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wappinghigh

An All house UPS. My no.1 "Next build" request

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You know other than putting in conduit for the inevitable "next wave" of cable.. what would be a C4 diehard *must do* for your next home build?

I'd vote for an All house UPS.. An all in one power backup device that would keep the entire house running off grid as soon as mains power failed..

Then something that systematically shut down every load (from least important..ie say TV, unnecessary lights, etc etc..to most important last ..say with over 24 hrs backup for "essentials"(router/network/fire alarm etc). But some way of shutting everything down in an ordely fashion...

But I really would have no idea about how to go about designing such a system.

At the moment I have like 5-6 small UPS's all around at the periphery.. all randomly timing out at different times. it is far from ideal..

Can someone point me to an "All house" UPS solution? Has anybody actually done this? Is this something that could be "retrofitted"? Are there large enough battery type UPS devices out there ? I mean is there a large enough APC? And how would it be wired? ...or would solar or alternative sources like a Blue Gen gas home generator be needed? What about night time?..would a backup diesel generator be needed?? Can C4 programming be used to help orderly shut down? And if you have such a set up, what did it cost?

Cheers.

Edited by wappinghigh

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I would suggest a large whole house generator, as a whole house UPS would require a HUGE battery and is just unrealistic. The generator would run off of natural gas or propane.

http://www.generac.com/Residential/HomeBackupSystems/

make sure you have very good power conditioning for your electronics as generators create a ton of noise

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You'd have to go generator for reliability, combined with some local UPS units to bridge the kick-in - solar may work but essentially you'd have to look at just going solar all the way where the grid is essentially your back-up to begin with. Power filtering is even more a must then it usually is.

Programming a phased shutdown is easy enough provided all those devices are in C4 - at that point a sensor connection on the generator is your trigger - I've seen some that have alarm trigger built in, for some you may need a high current sensor.

Once that sensor is in place the programming as said is fairly simply and can be done with few or no additional devices - While sensor is open (using a timer instead of an actual while would be my advice) you just shut down everything you don't want on every time the timer expires.

You could take this further for TV's and sources etc by using outlet control - retro using C4 outlet modules, similar devices or CA controllers or IP addressable power units, shutting down those to prevent units from coming on at all.

Price is hard to say in general terms - too many factors. Retro is possible depending on the house really - city-block build is like a problem, acreage is not.

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Wow guys! A big thanks for all the help.

Can we keep this thread going with more suggestions....

I think power backup is a very overlooked aspect of home automation... given reliable power is so essential to maintain stable networks etc...

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Here is a link to Kohler Generators:

http://www.kohlergenerators.com/index.html

Here is a link to the "home" products:

http://www.kohlergenerators.com/home-generators/productsLanding

Kohler is the trusted brand in our area. I know several people on our street that have one and we are currently in the process of installing one. These generators are powered by natural gas and automatically kick on when the power goes out. I have been at a party and didn't know the power went out, until we left and only the houses on the street with power were those with generators. They come in all shapes and sizes and it is up to you how much you would like to power when the traditional power goes out.

You could also go to your local Home Depot or Lowes, or at least you can around here. They are now carrying what they sell as home generator solutions, though they may not be able to answer any questions. Here is a link to there selection online, which will give you some pricing.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/Search?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&keyword=home+generators&Ns=None&Ntpr=1&Ntpc=1&selectedCatgry=Search+All#/?c=1&Ns=P_REP_PRC_MODE|1

Keep in mind that purchasing the generator is only a piece of the puzzle. You will need a pad of some sort for it to sit on and you will have to have an electrician hook everything up, both of which can get costly. Unless you know about electricity, I would talk to an electrician or someone that knows what they are doing. There are a lot of things that could go wrong here. Just my $0.02.

Hope this helps.

Edited by DWRobinson

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Gee thanks again. That Kohler domestic solution looks fantastic!

Kohler distribute over here (but their website says just industrial) I am going to make some enquiries whether I can import a domestic generator..

I agree: gas fired generation is an awesome solution.

Thanks for being so helpful :)

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we are currently in the process of installing one. These generators are powered by natural gas and automatically kick on when the power goes out.

Can you please post how you are going with this. Which model? What load you need to cover? Any Control4 integration? What additional C4 programming you are planning to switch loads off etc etc.. Very appreciative thanks!

Edited by wappinghigh

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So can you go completely off grid with these solutions? Say Combine them with Solar? I already have a 2.5 KW that copes just fine with the baseload when the sun is out..

We are locked into terrible coal based power here and our gov. refuses to give these archaic electricity suppliers here the kick up the arse they deserve....Independent gas powered off grid power generation: what a totally fantastic concept.. :)

Edited by wappinghigh

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I live in Montreal area and trust me when we get a power failure we get a power failure.

I have a UPS on my C800, router and modem and a small UPS for the cable modem.

Have a 17kw Generac generator that kicks in after 15 seconds of power failure and basically the whole house is powered via gen/propane.

No reboot of any equipment, works like a charm.

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Ok. Thanks. So is there a kick in lag with all these gas generators? Like you still need a UPS or a battery hooked up in the generator itself to cover this delay?

Edited by wappinghigh

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Again there's many many options. If you want true uninterrupted across the whole house then yes - recently did one where this was done partially - in this example A/V central gear, all TVs bedside outlets and hallway lights all had battery back-up but the rest did not (secondary lights, fridge etc).

15 seconds with partial lights isn't a big deal. - but it's a "generic" generator solution, not uninterrupted power.

