Reno - Walls Open - Wiring Plan


(Van G) #1

Working my way through reno/addition and coming up on low voltage wiring and wanted to get feeback on SmartThings build. Marked up floor plan:
HVAC - Ecobee3
Smoke Alarm - Nest Protect Wired
Audio - Sonos & H/T
Light Control - Lutron Caseta controlling Contrast LED Pots with Armani GU10
Voice - Echo Dot
LAN - UBNT Edge RouterX & Edge Switch
WiFi - UBNT UniFi AP (AC HD or Pro)
Security - Motion Sensors (no idea on this one)
Cameras - UniFi Outdoor

Appreciate any feedback or guidance.

(Eric Brown) #2

Is there a reason you chose the Lutron Caseta route for your lighting? Standard Z-wave switches and dimmers communicate directly with SmartThings.

For motion sensors, I’ve had good luck with the Aeon multisensor 6. It is battery powered, but you could alternatively power it with a USB cable for always on light, motion and temperature sensing. Not many of the SmartThings supported motion sensors have a wired power options. They also sell an optional recessor mount that really makes the Multi Sensor 6 blend into the wall/ceiling.

If you plan to use SmartThings as a DIY home security system, don’t forget about the door open/close sensors for your exterior doors. As long as you don’t have metal doors, go with a Z-wave plus recessed door sensor. Aeon labs makes these, but there are other brands the seem to be almost identical. If you have metal doors, then stick with the traditional surface mount door/window sensors.

Add a harmony hub to be able to control your home theater from your phone or with the Echo Dot. Then to integrate the home theater with your Sonos system, add a Sonos Connect as an additional input to your H/T receiver. With this combination you will be able to use the Echo to turn on your home and change to the Sonos input for whole home audio. Direct Sonos integration with Alexa is in the works, but is not out from official channels.

(Van G) #3

Thought Caseta was a good:stable choice but they are expensive so we’re open to any options.

I see what you mean about Caseta offering its own echo system, so why pay for it when I’m using SmartThings.

What else should we consider for dimable LED that can be 3-way? Nothing exotic for our needs.

Lurton or Leviton Z-Wave switches

I’m pretty bogged down with the build and behind on being prepared for this. Really need to nail down wiring before we drywall.

(Greg) #4

I assume you have neutrals for all the switches and a C wire for the Ecobee?

I live in a 100 year old house and we’re about to embark on a walls open reno of the basement. Really want to take the opportunity to run neutrals where I can.

Any good pointers outside of plan ahead?


Deep back boxes. We used to say 47 mm, but now the Fibaro dimmer instructions say 60 mm. Which sounds crazy, but there it is. Anyway, deep back boxes will give you more choices in the future. :sunglasses:


Also, there’s some good conversation on wiring in the following thread:

(Van G) #7

That’s good advice. I think 2 5/8" deep is mass production.

We took everything out and put on an addition so everything is new from the 200A service forward. We’ll be using 14/2 for 15A circuits. Unless the switch is 3-way. Should we be using 14/3 everywhere? Do I not need to wire traditional 3-way anymore?

(Robin) #8

For future proofing, my recommendation on that one is to wire everything traditionally but make sure you pull a neutral to every switch location.

That way, as technology moves on or new owners move in, options are still open.

For belt and braces maybe consider CAT6 to every switch as well!!

(Van G) #9

Sorry to keep on this one, but by a neutral do you mean a single wire? Or should I wire all with 14/3 (or whatever gauge required for Amp) so I have a spare wire in jacket?

(Robin) #10

There are several ways to wire a house but the main two differences are:

A) Power (L, N & E) goes direct to light, two switch wires then go from light to the switch (no neutral at switch)

B) Power (L, N & E) goes direct to switch, which then feeds the light (neutral at switch).

In a 3-way setup, it can be either of the above, but with option ‘B’ sometimes only one switch gets a neutral, other times the neutral travels through each switch.

Who is doing your wiring? Any qualified electrician will know how to wire a neutral to every switch and what gauge / number of cores wire to use.

Your questions have me thinking you are trying to do it yourself whilst not understanding what you’re doing… not a good mix!

(Robin) #11

This page shows the difference between power to the light v power to the switch:

Similar options for 2-ways:

You want the methods that show a neutral going directly to each switch.

