New Home Building - Security system/cameras/new setup - US location

So currently in the starting stages of building a new house and planning what i want to do.

Wife requested window/door sensors, alarm if opened during “armed hours”(using sonos speakers or external siren?), motion sensors? (we have a dog so idk how well that will work), outdoor cameras (not sure if i need that tied into the system, still looking for best solution), would like some automation where certain lights turn on if door is opened during certain hours of the day and other small things like that.

I am already planning on running my own network cabling for cameras and bedrooms, but what else should I hard wire?

Are there any recommendations on what sensors would be the best? at my last house I was using smart things and their sensors but the battery life/reliability sucked so thats why I am moving to HA.

what if i go with a ADT system or something else, could integrate with HA?

1 Like

Use a DSC alarm system. Hardwire every single door, including closets. Put extra cable anywhere you could see yourself wanting an additional camera or motion sensor in the future.

They make pet immune motion sensors with adjustable size ranges

Having 2 sensors on each garage door is more helpful than you think, one for when it is closed and one for when it is fully opened, so an automation does not try to “close” an open door if it is not fully opened

Ethernet run to the main breaker box so you can add proper power monitoring devices.

You should have a server room adjacent to main utilities but is isolated from water main pipe breaks and radiative furnace heat. Get a proper server rack, having it isolated in a room with its own double cleaned airflow means you can get a very inexpensive rack with no front doors. Have dual 20A feeds to this room for power.

Run several 3 inch conduits from this room to the attic for piping ethernet and security wire, adding them later SUUUCKS

I suggest for any low voltage non ethernet wires going to the attic (which is usually a lot), run them to a single junction box in a central location, then run new short-run wires from that box to their destination. doing repairs on full length wiring from basement to attic is a nightmare.

Run 2 ethernet lines to every location where you would have jacks on the wall. If you are not doing all the network work, do NOT have an electrician or general electrical contractor do the job under any circumstances, have someone that specializes in network installations do the job. I have had to fix far too many nightmare installs, and they were all done by electricians.

1 Like

Appreciate the feedback!

For the DSC system, any recommendations on where to buy from and what model to go with? I assume use a mixture of 2 and 4 connector 22 AWG wire? I’m sure that depends on how many and what sensors I will be running. For wiring the doors what is the best way to get the monitor wire in the doors? since the trim/doors goes up after drywall. I guess I could talk to my builder and have the finished carpenter drill a small hole and fish the wire through.

Recommendations on Power monitoring devices?

Server room/rack I’m not worried about, that will be taken care of.

Conduit, I’m still debating if I will run it or not. last house I did all the networking and didn’t use conduit and never had a thought to want to run more wires. I guess its easy to run now and would be helpful to have in the future if needed.

The junction box is a good idea, never though about that coming from a network background i would want home runs. do you have a link to a large junction box?

Network cabling is where i started my career so I will be taking care of all of that no problem.

For power monitoring this looks like the best way to go

I used this as a junction box when I did my security system several months ago, they also make a larger size 17x14:

I installed terminal blocks for 11 alarm zones, 3 fire zones (main floor smoke/heat, main floor monoxide, attic fire/heat), primary power bus, fire power bus, aux bus, siren, and input for ceiling mounted emergency lights. The upper floor keypad wire is also in there, that is CAT6A in 2 sections and connected with a patch cable, that way I had the option of a POE keypad in the future with minimal changes.

it is cramped, in hindsight, I would would want to do 2 of them in the attic, but it was summer and 140 degrees up there, doing 1 of of them including a full custom conduit job and running all the wire was… enough. Working in the middle of the night was an option on some days, and was the only way I could do the wire connections.

An identical and even more cramped box is in the basement next to the security panel, all the wires from the upper box go to terminal blocks in the basement box, and there is a metal box in the garage which also goes to the basement box, that one has 5 alarm zones, and relay control of the garage door openers, plus aux power, and the feed to that box also has garage fire/heat and siren. All of those are run through EMT conduit.

That run was very time consuming, pulling wire myself through metal conduit took a very long time, but the results are awesome and the whole thing is very tamper resistant. The previous owner had a large amount of exposed conduit for power feeds, so it does not look out of place.

