Home Automation Signal Distribution

This isn't a very exciting project but, it is an important one. There are some 'signals' and power feeds that are used throughout our home and this project aims to make the distribution of them around the home a simple and reliable process.

By using a 'distribution board' like this, we can avoid having to route all of these signals back into our 19" rack cabinet, resulting in easier access and more reliable wiring. Each signal is also fused and switched from within the 19" rack shelf.

This approach makes it much easier to extend and test things.

Implementation

The 'distribution board' is mounted in a cast aluminium case (270mm wide × 170mm tall × 55mm deep). This bolted to the wall near our Home Control System (HCS) 19" rack cabinet and is fed via ducting.

aluminium case being painted
This is the aluminium case being spray painted. It has plenty of room to make it easy to connect lots of cables. It also has cable slots rather than holes, so that cables with connectors fitted don't need to be threaded through holes.

MDF inside aluminium case
Within this aluminium case, we have mounted a piece of 12mm thick MDF, to provide an easy may to fix the 6-way terminals and to provide the required insulation. This avoid the beed to drill lots of holes in the metal enclosure. The edge will be tidied up with white silicon sealant. This will be mounted in portrait orientation and supports 32 6-way terminal blocks. We originally planned for 16 but realised we would need more later.

6-way blade terminal connector
Wires are connected using standard 6.3mm blade connectors onto a number of 6-way spade terminal connectors, which are fixed through the plastic sheet and the aluminium case using 5mm nylon nuts and bolts. These are standard automative parts available very cheaply.

Finished enclosure
This is the final item, with the connectors numbered, rather than labelled. This make it easier to change and expand things. The 6-way connectors can now simply be added as required.

Cables

All cables connections use standard 6.3mm spade terminals and these are always crimped and soldered for high reliability.

All cables and wires enter/exit the aluminium case through a slot cut in the bottom of the case and lined with a rubber grommet. Typically the onward distribution is done using standard (and cheap) 6-core alarm cable.

Example Usage

A lot of the signals described here are distributed to a 'display board' in our main bedroom. This also has some switches, to run home automation scenes.

The distribution board is also used to connect up our smart front door.

Conclusions

This is now installed in our loft and used for all of the main home automation and control signals used in smart home automation.

This makes wiring up our home a much easier task. It also makes it much easier to test things before they are connected to our 19" rack cabinet and automated.

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