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The term 'pre-wiring' refers to the installation of cables and wires during a new home's construction. It includes the AC electrical wiring, as well as the low voltage, home systems cabling.

Not so long ago, the majority of homes were wired with little more than the AC electrical power-lines, a few phone lines, and a few TV cables. Times have changed. Electrical and security system contractors routinely install low voltage communication cabling for a wide range of smart home systems. Of course, the new technology does still, for the most part, require connection to the same old AC power line; but some unique and highly specific requirements must also be met.

If you're considering opting out of pre-wiring based on the wide availability of wireless devices today, remember that, despite industry pushes toward standardization, many wireless devices still use proprietary communication protocols, making them incompatible with other manufacturer's products. Partly for this reason, most home systems products are designed with structured wiring in mind. Remember also that pre-wiring is a permanent upgrade to your home, increasing its value at sale time.

Some of the home systems that require pre-wiring are security; home theater and entertainment; phones, door-phones and intercoms; PC and internet networks; surveillance cameras; driveway vehicle detection; communicating thermostats; motorized window treatments; entry systems; and irrigation systems. In addition to installing access ports for these systems, you should also decide upon at least two locations for centralized controls, i.e., one in the living room and one in the master bedroom.

The pre-wiring of an average size home entails the running of miles of cables and usually requires several days to few weeks for two installers to complete. The cost of low voltage pre-wiring varies, depending in some measure upon the number and length of cable pulls, as well as the number of terminations, but you can expect a range of between $2000 to $7500 for medium size homes, to well above that for larger homes.

This Structured Pre-Wire Plan is intended only as a general frame of reference, and should be altered to meet your specific requirements in accordance with industry practices identified in the Consumer Electronic Bus standard, which defines how information should travel throughout the home. Compliance with these guidelines insures that the residence will be pre-wired for all future needs. Z-COMM takes the time to write up a scope-of-work and, if possible, to accurately markup the builder's floor plans. And specify where in each room you want the cable terminations, as well as the type of jacks and color of wall plates to be used at each termination. All cables running into the home control distribution center will be labeled with a room name and function. Lastly, all cables will be tested for continuity to ensure there are no shorts, opens, mislabels, or incorrect runs.

MDF (main distribution area)
should be established in an area adjacent to the electrical service panel in the basement, garage or service area. A 4X6' backboard should be installed to secure the prewired cabling to their appropriate positions in preparation for the installation of the security, cable/satellite distribution, phones, PC/Internet network, audio distribution

Two cable runs of RG6 quad shield coaxial cable should be "home run" from each applicable room or area back to the MDF. RG6 cable is used for cable modems, cable/satellite, DVD, & video cameras. The quad shielding on coaxial cable insures a minimum loss of signal quality even if the cables are routed out side or around power wiring.

Two or more cable runs of Category 5E cable should be "home run" from each room planned with a phone, PC, system wall controllers, digital audio controls, thermostats, IR receivers, and cameras back to the MDF, Category 5 enhanced cable consists of 4 pair of twisted wires. The cable is immune to electronic noise and is tested and certified to communication speeds that far exceed the speed of our home networks. We suggest using different color cable for each application to easily identify cables in a bundle.

High quality jacketed 14 and 16 gauge stranded speaker wire should be pre-wired to each of the rooms and exterior areas of the home identified with speakers and analog volume controls, from the area identified for the home entertainment center.

A category 5E cable should be prewired from the home's primary PC to the MDF for programming and control of the PC based home controller if needed.

The electrical contractor should be instructed to insure that the line, neutral, & switch legs are available at all switch box locations and that only deep switch boxes be used for all planned smart switch and receptacle locations.

Specify that a minimum of 12 power receptacle outlets be installed at the MDF on its own power circuit ("breaker").  And 8 power receptacle at the entertainment centers. areas. It it also best to plan on battery backups for all sensitive equipment.



What is a Smart Home?

Smart Home is the term commonly used to define a residence that uses a Home Controller to integrate the residence's various home automation systems. The most popular Home Controllers are those that are connected to a Windows based PC. Integrating the home systems allows them to communicate with one another through the home controller, thereby enabling single button and voice control of the various home systems simultaneously.

For example, a scenario such as I'm Home could be triggered by pressing one button on a Key-chain Remote from your vehicle as you approach the driveway. The Home Controller receives the Key-chain Remote command triggering a scenario, pre-programmed and stored in the home controller. The celestial clock in the controller knows that it is 8 pm and past sunset, in your geographical location, therefore starting the scenario by sequentially turning on the lighting in the driveway, garage entry, walkway, hallway, and kitchen. It then disarms the security system, opens the garage door, unlocks the interior garage entry door, adjusts the thermostat(s) to a preset home position, and turns on the whole-house audio system. The home control processor is essentially the Hub of the home systems network.

The following is an overview of the system features that can be included in your Smart Home System.


