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Help! I have no idea what this wiring is for...and more!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hi All - So I have spent days researching as much as I can about everything, and am no closer to figuring out what all these cables are for and how to connect everything. This is the 50,000 ft overview: 6 years ago I did a partial remodel and low voltage structured wiring was installed, but the job was never finished. I had a list of the wiring to be installed, but no schematic. I unearthed some of the wiring/cables, but have no idea what any of it is for (even though it's "labeled"). I was supposed to have plasma "monitors" (two, one in family room and one in master bedroom), with music head end equipment in the basement, a structured wiring panel for new cable/tv wiring, and master equip for the family room plasma tv system. The media center (DVD, CD, etc.) was supposed to be located in another part of the family room. In the family room, there is wiring for an HD plasma display, Dolby Digital/DTS surround sound (three front speakers, two surround speakers, and a powered sub), a single 4 line phone jack, tie-in to whole house music system (through 5.1 audio system), and security pre-wire.

Specifically, the wiring that I found where the "media center" is supposed to be is:
1 - 14 AWG CL3 (labeled A/V rack). There is also one of these behind the wall where the Plasma TV (not monitor) is.
8 - High performance digital coax cables RG-6/U Digital 18 AWG 60C Type CM CR CLI Sweep Tested to 3.0 GHZ HDTV (all of these are labeled HE - like Family Room HE One, Two, etc.). There are several of these behind the TV, too, labeled Plasma One, Two, etc.
5 - 22 AWG Type CL2 OR CM (labeled A/V rack)
2 - Webtrak CT 44201-TN102 (also labeled A/V rack)1 - 16 AWG Type CLE OR CM (also labeled A/V rack)
2 - Webtrak AT44252-TN114 (also labeled A/V rack)
2 - 14 AWG Type CL3 (labeled A/V rack, and I think left and right surround)

and a few more... There are similar cables behind the TV, too (labeled differently, of course).

Some of the cable listed on the spec sheet included:
14G 2 speaker cable
16G 2 speaker cable
16G 4 speaker cable
4 Cond alarm wire
shielded line l/r or svideo
cat5e data cable
RG6 quad shield coaxial
SD18 serial digital coax cable

I won't even get into the cut outs for keypads and such, or the bedroom info. Right now, I just want to get my family room connected!

I have a Panasonic TC-P50GT30, a Denon AVR-1709 (which is two zone, but not 3D), a Scientific Atlanta 4250HDC cable box, a Panasonic 3D Blue ray Player, a Wii, a a couple of other stereo-related components. While I have spaces for ceiling speakers, I have three front speakers (two to hang and a center speaker - all Polk), two old Bose bookshelf speakers for the back/surround, and a subwoofer (Polk). I am trying to "pass-through" everything through the Denon receiver. I DID just order some long HDMI cables, so I know that I could try to fish that from the receiver to the TV, but I'm still at a loss as to what to do otherwise, even then.

If anyone can help in any way, I would GREATLY appreciate it! I know this is kind of complicated. I just want to figure out what ends to put on these cables and what goes into where so I can actually enjoy all of this stuff! Thanks!
post #2 of 4
At this point, you probably need to ignore most of the wiring that is there. It appears that the video was set up for SD NTSC, so fishing the HDMI cable is a good idea.

You will hook all the components directly to the receiver, so you will not need to deal with the in wall wiring for that. Just place it all in the same rack or console and hide the wiring behind the equipment.

That just leaves the speaker wiring. It appears that he set you up for a 5.1 or 7.1 system. You should find 3 speaker wires up near the Plasma location, and hopefully a coax for running a subwoofer at line level (coax). There should be surround wires in the rear, side walls or in the ceiling. Might be interesting trying to find them though.

A hint for determining which speaker wire goes where. Go to radio Shack and purchase a digital multimeter that has a continuity alarm. Set it for resistance, with the continuity alarm on. Then go and twist two wires together at one end of the cable run. Cycle through the wires at the other end until the alarm sounds. You have now identified both ends of the cable. Label and connect. I always recommend buying the twin banana plugs because it makes reconfiguring a lot easier, especially when there are lots of wires in place.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thank you, jany_j! I will try that (as soon as the long HDMI cables arrive). I tried connecting one the other day (just across the floor), but something didn't work (I connected the TV to the receiver and the cable box to the receiver, but I think the person helping me recently (the one who wasn't really helpful) "reconnected" the cable to another wire, so the cable in that spot wasn't working. So, I put everything back. Hopefully the cable company is coming back later this week to get the cable coming into the house appropriately (I've been working off one old split cable outlet with wires throughout my house - and up the stairs! - for 6 years!) Also, right now, whatever this guy jimmy-rigged a couple of weeks ago isn't quite right since only cable box sound is coming out of the speakers that I plugged into the receiver (temporarily). I can't hear the DVD player or even Netflix from the TV through the speakers (only cable).

Thanks for the recommendation about the twin banana plugs. Funny you should mention Radio Shack. I stopped there on Saturday with all of my information (thinking these guys are the pros - or at least used to be the ones who knew everything about this kind of stuff!). The first guy knew zilch, and the store manager (of four years) knew only slightly more. It was very frustrating (he pointed me only to RG-6 plugs). I'm sure they can point me in the direction of a digital multimeter, though!

I appreciate the help! Thanks!
post #4 of 4
Be sure to read the manual carefully for the Onkyo. The component and HDMI video inputs and the optical audio inputs all need to be assigned to channels before they can be used. It sounds like this wasn't done for the temporary setup.
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