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post #1 of 10 Old 06-12-2014, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Wiring guidance for a new custom construction house

Hello all,

My custom construction house is in the final stages of being wired for electricity and the low voltage wiring will be commencing soon.

I would like some guidance on the wiring specs, drop locations, and home run location. Here's the set-up so far:

- Home run location for all low-voltage cabling is in lower floor, in an alcove just outside of a dedicated home theater room.

- Cat6 cabling

- RG6U quad shielded coaxial cabling

- Whole house audio wiring for each room and decks.

- Two 20-amp circuits for the alcove just outside of the dedicated home theater room.

- The alcove will have all the A/V racks and equipment.

I am going to request 3 Cat6 drops in each bedroom, kitchen alcove, family room, and office. The dedicated HT room will have its own separate A/V and audio cabling.

Questions:

1) In addition to Cat6 and RG6U quad shielded coaxial, should I be considering any other cabling?

2) Are 3 Cat6 drops for every location sufficient or overkill? Someone suggested 3 drops because you never know what you might need in the future with regards to video distribution. I'm assuming that a single RG6U drop is sufficient for each room.

3) For the alcove that will hold all the A/V equipment, switches, distributed video, etc, what equipment should I look into for video distribution via Cat6 and audio distribution?

4) Should there be any special electrical cabling or equipment beyond the two 20-amp circuits specified for the alcove?

5) Any other info I should be aware of?

Thanks in advance for your responses!
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post #2 of 10 Old 06-13-2014, 06:59 AM
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Wiring plan sounds good. 3 Cat6 cables per location is good for any place you may want to put a TV. Elsewhere that is a bit of overkill (two would be plenty). I'd rather see multiple drop locations in each room (say 2 at one and one at the other) if I were going to trade...

Make sure there are cat6 cables going to the keypad locations for WHA (I assume they're doing that, but just checking).

Cable-wise the only other thing you should be running is flex conduit to your alcove and to other primary AV locations, especially on lower floors, so that you've got a path for future wiring to be added.

Also, what's the HVAC support look like in your alcove? You'll need air circulation in there to deal with the heat if you're planning rack(s) in there.


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post #3 of 10 Old 06-13-2014, 02:52 PM
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While the runs may be perfectly fine, you didn't actually discuss what you are trying to accomplish.

For audio only zones, with no local input, then cat-5e to a keypad location is more than enough, and speaker wiring (14 gauge at least) to the speakers in the zone are appropriate.

In any rooms where you may want a local audio input source, you will need to wire for that source properly. It could be cat-6, it could be something else, but this is not typical to have. So, if you want it, let's discuss.

In room with televisions, then the minimum should be what you have. That should cover your bases nicely. Netowrk, HDBT, possibly control/spare. Conduit is always nice, but not as critical if the other wires are in place. If you want any local sources in any room, you need to wire for those separately. I would plan at least 2 cat-6 cables for every source you want to have within a room. One wire for HDBT, one wire as a spare/control/ethernet/who knows. So, a local game system, or local Blu-ray player should have its own connection.

If there is anything else you may want to control, then you may want to add wiring for that. Fireplaces, shades, etc.

I feel like wiring without a real end-game plan is bad. It's actually worse to have game plan and not wire at all properly, so at least you are a solid step ahead from many.

More information may help, and just thinking about all the possibilities will help as well.

CRIPES! - Wanted to add... I ran 22AWG HDMI cables to every TV in my home. To this point, every single one of those HDMI cables has worked perfectly from point to point (directly connected receiver/source to TV) and their cost is far, far less than HDBaseT solutions which start near $200. So, if you have 4 or 5 (or more) video zones, running an actual HDMI cable is a very good thing to do and could save you hundreds of dollars at the end.