I did 18 gauge between the boxes and for the entire garage, then 22 for the individual zones out of the attic box. I used 16 gauge for the main power feed between the boxes, so I had more flexibility for expansion, as a single 8 conductor wire would now give me 5 more zones.

I am using an Envisalink4 with a Honeywell panel, though it is out of the box designed for DSC, they have a list of models, I think PC1864 is the one to go with as it has the most zones available. The EVL4 is native supported in HA. There may be other ways to integrate DSC panels but I am not familiar.

I tried to add a wired deadbolt sensor for my front door, but there is just not enough wood there to install it, after about an inch there is a tall window. Deadbolt sensors are a great idea but kind of need to be installed along with the door, and not as an afterthought, so we only get door sensors and window glassbreak sensors.

The geometry of the door is pretty much set in stone, if the hole is drilled in the correct location in advance, when the trim goes up it is super easy. Doing it in advance means you can have main floor door sensors mounted on the bottom or side of the trim, and that may be the best option based on the design of the house, our main floor is the 2nd floor, so everything up here is an attic drop.

I guess im confused why you would need to use 18 or 16 gauge between the boxes. what power runs are you doing? wouldn’t those just be junction points for the 22 that go to the zones? do you have pictures of the installs? I guess i must be thinking about it wrong. i thought every zone was either 2 conductor or 4 conductor (depending on the sensor) so how would you get 5 zones out of an 8 conductor wire?

The way the zones connect to the panel is by using a single common (sensor ground) and 2 sensor connections for 2 zones, so 2 zones need 3 wires, 4 zones need 6 wires, and 2 more wires can squeeze in a 5th zone. This is signalling only, power is separated, so that 8 conductor wire carries 5 zones of signal.

I generally ran the trunk wiring as pairs of signal wires, then a single common 16ga power wire, so I could do 4 or 5 zones using an 8 conductor wire. This limits the overall capacitance of the wiring system, I used 18ga for signal trunk to limit overall resistance of the system.

The panel has both per zone limits as well as total system limits for resistance and capacitance, and when I add more zones to the system for fire detection, I would have hit those limits if using 22ga and/or 2/4 conductor between the boxes, though if I used CAT6A that would have given the lowest capacitance because of the twisted pairs and X separator, and did indeed do that for the one keypad.

During the install I was measuring for capacitance and induced voltage for every signal pair, and that allowed to me to find some AC wire that had gotten way too close and had to be relocated, and verify that the 8 conductor wire had lower capacitance than 2 or 4, but that it also had higher capacitance than the TDS from the company listed, which was disappointing (they lowered insulation thickness).

I will get some pictures of the final product, I took some before I had all the wiring connected.

Alright I guess i have a lot more reading to do. I thought it was as simple as running the 22ga 4 conductor to every location and done for the window/door sensors. Being a ranch and new construction I figured this would be easy to home run everything to the box in the basement.

Not sure what/If i will link the fire detection into the system. and then i was just planning on doing both cat6 and the 22 ga to my keypad boxes for future proofing.

I was doing research into cameras and liked what i saw with the Blue Iris and Reolink cameras. Network wise i am setup with Ubiquiti, smart switches I have leviton decora switches.

The security system is really all i need to figure out… I need a TLDR this is what i need and this is how you should wire it lol. I have about 19 window/door sensors I want to run, with 2 key pads, some glass break sensors and not sure what else. Not sure i see much use in the energy monitor but my network rack/securty box will be close enough to my panel in the basement that i can run the connections later if needed.

I went into this knowing nothing, beyond the typical network wiring knowledge and skills I already had. Then I went looking for wire…

Once I had a list of EVERY type of wire and its properties, I needed to find out which would work best for my application, yoursof course may not be the same. I chose the red 18 gauge wire, which is rated for higher voltage, and of course higher current, and if I chose to repurpose wire pairs for power it is not a problem. It is also rated for higher temps, and my attic gets HOT. I got 8, 4, and 2 conductor, and VERY quickly ran out. Only then did I have a better idea of exactly how much I would need, and that the resistance and capacitance may be a problem with that much wire.

The average capacitance on the 8-pair is fairly low, but still about double my measurements of the CAT6A I purchased for this work. The install manual for the security panel has notes about the max length wiring you can do with each gauge and pair count, within the confines of security wire. You can extrapolate the capacitance limit of the panel with these numbers if you do the math correctly.

