Line Level Over CAT5e? - AVS Forum
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Old 04-11-2008, 04:28 PM - Thread Starter
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In one possible configuration for WHA, the source components would be in the family room on first floor, and the controller/amplifier would be in a wiring closet on the second floor. I would need to run line level 50-75 feet.

Can this be run over CAT5e, or should I use coax? If the answer is coax, would mini coax be acceptable?

Sorry if this is a dumb question, I tried searching and couldn't find a definitive answer.
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:33 PM
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Your looking for something like this:

http://www.nilesaudio.com/product.ph...rdcdID=FG01281

Regards, Frederick C. Wilt
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt View Post

Your looking for something like this:

http://www.nilesaudio.com/product.ph...rdcdID=FG01281

We have several in the field with good results...
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:49 PM
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Leviton and a couple other companies make RCA plate inserts with 110 punch down for Cat-5.


I don't know if I have ever seen any manufacturer provide a jack to jack distance rating though. I have used them up to around 45' with good results. As cheap as they are and if you already have Cat-5 from A to B, it might be worth giving them a try. You always have the balun option if they don't work.

I have used the 5x RGB Mini RG-59 cables for Component Video / Analog Audio over the distances your working with and had no problems. Since the line level out of source equipment and sensitivity of receiving equipment can vary, there is no guarantee that the results will always be the same.

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Old 04-12-2008, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I may try the direct method (using the RCA plate inserts). If that doesn't work well, I'll go to baluns or mini coax.

I forgot to ask about IR transmission. In my possible configuration, I would need to transmit IR from the controller (in wiring closet on second floor) to the source components (in family room on first floor). What are the possibilities? CAT5e, mini coax, anything else?

Thanks to all of you for your input. This is a great forum, with lots good information and knowledegable, helpful members.
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:32 PM
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Cat5 is fine for IR. I would recommend using coax for the line level. The cat5/RCA adapter above is a real shot in the dark as you are trying to send a signal designed for unbalanced 75ohm cables (coax) on a 100ohm balanced cable (cat5). With no balun you are sending the signal naked with absolutely no shielding or noise immunity. At least a balun will convert it to balanced and give you the benefit of noise immunity from the twisted pair medium of cat5.
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:48 AM
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http://www.amazon.com/RJ45-Quad-Cabl.../dp/B000BVP544


Could one use these??? The description says it's for security camera audio, but since cables are stupid, and as such, they do not know what information to send where, until you tell it.... I picture going from your components to the wall plate, then, from the receiving wall plate, to the next component???

amazon.com/RJ45-Quad-Cable-Audio-Distribution/dp/B000BVP544******sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1208196023&sr=1-12

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Old 04-14-2008, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin g. View Post

http://www.amazon.com/RJ45-Quad-Cabl.../dp/B000BVP544


Could one use these??? The description says it's for security camera audio, but since cables are stupid, and as such, they do not know what information to send where, until you tell it.... I picture going from your components to the wall plate, then, from the receiving wall plate, to the next component???

amazon.com/RJ45-Quad-Cable-Audio-Distribution/dp/B000BVP544******sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1208196023&sr=1-12

I wouldn't.....same problem. That unit is simply taking each pair of cat5 conductors and turning them into an RCA cable. You still have no noise immunity whatsoever. Maybe not a problem in a grainy video surveillance application or crackling audio from a microphone, but I would not chance it to my whole house audio distribution.
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmee View Post

Cat5 is fine for IR. I would recommend using coax for the line level. The cat5/RCA adapter above is a real shot in the dark as you are trying to send a signal designed for unbalanced 75ohm cables (coax) on a 100ohm balanced cable (cat5). With no balun you are sending the signal naked with absolutely no shielding or noise immunity. At least a balun will convert it to balanced and give you the benefit of noise immunity from the twisted pair medium of cat5.

Ok, I'll use CAT5e for the IR and mini coax for the line level. When using the mini coax for the line level, I assume that I do not need a balun on each end. Is it correct that all I need to do is terminate the mini coax with RCA jacks?

One more thing. My HTPC will located in the family room, and I might need RS232 serial communication from the HTPC to the controller about 50-75 feet away. Is this possible? If so, what is the best way to do this? I assume that I don't want to run a serial cable that distance.
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Old 04-14-2008, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munchcolo View Post

Ok, I'll use CAT5e for the IR and mini coax for the line level. When using the mini coax for the line level, I assume that I do not need a balun on each end. Is it correct that all I need to do is terminate the mini coax with RCA jacks?

