When is the best time to get BTS Enterprises, Inc. involved in the planning, design, and installation of smart home devices or a home automation system?
During Initial planning sessions with you and your Architect/Builder/Interior Design team, before your blueprints are finalized, is the ideal time to get BTS Enterprises, Inc. involved. We can add years of valuable industry experience to many aspects of designing your dream home, beyond just entertainment and automation.
We have prepared our house plans. What happens next?
For new construction and extensive renovation scenarios, low voltage contractors such as BTS, take their turn with the other trades on the construction schedule. Below are the phases of a typical construction schedule when the low voltage contractor performs their services:
|Rough In Cabling
||Sometimes called Pre-Wire, this phase happens just after the electricians put in electrical cabling and just before insulation and drywall are installed. In this phase, cables are installed to support TV locations, Surround Sound and Music Zones, Network and WiFi, Alarm and Cameras, and Automation Devices (e.g., Lighting Control, Thermostats, Door Locks, Shade Control and the like). Since there are no walls to obstruct the process, cabling is very cost effective at this time. BTS recommends that clients cable for their immediate needs and any additional systems they may consider later on. In this way, the high cost and mess of fishing and retrofitting cable in a finished home is avoided down the road.
||This phase begins after the major building systems are complete and at least one coat of paint is on the walls. Keypads, light dimmers, speakers, alarm sensors, cameras, and equipment racks/mounts can be installed once the building is cleaned of dust.
||This phase begins when the other trades are finished. All dust must be cleaned from the site before installing the major equipment which is the heartbeat of any system. Power conditioning equipment, amplifiers, controllers, and media players are placed into equipment racks. Cables are labeled and installed. Touchscreens are mounted in walls. TVs are installed on mounts.
|Programming and testing
||This phase begins, when component installation is complete. Remote controls are programmed. HVAC, lighting, security, and such are integrated into whole home controllers. Completed systems are tested.
||Client walk through is conducted. Client is instructed on the function of user interfaces. The warranty period now begins.
||During the next two weeks, the client uses the systems noting any desired modifications to programming. Technician conducts follow up to address any pending issues. Delivery is now complete.
We have heard the term "structured wiring". What is it and how much does it cost?
The foundation for each custom system begins with a comprehensive structured wiring plan to meet your home’s current technology needs, as well as allow for future-proofing your investment for the next “big thing”. Structured wiring is a wire management system consisting of a specialized wiring cabinet or rack, audio / video / communications cabling in each room, WiFi access points throughout the building, and detailed documentation. Cables are “home-run”, not daisy-chained, to simplify future changes and enhancements. While every home is different and every client has their unique vision, the costs for structured wiring can be budgeted at about one percent of the home’s total cost.
What type of cables are you using in your structured wiring packages?
Category 6 unshielded twisted pair copper cable UTP (typically used for phone and Data), along with coax wire used for cable/Satellite TV wiring, combine to make a communications network for the home, suitable for today’s advanced broadband services. The important factor here is that they are each home run, not daisy-chained. For amplified audio, our go-to choice is 16awg, oxygen free speaker cable. When the design calls for high performance audio, we choose 12awg, oxygen free speaker cable. Fibre Optic cable is an expensive alternative suitable for carrying large amounts of data over long distances. It is superior infrastructure choice for the Wide Area Networks which bring TV, Voice, and Internet services to your door but an unnecessary expense for most home or small business owners.at this time.
My architect maintains his/her drawings (plans) on a PC CAD system. Does BTS do this with wiring diagrams as well?
Yes. BTS imports the pdf version of electrical CAD print into our BlueBeam software. Low voltage devices are added to the electrical print and saved for future reference in the client file.
What are the typical elements BTS integrates into a custom home automation system?
With a focus on convenience, comfort and entertainment, the usual functions provided come from the integration of the following:
- Home Theatre
- Whole House Audio / Video
- Lighting Control and Window Treatments
- Zoned HVAC and Thermostats
- Phone / Intercom
- Data Network and WiFi
- Security / Fire / Door Locks
- Heated Flooring / Towel Warmers
- Lightning protection and battery backup
- Plant irrigation
- Pools and Spas
- Central Vacuum
- Remote Property Control
We love the convenience of living in a smart home when the power is on. What happens if the power goes out?
Several types of protection exists to handle power outages. Some components are backed up by UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supplies) systems that maintain power supplied by batteries during an outage. The phone system and security system are examples of equipment requiring battery backup in case of power failures. Power conditioners provide surge protection to equipment when lightning hits. For extended outages, whole house generators are a practical solution. The system UPS are sized to maintain the system for several minutes without AC power to the home. This gives adequate time for a generator to start and the system switches safely back to the home AC without system interruption.
What happens if a system controller fails? Can we still use our entertainment and security systems?
The Elan system controller installed by BTS is very robust. We have had system installed in client sites and in our show room that have performed without down time for over 10 years. In the unlikely event that a system controller is out of service for repair, each subsystem (e.g., Security, HVAC, Lighting) still operates independently. Simply use the security keypad, thermostat, light switches directly until the controller is restored. In the event of a power failure, when power is restored, the controller will automatically reboot and integrated control capabilities will be restored.
Do you provide service and support for systems once they are installed? Or is that done through the manufacturers?
Systems installed by BTS carry a written limited warranty. For the specified warranty period (generally 6-months). We provide full service and support for our systems free of charge. For user questions and configuration issues, just give us call. We will resolve the problem over the phone or send our technician to your home or business. In the unlikely event that an installed component should malfunction and require service under a manufacturer’s warranty, we will ship the item back to manufacturers and reinstall the item
I like the idea of smart devices. Can I see a demonstration of your products?
Of course! We highly recommend that potential customers come in to our Design Center located at 2704 Lancaster Ave in Wilmington DE to have private demonstrations of our latest products. It is the perfect way to decide on a system setup and to learn more about the solutions that BTS can provide.
What is the limit as far as the number of connected rooms in one household?
With the Elan system controller, there really is no limit other than your own imagination! Factors that come into play are: your budget, electrical requirements, and the physical size of your house. Other than that, we are very good at adapting to our customers’ needs.
What is the difference between LCD and DLP projectors?
LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and DLP (Digital Light Processing) both have their advantages and disadvantages. Typically, LCD is better for computer presentations, whereas DLP is best suited for home theatre setups.