Distributed AV - Rough In, Wire Color Recommendation & Misc Questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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This may be over thinking things, but was hopeful someone could share their recommendation and experience on how to break down subsystems and use separate structured cable jacket colors like a pro.

This is for a whole home distributed audio and video setup - approx 7k sq ft.

Here are my fragmented thoughts:

Blue for true "Ethernet" - 3 home runs in each room. Terminated at a patch panel in one of the racks. Includes cabling to Wireless APs.
Green- Distributed HDMI. 1 to each display location. Terminated directly into the HDMI matrix switch.
Yellow - IR/Misc to each display location. Not terminated but run to rack.
Aqua - Lighting keypad control wire. Terminated at lighting control module.
Black - RG6QS

Another few questions:

1. The head end location is currently planned to be a "rack closet" where 2 full size MA racks are installed. Any need for a structured wiring panel for patch panel, etc (i.e. channel vision) outside of this?
2. For distributed video, should all cat6 be punched down into a patch panel and then patch cords used to balun?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 10:26 AM
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In general I like your plan. I do something very similar for my own structured wiring.

A couple of points:
  • I have a SnapAV (Binary) HDMI Matrix switch. It uses a single Cat6 wire, but it is highly recommended that this be a shielded Cat6 wire and use shielded connectors to reduce/eliminate the potential for outside interference. The systems that run on a single wire are the exception right now and two-wire systems are popular because they carry a lower price point. I'd consider running two shielded Cat6 to each display location unless you are 100% confident you will only be using one wire or using a HDBaseT baluns system.
  • Three Ethernets to each room sounds excessive. I'd run one to the TV location and think very hard about anything further in the room itself unless you are going to a keypad location. The other exception is a known desktop computer / desk location. Otherwise I would invest in two or three high-quality dual band WAPs to get bulletproof signal coverage throughout the house.
  • You may not need the yellow wire at all because most HDMI baluns systems and Matrix switches have IR send and receive already built into the communications pathways. If you don't have either then you will need the yellow wire, but even then extending an emitter great distances may not work with voltage losses.
  • I normally get the white RG6 because you can write on the wire. With black you have to put a label or electrical tape over every wire to identify it.

I've wrestled with the wiring panel consideration myself. Usually what I am doing is much higher end than all the click-in modules for these panels. The bottom line is that it would have to be an individual choice. I personally don't like them because I am not using their modules.

For distributed video or networking I have gotten away from the punch down patch panels with the short patch cords between that and the switch. Now I simply terminate the end of each wire directly with an RJ45 and have every port active on my (managed) switch. Very easy to set it and forget it instead of introducing termination / punched down wire concerns IMHO.

I also have two full MA MRK racks, fyi. Pics somewhere in my thread....
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post #3 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 12:16 PM
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Keep the yellow for possible phone or misc. use.
That's a big house and you may want a phone system in the future.
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post #4 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 12:25 PM
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If the yellow is at a display location, it's not going to be convenient to plug in a phone, especially if it is behind a wall-mounted display. However, I would agree with changing to a different color of either Cat5e or Cat6 (recommended because of the nominal difference in price) to identify a phone system wire. I have a Panasonic Digital phone system in my residence and we use it all the time for paging and intercom - especially useful for a larger home with multiple floors.
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post #5 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply.

How did you handle grounding the shielded Cat6 when directly connecting to the matrix switch? I had concluded we would stay away from shielded due to potential of significant crosstalk issues if not installed correctly (low resistance ground), but would like to hear your thoughts on difficulty of grounding the shielded. We are planning for an Atlona HDBaseT system. Based on discussion with technical support in the past, they indicated that since it is a residential install and we will be able to keep our UTP away from EMI sources, we should be alright.

The Atlona system does have IR passthrough. I was thinking just as an extra level of protection against obsolescence have this IR/Misc cable, but your point is well taken. We will scrap that extra wire.

