Category Archives: electrics

Wall lights

Written by stephen gale

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.

Two of these have just been installed in the lounge.  These are Tessa plaster wall lights from John Lewis.  They can be painted, but these are left just as they came out of the box.

Two of these have just been installed in the lounge. These are Tessa plaster wall lights from John Lewis. They can be painted, but these are left just as they came out of the box.

I don't really like this photo much, but if you turn the flash on it doesn't help and if you take the photo with the lights off, that doesn't work either.  Anyway, hope you get the idea! Tessa plaster wall uplighters from John Lewis.

I don’t really like this photo much, but if you turn the flash on it doesn’t help and if you take the photo with the lights off, that doesn’t work either. Anyway, hope you get the idea! Tessa plaster wall uplighters from John Lewis.

 

Carbon monoxide detectors

Written by stephen gale

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.

To comply with the latest building regulations, carbon monoxide detectors need to be fitted in rooms where there are solid fuel stoves.  With three log burning stoves, this means three detectors.  They also need to be hardwired into the heat and smoke detectors in the rest of the building.

To comply with the latest building regulations, carbon monoxide detectors need to be fitted in rooms where there are solid fuel stoves. With three log burning stoves, this means three detectors. They also need to be hardwired into the heat and smoke detectors in the rest of the building.

One of the three carbon monoxide detectors that have been installed today.  This one is in the snug.  The log stove is a Firebelly FB1.

One of the three carbon monoxide detectors that have been installed today. This one is in the snug. The log stove is a Firebelly FB1.

Viewed from underneath there is a red LED display that shows the parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide.  Unsurprisingly, it has a reading of zero.

Viewed from underneath there is a red LED display that shows the parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide. Unsurprisingly, it has a reading of zero.

External lights

Written by stephen gale

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.

This shows the effect of one external light positioned about 50cms from the base of the way.  This is using a 5W LED lamp with a 45 degree spread.  We will position 5 lights along this wall to show up the texture of the stone.  We are using Robus uplighters.

This shows the effect of one external light positioned about 50cms from the base of the way. This is using a 5W LED lamp with a 45 degree spread. We will position 5 lights along this wall to show up the texture of the stone. We are using Robus uplighters.

Lights in the older part of the property

Written by stephen gale

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.

This is one of the switches with the stainless steel face plate removed.  We will put the face plates on once the rooms have been decorated.  This is a Schneider GET Ultimate two gang switch.

This is one of the switches with the stainless steel face plate removed. We will put the face plates on once the rooms have been decorated. This is a Schneider GET Ultimate two gang switch.

ignore the cardboard box over the toilet and the board over the bath.  This is the upstairs bathroom with the main lights and LEDs turned on.  The extractor fan is running.  This is controlled by the left button.

ignore the cardboard box over the toilet and the board over the bath. This is the upstairs bathroom with the main lights and LEDs turned on. The extractor fan is running. This is controlled by the left button.

And now with the main lights off and just the LED lights on.  These are only 1W put these LED lights put out a lot of light.

And now with the main lights off and just the LED lights on. These are only 1W put these LED lights put out a lot of light.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Written by stephen gale

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!

Progress on the home automation

Written by stephen gale

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!

The top two consumer units house the Loxone kit - a server, 2 extensions and a dimmer unti.  The bottom consumer unit contains the breakers and RCD.  Underneath this there is a small data comms cabinet.

The top two consumer units house the Loxone kit – a server, 2 extensions and a dimmer unti. The bottom consumer unit contains the breakers and RCD. Underneath this there is a small data comms cabinet.

All of the Cat5 cables from the lighting switches terminate in this patch panel.  There are 19 in this half of the building.  There will then be a lead from the patch panel to the Loxone lighting computer which is housed above.

All of the Cat5 cables from the lighting switches terminate in this patch panel. There are 19 in this half of the building. There will then be a lead from the patch panel to the Loxone lighting computer which is housed above.

First fix electrics in the extension

Written by stephen gale

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 other half of the lighting computer will be in the plant room along with the ground source heating pump.  Hence all of the wires end up terminating here.

The other half of the lighting computer will be in the plant room along with the ground source heating pump. Hence all of the wires end up terminating here.

Bundles of wires waiting to be connected.  Cat5 for all the light switches, mains cables for sockets and power to the lights, cabling for the PIR sensors for the alarms, Cat5 (again) for the telephone and ethernet.  We haven't pulled through the co-axial for the TV and the CAT6 for the satellite yet.  It all adds up to a lot of cable.

Bundles of wires waiting to be connected. Cat5 for all the light switches, mains cables for sockets and power to the lights, cabling for the PIR sensors for the alarms, Cat5 (again) for the telephone and ethernet. We haven’t pulled through the co-axial for the TV and the CAT6 for the satellite yet. It all adds up to a lot of cable.

These cables are waiting to be pulled through into the plant room and connected to the main distribution boards and the lighting computer.

These cables are waiting to be pulled through into the plant room and connected to the main distribution boards and the lighting computer.

Power cut

Written by stephen gale

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.

The only light is from the emergency exit sign, the open fire and a few candles.  But the pumps still work!

The only light is from the emergency exit sign, the open fire and a few candles. But the pumps still work!

New electricity connection

Written by stephen gale

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 need a three phase supply for the ground source heat pump.  Fortunately for us, the pole outside the property had a three phase supply.

We need a three phase supply for the ground source heat pump. Fortunately for us, the pole outside the property had a three phase supply.

Second fix electrics

Written by stephen gale

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.

The new supply comes into a meter box on the opposite side of this wall.  A cable will then come through the wall and feed this consumer unit.  There is a feed from here to a second consumer unit in the renovated part of the property as well as a feed to the shed.

The new supply comes into a meter box on the opposite side of this wall. A cable will then come through the wall and feed this consumer unit. There is a feed from here to a second consumer unit in the renovated part of the property as well as a feed to the shed.

The top two consumer untis will house the Loxone kit.  The bottom unit houses the breakers and RCDs.

The top two consumer untis will house the Loxone kit. The bottom unit houses the breakers and RCDs.