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post #1 of 106 Old 08-10-2011, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks up front for vast amount of info both here and linked from here. It made my research much easier. As the title states, Im working on an A/V distribution plan for a new home we are building. We are working with our builder now to finalize the floor plan but what Im posting is probably 75% accurate (family room and kitchen are still being reworked). I have quite a bit of experience working with wiring, I was an avionics and electronics tech on helicopters for a number of years and am now a systems engineer that goofs with both discrete wiring and ethernet on a regular basis, so working with coax, twisted pairs, ethernet, etc doesnt bother me in the slightest. That being said, the only wire Ive run in a home is some speaker wire and ethernet in my previous home, whole home AV is a little new and I want to get it right up front. So first the floorplan.



I should have put a key on there, I realize that now. The TV icons in the box are RG6, the black triangles are CAT-5E. White triangles are phone jacks using CAT-5E. Speakers are the boxed S'es. In the room with 2 speakers there is an S with a line through it on the wall, thats the volume control switch. The Media room is going to be my hub, I will be installing an A/V rack in a stealthed cabinet shamelessly ripped off of these forums. I realize that the size of this photo may not be big enough to see all the icons, Ill post a link to the full size image once I can.

For 2 channel audio rooms Im using 16/4 to the switch, and then a single run of 16/4 to both speakers, breaking the first pair out at the closest speaker and then continuing the run and terminating the second pair at the end speaker. For the 5:1 rooms it will be 14 gauge individual pairs to each speaker location. The one question I have here is for subwoofer wiring. Is another 14 gauge run good enough there? So in effect Ill have 6 14 gauge runs to the room, or am I missing something (power?)? Do I need to run a CAT-5E run to each switch location to allow it to be used with certain distributed audio systems?

I am going to run HDMI cables to all the TV locations except bedrooms 2 and 3. Those runs are 65+ feet, if at some point down the road I need to service them with HDMI I can look at going with baluns using the two CAT-5E runs in the TV bundle correct? I will listen to reasons to talk me out of that plan.

My objective AV plan



There is a reason that is called an objective plan, Unless this house comes in significantly under budget (HA!) I wont have the funds to complete the distribution portion of this plan, specifically the matrix. Its not a deal breaker because I dont have TVs for all those locations anyway, the goal here is to have the wiring in place to allow us to grow into the house and/or provide more value when selling down the road. For instance, we arent TV in the bedroom people, but Im provisioning for it anyway because its easy to prewire and we may become TV in the bedroom people later. So here is my short term plan.



A little convoluted, but let me try to explain and hopefully this all works. Im going with a direct receiver to the 3 TV areas we will use immediately after building; family room, media room, study. Each TV will have its own receiver, and its own cable box attached directly to that receiver. I will have to run IR repeaters from those three locations to the necessary equipment, I will use one of the CAT-5Es in each TV bundle for that. My son has a TV in bedroom 2, but he is good with basic cable so we will just barrel his RG6 directly off the splitter for him to use without a cable box. That room wont use any other service from the rack, he has an Xbox in that room and will use that 90% of the time.

For the audio zones, I plan on providing service by using multi-zone receivers. Im doing 5:1 in two rooms and 2:1 everywhere else so I believe that is ok. Audio will be Sirius 95% of the time, which I plan to service directly from the receivers. Our first expansion will likely be the patio, Im assuming at that point I would need to look at a 4x8 matrix minimum right?

An idea I had with running the TV prewire stuff was to run all the cabling through an open gang at a wall mount height and continue that run to a floor level box to allow more flexibility down the road. If I want to mount at the wall height, I just pull the excess into the attic and use the terminations there. If for whatever reason I want to use a floor cabinet I can just let out the excess back down to the bottom box. I didnt plan on cutting out every box and capping them, some of those runs would only be opened at the bottom box so the wall stays clean. I will have detailed captures of all box locations so I can cut into them when needed down the road. Is this legal (power outlet at wall height would have to do the same or it defeats the purpose) or even useful?

