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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:03 am    Post subject: Cables Reply with quote

I'm running some new coax and it occurred to me that I should probably also include Ethernet cable to the entertainment center, although I don't know why.

Do I need this, or is this just a makework project?
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zaphod7501



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest running at least 2, maybe 3.
Most new TVs are internet connectible for streaming things like Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, or distributing your own video from PCs using "DLNA" server software. While video can be streamed with wireless routers, it doesn't usually work very well.

A pair of Cat 5/6 cables can be used (with adapters) for an HDMI connection. (easier to pull than a long HDMI cable)

Cat 5/6 can also be used to send A/V signals to the TV. (S-Video, audio, etc)

Besides running cables, I would suggest running them in a conduit which would allow pulling other/additional wiring in the future, if this is a new buildout. You didn't mention if this is a new construction project where conduit would be a possibility.

You can also use the extra cables to distribute A/V from the entertainment center to the rest of the house. (DVRs, DVD/BD, Music, etc)

You should also run at least 2 coax cables in case you might want to add an outside antenna to Cable/Satellite signals.

It is a lot easier (and possible) to do this now rather than later if this is a new setup.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaphod7501 wrote:
I'd suggest running at least 2, maybe 3.
d
Ethernet cables?


Quote:

A pair of Cat 5/6 cables can be used (with adapters) for an HDMI connection. (easier to pull than a long HDMI cable)

Cat 5/6 can also be used to send A/V signals to the TV. (S-Video, audio, etc)



Quote:

Besides running cables, I would suggest running them in a conduit which would allow pulling other/additional wiring in the future, if this is a new buildout. You didn't mention if this is a new construction project where conduit would be a possibility.


Unfortunately its old construction.

Quote:

You can also use the extra cables to distribute A/V from the entertainment center to the rest of the house. (DVRs, DVD/BD, Music, etc)


Well I was just going to split the output from the DTA box so that I could see the TV from the kitchen without an extra 24 a year. I need the second run to the old Media room, my Office where the internet modem is. Since I was going to be fishing the wall for the entertainment center and for the office it seemed like it was something that ought to be done now.

Quote:

You should also run at least 2 coax cables in case you might want to add an outside antenna to Cable/Satellite signals.


Many of the locations already have 2 coax cables, others don't.

Quote:


It is a lot easier (and possible) to do this now rather than later if this is a new setup.


Yeah tell me about it. Rolling Eyes Mad I've got a finished basement, and so I've got to deal with all the crumbs from the accoustical tile when I do this project. That's why I was thinking about
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zaphod7501



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If nothing else, you should run at least one ethernet cable (cat 5/6) for the ability to connect a TV to the Internet or home PCs. 2 or 3 is better.

If the old cables are loose in the wall (not stapled) then the usual technique is to use the old one to pull new ones in as you pull the old one out - and pull a cord or rope along with the wires so you can use it to pull future wires - rather than fishing - if there is an old wire.

If you are pulling coax, you should use RG-6 rather than RG-59. The currently available RG-59 cable is pretty poor stuff. Any amplifiers or splitters need to be bi-directional for Cable set top boxes to work correctly and rated at at least 1000 Mhz to pass the digital channels which are usually located in some high bands. The splitters found in VCRs can knock out high frequency stations. (transmit frequency - not channel number)

My house is fully wired but it was a massive job. Our original network connections were 10base-T using coax cables with BNC connectors. It was a nightmare to keep running but did not require routers, hubs, or switches, IIRC.
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underquark
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 08, 2011 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you're simply running the coax from a roof or attic to your entertainment centre then running an extra coax makes sense but running the ethernet cable less so as it's only from point A to point B.

If you're running a lot of coax about the house and distributing it from a central hub then it makes sense to run the ethernet cable too. Get 1000ft (305m) of Cat6 cable (chepaer in a bulk roll/box) and run maybe three cables to each site. Consider a central hub with a patch panel (just a simple 1U-height 24-port panel mounted on a board + coax connectors/links will do). This will allow you to hook up ethernet switches, routers, PC, AV equipment with some flexibility. You can transmit phone, audio, data, control signals or whatever along the ethernet cable.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zaphod7501 wrote:
If nothing else, you should run at least one ethernet cable (cat 5/6) for the ability to connect a TV to the Internet or home PCs. 2 or 3 is better.


Both you and underqark are talking 3 cables. what am I missing. Is this what all that multiroom DVR systems use?


Quote:

If the old cables are loose in the wall (not stapled) then the usual technique is to use the old one to pull new ones in as you pull the old one out - and pull a cord or rope along with the wires so you can use it to pull future wires - rather than fishing - if there is an old wire.


