Best whole house smart system

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
Worth having a think about what happens when something breaks in some way. Like, something important since you're considering integrating items like alarm, heating etc that would rightly be considered critical infrastructure.

Do you want to have to drop everything to sort it out, or just make a call and say "fix plz" - this is what put me onto Control4 in spite of having the necessary skills to go full DIY.

IMO Control4 is a good balance between can-do and have-to-do. I think "exorbitant fee" for a "minor change" is overstated, but all depends on the dealer I guess - if you end up talking to any of them just be candid about how much involvement you want. It's possible to tinker when you want to tinker, but if you don't there's always a backup plan of picking up the phone and leaving it to them.

You're limited to paying dealer margins on Control4 hardware/software, but you can also use all manner of 3rd party hardware to do all manner of things too.

Expensive is relative - the hardware is almost certainly more expensive than DIY or all variety of other open systems, but depends on what value you place on your time. And not necessarily for install when if you're anything like me you'll be excited about playing with new toys and enjoy spending the time on it, but for 12 month down the line when you've gotten used to everything just working in a certain way and it stops.
 
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sraper

Well-known Member
Worth having a think about what happens when something breaks in some way. Like, something important since you're considering integrating items like alarm, heating etc that would rightly be considered critical infrastructure.

Do you want to have to drop everything to sort it out, or just make a call and say "fix plz" - this is what put me onto Control4 in spite of having the necessary skills to go full DIY.

IMO Control4 is a good balance between can-do and have-to-do. I think "exorbitant fee" for a "minor change" is overstated, but all depends on the dealer I guess - if you end up talking to any of them just be candid about how much involvement you want. It's possible to tinker when you want to tinker, but if you don't there's always a backup plan of picking up the phone and leaving it to them.

You're limited to paying dealer margins on Control4 hardware/software, but you can also use all manner of 3rd party hardware to do all manner of things too.

Expensive is relative - the hardware is almost certainly more expensive than DIY or all variety of other open systems, but depends on what value you place on your time. And not necessarily for install when if you're anything like me you'll be excited about playing with new toys and enjoy spending the time on it, but for 12 month down the line when you've gotten used to everything just working in a certain way and it stops.
Because of the criticality of certain elements - central heating, alarms etc is the reason for considering something "professional "

Ideally I will need a way to get comparable quotes between say loxone, fibaro and control4.

I'm guessing for control4 they will want to send in their own contractors to do most of the wiring - again adding to costs
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
I'm guessing for control4 they will want to send in their own contractors to do most of the wiring - again adding to costs

You are indeed guessing - some will absolutely insist on handling everything, others may be content with you doing some/most of the install work - costs nothing to ring a few of them up to ask.

I had the dealer do the initial install because I knew there was no way I'd ever find the time and inclination for that amount of work.

For ongoing work, I'm installing my own keypads, touchscreens etc from the dealer, and of course there's nothing stopping me from getting all manner 3rd party kit that works with C4 from wherever else.

You just need to make sure you address these points up front with the dealer, as I'm sure there are some out there that would refuse to program anything you've DIYed. And even in that case, there's nothing stopping you from going to another dealer or any number of remote programmers to get what you need done, done.
 
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sraper

Well-known Member
Once we exchange on the property and hopefully have chance to finalise plans on the new layout etc I guess will need to contact several installers in the Torbay/Exeter area.
 

Seb Briggs

Distinguished Member
Maybe write a spec of what you want to achieve without any reference to any particular product or protocol
 

sraper

Well-known Member

neilball

Well-known Member
The thing to remember with the likes of Control4 and similar systems is that they are mostly a control platform sitting on top of the underlying systems, many of which can (and should IMO) be capable of full stand-alone basic operation should the integration layer fail. So lighting, heating, cooling etc can all be operated stand alone, which means they can be completely set up/commissioned/tested long before C4 (or other control system) is implemented.

