Lessons from a virgin - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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About nine months ago I started my first ever structured wiring project (SWP). I fully expected that this project would take about 2 years to complete (working part time on the it) fitting it in between house remodeling projects, and so far I’m pretty much on schedule as I am nearing half way to completion.

I’m very appreciative of the help I received from this forum, so I decided to document some of my installation process.

So why listen to a virgin, well for one thing I’m happy to report everything works. Secondly I’ve had to do zero troubleshooting to date, which for me is simply amazing - (or it could be the excellent advice you can collect from this forum). Third as the installation proceeded I’ve had to solve a number of problems without much experience, so I approach everything as brand new problem and look at a variety of alternatives first - seek advice at this forum - and sometimes email or call the equipment vendor reps. Fourth as a retiree I’ve got more time than money so it doesn’t matter how long it takes, I may try several different solutions before I find one that I’m happy with. It is unlikely if you are an experienced installer that you will learn much from this thread, but if you’re also a SWP installer virgin - maybe you might glean something useful from the thread.

Of course I always include a couple of caveats. I don’t claim to have any expertise or formal training in structured wiring. Nor do I claim these are the best methods - they are simply the ones I ended up going with. Plus, one other word of caution - if you ever have ever read my posts - brevity is not one of my virtues.

I’m installing this project in a 25 year old house. Fortunately it’s a three-bedroom ranch home, which may be the easiest type of structure for this type of project.

Well here’s the outline of what you will find under this thread. For each numeric point you will probably find a separate post. I’m splitting it up this way to make it easier to include some photographs of the installation. You know a picture’s worth a thousand words kind of thing.

1. Choosing the equipment vendor(s)
2. Choosing a cabinet, and an installation location
3. Picking a method for organizing the cabinet
4. Selecting the wire you will use

a) Phone
b) Computer
c) Video
d) Home Automation
e) Audio (Future)
f) Security (Future)
5. Installing the outlets
a) Locating the outlets
b) Cutting the holes
c) Installing the boxes
6. Installation of the wire
a) Running the cable
b) Terminating the cable
7) Testing and troubleshooting the system
8) Appendix - Vendors


Note: Several photos are referenced in some of my posts in this thread. I forgot to load them when I originally posted, and found you couldn't edit the post to include a photo at a later time. I decided to load all (about 8) the photos into my gallery. Just click on user name ("semigolfer") above and pull down to the last item of the pull down menu that pops up when you click, and you should find the photos.



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post #2 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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1. Choosing the equipment vendor(s)

The installation of a structured wiring project will mean different things to different people. In my case I intended it to provide a central wiring station for:Phone, Computer (inc. Internet connections), Audio, Video, Security and Home Automation.

Since for several of these functions I already own and invested in certain types of equipment, I was basically looking for a very generic solution that would incorporate this existing equipment without much modification - yet allow me to extend what I have in a fairly unlimited fashion.

These preconditions, are restrictive, but in some cases more powerful, and more flexible. But it clearly isn’t the most aesthetic solution you will find. There are all-in-one solutions in the marketplace that incorporate all of aspects I desired, but many ran into the thousands of dollars, and being a retiree I have more time than money. I also knew because I had some market niche equipment (Apple computers, D-Link, and X10) and that I wanted to continue to use my existing equipment since it worked well - why risk moving to a different vendor whose set-up might be problematic.

So in the end what you will be reading over the next few posts (if you proceed) is a solution that in relatively inexpensive. And it cobbles together a variety of solutions from multiple vendors - but it won’t be as pretty as something from one vendor.

Lessons learned
------------------------

- I guess the first thing I would recommend is read, research the possibilities, and determine what you want to do. How many functions do what to accomplish with your project. I probably read most of the posts at this forum. I also visited most of the sites that have been referenced within the threads that are here.
- A good way to research is to go to the web sites of the major equipment vendors and see what their high end systems do.
- You might want to try home automation reseller sites, because they cover a lot of the possibilities.
- If you check out Section 8 - Appendix (i.e. about the ninth post of this thread) I created a little directory (including URL links to vendors), as I went about exploring this subject.



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post #3 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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2. Choosing a wiring cabinet and an installation location

For a cabinet or wiring station I looked at products from: Channel Master, Grey Fox, Leviton, OnQ, QuickNetworks, Siemons, Future Smart (Honeywell), a plain house electrical wiring panel -with the power bus removed, and a self assembled plywood box.

My main requirement was that the cabinet be big, as big as is reasonably possible. As I wanted to fit equipment from a variety of manufacturers I felt the more space the better. Overall space was not going to be a problem. I picked a location (more on that later), that had sufficient size for just about anything. However when I opened up the wall where this was going to be installed, and found out it was a load bearing wall, I extended my criteria that the cabinet be as strong as possible.

I ended up going with the Leviton structured wiring panel, my second choice would have been a 40 circuit 120V/240V electrical wiring box. I chose Leviton for several reasons. It turns out I decided to mount the box into a load bearing wall, and I wanted a steel box to shore up the wall as I temporarily removed some 2x4’s. I also liked it because it was a generic box, which would make loading modules from almost any vendor possible, it also had a lot of large cut outs for easy of installation for conduits. It was one of the largest panels I could find 42â€H by 14â€W and almost 4â€deep. It was also the most reasonably priced bare panel on the market at it cost me about $80. The next solution the electric breaker box ran about $100 and was only 36†H, it also had very small cutouts expecting electrical wire as opposed to large conduits. Yes I probably could have made it work, but installation time would have been extended.

About my only disappointment with the Leviton box is that I ended up mounting it upside down. It appears to have been designed for “below†first floor installation say in a basement. I installed it on the first floor, with the majority of wiring going downward into the basement, and a power source coming into the cabinet from the top. Note: Electrical power is distributed through my house from the attic - thus installing it upside down also makes it easier to connect to my power grid because Leviton has a power outlet module that attaches at the bottom of the panel (in my case it’s upside down so it’s at the top.

The door (or cover) to the cabinet which hangs from the top with the installation clip, is slightly harder to put on and take off (because I installed it upside down.) Why the Leviton engineers could not have designed the cover hinging to work no matter what orientation the box is.. is beyond me - lost a little respect for them on that design.

I have attached a photo of the cabinet (SWP.jpg) in its current configuration, but it is likely to change.

As for the outlet boxes or in each room distribution points, I looked at Leviton, Siemons, and Keystone. I liked the flexibility of outlets from each of these vendors. They make modular covers that accept anywhere from 1, 4, or 6 connections. Personally I did not see significant differences between these three vendors.

Even though you don’t have to coordinate this decision with the maker of wiring panel, I also went with Leviton outlet plates. The reason this time was availability. These covers and the modular connectors were readily available from Home Depot, and they offer them in contractor packs that made the pricing very reasonable. I did order some packs elsewhere though as Home Depot didn’t carry all the special connectors I was looking for, unless you wanted to special order - which would have been less desirable.

The only disappointment here is that none of the vendors offered HDMI connector modules. In some ways this isn’t necessary, as for all my installations my HDTV’s will either be ceiling or high off the floor mounted, and because of the size of the connector I can route and hide these cables behind the units installed.

I also attached a photo of one of these outlet box covers (OBC.jpg). I either have four or six outlet depending on what I have planned for the room. The one shown is for my family room, and it has two RG-6’s and two Cat 6 connectors at the bottom. I’ll add a phone line later, and probably have one spare for future consideration, possibly a Cat 5e for an Ethernet hub to share the printer.

Planning and picking the location, took me a great deal of time. I first made a sketch of my house. I then located the installation of the expected outlets in each room on the sketch, and what type of connectors each outlet would incorporate. (I used colors to show the different expected connectors)
I then considered the entry point for each source material. In my case this included a satellite dish, a cable vendor (cable TV, cable modem), phone line, and security sensors.
After this sketch I then spotted all major audio/video equipment. This included TV’s, VCR’s, DVD players, laserdisc players, and three receivers. I also did a survey of all of my audio/video equipment and noted the connector options, and created a chart of these outputs. The next step was even more difficult and I spent a week envisioning where things might be in the future. This was probably the most helpful because of ended up consolidating a lot of the equipment, and it led me to believe that because the house is so small a central installation point was indeed very advantageous.