I am going to stay away from the structured wiring panel except for possible RG6 distribution and may bury this in-wall within the rack room. In hindsight, I should have gone with the white RG6 for ease of labeling, but alas have 2k feet of Belden 7916 Black awaiting install (def a pricey choice).

Your build looks awesome!! I couldn't find a direct pic of the wiring but was curious if you used mult-color jackets and if so how you approached breaking up systems.

Maybe I am "trying" too hard to make this some elegant arrangement of wire.... I am leaning towards just sticking with all Blue and seeking treatment... smile.gif I thought maybe someone had a process in place that "Control Wire for Lighting = Orange Cat6", or "HDBaseT Cat6 = Purple", etc.

Any thoughtware is appreciated. biggrin.gif
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post #6 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

If the yellow is at a display location, it's not going to be convenient to plug in a phone, especially if it is behind a wall-mounted display. However, I would agree with changing to a different color of either Cat5e or Cat6 (recommended because of the nominal difference in price) to identify a phone system wire. I have a Panasonic Digital phone system in my residence and we use it all the time for paging and intercom - especially useful for a larger home with multiple floors.

Good point, and yes the wire would be behind the TV. To be honest, we weren't really considering distributing traditional phone service. The plan was to have VoIP distributed to a RF Panasonic (or similar) phone system on the occasion landline was needed. The automation system has a paging and video intercom system so we should be covered in most rooms for that. Do you disagree with this approach? Should we block off a few locations for traditional hard wired landline?
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post #7 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 12:38 PM
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Which paging/video intercom system are you planning on using?

FYI, I always run 2 cat5e and a single rg6 to where the bed headboard will be. I actually try and mimic the display wiring so if you rearrange the bedroom, you won't be stuck.
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post #8 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 01:28 PM
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I think you would be remiss to NOT have a structured wiring package that included phone lines. I think it just makes sense from a resale perspective, even though you may not use the lines during your occupancy.

Thanks for your compliment on the build. I don't have finished pics because I am just now getting to the point of wiring the house myself and my theater is still in framing. Both will be progressing concurrently, although the structured wiring system, equipment and racks will be up and operational long before the theater is given the level of detailed finish work I have planned, so stay tuned!

As for the drains, I haven't heard of any issues but perhaps I'll take a further look at it and get back to you. I know I had to buy special shielded RJ45 jacks, but I was assuming that was it and the drain just attached to its "spot" inside the connector. I'll let you know. I am sure I would be fine with the unshielded, but quite frankly I already trusted SnapAV's advice and have three rolls of shielded on-site and have run most of two rolls.

But I have to say there are a lot of advantages to having the wire color-coded IMHO. It just makes things easier to see and organize, but maybe that's just my OCD talking.

By the way, which automation system are you using? I used to have AMX, then Crestron.....now I'm switching to Savant.
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post #9 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

Which paging/video intercom system are you planning on using?

FYI, I always run 2 cat5e and a single rg6 to where the bed headboard will be. I actually try and mimic the display wiring so if you rearrange the bedroom, you won't be stuck.

C4 7" touchpanels in each bedroom. It also looks like Belden 10GX UTP cable provides similar performance to a STP typical Cat6. Good read here - http://www.belden.com/docs/upload/HDBaseT-Signals-White-Paper_Final.pdf

Good point - we are pre-wiring several configs in a few of the rooms for that purpose. Did you put recessed surge protector in the second location? We are planning an in-wall recessed surge protector behind each display but obviously would look somewhat "clunky" when not in use. I thought perhaps a solution would be to remove the 2 gang surge protector and just put a white cover plate on when not in use. Just thinking out loud here and figure you are a great resource to give feedback (sounds like you went through a similar scope of work).
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post #10 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 02:00 PM
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I would say that, by far, the most important wire to run is the cat cabling. Keep in mind about the only proven cat distribution system is HD-Base-T and is in extensive use by every major manufacturer that I am aware of.

