System Design and Wiring
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  1. Ideally, use a single Cat5 (Yellow) to each light that you may want to individually control. This provides the maximum flexibility.
  2. Two lights per Cat5 is a good balance of home runs and fixtures. Ideal for 3-15W lights (two 15W lights can be powered from a typical 30W driver). 
  3. Small lights, less than 5W for example, can have up to 5 connected on a single port. Lights on a single port must typically be controlled together (both will have the same intensity and not controlled individually)
  4. “Jump” wires between fixtures can be purchased pre-tipped and tested as they are typically much shorter than home runs from the PDM ports. Use Yellow jumps between fixtures that match the home run wire. For example: if the home run is a Cat6 (Yellow) to the first light, use a Cat6 (Yellow) jump wire to the next light. Use Cat5 (Orange) jumps to switch legs or field tip and terminate Orange Cat5 to the switch(es).
  5. Use Cat6 (Yellow) when a fixture runs more than 8 hours a day, requires over 35W, or is longer than 100ft. Commercial projects may use Cat6 to lights because they are on for extended periods. Cat5 is fine otherwise.
  6. Wire to light(s) first from the PDM port, then to switches. Wire additional switches after the first switch. There’s no need for Cat6 to switches as it’s difficult to work with, costs more, and there’s no benefit to it as the switches don’t draw any appreciable power. Use Orange Cat5 for switch legs.
    1. Gen2: Attach switches to the closest light, preferably to lights the switch will control, but not a requirement. It is very easy to combine several ports together into a zone of lights and switches without any software or APP using only the buttons and indicators on the PDM if wired this way. See “Pairing switches and lights to form Groups: Manually create Groups”.
    2. Gen2: Multiple switches in a gang location can be chained together using short 6in premade cables, but the configuration of the chained switches to control their respective lights will take a few more steps. See “Pairing switches and lights to form Groups: Manually create Groups”.
    3. LibRE (***remove: after gen2 release***): Attach all the switches controlling a zone on the same wire chain as a light in the zone. Other light(s) in the zone are grouped using the PDM channel jumper settings. All ports in Zones A,B,C,D,E are examples of valid LibRE grouping and wiring. The example of creating Zone F with the two switches on separate ports is not possible with LibRE.
  7. Exhaust Fans and Ceiling Fans should have their own switch leg wire (don’t jump from an adjacent switch in the gang). (***remove this as we make the addressable fan controller this year and add fan logic code into PDMs***)
  8. USB outlets should have their own Cat6 each to achieve 60W per outlet. If you only need 30W per outlet, it’s ok to put up to 2 USB outlets on a single Cat6 homerun. It’s not recommended to connect a switch or sensor to ports containing a USB outlet.
  9. Large blinds and shades may require a Cat6 if the motor watts is above 30W.
  10. Treat leak detectors like sensors and connect to the nearest device (light, switch, or outlet). They are all addressable so the port does not matter.
  11. Generally, daisy chaining devices will reduce the need for Y-splitter/combiners which can be tight in small boxes, as most devices have 2 RJ45 jacks built in. Some SIBs have a 3rd RJ45 jack for connecting a switch without a separate splitter, but it’s usually easier to run the wires in a daisy chain vs changing the SIB on the fixture. Lights often have space above them, so the Y-splitter/combiner has plenty of space. There’s also the MFF style splitter with one Male and two Female RJ45 jacks that is super quick to use over lights when a switch leg is needed on a light that is not the last in a chain.
  12. If the number of bulbs in a bulb-style fixture may change, for example a Chandelier may have 3 small bulbs initially but be replaced with a 7 bulb fixture later, use Cat6 (Yellow). Remember the maximum current from the RJ45 port is 1200mA (1.2A), so total up the current draw from the bulbs and be sure it’s less than 1.2A or the driver protection circuit will activate and tell you to lower the total bulb wattage before it can continue.
  13. LED Strips can draw a large current, so do the same calculation as with bulbs. The design tool can help select the right size strip allowed per port. If you think you’ll need more wattage total, use the Cat6, or run a Cat5 for control and a separate 16/2 for power.
  14. Use ONLY solid Copper wire. DO NOT use Copper Clad Aluminum wire. (***add link to AC skin effect studies vs DC using the whole conductor***)

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