Sunday, July 15, 2012

Low-voltage rough wiring

I spent the past 3 days installing the low-voltage wiring (July 12, 13, and 14th). Thanks to Brian who came up on Thursday afternoon and also for Mom who brought us dinner that evening.

Thursday morning I headed over to the house. I prepared the night before by loading up the truck and cooler. I purchased the wire from Home Depot and Lynn's a few days before. I've been working on the design over the past couple of months. I was trying to take into consideration that we can use wireless internet and phone. Still, I wanted to have wired internet in key places throughout the house.

The wiring that I provided was for internet (CAT6), cable or satellite (RG6), speakers, phone (although we are planning on just using our mobile phones), and thermostat (for the radiant heat). The design had to account for the different options like using Comcast, Dish, or perhaps antenna for television. The same is true for internet. I might go with Digis, Comcast, or Centurylink depending on who has it for our area and the deal of the day.

Here is a list of the wire and length in feet. After updating the design with the "on the fly" changes, the totals actually are pretty close.

14/2 359
14/4 315
Cat6 1046
RG6 1314
Grand Total 3115

I will be using keystone plates for the finish work. These are flexible box covers that let us put internet, cable, speaker, and other types in the same box.


I have a total of 65 jacks, but will just be covering up (blank plate) 15. This leaves 45 ends that I will be working on when we do the finish work. The finish comes after the sheet rock is up.

I also wired for 6 pairs or ceiling speakers. 4 pairs will be installed now and the others for the future (outside deck and great room by the fireplace).

One big part of the design is that everything "home runs" back to the mechanical room. I will set up a rack for all the equipment including the sound system, video, and internet. Sue has found a good and less expensive rack option from Ikea. A true professional rack system is very expensive. What Sue found will work really well. The front of the rack will be behind a glass door in my office. The back (for all the connections) is in the mechanical room.

I also installed some conduit or smurf tube (because it is blue I guess) between the mechanical room and the family room wall, and the mechanical room and above the fireplace. The conduit is just in case I forgot something. I also put in a 1 1/2 PCV conduit between a box on the family room wall at TV level and the same wall at outlet or floor level. This is so I can run things from a console below the TV. We will run the Wii wires up to the TV using this. I was going to put the Wii in the mechanical room, but Sue reminded me that it would be tough to play Rock Band from back there!

On Thursday I kind of got a slow start. It seemed that the electricians needed to be where I wanted to be. Still I got all the boxes mounted. I had just started to run wire when Brian arrived. Brian started to work at an incredible pace. By the time we got done on Thursday night we had a lot of the wire run and pretty much all the holes drilled between floors and in the joists. Thanks again Brian!

Friday I was on my own and made good progress. I was slowed a bit because of the weather (see my other post) and some work that I needed to fit in. Friday night I did a bunch of cleaning. The floor was pretty much  covered with saw dust and wood chips from the holes we drilled. Not all was our fault, the plumbers and electricians added to the mess.

Saturday was the 3rd day. I was pretty confident that I would get things done. I did cover the front porch with plastic to keep water out of the basement, but other than that I worked pretty much through the day. I think overall I spent about 35 hours. Brian was helping me for about 6 or 7.

This picture shows the main group of wires going up into the attic. All the wires into the attic go up at this point which is behind the fireplace. You can see the stub of the flue which is not yet connected to the fireplace.
This is a typical box although most of mine are blue. The electricians use black. I have some orange boxes in the places where I needed to connect conduit or in this case where I could not have the box go deep into the wall. This also shows how we stubbed out for the thermostat. Brian told me how to do that, you just stub out the wire on a stud.

This is for the ceiling speaker. I could have gone without using the speaker bracket, but that would require getting in the attic after the sheet rock was done or making sure I was sure where the wire was so I could cut out a circle in the right place. I like this option for several reasons.

This the basement wall where we will have a TV monitor mounted. There are 2 boxes. The top box will have connections to the monitor. The bottom is for the items that will be in a small console. The center channel speaker sits on that console so that is one of the connections. The lower box will also be used as a junction box for the right and left speakers. I ran 14/4 to that location and ran 14/2 to the speakers.



Before and after the wire hair cut! One of the last things I did before declaring the job done;  I shorted the cables in the mechanical to be above the floor about 6 inches. I re-labeled everything and wrote on the cable where possible (black does not show up on black).

This will still give me plenty of wire to loop up to the components once they are on the rack (or IKEA hanging shelves).

I then bound up the wires into a single bundle. This should keep things in order during all the sheet rock and other installation. I'm thinking about wrapping it all up in plastic wrap to keep it clean. I don't trust those guys!

Oh - see all the wire scrap on the floor? Well, I tossed it in the trash!

1 comment:

  1. WHAT! You tossed wire in the trash? Who Are You and what have you done with my husband?

    By the way, it looks great and I can't wait to get home to see all your hard work. I hope I actually get to see it and that it isn't all covered with sheetrock before I get home.