Category Archives: electrics
As well as installing the carbon monoxide detectors, we have also installed some new lights. Until now, we have had some bare wires sticking out of the wall (safely terminated, of course). We had been waiting to find the right lights and we struck lucky a couple of weeks ago in John Lewis. We bought a couple of Tessa uplighters for the lounge and a small waterproof bulkhead light for above the shower cubicle upstairs.
We fitted the carbon monoxide detectors today. These were installed into each of the rooms where there is a solid fuel (i.e. log burning) stove. The units have to be main powered and linked into the same circuit as the heat and smoke alarms elsewhere in the building. We took quite a bit of time looking for half decent units – a number of the units were large and chunky.
These units from Kidde just look like a smoke detector. They were around £40 each and were supplied by www.discounthomelighting.co.uk.
If one of the heat or smoke detectors is activated, all of the connected alarms will go off. These CO alarms will display “FiRe” on their LED display. If one of the CO alarms detects carbon monoxide, all of the connected CO alarms will be activated.
While we have been sorting out the small wall at the front of the property, we are also sorting out the uplighters that will light up the front wall at night. This has been a little more involved that I first imagined.
There seems little point in shining light onto the wall directly underneath a window – it isn’t going to show any texture on the wall and it is only going to shine light inside. So we have decided to place the lights evenly under the parts of the wall without windows. I think this should work, but I am worried that the lights are not evenly spaced.
The next concern was how far do the uplighters have to be from the wall to illuminate the wall. This obviously depends on a number of factors – type of light, type of lamp, distance between the wall and the lamp etc. The only really way of finding out what it might look like is to try it! With that in mind, we put a plug on one of the lights and experimented with how far away it should be from the wall.
We now have lights in the older part of the property. We have had them for a week or so, but now we have light switches to turn them on! Previously, we had to revert to using an iPad to turn the lights on and off. Bizarrely, I could turn the lights on and off anywhere in the world – except (apparently) the room that I was in as there was no light switch. It doesn’t take long for the novelty of having to use an iPad all the time to wear off. And before you ask, yes, you can use an iPhone too! See previous post for information on the web interface.
In this part of the building alone, there are around 20 lighting circuits (a lighting circuit is a group of lights controlled by a switch) and about the same number of light switches.
Today we have installed all of the light switches and, after a bit of messing about, the switches do seem to control the right lights (most of the time). Since the mapping between lights and switches is done in software, we can always modify the arrangement later on (unlike in a conventional system). We had to reprogram a few of the switches, but all in all, it went pretty well. We have removed the stainless steel front plates from the switches. This allows the rooms to be decorated without getting paint on the switches (and still being able to turn the lights on and off). For more information, see previous post on light switches.
As well as the lights, the bathroom extractor fans are also controlled by the lighting computer. This means that we can configure the system so that the extractor fans do not come on after midnight (say) as this might disturb others in the house.
In the upstairs bathroom, there are two lighting circuits. One controls that main lights (and turns on the fan). The other controls the LED lights in the shelf and along the plinth for the bath. This circuit does not turn the fan on. This means that you can have a bath and just turn the LED lights on without having the fan running.
The building inspector came around yesterday and everything went well. We have one more visit due. This is when the building work is all finished. Usually before moving in.
On his way out, he mentioned that one of the things that they would check on final completion would be the carbon monoxide detectors. Apparently, we need a carbon monoxide detector in every room where there is a solid fuel stove. It can’t be a standalone one (those cheap battery operated units), but must be connected into the same circuit as the smoke detectors.
This is a bit of problem since some of the ceilings have now been plastered. The electricians have had to cut a couple of holes in the ceiling to pull a new set of cables through. It could have been worse – the rooms could have been decorated!
While work is progressing on the first fix electrics in the extension, we are starting to terminate the cables for the lighting switches. All of the cables of the lighting and data will terminate in patch panel. This allows us to easily test all of the connectivity as well as being able to reconfigure the cabling at a later data.
There are 19 lighting switches in the older part of the building. The cables will terminate in a single 24 port patch panel. Patch leads will then connect the relevant port to the correct connection on the lighting computer.
The data connections will terminate in two 24 port patch panels since there are more than 24 data connections in this part of the building. These will be connected to a Netgear network switch that will be connected to the broadband route to provide wired Internet access into each of the rooms. There will be a second Netgear switch in the extension and the two switches will be connected together.
It will probably take a few days to get all of this connectivity working!
We are progressing well with the first fix electrics in the new extension. These will need to be completed before the plasterers can start in this part of the building. I reckon the first fix will be finished by the end of the week, leaving the building clear for the plasterers to start next week.
Although it was only a couple of months ago that we did the first fix on the older part of the building, I had forgotten exactly how much cabling is involved. The answer? Lots and lots. I was going to start counting exactly how much, but it was just too difficult.
There is Cat5 cabling for all the light switches, mains cabling for the sockets and power to the lights, cabling for the alarm PIR sensors, Cat5 (again) for the telephone and data points, co-axial for the TV and some Cat6 for satellite. There are also some odd cables around the place for things such as electric door latches, luminence sensors, temperature sensors (both indoor and outdoor) and some cables for thermostats (one in every room). Phew! That is a lot!
The storms yesterday took its toll on our electricity supply. We seemed to be operating on a reduced voltage from about 3:30pm yesterday afternoon. By 6:30pm, we had lost power altogether. It was finally restored at around 2am.
In the meantime, the local pub is always a good refuge in a power cut. It must be what the pub was like a hundred years ago.
We need three phase supply for our ground source heat pump. The supply was installed today and the existing overhead cables and the supplies to the two previous properties were recovered.
We dug the trench from the front to the rear of the property. Do make sure that you read the details carefully about how the trench – and the conduit – need to be laid. It took the best part of a day to pull the cable through, connect it to the supply on the pole and make the joint into the cable for the house.
We are getting ready for the second fix electrics. The new three-phase supply is due to be installed next week, so there is a lot of work to do.
We need to put a three-phase distribution board in the extension and then connect this to a consumer unit in the older part of the building. This means that there are essentially two consumer units in the property enabling us to shut off the power separately in the two parts of the building.
The plan is to get these consumer units in place for when the new power supply is connected. If we don’t do this, we won’t have any power next week.
We are also installing the Loxone kit that will control the lighting, heating and some of the other features. There will be Loxone kit in both the new extension and the renovated part of the building. The mini-server will be installed in the renovated part and a number of extension modules will be installed in the extension. The Loxone kit is being housed in standard consumer units – there are relatively inexpensive and easy to source.
This is still work in progress and I reckon we won’t have this powered up until the middle of next week.