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post #1 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Wiring tutorials?

I hope I'm posting this in the right section. I was wondering if there were any videos or threads in this forum that will show the basics of how to run/manage cables and secret or nifty ways to hide cables. I'm about to tackle a living room build over the Thanksgiving holiday. My gear is listed in my signature.

Gear Front Stage: Polk LSiM 707s Ctr: LSiM 706c
Srd: LSiM 703s Ht: 700-LS Rears: Cheap Infinity book shelves
Amps: Marantz SR6014 and MM7055
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post #2 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myhikingboots View Post
I hope I'm posting this in the right section. I was wondering if there were any videos or threads in this forum that will show the basics of how to run/manage cables and secret or nifty ways to hide cables. I'm about to tackle a living room build over the Thanksgiving holiday. My gear is listed in my signature.
What kind of wiring are you looking to do?

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post #3 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm mainly looking for ideas for running the HDMI, network, speaker, rca for the sub, power, etc, in the walls. Like what sort of outlet boxes people use. Just general info. I'm a carpenter by trade and I just finished building my Kitchen including the cabinets so I'm pretty handy. Just looking for ideas to keep everything organized and clean.

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post #4 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 04:02 PM
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Hi there boots. Try searching for rack threads for ideas. You need to find your own level when it comes to neatness. Personally, I'm a neat freak when it comes to wiring, but age & experience has taught me that to much time can be wasted on that sort of thing. If it is fairly permanent, I'll take the time to make it near perfect, but I know my rack will change from time to time.

So my level of analness (is that a word?) is to have my cabling quite neat and easy to follow, but still be easy to move cables & components without a major overhaul. I don't build custom length interconnects cause if anything at all changes then I gotta toss the cables & build new ones. I just buy whatever is close and dress the cables to keep them reasonably neat. See the photo for an idea of what I mean. Not super clean, but it's easy to trace cables & change things up if needed.

Do not judge me by the mess in the room. Things were being rearranged at the time.

For room wiring, a couple of things. Get cable that is approved for use within walls. There are smoke & flame spread ratings that should be paid attention to. Keep audio/video cables separated from the 120 VAC house wiring to minimize interference & noise. Crossing over those cables is fine, but you don't want to run the audio & 120 cables right together for long distances. If you keep them 6" apart, they'll be fine.


What you can't see in the pic is that I have a mill work boarder around perimeter of the room that's dropped about 6" from the ceiling & 18' wide. It has removable panels that made it a breeze to run speaker & network cables. All the speakers run down to a 3 gang box in the wall behind the rack with a cover plate chock full of banana plugs.

Each device that is network connected gets a CAT6 drop; TV, AVP, Blu-Ray, Apple TV, and HTPC, plus a spare. No wireless connections cause they can be an endless source of frustration when they don't work perfectly. No TV cable coax either cause it's almost obsolete. Everything is either streamed, Blu-Ray, or from a Plex server in another room.

Power is a 120V, 30A receptacle behind the rack. This powers a gang of receptacles in the rack that are each protected by a 15A mini-breaker. This provides power for all the AV equipment. With separate circuits there can be an increased possibility of introduced ground loop hum with different components connected to different circuits. Unlikely, but they can be a bugger to track down & get rid of (properly).

Hope this helps & good luck. Have fun with this.
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post #5 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myhikingboots View Post
I'm mainly looking for ideas for running the HDMI, network, speaker, rca for the sub, power, etc, in the walls. Like what sort of outlet boxes people use. Just general info. I'm a carpenter by trade and I just finished building my Kitchen including the cabinets so I'm pretty handy. Just looking for ideas to keep everything organized and clean.
Ok. So I ran all the AV wiring for my home theater. You will need to run inwall cl2 rated speaker wires for all speakers. Rca cables for subwoofer. Wherever they come out near the speakers use the orange low voltage new construction box. Terminate all wires near a central AV rack. Wherever they come out for connection to the receiver use the same orange low voltage boxes. For HDMI get certified hdmi rated for in wall use. For lan run cat6a within the walls. For projector try to isolate the power by using something like a powerbridge. What this mean is that you will run a dummy Romex run between the projector to the av rack. At the place where the av rack end is you will put a power inlet and use a male to female connector to connect it to a regular outlet. This way you can put a ups in-between. For inlet, connector cords and brushed wall plates use the following from Amazon.

