Smart home starting out - new build

macbeth

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Mar 30, 2008
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in the planning stages of a new build. Want to plan as much smart home tech as budget allows.
Thinking of light switches rather than bulbs, but would consider all advice before diving in.
Have Alexa in the house (several echos, echo dots) so would want them compatible?
Has anyone looked at importing from overseas because local prices look verrrrry steep.
Thoughts
 

powermzii

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Jun 4, 2007
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thanks. reasoning? Explain....I'm a bit of a rookie here
is wifi not reliable?
For things like TVs, computers,gaming consoles etc its best to use cable than wifi - wifi can be finicky at the best of times. All your IoT devices (switches, bulbs, etc) will be on wifi but they generally dont use a lot of bandwith and are mostly on the 2.4ghz while your faster phones etc would be on the 5ghz frequecy
 

Messugga

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thanks. reasoning? Explain....I'm a bit of a rookie here
is wifi not reliable?
No, WIFI is subject to interference.

You can do a hell of a lot of home automation-related comms over CAT5e/CAT6, be this simple IO switching or ethernet comms.
 

macbeth

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Mar 30, 2008
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135
thanks. so the ethernet will then be for the other automation devices, not lights, and for the other tech that uses them?
 

Gielie01

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Mar 16, 2018
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Read up on the forum, those that do import use banggood, ive had great resultsusing them.
Starting out can be messy, lots to consider. When it comes to light switches, my end game was always to keep the wife happy, she isnt a smart tech fan and prefers to have some form of mechanical feedback. Myself, ive never found a touch switch I like, so the compromise was easy, all of my light switches use Sonoff mini's and mostly look and function as normal, some have "special features". Redundancy is important, all my devices are flashed with ESPHome, so my devices function without internet, and even stay functional if my network or server is down (it happens when you dont expect it)

I have "dimmer switches" on some of mine, as I use "single click" and "double click" to do separate things. A good example is that a single click turns the lounge light on, but double turns the lamps in the lounge on.

I recently saw a great post on another forum using both smart bulbs and sonoff mini's.
The added bonus is that many smart bulbs are dim-able.

Make sure you have good wifi, and decent coverage everywhere, at some point your run of the mill router wont keep up anymore.

Watch all the youtube videos out there and see what tech is available, see what others are doing and using, find the nice stuff and implement it early.

Stair lighting comes to mind, passage lights when walking a night, for the most part to me its all about convenience.
 

Pineapple Smurf

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Banggood.com FTW
Love that place
Remember you may only order from overseas 3 times per year up to R20 000 in total
After that you need an Importers Code coz SARS are horrible people
 

Mike Hoxbig

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thanks. so the ethernet will then be for the other automation devices, not lights, and for the other tech that uses them?
Even if it's just for mesh node backhaul, it would be worth it.

Use cat6 cable to future proof as much as possible...
 

Neuk_

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Get ethernet jacks in every room

Agreed although I just got the builders to run 25mm conduiting and I ran the LAN cable myself as it is fairly easy to do if you don't mind getting in the roof. I also had our fiber CPE relocated to a more central location in the house, bought a proper WiFi router and from there ran the LAN cable to our lounge which has a small network switch which the Apple TV, Samsung TV, PS3, etc. are all plugged in to. I ran another LAN cable to our entertainment area at the back of the property and use an old Netgear ADSL WiFi router as an AP as signal from the main router isn't that great.
 

powermzii

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Agreed although I just got the builders to run 25mm conduiting and I ran the LAN cable myself as it is fairly easy to do if you don't mind getting in the roof. I also had our fiber CPE relocated to a more central location in the house, bought a proper WiFi router and from there ran the LAN cable to our lounge which has a small network switch which the Apple TV, Samsung TV, PS3, etc. are all plugged in to. I ran another LAN cable to our entertainment area at the back of the property and use an old Netgear ADSL WiFi router as an AP as signal from the main router isn't that great.
The space in my roof is so tight... i have to go up there at some point to re-run some cable that's unsightly (for my AP and TV) - but if i had to doa enw build i'd definitely get proper conduit into all the rooms.
 

