Finishing Wiring Closet

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Hey gang,

    I'm building a new house. I've already pretty much decided
what wiring I want (a lot) and where/how to run it. My question
involves the finishing of the wiring closet.

    I would like to wire it more like a commercial building, due
primarily to the large number of cables I will be running. This means
that I will be terminating the cables on patch panels in a
freestanding rack, instead of using wall-recessed HA panels.

    So, I'm looking for suggestions as to how to bring lots of
cables from the wall/ceiling space into the wiring closet and to the
rack such that it looks nice, neat, and finished. And, of course, it
has to meet fire code. FYI, the ceiling is not a plenum.

    Yes, I could just chop a hole in the ceiling and dangle them
down. But, that would hardly look very nice. I'd really like to end up
with something that looks like I know what I'm doing, versus an
explosion in a sphagetti factory. :-)

Thanks!

    

Re: Finishing Wiring Closet
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If it's a drop ceiling you could bring the wire
down inside one or more 2" diameter PVC
conduits to a surface mount cabinet behind
the rack.

Alternatively, you could do what I've done
for a number of clients:

1. Install a 4x8 sheet of ACX plywood
instead of drywall on a stud wall.  The ply-
wood goes up horizontally, 4" below the
ceiling.  Paint or stain the plywood.

2. Bring the cables out of of one or more
holes in the wall directly above the plywood.
Use distribution knobs and rings to split
and guide the cables to their respective
destinations.

3. Instead of a free standing rack (which
will almost certainly scare away 99% of
future home buyers when you decide to
sell some day), install 110 and 66 blocks
directly to the plywood.

4. Along the bottom of the plywood affix
an outlet strip with duplex outlets every
12" or so.  This gets wired directly to a
dedicated breaker.

5. Above the strip mount an 8-10" deep shelf
on 10-12" brackets so that there's a 2"
gap between the shelf and the plywood.
This gives you a place to rest tools,
meters and perhaps a gooseneck lamp
while you work, as well as a convenient
place for free standing devices like a cable
box, etc.

I've installed quite a few systems over the
years and this method has proven handy
for me.  It's neat, efficient and not too
intimidating to technophobes, many of whom
were our clients.  :^)

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: Finishing Wiring Closet

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This is certainly an option. For this, how would the conduit terminate
in the ceiling space? Then, how do I get the wire bundle neatly out of
the cabinet and over to the distribution rack? What sort of cabinet
did you have in mind? The room in question is a 10' ceiling, so I
could certainly install some drop tiles, or anything else for that
matter.

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This is certainly doable, too. But, that goes back to the original
question - how do I get all those cables out of the wall in such a way
that it looks neat rather than just a bunch of wires hanging out of
the wall?

BTW, your point about the freestanding rack is well taken, and I
suppose I could go with wall mounted patch panels just as easily, and
use racks for equipment that won't stay with the house. For what it's
worth, I plan to live here a long time, though!

Re: Finishing Wiring Closet

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If it's a drop ceiling you could place cable
clamps on the ends in the ceiling.  Just
don't tighten them beyond "snug".

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You can make up several smaller bundles and
dress them with wire ties (again, not too snug)
or Velcro strips.

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I've used PVC and metal cabinets for things
like this.  However, I wouldn't select a free
standing rack for a residential app for the
reasons previously stated.  It would function
just as well, for sure, but I like residential jobs
to look ...well, residential.

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Actually it would be cables coming out of
the wall, but that can still be done neatly.
If the plywood backboard stops a few inches
below the ceiling the wires will come out of
the wall directly above it.  They get dressed
with wire ties or Velcro as mentioned above
and are fed into distribution rings and knobs,
then run directly to their termination points.

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We always seem to plan that way, or at
least I do.  But I've had a dozen homes in
the last 35 years.  That's an average of
less than 3 years per location.  In my CT
home (the one I kept the longest) I had an
elaborate backboard similar to what I've
described here.  It was the "wiring closet"
for security, intercom and whole-house
entertainment systems.  The transmitter
and power supply for our 2-way radios
was in there, too.  The phone system
KSU was on the same board with cabling
for a dozen phones (10-room house).
We had sensors from an automatic start
generator set with auto-transfer, an
"E-panel" and just about everything else
-- all wired to the same place.

The wiring was neat, well organized and
clearly labeled.  Everything worked perfectly.
I felt that my work was an asset.  When
we decided to sell the realtor said it "might
not hurt the value" of the house.  :^)

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: Finishing Wiring Closet

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Actually, I think I may have found what I was looking for:
http://www.stifirestop.com/ezpath /

The cabling in the picture there is the look that I'm going for, it's
a firestop, and it allows for future expansion with no messy caulk.
Looks like a win. I'm open to suggestions for other/better/easier
solutions, of course.

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Heh. Well, that's sort of the issue. Around here, most of the
residential jobs I've seen (from touring lots of model and new homes)
fall into 2 categories: wires hanging out of the wall, or a recessed,
premade panel. Unfortunately, the pre-made panels don't have the
capacity or flexibility I'd like.

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Fortunately, I don't think this will be an issue in our case, but you
never know. And I fully do understand your point. The guy from Best
Buy has to be able to install some gizmo for the next owners, and if
the wiring is too complicated, even if neat, well...

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Seven years ago, I had to explain what structured wiring was to our
real-estate agent. Now, it's pretty much standard in every home we've
seen. So, it looks to me like this stuff is getting pretty mainstream,
and buyers are going to expect it rather than be afraid of it. Or, at
least, I hope so! :-)

Thanks for the advice! In a few months, I'll shoot you an email - I'm
going to need an alarm setup and various and sundries.


Re: Finishing Wiring Closet
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One option would be to install wiring ducts like the ones made by Panduit.
http://www.panduit.com/products/browse.asp?classid=1006
When I was designing custom industrial automation, we used this inside of
everything that had more than a few wires.
The snap on covers make it easy to change wires.  The slots in the side
allow you to break wires out anywhere along the length.

or surface raceway
http://www.panduit.com/products/browse.asp?classid=82

They make a lot of products for handling cables neatly.
http://www.panduit.com/products /

--
Bill Fuhrmann



Re: Finishing Wiring Closet
Use Panduit wire duct for inside panels and cabinets.  For outside the
walls, surface raceway is best.  Panduit has a unique surface raceway
product called Pan-way Cove raceway.  It's designed to look like crown
molding.  Plus it's paintable, so you can match your wall or trim
color.  It's great for running cables in a basement because you can
access the wire easily and add wires or make changes without punching
holes in your ceiling or walls.  It also has drop down junctions so
you can run cables from the top corner of your walls down to any
location.

here's the link:
http://www.panduit.com/products/SpecificationSheets/069284.pdf

Good Luck.




On May 5, 7:59 am, "B Fuhrmann" <b-fuhrmann-
use...@mplsfridayDELETEskate.com> wrote:
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Re: Finishing Wiring Closet
Have a look at what I did here:
http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/69336384mTbggL

All the cables and conduits come into one stud bay. The section of
backboard over the stud bay is actually a hinged door to allow access to
the conduits.  Large holes were bored behind the 110 blocks to brong the
wires through the rear.

 Longtime Lurker wrote:
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Re: Finishing Wiring Closet
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Bruce,

That is very similar to the way I would do it except I'd
orient the plywood horizontally.  This puts all the major
panels at eye level.

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That part was ingenious.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



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