No these all are stapled in but I am pretty good at fishing.


underquark wrote:
you're running a lot of coax about the house and distributing it from a central hub then it makes sense to run the ethernet cable too. Get 1000ft (305m) of Cat6 cable (chepaer in a bulk roll/box) and run maybe three cables to each site. Consider a central hub with a patch panel (just a simple 1U-height 24-port panel mounted on a board + coax connectors/links will do). This will allow you to hook up ethernet switches, routers, PC, AV equipment with some flexibility. You can transmit phone, audio, data, control signals or whatever along the ethernet cable.


So instead of running from point a to point b, I should bring this to my board that I mounted to handle all my tv cables?

Is it difficult to crimp the ends on these cables?
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Last edited by vickyg2003 on Fri Jun 17, 2011 9:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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zaphod7501



Joined: 02 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A patch panel (and wall jacks) allows you to terminate the cables in "punch down" blocks. No splicing required - color coded.

If you want to make up custom cable lengths, you will need a crimper and a supply of RJ45 plugs. It takes some practice to get consistently good fittings. Buying the needed short sections might be a better, but more expensive, option.
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underquark
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are installing cables then the difficult bit is getting access. Once you have access you might as well pull more than one cable and if you buy the cable as a bulk box or roll this is cost-effective. One CAT6 cable gives you a PC or a telephone link, two gives you flexibility with the option to use two to replace a HDMI cable (you can get long HDMI cables instead but they are really expensive) or have two data lines or one for data and one for a phone or for other signals. Three just gives you that many more options. If the cables are routed from multiple locations to a central point (the patch panel) then they can be interconnected at that point to provide a very flexible setup that can be changed in the future.

Standard ethernet cables (the kind that are used to plug a PC into the wall socket) are usually made with stranded wire which is more flexible but which isn't as good at carrying a signal over a long distance. It's also difficult to pull a wire with a plug attached to it. Structural ethernet cabling is usually made with solid wires consisting of four twisted pairs all enclosed in a sheath. To attach them to a socket or a patch panel you strip off the last couple of inches of outer cable sheath, separate the wires into their pairs and then untwist just as much as necessary each pair. Each individual, color-coded, wire is then placed in the correct slot in the socket and pressed into place with a special tool. Little metal grippers in the socket strip the insulation and hold each wire. Appropriate tools often also have a cutter that neatly trims the ends of each wire as you punch them down into their slots.

All the cables converge at a single point. To connect room A to room B, for instance, you then just connect the appropriate ports on the patch panel with a short patch cable. You can directly link one room to another, you can link rooms via a switch (for data), you can install a wireless access point in one room where it gives best coverage, you can plug a HDMI-to-Ethernet adapter in one room, send the signal along two wires to another room etc. The main thing that a panel gives you is flexibility; you can change the setup easily simply by linking different ports together with patch cables. You can also add more cables (and another panel if necessary) in the future if you decide to wire up more rooms.

All this is only necessary if you think you will use the cables but it's a reasonable exercise if you will be entering walls and passing coax cables anyway. Looking a local prices it seems that it would cost you about $150 for 1000ft of cable, $50 for a 24-port patch panel, maybe $10 per ethernet socket (you can get single, double, quad for a little extra), $20 for a punch down tool and maybe a $ per patch cable. You can see that the cable cost really isn't that much when you buy it in bulk as opposed to maybe costing $1-$2 per yard if you only buy a small amount. Buying 1000ft you aren't going to cry if you waste a few yards per link.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

underquark wrote:
If you are installing cables then the difficult bit is getting access. Once you have access you might as well pull more than one cable and if you buy the cable as a bulk box or roll this is cost-effective. One CAT6 cable gives you a PC or a telephone link, two gives you flexibility with the option to use two to replace a HDMI cable (you can get long HDMI cables instead but they are really expensive) or have two data lines or one for data and one for a phone or for other signals. Three just gives you that many more options. If the cables are routed from multiple locations to a central point (the patch panel) then they can be interconnected at that point to provide a very flexible setup that can be changed in the future.


Yes, that was my thought. If I'm fishing the walls anyway, I might as well run the other cables too.
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zaphod7501



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can do lots of interesting things with Cat5/6 cable.
They make little splitters to use one cat6 cable for two data lines or one data line and two phone lines per cat6 cable.

The center two pins on a RJ45 jack match phone wire connections. You can plug a phone line (RJ11?) straight in without adapters.

If the distances are relatively short (50' - 75') you can send audio/video signals without adapters. S-Video works better than composite video. The twisted pairs provide the same function as the shield wires in A/V cables.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, its been 2 years since I planned on doing this, and then life got in the way, and I never purchased my materials, because DH refused to be my fishing helper.

