New Home Wiring

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Patrick Larkin, May 5, 2003.

  1. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    Hello - I am having a house built over the summer and am distressed about how I am going to set my existing home theater equipment. My current house has hardwood floors and area carpets so I can run speaker wire under the carpet to the various locations. the new house will have wall to wall carpeting in the location of the family room. I have an opportunity while the walls are open to have speaker wire run, at least.

    So, can someone help me with what I should tell the builder I want? If I tell the builder I want the ability to put speakers in the 4 corners (more or less) can they run speaker cable and then terminate it in some kind of jack? Or would they have to dangle it out from the walls? I'm not sure how I will handle the center channel or the sub since I have no idea where the stuff is going to go until its built.

    Eventually, I plan on moving the whole system into a finished basement so I don't want to go overboard. I just want to make cables has hidden as possible.
     
  2. ChristW

    ChristW Agent

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    From my experience, you'll be better off doing the cabling yourself. The builder will probably charge you an arm and a leg.

    When I had my home built last year, I ran two runs of Cat5e and two runs of RG6 to every room so that I could get satellite and network throughout the house (I wasn't thinking ahead and didn't run speaker wire unfortunately...). But you can do the same thing with speaker wire and just terminate it to a wall plate (banana plugs most likely? Someone with more experience can chime in here).

    But basically, ask the builder if you can do it yourself - I've never heard of a builder saying no to this, but he will probably only give you a weekend to do it all.

    CW
     
  3. Paul_C

    Paul_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Patrick;

    I was in the same dilema about 6 months ago. Our new home was completed in Dec 2002.

    Here is what I did.

    1) Placed all components in one stereo cabinet in the future dedicated home theater(basement). I ran all required speaker wire for an ht in the living room with in ceiling surrounds.
    2) Ran 2 Cat5e to most rooms. One for network and one for IR transmission.
    3) Ran at least 2 RG6 coaxial cable runs to most rooms. If you want component you would need at least 4 runs to each room and three of those runs need to be as close to the same length as possible (this is very important for component video). In a couple of rooms I ran RG6 to different locations so that I can have different room configurations. I also ran a couple extra runs from the computer room to the stereo cabinet so that I could use the computer as another audio/video source.
    4)Ran 12 gauge speaker wire to all possible speaker placements. I ran it out of the wall so that I don't have any more terminations than I have to.
    5) 1 RG6 run into the living room for sub input. I have the amp in the sub so I ran speaker and coax just in case. Why limit your options.
    6) Ran two RG6 to a point in the attic with lot's of extra for future sattelite hookup.
    7) Ran 1 2" conduit from basement stereo cabinet into attic space for any future needs.

    I also have a central box for cable and telephone and I ran some of my RG6 runs from here to different rooms for standard tv or sattelite. Just to make sure I was covered I ran a few RG6 and cat5e from this box to the stereo cabinet. They were only about ten feet apart so what the heck. You can never have enough cable. [​IMG]

    I had problems with the electrical contractor and we couldn't find a local company that really knew what they were talking about so I ran all the wire myself (with the contractor's permission). We ran about 1500' of Cat 5e and about 1200' of RG6. I still have a few runs in the dedicated HT room to do (ran out of cable) but this room won't be completed for a while so I am not in a big rush.

    Remember that now is the time to wire. Not after the drywall is up.

    If you want manual volume controls in each room you would have to run 14 or 16 gauge speaker wire to a box where the control would be and then to the speaker placement.

    I am using old receivers to supply amplification and IR control for different rooms. Saved me from buying a costly volume control/amplification system.

    Good luck.

    Paul.
     
  4. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    My advice (like the others) is to run the cable now while the walls are open.

