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Thinking of Futronix system: need help!

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by souljas, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. souljas

    souljas
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    Hi,

    I am thinking of installing a Futronix system into my lounge. I was thinking of something like the P400. Currently I have a dimmer switch with 3 channels which controls my
    1) 4 halogen ceiling lights
    2) 2 Wall lights
    3) Lapshades
    these are all controlled independantly. I dont really know much about wiring so I took a picture of the inside of my light switch to see if anyone can help me answer my questions
    - I heard (from the forums) that Futronix needs a Neutral wire. From the picture can anyone tell me if that green/yellow wire looks like a neural?
    - And do you think the P400 will be suitable for my needs?
    - Also how do people use cat5e for lighting?
    - last question :) , anyone know where I can get some good halogen recessed spotlights from?

    thanks Kiran
     
  2. compolitus

    compolitus
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    Hi Kiran

    The Futronix P400 can drive up to 300W of mains or LV lighting per circuit. Providing you do not exceed this you should be ok.

    Your green/yellow wire is the EARTH and cannot be used as a neutral.

    The P400 requires Live, Neutral and Earth to work and has 4 x 300W outputs. The neutrals and earths for the lighting can be terminated elsewhere to save space in the backbox. You can download the manual from www.futronix.com

    Please be aware that under part P of the 2005 electrical regulations you must use a qualified electrical installer to fit any additional wiring to your property.

    Cat5 cable is used as a data cable for control of AV, lighting and data on bigger systems to connect the control plates.
    It is not for use on mains electricity.
     
  3. souljas

    souljas
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    Hi, thanks for the reply.

    - There are also black wires coming from the box a pic can be seen here. Are these the neutral wires that I need? i really hope so :lease: !

    - Im not planning to fit the controller myself, just wanted to make sure I have neutal wires before I fork out the money!

    Thanks for your help
    Kiran
     
  4. compolitus

    compolitus
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    Hi Kiran

    Yes, the blacks do look like neutrals especially as they are connected together in a terminal block.

    I cannot guarantee this but your electrician will be able to tell you for sure.

    It is common practice in light switches for the red to be the live feed and the black to be the switched live back out to the light fitting. In this case it looks as if the live feed is coupled together for all the switches and the reds are used for the switched live back to the lights and the blacks are their neutrals commoned together.

    Again, take professional advice as soon as possible.
     
  5. souljas

    souljas
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    hey compolitus thanks for the rapid response.
    I think I might take a chance and buy the P400 first and then get an electrician in, if those are not neutral wires i will just have to do a return. I need him for other jobs and as the futronix system is not essential it will be a great added bonus!

    Thanks for your help!
     
  6. compolitus

    compolitus
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    Hi Keran

    No problem

    Glad to offer advise on any electrical or electronic subject that I have gained experience on.

    Lighting control is of special interest to me.
     
  7. Alexg

    Alexg
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    Yeap they will be neutrals as Compolitus says.
     
  8. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder
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    Hello mate.
    They are indeed neutrals.
    As your wiring stands at the moment, that switch is seriously
    incorrect.
    If there is neutral present, it must be connected to a double
    pole switch.
    Whether you go for remote control or not, you should really
    get a qualified Electrician to sort that out.

    Johnny.
     
  9. patrober

    patrober
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    Actually I suspect that the black wires are not actually connected to neutral - i think they are just spare, and tidied up to a choc-blok.

    What it looks like from the pics is that there are 4 red cables coming into the socket , one of which is the live feed and then distributed across each of the 3 input points for each of the switches, and the remaining 3 red wires are the returns.

    Its difficult to check from the pic - is that the case? - ie 1 red cable going to the rhs switch, and then looped wires across the other 2? And 3 red wires returning back to the feed from the bottom.

    The 4 black (normally neutral) wires in this case are probably just spares - and not actually connected to anything.

    If you can investigate the other end that would confirm that.

    Not a sensible use of the cabling there if thats the case- also one of the red wires looks like it is rubbed down to the bare wire (but could just be the picture)

    If you are diy included, you could connect up the live, neutral and live to a socket tester (say via a socket) to test them.

    Or just get your sparky to check it (probably safer and legal!)

