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Structured Panel to A/V Rack Connections


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#16 sic0048

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:07 PM

I think structured wiring cans are popular because most people are not going to have a need for an equipment rack. So the can allows them a nice way to have all the structured equipment in a single place with a door for a nice clean look.

The fact is that it is actually cheaper NOT to use all the prebuilt structured wiring modules. I've done both actually. I used structured wiring stuff in my house and I used more rack mounted stuff at my parents house. I did mine first and I also have limited rack space due to the rack being under a set of stairs. I am working on my parents set up now (so I've learned some stuff) and they have more space and a full size rack. To be honest, I'm actually using rack equipment for Coax and telephone distribution, but I'm going to end up mounting it on the wall rather than using up rack space.

I already discribe how I made my own RG-6 distribution panel out of a blank 2u rack cover and barrel connectors. I think the blank cost about $10 and the barrel connectors also cost about $10 (going from memory here). So I have 45 spaces for about $20. Structured coax panels (like you have in the above picture) run 2-3 times as much money.

To distribute telephone lines, I used a structured module in my set up. In my parents set up, I bought a used 1u 24 port network patch panel and simply daisy chained the telephone feed to all the rear connections. In both setups, I terminated all my cat5e wires into a cat5e patch panel. To use a run for telephone, I simply take a short patch cord and plug it from the correct patch panel to the telephone distribution panel.

For network connections, you show a 16 port network switch in the picture above. In both installations I did, I've used a 24 port gigabit network switch that is rack mounted. So again, it makes sense for me to have the network switch, telephone patch panel, and the cat5e patch panels that I have terminated all the runs from the house all in the rack. Otherwise I am going to be running a bunch of patch cords from the rack to the structured wiring can. By having everything in the rack, I can use very short patch cables.

#17 CollinR

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 02:45 PM

I also think you should subnet, there is no reason to have voice, data, multimedia, security all on the same network. Routers are cheap pick up a few and step down to smaller switches.

#18 drvnbysound

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 09:03 PM

I think structured wiring cans are popular because most people are not going to have a need for an equipment rack. So the can allows them a nice way to have all the structured equipment in a single place with a door for a nice clean look.

The fact is that it is actually cheaper NOT to use all the prebuilt structured wiring modules. I've done both actually. I used structured wiring stuff in my house and I used more rack mounted stuff at my parents house. I did mine first and I also have limited rack space due to the rack being under a set of stairs. I am working on my parents set up now (so I've learned some stuff) and they have more space and a full size rack. To be honest, I'm actually using rack equipment for Coax and telephone distribution, but I'm going to end up mounting it on the wall rather than using up rack space.

I already discribe how I made my own RG-6 distribution panel out of a blank 2u rack cover and barrel connectors. I think the blank cost about $10 and the barrel connectors also cost about $10 (going from memory here). So I have 45 spaces for about $20. Structured coax panels (like you have in the above picture) run 2-3 times as much money.

To distribute telephone lines, I used a structured module in my set up. In my parents set up, I bought a used 1u 24 port network patch panel and simply daisy chained the telephone feed to all the rear connections. In both setups, I terminated all my cat5e wires into a cat5e patch panel. To use a run for telephone, I simply take a short patch cord and plug it from the correct patch panel to the telephone distribution panel.

For network connections, you show a 16 port network switch in the picture above. In both installations I did, I've used a 24 port gigabit network switch that is rack mounted. So again, it makes sense for me to have the network switch, telephone patch panel, and the cat5e patch panels that I have terminated all the runs from the house all in the rack. Otherwise I am going to be running a bunch of patch cords from the rack to the structured wiring can. By having everything in the rack, I can use very short patch cables.


I understand what you are saying about doing the RG-6, telephone, and CAT5e distribution in the rack.... the issue I have with this, is the fact that I would then have ~12+ RG6, 4+ CAT5e for phone, and 8+ CAT5e for network/control wiring between the wall and the rack.... I find that to be a lot of extra wiring hanging out of my wall. Id like all wiring coming out of the wall to be terminated in LV gang boxes at the wall, and not just draping out of a hole in the wall. Thus, trying to reduce the wiring between the panel and the rack... I guess I will give my idea a shot and see where I get with it. If worse comes to worse, I repair some drywall and get rid of the panel later. Also, its not out of the question to do a similar setup as you, with building a custom patch panel for the structured wiring panel, using the same connectors.