Picking that location also took a week, and in the end I picked my house’s foyer. A fairly unused central location, that ended up having some additional advantages that will be discussed later in the wiring section.

Lessons learned
------------------------

- Spend most of your time on planning, and thinking about future considerations.
- Before you order anything, make our final determination of the wiring panel location. In my case I opened up a 5 foot wide, floor to ceiling section of drywall only to learn it was a load bearing wall. This changed my eventual solution because it changed my criteria for selecting the panel.
- Internet shopping - this is a little technique I learned about a year ago (it may old hat to some of you), and it works incredibly well for all types of internet searches as well as shopping. When you start a search on the internet most likely you might put in something like “structured wiring panelâ€. You will get thousands of hits of course, read just a few of the most promising looking results. When you find something pertinent - identify and then copy and paste key phrases from that result into the search window -and try again. You will be amazed how using “existing phrases†helps you to zero in on better searches. Sometimes something like replacing structured wiring panel to low-voltage wiring cabinet will make a ton of difference. (Note: this is a fictitious example just to describe the technique better) In the case of shopping, of course, after you’ve found a key vendor, and a model number for a specific panel, use the vendor name and model number, and you are likely to get most of the vendors selling that unit.

Note: Photos (jpg's) referenced in this post may be found in my gallery. Just click on user name ("semigolfer") above and pull down to the last item of the pull down menu that pops up when you click, and you should find the photos.



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post #4 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:55 AM - Thread Starter
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3. Picking a method for organizing the cabinet

Even after I read a lot about structured wiring, I don’t think I found any reasons for a preferred placement inside of a structured wiring cabinet.

The first phase of my project was going to include: Computer network wiring, phone wiring, and the first phase of my video wiring.

After thinking about this for a week, as I was gutting my kitchen (another project) I decided my only requirement is that I wanted to easily see the LED’s on my cable modem, and cable router (for troubleshooting).
To meet this criteria, I ended up mounting these pieces first, and they were mounted at the bottom of the cabinet, with the LED’s facing upward for easy viewing.

Next in went the video splitter, and phone line termination board. I ended up choosing the very top of the cabinet, so that I could then determine how much space would be left for other functions within the box. I ended up choosing Leviton’s Basic Telephone & Video Panels (47606-BTV). Why did I go with this unit - it certainly isn’t anything special? Well basically because they were in old packaging and Home Depot had them on their clearance table for $20 each. I bought two so that I would distribute OTA signals on one and cable TV signals on the other for the time being.

All of this is kind of temporary. Ultimately I expect to wire three locations (family room, master bedroom, and the home theater room) in my home with HDMI cabling. All other rooms will be wiring with RG6, which is what going in now. Eventually when I determine whose video distribution panel to purchase I’ll probably replace these Leviton modules with something that handle multiple sources (ideally I’d like one with 5 inputs) and capability to distribute to about 8 other locations in the house.

Lessons learned
------------------------

- Not much learned here.
- I guess the only thing is it might have been smarter for me to purchase a better video solution - but the clearance table drew me in - and I want first to resolve how I will distribute HDMI before finding a solution to the rest of the house.
- The other day I lost my cable feed for about 10 hours, and I had to move some of the wire from one (cable TV) panel to the other (OTA feed). Fortunately I have enough slack in these RG6 to move them anywhere in the cabinet.
- Additionally having two of these basic TV and hone modules take up a lot of room in the cabinet. The good news is they were clearance priced, so even if I upgrade to something better, I won’t be abandoning a major investment.



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post #5 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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4. Selecting the wire you will use

There is a great deal of choices as to what cable you use for your particular function that you are planning for your structured wiring panel. What you will find below are my choices, and the reasons why I picked this particular cable.
Probably the biggest decision I faced up front. Should I use bundled cable or individual cables. The advantage of bundled cable you only have to pull cable once from the panel to the location desired. The disadvantages are bundled cable is typically more expensive, it’s generally stiffer and much harder to handle during the pull, and you are somewhat limited by what type of cables make up the bundle.

Right up front I decided not to use bundled cable, the primary reason is I already had a general idea as to how I wanted the house wired. Having one type of bundle would be overkill for the majority of my rooms. The bundle concept also didn’t work well with my plans to have HDMI cable to three of the rooms in the future. Some rooms get all the feeds, others only get several, of the feeds. Well anyways - these were my choices:

a) Phone

To make a phone function you typically only need two wires (as little as one twisted pair) to that location. Now if you have mutiple phone lines coming into your house for each line you need an additional two wires.
I originally started wiring the phone network using 4 conductor cable that my existing phone system already was using - thus I had some on hand. I had phones connections to about four rooms. After rewiring two locations I changed my mind. I ended up using Cat 5e wire, which has 8 conductors - 4 twisted pairs).

My rational in choosing Cat 5e for the phone was that the Leviton basic TV/phone module I purchased (discussed above) are set up with punch down blocks that handle eight conductors, so why not use 8 conductor wire. If someone buys the house who lives and breaths phones he could have four lines with no additional wiring.

I also figured that if I decide not to use this wire for phone connection (as I am likely to convert to all cellular phones in the future) that this wire could be used for a variety of purposes as Cat 5e is becoming a fairly multipurpose wire.

This is the document I used to determine the standard on how to connect the eight wires to the four incoming wires from my telephone company.
http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kurisuto/phone_wiring.html

b) Computer

The speed of computer networks seem to be advancing every five years or so. My internet feed comes in through a cable modem. This signal is then sent into two four port cable routers. One of the cable routers is mounted in the structured wiring cabinet, the other cable modem is mounted above the cabinet so that I can use the wireless function for the portable computers in my house. In the end I decided that the biggest cost of wiring is my cost in time to do the wiring. So I decided to upgrade this wire and all terminations to Cat 6. The Cat 6 is a little stiffer, and has better separation (uses a plastic grid) of the four pairs of wire. The Cat 6 connectors are also a little better, and they appear to have better separation of all these wires.

What is the difference between Cat 5e vs. Cat 6?
The general difference between category 5e and category 6 is in the transmission performance, and extension of the available bandwidth from 100 MHz for category 5e to 200 MHz for category 6. This includes better insertion loss, near end crosstalk (NEXT), return loss, and equal level far end crosstalk (ELFEXT). These improvements provide a higher signal-to-noise ratio, allowing higher reliability for current applications and higher data rates for future applications.

c) Video

I fully anticipate that I will ultimately want to distribute "digital" video/audio signals around the house. Eventually I expect at a minimum I will have HDMI cable run from this location to at least three rooms; the family room, the home theater room, and the master bedroom. However at this point I don’t own any equipment that can utilize this cable. And because it is a fairly new standard the cable is still somewhat expensive. As I purchase three HDTV’s, over the next three years I will probably install the HDMI cable at that time.

Thus I was looking for my initial video cabling solution to satisfy me in the short term, while hopefully still be very useful in the future. For me this entailed installing coaxial cabling to the majority of the rooms.

What are some of the criteria for making your decision? From what I read there appears to be three main considerations: General Quality, Shielding, and Frequency Response.

The first consideration is usually between RG59 and RG6. Standard coaxial cable is stamped "RG-59"; higher-quality "RG-6" cable features lower signal loss and better shielding, both of which are essential for DBS satellite systems and longer cable runs.

Your next consideration is probably to determine whether you want to install quad shielded cable or standard (two layers of shielding) RG6 cable. After reading several articles I decided that either would be fine for my location. I have no strong RF interference where I live, and I can generally run the cable and keep it separate from the power wiring thus minimizing EMI.

My final consideration was frequency response. I think there must be over 100 types of RG6 cable you can select to distribution video inside your home. In my thinking I wanted to select a cable that could distribute digital signals since it may be used for this down the road.
I ended up selecting a Belden 1694A RG6 cable mostly due to it’s frequency response. Here’s a short description of the cable.