Neuk_

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The space in my roof is so tight... i have to go up there at some point to re-run some cable that's unsightly (for my AP and TV) - but if i had to doa enw build i'd definitely get proper conduit into all the rooms.

Ours is only tight at the edges, I can stand in the middle of our roof and there is probably still 2m head room above that, it is ****ing hot though even in winter! If I hadn't got our builders to run conduiting when we renovated it would have been a mess getting LAN cable from the main house to entertainment area. I also got them to run conduiting for the fiber line from boundary wall to inside the roof which made reinstallation of the line and CPE a breeze.
 

ToxicBunny

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One of the things I would definitely suggest is get as much conduiting as you can in the walls and even in the slab at build stage even if you don't use it for 10 years, at least its there for sometime in the future and you won't have to do destructive work to get additional put in.

I would concur with the ethernet jack in every room, I have retrofitted half the house so far, but have all the cabling in the roof for the additional rooms when they're needed or when I feel brave enough to do it.

I would also suggest you consider a "machine room" type of thing in your house if you have the space and budget, something that is big enough to hold batteries/inverters/switches/DB board etc so you can centralise everything into one place.
 

Neuk_

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One of the things I would definitely suggest is get as much conduiting as you can in the walls and even in the slab at build stage even if you don't use it for 10 years, at least its there for sometime in the future and you won't have to do destructive work to get additional put in.

I would concur with the ethernet jack in every room, I have retrofitted half the house so far, but have all the cabling in the roof for the additional rooms when they're needed or when I feel brave enough to do it.

I would also suggest you consider a "machine room" type of thing in your house if you have the space and budget, something that is big enough to hold batteries/inverters/switches/DB board etc so you can centralise everything into one place.

That is a good idea, we put a cupboard centrally in our house and the top shelf houses our fibre CPE, main WiFi router, alarm panel, CCTv NVR, a network switch, our Home Assistant RPi and a screen for the CCTv NVR. Our inverter, MPPT, batteries, etc are in our smaller garage which is perfect as I wouldn't want large batteries in the house.
 

Dolby

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Get a DB board full of these cause, well, they look cool!

1631026545455.png
 

gbyleveldt

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I hear the guys about running ethernet to every room but honestly, I think it's too much. Only place I have hard ethernet is in my lab/study and runs to the cameras. I have 62 wifi devices, including 4 TV's and an Xbox that's happily running over wifi without issue. Granted, I have 4 APs installed (which do run ethernet back to the switch) but that's it.

Yes, ethernet in every room is 'best', but it's also unnecessary and if you want to hook something up to that point, you have to run a cable to it. Anyway, just my perspective FWIW
 

Mike Hoxbig

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I hear the guys about running ethernet to every room but honestly, I think it's too much. Only place I have hard ethernet is in my lab/study and runs to the cameras. I have 62 wifi devices, including 4 TV's and an Xbox that's happily running over wifi without issue. Granted, I have 4 APs installed (which do run ethernet back to the switch) but that's it.

Yes, ethernet in every room is 'best', but it's also unnecessary and if you want to hook something up to that point, you have to run a cable to it. Anyway, just my perspective FWIW
If it's a new build, you may as well get it done. Just makes your life much easier. Rather have it and not need it, than need it and have to crawl through your roof...
 

Saba'a

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May 21, 2009
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in the planning stages of a new build. Want to plan as much smart home tech as budget allows.
Thinking of light switches rather than bulbs, but would consider all advice before diving in.
Have Alexa in the house (several echos, echo dots) so would want them compatible?
Has anyone looked at importing from overseas because local prices look verrrrry steep.
Thoughts
Switches best as you can use standard light bulbs. Cheaper in the long run. Also more stable and easier to return online after any power/wifi outages.
 

krycor

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Aug 4, 2005
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Central PoE switch system would be awesome with a Ethernet port at every plug. Easy to set WiFi points, voip, tv, ip cam etc
 
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