The other question/concern I have is related to sealed envelope construction. I tried to avoid exterior walls because of this but some places just couldnt be avoided. Specifically the patio, bundle A in the master bedroom, and bundle B in bedroom 2. Conduit is the safe play there, but should I run the RG-6, HDMI, and coax bundles inside it or run them seperately (and trap them in the spray foam forever) and leave the conduit open for future expansion? Hopefully I covered everything, please pick apart my plan and tell me where you think Im going wrong, Im looking forward to your reviews.
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post #2 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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100+ views and zero comments? What did I do wrong?
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post #3 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorchris View Post

100+ views and zero comments? What did I do wrong?

Nothing, but many of the people looking may know less than you and/or have nothing to offer in response. I'm trying to digest everything you've posted before I respond. Is it possible for you to attach a larger picture of your demarked floor plan? As is, I can't see the image clearly enough to make out your speaker/tv/etc locations.

You've provided a LOT of information (good), just takes a while to digest it all to provide feedback. Sometimes, it's better to ask short, direct questions rather than just "Here's what I'm doing, what do you think?"

I'll try to respond soon.
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post #4 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 04:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorchris View Post

I realize that the size of this photo may not be big enough to see all the icons, Ill post a link to the full size image once I can.

Yeah, that may be one reason for the lack of replies. But more likely, posts like this are "help me start from scratch and design an entire house system" are difficult to answer - because it's a huge question and people get paid real money for the full response to those types of inquiries...

Quote:


For 2 channel audio rooms Im using 16/4 to the switch, and then a single run of 16/4 to both speakers, breaking the first pair out at the closest speaker and then continuing the run and terminating the second pair at the end speaker.

Loop that speaker cable at a keypad location in each zone for compatibility with wall-mounted volume controls (in case). More importantly, also run a cat5 wire in parallel to that same keypad location for control of a whole-house audio system.

Quote:


The one question I have here is for subwoofer wiring. Is another 14 gauge run good enough there?

Many (most?) subwoofers these days are self-powered, so you want a line-level audio cable - an RG6 coax line with an RCA plug is typical.

Quote:


Do I need to run a CAT-5E run to each switch location to allow it to be used with certain distributed audio systems?

Yes. In general, if you're running a wire somewhere other than a speaker location, add at least one cat5e/cat6 wire to that run - it's the swiss army knife of A/V wiring...

Quote:


I am going to run HDMI cables to all the TV locations except bedrooms 2 and 3. Those runs are 65+ feet, if at some point down the road I need to service them with HDMI I can look at going with baluns using the two CAT-5E runs in the TV bundle correct? I will listen to reasons to talk me out of that plan.

Cat5 matrix switches are the way to go, and running cat5/6 is much easier than HDMI - and will outlast the HDMI cable/standard... Any HDMI run >15 feet can be an issue - I'd skip it altogether and run 3-4 cat6 wires to each (potential) display location.

Quote:


There is a reason that is called an objective plan, Unless this house comes in significantly under budget (HA!)

Yeah, let me stop you right there...

Quote:


the goal here is to have the wiring in place to allow us to grow into the house and/or provide more value when selling down the road. For instance, we arent TV in the bedroom people, but Im provisioning for it anyway because its easy to prewire and we may become TV in the bedroom people later.

That is absolutely the correct mindset for new construction. Wire installation will NEVER be as cheap as it is during construction. Add what you think is a *ridiculous* amount of wire. A year or two later, you'll wish you ran more.

A couple of things I see in your plan:

1) I don't like the rack access door in the bedroom. I'd be concerned about aesthetics, acoustics, etc. Look instead at a pull-out rack (Middle Atlantic AX-S) to gain access instead of a door in the bedroom wall...

2) I'd also be concerned about the media room sharing a wall with the Master bedroom. But it's probably better than having it adjacent to a kid's bedroom - assuming mom&dad stay up later than the kids more often that vice versa. (and the kids don't get to use Saturday mornings!)

3) Are you bringing all the wiring and equipment for the whole house A/V into the media room? You'll likely have a wiring center in a closet somewhere where the builder would normally run the phone/coax/ethernet/alarm wiring. If you have that wiring center placed somewhere convenient (utility / laundry room for example) you can place equipment there...


