All my wires go to the basement. How do I connect on main floor?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by hippypink, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. hippypink

    hippypink
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    I moved into a new house, and very novice, and cant figure out all the electronics wiring that was put in when the home was built:

    1. White speaker cables hanging out of ceiling. 5 cables dangling in front room for tv area (5.1 sound i guess), and 4 rooms with 2 speaker cables each. When I look at the cables in the tv area (3 speakers in front and 2 in back), i can see its a white sheath, with 4 wires inside (red, white, green, black).

    2. In the unfinished basement, there are 12 cat 5e (350mhz) cables, 9 un-terminated coax cables (thats what they look like), and another 3 coax that run into a small junction, then leave as 2 on the other side. I have comcast internet and tv. I can find three jacks upstairs with tv connectors, so I am assuming the side with three cables is for those tvs, but not sure why there are 2 on the other side (I thought comcast only needs 1 cable from outside?)

    3. The house is setup for home security system because I can see an ethernet and 1 black cable hanging outside above the front door (not sure what the black cable is, but guessing coax). I noticed a blank faceplate in rooms with speakers. I opened them, and saw:
    * Office (near front door): 2 ethernet cables and a white cable
    * Back door: 1 ethernet cable and 1 white cable: Outside, there are two points where white cables come out, and on the one closest to the door, there are 2 white cables together.
    * Kitchen: 1 ethernet cable
    * Bedroom: 2 ethernet, 1 white cables

    QUESTIONS:

    1. What are all the coax cables?
    2. Where do all the speaker cables end (I could climb in my attic, but need to find a ladder)?
    3. How do I route the speaker cables to the receiver?
    4. and why are there 4 wires in each sheath (I am only familiar with 2-wire speakers).
    5. What do i need to know about the home security stuff? What controls the seakers/home security, etc..., not that I even know where the other end of these white wires are.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  2. Geps

    Geps
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    1) Co-ax are used to transmit video signals over.
    2) Not sure how we're meant to know this....
    3) Depends on how you're setting it up.
    4) That cable sounds like alarm cable.....are you sure it's not for PIR sensors, door sensors etc? What makes you think it's speaker cable?
    5) Alot....or just get an alarm installation company in.

    Who wired your house? Can you not ask them?

    Judging by that...I'd say it's been wired for a home network with video feeds and a comprehensive alarm system but the alarm was never actually installed.
     
  3. hippypink

    hippypink
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    1. But 9 coax for a 3 bedroom house? seems excessive. I did find a bunch of 3 on the outside (next to a CAT 5e cable), which I assume is for satellite.

    2.-4.: K, so I made a picture showing everything, and it clarifies exactly what I have. They are indeed 4 conductor wires by Honeywell: Honeywell 16 AWG 4/C (ETL) type cm-cl2 3038058 sun res.(RoHS). Couldnt find exact model on honeywells site, but this is the closest (the 4 conductor one). Seems the 4 conductor cables are for use mainly in houses with whole home audio, in which 2 of the 4 wires are used to control the volume, but this doesnt explain why they used it for the 5.1 ceiling setup, unless the builders just used whatever they had lying around. Guess the big question is, is the quality going to be just as good? And if you look at my diagram, you'll see that there are lots of cables (purple) that are 4 conductor in several of the boxes around the house.

    5. I really didnt want to pay some "security" company $30 a month, but instead, just use the video camera at the front door (although thinking about adding more around perimeter/inside). But if I do decide to get more cameras, I'll probably have to go wireless on them, and since this may have some relation with the receiver, which I'm about to buy....


    [NEW]

    6. Each of the rooms that have places for two speakers, here's the wire config:

    Speaker 1:
    4 conductor wire
    2 conductor wire
    Speaker 2:
    2 conductor wire

    I am hoping its easy to drop in the volume control

    Are these boxes (with 3 cables) designed to connect to security control panels, volume controls, AND ethernet jacks as well?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  4. Geps

    Geps
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    Sorry didn't realise you were in the states. I've no idea then as I'm over the other side of the pond. :)
     
  5. Matt2

    Matt2
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    1.Where your TV is located: If there are 2 cat5e cables, these are probably to bring phone and internet to this location. One would come from your internet router and one would come from whatever your phone is terminated in(usually just a terminal bar or something). So these two are just basically ran to your basement or mechanical type room.

    2. The 3 coax cables could all just come from your basement where the three going outside and going. If you would use satellite, often you will have one cable per stream. (So you could watch one thing and record 2 others for example, which gives you 3 cables.)

    3.So your right when you said you'd use a hub or something to share the internet in the rest of the house, which is why all rooms have one cat 5e.

    4.I'm not too experienced with cameras, but have always ran a coax for the video and a 2 conductor cable for the power, which both go to where the recorder box would be located. The power cable just gets spliced onto a transformer which is supplied with the purchase of the camera system.

    5.Just thinking one of the 4 conductor cables in the rooms could be for a volume control for that room. If this is the case, I believe this cable would go to the first speaker and then just jump between the 2. So one of the speakers would have 2 wires in it.