In other news.. I was able to get my showcase thread up, feel free to check out some of my work... http://www.cocoontec...showtopic=12367

Edited by drvnbysound, 28 January 2009 - 09:13 PM.


#19 drvnbysound

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Posted 28 January 2009 - 09:10 PM

I also think you should subnet, there is no reason to have voice, data, multimedia, security all on the same network. Routers are cheap pick up a few and step down to smaller switches.


I dont plan to have "voice" on a network.. just a dedicated module/patch panel to access/add lines in the future - which I'll probably never do.

Since when is security on a network? I currently have a stand-alone Ademco security system, that I will likely EVENTUALLY switch to a Elk, but that's serial control.. not necessarily "networked" unless I do a Serial-to-Ethernet converter.

What do you see wrong with having data/multimedia on the same network? Particularly if its GB connection speeds. Either way, as you said, its not expensive to add a router/switch for separating them, but I dont really see much of a point in doing it this way. Can you explain?

#20 Neurorad

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Posted 29 January 2009 - 11:55 AM

You could put an enclosed rack in the laundry room. You could build the rack enclosure yourself - seems you're very handy with a saw. This would solve the problem of visible ugly wires. The wire would pass into the wall within the rack cabinet. A slide-out rack would be necessary for rear access.

Then, put the structured wiring panel in the garage. Surface mount it if you're worried about heat loss, and you can avoid moving the existing alarm can (if that's where you want the new enclosure).

If you ever want a full-height rack, you could replace or alter the existing laundry room cabinets.

Nice clean look on those porch in-ceiling speakers. ;)

#21 drvnbysound

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 06:34 PM

Using CAT5e cable for RS-232 (serial) connections for controlling devices such as TV, AVR, etc. what is the max length that I should attempt or even think about trying to get?

#22 sic0048

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 07:32 PM

Using CAT5e cable for RS-232 (serial) connections for controlling devices such as TV, AVR, etc. what is the max length that I should attempt or even think about trying to get?


I don't think there is a stock answer. I know part of it depends on the baud rate of the serial connection. The faster the baud rate (the higher the number) the farther it will travel. But I suspect in a residential setting, even a 9600 baud rate will travel a hundred feet or more.

#23 drvnbysound

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 07:42 PM

I don't think there is a stock answer. I know part of it depends on the baud rate of the serial connection. The fast the baud rate (the higher the number) the farther it will travel. But I suspect in a residential setting, even a 9600 baud rate will travel a hundred feet or more.


Ok so I should have no worries in my home then - its 46' wide, so I certainly dont see running more than 100ft between my living room and my utility room. I was concerned I would run into something like a 50-ft max distance.

Edited by drvnbysound, 02 February 2009 - 07:42 PM.


#24 drvnbysound

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:27 AM

As I am finally getting other projects done and preparing to begin this one, I wanted to revive this old thread and ask a follow on question... Is it a bad idea, and can it even be done as far as code, to combine an alarm panel and other structured wiring (coax, Cat5E, etc.) in the same enclosure?

The reason I ask is due to the problem I have with the location I suggested in my first post of this thread... here is the picture again:
Posted Image

The wall where I have notated placement for the Leviton panel is an exterior wall, which comes with 2 problems, as far as I can tell...
1) insulation in the wall will make it 'fun' to run the wiring and mount the panel
2) Being an exterior wall means that the roof line is very close to the top plate of the wall in that area, making it difficult to access from the attic

So my secondary consideration is to replace the alarm enclosure with a larger one (28" or 42") and place everything into a single panel. This is not an exterior wall, and it would be MUCH easier to access from the attic space (there is about 2-ft more space in the attic above this panel due to the trusses). Please advise of any problems with combining everything into a single enclosure...

If there is a code issue with having the alarm coupled with other equipment in the same enclosure, I had considered putting the secondary panel below the alarm panel. My concern with that is the lack of depth in the wall, and the difficulty of having the coax/Cat5E, etc running behind the upper enclosure.

Edited by drvnbysound, 16 March 2011 - 07:29 AM.


#25 DELInstallations

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 07:56 AM

Given the picture, there is an obvious code issue, which is the lack of 3' of free and clear space from the enclosure straight out, right in the NEC. Same goes with the working height. Does it get done all the time with LV, yep. Where the picture was marked for another enclosure, no way.