Jeff


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post #5 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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So I couldnt find an easy way to get a cleaner image from Visio without making it enormous, so I went ghetto and did screen caps at a zoom level that will show detail. Unfortunately this means you have to stitch things together to see the whole picture.











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post #6 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 08:13 PM
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Can you play X-Box, Wii and PS3 from your media closet?


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(Just as big an idea thief as)

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post #7 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Yeah, that may be one reason for the lack of replies. But more likely, posts like this are "help me start from scratch and design an entire house system" are difficult to answer - because it's a huge question and people get paid real money for the full response to those types of inquiries...

Fair enough, the reason Im here is because my builder told me his AV guy would bend me over to do what Ive put into the plan so far. He charges $200 bucks to wall mount a TV. Not run cables and such, just to hang the mount and put the TV on it.


Quote:


Loop that speaker cable at a keypad location in each zone for compatibility with wall-mounted volume controls (in case). More importantly, also run a cat5 wire in parallel to that same keypad location for control of a whole-house audio system.

I thought I had read that before, thanks for confirming. So Im clear, 16/4 and a cat-5 from the rack to the switch, then a run of 16/4 to the speakers correct?


Quote:


Many (most?) subwoofers these days are self-powered, so you want a line-level audio cable - an RG6 coax line with an RCA plug is typical.

Thanks for that, had no clue. Would a RG6 and a 14 gauge pair give it more flexibility (are there subs that use standard speaker wire and a power source for instance?)


Quote:


Cat5 matrix switches are the way to go, and running cat5/6 is much easier than HDMI - and will outlast the HDMI cable/standard... Any HDMI run >15 feet can be an issue - I'd skip it altogether and run 3-4 cat6 wires to each (potential) display location.

I will have to look into this, any links would be helpful. Is a cat-5 matrix 1080P?


Quote:


A couple of things I see in your plan:

1) I don't like the rack access door in the bedroom. I'd be concerned about aesthetics, acoustics, etc. Look instead at a pull-out rack (Middle Atlantic AX-S) to gain access instead of a door in the bedroom wall...

I had the same concern, we are going to make that corner a 90 (or close to it) and move the master bedroom door further up the wall so I can put that entry to the back in the hallway.

Quote:


2) I'd also be concerned about the media room sharing a wall with the Master bedroom. But it's probably better than having it adjacent to a kid's bedroom - assuming mom&dad stay up later than the kids more often that vice versa. (and the kids don't get to use Saturday mornings!)

The builder is planning on filling the walls with spray foam and we are going to do carpet to knock sound down. The nice thing is the family room will (eventually) share the same sources so if it does get too loud for us old farts I can kick them down the hall another room.

Quote:


3) Are you bringing all the wiring and equipment for the whole house A/V into the media room? You'll likely have a wiring center in a closet somewhere where the builder would normally run the phone/coax/ethernet/alarm wiring. If you have that wiring center placed somewhere convenient (utility / laundry room for example) you can place equipment there...


Jeff

That was the plan, its why I was making that rack closet a little bigger to accomodate some additional wall boxes for phone, security, etc. This is a custom plan so he doesnt really have a plan on where its all going. Thanks for the replies. Im trying to figure out surveillance next, my wife wants exterior cameras at a minimum and I was trying to figure out if double cat-5 runs would be sufficient. Getting mixed signals from the intertrons on that so far.
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post #8 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorchris View Post

I thought I had read that before, thanks for confirming. So Im clear, 16/4 and a cat-5 from the rack to the switch, then a run of 16/4 to the speakers correct?

Yes. 16/4 and cat5 to the control pad location (switch-height).

Quote:


Thanks for that, had no clue. Would a RG6 and a 14 gauge pair give it more flexibility (are there subs that use standard speaker wire and a power source for instance?)

RG6 and 16/4 would cover all subwoofer possibilities. Power would be needed for a line-level (powered) sub.

Quote:


I will have to look into this, any links would be helpful. Is a cat-5 matrix 1080P?

Cat5 matrix switches are just HDMI matrix switches with HDMI-over-Cat5 baluns "built in". I've avoided the HDMI issues by using a component video matrix, so someone else will have to make recommendations for a good HDMI-over-Cat5/6 matrix...

