new home construction- question on low voltage boxes as well as number of RG6 drops - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 01:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got a new house being built, this week the electrician has come in to start his wiring. I am planning on doing the runs for the ethernet and coax on my own. I've done just enough research to leave me confused and uncertain, but I need to finalize my plans and do it quickly.


My first question is regarding the amount of RG6 coax to run. The consensus seems to be to run 2 to each drop location. I'll be utilizing directv which only requires a single coax. I am uncertain as to what I might ever need the 2nd run to be used for? I know, cable is not that cheap, but I'm under a time crunch and if I have to run 2 drops, I have to order more cable. I won't be utilizing any kind of antenna, and if I was to backfeed a signal I'd probably use one of my Cat6 runs and run HDMI over cat6. So can someone please tell me what I may ever need this 2nd coax for?

2nd question and the most important, I'm not sure what I should be using for my low voltage, meaning the low voltage boxes, mud rings, some of the fancier combination boxes, etc? I know they make the "pass-thru" wall plates where the wires simply all come out of the same hole, but I do not care for the look of these.
so I had originally planned on utilzing the separate low voltage gang boxes (open in the back) and run my wires through that, and then utilize a combination of the keystone jacks to blank wall plates so I can customize exactly what I want. This looks more attractive to me versus the pass thru way of running the wires. I've recently seen an article where someone said to utilize the mud rings that attach to the electrical box, so only one box would need to be mounted, but I'm not sure which particular mud rings I'd use. Furthermore, I thought low voltage and high voltage wires should be a foot apart at least, so how does that work when HV and LV are combined in the same box?

And what about conduit, can you terminate a conduit in a mud ring the way you can in a regular low voltage open box?

so as you can see, I'm confused and second guessing what I thought I wanted. I like the idea of having as few boxes as necessary. looking for thoughts and recommendations on how to proceed? Thank you
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wags1970 View Post

I've got a new house being built, this week the electrician has come in to start his wiring. I am planning on doing the runs for the ethernet and coax on my own. I've done just enough research to leave me confused and uncertain, but I need to finalize my plans and do it quickly.

RANT: To everyone reading these threads - the time to learn about DIY pre-wiring is LOOOONNNG before the day or week before the electrician is there... (no offense to the OP, it's common around here, just want to reinforce the point - if you're running up against a deadline, it's time to cut a check to a pro)

Great that you've planned to do this and have the blessing / curse biggrin.gif from the builder...
Quote:
My first question is regarding the amount of RG6 coax to run. The consensus seems to be to run 2 to each drop location. I'll be CURRENTLY utilizing directv which only CURRENTLY requires a single coax. I am uncertain as to what I might ever need the 2nd run to be used for? I know, cable is not that cheap, but I'm under a time crunch and if I have to run 2 drops, I have to order more cable. I won't be utilizing any kind of antenna, and if I was to backfeed a signal I'd probably use one of my Cat6 runs and run HDMI over cat6. So can someone please tell me what I may ever need this 2nd coax for?

Fixed that for ya... biggrin.gif Yes, the primary motivation for the standard 2-coax-per-outlet standard practice was satellite providers that previously required two runs for dual-tuner DVRs or for sat+OTA. You're also correct that you can get by with one. But that's today. The cable is cheap (not as cheap as cat5e), and I'd still recommend running the 2nd one because it's still got lots of potential uses. I don't know anyone that's felt like they ran too much cable - unless maybe they paid for a bunch of fiber... Just don't kick yourself 5 years from now when (making this up) 100Gb home Ethernet runs best over coax and you can't download 4K Netflix-Ultra. biggrin.gif
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2nd question and the most important, I'm not sure what I should be using for my low voltage, meaning the low voltage boxes, mud rings, some of the fancier combination boxes, etc? I know they make the "pass-thru" wall plates where the wires simply all come out of the same hole, but I do not care for the look of these.
so I had originally planned on utilzing the separate low voltage gang boxes (open in the back) and run my wires through that, and then utilize a combination of the keystone jacks to blank wall plates so I can customize exactly what I want. This looks more attractive to me versus the pass thru way of running the wires. I've recently seen an article where someone said to utilize the mud rings that attach to the electrical box, so only one box would need to be mounted, but I'm not sure which particular mud rings I'd use. Furthermore, I thought low voltage and high voltage wires should be a foot apart at least, so how does that work when HV and LV are combined in the same box?
And what about conduit, can you terminate a conduit in a mud ring the way you can in a regular low voltage open box?
so as you can see, I'm confused and second guessing what I thought I wanted. I like the idea of having as few boxes as necessary. looking for thoughts and recommendations on how to proceed? Thank you

The "pass through" is best for the back-end (the wiring closet), if you can leave a foot of cable at the room-end, you can always pull it out enough to make direct connections to baluns if necessary. IMO, the time of that requirement is probably past - HDBaseT and better baluns should be fine with a patch cord at one end.

The low-volt mud rings are readily available, doesn't really matter which ones you use. The Arlington (and some other brands) models have a tie down loop to secure the cables out of the way of the drywall. There are also combo boxes which have a box and ring attached together to make a dual-gang outlet - and there are keystone products to work with that configuration, too.

The separation of line and low-voltage is also somewhat an old issue - but not a bad practice regardless. I usually put the line voltage on the opposite stud (in the same bay) as the low volt plate just for simplicity and to keep some separation. But none of the digital signals will care about 60Hz noise anyway.

Lastly, the flex conduit can either just be left hanging (my builder left it hanging out the mud ring so it could be trimmed afterwards), or Carlon has low-volt rings with a conduit receptacle (need a threaded coupler and nut to use) - you can see those behind my theater rack in my build thread.

