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General hardware questions


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I have a series of general hardware questions. I currently have a small C4 system that is in my basement only. HC-300, eight dimmers and one 6-button keypad. I like the system a lot. . . caught the bug!

I’d like to expand throughout my house. Starting with lighting, and maybe also doing some integrated audio. Unfortunately, I can’t do everything I’d like to due to budgetary concerns, however I will be able to get a pretty decent whole house system up and running. On to the questions!

1. As I said before, my only controller is an HC-300, which is located in the basement. Will my zigbee coverage be enough to make it all the way upstairs? I currently have 7 dimmers and one 6-button in the basement and one dimmer at the top of the stairs. I’d be adding 12 more dimmers/2-button keypads on the first floor, and 4 on the second floor.

2. Ipod docks. How do they work? Do they just get plugged into the network somewhere, or do they need to have audio cables go into the main HC-300? This sort of relates to my next question. . .

3. I’d like to get music into my bedroom upstairs and control it via a C4 device. I was thinking there are a couple of ways of doing this. I guess it all depends on how the Ipod dock works. Would I be able to browse music on my Ipod (and NAS) and play in my bedroom?

a. First scenario: Run an Ethernet speakerpoint to power the speakers. I can run Ethernet up into my attic and then come down through the ceiling. I’d need to be able to control it however. Would an LCD keypad work for this? Ideally, I’d rather not mount anything in the walls – I’d like it to sit on my nightstand.

b. Second scenario: Instead of the LCD keypad, use a MTS. Utilize the audio out and run to an aftermarket amp to power the speakers. I haven’t figured out how I would control the volume levels.

c. Is there a better option? I am all ears!

4. Control of my outside lights. I have compact fluorescents outside that are on a threeway. I would never need to dim them. Would I use the ELV dimmer on the load side to control these, or would a regular wireless switch work? Regular keypad at the other switch location? A secondary question is this, I live in Wisconsin. . .there are times in the winter where the temperature in my garage will get to be well below freezing. Would a C4 product be able to handle this? The spec sheet says no. . . how have they held up in the field?

5. Thermostats . . . are they worth it? I have a simple programmable unit right now, however I’d like to be able to have just the fan turn on at various times during the day and night to circulate the air in my house.

That’s it for now, thanks for all of your input!

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1) Kind of - it depends on house construction. You may find that zigbee performance is sufficient, but I would recommend using HC200s on the first and second floors with different zigbee channels to ensure a quick zigbee path.

2) They work with network to control it, and the audio cables have to be connected back to the matrix switch on the multi channel amp or into a controller for it to be digitized and sent to speakerpoints.

3) a) An ethernet speakerpoint can drive it, you can control it with a remote or LCD keypad, or the OSD. The iPod behaves like with all other docks, and turns off the screen when docked. There's not a table top box for the LCD keypad, but there are 7" wireless touch screens.

B) Control the volume with the knob on either the 10 button keypad or mini touch. Or use a remote.

4) Don't use dimmers for CFLs, especially since you dont need to dim them. Use a switch, and a two button keypad on the other leg of the threeway. As far as the freezing cold... it doesn't get that cold here in Texas :)

5) Thermostats really depend on what type of unit you have and the integration. At my home, it was as simple as calibrating the unit to my old thermostat, and swapping the wires over to the c4 unit after powering down the a/c breakers. Things get more complex with multizone, two stage, and radiant heating solutions. You'll need to post more info about your setup.

Hope that helps.

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I have one out on my kids' playground, 30 feet outside behind the house.

(Also in Utah).

Never had a problem with the heat *or* cold, and it's just in a regular electrical enclosure, the kind with a clear cover that you can open for plugs.

What you do have to watch out for is spiders.



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i have dimmers switches and keypads working in canada at least at -30degrees -- they generate enough internal heat

i have installed lcd keypads outdoors also

never had a issue - but have had to put heaters in the lcd keypads in some locations

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Thanks for the responses! I think I am going to hold off on the audio portion. While it would be pretty neat, my wife and I aren't really THAT big into music, so I am thinking that we could do other things that may have more benefit to us (GE Concord and control of garage doors). I may post another topic on that!

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