There's a grey area as far as moving your panel into a structured enclosure, the big thing is you need to have a UL listed backplate and the enclosure needs to be listed for burglary/fire equipment.

#26 drvnbysound

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 09:46 AM

Given the picture, there is an obvious code issue, which is the lack of 3' of free and clear space from the enclosure straight out, right in the NEC. Same goes with the working height. Does it get done all the time with LV, yep. Where the picture was marked for another enclosure, no way.

There's a grey area as far as moving your panel into a structured enclosure, the big thing is you need to have a UL listed backplate and the enclosure needs to be listed for burglary/fire equipment.


The code issue you mentioned above... is that in reference to the existing encloure? If so, I, as the homeowner, installed the enclosure and alarm panel, and it was inspected by the local authorities and they signed off on it.... Whatever that is worth. :) I believe there may actually be 3' between the existing panel and the left side of the washer (pictured). I would have to measure it to be certain, but it has to be pretty close to that.

As far as the location for where the picture is marked.. and your comment of "no way". Can you explain what you mean? If you are referring to the same 3' rule, there would be 4'+ straight out from the panel in that location.

#27 drvnbysound

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 08:17 PM

I just measured from the existing panel, pictured above, to the washing machine - 38"... Exceeding the 36" requirement :)

So other than needing to look for a panel that has a UL listed backplate are there any other requirements or issues with putting the alarm panel in the same enclosure as other structured wiring?

Can anyone elaborate on the UL listing? The panel I was looking at states that the following:

"cULus and ACA Listed; complies with all TIA/EIA 568-A and TIA/EIA 570-A requirements, and meets FCC part 68." Is that enough?
EDIT: Nevermind regarding the UL listing... I found that the enclosure is UL listed for Fire and Burglary.

Edited by drvnbysound, 16 March 2011 - 08:28 PM.


#28 DELInstallations

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 09:32 PM

The picture is misleading with actual distances and it really does look close to the washer. I was citing what the NEC refers to as free and clear workspace, which refers to directly behind, as well as the width and AFF/max height requirements.

I also said that many an inspector don't even bother looking at LV compared to HV working space requirements, but in practicality, I take them into consideration with everything, because honestly, you shouldn't have to contort to work on a panel.

#29 drvnbysound

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 09:54 PM

The picture is misleading with actual distances and it really does look close to the washer. I was citing what the NEC refers to as free and clear workspace, which refers to directly behind, as well as the width and AFF/max height requirements.

I also said that many an inspector don't even bother looking at LV compared to HV working space requirements, but in practicality, I take them into consideration with everything, because honestly, you shouldn't have to contort to work on a panel.


Gotcha. No contorting necessary... just need to move the dirty clothes hamper out of the way :)

I suppose what I am looking to do, is do-able. Thanks for the assistance.

#30 drvnbysound

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 11:24 AM

Almost a year later (since I last looked at or updated this thread)... I realize that I have far too many projects that I have been working on and really want to start making some real progress here.

This weekend I moved my bedroom TV up 18" - it was to low to view comfortably while laying in bed, which has bothered me for a while now. It was quite the adventure, having to also move power, so that all wiring remined behind the TV. While doing so, I also went ahead and pulled (3) Cat5E lines behind the TV (assuming 1 for networked media extender, 1 for serial control of TV, and 1 extra for now). I also included a nylon pull cord to make it easy to add anything additional in the future if needed.

I have still not mounted any structured wiring panels, but I purched (2) of the 28" Leviton panels this weekend as well. Ideally, I would like to get a lot of the wiring done ASAP while it's still cool in my attic, but I realize that it's unlikely that it will actually happen. That said, I wanted to get some suggestions as to the panel itself. I originally wanted to pull the telephone and cable lines from the exterior demarc boxes, and run all of the house lines into the SMC. After doing some of the other work, I realize that doing that is going to be an effort to perform, and I wanted to find out if you guys think it would be worth it, or should I just leave the existing stuff as is, and just add the new CAT wiring into the enclosures? Realizing that regardless if I pull all of them into the SMC or not, I will have to get at least 2 cable lines run into the SMC - 1 for internet (as I want to place modem/router in SMC) and at least 1 for a HD-PVR (most likely want 2). Oddly, I think adding the additional lines between the SMC and demarc would be just as hard, or harder, than moving all of them to the SMC.... thoughts??




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