One of the reasons that security companies love wireless transmitters (other than the margin) is that their installers do not need to carry fancy multimeters or know the math and physics requirements that arise when dealing with system capacitance for large wired installations. The installers from the security company that did our house did not even have a multimeter. They also did not correctly calculate the current requirements of the zone expanders and keypads, which were WAY over the budget of the onboard power supply of the panel. I kind of already knew this after the company initially quoted a parts list which did not include an additional power supply, but was fully prepared and willing to correct any mistakes they made along the way.

I was also the one who gave them the full requirements list, which had local home automation in mind, so there were far more zones than they were probably dealing with in a typical residential install. When a glassbreak sensor trips, it holds a relay for 4 seconds, and if several trip at the same time, they can pull a substantial amount of current, which also occurs during the siren alert as well as the pezio sirens on both keypads, and this is one scenario they did not consider, as the idle draw for the system was JUST within the limit, but the alarm condition was not.

The issue with induced voltage from high voltage AC proximity is twofold. 1, it can damage the panel and zone expanders. 2 it can cause false alarms. So I did some insane work to get that as low as possible, and had to relocate the wiring that powered my doorbell transformer as well as the lights in my utility room. On a new build this should not be an issue since they should not be anywhere near eachother unless someone made a mistake.

The other issue with 22 gauge wire is that if you need to push it, it can just fold over itself. Running 8 conductor 8 gauge through conduit is FAR easier, though not as easy as ethernet… once again my work was all retrofit so this is probably not an issue for you. It all depends on the house layout and where you want sensors both now and in the future.

If you get the opportunity, do not go with wifi switches for primary lighting control. Either do Lutron which is 433mhz, or use centralized control for low voltage lighting. 2.4GHz has very poor RSSI from inside a wall for one, and there are just to many sources of interference. Plus their current draw is high in order to stay constantly connected to the network. There are more reasons beyond that, but those are the big ones.

I am using BlueCherry in docker for NVR, and it is working great and has solid motion detection, in addition to the alternate motion detection on the camera itself which triggers an ONVIF command (that I am not using). I looked at Reolink and at the time rejected them, I do not remember why. All the cameras I have now can take a hit from a baseball bat and still function, I think none of the their cameras were vandal resistant, and none of their cameras met the environmental requirements (temp) for outdoor use. I do not have outdoor cameras installed yet, but when I do they will all be Axis cameras.

There are so many cool things that can be done with energy monitoring. Beyond tracing down vampire devices or malfunctioning power supplys, the main thing is in problem detection and event notifications, for example.

Your air conditioner is “on” per the thermostat, but the power draw is far too low… because the capacitor failed and the compressor will no longer start. This can detect the problem an hour or more before temperature based automations can. During the summer I can imaging failed aircon can be a BIG problem, this happened to me, luckily we were out for only a few hours, but the interior temp still went up to 89F, and we have pets!

You set the house alarm to away, but there is power draw on the range or oven. Did you mean to leave it on, you may be cooking a roast… or maybe you just forgot to turn something off and are going to start a fire. You can easily be warned of a potential issue with power monitoring.

The washer or drier has finished its cycle, the power draw drops below threshold for a period of time, notifications can be automated, “washer finished but drier did not start within 10 mins”. Dishwasher can also trigger alert when cycle is complete, no need for “smart” devices with their proprietary cloud based connection that has no open API.

I guess I’m still failing to see how to use a different wire. since the sensors still need the 22ga going into them.

sadly i already have a bunch of the decora switches, however if a different solution is reasonably priced i could do something. I havent looked into lutron, i thought they ran on wireless as well. I am a wireless design engineer so i know all about the 2.4 issues, however when i am putting access points in the house i dont expect to have many wireless issues.

What centralized solutions are there?

Ill have to take a look at the axis cameras, i am not set in stone, just liked what i had seen from blue Iris and Reolink.

I guess that makes sense, just seems like an expensive add on. but maybe something in the future since it would be easy to add.

Do you have an email or are you on the discord? curious to pick your brain more about the wiring aspect as I must just not be thinking about it correctly or not realizing how i can do things different.