Structured Wiring Hub Layout

I am moving into a new condo and I managed to have the builder bring all of my video, data, and phone into a central closet. I now need to design a hub/cabinet of sorts to manage all of these connections (basically from three separate rooms).

Are there any layouts or plans out there for people who need to design their own structured wiring cabinet in a shallow closet? I'm thinking of a plywood base and then to organize connections around the power outlet that has been installed in the closet.

I am not planning to buy anything like the Leviton cabinet due to the high cost, limited space, and proprietary mounting devices.

Any ideas or links are appreciated.

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Using a metal box helps avoid the inevitable. When inside a closet having a cover over the stuff helps avoid it getting disrupted by things like a broom being crammed in there with it.

You don't *have* to use the proprietary mounting brackets. It's a box and sheetmetal screws work just as well on it as anywhere else. I've got a channelmaster box and have mounted things my own way without their overpriced brackets. The cover on the box means it's not going to get screwed up WHEN someone puts the wrong stuff near it.

Put up a 3/4" plywood backer. Then mount a metal box on it. Either pull the wires in through the top/bottom or through the backer. If you want 'nice and neat' you can pull 'em inside the wall studs and then in through the back of the box or just near the top. But most folks can 'live with' pulling them into the top/bottom/side of the box.

Just make sure you don't bend wires any tighter than required. Coax needs room to sweep a curve so don't forget to accomodate that in the planning.

-Bill Kearney

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Thanks for the responses thus far...very helpful.

So, let's say I put up the plywood base, a power box (two outlets), a cabinet enclosure from Hoffman or Elk, and then I need to layout the rest. Any thoughts on this type of layout? Am I missing anything? (BTW, telephone is managed in the basement and each room has CAT5 connections for it)

I have a Living Room with 2 RG-6 connections and 2 CAT-6 connections. I am going to have a dual-tuner HDTV DVR in this room (satellite or cable) and wired/wireless internet.

I have a Bedroom with 2 RG-6 connections and 1 CAT-6 connection. I am going to have a single-tuner HDTV Receiver (satellite or cable) in this room and wired/wireless internet.

I have a Den with 2 RG-6 connection and 1 CAT-6 connection. Here, I might have a single-tuner HDTV Receiver and will definitely have wired internet.

I have four incoming RG-6 connections that comes from the roof (for satellite/antenna). I have one incoming RG-6 connection that comes from the basement (for cable video and/or broadband internet) I have one incoming CAT 5 connection that comes from the basement (for DSL Internet)

I will have a D-Link Wi-Fi hub for the CAT 6 connections (can utilize an incoming DSL Modem or Cable Modem)

I'm thinking of getting a Passive Video Splitter for land-based video (Comcast) and a Powered Multi-Switch for possible satellite-based video (DirecTV).

Anything else to watch out for or think about?

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Well, Leviton is not the only one who makes 16" cabinets that fit between the studs. Allen Tel

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- a Graybar's brand - comes to mind as an alternative. You still need proprietary mounting devices, blocks and bridges, but it would be less expensive to buy Allen Tel from Graybar than Leviton from Home Depot. Heck, Leviton from Graybar is not too expensive, either.

The problem with fully custom cabinet that you could have built yourself inside a wall cavity is that any wiring block that was designed for wall mount (hence no special bracket needed) is going to require about 5 inch clearance or depth or even more, considering patch cords handling, and not all the walls are deep enough.

16" cabinet makes a very nice solution; don't simply dismiss it for being too expensive. You may actually end up liking the neatness of the connections to the point where the cost of it will be justified.

Cheers! D.

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I use plain-Jane metal 24?x18?x6? enclosures from Hoffman Electric (J&P Box

431A). Put a piece of 3/4" plywood inside (painted grey) so that you can easily mount whatever low-voltage things you like.

An advantage 18"-wide boxes is that 19" panels can be mounted on them either inside or outside the enclosure. 1U 24-position CAT5 RJ45 panels go for $15-20 on eBay which 1/3 to 1/6 what blocks for 'structured' systems like Leviton's sell for at the big box home improvement stores.

Marc Marc_F_Hult

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Marc F Hult

I know that having a nice clean metal box sounds great, but I (as a rank amateur, at least initially) have learned that expansion is the rule rather than the exception. If you can at all avoid the restrictions of a "purpose-built" box and go with something like a LARGE piece of plywood (over which you can later build some sort of porotective cover), do it.

In my view it's well worth it to sacrifice closet space for felxibility with wiring changes.

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Armond Perretta

The best one I've ever seen is the one "BruceR" put together. I had bookmarked his website but the latest re-installation of Windoze made it disappear... Hopefully he'll respond!!

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Frank Olson

Flattery will get you everywhere:

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From:Frank Olson

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Thanks Bruce. You're a life-saver. :-))

Are you on the big island??

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