backbone for structured wiring

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If I haven't decided on my whole-house audio or video system, can I
reasonably design the structured wiring?  By that I mean, should I simply
run Cat5 or 6 to every room, along with a return Cat5 line and decide later
on whether to have a Niles, Russound setup, or something like Zon?

Re: backbone for structured wiring
Run 2 Cat5/e/6 and 2 RG6 cables to every wall of every room. Also, run
speaker wires where you want them (don't forget the pool/deck/lanai area)
and don't forget to run power and cables to wall mounted TV locations. Also,
run conduits to the wall mounted TVs for A/V cables.

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Re: backbone for structured wiring
brobin wrote:

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Pulling wire after construction is so much more expensive
that you can afford to pull way more than you need and
come out far ahead.

No point in running Cat5 anymore, except for POTS.
Run at least cat5e


Re: backbone for structured wiring
You've specified systems that have centralized amps, and systems that
have keypad-based amps. If you want to accommodate both, you'll have to
run speaker wires to each speaker from both the wiring closet and the
keypad location in each room. (Or run a single pair of speaker wires
from the wiring closet to the keypad location, loop it a few times,
then continue on to the speakers)

Re: backbone for structured wiring
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One way is to run 4-wire 14ga to the keypad locations and then run 2-wire
14ga to each left/right speaker location.  It's usually easier to run a
4-wire home run than two 2 pairs.  Inside the box you splice the connection
with something like small eurostyle terminal blocks.  Otherwise you end up
running the 4-wire all the way through to one speaker location and then over
to the other.  Not always as easy as running each leg independently.  But if
the walls are already open it's just a matter of preference and possibly
some (small?) difference in costs for the wire.

By running the wire throught the wall plate junction box you can accomodate
either style of system; central or keypad amps.  For central amps you just
splice through, for keypad amps you end up ignoring the home-run lines.  As
in, if at some point you want to switch from A-Bus to Russound CAV66 (or zon
or whatever) you won't have to pull any new wire.  Bear in mind there are
some special situations you may want to plan for ahead of time.  Like
wanting to use in-room devices with the in-wall speakers.  Some systems
handle in-room inputs locally while others require home-run or other things
for it.  Most of the time it's a lot less hassle to use central equipment
than to try integrating in-room stuff.

-Bill Kearney

Re: backbone for structured wiring
Your point is well taken.  Since the distance from the room to the central
wiring harness doesn't really degrade the signal, it's probably easier to do
maintenance in one place.  That means using the Cat5 systems that run the
controller back to the central area, and running the speaker wire all the
way from the central service point.  I'm still new to this stuff, and just
figuring out the needs, let alone the means, is hard enough!

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Re: backbone for structured wiring
So'n'so wrote:
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Just making sure you understand the wiring: *all* the systems require
Cat5 to the keypad. The difference is where the amplifiers are located,
because you have to wire the speakers to the amps.

If by "Cat5 systems" you mean the ones that send audio over the Cat5 as
well (such as A-Bus or Zon), they have amps in the keypads so you only
need speaker wire from the speakers to the keypad.

The other type of system is the kind with a central amp unit (such as
the Russound CAA/CAV series) where you wire the speakers to the central

The advice you were given earlier allows you to accommodate either type
of system with your wiring.

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