[Tfug] Panel installation height?

Bexley Hall bexley401 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 29 00:05:06 MST 2012

Hi Zack,

On 10/28/2012 3:29 PM, Zack Williams wrote:
>> Now, I have to mount these "control panels".  So, I'm faced
>> with two issues driving the mounting height:  high enough so
>> their contents are comfortably visible to "average users"
>> yet not so high that interacting (touch) with the panel
>> becomes tedious/tiring (shoulder loading).
> Two ideas:
> 1. When Palm was developing their first PDA's, they supposedly counted
> the number of touches to do certain tasks, and worked to reduce this
> number as much as possible.  Reducing the total amount of time you
> have to hold your arm and manipulate the interface is a win both from
> an efficiency and ergonomics.

Yes.  Recall, the panels are not the normal means of interacting
with the house.  There are only three of them (originally, two
small and one large; now *three* small -- I'll have to purchase
another -- and the large one is part of a "new", out-of-the-way
"maintenance/programming" station) so relying on them for all
interaction would be tedious.

They are located by the two primary entry/exit points of the house
and immediately outside the bedrooms (in the hallway).  As such, they
are more like "hello/goodbye" points of interaction:
- I'm leaving the house, is everything as I would like it to be?
- I just came home, make the house ready for me!
- I'm going to bed, is the house secure for the night?
- I just woke up, get things moving!

I liken their interactions more like dealing with a thermostat:
you may glance at it from time to time ("Gee, it feels cool in
here!") and tweek it occasionally ("Let's get that morning chill
out of the air!") but you rarely spend much time interacting with it.

E.g., if you had an alarm panel in your home, you would glance
at it to verify "all lights are green" before arming it and leaving
the house.  You *wouldn't* sit there trying to adjust the sensitivity
of one of the motion detectors from such a panel...

Any significant interaction will be done at the "maintenance" station.
(so you don't have to boot a "real computer", etc.)  I'll locate
this in the "equipment closet" (ROTFLMFAO!) in a keyboard drawer,
of sorts.  So, if/when I need to do any serious work, I will have
a friendlier device available with which to do it!  (larger screen,
keyboard if I want, etc.).  This will also be convenient as any
physical changes that I make to the system will require some
interaction *with* the system to inform it of my actions ("I've
moved the network connection for the water softener -- patch panel
port 65 -- to port number 15 on the PoE switch...") as well as
test/verify the functionality of those actions ("Why the heck
can't you see the water softener, now??").

> 2.  You might make your first deployment easily adjustable, so you can
> try it at different heights and figure out what works best.  Maybe
> putting the device on a stand or pole where it can be slid up and down
> would help you find the right combination of viewing angle/height/etc.

<frown>  In a commercial setting, this might be possible.  But, in
a home, it would just prolong the discomfort.  How do you make such
a mechanism and not have it altering the presentation?  I.e., does
it stand off the wall farther than it will eventually?  How do you
mount it *to* the wall?  Or, does it stand off the floor?  etc.

The panels are small (*you* know!  :> ) so I can't even tweek their
mounting heights by more than an inch or so without exposing the
hardware behind them (intended to be hidden).  "Get it right, first
time!"  (or, at least, "Don't get it *too* wrong...")

I'm going to open up the walls in these places so I can install
extra framing in these areas.  Yes, I realize the Chumbaloney's
aren't very heavy.  But, they will each need to be fastened *to*
the wall -- not just "hanging" like a framed picture.  Don't
want them squirming around as you poke at them, etc.  Mounting
to drywall is dubious, at best.  Having some real lumber behind
the drywall gives me extra capabilities in terms of fasteners,

<shrug>  If time proves me wrong, I'll just have to move them
and patch the drywall (since I don't have to worry about
*power*, all I need to do is make sure I leave enough of a
service loop in the wall for the CAT5!)

Learning experience.  That's why you prototype!  :>


More information about the tfug mailing list