Juhu Bungalow Receives a Smart Home Upgrade with Retrofit of Automated Lighting, Audio/Video, Motorized Window Shadings, Robust Home Network and Outdoor Security Solutions
Pre-Installation and Setup
The Home Owner of this suburban Juhu Villa approached us once the projected was nearly complete and there were very limited possibilities of wiring. They wanted us to automate their existing lighting, audio/video and motorized window shadings across the large four storey residence. When it comes to effective wireless home automation that can be easily retrofitted into almost any space we knew Control4 Home Automation Solutions would be the most ideal solution which would seamlessly integrate with the exiting components and be extremely user friendly for the various members of the household.
The Residence compromised of a large Dedicated Home Cinema Room in the basement along with a informal living and gym room on the same floor. The Audio/Video and lighting in the Dedicated Cinema Room had to be automated and all components needed to work seamlessly with a Universal Remote Control. The ground floor was a formal dining and formal sitting room which needed to have full automation of lighting, motorized window shadings and the Bose Satellite Speaker System for automation of Audio/Video.
The First Floor compromised of the Informal Living Room, Bedrooms and Outside Gardens. For the Living Room we were requested to automate the Television and connected AV Components, Curtains and Lighting. For the passage and outside garden all lights were to be automated. The bedrooms would have automation of Lighting, Audio/Video components and Curtains as well.
For the entire household a strong Wireless network was essential and we suggested Engenius Access Points along with a Luxul router as our solution of choice. The client also wanted security cameras which could be viewed remotely from their mobile phones or smart tablets. Analog camera cables had already been run throughout the residence and we had to provide a analog cctv camera and dvr solution which would integrate well with the Control4 solution we were providing. This would ensure the client would not have to use two different apps to control their smart home and view their security cameras. We decided the best solution for this client would be the Wirepath Analog Outdoor Weatherproof Cameras with a 8 Channel DVR. Wirepath integrates seamlessly with Control4 and would allow security viewing and whole house control through the Control4 app.
We knew we faced a challenge in retrofitting and wirelessly integrating all components. Control4 provided extensive solutions though to overcome these difficulties with their wireless lighting, motorized window shadings, and audio/video solutions. With correct placement of Control4 controllers for a strong Zigbee mesh and a very strong home network a robust and user friendly solution was easily attainable.
When designing the Home Automation solutions for this project, it was essential to us all components worked seamlessly without any lag or delays since most components would be connected wirelessly. Since zigbee devices connect with each other to create a mesh and work as repeaters for the zigbee signal, we planned to have two Control4 HC-250 controllers placed per floor. Each on opposite ends of the floor. That would ensure all zigbee devices such as wireless lighting switches and wireless relays for motorized window shadings would have a zigbee access point to connect to nearby in the form of the HC-250 controller.
For lighting the client specified they wanted to use their existing lighting switches in the residence, not Control4 lighting switches. They also wanted the lighting to be operable both manually for the staff from the physical switch or wirelessly from their smart phones or tablets. To implement this solution we incorporated Control4 Wireless Puck Dimmers and Switches into the project. A two inch by two inch puck was placed in the gang box of the lighting switches behind each respective switch. This puck controlled the lighting load but also connected to the physical switch, allowing wireless operation through the Control4 app or manual operation by physically pressing the switch to turn the load on or off. Lights could also be dimmed through the app by using the slider for each light and setting it to the level desired, or multiple lights could be controlled through lighting scenes which set each light in the scene to a specific level. 54 lighting loads in total were integrated throughout the entire residence using the Control4 puck dimmers and switches.
For the ground and first floor of this residence Somfy motors were fitted to operate the motorized window shadings to cover the large glass windows in each room. Somfy is an amazing brand and one we are very used to working with an integrating with Control4. The Somfy Glydea curtain motors are also especially easy to integrate with Control4 by using Axxess Wireless Relays with the Somfy dry contact inputs on each motor. A small pulse is sent to each motor wireless with the help of the Axxess Wireless Relays which can trigger the motor to either Open, Close or Stop. With the new OS2.9 software just released by Control4, motorized window shadings can now be organized in groups and be set to open and close to specific levels similar to lights, either individually or as an entire group. The window shadings in this residence were also set on a schedule to close every day at 12 pm and re-open at 5 pm in certain rooms. This helped keep the rooms cool and protect against excess sunlight.
