Backyard Safe and Sound Thanks to IP Music, Robust Security/Intercom
This Pennsylvania home had its pool area outfitted with easily controllable audio, intercom, security and lighting.
FINALIST: Best Outdoor Space
July 20, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger

Having basic audio in the backyard that you can set up from inside and leave alone is fine for most. Being able to fully control it, and integrate other important controls back there (like security and intercom) is another ball of wax.

At first, this pool area in the backyard was just going to have rock speakers around it. The homeowners could program from inside the house what music will be played on it.

“That was fine, but they really wanted to be able to control the entire Digilinx music feature as well as the intercom capabilities from the pool area,” says Gregg Butala of Erie, Pa.-based custom electronics pro Whitetail Electronics, which installed a full NetStreams system. “The problem was the keypads are not weather proof, nor will they work in below freezing temps. Erie’s winter can be harsh!”

Whitetail’s solution was to install burial-rated Cat5 enhanced wire in conduit from the house to one of the pillars (see photo below) located around the pool. The homeowner did not want to see any conduit along side the pillar, so Whitetail managed to run the wire inside the fence post and attach an adapted weather proof enclosure to fit the keypad.

That wasn’t the only problem. “There was also a wire distance problem that we had to overcome,” says Butala. “We had to move the IP-addressable amps [of NetStream’s IP-based audio system] to another location to cut down the distance. At winter time, the homeowners can simply un-plug the wire connecting the amp to the pool area keypad.”

Audio is only one facet to Whitetail’s backyard install. The outdoor lighting for the pool area is part of the home’s Lutron lighting system, and the homeowners can view the pool area from any of the LCD touchscreens and televisions in the house.

The doors (from the house) leading to the pool area needed to have a separate Annunciator to alert you that someone was going into the pool area (For Code), Butala says, so Whitetail was asked to resolve this dilemma without requiring another notification system. The security system has a chime zone feature, but not the ability to hear it throughout the house, so “we addressed this issue by installing a ‘door links’ module from NetStreams and it now has its own customized ring tone and/or programmable wave file that plays on every speaker throughout the house and outside,” Butala adds. “The driveway probe system also has this setup.”

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

Installer/Equipment List

Systems Design & Installation
Whitetail Electronics
Erie, PA

Equipment List
Digilinx IP-based distributed entertainment system
3 7” LCD touch screens
11 In-wall keypads
1 Free standing I-port for I-pod
14 Recessed (TruAudio) speakers
2 Pair Rock speakers for around the pool
4 Door links module
1 MediaLinx
1 SwitchLinx
1 Controlinx
14 Speakerlinx
14 20-watt amps for speakers
2 Mediallinx pro
1 8 port switch
1 50 watt amp for Deck speakers
2 200 watt amps for the Pool area
1 IP Video Decoder for the camera system

19 Master Switches RA-6D
17 RA-AD Accessory Dimmers
1 Chronos astronomic clock
1 Entry Master – Multi function entry switch
2 Wireless Repeaters
1 10 button Table top control
1 RS232 serial interface that connects to the Digilinx system
2 RadioRA Visor controls for cars

4 8870 Communicating Thermostats (Connected to the Digilinx)
1 Outdoor sensor
3 Indoor flush sensors
3 Sensor modules

1 GE Concord Control panel
1 2-line display LCD keypad with STAYAWAY buttons
All doors (leading into the home) have recessed contacts
4 Tri-Tech Pet infrared motion detectors
11 Smoke detectors with built-in sounders
1 Telco connection for phone system
17 Flush mounted glass break detectors
70 Recessed window contacts for topbottom of sash (35 Windows)
4 Heat detectors for garage area and kitchen
3 Water detector for 2nd fl. Laundry room and basement sump pumps
5 8-zone expander
1 Uplink cell back up unit
2 8 amp battery backup system
1 IndoorOutdoor siren package
1 Talking siren driver
1 Extra Power supply for Motion and Glass break detectors

5 Extreme CCTV ColorB&W with infrared Dome camera - 500 lines of resolution, 3-12 mm vari focal lens
1 8 channel Digital Video recorder – 5000 gig hard drive with CD burner
1 6 channel modulator (Channel plus) for distribution of video across TV’s
1 19” LCD Monitor
CAT5 wire to connect to the internet for remote viewing

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