    P
     
  10. doubledrat

    doubledrat
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    Kiran
    I have the futronix (8 channel) and it is a fantastic piece of kit. In my experience, lights switches don't usually include a neutral wire, as they are just making/breaking the live circuit.
    Bob
    edit: didn't see the 2nd picture. looks like there may be some neutral (or disconnected wires in there)
     
  11. Alexg

    Alexg
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    Johnny:- Actually Neutrals are now allowed to be looped through in the back box, a double pole switch is not required - The NICEIC were stating this for a while but they were incorrect, remember the NICEIC do not write the regs!

    They will be neutrals in the back box, trust me, it will not of been done like Patrober says - where are the lights getting there neutral from then Patrober?
     
  12. patrober

    patrober
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    I was thinking about this again - I was assuming that that this would have been connected to a junction box where the lights would get thier neutral from - but this could be in effect the equivalent to the jct box with the live and neutral feed in the back box then the L/N/E feed to each light is direct from here. Unusual but certainly possible.

    So if thats the case, it is neutral.

    But, if theres a junction box elsewhere then the black wires would probably be spare (ie unconnected) and no neutral in the switch, and the lights would get thier neutral from the supply at the junction box as per most lighting circuits.

    (isnt it fun debugging old wiring!)
     
  13. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder
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    Alex, I know where you are coming from mate........!
    I have had the same issue with the NIC. The regs state that any Phase
    must be switched. But, the regs also state that a neutral is regarded as
    a phase. So, until it is cleared up, I will keep installing double pole.
    It only costs coppers more, just making sure.
    I don't know about you mate, but the biggest problem with all this is the
    fact that too many organisations are having a say in what standards should
    be.
    Crazy................. :suicide:
     
  14. compolitus

    compolitus
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    I am sorry, but to say "trust me" in such a unknown situation is a bit unwise. I suggest like patrover and Alexg have previously said the blacks may just be either unconnected and "tidied up" or actually connected to a neutral somewhere. Whatever the case, the P400 would only require one black neutral in the backbox as the lighting circuit neutrals can be fed from a ring connection. A good electrician will be able to work out the true connections in a few minutes.
     
  15. Alexg

    Alexg
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    Hey Johnny - it’s a crazy game we're in isn't it matey? = at least if your a plumber your pipe either leaks or it doesn't!
    The NIC love to think that they are the masters of the electrical world, and what they say goes! I use to be registered with them but left and went with NAPIT instead as they got on my nerves.

    I like you didn't use to like seeing neutrals at back boxes, but I now think its a good way of doing it in situations where you can't show where your loop in would be. I.E a kitchen full of down lighters!

    compolitus - not really, they will be neutrals, if the blacks were spares then there would be one less T&E there as the other blacks would have been used as switch wires, Me and Johnny have been in this game a long time, they WILL be neutrals.

    souljas - The P400's need a special back box, make sure you order one with the P400, your spark is going to love fitting it! the back boxes are so tight and with having to put a connector in the back to connect the neutrals (the p400 won't take 3x 1.5's in its on board connector) it will be very tight so he will have to sink it a bit deeper - one thing I've just thought of is the back boxes for the p400 are all metal ones for flush fitting into brick, I'm not sure if they do a dry wall one?! - You’ll have to ring them and check.
     
  16. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder
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    At the end of the day mate, souljas asked if the green/yellow could possibly be
    a neutral.
    I think we can safely assume that souljas has no experience of electricity.
    Never mind all the advice. Get a sparky in.

    That statement is incorrect.

    Johnny.
     
  17. Johnny Thunder

    Johnny Thunder
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    Good shout Alex. I can appreciate that one.
    Finding a junction box is a nightmare.

    Johnny.
     
  18. compolitus

    compolitus
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    The P400 is definitely a plastic back box and is for flush mounting and not made for plaster board cavity fitting. It can be done with a couple of brackets though. As has been mentioned the back box is a little on the tight side. Believe me matey I do know.

    The P400 comes with the back box and remote. They do not need to be ordered separately.

    When I was marching once, I was the only one in step, all the others had got it wrong ! Iv'e heard something similar before, I wonder where ?
     
  19. JUS

    JUS
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    I have two futronics switches. A p100 and p200. The p100 went pop just after the year. One of my spots went and it blew the channel. I used recommended bulbs but Futronics refused to help me out. They offered to have a look at it and possibly fix it for around £65 + vat.

    The p100 was in it's box for over a year (builder problems). Electrican wired it in with correct loads etc and that just blew. So I'm unimpressed to be honest. They look really nice but I'm not getting them fixed cos I don't think they'll last that long.

    Can't be bothered ready the thread cos I@m so unimpressed with them but if you haven't bought them already you now have my recommendation.
     

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