Hope that helps,

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 03:20 PM
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Hi OP!
I'm in the same position as you, only I've finished running my cable.

As for cable, I ran 2 coax, and 2 cat6 to every tv point. That way in the future if tv switches to cat6, it's there. I also ran 2 cat5e to most, for IR feedback etc... Behind my HT screen there's also speaker wire for a central channel. The plastic conduit my electrician showed up with to bury the cables with wasn't wide enough to hold them!

A seperate socket for data/tv/audio is a better job in my opinion, not even worrying about interference!
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by breney View Post

The plastic conduit my electrician showed up with to bury the cables with wasn't wide enough to hold them!

Flex conduit installed for A/V purposes should be left EMPTY at the time of construction. Run cables outside the conduit. It's there for the FUTURE...

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post #5 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 03:41 PM
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Oops...
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by breney View Post

Oops...

eek.gif

If you can easily pull the cables out of the conduit and run them outside, next to it (without lots of new drilling or scrapping cable), it would be much better to not have anything in the conduit. Did you fill the conduit up? If and when the time comes to run more cable, you may end up having to pull some or all of the existing cable through and out to get new cable(s) in.

That makes it more difficult, but still light-years better than having no conduit.

(see, come read BEFORE! biggrin.gif)


Jeff

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post #7 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 04:25 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the info. is there any real reason that would make one choose the low voltage mud rings vs the low voltage gang box? wondering which I should choose?
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wags1970 View Post

thanks for the info. is there any real reason that would make one choose the low voltage mud rings vs the low voltage gang box? wondering which I should choose?

The boxes make it much harder to fit multiple cable connections (especially with keystone-style plugs), whereas the rings leave the back open so cables aren't so crowded or require harsh bends to make the connections. Use the rings unless you need to use boxes for local code or other reasons (example - room with soundproofing).

Jeff

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post #9 of 13 Old 01-07-2013, 07:19 PM
 
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Actually the gang boxes are just deeper without the backs. You can do the same with a regular Plastic Old work box, or New construction box also, by cutting the back out of them.
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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post

Actually the gang boxes are just deeper without the backs. You can do the same with a regular Plastic Old work box, or New construction box also, by cutting the back out of them.

You're right, and the OP even knew that much... I read "boxes" and just assumed new work boxes and didn't think.

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post #11 of 13 Old 01-08-2013, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the replies, everyone, the feedback is appreciated. what about the combination boxes for high voltage and low voltage? that would definitely make it easier for wall mount tv's rather than accounitng for separate boxes for electrical and the low voltage. What puzzles me is most people say you should not run your low voltage wires in close proximity to the high voltage, many say leave a foot in between. Yet they have all these devices that combine them, and they make low voltage plates to slide into an normal electricl box. This is just a piece of plastic, and obviously your LV and HV cables are going to be close together if you use one of the combination boxes, so what gives? would I be risking interference if I went with a combination box?
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-08-2013, 12:18 PM
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I have an Arlington TV box behind a recently installed TV. I regret not using separate LV and line voltage boxes, as I want to make some changes to the LV cables, and now again need to deal with the line voltage. Come to think of it, maybe I'll just add a scoop pass through above the existing box. Hey, problem solved!

(Jeff, I'm consider an AVR to replace the Nuvo LSA40, to add a subwoofer, center channel, and rear surrounds.)

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #13 of 13 Old 01-08-2013, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wags1970 View Post

thanks for the replies, everyone, the feedback is appreciated. what about the combination boxes for high voltage and low voltage? that would definitely make it easier for wall mount tv's rather than accounitng for separate boxes for electrical and the low voltage. What puzzles me is most people say you should not run your low voltage wires in close proximity to the high voltage, many say leave a foot in between. Yet they have all these devices that combine them, and they make low voltage plates to slide into an normal electricl box. This is just a piece of plastic, and obviously your LV and HV cables are going to be close together if you use one of the combination boxes, so what gives? would I be risking interference if I went with a combination box?
[/quote]

The "line voltage away from low voltage" has lots of history, but is mostly a concern with speaker wires or analog signals, and for proximity over long distances (such that a 60Hz hum is induced into the low-volt cable). Bringing the two together at the outlet isn't a big deal. But I always keep the romex a foot away from the cables as they travel through the walls...

For wall mounted TV locations, the Arlington TV Boxes are absolutely the way to go. The newest designs (there are other makers of similar products) with the angled outlet arrangements are even better. During my home construction I installed 6 of these, and retrofitted one since then. Some models have (separate) blank covers that can be used if the box won't be used immediately. But in that case, I'd recommend a picture, artwork, or a mirror hung instead. smile.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I have an Arlington TV box behind a recently installed TV. I regret not using separate LV and line voltage boxes, as I want to make some changes to the LV cables, and now again need to deal with the line voltage. Come to think of it, maybe I'll just add a scoop pass through above the existing box. Hey, problem solved!
(Jeff, I'm consider an AVR to replace the Nuvo LSA40, to add a subwoofer, center channel, and rear surrounds.)

Neurorad, I finally installed my bedroom system using the local source interrupt and an AVR hidden in the cabinetry (actually in the living room cabinet that shares the same wall), and installed an LCR speaker under the TV, and added a sub. I'm definitely enjoying the in-ceiling speakers used double-duty as my surround channels!

Jeff

Rock Creek Theater -- CIH, Panamorph, Martin Logan, SVS PB2000, Carada Masquerade, Grafik Eye, Bar table, Green Glue, JVC RS50 
Theater build photos: http://photobucket.com/autor-ht

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