Quote:


I had the same concern, we are going to make that corner a 90 (or close to it) and move the master bedroom door further up the wall so I can put that entry to the back in the hallway.

That's a better plan. Leave a nice wall space blocked with plywood and flush-mount your wiring closet gear instead of using an in-wall wiring center, thenn... Since it's a dedicated A/V closet, no reason to suffer with the limitations of the standard 'structured wiring' box... Also, be sure to think about ventilation for that closet - you'll have quite a bit of heat-generating equipment in there. I have mine vented to the HVAC return with fan that runs 24/7 (quietly!) - but in hindsight I would have also planned for a vent opening to allow more air into the closet (I leave the door cracked open now to allow enough air to circulate).

Quote:


The builder is planning on filling the walls with spray foam and we are going to do carpet to knock sound down. The nice thing is the family room will (eventually) share the same sources so if it does get too loud for us old farts I can kick them down the hall another room.

Then you absolutely should put in flex conduit to most if not all of your A/V locations since running cables later will be very, very difficult...

Jeff


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post #9 of 106 Old 08-11-2011, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorchris View Post

Fair enough, the reason Im here is because my builder told me his AV guy would bend me over to do what Ive put into the plan so far. He charges $200 bucks to wall mount a TV. Not run cables and such, just to hang the mount and put the TV on it.

Btw, have you even talked to his a/v guy?

Find someone else if your builder doesn't recommend them.
Look at Cedia for some suggestions:
http://www.cedia.net/homeowners/finder.php

You would be far better off having someone that can help you design and implement a system, to also keep it functional, that is reliable and easy to use. You have to realize that you are an avioncs engineer and not a systems designer, I would never think of doing what you do and you should realize that this area isn't just about running wires to and fro.

I use several manufacturers I have choosen over the years due to their reliability and quality. I never use the latest gear as most have issues that need to be worked out and I don't want to be wasting my, or my customers time fixing things that shouldn't ever have been a problem in the first place.

Choose an a/v dealer with care and ask for referals.


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post #10 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 05:56 AM
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My 2 cents: If I were building a house, I would put speakers in your dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, etc... it is great for background music and for parties
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post #11 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 06:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Cat5 matrix switches are just HDMI matrix switches with HDMI-over-Cat5 baluns "built in". I've avoided the HDMI issues by using a component video matrix, so someone else will have to make recommendations for a good HDMI-over-Cat5/6 matrix...

Gotcha, so the matrix is like one big balun and you deploy receiver baluns at each distant end right?


Quote:


That's a better plan. Leave a nice wall space blocked with plywood and flush-mount your wiring closet gear instead of using an in-wall wiring center, thenn... Since it's a dedicated A/V closet, no reason to suffer with the limitations of the standard 'structured wiring' box... Also, be sure to think about ventilation for that closet - you'll have quite a bit of heat-generating equipment in there. I have mine vented to the HVAC return with fan that runs 24/7 (quietly!) - but in hindsight I would have also planned for a vent opening to allow more air into the closet (I leave the door cracked open now to allow enough air to circulate).

That was the plan, put a register in the ceiling of that closet and some kind of exhaust pulling air through the rack. Im used to working with enclosed racks that pull air into the bottom and exhaust up, I havent seen a lot of that being used in the AV community. Almost all are open on the front and back faces. I was planning on going with a middle atlantic rack, Im guessing as long as there is constant air flow in that cabinet I dont have to sweat doing a true thermal analysis right?

Quote:


Then you absolutely should put in flex conduit to most if not all of your A/V locations since running cables later will be very, very difficult...

Jeff

I mentioned that in my OP. I was planning on doing conduit on any exterior walls because of the spray foam being used there, I forgot to state that was true for the media room walls as well. Are there LV gang boxes that are closed that provision for conduit? Ive only seen variants of these



Im concerned that the spray foam will invade that box with it being open like that, or is that concern overblown?
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post #12 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

Btw, have you even talked to his a/v guy?

Find someone else if your builder doesn't recommend them.
Look at Cedia for some suggestions:
http://www.cedia.net/homeowners/finder.php

You would be far better off having someone that can help you design and implement a system, to also keep it functional, that is reliable and easy to use. You have to realize that you are an avioncs engineer and not a systems designer, I would never think of doing what you do and you should realize that this area isn't just about running wires to and fro.

