Frequently Asked Questions

Please see below our answers to some of the most common questions we are asked.

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Whole House Refurbishments
When do I need to appoint an AV Contractor?

We would recommend that your AV contractor is appointed at the same time as your main contractor. The scope of our work is often so wide that we now have more systems in a residential refurbishment than the electricians. Therefore having us on board during the very early design stages ensures that the correct information is passed on to the builders and that this information is present before crucial design and building decisions are made.

What type of cable do I need and where shall I install these cables?

This is an impossible question for us to answer accurately without the final specification being agreed. We always need to know what you intend to have on the end of each cable before specifying the type of cable and the exact location for it to be run to and from.

The early discussions regarding specification are so important and the golden rule to remember is:

'The most expensive cable is the one you forgot'!

How much does a 'Smart Home' system really cost?

This will depend upon the system specified. Upon the initial enquiry we would meet to discuss your requirements with you. If you have an idea of budget at this time it is very helpful if you can let us know this. If not we will prepare an initial preliminary proposal for you which will be a starting point for further discussion. Upon receiving this we would encourage a further meeting to run through our initial ideas and tailor the proposal at that stage to meet your budget and your requirements.

Lighting Control
What is a lighting control system?

A lighting control system is an intelligent lighting system which is scene based. It is wired very differently from conventional lighting so it is important to determine whether you wish to have a lighting control system before the 1st fix wiring goes in place.

Lighting control systems are based around keypads which are located in the rooms, in place of traditional switches, an enclosure located in a plant room or AV rack area and modules which are housed within the enclosure.

The electricians then run in all the 1st fix control cables back to this enclosure and they are all terminated away into the lighting control modules. Our specialist lighting control programmers then programme the system to create scenes which are allocated to buttons on the keypads. These buttons are engraved and we would work with you to tweak these scenes so that they work for your family.

Which lighting control systems do you recommend?

We would recommend Lutron, Crestron or Control4 as the first main choices for lighting control. If you already have a Crestron AV system then it makes sense to use Crestron lighting control. The same for Control4.

Lutron integrates flawlessly with both Crestron and Control4.

We also support iLight and Clipsal.

What factors do I need to consider when designing my lighting scheme if I have a lighting control system?

It is important to design the circuitry and the cost of the lighting control system will relate to the number of circuits that you have. It costs more to cater for dimmed circuits than it does for standard on/off relay circuits.

You need to ensure that no one circuit is overloaded, so the number of fittings on the circuit needs to be taken into consideration.

You also need to ensure that the light fittings you choose can be dimmed using a lighting control system. The method of dimming is usually 'mains dimming' but we also cater for '0-10v' dimmed circuits and also 'DALI' dimming.

We can help with the design of a lighting control system as part of the design package should you choose to use our services.

Data & Wi-Fi
Why do I have fast wired internet but slow wireless internet in my house?

If your internet connection is testing very high when the router is connected directly to the incoming line but then your wireless speeds are dramatically lower throughout the house there may be many different reasons for this.

Firstly your signal may be too weak and this will be because there is only a limited Wi-Fi range on any standard router. We would recommend that a Wi-Fi system is put in place which is a network of access points located across the property. These access points 'mesh' and create a very strong Wi-Fi network ensuring you have a 5-bar signal at all times.

Secondly you could be subject to interference from other people all sharing the same 2.4GHz frequency band. Our systems allow you to operate on the less crowded 5GHz band which optimises performance. The Ruckus systems also have built-in bandwidth management features so that the system detects interference and moves your device automatically.

Thirdly it is important to ensure that all networking equipment is optimised. Network switches must be GB switches, networking equipment must be AC standard. It only takes one component on the grid to be out of date and slow down the whole network. We can assist with a free review of your network and release recommendations as to how to increase speeds.

Why do you use Ruckus Wi-Fi systems?

We use a combination of Ruckus wireless access points and Draytek routers. This is a proven combination which we have found 'just works'! We have over 150 Wi-Fi systems installed at present using this combination and we have not yet received one faulty piece of Ruckus equipment.

The network in any property is so important as it is the backbone to so many other systems. Without a solid, operational working network the Control system will struggle, intercom functions will be compromised and general browsing on the internet will become frustrating. Our networks simply do not have these issues and this is down to the experience we have in this field and the quality of equipment we install.

Can you retrofit a Wi-Fi system if I have no data cabling in place?

Yes we can, using a Ruckus Wi-Fi system with a Ruckus Zonedirector.

We can then use Ruckus Access Points strategically placed throughout your property, connected only with a standard power supply. Only 1 single access point needs to be wired and this is typically placed next to the router. The access points then 'mesh' creating a house-wide, stable, Wi-Fi network across the property.

This is the perfect solution when you do not want to install cables and cause damage to your property.

Can you help me to find out the fastest internet speeds available at my property?

Yes, we offer this service to all clients. If we have a landline number and/or postcode we can run this past our internal checking system and recommend the fastest provider to you.

We also have a long term relationship with a telecommunications company who can provide you with telephone lines, ADSL or Fibre internet lines and private fibre lines. This avoids the need to speak to BT who can be troublesome to deal with.

Control Systems
Why do I need a control system?

A control system eliminates the need for having multiple remote controls to operate your AV system. In one room alone it is sometimes possible to have a remote for the TV, one for the Sky Box, AV Receiver, Apple TV, Blu-Ray and Amazon Fire. This is 6 remotes for 1 screen - not only is this untidy but it is also very easy to press the wrong button and get the system out of sync.

A control system eliminates the need for these remotes and replaces them with a single hand held remote or touchscreen or even just your iPad.

If you have your equipment hidden away in an AV rack or a centralised system in general a control system is necessary to be able to control the equipment away from the rack in the rooms.

Crestron or Control4, what are the differences?

There are two main differences in between Crestron and Control4- the GUI (graphical user interface) and also the price point.

With Control4 you have a fixed user interface, the familiar circle of icons which is present on all touchscreens, Control4 on-screen navigator menu and on any smart device. Some clients see this as a benefit as it brings familiarity to those using the system. The icons are in the same place on all devices and it is very simple to use.

With Crestron you can design the graphical user interface to suit your own requirements. The layout can be built from the ground up with custom colours and buttons to suit your exact installation. For example if you wish to have a page which deals with bespoke programming for fireplace controls, then this can be programmed for you. Anything is possible if Crestron is in place but this flexibility does come with a price tag and Crestron will always work out to be more expensive than Control4.

Does a control system have to be expensive?

No, a single room solution with Control4 consists of an EA1 Bundle which is a controller and a SR260 handheld remote. The RRP for this is £440.00 plus the labour required to install and programme the system.

This is a very achievable entry point into the smart home market for many of our clients.