MIDLITE 4642-W Single Gang Décor Recessed Power Inlet https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002XDQAA6..._VkD1Db43G7ESH

Tripp Lite Heavy-Duty Power... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FBA1WCE...p_mob_ap_share

Fosmon 2-Gang Wall Plate, Brush... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DY7ZFBZ...p_mob_ap_share


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post #6 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 07:09 PM
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Best Practice is all of those wires should have come through a single box there was no need for all that.
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post #7 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 07:21 PM
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I would also add that you should separate signal from speaker from power. In other words, don't run AC power cables with signal or speaker cables in a bundle. Separate out the bundles. The worst offender is AC voltage, but high level speaker signals also have some potential to induce noise into signal cables. Try to keep long parallel wire runs several feet apart from AC power, and try to cross AC and signal runs at right angles to each other. Granted, this may be overkill, especially with well shielded signal cable. There are several folks here on the forum with real world IT and FOH concert experience that have mentioned this, so I tend to believe there is some benefit and it really doesn't cost much to maintain the separation.


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post #8 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankwp View Post

Each device that is network connected gets a CAT6 drop; TV, AVP, Blu-Ray, Apple TV, and HTPC, plus a spare. No wireless connections cause they can be an endless source of frustration when they don't work perfectly. No TV cable coax either cause it's almost obsolete. Everything is either streamed, Blu-Ray, or from a Plex server in another room.


Hope this helps & good luck. Have fun with this.
Hey thanks for the reply lots of good info. I'm glad you mentioned the network stuff, because this was something I was looking into today. Most of the setup will be all on one wall. This is a traditional living room setup, so there will be cabinets with some gear hidden and some on display. Currently I have one Cat6 drop from the wifi router. My hope was to attach that to a switch (hidden in the cabinet) and connect the Xbox, amp, and Blu-ray to that. But not really sure if that is ideal.

Gear Front Stage: Polk LSiM 707s Ctr: LSiM 706c
Srd: LSiM 703s Ht: 700-LS Rears: Cheap Infinity book shelves
Amps: Marantz SR6014 and MM7055
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post #9 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
Best Practice is all of those wires should have come through a single box there was no need for all that.
A bit late for that isn't it? There was no way 6 different wires could have come through a double gang box. I probably needed three of four gang boxes. Also would have been very crowded. I wanted a logical separation.

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post #10 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 08:01 PM
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A bit late for that isn't it? There was no way 6 different wires could have come through a double gang box. I probably needed three of four gang boxes.
I didn't want to embarrass you in your build thread but this is just plain wrong. Certainly not best practice. No problem in a double gang box.
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post #11 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 08:02 PM
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I didn't want to embarrass you in your build thread but this is just plain wrong. No problem in a double gang box.
Why is it wrong? I don't see a reason why. It would have just been squished in a double gang box. I think it is a matter of personal preference, not necessarily a right or wrong. I have multiple wires running along the studs and logically when they came down the studs they were separated into alternate studs. So the straightest path from the studs made it into the brushed wall plate. If I had them all running along one stud, it would have been extremely crowded and also risky when the sheetrocker hammered the nail; that's why I ran them in the center of the stud. This allows me a clean separation and also helps avoid any mishaps by the sheetrockers.

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post #12 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 08:13 PM
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best practice, this is a picture showing 8 wires you have 6. not that I would mix those wire types in a single box, but they are good place holders for the room required. You keep all the wires out of the reach of nails/screws behind the drywall so there is no risk of damage

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post #13 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
best practice, this is a picture showing 8 wires you have 6. not that I would mix those wire types in a single box, but they are good place holders for the room required. You keep all the wires out of the reach of nails/screws behind the drywall so there is no risk of damage

I understand your perspective and This looks really great but in my case I just wanted to be extra careful. As multiple people including you had cautioned me about how much screw up the sheetrockers can cause to well laid out plans I decided not to take a chance and keep them separate. I wanted a minimum of half inch from each side of the studs with the wires in-between to avoid any accidental penetration by screws. And when I saw them anchoring the sheetrock to studs my heart really skipped a beat and I was glad I ran wires in the middle of the studs. Taking off 1 inch of a 3.5 inch 2x4 effectively left only 2.5 inches which was barely enough for running two wires with Staples. That's the reason I did what I did.

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post #14 of 29 Old 11-20-2019, 08:40 PM
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Check out the following wiring tutorial. It was great.

https://www.crutchfield.com/S-OPU1IN...ll_wiring.html

You will also need the following supplies.

