info on how "tone generators" work

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Ted Lee, Oct 28, 2004.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hi all -

    i'm having a home built and having lots of pre-wiring done. 7.1 for the living room, pre-wire for the office, bedrooms, etc.

    the thing is they're going to run all the wire in the ceiling and just leave it up there. they're not going to punch any holes in the drywall in the interior of the house -- which is what i want.

    so, i'm wondering, down the line, how i'm going to find the wires. the home seller guy told me they use something called a tone generator to "trace" the wire to it's end-location. anyone ever use one of these? i did a google search and came up with something like this.

    http://bkprecision.com/www/np_search...Cable+Tr acer

    is that what i need? looks like all i do is attach the doo-hickey to the end of the wire, then use the other doo-hickey to follow the wire?

    as i'm having all the wiring home-run to my media niche, it would be nice to figure out which wire is going where.

    thx!
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    That will do the trick. It’s similar to what networking and phone guys use to chase down cabling.

    The “probe” (the one that picks up the signal generated on the wire) will be able to detect the wire (or rather the tone) behind sheetrock, and you should be able to tell not only where the wire is but roughly where it ends.

    Keep in mind, however, that for best results the wire should be fairly close to the sheetrock – I’d say no further away than 2 - 4”. If it’s laying across say, the top of 2” x 12” beams, there’s a good chance the probe won’t be able to pick up the signal.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. chuckg

    chuckg Supporting Actor

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    It may seem silly at first, but leaving the wire in the ceiling is probably better than having it punched through the walls. I have seen a few recently-built homes with the wiring in place and ready to go -- and ALL the speaker locations were, shall we say, crappy.

    I'd rather they leave the wiring hidden, then I could experiment with temporary cables run to movable speakers. Then when I liked the result, I could pull the wire down into the walls. Just make sure there aren't blocks across the studs somewhere.....
     
  4. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thx guys. yeah, i noticed that too. i helped a friend with his install and the speaker placement was less then optimal.

    what the installer is going to do in my house is run the wire to the "approximate" locations and then zig-zag about two feet worth in that general area. that will give me some flexibility in where i want to pull the wire through. i also made sure they're using single-runs to each location and coax for my sub. i got a good sense from the home-guy that the installers are pretty solid -- so i'm crossing my fingers.

    i also went to home depot and they sell them there for about 80 bucks. not exactly cheap, but i suppose it's a worthwhile investment -- plus it's a new toy i can play with. [​IMG]
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Ted, I’m sure you can find something cheaper than that. A company called Progressive Electronics makes some models that were popular with the telecommunications installers about ten years ago when I was doing phone installs. You could get them starting at around $40; I opted for the upper line 700 model which sold for about $80 then. There’s no shortage of the 700’s on eBay (not seeing any of the cheaper ones – they looked the same except they were a yellowish color). Other possible sources would be a local communications supplier or a store catering to electronics hobbyists.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    ahh..good idea wayne. i'll definitely check that out. ebay sounds like a good option. [​IMG]
     
  7. WayneLVS

    WayneLVS Extra

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    As a back-up plan i would measure each location before the drywall is in place and draw up a plan. This allows you to measure for the hole later, and not rely completly on the tone generator (which can transfer the tone to several wires if the wires are bunched together in the walls somewhere) They work good for the most part, but not always.
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    good idea wayne.

    i was just there and they're putting up the roof right now. so i'll be stopping by every few days (to take pics, etc). so i should be able to get a good idea once they do the wiring.

    thx! [​IMG]
     

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