When the Hadleys purchased their new 6,400-square-foot spec house, most of the electronic systems were already in place. The irrigation system had been installed. So had the security system and the wiring for a distributed audio system. The heating and cooling system was all set, too.
As is typical with most homes, these systems would operate independent of one another. The irrigation system would be controlled from its own control panel in the garage, the security system would be armed and disarmed from its own keypad, and so on.
To the Hadleys, this arrangement seemed a bit old-fashioned and cumbersome. Having lived with an automation system in their previous home, they had become accustomed to managing multiple systems from one main interface and, unsurprisingly, wanted the same arrangement for their new place. Not only that, they wanted the exact same automation system.
Creatures of Habit
The HomeLogic system the Hadleys had lived with for several years had become like an old friend. It was comfortable and familiar, and “it had such a great, visual interface that was shockingly easy to use,” the homeowners say. Unfortunately, many of their new home’s current electronic systems weren’t compatible with the HomeLogic controller, which meant it would be tough, if not impossible, to operate those systems from the interface that the Hadleys had grown to love so much.
Before the family could start automating their life again, the existing irrigation, security and lighting systems would need to be replaced, and additional wiring would need to be fished through the walls.
Once again, familiarity triumphed over novelty, and the Hadleys hired the same design and installation firm that had maintained their original HomeLogic system. The crew at System 7 of Topsfield, MA, had its work cut out for it with the new project, though. In addition to swapping out several systems, the team had to complete the “very thorough” project in less than eight weeks, says company president Gerard Lynch.
One way the team saved time on labor was by implementing creative wiring solutions. For example, by adding audio baluns to the existing telephone and data wiring, the team was able to use that wiring to distribute music throughout the house. They also used wiring originally intended for a music control keypad for a 7-inch touchpanel instead. In addition to reconfiguring the wiring, System 7 assumed the role of general contractor.
“We had the tough job of asking several contractors to take out their systems and install something that would interface with the HomeLogic system,” Lynch recalls. “Since we were acting on behalf of the homeowners, the contractors were happy to oblige.”
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.