Thanks for the advice and sharing much of your personal situation. I think for my wife is that she reads articles linked through social media and takes it as gospel - which is odd because she is always debunking things that others post when it is devoid of fact. She’s a snopes hound LOL. I’ll just have to work on her a bit but she can be stubborn. I’ll check out that article, it might help.
Thanks. Yeah, we’re an Apple family for all our mobile devices but still using Windows on all 4 PCs because we are gamers and well Apple… yeah.
BTW, when you have some extra time you might find it interesting to read some of the project reports that community members have published on various accessibility projects. I know they won’t all apply to your particular situation, but they might give you some ideas and it’s always fun to see how creative people can be.
Go to the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki, look down near the bottom of that page for the “project reports” section and then choose the “accessibility“ list.
Again, everything there is specific to the Samsung smartthings home automation platform.
Also the “whole House“ list has discussions on wiring and switchbox depth and stuff like that.
Awesome! That’s handy to know. At least it sounds like there are options.
Thanks. The rockabilly example made me smile. I’ll have to ease her into it or compromise how/where I use voice.
Sorry for the delayed response. The forums said I had reached my max post count for day one of having my account here. Fully understand that.
Some of my experiences and future ideas for my smart ecosystem that hopefully help. For context, I’m in a condo with existing ethernet/phone/cable in each room, so my options are more limited than yours. As recommended previously, pre-wiring the blinds is a great thing to do. I’m avoiding most batteries due to unannounced failures, short life, high cost and environmental concerns. Right now, I’m trying to use out of the box configuration solutions rather than custom programming.
Two blinds are in (with default over priced power supplies) and four more are on the way. I’m hoping to develop/leverage better logic to control them via ST than I currently have. Will have to be creative to hide the 12 VDC cords with a customized power supply, as I could not leverage my unused phone lines to handle this amount of power. Most blind vendors have differing central and remote power supply solutions, all of which are overpriced.
As far as an NAS, I’ve had several over years primarily for work backups. I upgraded to a 4TB RAID 1 QNAP unit about 2 years ago. I’m glad I upsized the storage from 1 TB as I’ve now ported all my music and now am manually digitizing 1000s of photos, along with backups (I don’t stream my own videos, but if you do, definitely get lots of storage). I also recently added a cloud backup, although I’ve avoided this in the past due to latency, cost and security concerns-but too much I could loose if there is a fire. I do have the NAS running PLEX along with some of its own utilities. PLEX has monthly fees for mobile devices, but not TVs. My QNAP also has its own apps that let me stream on devices outside of my Wi-Fi range for free. Having the QNAP is like having a PC/server that needs to be maintained though, including people trying to hack it. Also, the one exception to the no battery rule is that I’ve got my modem, router/Wi-Fi, PC and NAS on a UPS, that is currently in my office- but I’m tempted to move it to my centralized closet wiring. I’ve not done so because my office is where the bulk of my connections and UPS are most needed, and doing so would likely require second UPS and a separate switch to deal with the ethernet connections. Now the potential ST home tie-in: The QNAP unit has IFTTT as well as a full processor and Linux OS that I’d hope in the future could replace the ST hub by adding the radios. Other automation approaches may work better, although more detailed to program/configure. While not yet tied directly to ST, I’ve got an IFTTT IOS widget to stream my PLEX media to my Sonos speakers. So far, I’ve gotten ST to says phrases via Sonos, but not much else. I hope to leverage this set up more in the future to make sounds (which Yonomi/Sonos/Wink, but not ST) could readily do or play specific songs or sounds from my NAS.
Although not media friendly, my “dumb” TVs are easier to control with an on/off ZigBee plug, as Google never seems to understand how to turn the right things on. Chromecast works at times, but still never seems to integrate fully and the Sonos/Google seems worse than “plain” google. I prefer automation/ IFTTT/ST logic than talking to Google, but speaking has its advantages at times. Turning TVs/Sonos “off” via google, works much better than turning them on though! If you plan to use wireless smart speakers, make sure you have enough outlets and have them strategically placed (Sonos also has an ethernet connection, although mine works fine with Wi-Fi, but make sure your Wi-Fi signals reach where they are needed and not attenuated by metal). In fact, even with fairly new wiring, most of my outlets have small outlet strips to accommodate all of the sensors/controls/speakers I’ve added. I’ve so far not gotten smart outlets (only smart plugs), both because of lower cost, but also added flexibility.