1. Speaker wires (moroprice)
2. HDMI cable
3. Cat 6a
4. Low voltage gang boxes
5. Brushed plate wall plates
6. Power inlet (Amazon link earlier provided)
7. Banana plugs
8. Low voltage Staples
9. Zip ties
10. Rca cable



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post #15 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 05:03 AM
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I think a rather nifty way to run low voltage wiring around a room is to shim out the kick trim, to create a wiring chase, depending on the locations of doors.
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post #16 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 06:41 AM
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A bit late for that isn't it? There was no way 6 different wires could have come through a double gang box. I probably needed three of four gang boxes. Also would have been very crowded. I wanted a logical separation.

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I have banana jacks for 12 speakers in one 3-gang plate, then use patch cords to connect them to the equipment in the rack. Makes for a nice neat, easy to use, easy to trace installation.

Now you ask 'what kind of box could possibly hold all those cables?'. Because this was a retrofit install, I couldn't use a plaster ring, so I just cut the back out of a 3-gang box.

I do have a separate box for the network drops because there is a duct in that stud space & a 4-gang just wouldn't fit.
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post #17 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 06:43 AM
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I have banana jacks for 12 speakers in one 3-gang plate, then use patch cords to connect them to the equipment in the rack. Makes for a nice neat, easy to use, easy to trace installation.



Now you ask 'what kind of box could possibly hold all those cables?'. Because this was a retrofit install, I couldn't use a plaster ring, so I just cut the back out of a 3-gang box.



I do have a separate box for the network drops because there is a duct in that stud space & a 4-gang just wouldn't fit.
Correct. Retrofit can definitely be done. As I explained in detail my primary objective was to create separation between the nails in the sheet rock and my wires since I did not trust the sheetrockers to do this right. That's the reason I ran no more than two wire per stud. Since studs are spaced at a standard distance that's why you see the wires coming out at different spots.

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post #18 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 06:48 AM
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Just a related follow up tip, you don't have to use the orange low voltage boxes for low voltage wiring, I often use blue/grey box and drill a hole to bring in the wire(s). This is really useful if you are building with high sound isolation goals as you can more easily back butter the blue boxes with a sound containment Putty Pad. Of course if you can just bring the wire in through a hole drilled in the double layer of drywall and caulk any gaps, even better.
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post #19 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Tedd View Post
I think a rather nifty way to run low voltage wiring around a room is to shim out the kick trim, to create a wiring chase, depending on the locations of doors.
That is a great strategy. In refitting very old homes with modern electrical, that is sometimes used. They typically have 6" or higher baseboards, so removing them & building out 1" - 1.5" makes room for cable & boxes. Done properly, the visual impact is minimal; if you weren't told it was a refit, you probably wouldn't even notice.
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post #20 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 06:50 AM
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Correct. In my case i as being extra careful as I was doing the wiring as a DIY and did not want the slightest opportunity for the inspector to fail me because I did not use a low voltage box for low voltage wiring (they are real pieces of work in my town).

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post #21 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 07:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
Just a related follow up tip, you don't have to use the orange low voltage boxes for low voltage wiring, I often use blue/grey box and drill a hole to bring in the wire(s). This is really useful if you are building with high sound isolation goals as you can more easily back butter the blue boxes with a sound containment Putty Pad. Of course if you can just bring the wire in through a hole drilled in the double layer of drywall and caulk any gaps, even better.
This is a great tip, and I wish I had thought of it before wiring my room. The exterior walls were spray foamed (not for sound, but I wanted the best seal I could get for drafts, bugs, etc.) and there were a few places I would have benefited from a closed box instead of using the open orange LV box.
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You can absolutely use blue electrical boxes for low voltage. They can be very useful when you are doing double drywall, because you can use the adjustable depth style of blue box, which easily extends to the surface of the drywall. They are also easy to build backer boxes around — at least they were for me with decoupled double stud wall construction. In the pic below, I am running 17 total 12-gauge audio cables, 8 network cables, and 6 coax cables into two 3-gang boxes (so approx 5 wires per gang). The double 3/4" MDF backer box will keep the sound from bleeding out.