Belden 1694A RG6 Coax precision video cable for analog digital and HDTV 3.0GHz Sweep tested
RG-6/U Type Precision Low Loss Serial Digital Video Coax. 75 ohm Precision Video Cables. SDI Digital video.

Shielding
1st layer: Aluminum Foil-Polyester Tape-Aluminum Foil (Duofoil) shield with 100% shield coverage
2nd layer:tinned copper Braid Shield with 95% shield coverage

Applicable Specifications: UL/NEC CMR, C(UL) CEC CMG.

Flame Resistance: UL 1666 Vertical Shaft, CSA FT4.

Belden precision video cables are used in critical analog video circuits and high quality applications such as live broadcast in network studios and pre- or post-production facilities. They should be used anywhere superior signal integrity is required. Precision video cables usually have solid center conductors and dual shields. The dielectrics can either be foam or solid. Tighter impedance and attenuation tolerances, superior structural return loss (SRL) specifications, and improved shielding give precision video cables their non-compromise performance. The frequency response loss curves of the solid dielectric cables, such as 8281, are different from those with foam dielectric, like 1505A. Therefore, different equalization equipment is necessary and commercially available. Avoid mixing 8281 and 1505A for this reason. Digital Broadcast - Precision video cables are also recommended for the latest digital video applications. Since its inception in the early 80's, digital broadcast is quickly becoming the preferred video format. The advantages of the digital format are many. Digital is very stable minimizing equipment adjustments. Copies or reproductions retain the quality of the original. Signal degradation is virtually eliminated, and noise immunity is greatly improved. Digital video is transmitted over a cable in either a Parallel or Serial format. DUOFOIL is a Belden registered trademark. BRILLIANCE is a Belden registered trademark.

d) Home Automation

Currently I have installed a variety of X10 home automation equipment. Since my house is relatively small this functions as intended, and I don’t appear to have any problems with signal reliability. At this point in time because my X10 operates over powerline or RF signals, my structured wiring project is not really affected by its use. I will be using other space that is available near my SWP to install the receivers for the remote cameras, and I may move the control circuitry and associated computer to an area adjacent to the panel in order to tie it into the video distribution to any room.

e) Audio (Future)

f) Security (Future)

Lessons learned
------------------------

- It is more time consuming to pull individual wires as opposed to the bundled cable. If you are time limited I think that the bundled option may be a wise choice. I did learn to pull multiple wires at one time, more on that in Section 6, so that the additional time of pulling each conductor separately was mitigated.
- I don’t know if time will tell that the choices in wires will have made sense. I’m happy with the choices, they were only marginally more expensive than using more standard wiring options. Although I did the work itself, I still think the biggest expense in this project is the labor component so spending a little more than standard for these wires seemed reasonable.
- How well they will work on moving faster computer frequencies or HDTV digital signals, I’ll have to answer later once I try to do this. They do a nice job with analog signals.



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post #6 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:58 AM - Thread Starter
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5. Installing the outlets

a) Locating the outlets
I spent more time than I expected thinking about this prior to the installation. Most times I would simply sit in the room and pick likely locations for the where you would put a computer, a phone, or a TV into the room. This is fairly easy to narrow you choices down to two walls. I generally avoided outside walls. The reason being these walls are insulated with fiberglass and Styrofoam in my case, and I thought pulling the cables would be problematic.

Now there is one room that I will have to use the outside wall, and it also turns out to be my family room which is also built on a concrete slab. The product I will be using in this case can be found here.
http://www.wiretracks.com/prod-rf.html
I like this solution for several reasons. The track provides a decent gap for pulling cable (behind the drywall) upward from the bottom of the floor. Secondly I like the fact that it is ultimately covered by your original baseboard molding, so it will not affect the aesthetics of the room. This will be another great project for my rotozip discussed below.

My bedrooms have an entry point and some closets that also reduce the chances of where I would want an outlet. Fortunately in my case I always specified that the entry door and closets be along the same wall (for my bedrooms) when I had the house built. This also opens up the room to me, and isolates the room from sound coming from the rest of the house.
When I got the choice down to two walls - it gets down to some nuances like furniture and if that is not pertinent I generally chose the wall opposite of where the sun hits the wall so as to reduce the potential of glare for two of the likely functions.

Okay so you selected the likely placement. Next I found the studs. If I suspected a load bearing wall I generally rethought the decision to place the outlet there. Then I drilled a small placement hole at the base of the wall in the exact center between the studs through the floor into the basement. I used a very small drill about 1/16â€, then inserted a small wire through the hole. I inserted wire here to make finding the hole down in the basement much easier. Then I went to the opposite side of the wall (in the next room). Found these exact same studs using the studfinder and an approximate difference to a reference wall. Drilled the same pilot hole at the base of the wall through the floor into the basement. Insert another wire into this hole. Went into the basement found both wires measured to the center, and then drilled a 3/4 or 1†inch hole up from the basement. I’d usually position this hole nearer to the studs where I intended to install the outlet box. Have not missed - yet - placing the hole directly between the walls.

General purpose outlets say for a computer, phone, and basic video I mounted at the same height as the electrical power outlets. In most cases this was about 15†off the floor to the center of the box. In both my bathrooms they are at countertop level or the same level as the electrical outlets in the room. Later as I install a couple of plasma TV’s and assorted 5.1 speakers some of these locations will about twice as high.

I generally avoided any electrical outlets, and I’m no closer than 16 inches from an electrical box. In my case since almost all of the electrical power descends from the ceiling to the outlet, I like having the structured wire ascend from the floor. It kind of insures further separation of the two.

b) Cutting the holes
The first thing I would recommend is a good stud finder. The second would be learn how to use the device to identify a load bearing wall.

I then suggest you make a template for the size of the hole. I made a small wooden block. Find the stud and then pencil in the size of the hole around the block. I generally locate the box adjacent to the stud - although I don’t really feel this is critical for low voltage wire. It does make it easier to find the cable especially in one case where I used fishtape. Fishtape can be easily directed up along the stud, making it easier to locate through the holes you cut.

Finally if you have or can borrow from a friend get your hands on a powered drywall cutter. The one I have and use is from Rotozip. Probably will find more about this at www.rotozip.com. I’ve used this tool more than just about any tool in the last five years and it is fantastic. From cutting drywall - to holes through countertops - or to using it as a scroll tool. What so great - perfect holes each and every time - the smoothest edges you will ever create in drywall. No tearing of the drywall paper and a minimum of dust - I don’t know where is goes maybe behind the wall. It’s fast, and cuts through drywall like a hot knife thru butter.

c) Installing the boxes
Since I have an existing house I used Carlon’s Low Voltage Old Work Brackets (or open back boxes). The term “Old Work†mean they have plastic clips sometimes called “wings†on opposite diagonals. As you tighten the screws holding these clips they spin about 90° and tighten against the back of the drywall. First I was going to just cut off the box of standard Old Work electrical box (because they are cheaper). But I finally found these Low Voltage boxes at Lowes for just $1.27. Turns out they have just about the perfect amount of depth to the box to protect the modular connectors.

Below you will find a photo (carlon.jpg) of the Carlon bracket, (installed and uninstalled) and the simple template that was used to mark where the holes would be drilled. The sample of the outlet cover plate was already shown in section 2.

Lessons learned
------------------------

No real lessons learned here, everything worked pretty much as planned.

Note: Photos (jpg's) referenced in this post may be found in my gallery. Just click on user name ("semigolfer") above and pull down to the last item of the pull down menu that pops up when you click, and you should find the photos.



