Is there a program for mapping A/V connections?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Jesse Blacklow, Jul 15, 2003.

  1. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

    Oct 14, 2002
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    I'm looking to map out all of my A/V connections so I can sort them out and clean up my HT room. Basically, I'm just looking to get a visual representation with boxes and lines for where all my various audio, video, and power cables are going. Is there any freeware or trial program that does this kind of thing? I have MS Visio at work , which I know can do room diagrams, but I don't know about wiring diagrams.

    (Mods: If this belongs in HT Construction, feel free to move it there)
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    I've done a few with Power Point.

    But to be honest, it's usually more trouble than it's worth.

    If you DO decide to do this, DO NOT try and make 1 picture with all the connections. Break it up this way:

    - Show all the OUTPUTS (speaker wires, video wires) in one diagram

    - Show the VIDEO INPUTS on another copy

    - Show the AUDIO INPUTS on a third

    The BIG problem with the mass of cables is - there are too many of them. When we wire things up, you need to mentally IGNORE a bunch.

    Here is what I suggest you do:

    - Re-arrange your rack. Put the receiver on the lowest shelf. Above the receiver, start putting components you only control by remote (CATV, DSS). On the higher shelves, put components you interact with (DVD, VCR, Game System).

    - Label your power cords with a simple A, B, C... label. Put one label where the cord emerges from the unit, and another label on the plug end.

    - Pick one side of the back of your rack and mount a power strip somewhere on that side. Plug in your power cords. Use velcro cable ties (not the nylon zip-ties) or some cable-management device to tack them up out of the way. (Power cords are usually stiff enough to stay in place if you bundle them.)

    Now you can ignore the power cords. [​IMG]

    - Connect your speaker wires to the receiver. Be sure to do a neat job with no strands of copper sticking out. Loosly bundle them so they flow away from the electronics in a single mass. Use the test-tone feature on your receiver to make sure they are all connected correctly.

    Now you can ignore the speaker wires. [​IMG]

    - Connect the video connection between your receiver and the television. Start a new label series with A, B, C.. at each end of the cable. Make sure the TV can show the OSD (On Screen Display).

    - Interconnects: Start with the simplest devices like the CATV and DSS receiver and game system. Hook them to the receiver and TEST that each device works/matches the buttons on the receiver remote. Get one working and dont move on until you are SURE it works as expected.

    - Hook up the DVD player and VCR last as they are the more complex devices.

    - Either let the interconnects hang down the middle of your rack or LOOSELY bundle them with velcro straps.

    That's it. You have now done a very neat, ergonomic wire install. The "magic" comes from seperating AC Power from Speaker and interconnects (both in physical space and dealing with them apart from each other). The A, B, C... labels help you later on if you have to pull-the-plug on a device or check connections.

    Hope this helps.

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