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Last edited by AV_Integrated; 06-13-2014 at 02:55 PM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 06-13-2014, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
CRIPES! - Wanted to add... I ran 22AWG HDMI cables to every TV in my home. To this point, every single one of those HDMI cables has worked perfectly from point to point (directly connected receiver/source to TV) and their cost is far, far less than HDBaseT solutions which start near $200. So, if you have 4 or 5 (or more) video zones, running an actual HDMI cable is a very good thing to do and could save you hundreds of dollars at the end.
What's the longest run for those HDMI cables? The longest I've seen is 50' or so. A little longer (75'?) for Redmere. Also, the HDBT solutions I've seen have a return circuit for IR. What do you do for IR return when you just run the HDMI cable?

Thanks!
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post #5 of 10 Old 06-14-2014, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Wiring plan sounds good. 3 Cat6 cables per location is good for any place you may want to put a TV. Elsewhere that is a bit of overkill (two would be plenty). I'd rather see multiple drop locations in each room (say 2 at one and one at the other) if I were going to trade...

Make sure there are cat6 cables going to the keypad locations for WHA (I assume they're doing that, but just checking).
Thank you for alerting me to the location of one of the CAT6 cables. I had specified one CAT6 for one end of each room and two CAT6 for the other end of each room. But I had not thought about audio keypad. Now I will go back to the construction site and make sure that one of the CAT6 stickers in each room is located next to the light switch so that the audio keypad can be next to the light switch.

So would leave one CAT6 on one end where the head of the bed would be located and another CAT6 on the opposite wall. Does this make sense?

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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Cable-wise the only other thing you should be running is flex conduit to your alcove and to other primary AV locations, especially on lower floors, so that you've got a path for future wiring to be added.
I think the professional HT installers are going to install quite a few smurf conduits from the alcove to key locations in the house.

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Also, what's the HVAC support look like in your alcove? You'll need air circulation in there to deal with the heat if you're planning rack(s) in there.
Yeah, the professional HT installers have specced Middle Atlantic DUCT-COOL-1PT for the alcove.

Last edited by kharvel; 06-14-2014 at 12:36 PM.
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post #6 of 10 Old 06-14-2014, 12:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
While the runs may be perfectly fine, you didn't actually discuss what you are trying to accomplish.

For audio only zones, with no local input, then cat-5e to a keypad location is more than enough, and speaker wiring (14 gauge at least) to the speakers in the zone are appropriate.
Yes, it will actually be Cat6 to keypad location and 16 gauge speaker cable. Does it make a major difference if it was 14 gauge vs. 16 gauge?

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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
In any rooms where you may want a local audio input source, you will need to wire for that source properly. It could be cat-6, it could be something else, but this is not typical to have. So, if you want it, let's discuss.
If there are going to be local audio input source, wouldn't it make more sense to use a portable audio system such one of those Beats Pill speakers? I visualize using the ceiling speaker in each room to pipe in music sourced from the alcove and the portable audio system for the local audio input source.

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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
In room with televisions, then the minimum should be what you have. That should cover your bases nicely. Netowrk, HDBT, possibly control/spare. Conduit is always nice, but not as critical if the other wires are in place. If you want any local sources in any room, you need to wire for those separately. I would plan at least 2 cat-6 cables for every source you want to have within a room. One wire for HDBT, one wire as a spare/control/ethernet/who knows. So, a local game system, or local Blu-ray player should have its own connection.
Yeah, so there are 3 Cat6 drops - one for audio control, and two for video distribution. There is also a single RG6U-quad shielded coaxial cable in each room.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
I feel like wiring without a real end-game plan is bad. It's actually worse to have game plan and not wire at all properly, so at least you are a solid step ahead from many.

More information may help, and just thinking about all the possibilities will help as well.
To be honest, the only game plan I have at this moment is for the dedicated HT room and the family room, both of which will have its own separate 14-gauge speaker wiring for 7.2 or 9.2 sound, video wiring, etc.