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post #7 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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6. Installation of the wire

a) Running the cable
The gods must of have been smiling when I picked my SWP location. Once I drilled the holes for the conduit to the basement, I said oh sh*t they almost came out right on top of the steel I-beam supporting the house. Turns out that occurrence was to be the most advantageous characteristic of the location.
After posting here as to whether it would be OK to run these conductors along the I-beam to traverse the house, I decided it was OK to do.
The next thing was how to secure the cables to the beam. One recommendation was to use Velcro every few feet. Looking at the possibility of this option it turned out to be too expensive, I estimated that it would have cost me about $50. Rather than Velcro I tried a caliper clamp that I found at Home Depot - they were clearing the items out at half price and had 10 left in stock that I purchased for $2.41 each. I tried placing them about every three feet on the beam.
Unfortunately although this would work out - the only cable they would secure well enough was the stiff RG6 I was using. The other cables just kind of ooze out from the beam, not so much as ooze out but if you put any pressure on the cable at all there is enough slack in the tray to pop out away from the I- beam. Even the Cat 6 cable, which is about 50% stiffer than Cat 5e, seemed to be insecure.

I decided I needed some sort of channel to hold the wires in. Back to Lowe’s and Home Depot, and I finally settled on drywall (very, very, thin) steel studs they are using for framing these days. These actually have cutouts every few feet, if you desire to route the wire perpendicular to the beam (although I didn’t use these cutouts. They are relatively inexpensive I think it was $3.37 for a ten foot section. I ended up buying four of them.
There’s a photo attached below (Channel.jpg). It shows the entry point of the cable to the basement, and how I installed the channels. The photo shows I temporarily used these caliper clamps to hold the channel to the I-beam. I’ve since bolted them to the beam.
I don’t know if I can describe how well this works. Wires in these channels pull exceptionally easy. I can run from one end of my house to the other effortlessly. Or in my case from the center of the house to each end with little or no pulling resistance. Once I saw how easy this was I started pulling three cables at a time.
The cat 5e and cat 6 pull with little resistance out of their containers. The RG6 is on a reel, and I built a small stand with a wood dowel so that this cable would also roll easily. I start three wires at a time into the conduit from the first floor. Go into the basement and easily pull all three along the channel discussed above. I’m up to about 15 wires in each direction from the central point in the house, and so far have no problem pulling additional wire on top of what’s already pooled. Each channel will probably hold up to 45 wires.

At some point along this I-beam the cables are directed perpendicular toward a specific room where it will enter be routed upwards into the wall. For these distances, I found a very easy way to attach the cable to the basement ceiling. It is a product probably available from your home center from 3M called Stak-It SI-1 Cable Stacker. A bag of 25 costs about $6.
This is a medium sized plastic clip with a nail. I think they were designed for electrical cable. The plastic has four springy (because the plastic is bendable notches, and each notch can hold about three or four cables. I’ve nailed these about every three feet. I kind of wish they would design a stacker specifically for structured wiring that would make it easily installed in a corner… but until they do they worked fine.

The reason these are so handy is many times when I turn perpendicularly off the I-beam I’ll be routing about 12 wires 6 for each room. I consistently use the first two grooves for one room and the next two grooves for the the other room. Why does this come in handy - well as you pull cable you generally need to know which ones to pull. Simply by going back to the I-beam when I know that I need - say five more feet of the Cat 6 for room A, I know which blue cable to pull on because simply by looking at with notch it is installed in.
This turned out to really simplify the pulling project so I’ve included a photo of these plastic cable clips (Cstacker.jpg). See attachments to this thread.

Several people have suggested that you leave some slack in the cable for potential rerouting etc. Most seem to recommend leaving the slack in the wall itself. I was uncomfortable with this because I couldn’t easily determine how much slack was there, whether I was putting some irregular bends in the cable. Keep in mind that the outlet boxes in most cases are only 15†above floor level, so there is not much room to manage the slack. So rather than guess I kind of coiled the slack prior to its entry point into the wall. I’ve included a photo of this process as well (Cslack.jpg)

And finally I stated above that a three bedroom ranch might be the easiest type of house to do a structured wiring project. The only time I used fish tape was on the bathroom outlet boxes. In these cases I taped the wires to the end of the fish tape before inserting them upward into the hole in the floor. The added strength of the fishtape made it easier to control as they made their way up the inside of the wall.

Lessons learned
------------------------

The lessons are pretty self explanatory on this one so I will just summarize.
- It is very beneficial to pick a SWP location that is near a basement I-beam
- Using steel channel like studs works great
- As you route away from the I-beam check out 3M Cable Stackers
- One option to create some slack is to coil the wire prior to entry into the wall
- There is one other site that I referenced but never found the need for special tools - anyways if you have a problematic installation you might find this site useful: http://www.lsdinc.com/ especially there Solutions and Techniques section.
- And if you’re looking for some formal training here’s one site that was recommended to me: http://www.trainingdept.com/html/cedia.html

b) Terminating the cable

I don’t have much to add to this other than http://www.swhowto.com/index.htm is a great resource.

I will tell you that I did not purchase a punchdown tool for installing either the computers’ Cat 6 wire, the Cat 5e connectors, or the telephone wire into the Leviton punchdown block. I simply used the plastic tool that is provided in the contractor packs of the Cat5e connectors. It worked fine, but the process is a little slow because you have to cut the excess wire after the punch down process, whereas most good punchdown tools appear to perform both functions as once. If I were to do this for a living I would definitely invest in the tool.

I used standard 586A (as opposed to 586B) for all wiring and terminations for this project. (See lessons learned.) The modular terminations at the outlet are pretty self explanatory, as they have little color charts on the termination itself. For terminating the RJ-45 plugs I used this document: http://www.aptcommunications.com/ncode.htm

I also had or purchased a cable cutter tool (about $15), which I would recommend because it doesn’t squish the cable when it cuts or at least squishes it concentrically.

I also used a RJ45 connector ($10) installer tool, that cuts, strips, and compresses the connector.

The most money I spent on a tool was for the Thomas & Betts RG6 connector tool, that strips, and compresses the connectors onto the cable.
Well worth the money because the tool makes two incisions to the cable one down to the copper conductor with out damaging it, and one through the outer jacket. To have these cuts perfect every time really reduces the time and effort to install these connectors. I think I spent about $90 on this tool and one stripper replacement kit (the razor blades that strip the cable).

Below you will find a picture (tools.jpg) of the four tools discussed in this section.

Lessons learned
------------------------

I only have one real lesson here that I picked up myself. The Thomas & Betts compression connectors, which I like so much better than a crimp type connector, is really hard to do with Belden’s 1694 RG6 cable. The reason being is that the outside jacket of the cable is incredibly stiff. When I practiced making a few connections I thought I ordered the wrong connector for the cable - but I confirmed that the ones I had where indeed for this cable. What I ended up doing is heating the jacket of the cable around the insertion point with an electric hair dryer. Once softened by the hair dryer the connectors pushed on very easily and after compressing the ring and after they cooled they seemed for form one of the tightest connections I’ve ever accomplished.

I noticed on other RG6 cable I had around the house that these outer jackets are much softer. And I terminated a few and found that heating isn’t required. So depending on your cable choice you may not need this tip.

I terminated the Cat 6, and Cat 5e using wiring standard 586A, as opposed to 586B. This may not the best choice. The reason being it is fairly hard to install the clear plastic (insertion) plug terminators (RJ-45 plugs) (primarily because the orange wire has to traverse about four other wires to insert it in the proper position. This added considerable time and required much patience to make it work. Having done this I can now see why most jumper cable is wired per 586B.

Note: Photos (jpg's) referenced in this post may be found in my gallery. Just click on user name ("semigolfer") above and pull down to the last item of the pull down menu that pops up when you click, and you should find the photos.



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post #8 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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7) Testing and troubleshooting the system

I had hoped to include some pearls of virgin wisdom here, but so far everything has worked as planned and I’ve had to do no troubleshooting.

Maybe something will come up later that I can add here.



