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To Conduit or not to conduit....

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Should I use conduit for my surround sound speakers? Should i just drill holes in the studs?


I have New construction (finishing off basement)with 2"x3" studs. I have been looking at "Carlon" low voltage structured cable management systems, Also I have also considered PVC but I don't want to deal with all the glueing.

What does everyone else do?



Thanks in advance

Seth
post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by silver1 View Post

Should I use conduit for my surround sound speakers? Should i just drill holes in the studs?


I have New construction (finishing off basement)with 2"x3" studs. I have been looking at "Carlon" low voltage structured cable management systems, Also I have also considered PVC but I don't want to deal with all the glueing.

What does everyone else do?



Thanks in advance

Seth

If you never want to replace, repair, or add to your lines, just drill and run.

If you ever want to upgrade your speaker wire, repair your wire, add another wire, use the conduit. It's pretty cheap to future proof that way.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
I Bit the bullet and installed Flexible conduit. Great stuff.

If you are going to use this stuff, plan, plan, plan.
post #4 of 24
Surround sound speakers are less important for conduit. How often would you be changing speaker wire?

I think conduit is more important when dealing with components or jack panels. Anywhere you have a interface that could change I would install it. Think back years ago when people just ran RCA cables. Now everyone is running HDMI. Same thing is true with the networking wires. With conduit you just need to swap the wire out and replace it with whatever the new standard is.

If you do run conduit, I'd also recommend installing a pull string. That makes it really easy to run new lines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver1 View Post

Should I use conduit for my surround sound speakers? Should i just drill holes in the studs?


I have New construction (finishing off basement)with 2"x3" studs. I have been looking at "Carlon" low voltage structured cable management systems, Also I have also considered PVC but I don't want to deal with all the glueing.

What does everyone else do?



Thanks in advance

Seth
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by misterkit View Post

If you do run conduit, I'd also recommend installing a pull string. That makes it really easy to run new lines.

Here's a dumb question. I'm putting together a theater in a garage. You can see the details at this page.

And I was looking at conduit today at home depot -- in the electricity section. The gray plastic stuff that is perhaps 2 or 3 inches in diameter.

And I couldn't find "pull strings" anywhere. (Of course I could find lots of string, but which kind would be appropriate for pull strings, or if pull strings are terminated in a special way, was not clear.) The guys working there seemed to think I was crazy. Is it that obscure?
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan_h View Post

Here's a dumb question. I'm putting together a theater in a garage. You can see the details at this page.

And I was looking at conduit today at home depot -- in the electricity section. The gray plastic stuff that is perhaps 2 or 3 inches in diameter.

And I couldn't find "pull strings" anywhere. The guys working there seemed to think I was crazy. Is it that obscure?

Remember your dealing with the lowest common denominator there. You can get your own string and run it through.

Here is a trick. Tie the string to a plastic bag. Shove the bag into the conduit. Use a shop vac at the other end to suck the bag and string through.
post #7 of 24
Point taken!

So if I read you right, there isn't a formal product line of "pull strings" but it's something that people hack together, right?
post #8 of 24
Any string will do.
post #9 of 24
Cool.

Is the trick to have a string that is twice as long as the conduit, so when you use it to pull a cable through, you then can pull the string back to where it started?

I'm sure there must be a web page or primer about this, but even the cool Home Theater ebook I bought here from a fellow AVS-er only mentions the "pull strings" but doesn't go into their workings, etc.,
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan_h View Post

Cool.

Is the trick to have a string that is twice as long as the conduit, so when you use it to pull a cable through, you then can pull the string back to where it started?

I'm sure there must be a web page or primer about this, but even the cool Home Theater ebook I bought here from a fellow AVS-er only mentions the "pull strings" but doesn't go into their workings, etc.,

Just need it a little longer than the length. When you pull a new cable through, pull another string at the same time.

