shawn79's family/HT build - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 08-30-2012, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I have found that the answer to any A/V question I googled ultimatly ened up back at this forum so I finally signed up and started a thread about my family room build.

My room is approx 15' x 26', the TV and surround sound will be in one half of the rectangle. The floor is an on grade concrete slab.



Usage will be 90% movies/TV/Games 10% music. Our primary goal is to have the room finished and outfitted with furniture and a TV by late November or Early December. The HT will be built-up over time. The HT section of the room will be set-up for 5.1, I will probably be starting with a 2.0, 3.0 or 5.0 system and adding/upgrading as time/budget allows. I would like to leave provisions for future zone speakers in other rooms (garage, patio and living room above family room.)

Right now I'm working on framing and wiring.

Below is the AC/ low voltage runs I'm making, let me know if anything doesn't sound right.

*dedicated 20A circuit to TV stand (TV, AVR, etc.)
*CAT 5e - 2 lines to rear of room, 2 lines to TV stand. I plan to install a switch at the TV stand, one of the wires will be back-up.
*Cable (RG6) - I run from cable company splitter outside.
*Sub Woofer (RG6) to rear of room for possible sub location.
*16 ga 4 conductor Speaker Wire - 1 run for rear surround speakers, 1 run to garage, 1 run to patio, 2 runs to upstairs living room (my wife likes to move furniture.)

I'm looking forward to finally working on (and finishing) this project, we have been planning to do it for several years but never actually did it.

Many more questions to come!

-Shawn
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post #2 of 23 Old 08-30-2012, 03:33 PM
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now is the time to wire for more than one sub.
http://www.harman.com/EN-US/OurCompany/Innovation/Documents/White%20Papers/multsubs.pdf
if the link comes up "page not found" roll your mouse over "innovations" and click on "white papers" look for Tony Welti's article on the benefits of multiple subs.
lots of good stuff there

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post #3 of 23 Old 08-30-2012, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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weaselfest, Thanks for the link, interesting read. I have given some thought to having multiple locations available for sub placement (and possibly multiple subs... maybe 2.. someday:D) Up front I probably only have room for a single sub which I can plug directy into the AVR, the RG6 that I ran behind the seating would allow for placement of a sub anywhere along the window wall or behind/beside the couch with a long enough cable. Would there be a benifit to running an additional RG6 to the rear of the room for a second sub, or can I use a RCA Y-splitter to run two subs? I believe I have read that a #.1 system can use a Y-splitter to effectivly make a #.2 system, is that correct?
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post #4 of 23 Old 08-30-2012, 09:25 PM
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Since you're wiring for "whole house audio" with wires to the other zones, run a cat5e in parallel to your speaker wires, bringing it to a potential future keypad location in the zone. Loop the speaker wire through that location as well, and then you're set up for most any of the WHA systems should you choose to expand in the future.

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post #5 of 23 Old 08-31-2012, 04:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Good idea with the cat5e, I was already planning to make some runs upstairs because I will be moving my network gear down to the mechanical room. I will pull some extra for the possibliity of future expansion with the WHA.

Do they make control keypads that do not require wall mounting? With our upstairs living room layout it may be nice to just have a controller that sits on an end table. Can anyone recommend a website that carries this sort of equipment, or at least what phrases I should be googling to find information.

Thanks for the input so far, this is the exact type of feedback I was hoping for. I hope to get some pics posted after this weekend.
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post #6 of 23 Old 08-31-2012, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn79 View Post

Do they make control keypads that do not require wall mounting? With our upstairs living room layout it may be nice to just have a controller that sits on an end table. Can anyone recommend a website that carries this sort of equipment, or at least what phrases I should be googling to find information.

Yes, there are several wireless / freestanding keypad options depending on the vendor. And control from an iPod/iPad/Andriod device is also typically available.

A website that talks about it... hmmm... cool.gif Look down a few clicks to the "Home A/V Distribution" forum...

Popular brands in this space include HTD.com, Sonos, NuVo and Russound.

Jeff

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post #7 of 23 Old 08-31-2012, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
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jautor, Thanks for the info. I will run the extra cat5e lines "just in case":-)

BTW, I checked out your build thread... amazing. Very nice work.
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post #8 of 23 Old 09-01-2012, 05:45 AM
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sounds like you are on target if the RG6 run would be a second location to a sub plugged directly into your screen wall located receiver. As for the .2 definition, my feelings on the matter interpret it as having two subs with independent control of each, in terms of level, delay, phase & crossover point, which can be accomplished on the sub itself to a point if it is appropriately equipped. No reason to run a second sub line behind unless you have some sort of external DSP before each sub at the receiver location.

