which space need to be found. We had to recommend a few cupboards and spaces here and there to hide things. A localised system may not be best for everyone because some people don’t have the space available for it.

“Actually we like localising equipment and there are certainly benefits to be had from it, one being not having to run a large quantity cable. You can install a high-quality controlled system with absolutely minimal cables.”

A Kaleidescape system was taken from the previous house and has been distributed around the home to all televisions. “With the limited data cabling we had, we still managed to get the 4K video all round the house,” added Xavier.

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There are now plans for POWERPLANT to install a home cinema room for the client in the near future to complete this Haywards Heath project. 

Xavier concludes: “This project was a little unusual for us. We’ve never installed a mostly wireless system in a house of this size and scale before, but it made it different and fun.”

Kit List
Control4 CA1 and EA1 controllers
Control4 wireless lighting system
Kaleidescape system
QMotion automatic blinds
Sonance in-ceiling speakers
Triad 1 Amplifiers
Wall-mounted keypads for Control4 interface
ZigBee HA 1.2
Zigbee Mesh network