After drywall, the wires will all be terminated with jacks (banana posts for the audio, coax for 4 of the coax and RCA jacks for two of the coax, and obviously RJ45's for the network). From there I'll use patch cables to the equipment.
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You can absolutely use blue electrical boxes for low voltage. They can be very useful when you are doing double drywall, because you can use the adjustable depth style of blue box, which easily extends to the surface of the drywall. They are also easy to build backer boxes around — at least they were for me with decoupled double stud wall construction. In the pic below, I am running 17 total 12-gauge audio cables, 8 network cables, and 6 coax cables into two 3-gang boxes (so approx 5 wires per gang). The double 3/4" MDF backer box will keep the sound from bleeding out.



After drywall, the wires will all be terminated with jacks (banana posts for the audio, coax for 4 of the coax and RCA jacks for two of the coax, and obviously RJ45's for the network). From there I'll use patch cables to the equipment.
This looks great. In fact I had a bit of difficulty mounting the face plate onto the low voltage box because I used 5/8 inch drywall. Also it really felt off having the wires dangling without a support at the back. So I had to use frog tape to hold the wire within the box. One thing I missed is how you have zip tied the wires together. If I had done that I could have had more wires within the box. However since I was a newbie I was afraid about tying wires together using zip ties.

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post #24 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 08:54 AM
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One thing I missed is how you have zip tied the wires together. If I had done that I could have had more wires within the box. However since I was a newbie I was afraid about tying wires together using zip ties.
The zip ties OUTSIDE of the electrical box are permanent. The zip ties on the wires after they come out of the box are loose and only temporary to help me keep them organized until I finalize all the connections.

One note on zip ties, I don't use them on wiring that isn't 100% permanent. As I route wires to the stereo, or through racks, or anything like that that is exposed and subject to change, I use velcro rolls and cut pieces to length. They are way easier to deal with when you need to change something. I highly recommend the VELCRO brand instead of knock offs.

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post #25 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankwp View Post
That is a great strategy. In refitting very old homes with modern electrical, that is sometimes used. They typically have 6" or higher baseboards, so removing them & building out 1" - 1.5" makes room for cable & boxes. Done properly, the visual impact is minimal; if you weren't told it was a refit, you probably wouldn't even notice.
You don't even need to shim it out that much... If you run your wire into the drywall at an angle, you don't need a bend, so the newly created chase could be rather shallow and not create a tight bend in the wire. A dab of high quality silicone caulking would
also seal the hole. I'd also suggest that that shallow chase might also make the kick trim look more substantial, as that is a commonly used trick to make thinner materials look more substantial.
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post #26 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 05:36 PM
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If you bring just the wire through the drywall and caulk the penetration, how are you terminating the wire? Are you running it directly into a surface mounted junction box? What does code require with this type of wiring if it is AC power vs. low voltage wiring?


Thanks,
Mike
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post #27 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 06:25 PM
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I take the speaker wire directly to the amp and use banana plugs if it is for a speaker take it directly to the speaker terminals, that is why you always want a lot of excess on the line when you put it through the wall. AC is a lot different, AC you put a surface mounted outlet over the hole.

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post #28 of 29 Old 11-21-2019, 09:57 PM
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I have a tip for anyone doing low voltage boxes with spray foam. Don't loop the wire around the holes in the box like I did. Instead, use a wire tie or zip tie to attach the wire to the box and tape over the back of the box to keep the foam from cementing the wires in place.

I had the hardest time getting my wires pulled out of the box when it came time to terminate them. I wish I had used standard blue boxes.
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post #29 of 29 Old 11-22-2019, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhutchins View Post
If you bring just the wire through the drywall and caulk the penetration, how are you terminating the wire? Are you running it directly into a surface mounted junction box?
What does code require with this type of wiring if it is AC power vs. low voltage wiring?

Thanks,
Mike

That is worth pointing out, and worth some clarification in case someone missed the first post. The original poster is talking about a living room, so I expect the AC is already in place.

I was talking low voltage wiring here, such as in wall rated speaker wiring and any CAT. AC needs to be run into a box and respect any codes. Since that is a living room, I expect those are already
in place. Any additional ac should be run to code, but one could use armoured cable in a chase, properly secured. Just not sure why one would need to do that, nor would want parallel runs of AC
with speaker wiring.

My personal choice of connector for speaker wires is a banana jack. Something robust that makes a good connection. Crimped, and soldered. One can put in boxes/sweep gasket/speaker plates,
but they really aren't necessary.

Now if you want to run AC inside a theater's shell, and do it in a safe and code respectful manner, I can think of a few ways to accomplish that.
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