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post #1 of 37 Old 09-06-2012, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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We just had our pre-dry wall inspection on our new house and I had some pre-wiring for a 5.1 system. The wire that they put in looked kind of like regular old phone twisted pair. Its really thin. Some of the runs are 50 feet. I can't imagine that it will sound good because of the resistance.

I need to find out what the gauge is and I will do that tomorrow morning. I am curious if there are any universal standards where I can get them to rip out the existing cable replace it with proper cable.

The sad thing is that it cost $500 to do the run and it looks like its about $10 in cable.

Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 37 Old 09-06-2012, 11:14 PM
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Try this http://www.roger-russell.com/wire/wire.htm#connect
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post #3 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 04:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaystationDork View Post

We just had our pre-dry wall inspection on our new house and I had some pre-wiring for a 5.1 system. The wire that they put in looked kind of like regular old phone twisted pair. Its really thin. Some of the runs are 50 feet. I can't imagine that it will sound good because of the resistance.
I need to find out what the gauge is and I will do that tomorrow morning. I am curious if there are any universal standards where I can get them to rip out the existing cable replace it with proper cable.
The sad thing is that it cost $500 to do the run and it looks like its about $10 in cable.
Any suggestions?

+1 to the reference to the Roger Russell article.

Before jumping to conclusions, you should strip back a little of cable and see what the conductors look like. I don't know what your background in electronics is, but the insulation for speaker wires doesn't have to be very thick, and being optimistic for your sake there might be more copper in there than you think.

This is the time to make any such changes. The dry wall goes on and the cost of any changes goes right through the roof.

There's also a question of specifications and obligations. If the subcontractor screwed up, at the very least he should accommodate you on the correction.

A 50 foot run should be at least 14 gauge wire, and I would hope for 12 gauge.

I put some 12 foot long wires into the wall behind my A/V system, and it is all stranded 12 gauge wire of the same kind that is sold for electrical wiring in a house. Both ends are terminated with Speakon connectors which gives a very neat appearance and is easy to take apart and reassemble while preserving polarities, etc. I also put in twice as many wires as I needed, because I know how troublesome it is to put more wire in after the fact. Wire is cheap and if half of it is never used, so what?

If your house has inadequate speaker wiring for passive speakers, then your remaining option is to go to active speakers. While this can be a fine alternative, it puts you in a different world when it comes to component choices. The market for active speakers for home audio is very tiny compared to the one for your typical passive speaker. They generally command a stiff price premium because of their added complexity. They need power outlets near their location which most people don't have. They work best with receivers or surround processors with line level outputs. Long story short, the extra costs for active speakers make the $500 you have been talking about look cheap!
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post #4 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I drove out this morning to look again at the wiring. I can't tell what the gauge is. The markings are Honeywell P/N 1116 or 1118. The font is too small for me to see. There are also the markings 2C18 & CL2 on the jacket as well. CL2 looks like its the genisis
home theater in wall speaker wire.

my assumption is that the 1116 would be 16 and the 1118 would be 18. Either would be too small based on the roger russell site that you mention.

Can anyone tell what the actual gauge is based off of the photos attached or the info above?






**edit to fix the markings that i typed
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post #5 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 09:08 AM
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You want 14 gauge wire in there.

Make sure you replace it before any more work is done that makes it inaccessible.

Get Monoprice #2821, which is a 250-foot roll of jacketed CL2 in-wall 14-gauge speaker cable; it goes for only $55 a spool.

If labor is an issue, I would certainly go in and run it myself. That is what I did when i built my house and ran video cables where I wanted them.
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post #6 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 09:33 AM
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One way to check gauge is to buy a wire stripper. It'll have proper-sized holes for each gauge, and you can test to see which size just strips off the insulation.

Generally I agree with the 14 AWG recommendation. But if the only long runs are to the surround speakers, 16 would probably be acceptable.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #7 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 09:52 AM
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2C18 is most likely 2 conductor 18 gauge.

CL2 means it's for in-wall use.

