Planning for New House Build Electrics (Germany) - Overwhelmed!

Coz I’m building this for my mother and need to be able to provide tech support, ST I know like the back of my hand, other systems not so much. And I like the power of webCoRE, ActionTiles etc. etc.

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Loxone is more similar to Control4, with an expected cost of around 5% of the property cost, that is, in the tens of thousands (at least). Very different market niche than the €99 SmartThings hub with €40 micros. :sunglasses:

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We received a Control4 quote which was £12k… on a £450k build cost that’s 2.6% but we still opted for ST as I can do it for less than half that price on a system I know.

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Both familiarity and cost control are great reasons to use SmartThings.

I’m still impressed with your centralized lighting arrangement @RobinWinbourne!

This is why Samsung SmartThings should start a certified dealer - integrator program. Well thought out installation and configuration significantly improves the customer experience.

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Having built 8 of these hubs now, I do wonder what mark up I could charge for supplying them to 3rd parties along with a design service.

But not being a certified electrician / inability to obtain the correct insurances are a huge barrier to that ever becoming a business for me!

My electrician is treating the hubs as wired in appliances, bypassing various rules and regs :zipper_mouth_face:

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I would have an LED driver for each strip, rated for the correct load… there’s theoretically no reason why several circuits couldn’t share a single driver but you’re getting into some fairly large industrial kit at that point.

You’ll notice in the lighting hub picture I posted above, the bottom micro module is a Fibaro RGBW controller, and there is a 24v driver in the box.

All the modules, including the RGBW one, will be connected to momentary wall switches for manual control… the larger block of blue/grey/black terminals are the incoming switch wires, with black being a spare wire in each circuit for future scene control switches.

All wiring diagrams, individual module schematics (lights, fans, RGBW, blinds) and overall hub diagrams are here:

Thanks for all the replies so far it helps a lot.

Yes this is exactly what I was thinking. I had a look into Loxone, tbh I had never come across it before but it seems quite well supported here in Germany, there are a couple of certified installers near me. It looks like a nice integrated system, the only problems I see are that it would need to be professionally installed rather than with ST which I can implement and build up myself (with the great support of this community of course). Also cost is a main factor, 5% of our total build price would be around 20K which is way more than our budget allows for smart home stuff. On the other hand I like the idea that it’s fully integrated, would be more reliable than ST and there would always be professional support available if we had problems with the system. I’ll research further, it sounds like I could get a free consultation with them which might be a good idea just to get an idea of the costs for what we would like to have.

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I know right :smile: TBH I just wanted to get all my thoughts so far written down somewhere and this community seemed a good place for it. If I don’t get the responses i’m hoping for then i’ll start breaking it up and posting in seperate sections of the forum like you suggest.

Ok this makes sense to me. I think having integrated smart sockets everywhere would just be overkill as we wouldn’t be using most of them. This would mean I can get the electrician to install normal sockets and just use smart adapters where we really need them. I think having USB ports at least next to the bed would be useful as this is where we usually charge our phones etc overnight. And maybe a couple in the lounge. What are Swiidinter chord switches? Haven’t heard of these.

If we use a combination of standard wall dimmer switches with micros in the back box, would this mean the switch would still work as normal in the event that ST goes down for whetever reason? This is something we are trying to plan for. We would like that everthing is still able to be controlled manually in the event that ST stops working, at least as much as possible anyway. Also when using dimmers with micros, do I need to get a certain kind of switch? And how deep would the switch casings need to be to accomodate micros behind?

I appreciate your patience!

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Yes … The industry really needs a midpoint between low-end DIY ($69 for a SmartThings Hub!?) and the “dealer-only luxury brands”.

There are plenty of small businesses trying to be dealer-integrators using SmartThings; but since SmartThings doesn’t have a dealer support program, this is risky area for these small businesses.

Point products are getting better at providing “pro” products, installation training certifications, and so on (e.g., Nest Pro, August Pro); and big companies like Amazon are providing installation & configuration services too.

The advantage of professionally certified dealer-installer programs is that they gain the experience to know which products are best - at a range of price points; and which configuration details are critical for an optimal customer experience.

Of course, most / many of us around here enjoy tinkering and iterative improvement to our homes; but the hours of research, debugging, replacing, etc., … really do add up to $1000’s of effort. Time is money.

Cut of old cord switch, wire in this one, lamp is now smart but with manual switch in the usual place… these are great as it prevents people hard switching the item to the off position, which would render a smart outlet usless.

Micros don’t work with regular dimmer switches (rotary or digital), instead they are intended to work with regular toggle (on / off) and retractive (push to make / momentary / on, spring back to off) switches.

When used with retractive switches, dimming is possible at the switch through push and hold, double and triple clicks are also possible for triggering scenes etc.

For both toggle and retractive switches, they work regardless of hub failure, internet failure etc., as they are hard wired to the module.

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We have different switch boxes in the UK, but they need to be at least 32mm deep for a single module, you can just about squeeze two modules side by side into a single UK 46mm deep box, but not recommended.

Hence why I went centrally wired, as many of our switches would have required 3 modules in single boxes.

I went for 8 separate wiring hubs instead of one central location to improve the zwave signal mesh throughout the home. (and to save wire / spaghetti junctions in the hub!!)