For the other rooms in the rest of the house, I visualize a single ceiling speaker controlled by a wall audio panel wired to the Cat6. For the other two Cat6 cables, one of them will be for future video distribution and the other will be a spare for some future application. Please note that I do NOT intend to have video distribution active once the house is finished. That will be for the future so the two Cat6 wiring will not be utilized immediately.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
CRIPES! - Wanted to add... I ran 22AWG HDMI cables to every TV in my home. To this point, every single one of those HDMI cables has worked perfectly from point to point (directly connected receiver/source to TV) and their cost is far, far less than HDBaseT solutions which start near $200. So, if you have 4 or 5 (or more) video zones, running an actual HDMI cable is a very good thing to do and could save you hundreds of dollars at the end.
I do not have video zones or video distribution at this time. Maybe a few years down the road, I will start the video distribution from the alcove. In the meantime, I will probably source video signals from the RG6U-quad shielded coaxial. By the time I actually start the video distribution and video zones, HDMI may no longer be used and may be replaced by some other standard that works over CAT6 and the HDBT equipment may be much cheaper by then.
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post #7 of 10 Old 06-14-2014, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kharvel View Post
Thank you for alerting me to the location of one of the CAT6 cables. I had specified one CAT6 for one end of each room and two CAT6 for the other end of each room. But I had not thought about audio keypad. Now I will go back to the construction site and make sure that one of the CAT6 stickers in each room is located next to the light switch so that the audio keypad can be next to the light switch.
Those wires should be in addition to the rest of your cat6 wiring. The keypad wires need to go to the WHA system, not necessarily the normal patch panel location. If a pro is installing all this, they should be wiring cat5e/cat6 to the keypad locations as part of the WHA install package - as that is the CEA's standard for WHA wiring...

A total of two cat6 drops per room is a minimum. I would use at least 3 total - although two cables per location is nice to keep everything consistent. That gives you the ability to have phone + Ethernet at any location.

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Originally Posted by kharvel View Post
So would leave one CAT6 on one end where the head of the bed would be located and another CAT6 on the opposite wall. Does this make sense?
My rule of thumb is to put enough drops in each room such that they can be reached from any usable wall location without crossing a door frame. For most rooms, that means two locations.

Jeff

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post #8 of 10 Old 06-14-2014, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Those wires should be in addition to the rest of your cat6 wiring. The keypad wires need to go to the WHA system, not necessarily the normal patch panel location. If a pro is installing all this, they should be wiring cat5e/cat6 to the keypad locations as part of the WHA install package - as that is the CEA's standard for WHA wiring...
Now that you mention it, I went back to look at the whole house audio wiring proposal and you are correct. The installers have already specified something called "Audiocat-Siamese" for the volume control as part of the WHA package. So looks like I will have 3 CAT6 cables available for other use.

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A total of two cat6 drops per room is a minimum. I would use at least 3 total - although two cables per location is nice to keep everything consistent. That gives you the ability to have phone + Ethernet at any location.
Yes, I had read on this forum that 3 CAT6 drops is the minimum and that's exactly what I am going to get.

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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
My rule of thumb is to put enough drops in each room such that they can be reached from any usable wall location without crossing a door frame. For most rooms, that means two locations.

Jeff
Thanks for the info. With the WHA package already including the volume control cat5e, I have 3 CAT6 available. Two will be on the wall opposite where the bed would be while the third will be on the wall where the bed headboard would be.
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post #9 of 10 Old 06-14-2014, 02:54 PM
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What's the longest run for those HDMI cables? The longest I've seen is 50' or so. A little longer (75'?) for Redmere. Also, the HDBT solutions I've seen have a return circuit for IR. What do you do for IR return when you just run the HDMI cable?
I used Monoprice 22AWG HDMI cables, no active cables. The cables are mostly 50 footers, but the one to my master bedroom is 75'. At this point I haven't had issues with any of them, but I did run cat-5e everywhere as well.