The client had incorporated Bose Acoustimass Satellite Speaker Solutions throughout the residence, and a 7.2 Channel Definitive Technology Speaker Set Up with a Marantz Receiver and Parasound Amplifier for their Dedicated Cinema Room. Control4 had ready drivers to integrate with the Bose systems which would allow us to provide the client options to watch or listen to their sources in each room, adjust volume directly from the app and turn of all devices from the touch of one button. The Dedicated Cinema Room proved to be a bit more challenging though. We were not able to run any wiring to the Panasonic PT-AE7000U projector which would have allowed us to easily control it via RS232. We used a Card Access Z2IR10A wireless IR solution to send IR signals through the automation system which allowed us to control the projector wirelessly. Similar to other rooms in the residence, the client was able to watch and listen to any source which was a part of their setup with the touch of a single button. An example of this setup was by pressing the Watch then Apple TV buttons, the Marantz AV Receiver would power on and set itself to the Apple TV Input, the Projector would come on and set itself to the input which the Marantz AV Receiver was connected to, the Apple TV would come on and the customer could control all devices directly from their Control4 SR-260 Universal Remote control or their smart phones. No more having to worry about the eight other remotes which were attached to these devices, now one remote could control the entire room for them. To add a nice theater feel, we also set the lights to dim gradually over five seconds when the projector came on and similarly raise over five seconds when the projector shut down.
Network and Media Streaming
Behind every successful Control Home Automation Integration is a robust network capable of handling the demanding transfer of endless data to support this new Internet of Things era we are in. This residence would certainly be no exception, and in fact, more demanding considering the amount of devices which would be wireless integrated through Zigbee or Wifi. We wanted to make this residential network border towards more enterprise grade and be the backbone our Control4 automation solution needed it to be. We chose the Luxul XBR-2300 dual wan router and placed Engenius ECB350 Wireless Access Points throughout the residence to create a single fast and fully roamable network for the client. It was crucial the client did not face any delays in lights responding to smart phone commands or A/V equipment not powering on when desired through the network. The ECB350’s provided a strong and fast Wireless Network which operated as a single SSID throughout the residence. Smart phone, tablets, or any other wireless devices were able to move from one access point reliably and seamlessly without any drop in their WiFi network.
Media streaming was only implemented in the Dedicated Cinema Room of this residence. An Apple TV was used to stream Movies and TV Shows from channels such as Netflix, Hulu and HBO. In the other parts of the residence we connected the audio output from the Control4 HC- 250 controllers to the Bose media systems so the client could play music through the internet streaming solution Tune-In Radio in any room with a Control4 HC-250 controller integrated.
As we continue to perform custom integrations of AV and Home Automation one of the most important factors for our clients has been security. This project in Juhu was no different in that regard. The client wanted to ensure they could remotely view different areas in their residence and high quality video footage was being recorded in those areas. Since the client had already run analog wiring for their cctv cameras and the option to run cat6 cables for ip cameras was not available, we chose Wirepath as our security solution to integrate in this residence. An 8 Channel DVR with a 1 TB Hard Drive was set up in the security cabin along with a monitor for live viewing of all the cameras installed at the residence. After thoroughly investigating access points for break-ins and areas the client wanted to have covered through their security cameras, we installed outdoor weatherproof bullet cameras at vantage points which produced the best viewing angle to monitor activity throughout the outside of the residence. The Wirepath CCTV cameras had a Sony CMOS lens and provided 700 TV Lines of viewing capabilities.
Components and Cables
Home Automation Controllers: Control4 HC-250
Home Automation Universal Remote Control: Control4 SR-260
Motorized Window Shadings Control: Axxess RCS6
Lighting Control: Control4 C4-SM201- Z and Control4 C4-DM201- Z
Network Switch: Engenius EGS7252P 48 Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch
WiFi Access Point: Engenius ECB350Wireless N Access Point
Router: Luxul XBR-2300 Dual Wan Router
DVR: Wirepath 8 Channel Analog DVR
CCTV Cameras: Wirepath Analog 700 TV Lines Outdoor Bullet Cameras
Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB Internal 3.5” Hard Drive
The Wireless Automation Solution we retrofitted for this client was immensely successful. There were no lags, delays or non-responses from the Control4 Automation System. Mood light could be easily set with the press of any scene, window shading would open and close easily with the tap of a button and the AV worked flawlessly in the Dedicated Cinema Room as well as throughout the residence. Everything was easily controllable through the customers smart phone. Dinner and Daytime lighting scenes were activated with the touch of a button depending on when guests were over or what time of day it was. The Cinema room became incredibly easy to use and the SR-260 remote proved to be a very valuable addition to control all devices in the room. Similarly in the bedrooms the customers were able to easily activate their Bose satellite systems and change sources all from the Control4 app on their smart phones and tablets.
The Final Verdict
Control4’s Wireless Home Automation Solutions were definitely a huge success and shows how far wireless technology has evolved over the years. There was no lag or slow response whatsoever between the press of a button on a smart phone and the reaction of a light, curtain or audio/video device. The customer was also very impressed at how smoothly everything operated and how easily we were able to coordinate automation devices to work according to their lifestyle. If you have a ready residence or commercial establishment and need to retrofit automation solutions but do not have the option of running any wiring, take a look at Control4 and their lineup of wireless solutions.