Some systems, such as your comfort cooling, have all of the control “built in” and just use the integration protocol to allow you communicate with the system - you cannot bypass or modify the base operating software in these systems.

For underfloor heating you would benefit from a proper heating control system that had “proper” heating control loops that ideally will self-tune to the characteristics of each room/zone - underfloor heating has too slow a time constant to give close control through simple thermostatic control. Systems like Heatmiser might look basic, but they actually have some reasonably sophisticated control strategies that make operation work well, and generally much better than some generic relay modules running some basic code on a generic automation platform. It will also be much easier to understand what is meant to be on or off at any particular time, and vastly easier to maintain and fault find. Honeywell/Resideo Evo is another system that would also work well. Both have drivers for the majority of professional automation systems.

For HVAC control C4 has a mostly fixed user interface, and adds some useful functions in rooms with heating and cooling - it automatically interlocks the heating and cooling so they cannot fight each other, switches off fan coils when rooms are in heating mode, turns down the heating when a room is in cooling mode, and keeps the heat/cool setpoints separated by a minimum amount when in auto mode for example.
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member

sraper

Well-known Member
The thing to remember with the likes of Control4 and similar systems is that they are mostly a control platform sitting on top of the underlying systems, many of which can (and should IMO) be capable of full stand-alone basic operation should the integration layer fail. So lighting, heating, cooling etc can all be operated stand alone, which means they can be completely set up/commissioned/tested long before C4 (or other control system) is implemented.

Some systems, such as your comfort cooling, have all of the control “built in” and just use the integration protocol to allow you communicate with the system - you cannot bypass or modify the base operating software in these systems.

For underfloor heating you would benefit from a proper heating control system that had “proper” heating control loops that ideally will self-tune to the characteristics of each room/zone - underfloor heating has too slow a time constant to give close control through simple thermostatic control. Systems like Heatmiser might look basic, but they actually have some reasonably sophisticated control strategies that make operation work well, and generally much better than some generic relay modules running some basic code on a generic automation platform. It will also be much easier to understand what is meant to be on or off at any particular time, and vastly easier to maintain and fault find. Honeywell/Resideo Evo is another system that would also work well. Both have drivers for the majority of professional automation systems.

For HVAC control C4 has a mostly fixed user interface, and adds some useful functions in rooms with heating and cooling - it automatically interlocks the heating and cooling so they cannot fight each other, switches off fan coils when rooms are in heating mode, turns down the heating when a room is in cooling mode, and keeps the heat/cool setpoints separated by a minimum amount when in auto mode for example.
Thanks. Yes I would agree that in many cases what ever option I choose would just be a consistent integration layer.

So all day to day changes (ie temperature set points) would be done via control4 or similar but all they would be doing is passing on the command to the relevant subsystem
 

Mister_Tad

Well-known Member
In many cases you may not even prefer the integration/control system as the UI for whatever thing, and just use the integration for events, triggers etc - the glue that holds it together not necessarily the interface to your whole world.

For things that you already have to open an app for, or press a button for etc, just use whatever works. By way of example, I use Unifi Protect for CCTV - the C4 integration lets me view streams from C4 but the Unifi app is leaps and bounds ahead of it in every way - so I use the Unifi App or web UI when I want to check cameras/recordings.

But examples of what the C4 integration gives that Unifi can't give on its own
  • Sending smart detections as an alert (which Unifi can do) but only when I'm not home (which it can't)
  • Turn on the outdoor lights when there's detections at night
  • Open/close the front gate by tapping on the gate on the stream on one of the touchscreens

Same with Bluesound - I've been using it for years and it works for me - I could switch to using the C4 app and get the same thing but why change what ain't broke. What C4 integration gives me is handy play/pause and volume keys on keypads, or browsing on a remote or in-wall touchscreen that guests can use, or when I just don't want grab my phone

Think of it a bit like Alexa/Siri/G Assistant - you could do everything with voice commands for the sake of just having one point of interface, but would you?
 

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