    6.The other 4 conductor in the rooms, I don't know what its for, maybe some sort of home automation, climate control, or for the alarm(maybe you can install a motion sensor or keypad or something on the wall). But like i said i really cant be sure. Not experienced with alarm systems.

    7.I'm not sure what you mean when you say there's 4 a/v cables and 4 ethernet cables at your tv. Just might need to know exactly what kind of cable it is or the size of cable and maybe we could figure it out.

    Hope this helps, I work as a sparky in Canada, so hopefully what I said makes sense, Any questions ask and we'll figure it out.
     
  6. hippypink

    hippypink
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    Thanks Matt2

    #1- #4: yes sounds right

    #5. - #7.

    I am now thinking I understand it: the "A/V cables" are actually just more of the "4 conductor" cables when I checked them. Each one of these goes to a different room to vol. control switch. Then there is a second 4 conductor cable from the switch to the first speaker; then a 2-conductor cable from speaker 1 over to speaker 2.

    And then the ethernet cable alongside those volume switch boxes is to be able to run more advanced controls (e.g. digital control panel, or security system if I set it up); but not sure how you would do both together. Does this all sound correct?

    So my next question is impedance and receiver/amp configuration. This is sooooo confusing.

    First off, I am thinking 3 zones total. I could live with 2, but the price is only $100 or so more. I wouldnt mind 4 or more zones, but thats probably getting really expensive, and not worth it

    Zone 1. tv (5.1)
    Zone 2. office
    Zone 3. rest of the house (bedroom, patio, kitchen)

    1. If I do 2, 3 (or 4) zones, do I need an amp (or multiple amps), or does it completely depend on the receiver I get?

    2. How do I calculate ohms considering how this was wired (series/parallel)?

    3. I read most Yamaha receivers start taking from the theater channels for zone 2 (or 3). Is this true? I am not using 7.1 sound now, but might want to in the future, so this is not ideal.

    4. Onkyo or Yamaha (or other)? Trying to keep it affordable folks:

    Someone recommended Onkyo TX-NR709 or TX-NR809 because its "4 ohm stable" but lots of quality control issues (duds) with Onkyo receivers if you read user reviews (same with Denon). But do I really need 4 ohms if the volume controls, or speaker selector box has them built in?

    I really like Yamaha, but in addition to them NOT being "4 ohms stable" whatever that means, the Yamaha RX-A2000,'s Zones 2 and 3 for driving additional speakers creates issues if you want to use the same source (not sure how to solve this);

    AND form many Yamaha models, incl. RX-V671BL, I read you can't use digital audio (HDMI/optical) sources thru Zones 2 or 3, only the main zone can. What?! A bit short-sighted.

    Anyways, this is getting long for now.
     
  7. SeanT

    SeanT
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    Do any of the four conductor cables have one pair of wires bigger than the other pair?
     
  8. hippypink

    hippypink
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    All 4-conductor cables appear to be all the same size.

    Also, I just found some writing on the cables in the living room junction box, on both ethernet and 4-conductor cables, that say things like "living room vc" so apparently our assumptions were correct at least on that side of things.
     
  9. Matt2

    Matt2
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    Hello, glad to hear some of this is getting sorted out.

    Whenever I've done an install in a house, there are always guys who come in and hook up the TV, amps, Volume controls, etc...., we just run the wires where they tell us, so I'm not too familiar with what they do. But I've done a setup like this in our office at work a while back and they just used an old amp they had lying around and a "stereo speaker selector" or some such thing. I've found this after a very brief look at an old favorite site which seemed to be what we used.

    So I was just thinking, maybe if you had an amp that had another zone on it, you could hook up that extra zone to the speaker selector and have all of your other speakers connected to the speaker selector. But a little research might be needed to find out if this is possible and I guess it depends how many watts your speakers are. I'll try to look into it and I'll let you know.

    Cheers
     
  10. hippypink

    hippypink
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    Matt2,

    Thanks for checking that out.I am pretty sure they'll be 100 watt speakers (since its common), except for the theater area, but since that wont be in the seaker selector, shouldnt matter.

    So, I guess I am supposed to split the 4-conductor wire so that I have a left and right channel.

    As for receivers:

    Onkyo (& Denon): It is 4 ohms stable, while all the others seem to dumb down 4 ohms to 8ohms; and even though onkyo more likely to fail/dud, and probably not as easy to use, this power and 3 zones at this price seems decent

    Yamaha: Fewer problems, but not good for 4 ohms?

    Pioneer VSX-1021K / VSX-1121K:

    On the other hand, I could just get a basic receiver for $300 and a "whole home audio" system which has a separate receiver and such but will probably cost at least $300-$500 more this way; the benefit being that I cant use nifty control panels instead of volume control switches to choose the source from each zone.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. Matt2

    Matt2
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    Hello,

    I've found there's a lot of info on the forums if you just do a search for multi-room audio in the search. It brings up a bunch of different threads about this and there are several different setups being discussed there so there might be something of use there to clarify everything.

    Cheers
     

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