Back then I only got the basics, but now I see that there are all sorts of internet equipped TV, and extra devices for playing with the TV's like Apple TV and Roku's.....

3 C6 feeds per room should be sufficient if I am reading this correctly.

Central patch panel

I am bumping my thread, just to keep it easier to find while I prepare my shopping list.

Thanks for all the help on this!
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underquark
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are many DIY sites that will give you tips on how to pass cables and also mention the associated safety aspects that may be relevant to your situation.

Planning is key - find the voids and cavities and draw a map of your house. Measure the distances that various cable routes are going to involve; often you will need a longer piece of cable than first glance suggests. Work out a convenient place to site your patch panel - preferably cool, dry and with access to mains power and it helps if there is space to place a switch or router or wireless device if you want.

Some things I have found useful and which you can maybe borrow from a friend if you are lucky:

Digital camera - for taking multiple pictures of voids and cavities that are difficult to look into directly.

Fibreglass cable rods (screw together, pass through wall, attach string to end, pull cable).

Thin rectangular bit of iron or steel - drop down wall cavity and locate it with an electronic cable/pipe detector device.

Proper punch tool for cable installation; don't try to do it with an old screwdriver.

Network cable tester - not essential but makes it much quicker to test connections and trouble-shoot problems.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Underquark

I have fished before, but there are some new things for me to consider.

The 3 must fish places are going to be pretty easy. I've fished one of them before, and the others easy too, but there are a couple of exterior walls that I'd also like to do, and I'm not sure if those come in through the basement or from the attic. Those are maybes.
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

underquark wrote:

Planning is key - find the voids and cavities and draw a map of your house. Measure the distances that various cable routes are going to involve; often you will need a longer piece of cable than first glance suggests. Work out a convenient place to site your patch panel - preferably cool, dry and with access to mains power and it helps if there is space to place a switch or router or wireless device if you want.

Its the planning that is the hard part, because I'm not technologically up to date. I don't know what my objectives SHOULD be. I haven't found a particularly helpful DIY place.


I have drawn a map, and I know the distances.



I have fished the main entertainment center wall before. Its an interior wall
and an easy fish, once you get past the drop ceiling in the basement.

The Kitchen wall is going to be a harder fish even though the hole is in the middle of the unfinished area of the basement. The is currently a coax and 2 phone lines in a single box. I went to Lowe's and didn't find any help there, it didn't even see in any face plates that would accomodate more than 3 outlets. We don't have a home phone, but if I did, I would certainly want one in the kitchen. The main reason for upgrading this box is so that I will have SOME way of monitoring what is on in the Family room. I'm thinking a secondary RF and an HDMI plug. I MUST use the existing coax box. There is no option to widen it without extreme measures. There is very expensive 1/2 inch thick decrorative stone backsplash that I'm NOT touching. It seems that there are face plates with 6 cut outs to fit on a single box, but I don't know where to get them, and I don't know if an HDMI plug will fit those itty bitty cut outs.

My entertainment center needs more, I'm sure, but I don't know what.

Now I am the only one who ventures into the basement. I do watch TV in my office. I also watch TV in the Sound Proofed Media Room which now houses my exercise equipment. I do think the REC Room would be best served with an outlet because every time we have a big gathering nobody wants to go down and play pool cause they can't see the game.

Dave has recommended a HTPC, and while right now that doesn't hold any appeal, if my cable company starts scrambling QAM for the standard cable, I'll be wanting to share connections, because there is no way I watch enough cable to warrant all those boxes!
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vickyg2003
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, with the discovery that OTA has improved dramatically since 2008, has lit a fire under me. I have set up an A/B box on the two Coax lines in the bedroom, and have found that I am often finding better TV OTA than on cable. However, the second coax in the family room has gone dead. Don't know how that happened. I took off the face plate and it all looks good, and thinking that I might have misidentified the wire at the coax distribution board, I plugged in everything. So I do have a pressing need to get this done.

But I am having real problems getting my head around the Cat5/6.

Do I need Cat6 or is Cat5e sufficient?

Do I buy 1000 feet, or do I buy 3 smaller quantities, so that it would b e easier to pull simultaneously?

With the 3 cat cables in the various enterntainment areas, do you use hdmi connectors in the faceplate, or do you use rj45 type connections and then an rj45 to hdmi adapters at the tv?

When they say rack mounted, does this mean they need to be on a movable rack?

You obviously need access to the back of the patch panel, is that hinged, dismounted, or rolled around.

I'd like to have a neat and clean, professional looking installation, but again I don't know what that is.

Does anyone have pictures of the patch panel wiring?

Does anyone have links to any good DIY sites on this.
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