New House - starting all over again :)

Hi all,
first of all a big thanks for being such a great community!

I’m buying a house soon, that will be built in the next year. I’m now looking into what options I have for controlling (at least) the lights on the ground floor. I think it would be ideal if everything can be controlled from one place, for example, the fuse box. Probably we can remove all wall switches if we can control it from a tablet that will be mounted to the wall.

Right now I think we will have 7 ceiling/wall lights on the ground floor. When we have any additional lights I’ll just use some yeelight bulbs so we can use different colours.

I think the following options would be possible:

  1. KNX Setup
  2. A couple off Shelly 4 Pro or Sonoff 4 channel relais
  3. A UniPi

Any ideas about these options?
By the way, I’m living in Europe, the Netherlands (might be useful to know)

Thanks for helping me!

I personally don’t like having to do something for the lights to choices on. I use PIRs to drive them.

If I was building a new house I would put them everywhere to drive lights and presence detection. In addition I would use smart wall switches rather than smart bulbs. That way if the worst happens ( no wifi or internet, server dies) I can still drive the lights manually

Then again you don’t always want to turn a light on just because the PIR detects something.

  • I stand up to stretch my legs during a movie
  • I sneak into the baby room to look at the baby, I don’t want the light on and wake the little f***er up.

this is why I have my lights setup with 3 modes: ON, OFF and AUTO. I also run lower brightness at night so I don’t blind myself when half asleep :slight_smile:

100% with you. Lights are not automated in the bedrooms, and I have several conditions to make sure they don’t switch in when I don’t want (e.g. When the TV is on or when I’m in Movies mode. This is when your house truly becomes a smart home :wink:

If you are living in Europe you should consider HomeMatic - They offer wired as well as wireless solutions for lights, heating, blinds, etc and it integrates well with Home Assistant.

Get neutral to all of your light switches, if you still can. This will save you a lot of trouble down the road :slight_smile: For controlling the lights that is.

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is that not a demand in new houses? For sure is in EU

not to light switches as the neutral is not required to switch the light, but if you want to use smart devices like z-wave switches / sonoffs etc, the neutral is obviously required. You can use z-wave dimmers without a neutral as a work-around if its too late

Well its obvious that different countries has different rules

FYI it is a requirement to have a neutral in the switch box in the US as of NEC 2011. But states sometimes have modifications to the code, not everyone does it, and not all the inspectors actually check or enforce it.

for a light switch?

ps: My biggest issue is finding good dimmers for LED lights. Lutron (non-automated) dimmers are fantastic for LED lights but none of the Insteon or ZWave dimmers I’ve tried work very well for small (20-50 watt) LED loads. Be sure to test any switches you want with the kind of lights they’re actually going to be driving.

I have found you need a dummy load on dimmers if you only have one LED light connected. Fibaro make dummy loads for them

If you’re willing to use 433MHz the lightwaverf switches work quite well with LEDs, even with small loads (I’m down to less than 10w) with an RFXCOM RfxTrx433
Only issue is the Gen1 has no 2-way coms (so no feedback on state), you need to move to gen 2 but then it gets really expensive. They do look very good though as far as light switches go. I love mines

As a fellow Dutchman this is what I did:

  • Still use switches (mine are all the the ‘moment’ type, so not the flip/flop). You will have visitors over, the babysit, grandmother etc plus at a certain point you will sell your house. Furthermore your system can go down and this always happens when your traveling…This way you will have a house that still works ‘normal’.
  • Behind every switch have a deep mounting box (inbouwdoos) 40 pref 50mm: In those mount build in zwave units (like Fibaro FGD-212) either dimmers or switches. These will set you back about 50 eur a piece but work very reliable! I would definitely not go cheap here (eg 433mhz) . I think this will be still cheaper then KNX!
  • Get a neutral wire in every box (just easier) but not a show stopper
  • Put a PIR in every room. As you are still building you can have stuff that get power directly (vs battery). I use the Fibaro multi sensor (eye) works at least 8 months on a battery. How these PIRs work you automate in HASS (eg when you are watching a movie and get up to stretch your legs the light does not turn on , however when you come in and it’s dark the light is turned on, these are all just how you automate all)
  • Get yourself any form of good e thermostat (Nest, Lyric etc.) that connect with HASS
  • consider your Alarm; get a stand alone alarm (choose one that integrates with HASS) or use zwave door/window detectors
  • then all the rest…
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I think that if I could make any cable path when building a house, I’d try to make a central connection, like a hub.
This would wire a set of cables directly from the hub to :

  • any place you’d put a wall switch
  • every wall socket (eletric or network)
  • every ceiling lights
  • any place where you’d imagine an electric device (like on top of a wall for a camera !)

The set of cable would include 2.5mm² electrical wire (live, neutral, earth) and/or an ethernet cable.
Over ethernet, you can power standard PoE devices (cameras again) or provide low voltage with your own plugs. You can also drive speakers, and let the amplifier hidden…

This way, you can put all the active devices in one place (near the fuse box for practical issues), this can let you use multi-channel sonoff devices for instance, instead of having one device per wall switch.
You will have all controls, and all devices coming to one point.
And when you’ll remove all automation, this will work fine with dumb switches directly connected to the ceiling lights !

I don’t think this would cost a lot more, but it will be a head scratcher to make the initial connections !

I recently found this article on wiring for a new home:

basically, you want wires everywhere. the youtube channel SuperHouseTV has a lot of really great wiring explanations and solutions, though he mostly retrofit his. He uses a centralized plan with two centers (long house) and a really interesting low-voltage system for switches. his light switches are actually just buttons at the end of cat5 cables that go back to a central arduino board which sends the commands via mqtt to a relay in the electrical box.

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Hi Nico,

I read you were interested in using Unipi controllers for your new house, so I wanted to let you know I’m using a Neuron M205 and xS10 extension module for our house. HA is running on the embedded RPi, but I’m planning to add an external RPi for NodeRed and/or HA.
I also added an Aeotec Z-Wave stick, some sensors and some Fibaro RGBW controllers. The Z-Wave part has to be expanded at the rate of the money flowing in again :smiley:

The Unipi does not work flawlessly, but after some programming and tweaking it does the job at the lowest cost per relay (afaik)

Furthermore: I chose to do my wiring with 2 star topology central points; one new fuse box in the kitchen for the kitchen appliances and lights, terras and garden, and 1 central point in the garage for the rest of the house (original fuse box).
I used 8x0.8mm² signal wiring @24V DC for push buttons (BTicino Magic :slight_smile:) Right now I slightly regret that I used a massive signal cable like UTp instead of cable with multiple copperwires. (no idea how that’s called in English :slight_smile: )

Anyway, if you have questions about the UniPi feel free to contact me…

Thanks for all the advice ! i’ll try to update when the final plan is finished :slight_smile: