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another cabling question/opinion

english_1969

Active Member
Ok,

I am planning to pull a universal set of data/AV/phone/etc. cable in the new house.

To date, I've been planning on pulling 4 CAT6 cables to 2 or 3 locations in each room with 1 RG6 in one of those locations.

The question is, should I pull all cat6 or 2 cat6 and 2 cat5e or just cat5e?

I'm sure this seems like overkill, but I don't want to have to think later that "it would have been nice to pull a cable here"

Suggestions?

I've not really wanted to get into the fiber thing as I am trying to control costs a little bit.

Also, should I look at STP instead of UTP?

WE
 

Steve

Senior Member
Last spring at EHX the 'consensus' was Cat5e was sufficient and 6 was not really gonna be necessary. Also 6 seems a little more difficult to work with. Just passing on what I heard, things change, so don't take this as any more than 1 thought.
 

english_1969

Active Member
I have to agree on the "harder to work with".

I pulled about 200ft of various segments in a previous house and working with the connectors and punchdowns drove me and my electrician nuts.

Not to mentioned 5e is about 1/2 the price.

I've also seen where some of the balun-style equipment demonstrates a preference for Cat5/cat5e over cat6.

WE
 

jlehnert

Active Member
Pick one and go with it. You try to mix things and you get into trouble putting cat5e connector on a cat6 wire, thus nullifying the benefit of pulling cat6. Better to concentrate on doing a good job pulling the cable to start with. A good cat5e install performs better than a poor cat6 install.

That said, I agree with the cat 6 being harder to work with, with few (tangible) benefits for the increased price.
 

Herdfan

Active Member
english_1969 said:
with 1 RG6 in one of those locations.
I would have to recommend a second pull of RG6 to each location. Its cheap to do now and you may find a need for it sometime in the future.

I personally have a need for it now as I have dual tuner satellite receivers that need two runs. In fact, in my main viewling location, I have seven RG6 pulls distributed as follows:

4 - 2 dual tuner DirecTiVo's
1 - OTA feed
1 - RF distribution from SD DirecTiVo
1 - Sirius Antenna

You can really never have too much cable in a house. So think what you will need and run a couple more above that. Cable is cheap, fishing cable through wall is a PITA.

Also, if you are building a multistory house, a couple of conduit chases from the basement/mechancial room to the attic/crawlspace are always a good idea.
 

ctwilliams

Active Member
I would second the conduit idea. If there is any way to run a 1" conduit to at least one of your low voltage wall boxes that would be a great idea. I thought I had run enough cable to each outlet, but I have already used the conduit in two locations.

I was lucky in that I had an attic to work with as well as a mostly unfinished basement, so the conduit was no problem. YMMV.
 

bfisher

Active Member
I wholeheartedly agree with the conduit recommendations...

I rewired my existing home for my automation system - a difficult chore. I can't tell you how many times I put conduit in (retrofitted - very time consuming work) even while thinking "I'll never need this" and yet I manage to come up with a reason to use it. Any time I put a wire in my house now, I try to put conduit in first. I can't always do it - but many times I can.

Conduit is one of the best inventions ever to future proof your house! Put it everywhere you can - you never know what you're going to want changed...
 

sic0048

Senior Member
Well, as you can tell, everyone has their own opinion on the subject. There is no clear cut right or wrong answer.

Best scenerio is to use conduit.

Outside of that, personally I would forgo the Cat6 completely, but you might want to pull 1 Cat6 to each location and then run Cat5 for the others.

I would also agree that you need to run a minimum of 2 RG6 to each location.

So, in short I would pull 2 Cat5e (or 1 Cat5e and 1 Cat6) and two RG-6 wires to every location.

If you know there is a location that will have a dedicated TV or computer at a certain location, then I would increase the number of wires pulled to that location.

Computer location - 4 Cat5e and 2 RG-6
Major TV viewing area - 4 Cat5e and 3 or 6 RG-6 cables.