Smart home components

Optional Equipment

Security, Smoke Detection, & Access System

We recommend that a central station monitored security & smoke detection system be installed. This is a Hardwired / Wireless multi-tasking centrally monitored system. Monitored contacts should be installed at all first floor and basement exterior doors and windows, as well as glass break detectors, interior motion detectors, heat detectors and smoke detectors. Plain English keypad stations should be located at three locations including the Master BdRm. 

A 300' range ultra-secure coded remote control system with (2) 4 Button Key Chain remotes

Can be provided for control of gates, garage doors, interior doors, interior and exterior entrance lighting and the security system from arriving vehicles. The system can be expanded to include exterior motion detectors or even  driveway vehicle detector probes.


Distribution System for Cable/Satellite, CCTV, Video & Internet Network.

RG6 Coax Cable & Category 5 Cable distribution system will be installed at the MDF. This Panel combined with the use of Infrared components will perform the signal amplification, modulation and distribution of the video signals from your Satellite, Cable programming, and entrance cameras to those rooms planned with a TV or PC. An IR target will be installed in the rooms planned with a TV to enable video source selection and control of Satellite programming, Cable & the Entrance Camera. If Satellite Dish is utilized this will allow connection of 8 or more Satellite Receivers with individual control. with the use of Programmed Universal Remotes should be used for control of TV, A/V, and lighting.

The Cat5/6 distribution portion of the panel provides the convenience of a patch panel to distribute voice and data to each room directly from the phone system. A PC LAN 8 node Hub will be included in the panel. High Speed Internet Cable Service or DSL Service can be established on the network to allow all family members to be online simultaneously. Multimedia outlets installed in each room will provide phone service, video, and PC Network connection data where required. 

Phone System 

A  Phone System should be installed and integrated at the MDF. The system is expandable to 6 incoming lines and 24 extensions. The system will include Caller ID, a door phone at the front entry, hands free intercom & paging. The available phone handsets include 900MHZ cordless system phones, corded LCD and non LCD system phones. 

A Wireless Phone System would be an alternative to the Hardwired Phone System.It would include two incoming lines, 10 extension with voice recognition & PC/Internet integration, or the two line, 8 extension Siemens Gigaset which is extremely clear, high performance, and attractively priced.Home Control and Automation System

An PLC ( power line carrier)

Network will be created on the house electrical service using Surge Protection, Signal Couplers, Amplifiers, and noise filters as required to ensure rock-solid system operation.

A integrated home controller will be installed. Most are Windows based, PC programmable home control system that interconnects the Phones, HVAC, PC,TV, Video, A/V, Lighting and all other home systems, allowing them to communicate with one another for control purposes. it would also includes digital and analog inputs as well as relay contact closures for reliable interfacing to all other home systems. The Power Line Carrier (XlO PLC) network will be established on the electrical service to enable control signaling on the AC power line throughout the residence and exterior lighting and recreation areas. Phone control is integrated by turning any touch tone phone into a great system controller.

Smart Wall Switches / Modules

will be located to insure adequate safety, security, and scene lighting. TouchScreens, and 4 Button Leviton Wall Controllers will be installed to enable automatic and remote control of selected interior and exterior landscape and pool lighting, house audio, and status conditions. This insures that the residence will always present a lived in appearance. The 4 Button Wall Controllers and TouchScreens also provide a means to trigger Scenarios such as Party Time, Away, Movie Time, Good Night, I'm Home etc. that involve several home systems automatically with one button control. Voice Response can be provided for Scenario selections, Guest Arrivals, and Wake-ups etc as desired. An RS232 cable should be routed from the smart home system device at the MDF to your primary PC for both control and programming from your PC.


Optional Home Control Sub-Systems:

  • Dimming Smart Switches can be added to create "one touch" scene lighting, as can additional TouchScreens and Wall Controllers.
  • An Irrigation Controller, controlled by Stargate can provide convenient integrated lawn & garden automatic irrigation.
  • Smart bi-directional Thermostats can be installed to offer centralized control based on time of day selections, or remote & local phones and or universal hand held remotes.
  • Voice recognition software can be installed on the primary PC and can be integrated with the Smart Home phone system to easily trigger scenarios such as Good Night, I?m home, etc.
  • The system can be expanded with an Infrared Expander to allow "one touch" control of whole house audio systems and home theaters with the same 4 Button Wall Controllers and TouchScreens.
  • A Pool/Spa Controller can be installed and integrated  to offer complete system control.

Whole House Audio System

A  central based audio system will be installed at the designated Entertainment Center location. The system can will consist of a AVR Audio/Video/Receiver, Flush Mounted In-Wall and In Ceiling multipurpose speakers and exterior speakers with  zone source selection, and volume controls. This system can be upgraded to include other amplifiers or speaker types as well as by adding room Touch Screens or Key Pads for remote source selection and volume control in place of the proposed room volume controls. 

This system shall be integrated at the MDF to permit  Voice Response through the house audio system for audio caller ID, audio reminders, and house status such as the temperature in each room security status, garage door position and more as desired.