[mythtv-users] OT: Wiring a new construction home for A/V, Ethernet, etc

Travis Tabbal travis at tabbal.net
Mon Dec 1 18:06:09 UTC 2008

Tips from my install.....

If you can find some that's cheap enough, use the bundled cable. I used a
bundle with 2 Cat5e and 2 RG6 cables and it was REALLY nice to run a single
run to each room. You can do much the same with multiple spools of whatever
wire you want to run, but it's not quite as nice. I wanted 2 RG6 to each
room because I was using DirecTV at the time, and if you want a dual tuner
box, you need 2 cables. Newer sat systems are moving toward single run
setups, but I'm not sure how available those are. CATV and OTA work fine
with splitters.

Don't dedicate Cat5/6 lines to phone. Just run them all like a network
connection, complete with a patch panel. RJ11 phone cords work fine in RJ45
jacks, if you follow the color code, so leave the system open for
possibilities. I have all lines run into a single patch panel with labels
for what room they go to. If I need more detail, I have a toner. If I want
network, use a network patch cable, if I want phone, use an RJ11 phone cord.
We run a 4 handset cordless phone, so only 1 phone connection is required.
So I can use all those Cat5e jacks for ethernet, IR, audio, video, whatever.
So many things have transceivers for Cat5 wire these days.

I also did a patch panel for coax. You can find the panels on EBay. Nice to
have. Much cleaner.

I bought most of my stuff from deepsurplus.com. Nice prices, and good
quality stuff. The patch panels are much cheaper there and work just as well
as any other panel I've ever wired. If you're doing a lot of Cat6 jacks, I
recomend a tool that Home Depot sells called JackRapid. You can punchdown
all 8 wires and trim them at once. Saves a lot of time when you're doing a
big install. It needs the Leviton jacks that the home improvement stores
sell though, so don't buy them online if you want to use that tool.

Zoned audio. Good stuff. I still haven't installed all the speakers a year
later. I suggest the speaker enclosures because of that. Most homes use
blown insulation, and it will get into the speakers if you don't have some
kind of protection for them. If you use the installation enclosures, you can
do it all before the sheetrock goes up. Much easier. I bought my stuff from
htd.com. I have found it to work very well, and much less expensive than the
usuall sources. The new keypads are nice, wish they had those when I bought
mine. :) Decide what system you are going to use before wiring, because they
have different wiring requirements. HTD uses a CAT5 from the keypad to the
controller and speaker lines run direct from the amp to the speakers. Other
systems work differently, so you need to decide that early on and get the
wire in the walls for it.

Personally, I didn't bother with conduit. I have a rambler with a full
attic, so I had the builder install a 2 inch conduit from the basement to
the attic and I can get anywhere I need to from there. For the install I
didn't use it, I ran lines in my own area. There was a nice big run between
the basement and attic in a section of closet space that was oddly shaped. I
drilled a 6" hole in the plywood and ran my cables there. The contractor
checked it out and signed off on it, as did the inspector. So that conduit
is quite open. I ended up running some coax and cat5 in there for roof
mounted dish/antenna and wireless internet. The finished basement is now cut
off from new wires though, so if I were doing it again I might run some
conduit there. I did run a LOT of wire though, so I doubt I'll need more
anytime soon.

Damn this is a long post. :) I'll stop now. Good luck with the install.
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