Adding media wall outlets without opening wall?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Vince Maskeeper, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I live in an APT now and was planning to add some wiring for Dish Netrwork. I can fish the walls (or have an installer do it) and get the wiring to the location I need it, however- once it's there- what now?

    In my old dedicated HT room I had nice clean media outlets I wired to run speaker lines and whatnot to terminations. I got the plates and connectors from parts express-- but ithey basically mounted inside a blue plastic electical box like those used for electrical outlets or switches.

    I don't really want to rip out enough drywall to mount a box like that and then have to patch the hole: so is there any other solution to maybe add a small exterior box that could sit on the wall? Or a media faceplate which can attach to the wall without a big box behind it inside the wall?

    Any tips?

    -V
     
  2. Chris Lanni

    Chris Lanni Stunt Coordinator

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    Vince,

    Any media plate can be mounted to the wall with nothing more than drywall anchors or toggle bolts. Then you can just drill a hole large enough to pass the wire through the wall and connect it to the plate. All low voltage wiring, like speaker cable or coax does not need to be contained inside a box.

    You also have the option of using wiremold which all Home Depots carry. Wiremold is external wall mount conduit. They make metal and plastic boxes which will mount right to your wall.

    Gods Love
    chris
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Advice from Kent! How cool.

    The problem is, all the media plates I see (on parts express for example) seem to be designed to fit inside and mount into an electrical box. I have yet to see anything that would simply mount to the face panel and be bolted to the drywall.

    You have any tips on where I could find such a thing?

    -V
     
  4. John Gido

    John Gido Second Unit

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    Vince,

    I bought my wall plates from Radio Shack and they came with a mounting kit for use without an electrical box. Basically, it consists of 4 metal brackets w/screws. Two go inside the drywall, the other 2 go outside the drywall and are screwed into the inside set. Then the faceplate screws into the bracket. You just need to make the hole smaller than the faceplate.
     
  5. Chris Lanni

    Chris Lanni Stunt Coordinator

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    Vince

    Here is one of the wiremold external boxes I am talking about
    Wiremold Option

    Here is a media plate. Phone/Coax Plate Now if you take those two screws and instead of screwing them into a wall box, just hammer two of those plastic drywall anchors in your wall with the correct spacing and attach the screws to them. Then you only have to cut a little 1/2inch hole in the drywall to pull the cable through. I guess it depends on what kind of media plate you are talking about? If you are talking about one like what John mentioned in the post above, then it would be a little harder to not cut a bigger hole in the drywall. If for no other reason than to get the cables through the wall.

    Gods Love
    chris
     
  6. Evan M

    Evan M Second Unit

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    I rather like the idea of just not using a box and attaching the plate directly to the wall. Especially if you are going to have to patch the holes later.

    When I ran networking in my house, I went with something like the following (not this one exactly, but same idea.. can't remember where I got mine) and used keystone jacks/wallplates. You'll have to make a larger hole to use it, though.

    http://www.tselectronic.com/arlingto...c803076 c34ee
     
  7. Chris Fleming

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    go to any hardware store and ask for "retrofit boxes". They are standared metal or plastic (your choice) electrical boxes that come with two flat flexible "tabs". You cut a hole just large enough for the basic box. The tabs at the top and bottom of the metal box lay onto the wall. The two flat tabs are inserted at the sides, then bent over into the box. They keep the box from being pulled from the opening when you unplug, etc.

    Sorry for the lengthy, and I'm sure, un-clear explanation. You will understand when you see them. I like them because it is a nice professional looking install, and all face plate and screws work (like a typical box). No need for drywall anchors, etc.

    Good Luck!
     
  8. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    You didn’t mention what you’re running, but from your recent reply to your thread on the Basics forum I gather it’s one or two coaxial lines? If so you can use a standard coaxial wall plate – it will require a hole no larger than the terminated RG-6 feed is.

    The trick then is getting the cable down and out of the wall through a small hole. You mentioned in the other thread that you have attic access for an in-wall drop – that’s good. Hopefully it’s not an insulated wall, or this won’t work.

    What you need to do first is drill your hole where you want the cable to come out of the wall. As mentioned, it will have to be big enough for a terminated coaxial cable (i.e., with F-connector) to fit through.

    The cable drop from the crawl space needs to be precisely above your hole in the wall. This is crucial. You only have a tiny hole in the wall to work through, not like if you cut a big hole for an old work electrical box. If the cable drop isn’t directly above your hole in the wall, you may not be able to snag it and pull it out of the wall.

    Okay you’ll need a few supplies to finish the job. First is a section of small chain a foot or so long. It’s kinda hard to describe this stuff, but I guess you’d say it’s what they would use to hang potted plants or something lightweight like that – i.e., a fairly fine link chain. Remember it has to be small enough to fit through your hole in the wall when doubled over. Most hardware stores have a section where you can get various types of chain by the foot, so you should be able to find something suitable. Make sure it’s steel, not brass or other non-ferrous metal.

    You’ll also need one of those gizmos from an auto parts store that looks like a telescoping antenna with a magnet on the end, that mechanics use to retrieve nuts and bolts that fall into nooks and crannies.

    Back at the house, attach your chain to a string of some kind – I personally prefer something fairly robust like fishing or weed eater line. Make sure the string long enough to reach all the way to the bottom of the floor from the crawl space.

    Next hold the chain/string up on the wall at the junction of the ceiling, so that the middle of the chain falls where your hole in the wall is, and wrap a piece of electrical tape around the string where it meets the wall/ceiling junction.

    What this does is let you know exactly how far to drop the string inside the wall – i.e., when the string is dropped to the point where the tape is, the chain will be right where the hole is. Then you can stick your magnetic antenna in the wall, and it will snag the chain. Pull the magnet out and you have your chain/pull string through the hole. Up in the crawl space your helper can tape the coaxial line to the pull string and you can pull it in through your hole.

    As far as termination, you can use a standard wall plate with a female F-connector, as I mentioned before. The connector will recess into the hole. Chris mentioned using plastic anchors to secure the plate, and you can certainly do that. However, if you really want to keep damage to the wall minimal, you can simply secure the wall plate with a couple of #6 sheet metal screws, directly into the sheetrock. That will hold it as long as the plate doesn’t see a lot of action – i.e., a lot of plugging and unplugging.

    Your other post also mentioned possibly having two coaxial drops. Since you’re looking for the smallest possible damage to the wall, I suggest using two separate drops rather than a single drop using a wall plate with dual F-connectors. It’ll be hard to use a dual wall plate without ending up with a hole 2-3 times the size of the one you used for the single cable.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     

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