Mystery - Strange prewiring in my home... need help understanding. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 12-27-2012, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi. I'm new to the forum and I hope you guys can help me solve a mystery. I have a large bundle of wires sticking out of the wall in the family room that appears to be the location for a central audio unit of some sort. My first thought was, of course, a surround sound system, but the wire runs don't make sense for that. Any help figuring out the original design intent would be greatly appreciated.

Background
We moved into this house about two years ago. The house was built around 1998 and is a 3600 sq. ft., 2-story home. It has an alarm system, intercom system and central vacuum system that all work.

Wiring Runs (All directions like left, right, front and back are given as if standing in the room facing the wall where the main bundle of wires are coming out of the wall)
As I mentioned before, in the family room on the 1st floor, in the center of the front wall just above the cable outlet, there is a bundle of purple Esoteric Audio USA wires.
There are 4 looped wires and one additional single. Presumably the loops would be cut to create 9 total wires for distributing the signal. These wires are purple and labeled with "E-116676 CL3R Riser". There are also 4 standard 2 conductor speaker wires, 2 brown and 2 white.

Under the house, we found 4 of the purple wires and all 4 of the 2 conductor wires.
We traced 2 of the purple wires, 1 brown and 1 white wire across the room and up into the wall on the right side, near the back wall of the living room.
The other brown and white wires went up into the left side wall, close to the front wall.
The 3rd purple wire went up into the wall in the formal living room.
The 4th purple wire went up into the wall between the kitchen and dining room.
I'm guessing the other 5 purple wires went up to the 2nd floor?

Now back up in the family room, there is a blank wall plate in the family room (back right corner) that has the 2 purple wires, but no brown or white wires. That is the only wires we found in the family room.
In the formal living room, there is a blank wall plate above the light switch?? that has 1 purple wire and 2 white wires, but the two white wires come into the box from the top, so I'm not sure where those are from? These 2 wires are labeled similarly to the wires in my security system unit, so I'm thinking these are not related.

That's all the information I have so far. Just seems really random and I'm at a loss as to what the thinking was. Any help would be greatly appreciated and I'll be happy to provide more information if there are questions.

Thanks!
John
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post #2 of 3 Old 12-27-2012, 05:29 PM
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My, my, my Johnway, you do have a mystery. Your investigation under the main floor has been helpful, but more info is needed. Have you stripped back the purple cable to determine what its contents are? Is it a four conductor with shield, or some sort of cat5 or 6? Have you reached you hand up inside the cutout to ensure the cable is truly looped, not just a long tail with the loose end tacked up inside the wall to keep it out of the way of the drywallers and painters? Was the other wallplate in the family room located at outlet height (16"-18") or switch height (38"-42") ?
If it is at switch height, chances are the purple cable is intended to interface with a control system of some sort.
Have you been in any other houses in your development built by the contractor that built yours, or have you contacted the builder to get some clues as to who he or she was using as a sub contractor and what brands of systems they usually installed?
Without some outside assistance or documentaion, I am afraid you may need to invest in some sort of inductive wire tracer to find where the other end of those speaker wires and purple wires end up. You likely will find the cabling prewired at switch and speaker locations to be cut in later.
This is one example of an inductive toner. $80 range. The transmitter end connects to two bare wires in the cable you are trying to locate. The inductive wand with speaker is held near the suspected locations, listening for a warble tone the transmitter is inserting. The wand will pickup the signal off the wire through drywall and insulation if the run isn't too long and there isn't too much other stray electrical noise in the area. (shut off any nearby low voltage lighting, ceiling fans, dimmers). By adjusting the volume control on the wand, you can find the point of loudest signal, usually very near the wire. Sometimes determining which side of a stud or ceiling joist is the biggest trick.
Do some research on A-Bus or NuVo and you may find a home audio distribution platform that matches your cabling.
The good news is that it sounds like you can get under the 1st floor and run new wires into the walls without too much trouble if the prewire turns out to be useless for your purposes.
PS This may be better addressed on the Home A/V distribution forum.

underachiever extraordinaire
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post #3 of 3 Old 12-28-2012, 04:09 AM
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The purple could be a 3- or 4-wire. The use of riser cable and the non-rated brown/white cable would make me wonder if whoever installed it knew what they were doing. I would tone it out or identify the wires you've found with a multimeter (short one end and use the MM at the other) and just run new wires where you need them.

Tim
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