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post #9 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 09:00 AM - Thread Starter
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8) Appendix

Index of Home Control Vendors
(Audio/Video, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Lighting, Security)


As I continue with my wiring project - thanks for all the help I’ve received from this forum. As a way of saying thanks here’s a little index I’ve been assembling, along my journey, that some newbies might find useful for product searches. Consider it to be a very rough draft, also it’s somewhat limited re: av, since my selections in this area are still under consideration, and my hunt continues.
Note: Click on company name (below) to go to the vendors website (where applicable).
[code]
8) Appendix

Index of Home Control Vendors
(Audio/Video, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning, Lighting, Security)


As I continue with my wiring project - thanks for all the help I’ve received from this forum. As a way of saying thanks here’s a little index I’ve been assembling, along my journey, that some newbies might find useful for product searches. Consider it to be a very rough draft, also it’s somewhat limited re: av, since my selections in this area are still under consideration, and my hunt continues.
Note: Click on company name (below) to go to the vendors website (where applicable).
Code:
Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
ACES Home Lighting Controls (can’t find website)
----------------------------
ACES-4                        L                K,R       IR,SW     5 yr warranty when cert install
ACES-8                        L                K,R       IR,SW     Same as above

Advanced Control Technologies, Inc.(ACT)
------------------------------------
A10 Powerline Carrier  $40+   L                K,R,P     EP,PL,RS  A10 is X10 compat., higher sig
HomePro                $28+   L                K,R       RF

Audio Design Associates Inc.
-----------------------------
Suite 17 Multiroom Dist       AV              K,T,R     SW,RF      Fully mod to dist av to 96 zones
Suite 8x8                     AV              K,T,R     Sw         Dist 8 analog audio to 8 zones

ADEMCO Group
-------------
Vista 10P                     S                K,R,V               22 zone 22 sensor incl. X10 support
Vista 15P                     S                K,R,V               32 zone 32 sensor incl. X10 support
Vista 20PS                    S                K,T,R,V             48 zone 48 sensor incl. X10 support
Vista 128BP                   S                K,T,R,V             128 zone 128 sensor incl. X10 suppt
Vista 250BP                   S                K,T,R,V             250 zone 250 sensor incl. X10 suppt
Destiny 6100            $311  HVAC,L,S         K,T,R,V   SW,EP,RF  2way voice, X10 support integr.
                                                                   Creston, AMX, others

ADT Security Services
-----------------------
Safewatch EZ Essential $299   S                T                   
Safewatch Essential+          S
Safewatch Family              S
Safewatch Premiere            S
Companion Services  $34-$50   S                R                   1 zone 10 sensor

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Aegis Systems
-------------
Wireless Webtablet            AV,ALL           T,P,W     IR,RF
Home Management               AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL  K,T       SW
AVMS                          AV               K         SW        Dist AV throughout house

Amazing Control Technologies, Inc.
----------------------------------
Amazing World        $30000+  AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL  K,T,R,P,W SW        Complete master control
iDoor                 $2500+  S                K,T,R,P,W SW        Remote access w/video surveil
DMX Port              $1500+  L                T,R,PW    SW        DMX routing over Ethernet

AMX
----
Modero 15†NXT-CV15           AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL  T         SW        Displays amazing G4 graphics          
NetLinx NI-2000               ALL              T         SW
NetLinx NI-3000               ALL              T         SW
NetLinx NI-4000               ALL              T         SW


Applied Digital Inc.
--------------------
Leopard II              $799  ALL              T         SW,EP,RF,IR On screen prog. Sup 128 modules
Ocelot                  $199  ALL              P         SW,EP,RF,IR Above w/computer interface 

Apple Computer
----------------
Airport Express AirTunes $129  AV                                  brings iTunes music into any room

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Applied Future Technologies Inc.
--------------------------------
HomeVoice         $299-$1750  AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL  V        SW,PL,RF    Hands free voice control

Arial Phone (ArialPhone Corporation ceased operations on July 16th, 2003)
------------
Arial Phone             $199  AV,LT,ALL        V,P      EP,IR,RF    Enables use of voice to control
X10 Voice Control Soft   $99  AV,LT,ALL        V,P      EP,RF       Works w/above to control X10
Lantronix Sys Soft Int  $199  ALL              V,P      SW,EP,IR    Works w/Above to ext control

ASIhome
-------
JDS                           ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF
RCS                           AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF
Custom Sol HomeVision         AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL R,P       SW,EP,PL,IR,RF
HAI Omni-series               AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF

Audioaccess
------------
PX-700 Audio Controller       AV              K,T,R     SW         8 source, 6 zone expandable control
VX-241 Matrix Video Switcher  AV              K,T,R     SW         8x8 matrix video switcher
MA-362 12 Channel Amp         AV              K,T,R     SW         50W/channel/8 ohm
KPS Keypad                    AV              K         SW         Single gang wall mount keypad
ATC Touchscreen Controller    AV              T         SW         Controls PX700, and RS232 based sys

Audio Authority
-----------------------
HDTV on Cat 5

Audio Control
-------------------
Distributed Audio
Home Audio
Home Theater

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Audioplex Technology
---------------------
OC-12
MJSeries
JB-2
HM-1
LM-1 & 2
LM-3

Abasoft
-------
Auto Future Home        $49   L,S              K,R,P     EP        Controls X10 devices

Baran-Harper Group (seems to be a dist - not a mfg)
------------------
HMV100                        HVAC,L,S,ALL    P         EP         Multifunc 8 input 8 output 
HMV200                        S               P         RS         

Barix AG
--------
Barionet                      HVAC,L,S        W         SW         10/100MbitEthernet,RS232/485 serial
IR Gateway                    AV,L            R,W       SW,IR      Network enabling of IR

Belden Electronic
----------------------
Coax and other cable

Buffalo Electronics
-------------------
IR Rec. J-Box IR-250    $74   AV              R         SW,IR
IR Rec. TubeType IR-350 $69   AV              R         SW,IR
IR Conn. Block IR-100   $59   AV              R         SW,IR
IR EmitterStickon IR-el $14   AV              R         SW,IR
Power Supply DV9-500    $15   AV              R         SW,IR

B&K Components LTD
-------------------
CT610                 $3798   AV              K,T,R,P   SW,IR     9 IR outputs, 8 prog 12V trig
CT310                 $2998   AV              K,T,R,P   SW,IR     9 IR outputs, 4 prog 12V trig

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Centralite Systems Inc.
----------------------
CenDI                         AV,HVAC,L,S     T         RF        Includes camera control
Elegance                      L               K,T,R     SW,RS     Capable of 192 lighting loads

Channel Plus
--------------------------
RF Distribution
Stuctured Wire for the Custom Home
Whole House Music Distribution
S-Video Distribution
Cameras
IR Systems

Channel Master (Andrews Corp)
-----------------------------
Distribution Amplifiers

Channel Vision Technology
-------------------------
C-0900 Home Auto Kit   $898   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,V,P   SW,PL     Modular design fits sw enclosure

Charmed Quark
-----------------------
Software suite of controller functions

Cinemar
-----------
XMLobby                 $60   AV                                  Hear & control satellite radio
DVDLobby Pro3           $60   AV                                  Control DVD coll from your computer
DVDLobby PPC            $35   AV                                  Control movie coll w/pocket PC
GuiGraphix
MainLobby 2             $60   AV                                  Run program/batch files etc.
MusicLobby              $60   AV              
MusicLobby PPC          $35   AV                                  Control music coll w/pocket PC
WeatherLobby            $40   AV                                  Get current weather
WebLobby                $35   AV                                  Incorp a webbrower into Mainlobby

Control4
--------------------
Lighting
Audio/Video
Climate Control
Touch Screen
Keypads
Controllers
Accessories

CorAccess
----------
Companion                     L               T         EP
Companion 6                   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL T         SW        Compact in wall 6†screen
Companion 10                  AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL T,W       SW        10†screen w/5 buttons
Mobile Companion              AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL T,W       SW        8†handheld remote w/browser 

Coach Potato Pro (can’t find a website see Dancraft - below)
-----------------
Coach Potato CPTO-1           AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,P,W   SW,EP,IR   Multizone home controllr w/web serv

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Crestron Electronics Inc.
--------------------------
MP2E                  $1500   ALL             K,T,P     SW  
PRO2                  $3600   ALL             K,T,P     SW
PAC2                  $3600   L               K,T,P,W   ALL