You may not want a cotton string. Sometimes when you get allot of cable the string will break, so use a nylon string. Also, you may want to lube the cables up that you are going to run through the conduit (I use WD-40, don't know if that is the best or not) The plastic coating on the cables will cause allot of friction against other cables. Speaker wire, probably not a problem, just for the different video cables.
post #11 of 24
Thanks. Fishing line is too thin, right, so I something more substantial, right?
post #12 of 24
Right,

A pull string is any type of string you leave inside a piece of conduit. I'm not sure if the plastic bag trick will work if there are other wires running in the conduit, but if you leave the string in the conduit, all you need to do it tie it to one of of the wire and pull it through... Its pretty easy. Dont forget to run a new pull string if you are using the old one to pull something through.

I like to use masonary line. Its cheap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiahead View Post

Remember your dealing with the lowest common denominator there. You can get your own string and run it through.

Here is a trick. Tie the string to a plastic bag. Shove the bag into the conduit. Use a shop vac at the other end to suck the bag and string through.
post #13 of 24
You could using fishing line, but it would have to be higher weight. I wouldnt go smaller than 30lb or so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan_h View Post

Thanks. Fishing line is too thin, right, so I something more substantial, right?
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathan_h View Post

Here's a dumb question. I'm putting together a theater in a garage. You can see the details at this page.

And I was looking at conduit today at home depot -- in the electricity section. The gray plastic stuff that is perhaps 2 or 3 inches in diameter.

And I couldn't find "pull strings" anywhere. The guys working there seemed to think I was crazy. Is it that obscure?

Nathan:
Hope you got the idea that the conduit is the way to go. I used a conduit that was available at HD. I got four rolls of 25' of the orange stuff" and used 3 rolls. The "pull string" i used was nothing more than a 3/32" nylon cord. I bought 200 feet. I think I paid like $5 for the hank of cord.

The vacuum trick works great, if you can keep yourself from laughing your butt off when the string goes all the way through a 25' run of conduit you are a better man than I. Always include in your wire bundle another "pull string" so you can use it to pull through other wires if needed.

Here is a link to "how I did it".
Best wishes!
Tom
post #15 of 24
Thanks. Yes, I'm convinced. Not sure whether I'm ready to commit to speaker location, etc, but I can make reasonable guesses I think, and that may be enough.
post #16 of 24
Just learned, via a consultation today, that I probably don't need to pull the old drywall, especially since I am thinking of doing a second layer, and there is blown in insulation behind the old drywall. This makes the conduit question more complicated. (It also makes re-doing the wiring, which the consultant strongly recommended, more complicated.)

I'm beginning to like the idea of raceways, and outlets on the outside of the drywall surface, and so on -- then covered with light curtains or fabric. I could place acoustic treatment there, as well, and than might work nicely.
post #17 of 24
Are you planning on doing any crown molding? You could always run the wires behind that.
post #18 of 24
I could add that to the plan, but as of right now, I wasn't planning on it.
post #19 of 24
Can you run any a/v cables together in the conduit? Or should I avoid mixing certain cables due to interference?

Thanks.

Nick
post #20 of 24
The guidelines I've been told:

Power and A/V should be separate by at least 12 inches, and when they have to cross, should cross at 90 degrees.
post #21 of 24
What about, for instance, speaker wire and other a/v cables? Dont speaker wires carry higher power than most other a/v cables?

Nick
post #22 of 24
Power is the real culprit, with others it is not a big issue
post #23 of 24
AnthonyP is right, power is the problem. I think you can run all of your AV cables together. However, if you are running a lot of cables behind crown molding you may not have enough room to get them all to fit. You might consider running speaker wires down one side of the room and your other wires on the other side.

Getting decent cables cant hurt either.
post #24 of 24
Quote:


AnthonyP is right, power is the problem.

Speaker wire can also be a problem, because if you play it loud, it can run at several amps. 200 watts into 4 ohm speakers is 7 amps, if memory serves. I guess the mitigating factor is that the speaker output signal will likely be quite similar to the line-level input signal.

If you run balanced audio cables, then the risk of interference is significantly reduced. You can't really run balanced speaker wire, but with powered speakers, you can run balanced line signals all the way through. Yet another reason I like powered monitors :-)
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