The good news is that there are more signals that you can run over Cat5 using baluns now than in the past. So I would always run more cat5e than you think. If you have underestimated the number of RG-6 wires, hopefully you can substitute a Cat5e cable. For example, to run just 1 HD video signal (just the video, no audio) requires 3 RG-6 wires, or 3 out of the 4 twisted pairs in a Cat5e cable.
 

eufreka

Active Member
Without a doubt, if you can afford it, run conduit everywhere.

But if you cannot, and are doing the wiring yourself, I would recommend the speedwrap bundles (2cat5e/2rg6coax)...there can be a premium of around 25-to-30% over individual cables, but the handling goes MUCH faster (plus I think the outerspeedwrap jacket gives additional protection during pulling to support the individual cables from stress).

The only negative on speedwrap (to my mind) is when you have a cable failure. But if you don't use conduit, you will basically be doing a new pull anyway.

In my home, I did 2 drops to almost every room (typically opposite corners/depending on layout, etc.) My family room/kitchen open combo has a total of 4. In all I have 17 drops plus a service drop (which is speedwrap also).

I used Panduit modular panels.

Some might think my arrangement is ugly, but I kinda like it. I will try to take some pix and post them. Basically, each drop is punched down together in color coordinated groups (coax and ethernet), so on the patch panel, everything is grouped by drop and by room.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS:
In particular, don't overlook places for drops. Without a doubt, do at least one to the Master bath; at least one to the kitchen counter; and at least one (dual cat5e only) to EVERY room entrance (near the light switches); include at least one each in the laundry room and garage too. If you are (planning or) adding a pool/spa, go ahead and spec the conduit to the pump location and the spa. Finally, the number one thing I wish I had better planned for was dedicated electrical and data conduit terminations at future irrigation equipment locations (front and back).

And the final final: My most pleasant addition at this time of year is always the dedicated outdoor switched electrical outlets for my Holiday lighting. Just a flick of a switch turns it all on...but unfortunately, it is too much wattage for the Insteon switches I am using. In retrospect, I should have spec'ed TWO switches! (Not to worry, though, I will get around to correcting that soon.)
 

english_1969

Active Member
Thanks a bunch for the insight.

So far, I've got about 262 cable locations (including security) with several multiple pull locations.

I am going ahead and installing a russound 18 zone system plus a compoint system.

Each bedroom (5) is slated for 3 universal pulls (4 cat5+1 rg6)
The kitchen will have to counter level universal pulls
The family room will have an AV location (TV, receiver, surround sound). I will pull 2 universal sets here (8 cat5+2 RG6). At each tv location with no receiver, I will also pull an rg59 sub cable from the TV and a dual cat5 for VGA/DVI input from a local source.
The other rooms for AV setups will be the playroom and a theater.
The basement common area (pool, sitting, bar, etc.) will have several univeral pulls throughout the room.
The other rooms in the basement (exercise, computer room, craft room) will have 2 or 3 universal pulls. The patio and deck will have 1 u-pull each along with whole house audio/paging.

That is a great point on the irrigation and the spa. THe patio will support a future spa tub.

I also agree on the christmas lights and in general outdoor lighting switches.

My builder thinks I am seriously wacked out, although I think he is enjoying the amusement and my constant battle with spec components (e.g. thermostats, lighting controls) vs. what I want to have installed.

What fun!

Unfortunately, the conduit is not going to be an option at this point, so i'll need to pull enough wire to future proof as much as possible.
 

royalj7

Active Member
english_1969 said:
Thanks a bunch for the insight.

So far, I've got about 262 cable locations (including security) with several multiple pull locations.

I am going ahead and installing a russound 18 zone system plus a compoint system.

Each bedroom (5) is slated for 3 universal pulls (4 cat5+1 rg6)
The kitchen will have to counter level universal pulls
The family room will have an AV location (TV, receiver, surround sound). I will pull 2 universal sets here (8 cat5+2 RG6). At each tv location with no receiver, I will also pull an rg59 sub cable from the TV and a dual cat5 for VGA/DVI input from a local source.
The other rooms for AV setups will be the playroom and a theater.
The basement common area (pool, sitting, bar, etc.) will have several univeral pulls throughout the room.
The other rooms in the basement (exercise, computer room, craft room) will have 2 or 3 universal pulls. The patio and deck will have 1 u-pull each along with whole house audio/paging.