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post #9 of 23 Old 09-03-2012, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, this weekend was less than productive. With it being a holiday I only managed a few hours of work between cookouts. I did finish boxing in a beam/duct run and worked on redoing some of the switches for the back yard lights. The room is embarrassingly messy so photos will have to wait till I get some cleaning up done.

I have been reading a lot about the WHA and think I have my situation figured out... please correct me if any of this is wrong or if there is any easier way to make it work. I don't think we will be using the other zones right away, but as long as we are set-up for it I can add it later.

I will have 16 gauge 4 conductor speaker wire and a cat5e run to the garage and back patio. I have decided not to run speaker wire up to the living room (more on that later.) I haven't finalized my receiver selection yet, but I plan to get one with Zone2 or Zone2/3 capability. If the amp has a powered Zone 2 then I can run a set of speakers directly from that, or get a speaker selector to hook up multiple sets. If the receiver does not have powered zones then I will need an external amplifier. I'm a little confused by this; can I take the Zone output to the input of a 2-ch receiver and then use that to power the speakers? I have also seen "T Amps" can one of those be used? Or is there something else I should be looking for?

I decided to only run the cat5e to the upstairs living room because we probably wouldn't want a set of speakers sitting on the furniture. Long term we could add another network receiver to the TV in that room or a squeezebox (or similar.)

This week I hope to finish the RG6 runs. A buddy is coming over to help me fish two new lines across the top of the garage to tie into the cable company box. I'm also hoping to get my first drywall quote and have my cousin-carpenter stop over to make sure everything looks right with my framing and get into his schedule to hang the doors.

Thanks for everyone's input so far!

-Shawn
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post #10 of 23 Old 09-07-2012, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I worked on a few things this week and did a ton of research on wiring..... and have a huge monoprice wishlist.... and have alot of returns for Lowes since I found much better pricing/selection online.

We managed to run 3 new RG6 runs from the cable company box on the side of the garage into the mechanical room by going under the siding then over the garage ceiling in the duct/beam chase. I'm glad we went under the siding; you can't even tell we ran the cable lines up the side of the house.

The RG6 will terminate at a patch panel in a mechanical room adjacent to the family/HT room. This area will also serve as the network and zone audio hub for the house. I will take some measurements this weekend to see if I can fit a small wall rack in the room or if it makes the most sense to mount everything to a plywood back panel. I would prefer the rack but cost and available space may dictate the plywood method.

In my previous post I had decided against running speaker wire to the living room. It occurred to me this week that I may want to put surround sound in that room (someday) and should run the wire with that in mind. For the most flexibility I have decided to run speaker wires from both sides of the room to a terminal rail in my mechanical room where I will be setting up the network and cable TV distribution. I should then be set up for zone speakers or rear channel surround sound from a receiver in the living room depending on how I change the jumpers around.

This weekend is busy but I hope to get some cleaning up done, photos taken of the progress and continue with the wiring/framing.

My original wiring plan was to use the scoop wire plates so the in-wall wiring could connect directly to the device without adding additional connections at the wall. The theory being that fewer connections would mean less chance for problems (and lower overall cost.) However, in researching wiring I now have concerns about this method. My in-wall speaker and Cat5e wire is all solid conductor, according to articles I have read this wire does not hold up well when subject to frequent bending (which causes the solid conductors to break.... which is bad) Many recommended terminating the solid conductor wire at a wall plate (or patch panel) and using stranded conductor patch cables to make the final connections. Any thoughts?
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-09-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Progress this weekend was decent.

My cousin will be finishing up the framing; I would have liked to do it myself but our Thanksgiving deadline will require outside help. He should be able to fit me in next week or the week after.

I ran more low voltage wire. Two RG6 cables to rear of room for subs. Speaker wire from front wall to distribution closet for zone 2/3. Speaker wire from living room above to distribution closet. I still need to cut boxes in the room above but I can't bring myself to make a mess up there yet. I also ran RG6 from distribution closet to the front wall and another run that will go upstairs to the living room.

Next week I hope to have the flooring picked out for the main room and the half bath/laundry. I will also be checking out stone veneer for the fireplace and we should be getting a quote for drywall. My first order to monoprice should go in next week for the wall plate and keystone jacks for the upstairs living room wiring.

-Shawn
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post #12 of 23 Old 09-11-2012, 12:06 PM
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You mentioned running the RG6 under the siding. Are you worried about the siding rubbing on the cable? Or did you run it in the "grooves" of the siding so it's not actively rubbing against it?