I have always had a panel in my home along with the equipment rack. The distribution was for RG6 to all the rooms and to the rack as well as phone distribution to all the rooms. It was pretty darn basic in use, but wasn't something I wanted to deal with inside my rack which already had 100+ wires running through it and there are some very nice coax and phone distribution hubs out there for those wall panels. Just kind of seemed to make sense to me.

I ended up rack mounting my cable boxes, so the only actual RG6 in use came out of the panel into my rack, into my power center, then into a 2-way splitter for my two cable boxes. Works just fine.

I guess it is one of those nearly pointless additions that I wanted in case I do move out at some point. Though, in my current house, I don't expect to move for decades.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #11 of 14 Old 09-30-2013, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d0tnet View Post

Did you put recessed surge protector in the second location? We are planning an in-wall recessed surge protector behind each display but obviously would look somewhat "clunky" when not in use. I thought perhaps a solution would be to remove the 2 gang surge protector and just put a white cover plate on when not in use. Just thinking out loud here and figure you are a great resource to give feedback (sounds like you went through a similar scope of work).

If you have the opportunity, technically the best method is to homerun all the HIGH voltage wiring for the displays back to the equipment rack so everything will be on the same ground and you can plug a number of displays into an elevated surge / power protection device. Mine will have to be a mixed bag of power protecting at the display itself and homerunning most of the rest where I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

I have always had a panel in my home along with the equipment rack. The distribution was for RG6 to all the rooms and to the rack as well as phone distribution to all the rooms. It was pretty darn basic in use, but wasn't something I wanted to deal with inside my rack which already had 100+ wires running through it and there are some very nice coax and phone distribution hubs out there for those wall panels. Just kind of seemed to make sense to me.

I ended up rack mounting my cable boxes, so the only actual RG6 in use came out of the panel into my rack, into my power center, then into a 2-way splitter for my two cable boxes. Works just fine.

I guess it is one of those nearly pointless additions that I wanted in case I do move out at some point. Though, in my current house, I don't expect to move for decades.

Here is an in-progress pic of my last cabling system in my last house. This was in the days that a lot of HD had to come off terrestrial broadcast so there was a complete digital cable system, a complete distributed UHF antenna system and three channels of modulation for some Channel Vision security cameras. The high speed also came through the cable as did the VOIP (eventually).


I have DirecTV, so my situation is not quite so dyer to put the cabling system in the rack. I have one wire coming from the dish to an 8 port SWIM hub. Then I have three lines feeding three separate DirecTV receivers (one Genie and two H25-100s) which then provide streams to the HDMI Matrix switch. So I can have up to 16 TV locations but the three feeds going to the matrix switch save me all of those box rental fees if I were to have a box at every single TV location. The single RG6 going to every TV location would remain unused and could be placed in one of those back cans or simply wound up and hidden above the racks or in the walls/ceiling near my access panel point.
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post #12 of 14 Old 10-01-2013, 02:30 AM
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Great job on the wiring for the RG6.

It's nice to have that much room to do so. Unfortunately, most homes I do, do not have that luxury.
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post #13 of 14 Old 10-01-2013, 02:50 AM
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Thanks ifor. That's quite a complement coming from an industry pro like yourself.

I think "equipment room (or closet)" should be a standard part of the construction for an advanced system, especially a distributed AV system. But considering how hard it is to convince people that there are better available speakers than Bose, talking them into the necessity of a dedicated equipment room with proper ventilation would probably elicit a lot of blank stares! smile.gif
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post #14 of 14 Old 10-01-2013, 03:22 AM
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I have the joy that most higher end customers out here, do not have any pre-conceived notions about what brands they want. Except maybe tv's.

Selling them what they need/want and not having to deal with too small of a budget is a pleasure, and I count myself lucky.
Most of them buy what I propose the first time or after a first revision.

I should probably link pics to photobucket of some of my jobs.


*edit, I put in a portfolio link to photobucket.
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