How do I do it? INwall speaker wire

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Marc_E, Nov 11, 2004.

  1. Marc_E

    Marc_E Supporting Actor

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    HI all,
    Well, my addition is going up really soon. I have wire and everything I just need to know a few things:
    Speaker wire:
    First what are the general building code rules about this stuff. I understand it is different everywhere but if there are some general things that I should know....

    Second, what part of the open wall do I fasten it to? With what? Can I use a staple gun?

    Next: I have read drips and drabs about electrical wire. How should I run the speaker cable knowing where the power lines are? What are the rules of thumb here?

    Any other pearls of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

    thanks all
    Marc
     
  2. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

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    If you use a wire rated for in-wall use (CL-3 rated), you should be fine.

    I don't like stapling speaker wires in the wall because it always seems like I'm trying to pull another foot through after the drywall goes up. I just let it hang usually and fish it out later. If you want to staple, don't sink the staples in very deep. And you may want to criss-cross the wire across the studs to make finding it easy.

    Try and avoid running along electrical wires and cross them at a 90 degree angle.
     
  3. Bobby C

    Bobby C Stunt Coordinator

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    Marc,

    As Brian mentioned, you need wire specifically rated for in-wall use - CL-3. It - while more expensive it usually is a bit easier to pull. Like Brian, I wouldn't staple the wire in - better to drill a hole in the studs (toward the back so someone nailing something to the wall won't hit it). The best is to use some sort of conduit - a plastic tube that will allow you to easily replace wire in the future. Certainly more work - it's up to the individual whether or not it's worth it (I'm doing it in my HT). I also wouldn't be too parsimonious with the wire - make sure you have lots hanging out on both ends in case you need to move things later - you never know.

    As for electrical - this is high voltage, your speaker wire (as well as cable/satellite TV, antenna, computer, etc.) is low voltage. They should not be run close to each other, I think the rule of thumb is at least 18" or so if they are running parallel. They can run at 90 degrees, so, for example, if you drop a speaker wire across a electric wire, you should be fine. Again, not parallel but across.

    Good luck!
     
  4. StephenHa

    StephenHa Second Unit

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    also take some pictures, and make a diagram, you'll appreciate it when it comes time to remember where those wires are
     
  5. Marc_E

    Marc_E Supporting Actor

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    Does this weaken the stud at all?? Will the building inspector be cool with this?

    Pictures is a great idea.
     
  6. Bobby C

    Bobby C Stunt Coordinator

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    Good question - the simple answer is no, the inspector should not have any problem with this. You'll notice that all high voltage wire is strung this way - holes through the studs. However I don't know how close to the edge is acceptable - there's probably some code that deals with this. My guess is you want to be in the center or slightly back, but this is not an informed answer!

    If you put a hole too close to the front, you risk damaging the wire with a nail, etc. To alleviate this problem, you can buy a little metal plate that covers the front of the stud - this prevents a nail or screw from penetrating the stud. These are commonly available at home centers & many hardware stores.
     
  7. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Marc, Bobby’s on the right track.

    It’s fine – electricians do it all the time. Just don’t get freakin’ ridiculous with it and try to do some thing like a 2” hole! You shouldn’t need more than a 5/8-3/4” hole for any speaker wire – and that’s really generous.

    As the others have noted, there’s really no reason to use a staple gun for in-wall wiring. If you’re running it horizontally through a bunch of up-right studs, it will sit where it needs to just fine.

    Same thing if you drop the wire above from the header board between two studs. In this situation if you need a lot of excess at the bottom of the wall, you might lightly staple it up, in a zig-zag as Brian mentioned, just to keep it up and safe from the sheetrockers. Later you can access the wire through a hole, give it a yank and break it free from the staples.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  8. Cameron_Johnson

    Cameron_Johnson Auditioning

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    Marc- I hope this helps,

    Put the staples in the studs and then tie your cables to it using cable ties, this makes them easier to move later, plus you won't damage the wire.
    I'd recommend 16-2 or better for your speaker wire.
    Don't run the cables beside power wires for more than 4 feet at a time because the power cables will disrupt the signal and ad unnecesary noise to it. Try to keep at least a one foot distance between the speaker wire and the power wire when running them parallel.
    Also, if you can, keep the runs as short as possible because the longer the wire the more quality you will lose.