Sounds good - the only advice I'd give is run more wires than you think you'll need, especially the Cat 5e. Even if you don't terminate the wires and set them up, by just having them lie there it is a lot easier than running more wire later.
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post #13 of 23 Old 09-11-2012, 12:55 PM
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When running Cat5e or some other higher bandwidth cabling, running it all inside conduit is ideal. You will thank yourself a thousand times over if you should ever want/need to re-run new cable for whatever reason.
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post #14 of 23 Old 09-11-2012, 06:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iaflyer View Post

You mentioned running the RG6 under the siding. Are you worried about the siding rubbing on the cable? Or did you run it in the "grooves" of the siding so it's not actively rubbing against it?
Sounds good - the only advice I'd give is run more wires than you think you'll need, especially the Cat 5e. Even if you don't terminate the wires and set them up, by just having them lie there it is a lot easier than running more wire later.

I did not think about the siding rubbing the cable. I hope there isn't enough movement in the siding to cause any problems. If we do have problems I can use the old wire to pull a new one in (hoping for no problems!) I agree with running extra wires, I have been adding extra and spare wires/cables almost everywhere.
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When running Cat5e or some other higher bandwidth cabling, running it all inside conduit is ideal. You will thank yourself a thousand times over if you should ever want/need to re-run new cable for whatever reason.

I had intended for the wiring to be in conduit. Unfortunatly I have alot of existing AC line to work around and didn't see a simple way of installing conduit without causing alot of problems for myself. I do agree with your advice; I have several hundred feet of conduit buried around the back yard for outlets and lights on our fence. The abilty to pull another wire has saved me a few times already.


-Shawn
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post #15 of 23 Old 09-11-2012, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Some more status updates.....

My wife and I were checking out flooring and paint options yesterday. We are leaning towards a locking style cork floor for the main room and tile for the 1/2 bath/laundry. The room will see a lot of traffic from the house going into the back yard and from the back yard to the garage so carpet really isn't an option. The HT area will get a large area rug or bound edge carpet. I'm a little skeptical about the long term durability of the cork but so far all of the reviews seem to be positive. I picked up some samples that I'm planning to abuse before making a final decision.

I was at a local stone veneer supplier and got a lot of information for the stone we will be putting on the corner fireplace. The installation process doesn't look too bad so I will probably try to take that on myself when the time comes. I also picked up a wooden beam we will be using for the mantle. With some power washing and varnish it should look good. I believe it may be wormy chestnut (at the very least it is wormy!)

Also had a guy stop out to look at the drywall this evening, I should have a quote back in a day or two. I'm having him quote hang & finish and just finish, although I hope to not hang it myself.

Things seem to be coming into place; I just need to get the wiring wrapped up and finish a few framing projects by the end of the month so the drywall can go up.

I'm still working on progress photos.... I have them on the camera, just need to get them on the computer and figure out how to post.

-Shawn
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post #16 of 23 Old 09-14-2012, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Updates with photos!

Fireplace and some pipe runs are now framed out. Just need to finish up some wiring and odds-n-ends before drywall!

This is the fireplace and wall where the TV will be. I think 55" is all I will be able to fit without overwhelming the space.


Other end of room looking into 1/2 bath, laundry and future cabinets


Rear corner with closet and door to patio
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post #17 of 23 Old 09-19-2012, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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First shipment from Monoprice arrived this week. I was able to complete most of the wiring to the living room above the room I'm working on. I also returned alot of keystone wall plates and adapters I picked up at lowes... love Monoprice!! Hope to have all wiring wrapped up this weekend so drywall can start soon.
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post #18 of 23 Old 09-24-2012, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Weekend was productive. I crossed most of the small items off of the "to-do list". Picked up drywall at Lowes and should be ready to hang it this weekend with the help of my dad and brothers. I was looking around last night and saw a few more things I should do before closing up the walls.... hope I didn't forget anything. I can't wait to get the drywall up and move on to a new phase of finishing this room. I still think it is possible to hit our thanksgiving completion date, the end of the schedule is really starting to tighten up. I think a large part of it will depend how soon the drywall can be finished. Our project is basically fill-in work for the guy who is doing it... he hopes to get us taken care of in the next few weeks. At the very least I will have some down time to work on some of the other house projects that need attention.
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post #19 of 23 Old 09-26-2012, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been looking at where to setup my network, CATV, and speaker distribution. I have it narrowed down to two locations but without any practical experience installing this stuff I'm not sure which would be better. Until now our network gear has always been located close to the TV which usually results in a mess of wires and blinking lights. I've done quite a bit of searching for photos of others set-ups, most people seem to have much more available space than I am working with. Any thoughts on how to best pull this off?

