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Wall tablet/touchscreen recommendations?
#1
Well, maybe don't need a specific model or brand yet... I'm in low voltage pressure phase of home construction. Have freedom to run whatever I want wherever I want. I am not 100% sure of final home systems configuration but want to at least plan appropriately.

So far, radiora2 lighting a certainty, ElkM1G security panel, and I have all rooms heavily wired for whole home audio and network. PoE security camera wiring,hardwired security sensors for doors and windows. Considering running wire for automated shades even though wife swears she will never use shades.

For automation/security/audio/whatever control I will run cat to wall switch location in every room that has speakers which can handle just about any modern WHA keypad I've seen. For a couple of locations like master bedroom, kitchen/keeping/garage entry I'm wondering if I need any more wiring to accommodate a more  full featured touscreen tablet/panel there? I can see having cqc running in those locations controlling security, tied to WHA, irrigation etc.

Is cat sufficient? Do I need any additional wiring for power? What are people commonly doing here, using stock Android tablets or more purpose built control touscreens that have integrated rj45, mounting systems etc?
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#2
Some thoughts. Any other questions, please let me know or PM me.

Lutron RadioRA2
Register for the training and you will gain access to the software. The training is actually pretty decent and will help you plan out things.

Wall Screens
I am moving to Windows Surface Pros onto which will be installed CQC software that will talk to my CQC Master Server. Having it this way will allow for audio/video (using surface pro camera and speakers) and full CQC Interface Viewer experience. And, compared to other custom integration screens (Control4, RTI), its not that expensive. This will also give you many options for zoned annunciation and voice control.

For purposes of the wall tablet, I ran cat5e to strategic install places for each room into a 2 gang box over which I'll install the surface pros. You can power the Surface Pro with any of several type of POE adapter.

I tried iPad and it was a huge pain in the a**, especially when trying to use the CQC Interface Viewer. 

Conduit
The only place I ran conduit was to my main demarc outside. I have two 1" conduits running from main demarc to my equipment room. One is empty for future use. The other has my cat5/coax running to it.

Wiring
Run the wiring for the shades and anything else you think you will need. Wire costs nothing and will give you the option later. Some places of note:

Drywall Rings are your friend for low voltage where you are not also going to have power (see below about dual voltage 2 gang boxes).

- wherever you will have your irrigation system installed (I would run 2 drops here)
- in your garage near your washer/dryer/water heater/A/C area (run at least 4 drops)
- in the ceiling near your garage overhead door (for a potential Lutron RadioRA2 Visor Controls) (2 drops here)
- From above, re, demarc. Run at least 2 cat5e drops and at least 2 coax drops. I use one of the cat5's for voice, the other is a spare. The coax drops go fast. One is for COMCAST internet, the other is for HD antenna that I distribute throughout the house using an Extreme Broadband Engineering IPA2008DL2-RSVF. Cool thing about this is that one of the outputs from this splitter plugs in to my HDHomeRun hardware transcoder that is integrated with PLEX (allows me to record/watch TV from any device)
- run at least 2 cat5's to your pool equipment area
- all of my cameras are POE and run off a single Cat5e that is home run from camera location to equipment room.
- run 1 cat5e to your front door where ever you think you will install your door bell or other entry device (there are several)
- run a couple of Cat5's to the different ceiling areas wherever you think you will need your wifi hotspots

If you are running the wire back to a closet, leave enough wire so that it goes from the ceiling to the floor, then leave an additional 8 - 10 feet. Coil it up and velcro wrap it. Most make the mistake of cutting things short which leaves little options for racking later.

I ran all my networking and voice back to patch panels and from there I could connect from the patch panel to my rack/routers/switches

If you can swing it, use dual voltage 2 gang boxes where you will have power and data in close proximity.

[Image: Screen-Shot-2019-09-27-at-15-09-37.jpg]

Here is what it looks like installed which is much cleaner than having two separate 1 gang plates/boxes. This happens to be in my office closet where I have my printers installed (so I do not have to see them Big Grin  )

[Image: Screen-Shot-2019-09-27-at-15-09-22.jpg]

Since you are going with RadioRA2, also recommend running a Cat5/6 to wherever your garage overhead door is located. This will give you the option for the Lutron RadioRA 2 Visor Control (RR-VCRX-WH) which will work with any garage door opening when you couple it with the appropriate Universal Interface module by Creative Access Solutions. Also run a spare overhead door magnetic contact. Yes, you'll also have one for your alarm, but this extra one plugs in to the Visor Control.