That is a great point on the irrigation and the spa. THe patio will support a future spa tub.

I also agree on the christmas lights and in general outdoor lighting switches.

My builder thinks I am seriously wacked out, although I think he is enjoying the amusement and my constant battle with spec components (e.g. thermostats, lighting controls) vs. what I want to have installed.

What fun!

Unfortunately, the conduit is not going to be an option at this point, so i'll need to pull enough wire to future proof as much as possible.
English,

I would seriously consiser pulling an additonal rg6 to each location. If you think of it, you are already pulling 5 wires, which will require a 6-port wall plate anyways, so you have space for it. If i was building a house now, I would run 5 rg6's to my viewing locations along with the cat5e. You can run HD over cat5e, but to the best of my knowlege it takes two cables to do (ie Audio Authority 9870, etc) and balums are not inexpensive. Two RG6's allows you the ablity to run in house CCTV, modulate DVD's, and run some of the newer sat dishes. Keep us updated on your progress!

Happy Holidays,
--Jamie
 

Steve

Senior Member
@Jamie - what if you were to centralize things like your D* receivers, etc. and the viewing location was just an endpoint with no equipment. Would you still run the RG6, or just more Cat5? Wouldn't it depend on what the signal was as to what wire is best? Aren't there more options with Cat5 (baluns, etc) then RG6? Just asking as I have not done much of this.
 

JayH

Member
I have to agree that no location gets less than 2 RG6's with the "main" viewing areas getting 4-6 runs.

- DirectTV/DISH dual-tuner receivers require 2
- Some cable systems still require 2
- If you try and distribute HD internally most systems require 2
- Any other distribution will take 1

I wouldn't try and centralize the "main" viewing area. Too many remote connections - today I have 2 HDMI, 1 Component and 1 S-Video running with all the systems being controlled right there. It uses 2 RG6 for DirectTV/Tivo, 1 for some cameras and 1 back out of Tivo to another TV.

A note of something else to watch for - how is the house grounded in reference to the RG6/HA? I have split panels and the newer Samsung DLP sets have grounded plugs. DirectTV/Tivo was connected via S-Video and creating a ground loop between the DirectTV ground, through the receiver (it isn't grounded) and S-Video cable with the TV - rolling horizontal bars. I finally had to lift the TV ground.

Jay
 

ctwilliams

Active Member
Since we were touching on it...

I was going to go with one of the HDMI over cat 5 solutions (and some require 1 cat5 and 1 shielded cat 5, somthing to think about), but I have found that Monoprice.com is making HDMI cables that are 50' and also 100' (100' model needs a repater) that work without problem. I have two of the 50's now and am going to add a 100'. This ends up being cheaper than the HDMI over cat5....


CT
 

royalj7

Active Member
Steve said:
@Jamie - what if you were to centralize things like your D* receivers, etc. and the viewing location was just an endpoint with no equipment. Would you still run the RG6, or just more Cat5? Wouldn't it depend on what the signal was as to what wire is best? Aren't there more options with Cat5 (baluns, etc) then RG6? Just asking as I have not done much of this.
You can certainly have a central wiring closet for your equipment, but you would still need to carry the signal from that closet to the viewing locations, and in my opinion, for new construction, the best option is a combination of RG6 (3 for analog HD and 1 or 2 for sound) and cat5. I think the quality is going to be better with the rg6 then the cat5 if you can use component connections. That's what rg6 was designed for, to carry video signals. In a retrofit situation it's a different story. If you have the necessary cat5 in place, I would take the balums and be grateful for it.

If you want to go HDMI then...you're screwed :unsure: . No, not really, but there are alot of challenges. On is the distance limitation of 50 feet. Not impossible in a smaller house, but pretty hard in a 2 story plus basement larger house. Then the distribution equipment is scarce and expensive. So you could do it, but you *really* have to want to do it. If I did I would probably run something like this http://www.av-cables.net/rapid-run/rapid-run.html

Again, this is just my opinion from wiring half a dozen homes or so. There definitely could be products out there that I'm not aware of.

--Jamie
 
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