For my home network
* 12 CAT5e drops (run)
* cable modem (have)
* router (have)
* patch panel (need to buy.. thinking 2X 12 port vertical from monoprice)
* switch (need to buy... 16 or 24 port)
* Vonage adapter (have)
* NAS (have 1, may add more in future)
* not sure what else, want to leave some additional space

For CATV I have 4 input lines from outside and 4 - 6 output lines that will be patched together. I was thinking of setting up two keystone wall plates and using patch cords to handle the routing.

For speaker distribution I have 6 four conductor drops coming into the room (2 zone inputs from AVR, 4 outputs.) For this I was going to use a DIN rail with terminal blocks for the drops. Then I can patch between with speaker wire or add a selector switch as the system grows.


The first location is in the mechanical closet on the wall beside/under the sub panel. My concerns with this location are the close proximity to the sub panel and limiting access to the hot water heater. I like that it has the potential to be a large flat area to mount a board which would make layout and mounting very easy.

Height 72" under duct/ 47" under panel, 36" wide


The second location is in an access closet for our water shut off. My only concern with this space is that it will be relatively tight once the drywall is up. I would also rather use the space for actual storage. The benefits are: not blocking access to anything and more distance from sub panel.

17" wide x 12" deep x 67" tall


Either choice appears to be a compromise; I'd like to hear what some of you would do (especially since many of you have probably been here before with your builds.)

Thanks
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post #20 of 23 Old 10-01-2012, 04:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Weekend progress was great. We have all of the drywall hung. I just need to cut a few more openings for the built-ins. I'll get some photos later this week once the room is cleaned up again. It is amazing how much it looks like a real room now, can't wait for the drywall finishers to come in and get us ready for paint. This week I will pick up the tile for the bath/laundry room, order stone veneer for the fireplace and order the cork flooring for the main room.
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post #21 of 23 Old 10-23-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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It has been a while since I updated the build thread.... drywall finisher is done, I have most of the room in two coats of primer. The fireplace is almost ready for stone veneer. This week I will continue painting and finish the stone veneer prep. I hope to put the stone up this weekend and then spend some time painting the bath/laundry so I can tile that floor next weekend. I have more detailed photos of the stone veneer process if anyone is interested (I'm following the instructions from Eldorado Stone website)

Photos:

Fire place and future home of TV


Where the couch will go


Closet, built-in DVD/BD storage cabinet


Future home of cabinets, Bath/Laundry, another built-in (possibly for network gear.. still undecided)
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post #22 of 23 Old 11-07-2012, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Progress has been very good! Tile in bath/laundry is finished, painting is mostly complete, and fireplace stone is started. I had some false confidence with how easy the stone went up and was quickly knocked back down when I started the grouting process. That is by far the hardest part of stone veneer (at least for me.) I also discovered that I have interference between the fireplace insert and the stone... I'm hoping to take care of it by trimming the fireplace flange with a die grinder but drives me nuts that I messed it up to begin with.

By the end of this coming weekend I hope to have the painting, fireplace stone and cork floor finished. I would also like to have most of the finish electrical in place as well as a good portion of the base and door trim.

I feel like our Thanksgiving deadline is achievable for "Phase 1"; which is that the physical room will be at a point that we can use it. "Phase 2" will include the electronics, built-ins and storage cabinets... which I hope to have completed sometime next year. I have also come to the conclusion that this will be more family room and much less HT than I had hoped. Now that the physical room is coming together the limited space for the TV and speakers is becoming apparent. Once I am further along I will need to mock-up some TV/ speakers with cardboard and see what I comfortably fit into the room..... and sourcing opintions from this forum.

Fireplace: Before I started to grout. The scrap drywall pieces on the horizontal surfaces and around firebox location are to protect them from mortar.

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post #23 of 23 Old 11-12-2012, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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This weekend's progress was good. The fireplace stone is 99% done; I just need to grout the very bottom where the flooring comes in. The cork floor is down and I got some more of the electrical finished.

This week I need to finish the painting of the walls & trim and continue to work on final electrical. If things go well the doors will also be installed by the weekend.

This coming weekend I will be installing trim, fireplace insert and wrapping up any other loose ends that are still out there. I've decided I will be calling in a pro for the fireplace gas hook-up since I'm not entirely comfortable making the propane connections. If time allows I would also like to start on the sink/toilet installs in the bathroom.

The room is a mess with painted trim and pre-hung doors covering most of the floor, update pics will need to wait till some of that gets out of the way (installed.)
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