Most helpful critical review
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Good book, but a couple problems
on July 6, 2012
I read every word of this book up until the case studies where I kind of picked and chose what interested me. It does a great job of explaining the basics of wiring and the different types of equipment and hardware, and has a fair amount of real world examples that are pretty easy to understand.
A few things bothered me though, and are all in somewhat of a way related to home automation.
In the section on different types of switches they mention a few types including dimmers and some automation switches that will not work with 2 conductor wire because they require a neutral, and simply state that it can not be done. It can be done if 3 conductor wire is ran from the device to the switch in order to keep the neutral, but they don't mention that or show how to do it, which would be nice.
On the same note, about half of the wiring examples they had for wiring switches are examples that as far as I know, are no longer valid per the 2011 NEC. The NEC now states that switch boxes must contain a neutral wire even if it isn't used (just cap it off in that case.) The book still has several examples of the outdated practice of just running a switch loop with 2 conductor wire. Unless I'm misunderstanding what the book is saying, I'm really not sure how that got overlooked, especially since it is one of only a few changes in the code. That is the point of releasing a new edition of the book, right?
In the home automation section, most of the examples of "automation" that they show are nothing more than decades old remote controllers. There is nothing on actual automation packages which are what consumers are looking for today. If someone wants to know how to install a remote device on their fan they can read the 2 page instruction booklet that comes with it. If they are going to have a section on automation they really need to cover some of the technologies that have came about and are being used now. Such as power line and wireless systems, IE z-wave, x-10, Insteon, etc.
One last thing on the negatives. What exactly is a multimedia box??? I laughed when I saw that. I have never heard a network port box called a multimedia box, and it certainly should never be installed next to a power receptacle. Cat 5, 5e, 6, etc should really never be located that close to power, and I have never ever seen it happen in residential or commercial settings. They mention to not run lines closer than 6 inches, but the standard is normally listed as 12 to 16, although it realistically isn't that important anymore due to much better anti-cross talk and interference measures. Just thought it was insane that they officially labeled it the way they did.
That being said. All of the basic wiring and electrical stuff is very good. Just like almost everything in life though, don't take it as the final word.