having house built, tell me what i need to know about pre wiring

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by RichardK, Mar 13, 2001.

  1. RichardK

    RichardK Second Unit

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    Im having a home built in the Dallas area. The builder contracts with Powell Electronics for their wiring. They frown upon DIY and other 3rd parties, so im gonna roll with them for safety sake so i need your advice.
    Please offer suggestions on how i should have the prewiring done.
    Room dimensions 15.5 x 15.5 approx. open 'doorway' in one 'corner' of room.
    im planning to put a 46 - 55in widescreen along one wall and
    2 front towers or med siz bookshelf on stands, the center on top of TV,
    rear surrounds on the left and right of the seating area. and two rears (L and R) for THX EX, DTS ES upgrade.
    the main thing i am mulling over is the surrounds...i want the prewiring to allow for stands because that is the way i am leaning. same with the rears. honestly i dont want to have to mess with inwalls at all.
    since it is a fairly enclosed room, i could even run the wiring along the floor, but i am looking for a 'cleaner' look.
    the speakers i have in mind range from Atl Tech T70 system to B&W DM302/3s. maybe even CDM1NTs if i can scrape the cash.
    also what distance for seating area is good for a 55in. set. i think i have plenty of room without backing myself against the rear wall.
    thanks for your help.
    RR
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  2. Allan Yates

    Allan Yates Auditioning

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    Nothing special to worry about for your surround speaker wiring. I would just run 12AWG from you amplifier location to each of the speaker locations and mount a plaster ring (not a box) 12" off the floor.
    Allan.
    Intelligent Interiors http://www.i2automation.com
    Sales, installation, service, and parts for:
    Lighting, Home Automation, Security, Audio/Video, Home Theatre
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  3. Brad Ems

    Brad Ems Auditioning

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    As for the system power, I would dedicate a 20A circuit to the HT room and wire all receptacles there to that circuit. It's not too bad an idea to upsize the wiring to the next standard AWG. For a 20A circuit 12AWG is generally the standard but for not much more you can get 10AWG. This will reduce the "blink" you get when a large load on the circuit turns on.
    Also, ask the contactor to leave extra wire above the breaker box in case you want to put in a central power conditioner for the HT later. If the wire isn't long enough to go to the conditioner, you'll either have to put in a junction box (yuck) or re-run the home run to the breaker box from the HT. Neither is fun and leaving a few extra feet of Romex is much easier.
    Finally, WRT power, I would put room lighting on a separate circuit in case you have electrically "noisy" lighting like fluroescent or HID. This will reduce the loading on your HT circuit and will reduce the need for power conditioning.
    As for speaker wiring, I'm not a great believer in zillion-dollar cables as a bang-for-the-buck option. I would use a standard large-gauge copper zip cord (10AWG if you can get it). If you're running wiring near other wiring that carries lots of current (A/C, electric oven, etc.), use a shielded cable of at least 12AWG and make sure the contractor grounds the shield properly. An improperly grounded shield is far worse than none at all. In either case, if you must get near current-carrying conductors, try to cross them at right angles with your speaker wire to minimize crosstalk.
    I don't know for sure, but I imagine the contractor can get standard-sized wall devices that have gilded binding posts for audio connections. Connect the 10AWG zip cord to these in the boxes (I recommend sealing these connections with shrink tubing to delay or prevent oxidation) and you have an easy connection point for your speaker. The other end will naturally have a ganged binding post array for connection to the amp. If you're bi-wiring, you'll have to have four binding posts at each speaker point.
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    "Nothing is quite so permanent as a temporary government program."
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  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I would strongly suggest wireing your home as a "Smart Home".
    It sounds complex, but it's really simple.
    Pick a central location in your house where you can place a coax patch panel, network hub, etc. (I use the corner of a bedroom closet).
    You can also do this in the Garage, but I prefer the less dirty environment inside.
    Get a bunch of the "Smart Home" cable with dual RG6 coax and dual Cat5 network cables in a single bundle.
    Run this in a "Star" configuration to every room from the central location. Have the ends in the room terminate in standard electrical box's with a few inches of slack. Cover the electrical box's with blank wall plates. You can install the connectors later yourself.
    At the central location, plan to run:
    - Your CATV coax to this location
    - Dual runs of RG6 coax from the roof for a SAT dish to this location.
    - Your Telephone feed from your box on the outside to this location.
    Make sure they add 1-2 electrical outlets to power the electronics.
    Now you have everything set to wire a splitter for CATV, a network hub for computer, extra telephone lines to any/every room, etc.
    You DONT have to wire everything up at once. Just leave a few feet of each wire hanging. The tools are cheap and you can wire the connectors and install the splitter/hub/connectors months or even years later.
    Another big point: Have the builder run 6-pair (12-wire) telephone cable to your house from the local drop-point.
    You may only plan on having 1 or 2 phone lines, but you will regret it later if you have to spend $800 and ruin your landscaping to add another line later. As long as they are digging the trench and running 4 wires, you may as well have them lay the 12 wire bundle.
     