Labeling
Invest in a Rhino label maker. I have a 4200 and use the 3/4 inch label tape for wires and 1/4 inch labels for devices. Label every cable to/from on each end and devise a system so you can keep track of everything down to the device and port. Labeling on both ends means if you ever remove a cable to do something you will always know where it goes on both sides.

DEVICENAME-NUMBER

For example, I have two Zyxel switches in my rack: ZYX-01 and ZYX-02. Will I ever have more? Probably not, but if I wanted to add another one, it would be ZYX-03 and I will not have to go back and re-label anything. Same goes for any services or other devices you will have in your equipment room.

Here is a small example. I know where every wires start and end point are, to the port level, just by looking at the label.

[Image: Screen-Shot-2019-09-27-at-15-41-27.jpg]


Alarm
Run 4 conductor alarm wire everywhere: doors, windows, motions, etc. Everything you can think of. Run one under your dishwasher as well as near your water heater, washing machine, etc.

Some people go wireless but if you are installing wire the wire everything up.

TV Locations
I installed Chief PAC525 Series in-wall TV boxes everywhere I thought I would want to have a TV, even in my backyard patio. Into these, I ran power, 2 network and 2 coax. If you are not installing a TV, the box comes with a cover and you can paint it or cover the entire thing with a painting or frame. Control4 also makes some nice in-wall boxes.

Some folks have only a single device in their TV box, from which a single HDMI cable plugs in to the TV. They then use matrix switching. Downside is that you have to plan for all this.

I'm not a video matrix kind of person because I have the use case of using the same source (e.g., AppleTV) in more than one location at the same time. If you are matrix'ing an AppleTV, only one location can use it at a time.

Inside of these boxes, I have an AppleTV, a GC-100-06 (RS232 control of TV) and a small Gigabit Ethernet Unmanaged Switch in each box.


[Image: Screen-Shot-2019-09-27-at-15-09-11.jpg]
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#3
Thanks for the tips. Tough to account for everything. I thought I had it pretty well covered but had forgotten about garage openers. I'll run cat to each of those as well as bottom corner of each door in cause I use a sensor like you linked. Had also forgotten from doorbell. And 4 conductor for leak sensors at hot water heaters and dish washers. I am installing a series of conduits that will allow addition of any wire to any TV or computer location in the future, bit did not think of doing the same to demarc point. I'll add that to the list. Most of the conduits go from a room location into some nearby accessible attic space, then several conduits from those attic spaces back to network closet. I can run conduit from demarc into an attic space without much trouble.

So Poe is fine for tablet/touchscreen power? Good to know. That means I could potentially swap any dumb WHA keypad to a full on automation screen if needed in the future.
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#4
Reading your posts makes me wish I was starting over again... although is a ton of work isn't it.  I did what you guys are doing about 15 years ago now.  I think if I was beginning over again I would go with surface Pro or even surface Go's in wall.  I saw some nice in wall mounts on google for both.  At the time I grabbed some used 15" screens with touch out of old Kodak photo booths and custom built into the walls (Helped with the budget). For our family we could never go to just using ipads or Android type tablets that were not dedicated to CQC.  I think dedicated Windows based screens are still the way to go for CQC. 

I also ran a ton of conduits from most tvs's and even behind some key walls and touch screen areas to the main demarc/rack area.  I can't tell you how many times I've used those conduits even just to try stuff out temporarily. Primarily I've been pulling HDMI cables, low voltage power or extra cat5 where I cheaped out on the initial build. That's the best thing you can do in my opinion is have lots of conduit to future proof a bit.

You guys should start a build thread and share some pics. Would be interesting to see.
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#5
I've got to take thorough pics to document everything before insulation goes in. I'll try to remember to share some of those here.

What's most frustrating to me is how hard it has been to get subs to accomplish what I need. They are nice and try to be flexible but each has things that just aren't in their standard repertoire. Electrician will pull coax and cat from all tv and computer locations, but don't do other low voltage stuff and said the last time they ran conduit the homeowner wasn't happy and they've crossed that off their list of offered services (seems strange). Security guy has been very accommodating, but don't do audio wiring and don't typically run data cabling. I've looked into a few AV or home automation integrators in my local area, all have either been very rigid when it comes to equipment they will install and/or support (I get that), or limited in terms of where they will pull wire (ie to water heaters and HVAC would be out of the question if it isn't something "their" solution needed), and all have quoted exorbitant prices to cover only most of what I need (not even accounting for the dozen things listed above I forgot about).

So, I'm installing all conduit and pulling all audio cable, cat to keypad locations, cat to ceiling echo dot locations, and now to doorbell, garage openers, pool equipment, water heaters, HVAC...
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#6
Let me add on a question to this thread as I'm still trying to learn about cqc and this is related to original question...

