So why should you have or even think about a Home automation system? It is going to cost you more than traditional wiring so why spend the money?
Well it’s about what it can do for you that normal electrical wiring cannot do. If those things though are of no interest to you, then you don’t need and shouldn’t have such a system. Many jobs we go to done by others have the Cbus unfortunately as just a very expensive light switch or dimmer with not other smart functions programmed into the system. What I would like to explain are some of the benefits and things you can do with a C-Bus home automation system.
This is one of the most popular features of a Cbus home automation system. But what is a “scene”? A scene is one of those new words within our industry that I would describe as one button press doing multiple different things. Let’s look at some of the scenes we typically do and some of the scenes I have in my house.
Working scene or at Home. – At home I have a scene called working located on my C-Bus colour in wall touchscreen and it was simply the button my wife would hit once she was home with the kids from school. 15 years on, this scene is not used much anymore. In our household back then however, my wife would be making dinner and helping the kids with their homework as they sat around the family room table. Our kitchen and family room have 7 separate switched groups of lights. She wanted all the lights on so the room was fully bright so instead of turning on 7 different switches, she only had to touch one switch/button to activate all lights to 100%. All lights at full brilliance for cooking and doing homework under.
Going Upstairs Scene or Relaxing – After dinner and homework it’s time to relax. At our house that means going upstairs to watch TV and downstairs is not really being used much. One button press and the stairwell wall lights come on, the hallway lights come on at a dimmed level, the downlights in the TV/Home theatre room come on at a very dimmed level, the main kitchen lights over the work areas all go off, dining table lights go off, and the range hood light provides a gentle glow over the bench top as well dimmed pendants over the island bench. One wall light is left on in the family room. This scene sets the upstairs level ready to watch TV with subtle mood lighting, it’s easy to see for going up and down the stair case, there is subtle lighting in the kitchen for a venture to the fridge or pantry to grab something to eat. People can easily walk around but there are no common areas lighting on at 100%.
Goodnight scene – the night is over and its time for bed. This is my most used scene every night of the week. Instead of running around the house and turning off lights and lamps, one simple button is programmed as a goodnight scene. This turns some areas off instantly and other areas that are on dimmers ramp off over a pre set period of time. Any outside lights that have been left on now go off. The lights around me are programmed to take a bit longer to turn off than others further away, the niche near the kids hallway is left on to give some light to negotiate the hallway and stairs if needed. I have this switch located at the entrance to my bedroom. Next to my bed I have another switch that simply ramps off the bedroom light which has already been preset to dim at only 20% to ramp off slowly to nothing over 20 secs allowing me to get settled into bed.
Outside scene or Panic scene – So you are woken up with a noise during the night and the dog is barking. One button next to your bed is programmed to turn every light on outside. Normally those lights are independently switched over 9 switches and a sensor for the floodlights but when I press this scenes button, all my outside lights come on in the hope of startling anyone who is out there and also allows me to be able to look easily out of any window and into the yard to see what is happening.
Entertaining scene – people are coming over for a dinner party. One button press turns on all the outside garden lighting, the hallways and stairs come on at dimmed levels, the entry lights are dimmed to 60%, kitchen work areas are on at 80% but main kitchen floor area is off, decorative wall lights and table lamps are turned on, lighting in feature niches, over artwork and features like stone walls are turned on partly dimmed. Formal dining area is dimmed to just 40% of maximum. Again just one button press sets the house up for all of this.
Art scene- this one is just like it says. Instead of turning on individual switches for art works, pictures, glass cabinets, stone walls, niches, and maybe table lamps, this scene is a simple one button press that turns on all those lovely features you have incorporated into your house.
The number and choice of scenes is really up to your imagination. We haven’t even talked about other items in the house that are not lighting but can be incorporated into scenes. For example in the goodnight scene the TVs in the house are all turned off. The system checks if the garage door or gates are open and closes them, the alarm is set to partial arm so the downstairs and garage areas are activated.
Clipsal C-Bus can do all this but try to do this easily with traditional wiring. If you like the sound of scenes then maybe Clipsal Cbus might be your thing as well.
Next time we will look at “schedules” in your home automation system.