I'd just buy a big spool of 14 or 12 gauge and use it everywhere.
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post #8 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaystationDork View Post

I drove out this morning to look again at the wiring. I can't tell what the gauge is. The markings are Honeywell P/N 1116 or 1118. The font is too small for me to see. There are also the markings 2C18 & CL2 on the jacket as well. CL2 looks like its the genisis
home theater in wall speaker wire.
my assumption is that the 1116 would be 16 and the 1118 would be 18. Either would be too small based on the roger russell site that you mention.


Can anyone tell what the actual gauge is based off of the photos attached or the info above?


**edit to fix the markings that i typed

Interesting. The current Honeywell cable catalog is online at http://www.honeywellcable.com/CatalogDocuments/CableCatalog.pdf and lists a number of cables with part numbers like 1116, but there is no 1116. The bad news is that the cables numbered like your cable are indeed 22 gauge as you suspected.

Your photos appear to me to show something like cable with 22 gauge wire inside.

It appears to me that the person doing this work may be quite technically incompetent. The Honeywell catalog has some respectible speaker wire in it, but somehow nobody is reading the book.
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post #9 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 12:20 PM
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Yep unless your thumb is huge that certainly looks like 22 gauge....what else is this contractor doing for you ?

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post #10 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 02:21 PM
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If it is 1118, then it is 18 awg. Here is a supplier's page:
http://www.tselectronic.com/shop/product/Honeywell-Genesis-1118-2-cond-18-awg-Audio-Control-and-Instrumentation-Cable/1563

And the specs from Honeywell (pdf):

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=honeywell%201118&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.honeywellcable.com%2FCatalogDocuments%2F1118.pdf&ei=DGRKULy9NoObjAKPyYGwDQ&usg=AFQjCNG8mm2m3z0bum-yFo6R4gFitpK2kQ&cad=rja

At under 14 cents per foot, I suspect your contractor was simply looking for the cheapest cable. I would call him on it.

As Arny said, there is no Honeywell 1116.
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post #11 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

If it is 1118, then it is 18 awg. Here is a supplier's page:
http://www.tselectronic.com/shop/product/Honeywell-Genesis-1118-2-cond-18-awg-Audio-Control-and-Instrumentation-Cable/1563
And the specs from Honeywell (pdf):
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=honeywell%201118&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.honeywellcable.com%2FCatalogDocuments%2F1118.pdf&ei=DGRKULy9NoObjAKPyYGwDQ&usg=AFQjCNG8mm2m3z0bum-yFo6R4gFitpK2kQ&cad=rja
At under 14 cents per foot, I suspect your contractor was simply looking for the cheapest cable. I would call him on it.
As Arny said, there is no Honeywell 1116.

Yeah, we could be misreading 1118 as 1116, or not. The photograph is a bit fuzzy, and the printing may be cleaner down the cable, which should be printed with this info about every foot.

18 gauge is iffy for a 50 foot run. The added ESR of 50' of 18 gauge cable or 100' or 18 gauge wire is about 0.6 ohms which isn't deadly, but it is uncomfortable especially for 4 ohm speakers.
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post #12 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaystationDork View Post

