17,944 reputation
34396
bio website gregmaclellan.com
location Canada
age 33
visits member for 4 years, 6 months
seen 3 hours ago

Started working for my dad's water treatment company in my teens, installing and repairing pumps and water treatment systems. Later worked on automated monitoring and control systems for small water treatment systems, including PLC programming, panel design, systems integration, and designing and building our own SCADA software package. Currently employed as a senior software architect at a print software company.

Renovations around my houses have included installing complete bathrooms (both reno and adding new), complete basement gut and reno, and all types of electrical, plumbing, and ethernet/video/audio cabling. Also have a particular interest in home automation -- my current house has several rooms controlled using Insteon gear.


Apr
30
comment is it possible to do a 3 way switch if power source is in the second switch?
When you say "you need 4 wires", like @staticsan I read that as 4 + ground. Ground has to go everywhere, so it is generally not mentioned. This is a standard convention- For instance, if you go buy your standard NMD/Romex "14/2" wire, you'll get 2 14AWG conductors (white/black) plus an unshielded ground. Likewise, 14/3 (which is probably what will be used in this situation) refers to 3 conductors (probably black/white/red) plus a ground (unshielded or green).
Apr
27
comment Are galvanised steel pipes suitable for supplying hot water?
I'm having a hard time finding good citations, but: it is thought that hot water affects the galvanized coating and increases the rate of corrosion and build-up inside the pipe. Galvanized pipe is apparently no longer allowed by code in Canada for (treated?) potable water (inside, anyway). Depending on the chemical composition of your water (pH, dissolved minerals) it may react with the pipe, causing other contaminants (a concern mostly if you are not on city water). Though you don't typically drink shower water, it does get absorbed into your skin and dispersed into the air (and your lungs).
Mar
26
comment Surveillance System and Home Automation in Europe
In addition, many stand-alone security systems have interfaces to insteon/UPB/etc just to signal armed/disarmed/alarmed, so if that's all you need it may give you some more options in choosing a security system. You need to define what it is you'd like the automation to do, and then you can figure out what products to use and how much it will cost to achieve those features.
Mar
26
comment Surveillance System and Home Automation in Europe
Are you tied to X10 specifically? X10 is widely regarded to have many problems (eg, see diy.stackexchange.com/questions/333/…). It is very susceptible to noise and interference, including false signals that trigger lights on/off (or with a security system: false alarms), and missing legitimate signals due to interference. There are many newer systems that work much better.
Mar
23
comment How can I tell if these pipes are gas lines or water lines?
What material are the pipes? A picture would be helpful for sure. Can you see them and where they go from underneath in the basement/crawlspace?
Mar
20
comment What should I consider regarding LAN wiring before building a house?
@Steven ENT (non-metallic) is probably more practical/common for home and DIY use. I've also used utility pipe as conduit many times (it's black poly, rated at 75psi), and comes in rolls so you can do one continuous piece. Compared to ENT it's slightly easier to kink while installing, but otherwise works fine as conduit.
Mar
19
comment How can I add a closet to an existing room?
If you show some more of the surrounding floor plan, we may be able to suggest some other alternatives as well. For example, it is sometimes possible to split an existing closet in an adjoining room into to. You say the one door can be removed -- where does it go? Can the inside of that room be turned into a closet?
Mar
19
comment What should I consider regarding LAN wiring before building a house?
Really what I tell everyone is this: install only the cables you need today or in the immediate future. If you want to try to be future-proof, run an empty conduit.
Mar
19
comment What should I consider regarding LAN wiring before building a house?
If it's not a great expense, sure, but personally I don't advise people to try to beat technology. Too many times, it rapidly shifts: for example, a few years ago HDMI didn't exist, now it's the only thing to use for video. Yes, 10 gigabit will trickle down, but let me put it this way: an uncompressed 1080p movie can be streamed using around 25 megabits. That means you can stream roughly 40 1080p movies over a single gigabit cable at the same time. It's a time/money/technology trade-off: Will 10 gigabit over Cat7/whatever become necessary/useful before Cat7 is replaced and becomes obsolete?
