the first floor of my parents house needs some renovation. First of all I need to put in the electrical cables and sockets in the walls. Is there something which I could build in which would be cool for smart home use? I have not too much knowledge about existing technologies but I am thinking that maybe it is a good moment to think about what I can put in the walls which later will be difficult to do…
You’re much braver than I am! I’m perfectly happy to install sockets and switches at the endpoints, but I prefer the wiring and junctions in my walls to be done by professionals. Mind you, my dad worked for an electrical utility for 27 years, so I was raised with a healthy paranoia about electricity.
I personally think it’s better to avoid burying anything in walls that you might need to access/troubleshoot/replace later. As you note, it’s difficult getting back in there unless you also build in removal panels.
What I do suggest is running conduits at any spots where you might want to mount something on a wall. For example, my brother wanted to mount his TV on the wall, so we ran a pipe that connects to a built-in cabinet and pushed the HDMI cables through it. If you do this, it’s best to avoid right angles in the pipe at spots you can’t reach (it’s hard to get plugs past right angles…particularly when there are other wires already there). I also recommend running some fishing line or string through both ends of the pipe, so that you can attach the plugs and then drag them from the other side.
Based on what I’ve seen if you don’t know exactly what you want to do you really have only one option. Run all the wires to a central location. Then when everything is at the central location you can easily access relays or switches or whatever you need easily and can change out devices and technology more easily.
But be aware that there are not as many popular commercial home automation system that works with the wires like this. KNX is the big one but if you are not in Europe it might not be an option.
But, even if you don’t do the power lines like this, definitely run a bunch of CAT-6 wires. If you run one wire, you may as well run two. Definitely put in conduit but I’d recommend not trying to deal with plugs through the conduit. It’s easy enough to crimp on new ends once you run the wire to where you want and you can run almost anything over CAT-6 these days (e.g. HDMI https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Description=hdmi%20over%20cat6&Submit=ENE).
If you are at all interested in cameras, definitely run cat-6 wires to where you want the cameras to be as it will open a whole host of cheaper wired and PoE options to you.
Definitely run wires to your windows and doors as well so you can use wired sensors for intrusion.
It could be a good idea to also have some wires that just run to a few wall jacks for Ethernet ports would be good as well. The more you can keep off of your WiFi the better overall performance you will get.
Also pay attention to your media and here I completely agree. Run conduit in a way that you can easily pass wires with ends already attached. Running the speaker wires to where the satellite speakers will go would be good too.
That’s what I would do. At least in the US where KNX isn’t really available, I’d not bother with trying to do wired for lighting control. You have lots of wireless options that you can ease yourself into over time. But I’d love to have a CAT-6 wire on some of my walls and near my doors (for cameras).
This is also great for running mesh routers with wired backhaul.
Here in the US wall boxes are available in different volumes. For example single gang boxes are available from 14 cubic inches to 22 cubic inches. I’d suggest using the largest since smart switches and receptacles are over sized and sometimes difficult to fit into the box with all of the wires.
Best advice anyone can give you with wiring. I guarantee in 6 months time you will need that extra plug / cat 6 / switch / light etc etc etc.
When I had to renovate the 50 year old house three years ago, I ensured to have min two Ethernet (cat6) ports in every room and enough sockets for electricity in every room.
To run wires to every window as Rich suggested is definitely a good suggestion. I missed this and have to deal now with wireless sensors… more than 10 battery replacements per year …
And maybe you can think of having enough space behind the sockets in the wall to integrate wireless equipment (eg. Z-wave devices) for roller shutter, switches or whatever… in the future.
I vote to rlkoshak suggestion. And put a cat6 cable to every place where you need a switch or a dimmer. wire this to the central place too. (can be used for knx end devices too). I put on every corner of every room 2x cat6, 3 power, 1 antenna for SAT and 2 loud speaker cables. On the walls I put some power cables in case I need a light in the middle of a wall, I put on every door, window calbes to detect open, glas brocken, half open. On every ceiling I put some cat6 cables for video or whatever you want. I put on every corner outside cat6 for outside video and anothr cat6 for IR light or PIR.
The goal is to put all these cables in one room somewhere in the house. Then you are free what to connect with what over what technic. How knows what will be in 5 years.
If something in missing, I use z-wave.
With this, I can controll msotly everything. And I do not have any need since 20 years to have new cables.