Frequently asked questions
What is a smart home?
Smart homes are logic-based, finely tuned and coordinated systems where the individual components (heating, lighting, shading etc.) work together and support each other. All functions are accessible from the same interface and we can create freely interconnected automatisms. A smart home system is not a remote control but a complex solution that lends an invisible helping hand in your everyday life.
Which devices can be smartified?
The Chameleon smart home system can smartify simple, conventional switches, power sockets, motion detectors, and shutter switches. It does not require a smart, remote-controlled Wi-Fi device, on the contrary: the less complicated a device, the easier it will be to smartify it because devices that are already “smart” are not willing to connect to other systems; they do their own job and are hard to integrate into other systems (if at all). We are happy to advise you on our customer service hotline or in e-mail on how to choose the right devices.
Do I need special wiring for system installation?
No, the Chameleon system uses conventional electrical installation technology so it does not require special wiring. All you need is running a single low-voltage wire along the conventional electrical installations.
Do I need a smart home specialist to install the system?
No, the system (i.e. wiring and device installation) follows conventional electrical installation standards, which means every skilled electrician can deploy the system. We provide comprehensive technical documentation and an electrical installation guide to all interested parties and if you place an order you will receive a BUS wiring diagram, too. Apart from the above all clients are entitled to two on-site visits by our technicians free of charge which we suggest they should use for the purposes of inspection and electrical installation support.
Where can I buy the wires and who will carry out the electrical installation?
All wires are pulled and central and wall-mounted accessories are installed by electricians working on site. The necessary BUS cable J-Y (ST)y 2×2×0.8 kV (green) is available in any electrical supply store or even in the Chameleon offices. We are happy to provide the contact details of our certified electrician partners upon request.
What are the things to consider when deploying a smart home system?
You should make sure to meet the following conditions during system installation:
- Apart from traditional electrical installations a communications cable should be run in a tree topology.
- The low-voltage cable may contain branches but not loops. Maximum 15 wall modules can be connected to any single branch.
- A junction box with a minimum depth of 65 mm needs to be installed behind every light switch and power socket to provide space for the wall modules behind the switch or socket.
- When deciding the size of electrical enclosures it is a good idea to allow for the space requirement of future DIN-rail devices.
Can I use conventional Ethernet cable for communications?
Even though conventional LAN cables can perform the tasks necessary for communications, they cannot share the same conduit as the 230 V cables, so we recommend using J-Y (ST)Y 2×2×0.8 cables with 4 kV insulation. If a separate channel is created for communications then other cables with the necessary cross-section and at least 3 wires can also be used.
What is the difference between a BUS system and a star cable architecture? What are the advantages of a BUS system?
If a conventional star topology is created for the smart home system, the electric devices and their switches are wired to the central unit of the smart home system. This results in running a significant amount of cables through the home which makes installation, overview and later expansion difficult. In the case of a tree topology created using a BUS cable a single additional cable facilitating communications is run to the light switches and shutter switches only. If you use the BUS cable we recommend, its insulation enables it to be run in the same conduit as the high-voltage cables, which means no separate chases need to be cut in the wall.
- Advantages of BUS cabling with a tree topology:
- Reduced cable requirement
- Improved cost efficiency
- Reduced installation time compared to a star topology
- No separate chase needs to be cut: the BUS cable can share the conduit of the high-voltage cables
- Facilitates a Smart Home Ready system (if the cable is run to each switch and power socket the system can be created or expanded at a later time – subject to further conditions).
What cables do I need to install a smart home system?
- For Chameleon system components: J-Y (ST) Y 2×2×0.8 four-wire BUS cable (in tree topology) and with 4 kV insulation, in all cases in green
- For sensors (e.g. motion or intrusion detectors): alarm cable with as many wires as there are sensors (star topology).
- IP camera, IP intercom: CAT6 UTP
- Power supply cables for actuators (if required)
What are the advantages of a Smart Home Ready configuration, i.e. of a system that is ready for the Chameleon?
One of the unique features of our system is that thanks to the Smart Home Ready approach you do not need to create the entire system in one go. Subject to certain cabling requirements your home can be used as a conventional residential property and developed into a smart home at your own chosen speed, in several phases if so required. The electrical installation guidelines are available for download at our website or from the Chameleon team upon request.
What are the expenses in addition to the system ordered? What is and what is not included in your quotation?
The quotation includes all devices with the exception of actuators (shutters, window, garage door etc.) and electric locks but these components can be supplied by the client if they choose so. Additional expenses include the electrician’s fees and the price of the BUS cable.
Which roller shutter motor should I choose?
A shutter actuator with a traditional wall switch is a better option than a wireless (remote controlled) solution. We can give you the option to avoid a physical switch if so required but for reasons of electrical installation only a wall switch can be included in the smart home system.
Can you retrofit a smart home cable system?
Yes, if an existing conduit has enough free space for the cables and if there is a suitable false ceiling facilitating system installation, or if there is any other way to connect the communications cable. The communications cable can best be run as part of the construction works or at the time of redecorating/renovating an existing property.
Does the Chameleon have a wireless version?
This is a common request from our clients and we are working on it, so we hope to offer a solution soon. However, wireless systems – however simple they are to install – have several disadvantages, so their usefulness should be carefully weighed during the design phase.
What are the potential disadvantages of a wireless system?
- Wireless systems are usually battery-operated and the batteries do not last very long. Regular replacement requires continuous care and attention.
- Devices hidden behind switches require regular maintenance, too. As this operation requires a skilled electrician, it is a little complicated to carry out.
What happens if something goes wrong with the central unit?
Thanks to the split system used by the Chameleon if anything happens to the central unit but the power supply of the BUS network remains intact, the Local Control feature enables the smartified switches to perform their tasks autonomously. This means that even though they lose their smart functionality, they will still work.
Does the Chameleon system support condominium functions?
Yes, this system can meet the requirements of the communal rooms of a condominium such as stairwell heating and cooling, intercom, registration number recognition, the integration of car chargers and solar panels, etc.
Does the Chameleon system support custom requirements?
Yes, we can accommodate special requests subject to a separate fee.
When should I start preparing my home for a Smart Home System?
If we are aware of the requirements already at the planning stage, then the BUS cable can be designed simultaneously with the electrical plans of the property. This is the most practical solution. If the plans have already been completed, then additional plans of a smart home system should be completed before electrical installation works commence. If there is no time to do so, then, as an extreme measure, the electricians can be trained to adapt your home for a smart home system.