Cross Point Industries
-----------------------
Voice Alert System 6          S               V                    Wireless all weather PIR sensor/tr

Custom Solutions, Inc.
----------------------
HomeVision
HomeVision PC

D-Link
-------
Wireless media server   $199  AV

D-Tools, Inc.
--------------
D-Tools SI Software           ALL             P         EP         Software to help sys integrators
   
Dancraft Enterprises
---------------------
Coach Potato CPTO-1    $599   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,P,W   SW,EP,IR   Multizone home controllr w/web serv
CD Jukebox CDJ-1        $99   AV              T,R,P,W   IR         Gives a PC control over multdisc CD
Home Pilot HP-1        $119   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,P,W IR         Turns a PDA into intell remote

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
DesignTech International
-------------------------
Driveway Monitor       $199   S
Motion Alert            $79   S
Garage Sentry           $79   S
Door Announcer          $79   S
Mail Alert              $79   S 

Destiny Networks
-----------------
Domain 5000           $3500   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF Simple configuration

DKS Doorking, Inc.
-------------------
Model 1812                    S               K          PL         Control of door/gate by phone line

Eastman Telebell International Inc.
-----------------------------------
VS-1004 Vision DVR    $1700   S               R,P        SW,PL      Remote notification, 2way audio

EasyPlug Inc.
--------------
Control Modules               AV,ALL          K,T,R,V,P,W EP        Whole home wireless control

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
ELAN Home Systems
------------------
VIA! Home Touch Panel $1700   ALL             T         SW         LCD touch panel video monitor
ZPAD              $360-$420   AV              K         SW         User control of any IR based comp

Electronic Design Technology
-----------------------------
SMB                           ALL             K         SW         User interface for auto controller
i-ON                          L               K,T,P     SW         PC controlled on/off switch
i-ON D                        L               K,T,P     SW         PC controlled dimmer switch
i-ON MB                       L               K,T,P     SW         PC controlled multibutton scene cn

Extron Electronics
--------------------
IN3212                        AV                                   2 output composite video dist amp
MDA 2V EQ

Future Home Systems
--------------------
Door Entry  Video System      S
 
Future Smart Networks, Inc.
----------------------------
MDA-16 HomeAutoControlModule  ALL             K         Sw
HBA-16                        ALL             K         SW
MDHC100                 $600  L               K,T,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RS
HBHC100                 $600                  K,T,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RS
MDSC                          S
HDSC                          S
MDHC100 Auto Mod              S               K,T,V,P

Gefen Inc.
----------------
HDTV over Cat 5e Extender
HDMI Switcher
HDTV Switcher
4x1 HDTV Switcher
4x4 HDTV Matrix Switcher

GE Interlogix
--------------
Advent Home Navigator         S               K,R,V                250 zones, 250 sensors   
ITI Concord                   S               K,R,V                76 zones, 76 sensors
Networx 8E                    S               K,R                  192 zones, 192 sensors

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Gen-Tran Corp.
---------------
Generator Transfer Switch      Generator       K         EP

Global Cache
-------------
GC-100 Home Network Adapter    ALL             W         SW.IR     Connects IR, serial & relay devices

Greyfox
------------------
Audio
Camera
Computer
Enclosures
Intercom
Phone/Video
Wallplates

GuiFX
------
GuiVAULT                       ALL             T         SW,RF     Collect. of CD’s Crestron templates

Home Automated Living
----------------------
HAL2000                 $369   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W EP,PL,IR,RF Enables server based control
HALdeluxe               $239   L               K,T,R,V,P,W EP,PL,IR,RF 
HAL Digital Music Center $29   AV              V,P,W       SW,RF       Controls digital music files

Home Automation Inc.
---------------------
OmniLT                         AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,RF Controller for smaller homes
Omni II                        AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,RF Controller for med-size homes
OmnPro II                      AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,RF 3built-in serial ports+Ethernt
OmniTouch               $799   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL T           SW          Touchscreen interface no prog.

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Home Director Inc.
-------------------
Control Point           $999   AV,HVAC,L       R,P,W       SW          Builds a bridge btw tech/appl.

Homeseer Technologies LLC
--------------------------
HomeSeer Software       $159   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF Remote access using the web

HomeTech
-------------
VGA over Cat 5

Independent Living
-------------------
Door Entry Video               S

Innovation Management Group Inc.
---------------------------------
Build-A-Board                  ALL             T,P,W       SW          Onscreen keyboard & keypad util

Intramerica Security Technologies
----------------------------------
3GS                            S               K,R,P                   3 serial ports, TCP/IP remote

JDS Technologies
-----------------
STARGATE
STARGATE SG-1          $1295   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF Control via any web browser
STARGATE Lite SG-1L     $895   AV,L,S,ALL      K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,IR,RF    Control via any web browser 
IR Xpander IR-XP2       $299   AV              K,T,R,V,P,W Sw,IR          2way IR control upto 500 cde      
Web Xpander WebX        $329   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL W           SW,EP,PL.IR,RF Serial to Ethernet module
TimeCommander Plus TCM  $595   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL R,P,W       SW,EP,IR,RF    Prog. Standalone X10 contrl.

Jet Audio
--------------
Digital Movie Jukebox

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Key Digital
------------
Scalers
Matrix Switchers
Dist Amps

Knox Video Technologies
------------------------
Chameleon 64I w/vol & tone    AV              K,T,R,P,W   SW       Modular av matrix switcher
HD8 A/V Matrix Switcher       AV              K,T,R,P,W   SW       Multisource, multizone routing
RS 16x16HB                    AV              K,T,R,P,W   SW       Modular 200Mhz 16x16 av mat sw
NetControl                    AV              P,W         SW       Control any Knoxrouter via web
HD16                          AV              K,T,R,P,W   SW       Routes comp.,Y/C analog HDTV

Laars Jandy Products
---------------------
AquaLink RS OneTouch          HVAC,L          K           SW       Controls pool/spa 32 prog. feature      
Wirless AquaLink RS           HVAC,L          K           RF       Same as above

Lantronix
---------
Premise Software PE           AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF  Open sys based on PC tech
Premise Software DE           AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF  Dealer version

Lashen Electronics (doesn’t look like mfg)
-------------------
CastleRunner MB               AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF  Integrated home sys contrl

Leviton Manufacturing
----------------------
HCCS7-1T                      AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K           EP        Provide scene control up to 7
HCCPG-1T                      AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,R         EP,IR     1 touch up to 64 scenes
Dimensions D3200              L               K,T,R       SW,EP,IR  32 char LCD, links up to 186 zone
Mural Level Set Preset        L               K           EP        Smooth Decora Rocker action

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Lift Tech
----------
Motorized TV Lifts            AV              T,R       SW,IR,RF

Linear Corporation
--------------------
Keepsafer SSD          $190   S               K,R                  Security console, 3 door/window tr
Keepsafer SSD8         $100   S               K                    Security console, 2 door/window tr

Linksys
------------
Media Center Extender

LiteTouch Inc.
---------------
LiteTouch                     L               K,R       SW         High-end lighting for new constr.
HomeTouch                     L               K,R       EP         Use in existing construction
Scenario                      L               K,R       SW         Control 4 loads, 4 scenes, IR cap.