I can't imagine that it will sound good because of the resistance.
The main thing the extra resistance is going to do is waste a little power. In other words, you might have to turn the volume up a bit more than you would otherwise. Roger Russel's tables linked to above are based on keeping the cable resistance below 5% of the nominal speaker impedance. If you do that, you shouldn't be able to tell the difference between a just adequate cable and a much thicker one. However, if you read further, you will find that you may not be able to hear a difference if the cable resistance approaches 10% of the nominal speaker impedance. My guess is you won't be able to tell the difference from larger cable on those 50' runs if you use 6 or 8 ohm speakers. If you use 4 ohm speakers, you might be able to tell a difference if you could A/B with an optimally wired speaker. In any case, the differences are going to be subtle.
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I am curious if there are any universal standards where I can get them to rip out the existing cable replace it with proper cable.
There are universal standards related to safety (electrical code). The installer used approprately rated cable and presumably installed it to code. If he didn't follow code, then yes, you can, and should, insist that he fix it. However, there are no universal standards as to what constitutes appropriate speaker wiring. FWIW what he used is just fine for a constant voltage system, and that may be what he is used to installing. In any case, I suspect it is what he is used to installing as prewire in houses based on specifications of the general contractors he usually works for. Your specifications were just inadequate. If you wanted a particular gauge wire, you should have specified it. Kind of like saying you want a roof on the house, and then are disappointed when it is cheap asphalt shingles instead of redwood shakes.
Quote:
The sad thing is that it cost $500 to do the run and it looks like its about $10 in cable.
There is nothing sad about it. You are paying for the installers time, experience, overhead, etc. The guy has a right to make a living.
Quote:
Any suggestions?
Next time, do your research first and write appropriate specifications, or hire an installer experienced with AV systems.
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post #13 of 37 Old 09-07-2012, 10:05 PM
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Just to clarify, I didn't mean to imply that the contractor did something he shouldn't. Contractors are only good as the specs they're given to work from. If you ask a contractor to simply wire for speakers and don't provide further information why shouldn't he go as minimum as the information provided or perhaps with his limited experience based on what some people would consider acceptable? On the other hand I've never had the experience of building my own place, but it sure as hell would have redundancy in terms of in-wall wiring for ethernet, audio and video, despite wireless options, and in every respect it would be at max spec for optimization, longevity and backwards compatibility (just in case I gotta sell) cause in wall is clean and mean and overkill can be a good thing....

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post #14 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 08:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

You want 14 gauge wire in there.
Make sure you replace it before any more work is done that makes it inaccessible.
Get Monoprice #2821, which is a 250-foot roll of jacketed CL2 in-wall 14-gauge speaker cable; it goes for only $55 a spool.
If labor is an issue, I would certainly go in and run it myself. That is what I did when i built my house and ran video cables where I wanted them.

I would love to run it myself and have asked to do so; I did this in my last house that was built. The problem is that this is a development with a national builder so they do not allow the homeowner to do any wiring. They have had problems with passing electrical code with additional items that homeowners have added and in turn had to rip off the sheet rock. I understand why they have the policy.
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post #15 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Yeah, we could be misreading 1118 as 1116, or not. The photograph is a bit fuzzy, and the printing may be cleaner down the cable, which should be printed with this info about every foot.
18 gauge is iffy for a 50 foot run. The added ESR of 50' of 18 gauge cable or 100' or 18 gauge wire is about 0.6 ohms which isn't deadly, but it is uncomfortable especially for 4 ohm speakers.

Sorry about the photo quality, it was the best image that I could capture since i could not focus on it very well. I realize now that i should have pushed it back up against the wall.

So at 18 gauge, which I think it is, you are saying that its not going to hurt my receiver but won't necessarily sound the best. That's exactly what I was looking for in my post request.
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post #16 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovinthehd View Post

Yep unless your thumb is huge that certainly looks like 22 gauge
Yep, my thumb is huge, that is a 6x6 behind it.

kidding
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post #17 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

The main thing the extra resistance is going to do is waste a little power. In other words, you might have to turn the volume up a bit more than you would otherwise. Roger Russel's tables linked to above are based on keeping the cable resistance below 5% of the nominal speaker impedance. If you do that, you shouldn't be able to tell the difference between a just adequate cable and a much thicker one. However, if you read further, you will find that you may not be able to hear a difference if the cable resistance approaches 10% of the nominal speaker impedance. My guess is you won't be able to tell the difference from larger cable on those 50' runs if you use 6 or 8 ohm speakers. If you use 4 ohm speakers, you might be able to tell a difference if you could A/B with an optimally wired speaker. In any case, the differences are going to be subtle.
Point taken, thanks!
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Originally Posted by Colm View Post

There are universal standards related to safety (electrical code). The installer used approprately rated cable and presumably installed it to code. If he didn't follow code, then yes, you can, and should, insist that he fix it. However, there are no universal standards as to what constitutes appropriate speaker wiring. FWIW what he used is just fine for a constant voltage system, and that may be what he is used to installing. In any case, I suspect it is what he is used to installing as prewire in houses based on specifications of the general contractors he usually works for. Your specifications were just inadequate. If you wanted a particular gauge wire, you should have specified it. Kind of like saying you want a roof on the house, and then are disappointed when it is cheap asphalt shingles instead of redwood shakes.
Are you assuming that you know about everything that I requested? Sounds like you think that I made some assumptions and now you are accusing me the same. When I made the request to have speakers wire run, it was with the girl that also does the flooring and cabinet choices. She did not know. I then asked the foreman what would be run. He did not know either.
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Originally Posted by Colm View Post