If I was using an IR system, then the cat-5e cables could have been used to send IR back to the basement. I'm using an RF system though. So, the cat-5e carries the RF signal back up to the rooms to control the local devices via RS232 or IR as necessary.

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post #10 of 10 Old 06-14-2014, 03:09 PM
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Yes, it will actually be Cat6 to keypad location and 16 gauge speaker cable. Does it make a major difference if it was 14 gauge vs. 16 gauge?
Cat-6 is fine, but can be more difficult to terminate to a RJ connector. Still, fine.

The 16 gauge is not what I would use and is not recommended considering the distances in use. It will work, but isn't recommended.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kharvel View Post
If there are going to be local audio input source, wouldn't it make more sense to use a portable audio system such one of those Beats Pill speakers? I visualize using the ceiling speaker in each room to pipe in music sourced from the alcove and the portable audio system for the local audio input source.
Up to you. You have those nice in-ceiling speakers, and someone comes over and wants to play a song from their phone... your response is... "Hang on, let me go find the tiny little boombox."? Nothing wrong with that, and there are Bluetooth and Airplay solutions which work, but I would include at least one main floor auxiliary input location for audio, if not for audio and video as well.

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Yeah, so there are 3 Cat6 drops - one for audio control, and two for video distribution. There is also a single RG6U-quad shielded coaxial cable in each room.
I would pull 3 cat-6 cables to the TV location where the coax is. I would have one network location in most rooms for hard-wired Ethernet, and I would have cat-5e to the keypad location. That would be my minimum in-room run typically... Depends on the overall setup though and the long term plan.

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Originally Posted by kharvel View Post
To be honest, the only game plan I have at this moment is for the dedicated HT room and the family room, both of which will have its own separate 14-gauge speaker wiring for 7.2 or 9.2 sound, video wiring, etc.
So, the family room won't get a feed from the whole-house audio system? The theater won't either? There is a lot to consider, but why are you pulling all the cat-6 to begin with? To head-end the equipment? To share equipment? Are speakers going to be used in video zones? In what manner? Or are TV speakers going to be used after getting nice in-wall/in-ceiling speakers? If the latter, then how will this be addressed within the system?

There are some pretty solid solutions out there, but part of it is the plan and what you are hoping to achieve, and how much room you actually have to do it.

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Originally Posted by kharvel View Post
For the other rooms in the rest of the house, I visualize a single ceiling speaker controlled by a wall audio panel wired to the Cat6. For the other two Cat6 cables, one of them will be for future video distribution and the other will be a spare for some future application. Please note that I do NOT intend to have video distribution active once the house is finished. That will be for the future so the two Cat6 wiring will not be utilized immediately.
That's a nice part of the long term goal. Certainly the standard is a stereo speaker pair in each room, not a single speaker. Unless you plan to sum your system to mono, most home distribution audio systems are all about stereo. That means 14/4 wiring to each room. Not 16/2 wiring.

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I do not have video zones or video distribution at this time. Maybe a few years down the road, I will start the video distribution from the alcove. In the meantime, I will probably source video signals from the RG6U-quad shielded coaxial. By the time I actually start the video distribution and video zones, HDMI may no longer be used and may be replaced by some other standard that works over CAT6 and the HDBT equipment may be much cheaper by then.
You aren't getting anything but cable boxes in every room using coax. Is your intent to put a cable box behind each TV? Is all your networking and cable distribution equipment going into that alcove?

There seems to be some level of intent here that needs a bit more thought IMO. An overall game plan to utilize the system the way you want in as full featured a manner as possible. This will all end up needing a fair bit of equipment space to handle properly.

I would start by listing out every single room that should be included, and in what manner it is included for. Room by room, layout where every wire is going, and what it's purpose is. Think about the control systems which are out there now, and how they work, and how they would be incorporated.

Not running HDMI is your choice, but HDBT is certainly a fairly pricey option at this point and leaves audio issues that are tremendous for many rooms and people. But, that can all be attacked with a good plan.

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