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This is really the thing. We are trying to keep the cost of the build as low as possible and doing as much as we can ourselves. I am a tech junkie anyway so like the idea of planning and implementing the technology myself rather than hiring somebody to do it for me and ST seems like the perfect platform for this. However as you rightly say it can really be a time sink, especially when trying to plan an entire house with some level of futureproofing. At least there is also the option that if I forget something at this stage, it can most likely be implemented later using z-wave / zigbee without requiring rewiring.

Thanks for the tip. These look like a better alternative to wall plugs where we want to automate lamps as it doesn’t matter then if somebody uses the switch to turn the lamp off manually. Will deffinately be using these.

Perfect. Sounds like the way to go then.

Your hubs look like great work. I just can’t imagine having 8 junction boxes dotted all over the house tho, don’t think my partner would be too happy. Have you hidden them all in cupboards or something? I think I would prefere to have the relays wired behind each switch really. Like you say though the problem would be space, especially for multi-gang switch boxes. I guess the only solution would be to split any multi-gang situations into individual switch plates and have more plates on the wall then? Just not sure how nice this would look either.

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yes, all hidden away.

The design of our house had to have a mansard roof due to height restrictions and neighbours right to light. This results in triangular eves cupboards along both side elevations upstairs… loads of room in there for plant, hubs etc etc.

4 boxes spread across eves.

Downstairs has two bedrooms with deep built in cupboards, so a box in each of those, high level over the shelves.

Unfortunately one box had to go in the back of a kitchen wall unit.

Last box is in a built in hallway cupboard allong with the CAT6 switching panels.

If we didn’t have the eves cupboards upstairs we would have just placed the hubs in the loft space though.

Loads of switch plates would certainly look naff.

The modules can go behind the light fittings instead btw… so where you are using spot lights, giving a nice hole through the ceiling, modules can go there instead.

Upstairs, if you have a decent roof space, you could mount a small junction box above each light position.

Behind switch (two way shown)

In ceiling:

Ah ok so that’s the solution. We are constructing hanging ceilings (if thats the right word) to house all the light fittings and wiring so there will be plenty of space behind. Thanks for the wiring diagrams, now I have something I can show the electrician as reference. I’m thinking to buy a couple of the different relays so that I also have something physical to show whilst trying to explain our requirements. Would you recommend the Fibaro modules then over the other brands?

I reccomend Fibaro, but only because that’s all I’ve tried. Others may step in and reccomend alternatives.

They have loads of great features… if you download the manual and scroll through the advanced parameters you’ll see what I mean.

One thing to bear in mind is the ability to connect a second switch to each dimmer module. The second switch does not control the load, instead it can be used to send commands to the hub which can respond as desired. I’m using this feature in various ways:

  • toggling the swiidinter cord switches (like an old fashioned 5A curcuit)
  • top and bottom of stairs, used to toggle the whole floor on/off
  • front door, used to turn everything on/off
  • alarm panic buttons at bedsides
  • various places for setting scenes, colours etc.

Even if you don’t plan to use s2 now, you should allow a spare wire core to each switch just in case you want to add another gang in the future.

Just to respond to some of your other replies.

I’ve been reading further into Konnected and it really does seem like a perfect solution. So we could use our new wired window/door sensors, get some standard wired alarm motion sensors and a wired siren and have our electician run all the wires to a central location to connect to the Konnected control unit. This would then avoid the need to change batteries and we could use the battery backup to ensure the system still works if the power goes out. Are there any sensors and sirens in particular you could recommend?

What i’m not so clear on is if the system still works if ST or the internet goes down. Maybe this is a better question for @heythisisnate as I would also like to know what the availablity of the Konnected devices is and if I can order them for delivery to Germany.

The roller shutter motors and switches we haven’t ordered yet so I will bare this in mind. The garage door we have so need to check what it comes with.

The heating system we spent a long time deciding on, unfortunately whether the control system that it uses is ST compatible never crossed mind at the time. I will speak with the installer and see if I can get more information on this.

Blue Iris I will look into further but I like the sound of using powered/wired IP cameras rather than totally wireless solutions and seems like a lower cost alternative. So we would then run a cat 6 cable to every location where we want a camera and use a POE injector (had to google it) to provide power on the same cable. Does each cat 6 need its own POE injector then? And are there any specific IP cameras you would recommend?

2 cat 6 to each network location seems like a wise move. I read about using cat 6 for HDMI but then read that there might be compatibility issue with UHD, HDR and future technologies and a better alternative would be to just run empty conduit between locations so that the cables can always be swapped if required.

Thanks Robin for all your help so far, really can’t thank you enough, i’m really beginning to wrap my head around it all now!

It will not work if ST or the internet is down, unfortunately. To mitigate the latter, we recommend installing a backup/failover modem in case your internet goes down. I usually recommend this Netgear LTE modem for this purpose, but I don’t know the availability in Europe. There must be something similar: https://amzn.to/2MHzMTx

Maybe one day ST will expand upon local communication and control, but there’s no telling if and when that will happen. As of now it’s cloud dependent. Konnected also supports Home Assistant and will soon support OpenHAB and Hubitat as well – so these are other options for local control.

Konnected can ship worldwide (except for our backup batteries) and everything is in stock now. Shipping to Europe is usually around USD $18.

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No, you can get a multi port POE switch.

Not really… anything I reccomend will be different in Germany… Google is your friend on that one.