The 2-way power to light example shows a white going to the switch but it’s not a neutral… it’s a switch live (as it goes through the bulb before connecting to the N.

(Van G) #12

Don’t worry, not trying to kill myself or family. Have a great electrician starting this week so I’ll bring this up.

I will be pulling the Low and No voltage wiring so I want to have my head around the full scope of project.

(Paul Haskins) #13

Current NEC requires neutral to every box, switch or outlet.

Deep boxes, deepest ones you can find, There is also a box that is 2 gang wide, but fits a 1 gang size hole and the extra space is behind the drywall. Good for lots of wires or adding relays.
Many non electricians will over stuff a box. There are max. fill sizes for every enclosure.

One thing I now wish I had dine, well 2 actually is replace 1 gang with 2 gang. Easier for future expansion. Other is add some receptacles at switch height - I have a few, but wish there were more. Easy for sweeper or other portable “things”.

(Greg) #14

Not following this one. its 2 gang, but half of it is behind the wall? Can you link us? Thanks!


The following is another option. You use a regular double gang box, but you only put one switch in it and use a mud ring and a center face plate. you see these on some entertainment centers where there’s extra stuff that needs to fit in the box.

(Paul Haskins) #16

I Think this is it.

I do know they are Carlon. I used 2 of them/. One of those - know it when you see it things. Gives you 30 Cu in and a deep one is around 18-25.

(Van G) #17

I’ll dig deep on wiring this week.

Is there a consensus on which z wave dimmers/switches/outlets to go with? Or is it a layered beast of price points & function.


Different ones work for different people. They have some different features. There’s a discussion of the various options and brands in the following thread. The light switch discussion starts around post 40

That said, I like Lutron Caseta switches and ended up choosing those for my own house. Right now there are two methods of integration with smart things: indirectly through IFTTT, or by setting up your own middleman server. But an official integration has been announced recently and may be here in as soon as a month. We won’t know how quick that is relative to Lutron on its own until it actually arrives.

Lutron is an engineering company that specializes in lighting and holds a number of patents. Their target is 300 ms before the switch comes on, which is notably faster than most of the Z wave switches. But again, there’s no telling yet exactly what the SmartThings integration will introduce as far as cloud latency.

(Van G) #19

We’re moving along nicely with the second floor line voltage wiring done. Electrician showed up with a case of deep outlet boxes without us having the conversation. Pretty pumped to see this happening along with great HVAC and plumbing layout.

I’ll be starting Cat6, RG6, 16/4 Speaker Thursday.

Still on the fence about which switch and outlets to use but I guess I have time to make that decision.

HDMI - I have a 20’ and 35’ run. Should I a fabricated cable or just run 2-3 Cat6 to each location?

We plan on getting a dog shortly so I assume a basic security system based on motion won’t work well. Our 2 front entry doors are steel and the back door is a 16’ wide French slider. Can door sensors be used on either of those types?


First, as far as the dog, it’s going to depend on the size of the dog. There are motion sensors which are “pet immune” which is just a fancy way of saying the sensitivity can be set so that only bigger creatures, typically over 40 or 50 pounds, will result in an alert. Then you can run into the opposite problem that those sensors won’t necessarily trigger for small child, would you might want if you’re also using them to operate lighting.

A lot of people will adjust the detection field so that it only starts detecting at about 5 feet off the ground, which might also make it work for a dog. So there are just various things you can look at for that particular issue.

As far as the doors and contact sensors, the new sensative strips, which are available on both the US and EU frequency, are just under 3 mm thick and are designed to fit in the door frame. They can also be painted which makes them almost invisible. They are expensive, but there are some deals available on them. A number of community members have them and like them a lot. So that would be something to look into for the French doors.

The steel doors are a whole different problem. Any magnetic reed sensor, which includes the sensative strips, is not going to work well on the steel doors. What happens is that overtime the steel itself becomes magnetized and then it confuses the sensor so that it will always read as closed even when the doors open. Not what you want, obviously.

You can get around that, but it usually requires lifting the sensor up off the door several inches and putting it on a non-conducting block, typically wood or maybe some plastics. Again, sometimes you just have to try it and see.