  5. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Location:
    DFW
    Real Name:
    Steve Tannehill
    How many satellite receivers do you plan on having? I would consider special wiring for each of those locations.
    For each satellite receiver point inside, I would run the following:
    1 RG6 run for satellite reception
    2 RG6 runs for cable TV reception (some cable systems have two cables)
    1 RG6 run for over-the-air antenna
    1 RG6 run for coaxial transmission to other rooms
    1 RG6 to grow on...possibly for IR repeating to other rooms
    1 telephone line
    2 Cat5 Ethernet...one is for redundancy
    Don't forget the runs of cable from the OUTSIDE to your wiring closet...one for EACH satellite receiver, two for cable TV, and one for the OTA antenna.
    You can never have enough prewiring!
    - Steve
     
  6. RichardK

    RichardK Second Unit

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    okay, you guys know way too much about this stuff... ;-)
    here is what im gonna ask for.
    12awg wiring
    1 rg6 for sattelite
    1 rg6 for cable tv
    1 rg6 for OTA antenna (for HD broadcast)
    1 telephone line (for DSS)
    1 dedicated 20A breaker for power.
    2-3 commercial grade outlets.
    anything else?
    Thanks again
    Richard
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  7. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    Yea, what everyone else said.
    Also, we have a group of enthusiast's in the DFW area that chat at: http://dhtg.org/dhtgcgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro
    You can join and get on the email list. We get together every now and then, chat, exchange info. Stuff like that. If you need any help, most are willing to help out also. I am in Plano and if you need any help with setup or anything, just give me a shout.
     
  8. Allan Yates

    Allan Yates Auditioning

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    Now, seeing as people are expanding to other points in the house. My house pre-wire list is located at http://www.i2automation.com/wire.htm
    Allan.
    ------------------
    Intelligent Interiors
    http://www.i2automation.com
    Sales, installation, service, and parts for:
    Lighting, Home Automation, Security, Audio/Video, Home Theatre
    Vantage, Crestron, Elan, Audio Request, Arrakis, Atlantic Technology, Sonance, Niles
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    If you EVER think you might want a ceiling-mounted projector system, you could run some 3-conductor RGB cables from behind your equipment to the middle/rear of your room and just leave it sitting there. You should also have the electrical people run an electrical outlet to this location as well.
    The Canare RGB cables run about $1/ft in bulk so it's not a major investment. Try Markertek.com. Then you just need someone to come in and put on 6 of those great Canare connectors.
    There are some other issues which are not as much fun that you may want to consider BEFORE things get built:
    Insulation: Put the pink Owens-Corning fiberglass behind every wall and in the ceiling. It does a good job with the mid/high frequencies.
    Extra Screws in the sheatrock:Some people have bragged that they have a very "tight" room to enhance the bass response. I think this just means that they have extra runs of sheatrock screws for the wall boards, and they space them every 12" instead of every 18" which I think is standard.
    Heating/Cooling: When the room gets quiet, the sound of the heater/air conditioner becomes a major sound intrusion. There are baffels you can get to reduce the air-flow noise.
    Subwoofer Cable: Find a corner that has the longest un-broken walls on either side. This will be the prime location for a external sub. Run some RG6 coax from behind your equipment to this location so you can add one of those great SVS subs later.
    Tactile Transducers: A lot of people really like these. Wherever your main seating will be, run some RG6 coax to this location. Later, you can add some Bass Shakers/Tactile Transducers to your couch/chair, and run the LFE signal to a small AMP right near the couch to drive the shakers.
    Phone Wire: You did a good thing having a phone line installed near the equipment for DSS/Cable pay-per-view, but how often have you had to run out of the room to answer the phone? I highly recommend you put a phone-outlet near your main seating area. You can always turn-off the ringer if you want quiet, but often you are just channel surfing when someone calls so having a hard-wire would be a good thing.
    Check out this site: www.channelplus.com
    They had some great advice about doing "home runs", but they also recommend things like:
    Zig-zag the wires between the studs and use a loose, insulated staple to hold them in place. Later, if you need more slack, give a tug to pop the nearest staple and you get about 8" of free wire. Tug again for more.
     
