Need Some Help With Structured Wiring

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Greg Haynes, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    My house just started being built and I would like to make sure I wire everthing that I need before the drywall goes up. So I was hoping to get some experienced people with letting me know what I should be looking to buy and how much it's going to cost.

    The house is 3200 SQ FT and I will be bringing into this house 5 computers, 3 PVR's, Dedicated theater, and a second zone music room for casual listening.

    I want to know where I should shop for all my materials and tools. Is ebay the best spot for CAT6 and RG6 Quad? How many feet should I buy to run the cable to each room? Where can I find the patch panels? Smarthome.com? Worthdist.com?

    I need to figure out what I should run into each room and would love to hear what you recommend. Basically, it would be nice to know if you had to do it again what would you do differently. I also would like to know with having some many RG6's runs in a house will the signal every become poor? If buying RG6 splitter/amps for the cable will that bring the signal back to optimal?

    I'm just worried having so much cable that I don't want to drop any signal quality. How anyone noticed any signal quality loss with having a cable outlet in each room?

    I'm also curious to see if you anyone has read this book and to see if it's worth buying.
    Structured Wiring Design Manual
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I realize my opinion is not the one you're really looking for as I have not done this before, but I have researched it a fair amount. Since I do not have first-hand experience I will only give you my opinion on what you should run to each room.

    I would run a minimum of 2 RG-6 and 3 Cat5e or Cat6 ethernet cable (this can be used for phones, networks, intercoms, security systems, etc). If you're really looking to future proof you could also run a fiber-optic cable to each room. Also, if you think you might ever want music in each room you could go ahead and run a couple speaker wires to each room.

    Also, it's a very good idea to bind the Cat5e or Cat6 cables to the RG-6 as this will help to keep the ethernet cable from breaking around corners because the RG-6 is much more rigid.
     
  3. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    Take the amount of wire that you think you need and double it. I would start with a structured wire bundle (with or without fiber) and add at least two more cat5e or cat 6 cables to it. I would run this to most rooms, and two runs of each to bedrooms/offices (on separate walls), so you can rearrange the room someday. I would also run cat5e/6 to the back of all your appliances. Think about where you might want to "hide" a Wireless Access Point someday. Put cat5e/6 there along with an outlet. For example in the home we are building I put an outlet and ethernet port on top of the kitchen cabinets and in two closets. This way I can have the WAP totally hidden. Are you going to have dist. audio? you will want to run speaker wire and cat5 to touchpanel/volume control locations. Don't forget wire for IR sensors.
     
  4. Greg Haynes

    Greg Haynes Supporting Actor

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    Thank you Adam and Seth.

    I have been doing alot of research and have learned alot in the last couple of days. I have wiring on my mind all day long. I can't wait to start this project.

    I have been mapping out what exactly I need in each room, and I going to need a whopping 82 ports. I plan on putting some additional CAT6 ports behind all my appliances to get ready for the future smart appliciances. Would this be wise? Over at AVS I hear alot of guys recommending this.

    I was wondering how much time can I expect to wire this home. I will be working with another guy thats pretty handy to stuff related to this type of work. I know there's alot of variables but looking just for estimate on time.

    Also, if I have one of my PVR's sending the signal back so that the rest of the TV's in the bedrooms and other rooms receive satellite without a receiver what types of remotes can I buy to allow changing of the channels from anywhere. I will be using a Home Theater Master MX-800 which is already RF, but I would like additional remotes that can be left upstairs and to allow channel surfing.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  5. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    A while back I stumbled on this web site with a great how to on Structured Wiring http://www.swhowto.com/

    The guy really went into detail with descriptions and pictures.

    Hope that helps



    I would look at wiring for an IR repeater system. I think Cat5/5e/6 will handle IR signals.

    Good luck on your project!
     
  6. Scott Prock

    Scott Prock Auditioning

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    Greg, I can speak to the RG6 cabling side of your installation as I have 10 years as a CATV Tech.

    Anytime you split the signal you will loose signal, and you will loose a specific amount of signal per 100ft of cable. (plan on up to 6dbmv per 100 ft with RG6)

    Here are the typical losses for different splitters.

    2way = -3.5db each port
    3way = -3.5db on one port and -7db on two ports
    4way = -7db on all ports
    8way = -11db on all

    There are 6way splitters but they vary in loss by manufacturer. Most of the ones I have seen loose 10db

    If you plan to diplex off air signal such as your local broadcast channels you will want splitters that can pass a low voltage current, usually indicated on the splitter. As an example, Regal brand splitters will have a red side which indicates power pass, as this will be needed by the satellite system. (I'm not as familiar with the satellite set up though so if I am wrong there someone correct me)

    With the number of runs you are talking about, you would be wise to place all your wiring into a centralized panel, sometimes referred to as a smart home panel, distribution panel etc. These panels can be configured with a multitude of configurations, including amplified 8way splitters, as you WILL need amplification if you plan on hooking up all the RG6 cables. You will also want to wire the panel for A/C. I have seen some people place their network router in this panel as well. Personally I like my router where I can see it (instead of in the panel), this helps when trouble shooting network issues.

    One caution on amplification, make sure the amp is bi-directional, meaning it will pass signal both directions in the event you want to hook up a high speed cable modem or any devise that would require a return path for communication. Another thing to keep in mind is the signal strength before you amplify. If your signal is bad before you start the amplification you will only be amplifying bad signal, it will not improve the signal, it will make it worse.

    There is a rare occurrence of overdrive too, where you are amplifying the signal too much. This can cause poor picture quality as well.

    Without getting too technical, there are a number of factors that can effect your signal, but until you get closer to the final stages you won't know what you have until you go to hook things up. For now it's best to get all the cabling in place as you are and the rest can be worked through.

    Regards . . . Scott
     

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