As for drivers - not that I'm aware of but most I've seen have contacts or as mentioned other sensing options are possible (ie for one I have a 12v power supply plugged into an outlet powered ONLY by the generator - that triggers a local relay that is connected to a controller sensor) - and as this is based o sensors no driver is really needed.

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Yeah, it isn't that difficult to setup. Just wire in an automatic transfer switch and when the power goes out, it senses that...switches over to generator power and fires up the generator. It's a beautiful thing.

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I love it when it goes dark for the long 15 seconds because I am anticipating the best part of automation.

If I had music playing it picks up the song 20 secs further into it.

If I was watching TV I select rewind for the 20 seconds of commercial I missed.

If I am in the shower and dropped the soap I enjoy the hot water I will not run out of.

The cost of covering those 20 seconds are just not worth the cost to me.

P

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Again there's many many options. If you want true uninterrupted across the whole house then yes - recently did one where this was done partially - in this example A/V central gear, all TVs bedside outlets and hallway lights all had battery back-up but the rest did not (secondary lights, fridge etc).

15 seconds with partial lights isn't a big deal. - but it's a "generic" generator solution, not uninterrupted power.

As for drivers - not that I'm aware of but most I've seen have contacts or as mentioned other sensing options are possible (ie for one I have a 12v power supply plugged into an outlet powered ONLY by the generator - that triggers a local relay that is connected to a controller sensor) - and as this is based o sensors no driver is really needed.

Thanks for the sensible approach.

Yes. What I am talking about is no lag to the important devices (network/computers/switches/router/fire alarms/security panel etc) .... a 20 sec delay..even a 2 sec delay *is* important to these devices. As is sinewave power protection to important sensitive electrical devices like hifi gear. etc. Of course nobody really cares if there is a lag for say 20 secs for lighting or even the TV (for me)... That's my point. Using logic within a Control4 environment to set this up, then instigate an orderly shut down. My power went down for 6 hours the other day. Delay's of this order are common in my neighbourhood. :)

Edited by wappinghigh

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No reason to integrate the generator... A well designed system is going to have almost no latency, my lights never go off on a switch over they flicker for a fraction of a second. Security, and fire if integrated with security, should already be on battery backup. So they are not of concern. Network, computer,and Sensative AV stuff might be the only stuff you want on a ups. I'd only put network stuff on if I did lots of cloud work where I could be in the middle of an upload of large files.

These solutions aren't cheap but an experienced contractor is your friend, we used a commercial outfit that specializes in keeping police and fire dispatch centers up and running, we went with a Cummins/Owen solution. http://www.cumminsonan.com/residential/products/homestandby/compare?gensetId=115&detail=true

Edited by cashmoney

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Even a bit can throw off networking and controllers - and if it happens often it can get annoying. Whether it's worth the investment is up to everyone personally, but I can see some value in a simple contact integration, especially if it happens regularly for long stretches.

A timer started on contact closed could be your countdown and if things stay off the grid for say 30 minutes, you could use programming to disable certain sections of the house to conserve energy or fuel costs from the generator. Not a great stretch to do (on top of a generator in general).

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The generator we chose is http://www.kohlergenerators.com/home-generators/products/20RESA?brand=rgst&source=google&mat=bmm&cat=branded&kwd=kohler+20resa&id=58406230-VQ16-c-VQ6-30977104050-VQ15-1t3, though I am not sure what accessories we added on. I will try to dig that out when I get a chance. We use an APC S10 Power Conditioner with Battery Backup in the rack. I plan to use a signal from the APC to Control4 to "signal" that the power has gone out. The generator will kick on in 10-15 seconds and power will be restored. I don't plan to have everything (tree lights for example) come back on until we are off the generator though.

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So can you go completely off grid with these solutions? Say Combine them with Solar? I already have a 2.5 KW that copes just fine with the baseload when the sun is out..

We are locked into terrible coal based power here and our gov. refuses to give these archaic electricity suppliers here the kick up the arse they deserve....Independent gas powered off grid power generation: what a totally fantastic concept.. :)

You could, but this would be an expensive way to power a house unless the solar power is doing the heavy lifting. I would assume that a power company can produce electricity much cheaper in bulk than you could at your house with a "small" power plant.

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WE sell generators and can help you out. my house has 8 plus UPS's and a large generator. this is the only way to go.

the UPS's should last long enough to have the genset come online and then have another 20 minutes or so left.

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Thanks GJ and DWR> I've got a 2.3KW solar already. My house needs peak 12-14KW. Base load can be up to 6-8KW with everybody in the house

Folks who think they can power a house on Solar alone are kidding themselves. THere have been other threads on this.

The point I am making is there needs to be a total solution to back up power. Co-ordinated by Home Automation.

Control4 would be perfect for this..but where is that solution?

One of the problems with Solar installs here (and I assume it's the same with generators) is government regulation allows you to feed excess power back to the grid (eg say when Sun is out and nobody is home)

But this is a problem when the grid goes down.. because there are no smarts to shut off the Solar from the grid to avoid electrocuting the line workers!

So power companies refuse a solar install that acts as backup power.

The concept of getting Solar to power your house baseload when the grid goes down is fine in principle but not in there yet practice. In any case definitely no use at night..

That's why I am saying all this is not thought thru properly and I would love to see a total solution controlled by Control4.

I see this as a great use for Control4. Co-ordination of Solar<>Grid<>Gas Generator<>UPS so this just all works and kicks in in an orderly fashion with no drop outs of major critical equipment such as networks/main c4 controllers/computers and the like... then limited backup power use and orderly shut down of non critical power loads leaving critical ones like alarms still functioning..

Edited by wappinghigh

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