A few other wiring suggestions to ensure you have power for leak or other related detectors if you want to avoid batteries (which I did after my first leak sensor went through about $20 in batteries in one year until I retired it permanently). As it turned out, I used my dishwasher outlet for the kitchen sink leak detector (but had to snake it behind the dishwasher and cabinets as it was not adjacent to the sink). The laundry room was much easier. Other considerations for occupancy /light sensors is height and visibility of what is being sensed. I’m using outlet strips to do this in my office to control the automated blind sensors, but a well placed outlet would have been nicer.
Wow, this is a lot of good advice to chew on. There are some things I wish I could do but some of the stuff you guys are suggesting the builder does not offer as upgrades - or in the case of additional outlets, are not particularly cost prohibitive. I did add a number of additional outlets where I knew I would need to have one (i.e. an outlet in the slab right about under the couch in the living room so we can plug in end table lamps and such without having cords across the floor, extra outlets in my man-cave room where I know I’ll want to have a device, etc. As far as running additional CAT6 or electrical for blinds and such, I’d have to get real lucky with timing when to do that, and I’m not sure (in the case of electrical) I’d know what to run or what to do with it at each end before they put up the sheet rock. I’m guessing the idea here is to throw CAT6 cable from my enclosure to where I need it dropping between the specific studs I’d want the outlet, then bundle up some extra and leave it behind where the outlet would be. Then, after we take possession I can come in, cut the whole where needed and terminate it. Then do the same at/near the enclosure. Is that the idea?
If I can’t run the extra CAT6, and I end up having more devices than outlets, is the solution to get a small hub(?) in that area, connect the devices to the hub and then from the hub to the single CAT6 wall outlet? Hate being a noob at all this but wanting this all to come together as well as I can muster. Thanks.
With so many devices running with wireless protocols, for me, the challenge is more about power than ethernet. Most all of my ethernet connections use Wi-fi, except in my office and one other computer. The connected appliances, robot, speakers, phones, TVs, Blueray, etc. all are wireless and seem to work fine about 95% of the time, so, even though I have RJ45 jacks throughout my place, I really don’t use them much. Of course, with more wi-fi streaming, I could run into issues. Some cameras use POE (~ 5 VDC), but not sure how many other smart home devices use it.
For the shades, you could research some manufactures and see what their recommendations are (Bali blinds with somfy drives require 12 VDC power at the upper rights for inside mount blinds, although the Bali stock power supplies are rated 15 VDC). The home run for each shade would be to a central box that has a master power supply for x many blinds. Depending upon the power draw (~2 Amps) and distance, you’d need a roughly 20 AWG plenum rated wire run to each. This does not include power to sensors, although if you plan, you might be able to piggy back on the same power supply. I wish I had that option, but have been told that I can “carve” out the gyp board and run the cables that way and re-tape. I won’t homerun the power, just group two blinds power together, plug them in and hide the mess.
You could have the builder run empty conduit from your central location to your likely end use points if you don’t know where things will land. This probably would work for some cabling, but probably not for blind termination points as conduit and the access point would be overkill. Adding spare conduit is less common in residential buildings though.
Not clear what you mean by a “small hub.” I believe Smart things is limited to one hub in a given location (multiple ones could work independently). If the goal is to hardwire ethernet, then you can get a switch to “multiply” the number of ethernet connections in one location and don’t need to homerun as many cables. I used to have this arrangement in my prior house before so many things were wi-fi and getting rid of the switch actually helped things . In any case, I’d make sure you have identified what needs CAT6 either for connectivity or if you plan to power devices with POE.
Take a look at Freenas. I use it for sharing my media, have Plex installed. It is also used as backup server for all PCs in the house. You really do not need a powerful PC for this, Ryzen 3200g or a 3400G APU with 16 gb memory is all you need. You can build one yourself for less than $400 + disks. You can set up RAID for redundancy.
I have been running Freenas for over 10 years now.
If you’re using Plex most likely you won’t be able to find the Plex app for your smart TV unless it happens to be Roku tv or a TV tHat uses android tv os. As far as streaming devices go don’t waste your money on Apple TV you can get the same functionality and more out of a $30 4k fire stick ( especially if you use alexa) probably one of the killer features that Alexa has a big reason why I strongly recommend going the fire stick route is the ability to sync music across Fire sticks and Alexa devices. I can cast Spotify on my fire stick TVs and echos at the same time for less than the cost of a single Sonos speaker.