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Experience pulling wire?
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  (#1)
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Experience pulling wire? - January 3, 2008, 02:53 PM

I'm thinking of doing some home modification that would involve running some AV/Component/cable. I've done small runs down a wall but never across a ceiling or floor. Is there a trick to it or special tools for drilling through joists after walls/ceilings/floors are in place?
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January 3, 2008, 03:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutter
I'm thinking of doing some home modification that would involve running some AV/Component/cable. I've done small runs down a wall but never across a ceiling or floor. Is there a trick to it or special tools for drilling through joists after walls/ceilings/floors are in place?
It would really depend on the space that you are trying to do. I did my parents basement as far as running the wire for the network connections and it was fairly simple being that we had custom lights installed so I just pulled it using those holes....


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January 3, 2008, 03:30 PM

I have a bit of experience with this, but need a few more details.

What cables specifically are you running, and how many?

Are you running them in any kind of conduit, whether it be metallic, pvc or innerduct?

It's always best to avoid drilling through joists if possible, if necessary, I think (and i'm fuzzy on this, so recheck) you can drill a hole through a joist that is as large in diameter as the joist is thick. If it's wood, go with a hole saw, sanding the edges down if you intend to free-run the wire

If you havent planned for any kind of conduit, I'd recommend you at least use some plastic innerduct or wire loom to at least keep the cables together and protected from nicks and such. PVC also works well, but you need to have good access to the whole length of the run, not always possible.

Pull the wires in one pre-wrapped bundle, after you get 1 or 2 in, pulling more becomes a lot harder.

Do not pull high power wires (anything over 40V) in the same bundle as the AV stuff, and if you dont use metallic conduit, keep it at least 3 feet away from any high power lines (like 110V AC)

Hope this helps.


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January 3, 2008, 04:33 PM

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January 3, 2008, 04:46 PM

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Originally Posted by JUSTGO
fish tape
+1 on the fish tape.

What kind of wire you running? I work for a commercial electric company at the moment. Working out at Dulles Airport right now sucks...
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January 3, 2008, 07:49 PM

If you plan on running component bundled cable or an HDMI cable you'll most likely need to be drilling 3/4 inch holes. You can fit 3 component cables in one and normally two HDMI's will fit in one. I'd recommend wiring for the future for any location you are planning to run for a display be it plasma or lcd. Run multiple cables and not just one. Or one of each. If you plan on doing Blueray you'll need an HDMI cable run. For speaker wire bigger it better especially for long runs. However if you aren't going to be putting in good speakers don't waste the money. You won't hear the difference.

If you have an unlimited budget run cat5e everywhere. You can send just about anything over it and can convert multiple different types of inputs (coax, rca, hdmi, optical, etc) to mulitple types of outputs using small modules on either end. This also makes distribution a snap. You can use one Sat/Cable box/DVD or whatever source you desire to feed a whole house easily. The boxes for this are a lot more compact than HDMI or Component distro systems.

If any of this confused you or you'd rather talk about it PM me and I'll send you my number. I do this stuff for a living. I'd need to know more of what you are exactly trying to do to help.


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January 3, 2008, 07:55 PM

I live in a 3 level townhouse and would love to run cat5e upstairs from the basement where all my network equipment is (wireless is teh suck), however:

1) I have a VERY small attic (I have vaulted ceilings in most of my upper level)
2) I have no crawlspace. There is a small unfinished storage area but that's about it.

Is this basically impossible to run cable from the basement up to the 2nd/top floor? If not, how would I go about trying to find a way to do it?

Run inside AC ducts somehow?...


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January 3, 2008, 08:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHiriser
If you have an unlimited budget run cat5e everywhere. You can send just about anything over it and can convert multiple different types of inputs (coax, rca, hdmi, optical, etc) to mulitple types of outputs using small modules on either end. This also makes distribution a snap. You can use one Sat/Cable box/DVD or whatever source you desire to feed a whole house easily. The boxes for this are a lot more compact than HDMI or Component distro systems.
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January 3, 2008, 08:22 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemsonJeeper
I live in a 3 level townhouse and would love to run cat5e upstairs from the basement where all my network equipment is (wireless is teh suck), however:

1) I have a VERY small attic (I have vaulted ceilings in most of my upper level)
2) I have no crawlspace. There is a small unfinished storage area but that's about it.

Is this basically impossible to run cable from the basement up to the 2nd/top floor? If not, how would I go about trying to find a way to do it?

Run inside AC ducts somehow?...
Running inside ducts is pretty extreme although I've seen it done, caulk the ever loving crap out of it if you do, install small o-rings as well to prevent the wire from being cut by the metal should it move.

How much do you have invested in the paint on your walls assuming they are painted? If it is basic stuff you can get wires from the top floor of 4 level townhouse down to a basement with as little as 4 holes. You can do this by planning way ahead. Take a stud finder down the walls the path you intend to take to ensure there aren't fire breaks in your way. Cut a hole big enough to fit a flexible drill bit to the joist for the floor. Do the same for each floor and you are in the basement. Some times you have to cut 2 holes per floor though, one at the ceiling and one at the floor per floor. Finding a decent drywaller for cheap should be easy. Most of the ones that work with me in Potomac are from VA and readily do side work.

