Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Wired for Sound (and other things)

On Saturday, my very generous friend George and I, set about wiring the house for Network, TV, Security, Intercom, and Sound. Added to which we decided to add some acoustic insulation to the 2nd bedroom, next to the laundry, and the area surrounding the Rumpus sliding door.  Possibly too much to tackle in one day? It was now or never, as plaster goes up on Wednesday.

After a a quick trip to Bunnings to pick up the insulation and some drill bits and a knife to cut the insulation, we were ready to go.

In all we ran 22 CAT6 cables for Data, 11 Coax for TV, 2 for intercom, 5 for security and 7 for speakers in the Rumpus - over 1km of cable! 90% of these we will probably never use, but I hate the thought of trying to run it down the walls later (done that before).

If you're going to attempt to wire your own house, here are a few tips:

1. Make sure you clear it with your SS before you do this. Most of them are pretty cool with it, but technically you should not be on-site without being supervised, Health and Safety reasons.
2. Sort out where you want all the cable points to be on the electrical plan, well before you go there. This way you can work out how much cable you need to buy.
3. I bought 2 x 300m boxes of CAT6, and one of Quad Core Coax, as well as 50m of 2mm copper speaker cable (from Middys). Unless you are going to run 10GB over it, CAT5e is fine, there is very little difference between the two. Don't forget to buy the nail-in backplates, to mount the switch plates on later.
4. Pick a central accessible point to run all the cables too (where there is power), below stairs, the garage, or in my case in the laundry near the man-hole.
5. When running the cable, there are a few simple rules of thumb.
a) Never run low-voltage cable in parallel to any power cable within 30cm. I always ran it in the next stud gap.
 b) If you have to cross any power cable, do it at 90 degrees to the cable, this reduces the area of magnetic field interference.
c) Never drill more than one hole in a noggin, and never larger than 30mm. This can effect the structural integrity of the noggin, and will avoid you getting in trouble with the frame inspector.
d) Try to avoid drilling holes in the studs, or the roof trusses as well. Metricon does not like this.
e) Leave some slack in the ceiling and don't tie it down too much, this allows the insulation guys to lift it up to get the insulation under. You can clean it up later, to make sure its all neat and tidy, and away from power.
f) Leave yourself enough at the ends to terminate the cable later (plasterer should make a hole and pull it through).
g) Make sure you take photos, with measurements of the plate placement. In case the plasterer does not pull it through, its a B*tch to find later! Where I wasn't sure what I would want there, I left a draw string in the wall to pull cable through later (Dayglo Yellow).

Some additional cabling that we ran was for future projects. Video Intercom, in-ceiling speakers for ensuite and rumpus, security cameras, sensors, and Alarm Panel.

After all this, it was getting dark, so we madly tried to place Acoustic Insulation (Tontine 2.5 Acoustic Bats) in the stud-work. This took a lot longer than we anticipated as we had to cut around all the plumbing and electrical as well as the noggins.

The Sun had well and truly set by then. A big thank you to George, who worked tirelessly all day. A few cases of beer coming your way mate.


1 comment:

  1. Great post Paul. Extremely useful. Heading down the same path shortly and referred back to this post a number of things.