Newbie installing first Family Room HT

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by joeyEND, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. joeyEND

    joeyEND Auditioning

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    Well, as the resident tech savvy person in my family I've been enlisted to help my Sister install a HT system in the Family room of her newly constructed house. She has not moved in yet but they plan to have the keys turned over early May.

    She's decided to go with a Plasma screen. Now the drywall is up and I believe there will paint being sprayed any day now. My first of many question is this:

    Since the Plasma is an after thought, I was hoping someone can give me a few pointers on running the wiring inside the wall for the power/video etc cables. It is an outside wall so I guess I'll be dealing with some insulation. Is it as simple as poking a couple of holes in the wall and fishing the wires through? Or are them some steps I need to be sure to take before poking the holes?

    I'd like to keep this as clean as possible, I've heard of some people using PVC pipe as a conduit?

    From my research etc. I think I've learned that it's best to keep the power cords separate of the video/audio cables so that would require 2 separate "runs" one for the power then one for the rest of the wiring?

    I'm rambling, sorry....just want to get this right for my sister.

    Thanks in advance for all of your comments, suggestions etc.
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    It’s not too hard if there is attic space available. However, outside walls can be a challenge, especially if it’s where the roof slopes down. In fact, if that’s the situation, there’s little hope of dropping the wires in-wall from the attic unless the pitch of the roof is really steep.

    Here’s an old post of mine that tells how to run and drop speaker wires in-wall from an attic. You’ll be using different cables, but the procedure is the same:
    Dropping Wires In-Wall from an Attic

    This one tells how to deal with in-wall insulation. The primary trick is to drop right next to a stud, which serves as a guide for the fish tape:
    Dropping Wires In-Wall from Baseboards Part 2 (With In-Wall Insulation)

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. joeyEND

    joeyEND Auditioning

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    Wayne, I should have mentioned that the house was prewired and the speakers have already been installed by the company the Architect/General Contractor uses frequently. It's probably a good thing because it is a two story house...

    My first obstacle will be running the wires (AC and Video wires) from the Plasma down to where the components will be.

    The components will reside in a custom built cabinet/bookcase that will be directly below the plasma. I would say the distance will be approximately 2 or 3 feet from the bottom of the plasma to the cabinets below. The cabinets will be very low cabinets with a dual purpose as the cabinets flanking the plasma will also be used as additional seating for parties etc.

    Obviously I want to hide the wires, so the method of getting these wires run behind the drywall is what I lack.

    Thanks for the info Wayne. The articles are great...
     
  4. Kevin R

    Kevin R Auditioning

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    So If I understand you are just trying to run wires from a plasma wall mount (I am guessing about 4/5 ft) straight down to the equipment below it, but behind the wall? First decide what Plasma you are going to get - they all have different wiring needs (some just run 1 wire to a control box)

    The video cable is pretty straight forward. Just pick the area you are going to mount the plasma and find 2 studs running up the wall. Mask those with tape so you have a visual reference. Then using the stud finder go from the plasma location all the way to the floor and make sure you do not have anything in the way (cross boards) in the wall.
    Then punch a hole in the top and bottom and voila just feed the cables thru. You probably want some face plates etc to make it look nice, but for this there is no need of conduit.

    I just finished all my wiring this weekend and that was from a ceiling mount projector down to the floor. YPbPr, HDMI, and Vid. I will post some pictures tomorrow.

    Dont forget you need power though - and that really should be done by an electrician (shouldnt be more than a couple hundred bucks at most) you want the power run on the other side of the stud from the video to help isolate the two. And ask for a recessed outlet so you know you have room for the Plasma flush on the wall.

    You can do it, unless none of this made sense than maybe you should find some help.
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Kevin’s got you pointed in the right direction, Joey. Personally I wouldn’t worry about separating the electrical from the signal cabling for such a short distance (that’s why signal cables are shielded, after all), but if you can do it the way Kevin suggests, there’s no reason not to.

    The only real problem you’ll encounter is the insulation. You’ll definitely need to use a fish tape or stiff wire like I mentioned in the links. If you’re planning on using a three-conductor component video cable, or a five-conductor that adds audio, you’ll probably find it easier to separate them and pull them through one at a time. It’ll be easier to pull single cables through the insulation than a bulky multi-cable.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. joeyEND

    joeyEND Auditioning

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    Wayne, Kevin - Thanks so much for both of your responses.... This will get me pointed in the right direction...

    Just nervous being a brand new house and it being my first feeble attempt at an install. I have a system of my own but I live in an apartment and I believe the apartment management would frown on a tennant tearing into the walls and such.

    Not sure what I'll do about separating the power and video cables... will have to see if I have the room/need to do it. I guess my only other question for now would be obviously if I want to keep this clean I'll want to install some "junction boxes" (is this the right term?) behind the plasma then also below behind the cabinet so I can put some face plates on there to make it look custom. Again this should be a no-brainer right? Pretty Easy?

    Thanks again to you both!
    Joey
     
  7. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    It’s not hard – at least one of the links I provided above tells how to install old-work boxes (which is what you’d be using). A nice thing about installing the boxes, especially for an outside wall, is that you have to cut a pretty big hole, big enough to fit your hand into, which can come in handy when you’re getting the wires pulled.

    However, I’m not sure connection panels are the route you want to take. For instance, behind the TV it’ll need to be recessed. It might be tough finding something like that.

    Personally, since one panel would be behind the TV and the other behind the lower cabinet, I don’t see any reason to do any face plates. No one is going to see them anyway. I’d just drop the cables down the wall and out of the hole on both ends. Ordinarily I’d recommend using blank covers on an old work box with a hole drilled in it for the cables to come out of, but since you’re dealing with a pretty fat bundle (I assume component video in addition to the power cable) a drilled blank cover probably isn’t an option.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     

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