Lightolier Controls
--------------------
Compose PLC                   L               K,R,T     EP         1 touch whole house control 

Logitech
---------
Harmony Remote Controls

Lutron Electronics Co. Inc.
----------------------------
Spacer Infrared Remote        L               R         IR         Remote control dimmer
RadioRA Home Dimming          L               K,T,R,P   RF,RS      Recall light levels from anywhere
HomeWorks                     L               K,T,P     IR,RS      Normally keypads around house
Credenza Lamp Dimmer          L               R         EP         
Grafik Eye

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Marrick Ltd.
-------------
LynX-10 PLC                   AV,HVAC,L       P         EP         High reliable X-10
LynX-PORT                     AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL P         EP         I/O board for low volt control 

Microsmith Inc.
----------------
Hot Link Pro Remote     $89   AV              R         IR         Double distance of remote to 65’
Hot Link FPTV Remote          AV              R         IR         Enhance distance for FPTV’s+
Hot Link Pro-RV         $99   AV              R         IR         12V version of Hot Link Pro
Hot Link Hot Tub              AV              R         IR         Mounts in hot tub for av control

Monitronics
------------
Monitored security sys        S

MythTV
--------
MythTV                        AV                                   A homebrew PVR project

Netstreams
-----------
Musica NS-MU4601              AV,L            K,R,P     SW         High quality audio thru-out home

Niles Audio
------------
AVDA-3                        AV                                   Audio/Video Distribution Amplifier
TS-1
ZR-8630AV
ZR-4630
A4.6CI
DBI-1

Odyssey Technologies Inc.
---------------------------
Watchdog Pro                  S               P         SW         

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
OnQ Technologies Inc.
----------------------
HMS 950 Controller            ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW         For medium to large homes
HMS 1100 Controller           ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW         For large/custom homes
ALC Scene Learning Interface  L               K         SW 

OTA Over the Air Antenna Selection Guide
-----------------------------------------
   
Page-A-Lock Online, LLC
------------------------
DLI-1000                      S,ALL           W         RF         Opens doors from anywhere 
DLI-2500                      S,ALL           W         RF         w/o phoneline/internet conn
HomeSTAR Professional         S,ALL           W         RF         Upgraded version of DLI2500

Phonex Broadband Corp.
------------------------
ReadyWire Powerline Comm. Chip AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W  EP    Provides streaming a,sv,hac

Powerline Control Systems Inc. (PCS)
-------------------------------------
UPB Residential               L               K,T,R,P,W     EP    Ultra reliable protocol, 2way 
SceneMaster LightingCntrlSys  L               K,T,R,V,P,W   EP    X-10 compatible

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Pragmatic Communications Systems, Inc.
---------------------------------------
CATS                          AV,L,S,ALL      K,T,R,P,W   SW,PL    Control system on cat5 wires
DMS4.4                        AV              K,R,P       SW,PL    Cat5 based 4 source 4 zone
PADS                          AV              K,R         SW,PL    Whole house music dist on cat5

Preferred Technologies Group
-----------------------------
CF-2C Vehicle Detector        S 

Quantometrix
-------------------
Door Entry Video Sys      

RedRadio
---------
RelayServer                   AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF Preconfig relayserver

Remee Products Corp.
---------------------
RMMSSAE+1023                  AV,L,ALL        K,P        SW        4pair 24awg & 16awg cond hi strand
1526                          AV,S            P          SW,RF     RG59U and 18/2 stranded siamese
1564 RGQUAD                   AV              P          SW,RF     CATV used in HDTV,DirectTV,Dish
1563 RG6                      AV              P          SW,RF     CATV used in HDTV,DirectTV,Dish
5AE244UTP                     ALL             K,T,V,P,W  SW,       Cat5e 24awg 4 pair unshield twist

Residential Control Systems, Inc. (RCS)
----------------------------------------
CommStar 30/308    $295-$395  ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF Net cntl supporting WinEVM 
CommStar 48             $595  ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF Same as above

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
RTI
-----
Theater Touch t2              ALL             K,T,R     IR,RF      Prog. w/ Windows based software
RF Interface Module           ALL             K,T,R     IR,RF      Complements their other products
SPS-1                         AV              K,T,R     RF         Video sync sensor
VPS-1                         AV              K,T,R,    RF         Power Sensor
CM-232                        AV              K,T,R     RF         An RS232 module

Russound
---------
CAV6.6   AV controller amplifier
UNO-S2   LCD keypad
ST2 TunerAM/FM
CA6.4i   Multiroom controller 6 room 4 source 
CA4.4i   Multiroom controller 4 room 4 source
CA-KP2   Volume 4 source control keypad
CA-LCD2  LCD Keypad   
CA-LRC1  Preprog. Learning IR remote
SRM2.1   Speaker relay module
ADP-1    Speaker level to line level interface
DSC      Keypad
DAN      Keypad
PR-4Zi   4 zone 6 source preamplifier
PCK      Keypad
SPG      Wall paging microphone
PRC-1    Universal and learning remote
PTM-1    Page trigger module

SECO-LARM USA Inc.
-------------------
SK-910R                       S               K
SK-983A100                    S               K

SierraVideo
------------
DigiLinx 3RU
DigiLinx Modules

[url=http://www.simacorp.com/products/]Sima Corp]
--------------------
Home Theater Products

Smart Home Systems USA (doesn’t look like a mfg - website left off)
-----------------------
Stargate TotalHome            AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR  Monitoring & reporting all sys
Honeywell Wireless Security   HVAC,S          K,R,P       EP,PL        Monitoring by phone
PLC Systems by SHUSA          L               K,T,R,V,P,W EP           X10/A10 protocols
Sylvania Automation           L               K,R         RF           2 way LCD remote control

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Smart Systems Technologies
---------------------------
em-power                      HVAC,L,S        T         SW         Security+ icon drive screen

SmartHome MFG
--------------
KeypadLinc w/dimmer 12074     L               K         EP         8 button controller
TouchLinc Timer 1275WP        ALL             T         EP         Touch screen w/timer & macros
Timer Control Kit FS006       ALL             K,T       EP         Lighting kit 10 zones 64 scenes
SmarthomeLive                 ALL             P,W       EP         Controls lights and appliances
SingleRoom Lighting Kit FS004 L               K         EP         3 zones w/ 4 scenes
Multi Room Lighting Kit FS005 L               K         EP         6 zones w/ 8 scenes     
Whole House Touchscreen FD006 L               K,T       EP         10 zones w/ 64 scenes 

Sonance
--------
Navigator K2                  AV,HVAC,L       K,T,R     SW,IR      Hard/soft key with LCD touchpad

Sonos
----------
Digital Music System

SpeakerCraft Inc.
------------------
ControlStation IP 10.0        AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,P,W IR         IP enabled control sys 10â€screen
ControlStation IP 6.0         AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K,T,R,P,W IR         IP enabled control sys 6â€screen
EZ-Pad MK-1.1                 AV,HVAC,L,S,ALL K         IR         Expanadable keypad

Specotech
-----------
Video over cat5

Svideo
-----------
Svideo+stereo balun
Svideo+audio
Cat5 video dist hub
Svideo+stereo wallplate
HDMI over Cat5

Touch-Plate Inc.
-----------------
UltraSwitch
MystiqueSwitch
EclipseSwitch
5605 Switch
CCN Switch
CPS Panel
CPSP Panel
TPS-120 Transformer
3000 PL Relay

Universal Electronics Inc.
---------------------------
Nevo                          AV,HVAC,L       T         IR        See mynevo.com

Unicom
--------------
Keystone Cover plates
Xterm jacks
Unihome

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Universal Remote Control Inc.
------------------------------
MX-3000               $999    AV,L,ALL        T,R       IR,RF     Color touchscreen w/custom graphics
MX-800                $699    AV,L,ALL        K,R       IR,RF     Hard button LCD remote cntl 20 dev.
MX-700 Dual Remote    $499    AV,L,ALL        K,R       IR        Custom prog. 20 dev. 900 macros
MX-500                        AV,L,ALL        K,R       IR        Cntl 10 dev. Thumbpad 
SL-9000                       AV,L,ALL        T,R       IR        Universal learning and preprog.
 
