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Sample Structured Home Wiring Projects

   I have 2 projects plans from different homes that I have built. In the first plan I made a simple mockup of the home layout and drew the lines for each wire. As you can see below, this overcomplicated the diagram. In the second plan I started by scanning the sample floor plan from the builder and then indicating where I installed electrical boxes. I labeled every wire in the basement with a letter that corresponded to its wall plate and a number that indicated that wire's position in that wall plate. Please see the Wiring Plan Guide for more information or if you don't understand some of the examples below.

Plan 1

  The first plan lays out the following:
  • RG-6 coaxial cable for satellite & cable
  • Cat-5 cable for internet
  • Cat-3 cable for phone
  • speaker wire for some in-wall/in-ceiling speakers and for the banana jacks next to some bookshelf speakers
  • video cable for surveillance cameras
  • alarm cable for the motion detectors and keypads for the alarm system
  • component audio/video cables that ran from the computer to the family room entertainment center
  • computer cables that allowed for a second computer monitor & keyboard in a separate room
  • X10 electrical wall outlets that allowed for remote control of electrical devices

Click on the diagram for a larger image.
Wiring Diagram

What's in this plan:

   This plan uses the idea that too much is better than too little. For starters, every bedroom has 2 wall plates with a phone, internet, and cable jacks. The 2 wall plates are usually at opposite ends of the room. The idea here is to determine every location a desk/table could potentially be placed (after accounting for door, windows, and closets) and then put a wall plates there.

   The master bedroom/bathroom gets the royal treatment with in-wall speakers for the bedroom and in-ceiling speakers for the bath. These speakers are wired jacks behind the Armoire that holds the TV and stereo components. My A/V Receiver has A/B outputs so no special equipment was needed to run the second pair of speakers. There are also 2 coax cable connections behind the Armoire for my satellite receiver. The bedroom also has a phone, internet, and cable jack wall plate near the bed.

   I under wired the master bedroom when it came to the satellite receiver. DirecTV receivers require a phone jack to operate. I didn't have a TiVo upstairs, but if you do, some of the newer units can use the internet to download programs. If you have a dual-tuner satellite DVR, then you need one coax connection for each tuner. If you have satellite and use an antenna for local channels, then a third coax cable is required for that.

   Downstairs, the Dining Room got in-ceiling speakers and the Sun Room got outdoor wall mounted speakers. The family room had bookshelf speakers, but the wires were run through walls to plates directly behind the speakers. All of these speakers were wired to plates behind the entertainment center. The main receiver was for the Family Room and a second amp (with input from the receiver) was used for the other rooms.

   Besides the speaker wire, the entertainment center had:
  • A phone line for the satellite receiver
  • Internet cable for a video game system: PlayStation or XBox
  • 3 coax cables for the TiVo Satellite receiver: 2 for the dual-tuner satellite receiver and one for local channels over antenna
  • A fourth coax cable connected directly to the Sun Room so that the output of the satellite receiver could be watched on two TVs without paying for a second receiver.
    Note: The Sun Room also had a coax cable for the antenna to watch locals and an A/B switch to select between local or satellite feed.
  • Component audio/video cables from the computer so that music or movies could be played from the computer on the TV/stereo
    Note: Another set of these cables ran to an upstairs bedroom where I used to have the computer before we had kids.

   The Kitchen had the standard phone line plus internet jacks so I could work on a laptop. I also had a computer monitor and keyboard in the Kitchen even though the computer itself was in the basement. I didn't want to go into the basement just to check my EMail, so I added a second video card to the computer and ran a 50' VGA cable to a second monitor in the kitchen. I also ran a 50' USB cable so that I could have a second USB keyboard to go with that monitor.

   I also installed an alarm system that I purchased over the internet. One alarm panel was right by the garage door entrance to the house and the other was in the Master Bedroom. Three motion detectors covered most of the first floor and a fourth covered the alarm panel itself in the basement. The horn for the alarm was also in the basement.

   The security system consisted of four X10 cameras that were wired in with the antenna feed. The X10 remotes ensure that only one camera is active at a time. Therefore, I was able to combine all four camera lines into one by using Y component splitters backwards. I then used a RF modulator to convert the component into coax cable and then used a coax splitter backwards to combine the camera feed with the antenna feed. The RF modulator let me pick what channel I wanted to use and I was able to find an empty one that had no static from the antenna.

   Most of the wires ran to the corner of the basement near the electrical box (not close enough to cause any interference). The cable modem, network routers, alarm panel, and all connections were all located here.

   Each room in the front of the house had an X10 outlet. We used this for Christmas candle lights in the windows. For about $30 we could turn on/off the lights with a timer (controlled by the computer) or with a remote.

Plan 2

  The second plan is cleaner since doesn't show the wires themselves. Instead, every wall plate is assigned a letter. The boxes on the right side of the diagram show what wires are available at that plate. Every wire in the basement is labeled to indicate what wall plate it connects to and what position it is in the plate. Ex: A coax cable with F5 label is the 5th coax cable on plate F. I also included the pin colors for the phone and internet cables so I knew how they were wired. For the internet wire I used the less common EIA/TIA 568-A standard because it matches the phone colors for the inner 4 pins.