  10. Mitchel Kagawa

    Mitchel Kagawa Auditioning

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    If I was building a house I would seriously consider prewiring my house with fiber optic cable because thats where everything seems to be pointing. Makes you wonder how many lives cat5 has left now that these new gigabit networks are all using fiberoptic cables... Not to mention the fact that my cable company has fiber burried under the street outside my house. 6 years ago my company opened up the walls and ran a coax loop with a bnc connector to each computer... Try stopping in at your local compusa and picking up an ethernet card with a bnc connector, you will have few choices if any. I'm guessing 6 years from now RJ-45 will be difficult to find because data will be flowing over glass instead of copper and your network connection on the back of your computer will look more like the tos-link on the back of your DVD player. Just my $.02 [​IMG]
    ~Mitchel
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  11. RichardK

    RichardK Second Unit

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    mitchel i hope you're right, im in the business that sells equipment to transport light over that fiber optic cable you're talking about... anyhow the home will have cat5 wiring standard, as for fiber optic well even if that is in the future im not willing to shell out the dough to have it done now...i'll settle for the cable modem or dsl service that is available in my area for now and the cat5 wiring for the home networking....
    if only i didnt have 6 more months to go to even dream about enjoying this stuff anyway... :-(
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  12. RandyR

    RandyR Auditioning

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    2 things. Not all Gigabit ethernet is fiber. Where I work we just built a new network operations center wired with Cat6, which is still copper but is a bit different from Cat5. We use fiber for verticle runs between switches and routers, and Cat6 for horizontal runs from switches to servers.
    You said you don't want to or can't afford the expense of putting in fiberoptic cable. Why do you say that so fast? What I have heard suggested is that you can have the runs of fiber going through your house with the other SmartHouse wireing, but just don't have it connected to anything. Then all you have to pay for is the cost of the cable itself.
     
  13. RichardK

    RichardK Second Unit

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    in ceiling surround speakers... left and right side above seating area AND on/in wall surround ex speakers, behind seating area.
    how will that sound?
    need answer quick!
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  14. Chip_E

    Chip_E Agent

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    Per my Network Guru bud (I used to do Telecom, but now do Applications and PM) Gigabyte Ethernet was designed for CAT5, so it'll be around for quite a while.
    Also, while CAT3 (basic telephone wiring) and CAT5 (data grade) are standards, CAT6 and CAT7 are NOT standards...rather they're a way for a company to sell you something for more money...my guru likens it to buying speaker wire capable of reproducing sounds above human hearing ability.
    Finally, if you can afford fiber, it IS a good idea to pull it now...for the future. In wiring, the labor charge is the same if they pull 1 wire or 6 wires. If you don't pull the wire now, you'll pay again for labor. As others have stated, you don't have to terminate it now...just leave it in the wall. I think all this smart cabling is...smart.
    Since most new homes will have lots of in-wall cabling for networks and A/V, it helps keep your house "current" so to speak. With the importance of the Internet, I think having a LAN at home is as important as having indoor plumbing.
    Sure you've gotten along without it, and sure you don't NEED it, but it's a nice convenience.
    - Chip
     
  15. Phil Iott

    Phil Iott Auditioning

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    I am also having a house built and am looking for some banana plug recepticles to mount on wall plates to terminate my 12 AWG in-wall speaker wire. I found some at Home Depot but they seemed a little expensive. About $8 for every set of two plus $1.50 for the wall plate. Does anyone have a better source for these? Thanks.
    Phil
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  16. Phil Iott

    Phil Iott Auditioning

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    Someone has to have installed in-wall speaker wire and plugs... Anyone...
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    My DVDs
    (Damn, I need to update this!)
     
  17. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    A friend of mine did it, he got the stuff from Home Depot, probably the same that you looked at. I doubt you can find it much cheaper, but that's just because I'm stupid enough to trust HD's commercials. [​IMG]
    As for pre-wiring, we just bought a home and I skipped all the prewiring except for ceiling fans, cable TV outlets and phones in all the rooms. I was thinking about doing speaker prewiring, but it seemed that with the ridiculous price they charged for it, I wouldn't have to pay much more to do it afterwards. I also wasn't sure exactly where I wanted the speakers.
    Was this a mistake, or did I do the right thing?
    /Mike
     
  18. Dan Mercier

    Dan Mercier Stunt Coordinator

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    About those wall banana plugs. I paid a lot more than that
    for mine because here in Canada I couldn't find them at my home depot. Went to a Audio shop and spent about $95 total to have plates for 2 sets of surrounds and the corresponding plates for at the source.
     

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