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AV8Bert
Starting Member

2 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2012 :  7:06:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good evening one and all,

I am new to home control (as will become obvious) but would like to seek some advice.

I am about to undertake a kitchen remodel and am looking to add some cool lighting controls to the finished product. I will basically have (4) seperate banks of lights to be controlled. (3) of the sets will be recessed lights and the last will be a set of pendant lights. Currently, I am not looking to get the undercabinet lights involved or the appliances but am open to that as well.

Due to the current layout of lights in the kitchen, I have decided to strip the ceiling off to get all of the new lighting exactly where I want it.

I have heard of systems that have a USB cable from the wall switch to some sort of control box on the ceiling which would then direct power to the light bank. There will be three total switches and the end state would be for each of them to be able to control that varying functions scenes, and settings for all four light banks.

I am also open to any other system that will acheive the end state of being able to control the (4) seperate light banks. I have seen UPB systems but since I have to add (2) new light banks to the ceiling, this doesn't seem to be a good option (I could be wrong). I have seen many wall switch controllers that would be perfect for the job but can't find the info on the nuts and bolts of the system behind the wall and in the ceiling.

Any recommendations for the way forward would be much appreciated.

Tim

stusviews
Moderator

USA
10855 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2012 :  8:13:55 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
There are many paths for what you want to undertake, but IMO, it's best to go with conventional wiring keeping home automation in mind for two reasons. (I'm intentionally brief.)

First is that dedicated home automation system, although the most dependable, have a couple of significant limitations. They 1) require propriety devices and 2) become outdated. Second, standard wiring gives you or future buyers to opportunity to customize the system or even remove the home automation network.

Insteon (biased opinion) has the advantage of being a retrofit or new installation home automation network. So you can automate your kitchen now and the rest of the house in stages as conditions permit.

The only restriction is that each electric box contain a neutral wire, nearly standard in most municipalities, but often omitted at a switch box.

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AV8Bert
Starting Member

2 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2012 :  8:19:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was actually just looking at Insteon products. Seems to be very flexible. My house is a bit older and I know there is no neutral wire in my switch boxes. Any way around this?
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
10855 Posts

Posted - 05/08/2012 :  8:33:24 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes. Any wire-in Insteon device requires a line and a neutral. A load wire is not needed. Instead, the wires are easily connected differently at the fixture and an In-Line Linc dimmer or relay (depending on the load) is installed in the fixture box. Indistinguishable to the user.

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OliverMiguel
Starting Member

USA
1 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2013 :  01:16:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Even i have customized my kitchen in an similar manner but its better to go with conventional wiring.

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Edited by - OliverMiguel on 05/13/2013 06:18:48 AM
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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
578 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2013 :  1:48:26 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Some years ago when I had my house built I installed miles of wiring for the purpose of home control, TV and telephone distribution - it was before home computer networking. Today I use none of those wires.
I don't know about wiring codes in other regions, but where I live all electrical boxes must be grounded, even though the switch boxes do not contain the neutral. For the purpuse of X10/Insteon communications where the signal is very low level and that is the only signal the neutral wire would carry, connecting the device neutral to the ground presents no problem, nor does it create a safety issue.

GJN
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
10855 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2013 :  2:35:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Geo

Some years ago when I had my house built I installed miles of wiring for the purpose of home control, TV and telephone distribution - it was before home computer networking. Today I use none of those wires.
I don't know about wiring codes in other regions, but where I live all electrical boxes must be grounded, even though the switch boxes do not contain the neutral. For the purpuse of X10/Insteon communications where the signal is very low level and that is the only signal the neutral wire would carry, connecting the device neutral to the ground presents no problem, nor does it create a safety issue.


Connecting the device neutral to ground, that is, using ground as a neutral is out of compliance with the NEC. It also can make a GFCI outlet or AFCI circuit ineffective which is a safety issue.

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Geo
Advanced Member

Canada
578 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2013 :  6:45:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Only the receiver input tuned circuit would in this case be connected between the hot and the ground - it is a series resonant circuit tuned to approx. 120kHz. The 60Hz current flowing through this high impedance circuit is miniscule and nowhere even close to the current imbalance needed to affect a GFI. Its magnitude would be comparable to the current caused by capacitive coupling of a grounded metal cabinet to a power cord feeding into it.
Having said that, I hasten to say I am an engineer, not a licensed electrician and am only vaguely familiar with the code. I've seen quite a few regulations excluding certain solutions simply because the regulations must be generally applicable and cannot make exceptions based on some specific knowledge. I've used the ground as a return (neutral) path for several Insteon dimmers and proved to myself there was no safety or operational concern. But I would not want to become liable by making such an installation for someone else.
I consider this a technical forum where technical issues can be discussed. Whether certain solutions may be implemented or whether they comply with local codes is up to the readers.

GJN
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
10855 Posts

Posted - 05/11/2013 :  8:57:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I fully agree. It is a technical forum where technical issues can be discussed. But it's also a help forum for beginners

This topic began with the OP stating, "I have seen many wall switch controllers that would be perfect for the job but can't find the info on the nuts and bolts of the system behind the wall and in the ceiling."

That is, as the OP aptly indicated, a nuts and bolts question, not a technical issue. I proceed with the premise that the OP is not familiar with electric wiring. IMO, it is ill advised to recommend wiring in a way that is specifically not in compliance with the National Electrical Code.

That person is at risk, in the event the house is sold, a fire ensues, a permit required inspection occurs for some reason, etc.

Stu's Views is Education and Fun. What do YOU want to VIEW today?
MathLandia High school mathematics fun and learning.
Both Stu's Views and MathLandia are free websites that do not sell anything.
Saving energy is not always free. Be a world saver.
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