One more thing. My HTPC will located in the family room, and I might need RS232 serial communication from the HTPC to the controller about 50-75 feet away. Is this possible? If so, what is the best way to do this? I assume that I don't want to run a serial cable that distance.

You can terminate the Coax with Standard F-Type fittings and use F-Type to RCA adapters ($1 ea. at RatShack or HD - Like these: http://www.compsource.com/pn/27313/Cables_To_Go_74/) or terminate directly with RCA fittings. No Baluns necessary.

For serial, use Cat-5 again. You can then purchase RJ-45 to DB9 adapters for a couple of bucks (like these: http://www.pccables.com/01910.htm)
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Old 04-14-2008, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:51 AM
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I don't know if they have changed their tune, but years ago I had a techsupport guy at Xantech get downright combative about running IR over Cat 5. I have run plenty of IR over Cat5 so I called him back the next day and lied to him. I told him I had pulled new shielded wire, and then we proceeded to actually troubleshoot the problem. It was a programming issue with their keypads. LOL.

As to audio over Cat 5. I was researching the subject because I have an application where there is existing unused cat5, but no practical way to run any new wire. For short runs I don't see why it would not work. Cat5(e)/6 is twisted to help with noise issues for high frequency data communications. Admittedly ethernet data protocols include error checking, but I have also seen it used for intercom quite successfully. Nutone threw a fit the first time I mentioned it to them, but atleast one 2.5 story 4800sq foot house I know of has been running a Nutone intercom over it for more than a decade. (Not my install. I was doing the alarm.)

I guess I'll just try it and see. I'll plug my pink noise generator in and do a spectrum analysis compared to plugged directly into the amp.
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Old 07-12-2013, 11:51 AM
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I don't know if they have changed their tune, but years ago I had a techsupport guy at Xantech get downright combative about running IR over Cat 5. I have run plenty of IR over Cat5 so I called him back the next day and lied to him. I told him I had pulled new shielded wire, and then we proceeded to actually troubleshoot the problem. It was a programming issue with their keypads. LOL.

As to audio over Cat 5. I was researching the subject because I have an application where there is existing unused cat5, but no practical way to run any new wire. For short runs I don't see why it would not work. Cat5(e)/6 is twisted to help with noise issues for high frequency data communications. Admittedly ethernet data protocols include error checking, but I have also seen it used for intercom quite successfully. Nutone threw a fit the first time I mentioned it to them, but atleast one 2.5 story 4800sq foot house I know of has been running a Nutone intercom over it for more than a decade. (Not my install. I was doing the alarm.)

I guess I'll just try it and see. I'll plug my pink noise generator in and do a spectrum analysis compared to plugged directly into the amp.
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:10 PM
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I'd guess after five years the original poster has probably figured something out....

But to answer the question, since we've brought this thread back from the dead - MuxLab has a great set of balun products for line-level audio over cat5e:

http://muxlab.com/product?class=baluns&product=stereo-hi-fi-balun&pid=79

Including a really nice bi-directional quad-signal (two stereo pairs) version - part # 500033.

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Old 07-14-2013, 08:23 PM
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Good Job on the balun!

It was interesting that no one in the original (ancient) discussion broached the cable sheath rating of coax and the necessity that it be rated for routing through walls and pathways (since they referred to "mini-coax" which doesn't sound like UL Listed CATV style coax).
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Old 07-14-2013, 10:19 PM
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Mini-coax and the "bundles" of 3-5 RG59 coax cables are certainly available as in-wall rated cables (CL2 / CM), as that's their primary use. Honestly I think it would be hard to find one that isn't...

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Old 07-15-2013, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Mini-coax and the "bundles" of 3-5 RG59 coax cables are certainly available as in-wall rated cables (CL2 / CM), as that's their primary use. Honestly I think it would be hard to find one that isn't...
This is correct. Mini-HR cable generally has 5 conductors for RGB applications, which means it works great for component video plus analog audio. Some have fewer, such as mini-HR S-video cable, which works very well for analog audio interconnects, and there is 6 or more conductor versions for multiple applications. Six conductors gives component video, analog audio, and digital audio on one pull.

All of these cables I have ever seen are either CL2 or plenum rated, so for general residential work, there won't be any problem at all.

Not that the OP gives a darn anymore! biggrin.gif

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