Most Recent Stories


How To Connect A 4-Wire Smoke Detector

October 1, 2008

I’ve received a few calls on how to connect 4-wire smoke detectors so I thought it might be a good idea to share what I know about these “smokies.” Why is it referred to a 4-wire detector? As with just about all powered sensors, it requires four wire connections, two of the wires are used for power, typically 12 VDC, and the » Read More

Power Surges and Spikes

September 16, 2008

About a couple of years ago, the transformer that supplied electricity to our block suffered a malfunction. It did not just fail but actually induced an overvoltage (>150VAC each phase) to surge throughout my home. During the event’s initial few minutes, all my lights that were lit including fluorescents grew brighter. The house » Read More

Understanding Open Collector Outputs

June 24, 2008

On several occasions, integrators have called asking about how to use particular devices that have open collector outputs. Those familiar with integrating relays with an automation or security system are sometimes baffled when, instead of seeing the Common, Normally Open and Normally Closed terminology associated with a relay, they read in the » Read More

Thoughts on California Green Lighting Requirements

June 11, 2008

Just recently came across a site ( that’s chockful of wonderful information for navigating through California’s Title 24 (green lighting) requirements. One of our dealers was gracious enough to send me the link. CLTC (California Lighting Technology Center) which developed the Residential Lighting Design Guide » Read More

On-Q/Legrand Releases Their Revolutionary Intercom System

April 9, 2008

On-Q/Legrand has come out with a new Intercom System! The Selective Call Intercom System enables homeowners to communicate with the entire home using the “page all” feature or selectively and privately call directly from one room to another. The system also features a “hands-free reply,” so individuals can respond to a page » Read More

Getting to Know Your Circuit-Breaker Panel

March 25, 2008

With the popularity of using the powerline for lighting control such as UPB and X10, the time will come when things don’t work and troubleshooting will be due. An example would be where devices work in one part of the house, while others in a different location don’t work at all. This problem usually means a lack of signal in one part » Read More

On-Q Releases New 8-Port Gigabit Switch

March 20, 2008

Designed to meet the needs of todays bandwidth-intensive applications, the 8-Port Gigabit Switch provides the perfect way to share media, graphics, in home gaming, and other applications that require large amounts of information sent across a network. Features: Provides the highest speed Ethernet available for the home. Worry free distribution of » Read More