    Other things to note.
    1. Communicate with your contractor. If you slow down the build he will not be happy.
    2. Make sure you follow all your local building codes.
    3. Use In-Wall Speaker Wire.
    4. Try and figure out your System layout. This will make it easier to run your speaker wires.
    5. Run some CAT5e for network/phone.[/list=1]

      My house (bought 2 years old from the builder) was supposed to have speakers in every room. Some of the speaker wires are there bunt not all of them. What I think happened is that the guy (prob. friend of the builder) was not getting the job done in a timely manner and the builder had the drywallers come in when the speaker wires were not all ran. I don't think it was that big of deal to the builder, after all he was building it for himself. Thankfully the family room wires were run and wires to outside. I still had to run some conduit under the house for connections to the tv from the closet.

      After I win that lottery (Chris keeps his fingers crossed) I plan to wire the [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] outa my new house.

      Good luck

      **edit** forgot to tell you... my speaker wires are terminated in a standard electrical box. Then a blank cover with a hole drilled in it (for speaker wire) was used to cover the box. You could use covers with binding posts for a nice look. Parts Express has some nice DIY wall plates. Check my pictures in the link in my signatures.
     
  5. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    OK, thanks for the responses. First off, my builder won't allow me to do anything. They claim they don't want to be blamed if I screw something up. They won't even allow a 3rd party contractor to do anything unless they work with them. So I need to get whatever I can from the builder (at a cost of course.)

    They have an option in the catalog to run a Cat5 Telephone Jack - i don't know why you'd want that except for networking. I don't know where they run it to or what they do on the other end. Do they put in a patch panel? I'd like just a bundle so I can install my own patch panel and stuff.

    They don't have any options that I see for speaker wire. The builder told my wife that they'd just put in speaker wire for us if we told him where. How do you do it so its clean? Do you have 5 wires coming out the wall at the receiver and then the other ends coming out in their locations? If this were a permanent installation I guess I'd have the surrounds mounted high on the wall. With all the windows, fireplace, and french doors, I don't know where the TV or anything is going to go.

    I'm getting cable and TV in every room. Oh and the builder works with a local AV place to do whole house systems. I don't want that...
     
  6. henning hoffmann

    henning hoffmann Stunt Coordinator

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    I did ALL the telephone runs in the house myself (as well as lots of other stuff the guys mentioned). I just used Cat5e wire and Cat5 connectors. (Phone connectors plug into Cat5 receptacles just fine.) Then in the basement, I just punched the Cat5 wires down on a telephone distribution panel myself. Easy as pie.

    You can get nice speaker connectors for connecting speaker wire to the wall - look up Leviton and QuickPort.

    One thing you should definitely do: Get your building to put some large-diameter pipes going from your basement to your attic. Even though I prewired my house, I've used these already for something I forgot (security wires).

    Henning
     
  7. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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  8. KenA

    KenA Stunt Coordinator

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    A friend of mine was just in a similar situation. The contractor wouldn't let him run any speaker or cable wires. He just went in one night after the insulation was done and before the rockers came in and wired it himself. Out of site, out of mind.

    I will also repeat a common theme. Plan it all out and you cannot have too much wiring! You'll kick yourself later if you have to run more.
     
  9. anth_c

    anth_c Stunt Coordinator

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    Check out www.avsforum.com and go to the avs forum. There is a forum on home integration and distribution.

    There are tons of posts about people in your situation and others that have just gotten through it.

    The builders tend to have a pretty high mark-up (anywhere from $50 to $100 a run), but some of the people get over this by making a side deal with the foreman or running wire the night before the drywall is scheduled to go up.

    It is advisable to use speaker cable that is rated for in-wall use CL2 or CL3
     
  10. Patrick Larkin

    Patrick Larkin Screenwriter

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    One question I had - why would one want a CAT5 telephone run?
     
  11. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    CAT5 works just as well for a telephone run (if not better) than a standard phone wire. And the price is prob. a whoppin penny/ft different. It allows the installer to stock/use 1 cable instead of two different ones. CAT5 has 4 twisted pair so it can handle multiple phone lines over one cable.

    Hope that helps.
     

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