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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Things at my Theater are coming along pretty well. Got all the Romex pulled, ceiling cans in and hooked up (man, what a difference from the single flourescent tube!), framing done, riser completed, screen finished, most of the AV equipment acquired. Now it is time to run speaker wire and video cabling to ceiling mount for PJ.


My question is, how are you all terminating the wiring back at the AV rack? I have counted it up as follows:


Component to PJ

S Video to PJ

Composite to PJ

S Video from Sat box

RCA out to Sub

6 pair of speaker wires


I want this to all come through the wall in some sort of neat fashion. I originally thought of having a wall plate for each cable to hook up to and then a short cable from each connector to it's corresponding component, but you still wind up with the same number of wires that need to be dealt with. Besides, it seems a little overkill in a room that will be used only in the dark!


When I had my DirecTV installed many years ago, the installer ran all kinds of cable for the 4 boxes I had him install. He used a cover over whatever hole he cut in the wall that resempled a dryer vent i.e. it had a hooded horizontal opening that all the coax came through. I haven't seen one of these anywhere, so I am curious what others have come up with.


Much obliged
 

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This is what I did. I bought three four inch metal junction boxes and joined them together with machine screws. I broke out all of the knockouts on the top, bottom and back sides then inserted hitlock connectors into all of the holes. Hitlocks are plastic inserts that take the place of standard metal Romex connectors. I used single cable hitlocks for AV cable and double hitlocks for speaker wire (a pair fits nicely in that connector.) I drilled out a three inch hole in the back of the center junction box to allow a conduit to enter for future wires to the ceiling. The whole unit fits neatly between two studs. You can also buy old work boxes that "gang" together or order a monster plastic box that is designed for this purpose but that box is expensive. I think I have less than 10 bucks in mine. As for a cover: I was not really concerned about a finish on the boxes because all will be hidden in a rack cabinet of some sort but it does make for a neater exit through the drywall stage. I can take a picture if you would like to see it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Wayne,


Thanks for your input. It is amazing how you can put out a problem and someone immediately comes up with a solution that if not exactly what you wind up copying, at least sparks an alternate solution in your own mind. Clever idea of screwing metal boxes together!


Did a search on hitlock connectors and found a photo of them. I see how a single one works, but don't quite get the "double" aspect. Can you elaborate? Is there a distinct type that differs from the single 1/2" style? Or are you just shoving double strands through one connector?
 

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A double has a separator to make two paths through the same size knockout. It works better than singles for speaker wire as the wire is flat and thinner than what the connector was designed for ( Romex wire). You could use regular metal connectors as well but they are a permanent clamp and you cant get to the clamp screws after drywall if you need to adjust the length of the cables. I have a good bit of each cable coiled up in the wall behind the box and will pull what I need after the mess is over. BTW these connectors do not readily allow you to go the other way( which is the idea) but with some effort you can wiggle the cables back into the wall.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
found a link to doubles. Where can you buy these in other than 100 quantities?
 

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I should mention that the three boxes I used are not standard run of the mill 4x4 junction boxes. They measure 4 and 11/16. The reason I chose them is that 3 together is just short of a standard stud cavity.(14 and 1/2 inches). Three standard would work fine but I knew I would have at least 25 separate AV cables coming out of this location plus wanted room for a conduit. Also note that no house current is in this box just audio and video.
 

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You should be able to get them in packs of five or so at a Home Depot or Lowes.
 

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Make sure you get three matching J-boxes. There are predrilled holes that you can line up to join them together without drilling plus you can match the knockouts where the boxes meet to pass wires from one to the next if you need to. I knocked those out before joining the boxes just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the tip re. HD. Otherwise I was going to offer you a few bucks to send me a dozen or so.


I am trying to envision the conduit run. I am working with a 2x4 wall. I see conduit coming down from the ceiling ending flush and to the rear of the box with the wires then being able to be run through any of the knockouts. For the cables I am thinking of running to the PJ, what type and diameter of conduit would you suggest? About 20' with 2 90's. I am running component, composite and S Video. I am thinking it needs to be at least 1.5" in dia.? Kind of a big hole to puch through the 2x10s, ~2".
 

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Yes in your case you would be better off using a small diameter conduit but use real electical conduit that has gentle sweeps. You would want to run to the to of the box rather than to the rear. I am doing a room in room so I have 8 inches of cavity to make the turns with fittings. You could run a couple of smaller diameter conduits instead of one larger.
 

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If you want to use wall terminations, and have a lot of cables to run, nothing beats this box from Parts Express . 8-gangs, use standard Decora-type insert brackets, they're separated in pairs in case you want the power nearby, and plates come in white or ivory.


You could use two gangs for speaker terminals, two gangs for video to the projector, two for RF coaxes (sat, ant, out, etc.), two for, well, whatever you like. You could even put two duplex receptacles in one or both ends. (I know someone will mention 60 Hz interference, but speaker lines would be immune; place them next to the AC.)


I decided against the extra connections in my own closet, partly because I'm lazy, partly because I'm cheap, partly because the wall was already there, and partly because I saw no need for them. I simply placed a single-gang low-voltage (i.e.,backless) old-work-box near each component (or group) that needed external cabling: the sat. receiver and video scaler, the pre-pro (blanked at this time), and the amps.


As a cover, I used regular single-receptacle plates, like you might see on a window-a/c receptacle. The hole, which is somewhere around 1.5", accomodates plenty of AV cables or speaker wires. The only difficulty is that the plates are made to mount to devices, not empty boxes; I used a couple of old phone-jack wall-box-type mounting straps. I can post pix if anyone wants to see them.


Wayne, not to criticize, but I see a difficulty with your 4-11/16" boxes: you'd have to use plaster rings to be able to use wall plates, and then you'd have three 2-gang plates butting up to each other; fitting them might be hard. How did you finish the openings? You're right on the money about using PVC conduit (gray), not PVC plumbing pipe (white).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I guess what I was really trying to get at was a way to make it all look tidy. While 10 different cables is a lot compared to one, it isn't a huge number in the aggregate. I can certainly just cut a nice 2" hole in the sheetrock and pull it through like a mass of spaghetti, but was looking for a more elegant solution. After all, the AV rack I envision will be pushed up aginst whatever solution I come up with, effectively hiding the hole. The PE box certainly fits the bill, but seems a bit overkill for my 4 cable and 6 speaker wires.
 

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Yes thats the box. I would have to say if I could have run down to the local building supply and grabbed one I would have bit the bullet and paid the money for it but when I work on my own home nothing is planned very well so I end up engineering what I need with what I have handy as the situation arises. (like five minutes before the drywall) In my case no cover finish will be necessary as I will build in my equip rack at that location. It is just a quick cheap way to somewhat organize the spaghetti mess while I drywall and mud. I was not concerned with a cover or jacks because as Larry mentioned I see no need to add connections of justify the expense of the jacks. But if you are going to have a visible exit of a bunch of cables through one stud cavity the plastic monster box and cover is the way to go.
 

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I mounted a Leviton 28" structured wiring enclosure behind where my rack would go. It allowed me to neatly run all the low voltage wiring through the knockouts and even to attach a couple of empty 1 1/2" conduits for future use. Originally I was going to use the 14" enclosure, but the 28" will allow me to put things like the IR repeater in the box as well. I figure I can leave the cover off or make cutouts in the cover for connection jacks.
 
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