I use several manufacturers I have choosen over the years due to their reliability and quality. I never use the latest gear as most have issues that need to be worked out and I don't want to be wasting my, or my customers time fixing things that shouldn't ever have been a problem in the first place.

Choose an a/v dealer with care and ask for referals.

I havent, we just started doing work under contract with this builder, prior to this it was all discussion. Im building in a fairly rural area, we arent going to have a lot of options (read: competition) around here. Im an hour-ish away from Austin though, Im sure there are much better options there if they are willing to make the drive. I didnt think I was doing anything that complicated, outside of the matrix (that is coming later).

EDIT: Searched Cedia, closest companies are in Austin. I assume that means my builder's AV guy isnt qualified to be on the CEDIA search correct?
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post #13 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canuck_fr View Post

My 2 cents: If I were building a house, I would put speakers in your dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, etc... it is great for background music and for parties

I have 2 ceiling speakers each in the master bedroom, master bath, study, patio, courtyard, and dining room. Im doing 5:1 in the media and family rooms, the kitchen is open to the family room and will get plenty of sound from that source. The only thing Im not covering are the two kids bedrooms (they will have their own stereos), master closet (should get indirect sound from the master bath if needed), and utility room. I didnt think the utility room really needed it, but Ill listen to reasons why it should.
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post #14 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 08:08 AM
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Just as an FYI. $200 to hang a TV isn't really all that much. Even if its just for the labor. Truck roll, 1 or 2 guys at 50-100 per hour. 1-2 hours. And I would question the figure in the first place. Who would ask a contractor to just hang the TV and do nothing else? Even Best Buy charges far more than $200 to install a flat panel.

If the dealer isn't on the CEDIA locator, it just means he is not a CEDIA member, nothing else. I think it would behoove you to at least talk to the install company. If the GC is bad mouthing the CI, look for another one. A one hour drive is not even a concern.
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I would suggest doing this in the kids room too. If you ever go the route of doing whole house audio, you can have local sources connected to the system including an an MP3 source. Kids really love the effect of doing that. Haveing a whole house audio system will also allow you to control how loud they can play the music. as for the utility room... I agree with you unless you actually do some ironing in that room. My wife had me install speakers in the utility room cause she does her ironing in there.
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post #16 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorchris View Post

I havent, we just started doing work under contract with this builder, prior to this it was all discussion. Im building in a fairly rural area, we arent going to have a lot of options (read: competition) around here. Im an hour-ish away from Austin though, Im sure there are much better options there if they are willing to make the drive. I didnt think I was doing anything that complicated, outside of the matrix (that is coming later).

EDIT: Searched Cedia, closest companies are in Austin. I assume that means my builder's AV guy isnt qualified to be on the CEDIA search correct?

I would talk to your builder, but more than likely (unless it's a custom builder), they will not allow an outside contractor on-site until they are done (read: you close and take possession). Is this a custom home with a GC or is this a builder-spec home? Makes a difference in what will be allowed. Most builders won't allow a 3rd party - they have a tie-in with a security or lv contractor who does their cookie-cutter plans, and to bring in someone from the outside will either (1) violate a contractor/ sub contract, and/or (2) potentially delay the build schedule, backing up other subs work. #2 is generally why builders won't allow this.

Echo what Fletch said above. Talk to the builder's guy, see what he can do, and if you're not happy, talk to the Austin firms to develop a plan to tackle things post-close. At the least, you might wind up paying for a wiring plan to be developed that your builder and his guy can follow during construction so that everything is in place after the fact.
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post #17 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 08:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fletch999 View Post

Just as an FYI. $200 to hang a TV isn't really all that much. Even if its just for the labor. Truck roll, 1 or 2 guys at 50-100 per hour. 1-2 hours. And I would question the figure in the first place. Who would ask a contractor to just hang the TV and do nothing else? Even Best Buy charges far more than $200 to install a flat panel.

