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Prewire - What to put in?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am new to the whole-house A/V and automation world, but have been doing some research the past few days, trying to decide what system and configuration will be best for me, and if, to save money, I might be able to use some older equipment with new control panels. What I'll likely get into first is a whole-house audio system, with the hopes of adding video, and automation hardware later on.

I am doing a major remodel, and I want to do all the system pre wiring myself, so I'm trying to come up with what wires and cables to install that could work with whatever system, components, and options I decide to try.

Right now I'm thinking I'll need to run the following...

From AV Closet:
1) Cat5 to each zone for zone's control panel.
2) Cat5 to each zone's control panel area for video. I would like this to be an HD video capable arrangement, so if there are other options for cable type used in walls, I would like to know what they are.
3) Speaker wire (2 pair for L&R) to each zone to speakers.
4) Composite cable to where I will have cameras.
5) How are the automation systems connected to other things in the house, like the HVAC, garage door openers, door bell, etc.? Won't wire need to be run for these kinds of things?

From Zone Panel location:
1) Speaker wire (2 pair) to speakers, in case the system sends audio on Cat5 and has the amplifier at the panel. They would be left disconnected if not needed.

What else should I plan for? What am I missing/omitting? I want to get a good base of wiring in place and available for adding options on in the future.

Some other things I am not sure about include...

1) Can I use shielded Cat5 cable with the shield unterminated? Will that cause any potential capacitance issues in the in-wall runs?
2) What to do about the main theater room. Maybe that is a subzone of some kind? Or is it mostly stand alone?
3) I get the idea that some systems allow for audio and/or video input at some zones. Are those sources controled by control panels in other zones? I suppose they would need some kind of IR connection also, so I'm guessing they cannot.

Also, is it ever possible to put two control panels in one zone, as in one on each end of a room (in a way, like a 3-way light switch)?

Thanks very much for the assistance.
post #2 of 3
CocoonTech has an excellent introductory series on LV wiring. Start at:


post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that. I'll look it over.
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