There is nothing sad about it. You are paying for the installers time, experience, overhead, etc. The guy has a right to make a living.
I am not paying the installer anything. I am paying the builder to do the work. I am sure that they are underpaying the electrician but I cannot do anything about that. But I am getting gouged since I have no alternative. The total cost of speaker wire in the house is 1600 for one 7.1 system, one 5.1 system and one run of speaker wire out to the deck. No connectors or speakers, just cable. Adding speakers makes the 5.1 cost go up to $2k without telling me what brand or model the speaker is.
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Originally Posted by Colm View Post

Next time, do your research first and write appropriate specifications, or hire an installer experienced with AV systems.
I did do my research. I'll add that another sentence that starts with "It's sad". It's sad that when someone asks for help on a forum that you feel that you should judge them and assume the worst of people. Yes, I am stupid compared to you. Does that make you feel better?
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post #18 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaystationDork View Post

So at 18 gauge, which I think it is, you are saying that its not going to hurt my receiver but won't necessarily sound the best. That's exactly what I was looking for in my post request.

Yeah, 18 gauge isn't optimal, but it won't actually damage your equipment. The extra power to overcome the resistance is not going to be noticeable in casual use.
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post #19 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaystationDork View Post

...now you are accusing me the same.
I haven't accused you of anything, although now, based on your reply, I think I have a pretty good idea of what kind of person you are. You apparently are looking for someone to commiserate with you and agree that you were screwed, not someone to give you objective information. You got the latter from me and others. Maybe someone else will chime in an give you some of the former.
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post #20 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Colm View Post

You apparently are looking for someone to commiserate with you and agree that you were screwed, not someone to give you objective information..

There you go again assuming what I am trying to do. Please don't post on my thread. I am not looking to persue any future communication with you.
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post #21 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Yeah, 18 gauge isn't optimal, but it won't actually damage your equipment. The extra power to overcome the resistance is not going to be noticeable in casual use.

Not noticeable sounds like I should do nothing. I asked the builder if they could re-wire it before the sheet rock goes up but I am not going to push it. Thanks for your help!
mike
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post #22 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 03:39 PM
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There you go again assuming what I am trying to do. Please don't post on my thread. I am not looking to persue any future communication with you.
Then why post a response to me? Just ignore anything I post. FWIW in case you didn't know, starting a thread does not mean it is "your" thread. This is a forum, open to input from all. My initial response was dead on-topic. You are the one who took it off-topic with a personal attack on me.
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post #23 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 03:46 PM
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Sorry if you don't want or hear a recommendation (since you asked), but IMHO, replace the 18AWG with a minimum of 14AWG before the walls or closed up. It's great for peace of mind and may alleviate questions/problems in the future. Retrofitting/rewiring can be expensive.
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post #24 of 37 Old 09-08-2012, 05:54 PM
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I was taken aback a bit by OPs response to Colm, seems not on the same page. Understanding the builders rules now (would have helped if this was part of the original info IMHO), can see the cosideration of whether to spend more or not and how perhaps to approach the builder. Seems also the specs of the builder are only 5.1 or 7.1? Nothing else or did OP just not understand them. I love posting in threads where the OP thinks only what he wants to hear or is willing to understand can be posted, too. It's a forum, dude.

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post #25 of 37 Old 09-09-2012, 05:47 PM
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$500 for running 5.1, and after the fact it looks too small or "is thin"?

What exactly is the wording of your contract. Are you saying he did something not to what was written and agreed upon or?

The advice given here is usually based on the scientific method, in this case your wire most likely is undersized.
In this post did you state your speaker/amp specs? Not clear if I recall right, that makes big difference.
5.1 at low power will be 5.1 sound...
(how/where did he run the LFE cable ?)

