It was the day. The day to wire in the Z-Wave devices on the switches and test that the openHAB software was able control the switches. The tests had been done. And this was the real deal. The devices had been purchased. The instructions had been revised several times. The circuitry had been discussed with the electricians several times. All the necessary doubts had been cleared. The softwares had been tried and tested. And yet when it came to the day – Of Course, we had problems. But glad to say, this story had a good ending and lessons learnt from all the problems we faced. Here’s a visual capture of the day.
Go with the manual not instincts. The electricians may have been in their line of work for several years – but Z-Wave devices or any other home automation devices are relatively new. Do not allow them to go with their “instinct” – no matter how experienced they may be. We wasted a lot of time because the circuit diagram apparently was not clear enough and the electricians decided to go with their gut feeling rather than trying to learn a bit more.
Lesson #1: Go with the manual not instincts.
And that’s how the Z-Wave devices are wired in. That’s about all I can say!
The Clipsal switches connected to the Z-Wave devices. Then a quick test to check they “talk” to the home controller device – the Aeotec Z-Stick S2.
Another problem we faced was during the wiring of 2 way switches using Toggle push button instead of momentary.
Lesson #2: For 2 way switches use Momentary push buttons not Toggle.
Honestly, we did need a bit of light moment. We were all a bit nervous and a bit of humour was most welcome!
SS getting his grey cells working.
And may I add, that in the middle of all this, SS’s OS was auto updated, he decide to restart as prompted and then his machine would not work past the login screen. Talk about bad timing!!! We frantically & unsuccessfully tried to get everything setup on my MAC. Finally, we had to resort to borrowing our brother’s computer to keep on progressing. Phew!!
Lesson #3: That OS update can wait.
Set the wiring. Test via openHAB. Repeat.
This went on for ages! The delay was because of a medley of problems listed above.
This was what one of the switches looked like on the inside – a 2 way dimmer switch for the hallway and two switches for the outside. After all the complex wiring was done, we had a simple BIG problem – How the hell do we fit all that into the small wall socket!!
Lesson #4: Think things through before beginning the project.
But these guys made it happen! I was glad not to have the bulging mounting plates.
The wall plate neatly hides all the chaos inside.
Certificate of Compliance for the electrical work – A must have. This will be our saviour – if in case we run into some serious electrical problem with the Z-Wave devices.
The number crunching at the end – which I must say, I was not too disappointed about. A project of this scale is said to normally cost around $25K to $30k. For us because the project was all lead by SS, and the electrical guys basically only did the wiring, it cost us just under $3K. Not bad eh!
Lesson #5: Sometimes, it is possible to achieve big things with small budget 🙂
And at the end of that long day, I was saying “All Lights Off” to turn off all the house lights.
Our brother still does not understand why we need to use our mobile phones or voice commands to control the switches. And he also does not understand our excitement. So over to you…Does the idea of home automation excite you? Or is it just our geeky nature that is sending us flying over the moon over our little big project? Would love to hear your thoughts.
The Daily Post: Achievement