Click on the diagram for a larger image.
Wiring Diagram

What's in this plan:

   This time I was more consistent in what I wired for each wall plate. Most of the time I used 4 port wall plates with 2 coaxial cable jacks, 1 cat-5 internet jack, and 1 phone jack wired with cat-5 so it can be upgraded in the future. As you can see on the diagram, 10 different wall plates use this configuration.

   Similar to the first plan, each bedroom has 2 wall plates at opposite ends. Each plate uses the standard 2 coax, 1 internet and 1 phone setup.

   The Master Bedroom has some jacks in odd locations. These were installed by the builder. Most of my work was behind the Armoire with the bed/bath speakers jacks again and another plate with the standard 2 coax, 1 internet, & 1 phone jack.

   I did a lot more in-ceiling speakers with this home. Trying to do ceiling speakers on the first floor is almost impossible once the drywall is installed, so I figured I should just wire everything. The Living Room, Dining Room, and Morning Room got in-ceiling speakers, and the Family Room and Study both got 2 pair of in wall speakers for surround sound. Like the first plan, most of the speaker wires terminated behind the entertainment center. I planned for a separate sound system in the Study, so the 4 Study speakers terminated in the corner of that room.

   I still wanted to share audio/video between the Study and Family Room so I ran some wires directly between these 2 rooms. I wasn't sure what I needed, so I ran a little of everything. 3 component cables (made of coax but terminated with RCA component connectors) for Left/Right audio and video, Coax for Audio/Video, S-Video, Internet, and a VGA cable. The component cables, S-Video, and VGA cable all have limits on how long they can be run so it wasn't practical to run these wires to the central location in the basement.

   There are many more jacks behind the entertainment center besides the speaker connections and wires to the Study. There are 6 coax cables, 2 internet and 2 phone jacks. This was absolute overkill but I wanted to ensure that I would never be short on connections. A dual-tuner TiVo uses 2 coax connections. If I ever get a HDTV antenna, that will take a 3rd. This time I used coax cable to run the audio/video signal from the computer to the Family Room so I can use the TV to watch movies off the computer. A 5th coax wire could be used to takes the output from the satellite receiver/TiVo and run it to another room. I figured 6 cables would be more than I would ever need.

   The Morning Room and Study also got the standard 2 coax, 1 internet and 1 phone setup.

   The areas marked X and W are the kitchen island and countertop. These were wired after I closed. I didn't want to cut into the island before the house belonged to me. These both have an internet and phone jacks. Like the previous plan, the idea here was for connecting laptops to the internet.

   This time the alarm system includes door sensors that chime when the doors are opened and closed. I wired the panels and motion detectors before drywall was installed, but I waited until after closing to do the doors. I didn't want to drill into the doors and possibly void the warranty before I even owned the home.

Wiring Panel

  This is the wiring panel in the basement. As you can see, everything is well labeled and organized. I didn't want to repeat the mistakes I made in the first home.

Click on the picture for a larger image.
Wiring Panel

   The panel is actually 2 boards in the a corner of the basement near the electrical box. If you click on the image for the larger version, you can see that everything is labeled and zip tied for a clean look. The boards are standard 2'x4' plywood that you can get from any hardware store. They are mounted to 2"x4"'s that are screwed directly into the concrete. From left to right the panels contain:

  • Coax cable to the different rooms - most of these are not connected, 4 are connected to the satellite input and some are connected to each other so that different rooms can share the same signal.

  • Incoming coax from the the satellite dish - this is a triple LNB dish with four outputs so I didn't need a multiplexer to split the signal. 2 outputs go to the Master Bedroom and 2 go to the Family Room.

  • Ground wire connected to the copper pipe - this is used to ground all the incoming coax cable lines and also is the ground for the alarm panel.

  • Incoming cable feed - not in use but wired so that the cable company wouldn't need to mess with my panel in the future. This coax wire was placed furthest to the right because the incoming cable could also be used for internet access.

  • Internet cables to the different rooms - most of these are not connected, the rest are connected to the network routers. The top box in the stack is a wireless network router, the second is the DSL modem. The other two are straight network routers.

  • Phone cables to the different rooms - most of this wire is Cat-5 internet cable allowing for future upgrades.

  • Incoming phone line - the phone feed is split using a DSL splitter into a DSL line and phone line. If you use DSL for internet access, every phone line needs a DSL filter. By putting it in the basement right off the main feed I only need one filter for the whole house. The DSL line goes to the DSL modem. The phone line splits into a bank of phone jacks.

  • Alarm Panel - The wires for the motion detector, door sensors, keypads, and horn enter the top of the alarm box. The power goes in the bottom. The box is locked and contains a battery backup.

  • Power - The electrical panel is just to the right of this picture, but far enough away so that it wont cause any interference. The builder installed an outlet right next to the electrical box, so getting power to the routers and alarm was easy. I used a power strip with gaps between the sockets that was designed for use with power transformers.

   These 2 pictures are of other areas in the basement. The builder ran most of the power wire around the edges of the home, so I ran my wire down the middle of the house along one of the I-beams. The other picture shows the wires going up through the first floor behind the entertainment center. Some of the wires run to the basement panel, and others go right back up to the Study. The coil of speaker wire is for speakers I want to eventually install in the basement when it is finished. By adding the wire now, I don't need to try to fish it through the wall later.

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