I've been researching a lot and reading this group's archives.
I'm about to build a house and want to wire it up to "the nine's"
I'm looking at whole house audio, distributed ir and video, alarm
system, outdoor audio, x10 or insteon, and anything else you guys can
My thoughts currently are HAI Hi-Fi for the whole house audio, 2
cat6/2 rg-6 to each room.
I'm kind of lost at all the options. Power catches on the doors?
Outdoor video surveillance? HAL 2000 voice control?
I don't have to use all the options right now, just need to know how
best to wire it to help me install this stuff in the future.
All help appreciated. Thanks.
I wouldn't get bogged down on all the minute details of you can do at
this point, especially voice control. But concenrate on wire paths
throughout the home instead. So before the insulators and drywallers
get there you need to get some buddies and wire/conduit it up. Or
better yet home run 1.25 or 1.5 inch plastic conduit from termination
room to a point near the floor in each room, from those points run 1
inch plastic conduit to wall switchs, speaker jacks, phone jack
locations. Then let them drywall it up. Then when you move in just
pull the wire yourself, thats what I did. And I have not even
bothered to wire all the rooms yet based on lifestyle, but if I need
to all I have to do is pull/push the wire down to the basement
termination room. Last week I wanted another network jack in my wifes
office for a fax, and it took all of 15 minutes to drop another cat5
to the basement and install the jack, I dred how long it would have
taken to get the wire from the second story over the garage all the
way down to the basement without conduit. With good open wire paths
you can do anything you want later. Choose a central termination room
first and hopefully you will be able to figure out everything while
the carpenters are framing and you can actually see the passages/
blockages for wiring. If you want you can put in the dual runs of
rg6qs and 3 runs of cat5 (voice, data, wallswitch) without conduit,
but install conduit along those paths anyway for other wires in the
future. Also consider pre-wiring the motion sensors so you wont have
to use wireless ones, speakers, cameras (use wire with coax and power
piggybacked for cameras). Getting caught up in anything other than
having good accessable wiring paths at this point like software,
brands, etc is jumping the gun. By accessable I mean having access
panels, conduit, or whatever is needed to make new wire easier to
install later as well as the pre-wire/conduit being installed before
the drywall goes up.
You can never have too much wire! In my home I ran a minimum of 2 cat
5e + (usually) 1 RG-6 cables to every wall in every room, to every
closet, and to upper wall (near ceiling) wherever a plasma screen TV
might be mounted - including all bedrooms and the kitchen. I ran 16ga
speaker wire to everyplace I might want a speaker as well as to
potential volume control locations. I also ran alarm wire to doors and
cat5e to control locations. Except for the TV, speaker and alarm wiring
I use cat5e for everything else including security cameras. Baluns are a
cheap and effective way to carry CCTV signals to locations where I don't
have RG-6. Don't forget to run a cat5e and an RG-6 to the bathrooms for
TV's and throne phones.
Although more and more can be done with wireless I still like to have
the hardwire installed.
"John" wrote in message
I'd make sure you ran CAT-6 to every spot that you possibly, remotely
thought you'd ever have a need to relay some sort of information. Whether
it's an instruction, a voice, a picture, a video signal, a low voltage
electrical signal, an Ethernet signal and just about anything else that
travels through wires, you can likely run it through CAT6 with some sort of
adapter. It's probably going to a universal standard for quite some time.
Run RG6QS for TV to the places that you never want to have to dig out and
repair ever and as a backbone because in my (not universally agreed upon)
opinion, the extra shielding provides some degree of protection from cable
nicks and other mishaps. Run RG-59 and CAT6 to places where you might want
to mount a video camera (attic, garage, bird feeder, etc). There are
adapters that can run video, audio and 12VDC to power the cameras through a
single coax cable. If you use those you won't have to run separate power
cables and audio cables if you want sound as well.
Run conduit between floors and anywhere you think that adding cable is going
to be very difficult in the future. An important consideration is the
dollar per foot it costs to install cable in an open-walled, unfinished
house as opposed to one that's finished and occupied. I'm sure that
someone's worked those numbers. Off the cuff, I'd guess that it's a
ten-to-one difference, especially if you're willing to convert SAF to $.
The costs get even higher if some carpenter leaves a broken hammer head
inside the wall cavity you're trying to drill through. (-:
If you are instaling Underfloor Heating or similar zone based heating...
Don't forget the room thermostats. Some now have network capability if you
run the right number of wires to them. Some use CAT5 for example. At the
very least this allows you to set all the time clocks from one location!
Make sure the electrical wiring is suitable.. For example in the UK you
won't find a neutral wire behind most light switches but a neutral
connection is needed for some home automation applications. Might be worth
telling the electrician you want a neutral wire at all light switches and in
the ceiling at all light fixtures. This means using wire with more cores.
Specify deep back boxes ones (in the UK that means 47mm). Many builders
install shallow ones as they don't require the wall to be chased out.
When I was rewiring with a view to future HA, I ran every lighting
and switch point back to a wiring centre (which was a depopulated
Consumer Unit). Even prior to HA installation, this made it trivial
to alter the switching arrangements when required. When I moved to
HA, I mounted relays and some X10 professional modules on the CU
DIN rail, and the conversion was easy because access to everything
was in one place. I used triple and earth everywhere too, with multiple
runs for multi-way switch points, just to give extra cores if needed
(and could be used to supply a neutral to a switch point).
The wiring centre method makes this unnecessary, but it would be a
good move if you aren't using a wiring centre and need to distribute
X10 modules around. If you are starting from scratch, you can avoid
X10 and use relays directly driven by a suitable ontroller. I only
use X10 where I want dimming, or retrofitting HA to an installation
without being able to get a hardwired control cable to the switch
location. However, this is also influenced by X10 being much more
expensive in the UK than the US.
I did centralized load switching when I remodeled my basement.
Installed a 60 amp sub panel off the main 400 amp service, then each
breaker of that went first to a switch bank, then out to the bsmt
light fixtures (6 banks of 6 switches each for 36 fixtures). This is
very unusual wiring but did make it a little easier. The only reason
I did it was because X10 was my intention, and X10 is pretty
unreliable so I wanted close-together devices some day. By the time I
finished my basement (5 years later) Insteon was out and I am elated
over that development because it has proven to be ultra-reliable (had
it for a year already). I could have used conventinal wiring. But I
dont think you would have much luck getting your builder and inspector
to go along with a centralized load center for all your switches. It
uses up about 4 times the amount of wire and it would be new to the
electrician and costly. I think it's best to just make absolutely
sure you have a neutral in every J box, and that the mud plates for
switches dont have rounded openings so you can accomodate the rather
wide Insteon switches, they are not deep but they use every millimeter
possible of width. I would definitely go with Insteon and only use
X10 if you absolutely have to for devices that are not yet available
in Insteon (occupancy, photoelectrics, etc). Insteon devices talk X10
Choosing your home run closet location is essential too, I find that a
central location is best with all low voltage wires coming to there
from relatively equal distances, instead of locating it off in some
far flung corner where half the wires will be long runs.
Dont forget a central vacuum system tubing rough in either, now that I
have central vac I cant imagine not having it.