Mar
19
comment What should I consider regarding LAN wiring before building a house?
..or you can buy a 24-port patch panel on monoprice for $18.. no affiliation, but I have bought a TON of stuff over the years..
Mar
19
comment What should I consider regarding LAN wiring before building a house?
@Mario was actually an old cabinet that was left there, just happened to be a perfect size.
Mar
15
comment Why does my sink supply shutoff valve spray water when I close it?
+1 for using a ball valve. They are so much more reliable than any other valves.
Mar
13
comment How to deliver hot water from bathroom to kitchen
Are they running entirely inside, or do they go outside at all? What is the temperature range of the ambient air? Are you trying to conceal the pipes in walls? Typically 3/4" copper or pex would be used, are either of those a problem?
Mar
12
comment How do I troubleshoot power receptacles?
Why would you unwire to test this? I would start with a multimeter just checking between hot/neutral, hot/ground, and neutral/ground without even taking the face plate off. If that works, whatever you're plugging in is probably broken. If not, check for obvious broken or bad connection, and THEN disconnect the receptacle to test.
Mar
12
comment How should I install a signal cable duct from new home office to a wiring closet?
Tip: run conduit, but run your current wires outside of the conduit while you can. If you ever want to add wires, the conduit is there (and empty). The more wires in the conduit, the more of pain it is to run new wires. A lot of the wiring (eg, Cat5e/Cat6) is likely to remain useful for a long time anyway, and you're probably not likely to have a reason to want to remove some particular wire if it's not in the way.
Mar
11
comment How to best insulate an exposed waterpipe during the cold season
Why do you have this pipe? What is it for? Picture? Where do you live? Very strange that anyone would install a pipe outside in a way that it would freeze. Usually exterior pipes have a shut-off somewhere so during the winter they can be drained, and they simply aren't used.
Mar
9
comment Do any ultra quiet ceiling fans that have no motor hum exist?
I'd also recommend a fan with a timer on it. Some of the models with remotes have timers, and if you're hardwiring you can use an in-wall countdown timer. Personally I like the fan on while falling asleep, but hate it in the morning when it's colder (or the cold fan wakes me up too early), so the timer that shuts it off sometime after I fall asleep is perfect.
Mar
8
comment Can I use a transfer panel with something other than a generator?
Since you're using dimmers as opposed to newer LED stuff (which many times has its own DMX control built-in), it means you're using stage lighting fixtures are likely 500 to 1000 watts each. I personally would not trust running lighting through old 40's wiring. I used to work on this stuff when I was in high school, and even though the stage was pre-wired (MANY years prior) we just ran our own cords and/or truss-mounted dimmers because the built-in wiring was unreliable: on one occasion a circuit actually shorted out putting on a very nice display of sparks, and we never touched it again.
Mar
8
comment Can I use a transfer panel with something other than a generator?
I would recommend against doing things this way for a whole ton of reasons. Usually your plugs are up high because that's where your lights are, otherwise you have cords running all over the place. Depending on the situation, there are also small DMX dimmer packs that can be installed on trusses right beside the lighting (so you run constant power + DMX signal). I would not want to introduce even the possibility of someone plugging some (broken?) piece of electronics in and damaging the dimmer. The regular mains outlets and dimmer-controlled lighting circuits should all be totally separate.
Mar
8
comment How to secure a doggy door from intruders?
@Steven: No. Motion sensors have two sets of "beams" they send out that are alternating (like this), and basically the alarm goes off only if both beams are tripped: they're spaced so that a dog or cat will never cross both zones, while a human will. Pet immune detectors are rated by the size of animal, and this dictates the beam spacing (higher the weight rating, the farther apart the beams are, and the more movement it takes to set it off).