    -Cameron
     
  9. Marc_E

    Marc_E Supporting Actor

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    For people using a tube, what diameter? What is the biggest I can use?
    Thanks for all the great info
    Marc
     
  10. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    as far as Diameter goes you can go all the way up to 2 inches, but once you get to 2 inches thats when you have to have the metal plate that goes over the stud, they are pretty cheap if i recall no more than a buck or so a piece, you can pick them up at lowe's or home depot, I am using 1 inch PVC pipe to run my wire in, that way i can easily replace it, I am also using it to run to locations for future bass shaker installation, I use a hole thats just a lil bigger than the 1 inch PVC for the studs and also to make a hole in the outlet boxes so the 1" PVC runs right to the inside of the single gang box
     
  11. Cameron Wright

    Cameron Wright Stunt Coordinator

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    Not sure if someone has already said it but, Run wire up to where it will be poke'n out. Then pull another 6 feet, Then staple it to the inside of one stud then to the inside of the stud beside it, then back to the other one then back to the other until you run out of wire, so when you drill a hole you only need to be in between the 2 studs and you can pull the wires lose witha fish tape or something, The staples pull out pretty easy.
     
  12. Bobby C

    Bobby C Stunt Coordinator

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    Great idea!
     
  13. Cameron Wright

    Cameron Wright Stunt Coordinator

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    Installing Home Theaters and doing Pre Wires all day and what not, you learn a lot of nifty things [​IMG]

    and for drilling holes in the studs and stuff.. I Think the rules is 1/3 of the width of the stud... (sounds right)
     
  14. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    maybe im just a bit to meticulous but I ran all my speaker wire inside a tube that I installed cuz I dont like the idea of stapling speaker wire, and I want to be able to run new wire with ease in case something ever happens, I found the best stuff in the world to run speaker wire in, its 100 PSI waterline called SIL-O-FLEX, I used half inch but it comes in bigger sizes, very flexible and it cost about 8 dollars for 100 feet, fish tape runs through it like gravy. I only used 1/2 inch because I made one run for each speaker location...... heres some pics



    Speaker Run 1

    Speaker Run 2

    Speaker Run 3
     
  15. Cameron Wright

    Cameron Wright Stunt Coordinator

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    where do ya get it from?
     
  16. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I got that line at Lowe's, but I am sure home depot has them too, they were in the plumbing department near the PVC pipe, may also be carried in garden, I think But I am not sure that this is the kind of line used to put in a sprinkler system in a yard, I was going to use PVC but found that the fish tape was quite difficult to push through a 90 degree fitting, whereas this stuff is great for fishing through, in fact you may even be able to just push the speaker wire through it without a fish tape but I havent tried, Oh and I just used a Half inch hole saw in my cordless drill to make the holes in the top of the Outlet boxes, the holes in the back of the boxes works too but it kinda tweaked the box so I just ran the line into the top of the box, this would work for the side or bottom too, whichever your application requires
     
  17. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Travis, why did you run the wire in tubing if you had open walls? So you could use something besides in-wall rated wire?
     
  18. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I just wanted to make sure that I can always easily change out a run of speaker wire or add speaker wire if need be, theres always a possiblity something can happen to your wire in a wall, running it in tubes eliminates the possiblity of ever having to cut drywall to replace it, I can easily run a bi-wire set up in the future if I ever wanted to and I NEVER have to worry about needing more length or my wire snaggin up in the wall If I want to pull 3 more inches out. I thought about just running the wire in the walls without tubes but the cost for all my tubing was about 40 dollars, this includes my 2 sides, my 2 rears, an empty tube for a future rear center and 8 individual runs for future bass shaker installation..... to me it is well worth it to eliminate any guess work for my speaker wire. And I think its kinda neat
     
  19. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Okay, that makes sense (even if the chances of something happening to wiring inside a wall are pretty remote).

    You have to keep in mind, however, that you probably won’t be able to do any retro-wiring if the tubing has too many bends and turns.

    For instance, that 90-degree sweep in your “Speaker Run 2” picture – one of those is about all you can have in a wire pull. More than that, you need junction boxes at accessible points so you can split the pull into separate parts.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  20. Travis_R

    Travis_R Stunt Coordinator

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    thats not really much of a 90 at all, kinda looks like it in the picture though, another reason I ran it in tubes is to me the thought of stapling my speaker wire makes me cringe, dont know why, just dont want to do that
     

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