For ref:
I had my custom loghome built for us 10 years ago and went thru and specified every spec in exact fine detail before signing the builders contract.

Then I had my own lawyer look over the contract to make sure liabilities were clear.

Hopefully you did same, if so either you missed it and need to decide to pay for spec change or the contractor missed it and needs to fix it for free to your spec.

Fwiw, I went with 14ga 4 conductor, bought a 500 ft spool.
Twisted together 2 14ga is approx 11ga.
Yes, slight overkill smile.gif

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post #26 of 37 Old 09-10-2012, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Unfortunately I do not have a contract like that. I would have definitely specified what was used if it was a custom home. This is with a national builder and they dont allow many modifications off of the accessories list. When I asked what type of wire it would be, the girl had no idea. she also sold me the skylight, hardwood, AC, carpet, etc... The site foreman had no idea. This is my specification/contract:



I have asked them if anything can be done but they are saying that it will probably be a lot more money to rewire everything. I told them that I would like to know how much more it will be.

mike
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post #27 of 37 Old 09-11-2012, 02:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PlaystationDork View Post

Unfortunately I do not have a contract like that. I would have definitely specified what was used if it was a custom home. This is with a national builder and they dont allow many modifications off of the accessories list. When I asked what type of wire it would be, the girl had no idea. she also sold me the skylight, hardwood, AC, carpet, etc... The site foreman had no idea. This is my specification/contract:



I have asked them if anything can be done but they are saying that it will probably be a lot more money to rewire everything. I told them that I would like to know how much more it will be.

mike

Mike;
When is drywall scheduled for install?
What is the name of the national builder? You have no reason to protect them at all.

Have you escalated this up higher in their national office?
Called customer service, stated the wiring is inadequate for 5.1 sound with today's AVR's due to the wrong wire size selection?

Did you do a google search on "surround sound 5.1 pre-wire"?
Here is what I came up with, multiple examples to show them their error:
https://www.google.com/search?q=surround%20sound%205.1%20pre-wire&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&hl=en&biw=1893&bih=1135&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=iw&ei=OgVPUMKrMMmr2AWo_oCABg

Some:
http://www.ehow.com/how_7455782_pre_wire-surround-sound-new-construction.html
Quote:
Purchase class 2 jacketed speaker cable to be configured in 16-Gauge stranded, twisted pair for lengths 50 ft. or less. Use 14-Gauge for lengths 50 to 100 ft, and 12-Gauge for runs over 100 ft. Run 4-conductor for functional flexibility, especially from equipment closet to each room's volume control. Run 2-conductor to each speaker location. Run CAT5e wiring for infrared control systems.

Don't take no for an answer.
Document everything.
Don't offer them a penny more for them correcting a vague spec, be the rusty nail that sticks out, do all this in person at their local office, not over the phone.

Good luck with getting it fixed.
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post #28 of 37 Old 09-11-2012, 02:27 PM
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^^^ +1

I would contend that they did not deliver what you paid for. Make them show you believable documentation that 18 awg is adequate for a surround installation. Mike has given you plenty to show that it isn't adequate (above).
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post #29 of 37 Old 09-11-2012, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mtbdudex View Post

When is drywall scheduled for install?
I think its now. We had our walkthrough on Thursday and they were having the framing inspection on Friday last week. Drywall would go on shortly after.
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What is the name of the national builder? You have no reason to protect them at all.
You're right, I have been a bit cryptic in my writing and I didn't realize I was doing it. It's Pulte, who purchased Centex here in Washington. They have been fantastic in all other items.


Thanks also for the references. I communicated the links to the office and will discuss it further with the electrician tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
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post #30 of 37 Old 09-11-2012, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PlaystationDork View Post

You're right, I have been a bit cryptic in my writing and I didn't realize I was doing it. It's Pulte, who purchased Centex here in Washington. They have been fantastic in all other items.
Thanks also for the references. I communicated the links to the office and will discuss it further with the electrician tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.
We are local to you. So if you need someone else to tell them they should not trust that electrician with such decisions smile.gif, we can do that. Just PM me and I will get you contact info.

Amir
Founder, Madrona Digital
"Insist on Quality Engineering"

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