If the dealer isn't on the CEDIA locator, it just means he is not a CEDIA member, nothing else. I think it would behoove you to at least talk to the install company. If the GC is bad mouthing the CI, look for another one. A one hour drive is not even a concern.

The builder was very clear, it was in the model home we were talking in. The cabling had been done (by the AV guy previously), he just wanted the TVs hung and thats what he was quoted. The AV guy said pretty much the same thing "Call best buy, they will charge you more." The builder hung the three TVs himself in about an hour. He didnt bad mouth the guys work, he just said he is pricey. For 90% of the builder's customers that dont know where to begin on doing wiring and what not the cost isnt something they would question.


And to save space Ill respond to others from this post.

Mike-
Its a custom builder, and he has no problems with me or any third party doing the work as long as it will pass inspection. I will talk to the AV guy, maybe we can work out some give and take. I cant stomach paying a guy to run cable at $200 an hour when I can do it myself, and do it well. I terminate cables regularly, cat-5, coax from SMA to N,, D-subs, you name it. I am willing to pay someone for their expertise as a consultant if that can be worked out.

canuck-
Ill work out the cable lengths and see if it will be painful to include, Im guessing it wont be. We are making the master closet a massive space, if there will be ironing done it will be there, hence the TV drop in that room. Thanks for the recs though.
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post #18 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 08:51 AM
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I forgot to say, I would also add 2 speakers in the garage....
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post #19 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by gatorchris View Post

The builder was very clear, it was in the model home we were talking in. The cabling had been done (by the AV guy previously), he just wanted the TVs hung and thats what he was quoted. The AV guy said pretty much the same thing "Call best buy, they will charge you more." The builder hung the three TVs himself in about an hour.

Again, $200 isn't really pricey for this. I have to either drive over myself or send someone. Truck Roll $75. 1 or 2 guys on site for an hour 75 or more per guy per hour. Drive back. Can't do anything else that pays the bills for those 3 hours.

If you asked your electrician or plumber on the same job to do something that would take an hour on site plus the other factors, what do you think it would cost? Probably about the same.

The only customers tighter than a GC are bar owners so I wouldn't base my judgement on what a general contractor concludes is pricey. Plus, he used and presumedly paid the guy for the previous work so why would he do that if he was so pricey? Talk to the guy. See what he can offer. If you don't like it, talk to someone else.

Having this kind of work done is not going to be cheap, depending on your definition of cheap. You have a pretty extensive pre-wire plan already. If you can do a full DIY from start to finish, great, you will save some money. I have a felling you will be in for a big case of sticker shock when you see a quote for just the prewire you have laid out so far. With that said, if you can work with a dealer to get a plan together, maybe DIY the prewire if that is acceptable, you may be able to get a dealer to work with you on a hybrid of DIY/dealer work.

Good luck either way it sounds like a fun project.
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post #20 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Again, $200 isn't really pricey for this. I have to either drive over myself or send someone. Truck Roll $75. 1 or 2 guys on site for an hour 75 or more per guy per hour. Drive back. Can't do anything else that pays the bills for those 3 hours.

If you asked your electrician or plumber on the same job to do something that would take an hour on site plus the other factors, what do you think it would cost? Probably about the same.

The only customers tighter than a GC are bar owners so I wouldn't base my judgement on what a general contractor concludes is pricey. Plus, he used and presumedly paid the guy for the previous work so why would he do that if he was so pricey? Talk to the guy. See what he can offer. If you don't like it, talk to someone else.

Having this kind of work done is not going to be cheap, depending on your definition of cheap. You have a pretty extensive pre-wire plan already. If you can do a full DIY from start to finish, great, you will save some money. I have a felling you will be in for a big case of sticker shock when you see a quote for just the prewire you have laid out so far. With that said, if you can work with a dealer to get a plan together, maybe DIY the prewire if that is acceptable, you may be able to get a dealer to work with you on a hybrid of DIY/dealer work.

Good luck either way it sounds like a fun project.

I can see that. But in the same vein, I wouldnt pay a plumber to install a faucet that I can do myself either. If Im going to pay someone $75 bucks an hour its for a task that is worth... $75 bucks an hour, and that is obviously relative. As an aside, how hard (certs, insurance, etc) is it to get into this field of work? I make good money now, but this seems to be an emerging market for this area and doesnt seem that difficult to get into with my background.

