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Brand New Installation - Any help appreciated


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Hi All,

Can I start by saying thank you to anyone who helps in advance for the newbie doing his first home automation project.
So the project is my first home automation and I've picked control 4 because it seems the best middle of the road system, with loads of scope. 

I want to automate the house completely but the costs are prohibitive so Im wiring for everything now as I remodel the house but then will add rooms into the system over time.

I need help deciphering the world of home automation.

Questions I have and any help like I say appreciated :

What control module do I need as the brain's of the system I've looked ta C4 website and core 3 seems like the lates offering but what do you more knowledgable people say? If you was starting from scratch what system would you use and which controller.

Curtains and blinds what controller do I need to control my curtains and blinds - is it another module or do you run all this through the core 3?

Same question for the lighting?

Security what does C4 supply that can be used ot control my alarm and cctv system? I havent picked a cctv system or security system are some more compatable than others?

Gate controller how do I connect that to the core 3 is it all data lead driven?

Any Tips? What are the pitfalls I need to avoid?

Im sure there are loads more questions' and stuff Im not even asking that I should be asking ;) 

Any help appreciated and thanks for your time....






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You realize c4 is a dealer sold/installed system and not diy?

for controllers is there is a core 1, 3 and 5 along with a ca-1 and ca-10

how big is the end scope?  How much audio do you need?  That decides what controller. 

lights - control4 has it’s own hardware, or Lutron or cheap switches from Kasa or other smart bulbs could work.  Again many options 

blinds can be rollease, Somfy, qmotion or Lutron.  Or anything with RF control and use a Bond.  

alarms can be tons of stuff like elk, dsc, Honeywell.  Cameras that’s a mixed bag but find onvif cameras

hardware can also be country specific too

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Eggzlot - Aware that the system should be dealer installed and have a dealer installing the wiring, I think I can buy some of the modules myself though from second hand market, even off dealers on ebay. I am sure my local dealer will help with set up, Im just looking to save money on the hardware and learn more about the system and how it works.


Bxter - I would imagine most peeps posting for the first time have a one post count don't see how that makes the question weird. I used to run a few forums so yeah one posters advertising used to drive me and the mods insane but first time users getting involved in the forum are really what help keep them alive, a friendly welcome would go a lot further than disparaging comments. If you dont want to help then dont post innit? ;)

I thought this would be the place to get the best help on C4 - its called C4 Forums lol.






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The basics:

Core controllers (with the CA1 being a 'i need to add a cheap controller for zigbe special and the CA10 being the great mastermind unit for truly complex systems) is what you should look for for a new install. EA's currently do not limit your abilities much, beyond having a less open ZWave integration option. EAs should be considered a good way to add cheap extra controllers for local setups, or existing pieces that shouldn't require upgrading at this time, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it as a main in a new setup. Wther you need a 1,3 or 5 will depend a lot on what you're strating with and where you're thinking you'll end up in a reasonable (year maybe 2) timeframe once the system is launched. Feels like Core3 is likely a good starting point from the limited info so far.

Blinds: Qmotion is direct integration (or I should say, has blinds that are directly able to do so). Lutron requires a full lutron blind setup with bridge etc to integrate (which is a pretty standard lutron setup), Hunter Douglas, Somfy and others have their own bridges or modules, or can be integrated using Bondbridge. Note that NOT all blinds integrate equally. Some will allow you to literally set the precise % of open/close, some have great up/down/stop control and some are limited to just being open or closed. Just ask specifically if you've found a line you think you like on the forums.

Lighting, well there's C4's own, Lutron and numerous other options including most Zwave dimmers/switches. Honestly I would suggest you talk with your dealer on what they're comfortable with using. Some won't do anything but C4, others will happily use Zwave units. Do know that different lighting systems WILL come with limitations - especially if you're looking to do more advanced stuff with the lighting (as opposed to just turning things and off). Not all 3rd party options 'track' well in C4, some are simply slower to respond to commands. PLANNING to do a lot of lighting with 3rd party options is something that should be researched properly. Not that there aren't a lot of good options, but you should be aware of the limitations your choices will come with.

Security as mentioned , alarm panel wise lots of options, though geographic location may limit options. Qolsys is probably the easiest for you yourself to setup (as it's just disgustingly easy to setup) though you'll have to decide if you want monitoring by a station, sort of diy via alarm.com or just local/alerts through C4. Cameras run the gamut. If looking at devices yourself, separate the NVR and the cameras (ie assume that you'll need to feed the cams to a separate PoE switch, and not use a security NVR's back ports). Beyond Luma and Clare as options, look at drivercentral.io for a long list of cameras with good drivers.

Gate control is most commonly just done with relays - just make sure you run at least 2 or 3 direct burial CAT cables (2 for sure, 3 for sure if you're thinking of putting a camera there) to the gate.


As mentioned under security, but this goes equally for lights and blinds, be sure to look at drivercentral.io: it will list many (though not all) 3rd party drivers (many do come at a cost, cost is always per project, but some are paid for by manufacturers, and obvious one being hunterdouglas) for these types of items, and you can check drivers.control4.com for all drivers that are 'native' to control4 already.

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PS. Just FYI, it's almost impossible to give you a 'guide' to how you should setup your system in general: that is something a dealer needs to do with you in detail, though conversations and communications. Each system is (potentially VERY) unique: that's the great thing but also the challenge of this type of system.

Asking more specific individual questions on the forums (ie what are some of the best options for blinds - i want yo be able to do xyz) are much more likely to get detailed results.

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I also suggest you search this forum on each of the specific topics you listed above for more detailed recommendations. For example, there are threads on pre-wiring that will help you prep your house for the future. And others on network recommendations which are important to consider for todays smart home. 

And while C4 is not a DIY system, many on this forum do a lot of the system ourselves with support from our dealers or support from one of the remote dealers on this forum. 

Have fun!

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