I'd have to see the spaces you have that are open to advise you the best route to take if they are even able to be used.

If you do choose to cut the walls it might be well worth it to install a conduit from the top to the bottom with access points on each floor. This makes future wiring a snap for the next big thing in wiring to come out or as in the other post more cat5e since it is the most universal wire out there for home type stuff.


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Last edited by TheHiriser; January 3, 2008 at 08:31 PM.. Reason: More Info
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January 4, 2008, 09:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHiriser
If you plan on running component bundled cable or an HDMI cable you'll most likely need to be drilling 3/4 inch holes. You can fit 3 component cables in one and normally two HDMI's will fit in one. I'd recommend wiring for the future for any location you are planning to run for a display be it plasma or lcd. Run multiple cables and not just one. Or one of each. If you plan on doing Blueray you'll need an HDMI cable run. For speaker wire bigger it better especially for long runs. However if you aren't going to be putting in good speakers don't waste the money. You won't hear the difference.

If you have an unlimited budget run cat5e everywhere. You can send just about anything over it and can convert multiple different types of inputs (coax, rca, hdmi, optical, etc) to mulitple types of outputs using small modules on either end. This also makes distribution a snap. You can use one Sat/Cable box/DVD or whatever source you desire to feed a whole house easily. The boxes for this are a lot more compact than HDMI or Component distro systems.

If any of this confused you or you'd rather talk about it PM me and I'll send you my number. I do this stuff for a living. I'd need to know more of what you are exactly trying to do to help.
I can do all that with Cat5e? There's a dongle for coax or HDMI or component etc? Cat5 is easier to run...
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January 4, 2008, 09:26 AM

Cat5e is uber cheap and much easier to run so putting in multiple runs is always a great idea. Never wire for the now, always wire for the future.

Yes you can convert any type of video or audio signal to run over Cat5e as long as you have what they call "Baluns" or converter boxes on both sides of each wire. It can get expensive doing it that way though. You need two Cat5's for each HDMI type signal you want to send. One for component cable type runs.


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January 4, 2008, 09:50 AM

Hiriser, you seem to know your stuff, but I gotta disagree (or specify) a bit. it doesn't sound like he'd get much benefit from using cat5 over a combination of dedicated HDMI/ coax/ cat5 cables.

Yeah, cat5 is cheap and easy to run, but thats more important as the projects get larger, for a single typical residence, you wont be making up enough savings on cable and infrastructure to make up for the added costs of the tranceivers (baluns). A single pair of HDMI tranceivers run in the $500 range, and component ones will run in the $150 range... That can buy a lot of wire, even HDMI,and the pull isn't going to be that much easier to justify it... you also need multiple cat5's to replace single cables like HDMI, so you lose ground there too.

Using Cat5 or fiber is definitely advantageous in large projects with long pulls and big trunklines, but I dont think Cutter's project will be large enough to make it worth it.

Cutter, run the numbers both ways before you go too gung ho w/ the cat5... But as hiriser said, if your budget is unlimited, this is a good way to go.. there is speculation that within a decade most things will be connected to cat5 somehow, even that POE (power over ethernet) will replace a lot of typical household power wiring for electronics.... wiring for the future can save you $$ tomorrow, but still spends todays dollars.


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Last edited by Thwack; January 4, 2008 at 10:18 AM..
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January 4, 2008, 10:21 AM

I ran a conduit in my basement when my townhouse was being built. Flexible pipe big enought to run component video. By the time I was ready to buy a projector component video was out and HDMI was in. While I could pull the cable, I could not pull the cable with the connector on it. My solution was to pull CAT5e and get a converter:

http://shopping.aol.com/gefen-hdmi-cat-5-extreme-200-ft/22830274

Be aware that there are limits to cable length for HDMI cables. Also, unless you have the equipment to put the end on the cables you will either have to pull connectors or pay someone else to put them on the bare wires that you pull.

If your run will be parallel to your joist, the pulling will be much easier.

Rob,
If you have a newer townehouse, it may be setup with a radon vent pipe that you could use for your wires. Check your storage area for a 3-4" pipe that is either open or capped. Otherwise your best bet would be to snake the wires beside your HVAC stack using fishtape.


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January 4, 2008, 11:10 AM

if you are pulling a lot of cat5e (which is an excellent choice - mentioned by a few here) I would recommend terminating them AFTER you are done with all your pulls..

I know you would think this to be obvious but I have seen others try to make it work the other way around because they were impatient and just wanted to do something.

However with the rising use of bluetooth and other wireless technologies, isn't possible to do some of this without hard-cable?


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January 4, 2008, 11:41 AM

wireless N, say goodbye wires.


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