Vantage Controls Inc.
----------------------
RadioLink            $3-$6/sf AV,HVAC,L,S,All K,T,R,P,W RF
Q System             $2-$5/sf AV,HVAC,L,S,All K,T,R,P,W SW

Vicar Networks
---------------
Vicar Home           $14/mth  HVAC,L,S,ALL    T,R,W     SW,EP,PL,RF Web based 3rd party control 

Video Storm LLC
----------------
CSW02                  $160   AV                                    Ultrawide bandwidth HDTV amp/sw
CB003                  $129   AV                                    Ultrawide bandwidth HDTV amp

VIP Home Systems
-----------------
Pro 18               $12500   ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,IR,RF 18†screen TV tuner,CD/DVD,CPU
Compact 15           $10500   ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,IR,RF 15†screen TV tuner,CD/DVD,CPU
Economy 15            $6000   ALL             K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,IR,RF 15†screen TV tuner,DVD,CPU

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)

Company               MSRP    Control         Interface Signal     Special  
Product                       Functions       Options   Medium     Features 
-------------------  ------   --------------  --------- ---------  --------------------------------
Window Candles
---------------
Window Candles                L               R         EP          Low voltage, no visible cord

WireTracks
-----------
Wiretracks                    AV                                    Baseboard wiring cover hide wire

X10 Retail
-----------
MT10A                   $29   L               K         EP          Minitimer 24hr 2on/off for 4 mod
RC6500                  $24   L               K,R       RF          Wireless RF keychain 2 on/off
LM465                   $12   L               K,R       EP          Plug in lamp module
AM466                   $13   L               K,R       EP          Plug in appliance module
RWS17                   $24   L               K,R       EP          Wall switch dimmer

Xabler
-------
Control System    $1699-$2350 AV,L,S,ALL      K,T,R,P,W SW,EP,PL,RF    Typ.control+ digital a/v stream
Digital Music Server    $1699 AV              T,P,W     SW             Stores 800hrs music RS232, web
Streaming Video Server   $800 AV              T,R,P,W   SW,EP,PL,RF    Connect any RCA output-VCE,camc
Vantage Converter  $750-$1400 L               T,R,P,W   SW,EP,PL,RF,RS Wireless touchscreens, internet
Lutron Converter   $750-$1400 L               T,R,P,W   SW,EP,PL,RF,RS Wireless touchscreens, internet
Centralite Convrtr $750-$1400 L               T,R,P,W   SW,EP,PL,RF,RS Wireless touchscreens, internet

Xantech
---------
MRC44                   $3000 AV              K,R       SW,EP,RF       4 zone, 4 source exp to 8 zone
MRC88             $6800-$9000 AV              K,R       SW,EP,RF       8 zone, 8 source exp to 16 zone
RS232IR                  $300 L               K,T,R     RS             User prog IR command trig ASCII
IRS232                   $300 L               K,T,R     RS             User prog IR command trig ASCII
IRS232A                  $400 L               K,T,R     RS             Same as above w/variable baud rate

Xplore Solutions
-----------------
ECS                           ALL           K,T,R,V,P,W SW,EP,PL,IR,RF IP based control server
WTS Series                    ALL             T,W       SW,RF          Wireless webpad series
WM Series                     ALL             T,V,P,W   SW,RF          Wall mounted touch screens
ERC                           ALL             W         RF             Ethernet room controller
WMTS                          ALL             T,W       RF             For retrofit using wireless

zektor
 inday
 audioauthority

Zensys
--------
Z-Wave                        AV

LEGEND
Controls: AV (audio/video), HVAC (heating,ventilation,air conditioning), L (lighting), S (security)
Interface: K (keypad), T (touchscreen), R (remote), V (voice), P (personal computer), W (web)
Medium: EP (electric pl), IR (infrared), PL (phoneline), RF (radiofrequency), SW (structured wire)
Poster Request:
If you know of a company that’s not included, I would appreciate a PM (personal message). I’ll probably maintain this data for another year, until I have completed my system.



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post #10 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Ooops, I forgot to add the photos, and it appears I can't edit the post so as to attach the photos. Looks like I'll have to do this later as I have an appointment to go to.
I'll either erase most of this and repost or maybe create a gallery - but I won't be able to get to this until tommorrow.



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post #11 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 04:29 PM
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WOw!
How wonderful to give back to the forum like this.
Excellent job! Applause!

Buzz Goddard
GoddardGroup

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post #12 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 06:59 PM
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Nice job. You've got to be either an engineer or an accountant to be so organized.
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post #13 of 17 Old 01-13-2005, 07:20 PM
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This is the greatest collection of posts ever. Not just for content, but depth of information and preciseness! I look forward to the completion of your novel!
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post #14 of 17 Old 01-14-2005, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the comments guys!
The photos are now available in my gallery.
I was a little unsure of posting this step by step tomb - because I wasn't sure it was of much value.

emcgrath - yeh you caught me - retired engineer. Current job - virgin kitchen designer, but that too will end after one kitchen. Wanna see the kitchen spreadsheets, detailed comparisons of 8 different countertops materials (just kidding or am I)



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post #15 of 17 Old 01-14-2005, 06:13 AM
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I should have known. Only an engineer would spend as much time documenting as actually doing the work. (I'm also a retired engineer.)

You need to cut back and work on your golf game instead...
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post #16 of 17 Old 01-14-2005, 10:22 AM
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Semigolfer, thanks for all of the info. After lurking here for the past year, soaking up everything I possibly can for my own project, I must say this is one of the more useful posts I've read. I'll begin wiring my house, which is going through a major renovation, this weekend. I might just try to apply some of your insights.

Here's where I stand:

Wiring 2 RG6 QS and 2 cat 5e nearly everywhere I can. Each bedroom will have at least 2 locations with all 4 of these jacks. I've thought long and hard about where each set of jacks should be located - this is one of the hardest parts. I'm also wiring for speakers everywhere I can, even in some locations where I might want them in the future since all of the walls are wide open. I'm even wiring for satellite although I have cable. It's real easy to drop 3 RG6 lines from the attic to the basement when the walls are open. I don't want to limit my future TV options.

One piece of advice I would add is to install conduit wherever possible. This has been said multiple times throughout this form. It is especially true for people with multiple story homes, like myself. I plan on running at least 1 and possibly 2 conduits from the basement (where my SWP will be located) to the attic. I also plan on running 1 or 2 conduits from the basement to the family room, where I plan on putting my HDTV (a future plasma is the dream). This should help to future proof as much as possible.

Thanks again.
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post #17 of 17 Old 01-14-2005, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by wolverines
Wiring 2 RG6 QS and 2 cat 5e nearly everywhere I can. Each bedroom will have at least 2 locations with all 4 of these jacks. I've thought long and hard about where each set of jacks should be located - this is one of the hardest parts. I'm also wiring for speakers everywhere I can, even in some locations where I might want them in the future since all of the walls are wide open. I'm even wiring for satellite although I have cable. It's real easy to drop 3 RG6 lines from the attic to the basement when the walls are open. I don't want to limit my future TV options.
I'm pretty much handling all of my speaker wiring separately, mostly because almost all of my speakers will be wall mounted, except the L, C, R in my home theater room which are an old set of Vandersteens that are too big and not designed for wall mounting. Since most of the other speakers are in-wall or in the case of those wall mounted, I will put the outlet box directly behind them wherever that might be.

Quote:
Originally posted by wolverines
One piece of advice I would add is to install conduit wherever possible. This has been said multiple times throughout this form. It is especially true for people with multiple story homes, like myself. I plan on running at least 1 and possibly 2 conduits from the basement (where my SWP will be located) to the attic. I also plan on running 1 or 2 conduits from the basement to the family room, where I plan on putting my HDTV (a future plasma is the dream). This should help to future proof as much as possible.
You know when I had my house built 25 years ago I ran two one inch conduits from my attic to my basement one at each end of the house, but about 25% in from each end. I can tell you that worked OK, but it sure wasn't optimal - and at that time I didn't spend anytime laying out "the electronics plan" in those days there wasn't much electronics - (you know stereo had just been invented - hah!) Used one of the conduits for some antenna wire. I really like the idea of conduits, and it will really help you out on a two story home, but boy it's hard to figure out where's the best place to put these in ahead of time. I guess it goes back to how firmly you can lay things out in your floor plan. Although in your case wherever you place your wiring panel it probably makes sense to have those conduits come out close by, to reduce cable lengths. Turns out my attic is kind of inaccessible now. With natural gas prices rising, I recently put more insulation up there and now have about 20" of fiberglass - so it's unlikely I'll be using that area for any future work. Good luck.

Maybe some other people with two story houses can give you some ideas.



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