Im tracking the costs pretty carefully, and if its done to this current plan Im right around $1k in bulk cable. That is with a 15% fudge on cable lengths. Gang boxes is an open question because of the spray foam but they are pretty low cost either way. Raceway isnt that bad either. I see where the costs ramp up (matrix, whole home audio backend, etc) and thats what Im trying to avoid up front, hence the two tiered plan. Ive already been informed by the boss that furniture is more important than my nerdy TV stuff.
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post #21 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I forgot to say, I would also add 2 speakers in the garage....

I have a separate workshop (with garage doors) going up that will be climate controlled. I dont see my spending any considerable amount of time in the garage, especially after the summer we are having here in Texas.
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post #22 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 01:02 PM
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Nice plan.

Just to add to the others, run as much cable now as possible. A tip I have hearing more and more, is that when you run Cat5, to run 2 or 3 lines to every spot. It is cheap and easy to run. And can be used for many many purposes, incl Network (duh), video, IR extenders, controllers etc.
I liked the idea of sending audio to the garage, or at least have network going there.

Any artists impressions of how the completed house will look?
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post #23 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice plan.

Just to add to the others, run as much cable now as possible. A tip I have hearing more and more, is that when you run Cat5, to run 2 or 3 lines to every spot. It is cheap and easy to run. And can be used for many many purposes, incl Network (duh), video, IR extenders, controllers etc.
I liked the idea of sending audio to the garage, or at least have network going there.

Any artists impressions of how the completed house will look?

There is, but its not something I can recreate easily in Visio lol. I can take a picture of the front elevation and post it, its the reason my wife fell in love with it in the first place. My original plan was to run 2 RG6 and 2 CAT-5 to each TV location, but now Im considering bumping up to 4 CAT-5 runs per based on the CAT-5 matrix idea. That isnt a big impact cost wise.

Still looking for an answer on the LV gang box with spray foam question, somebody has to know.


EDIT: Or I can post this picture from the site we bought the plans from.

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post #24 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 01:38 PM
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4 cat-5 cables per TV location is a bit short in my opinion... you should at minimum have 5 ideally 7 to each Tv location
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post #25 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 01:55 PM
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Nice looking place!

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Originally Posted by gatorchris View Post

Still looking for an answer on the LV gang box with spray foam question, somebody has to know.

I have no real world experience, but I can't imagine it would be too difficult to tape-up the boxes to ensure no intrusion of foam.
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post #26 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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4 cat-5 cables per TV location is a bit short in my opinion... you should at minimum have 5 ideally 7 to each Tv location

This is the first time I've read that. Please explain.
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post #27 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 04:11 PM
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This is the basis of the 7 cables:
2 for HDMI to the TV
2 for HDMI from a local source back to the HDMI switch
1 for Ethernet to the TV
1 for IR control
1 for audio to / from the TV (will be useful especially with the "downgrading" of the HDMI audio signal when having multiple displays connected).
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post #28 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 04:54 PM
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If you are worried about the LV gang boxes, just don't use them, use regular gang boxes....
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post #29 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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If you are worried about the LV gang boxes, just don't use them, use regular gang boxes....
So just drill a 2 inch hole in a standard gang box for the conduit? What's the normal best practice here?
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post #30 of 106 Old 08-12-2011, 10:14 PM
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HDMI over Twisted Pair - go with CAT6 rather than CAT5.

Where possible avoid Faceplates - you want RJ45 from the Matrix direct to RJ45 at the In-room Receiver.

Some Matrix will provide you with an IR Return path to allow control of the Matrix plus connected Sources from each Zone.

With a Matrix (or Distribution Amp) in the signal path you have to settle on your Sources Outputting Video + 2.0, Video + 5.1 or Video + 7.1 - you can't do different audio to different Zones simultaneously - where you plan to have AVR's in some rooms ensure the TV's you Spec for other rooms support 5.1 or 7.1 over HDMI and make things a lot simpler (look fir SRS HD support in the TV Spec).

I've only skimmed the thread - do you have any plans to support 3D?

Joe

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