Can a tablet like surface pro (the go does look interesting) replace a standard security keypad? Seems redundant to have both, and of course would be nice to save by not buying dedicated security keypads.

Is there anything you miss doing that or maybe more importantly run the risk of? Not being able to get in your house or shut off alarm if cqc server hiccups? Any security risks?
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#7
(09-28-2019, 08:32 AM)rhosch Wrote: Can a tablet like surface pro (the go does look interesting) replace a standard security keypad? Seems redundant to have both, and of course would be nice to save by not buying dedicated security keypads.

Is there anything you miss doing that or maybe more importantly run the risk of? Not being able to get in your house or shut off alarm if cqc server hiccups? Any security risks?

Yes, but you should have at least one traditional key pad. You'd also have to code an Interface Viewer that has the keypad functionality, etc.

If you want some examples, check out these interface images from Control4.
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#8
(09-28-2019, 08:22 AM)rhosch Wrote: What's most frustrating to me is how hard it has been to get subs to accomplish what I need.

Most are lazy, volume based businesses. They want to get in, get half-a**ed work done, get paid, and get out to the next job. Kind of like 99% of most service based businesses (e.g., lawn service, pool service, etc.). Pool people, for example, want to charge $100 - $120 bucks a month to spend what amounts to about 15 minutes a week at your pool because they are rushing to get to the next one. I fired both my landscaper and pool person because was a waste of money. Now I just do it myself and it gets me outside exercising more and doing something different (ie, not involving electronics).

What's frustrating is when you call them out on their half-a** workmanship they get mad and defensive as if it's your fault. In homebuilding and related projects, some contractors/subs even bail after they've hit certain pay/work milestones because they know you will not come after them to finish the work. Take a $15k project. They finished 75% of the work and have already collected $10k or so. Then they disappear. What are you going to do? Pretty much nothing because there is so much work going on that they'll be able to keep up this behavior for a long time.

At least where I live in the southeast, it's a symptom of too much work in the area and not enough workers.

Things were better during the mortgage crises/recession ('07/'08) when there was no work. People jumped over each other to get your business, and they did good work because they knew you'd call them back, otherwise they would starve.

For low voltage/high tech work, people are charging up to $75 per drop (includes labor and materials). So, you have a 1 gang box with 2 x networking and 2 x coax? That'll be $300 bucks.

Control4 contractors are worse and the quality of work varies greatly. They charge exorbitant rates for what amounts to standard fare stuff. It's not rocket science.

I want printed labels, and contractor/subs think Sharpie on cable is sufficient.

I'd love to do this for a living but there is very little money in it. People who want the work done want caviar (quality workmanship) but are only willing to pay for sardines. And, when customers don't pay, whatcha gonna do?

It's bizarre. People will pay $150k for a car, but do not want to pay their lawyers, doctors, or other service people.
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#9
Yeah, pretty much sums up my experience. I might even consider paying $75 per drop if someone would just do exactly what I specify. So far haven't found one that didn't have "their way" restrictions or stipulations.

But, doing a lot of it myself not only saves some money but makes sure it is what I need.
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#10
I agree with Shaky - wish I could redo what I did, but the tech was alot different in 2007 .vs. now.  Being able to stream 4K or even 1080p down 1 cat5 was unheard of, but I did follow some advice from IVB and others on this forum on what to run.  I have probably made 15 additional runs since then (and have at least 40 unused runs), but I am lucky in that I have a 1 story house and it's easy to move around with a high attic and run additional wires.

I probably ran too much Coax and not enough Cat5e.   Most of my Coax ran to each room is not used, and all of the Cat5e ran for phones by the beds are unused.  I guess you need to run them perhaps for resale, but I do wonder who uses a landline in a bedroom anymore.   I made an almost too detailed markup of my floorplan documenting every run, and then duplicated each run in a spreadsheet for costing purposes.  I did find a great wiring subcontractor that understood exactly what I wanted.  We walked the entire floor plan and he marked each location with what I wanted.  I did have a problem as noted about some of the wires being too short at the wiring closet termination, as they just crammed them into an attic wall (why I don't know), and some were too short.

If I had to do it again, I would do as I did with the wiring guy, then after his people installed it, walk it again with him to make sure nothing was missed.  I did check it, but not with him, and found a couple of runs were missed but too late to change without ripping out sheetrock.  In total I made 130 cat5/coax runs at $60 / run, so about $8000.

Last thing - Lot's of photos.  I mean lots - I took about 100, and a few times, when I am trying to do something different in a room, etc. there is always that one photo you wish you had at that area, and you just missed it, or it was too dark to see the wires, etc.   Also great to see the studs for hanging things on the wall, etc. several years down the road.
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