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Data Cat5 and other wiring


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I need to confirm location of Data points for Timber Frame Co. I am not very technosavvy, tho interested. I recall that, in my last build 11 years ago, I ran screened Cat5 wires to every room , and only actually put terminals on two for phone connection, since wifi had arrived meantime.

So I shall run 2xCat5e to every room from the Utility room. Esp because builder suggests that wifi may not work well with walls fully filled with insulation. I shall put a duct in for twin CT100 coax to go to an external dish, which may or may not ever get installed. Any other precautionary measures?

Maybe:

  • a cable for a 'crash' switch in the kitchen to fire up the MVHR?
  • Bathroom too?
  • Some cables for sensors and temperature controllers as discussed in next thread on here?
  • Coax to points in most rooms for aerial

Any advice and pointers to other sites where the issue is discussed for the beginner please?

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The builder is right, I've found that the wifi signal isn't as good around the house with our timber frame as I expected.  Interesting that he thinks it's the insulation, as I stuffed loads of rockwool in all the internal walls, to cut down sound transmission, and didn't give a thought to it affecting the wifi signal.  I added a really big co-linear antenna to the wireless router that did make a useful difference, but I'm glad I also ran loads of Cat6 cable everywhere (I only used Cat6 because I got loads free, Cat 5 would have been plenty good enough).

I have ethernet sockets in every room, two or three in some rooms, all lead back to a modular wall plate in my study, where there are a lot of short patch leads that connect to a multiport switch (can't recall whether it's a 12 or 16 port one, but I've used most of the ports).

I also ran Cat 6 across some rooms, for example in my study I have four runs going from the modular plate on one wall to the wall opposite, so that I can easily hook up the printer one side of the room and the desktop the other side if I want to.

The other place I ran cable was wherever I thought we might want a TV, as most have connectivity now, for iPlayer and the like.  One place I wish I had run Cat6 to is the ceiling void in the kitchen, as I've retrofitted ceiling speakers with a Bluetooth amp in the ceiling, but it would have been neater to have put a remote multimedia amp up there, with a network connection (the ceiling speakers are great, not expensive ones but nevertheless surprisingly good).

On the topic of speakers, it's also worth running speaker cables behind the walls wherever you think you might need them.  I initially connected these up to wall plates with speaker terminals on, but recently changed this and have fitted in-wall speakers, that fit inside the 45mm service void (total depth around 57mm).  These also sound very good indeed, with some added rockwool stuffed in the void around them.  It's nice not to have speakers cluttering the place up, and the ones I fitted barely protrude from the wall surface.

I ran lots of satellite cable around, with dual runs to any room or wall that I thought might ever have a TV.  I ran these all back up to the point high on one gable, in our service room that's on the first floor.  We get lousy radio reception, so as well as a dish with a 4 way LNB, I also fitted a band II antenna plus a DAB antenna on that end gable, with a duct to bring all the cables in.  At the moment I'm multiplexing one of the satellite feeds, plus the band II and DAB feeds and demultiplexing in the living room wall plate and in the eaves void for the drop down to my wife's study.  Sadly I still can't get DAB, but FM radio is just about OK.  We can't get a TV signal since the digital switch over, so all the TVs are using Freesat.

I'd definitely run multicore cable from wherever you think you might have controls to wherever you think you might fit thermostats or programmers.  I ran a length of 4 core cable from the wall in the hall (where the thermostats are) to the wall near the UFH controls and wish I'd run 8 core, as I could then have avoided using wireless thermostats (although the wireless stats do work well).  The 4 core cable is just for the MVHR controller, but knowing what I know now another 4 core run would have allowed me to fit the ASHP controller next to it and use it as a combined thermostat and programmer.

I embedded some temperature sensors in the floor slab, one outside in a shielded enclosure on the North wall and some on things like the ASHP flow pipe, the buffer tank (around mid-point), the hot water preheat flow temp going into the plate heat exchanger.  These are all DS18B20 sensors, encapsulated with epoxy into short lengths of 6mm OD brass tube with screened 3 core cable from each, leading back to the wall by the UFH manifold, where I have a data logger mounted.  This measures all the sensors every six minutes, displays the data and stores it on an SD card so I can see what the house is doing when conditions change.  More fun and educational than practical, really.

If you're MVHR needs, or you want to fit, a manual boost switch, then you can run two core cable for this.  Ours is controllable from the controller in the hall, and has a one-push "party" button to increase the ventilation rate for a pre-set period of time (programmable).  I added a programmable humidistat with a humidity sensor in the extract duct, and this is programmed to switch the MVHR to boost if the humidity exceeds a preset level.  It also displays the humidity.  I find this needs re-setting in the autumn, when the humidity level rises, and again in the spring, when it drops, as otherwise it tends to either not operate when it should or operates when it shouldn't.  It's easy to programme and was relatively cheap.  It was also easy to wire to the boost connection on the MVHR.

 

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Sure, the kitchen ceiling speakers and Bluetooth amp  I bought were cheap, from ebay, with a small amplifier/receiver that's powered from a plug in power supply.  They are still available from the same seller: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/152027262383?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I was surprised that the sound quality is as good as it is, given the low price.  They seem to connect to my tablet, my wife's iPad and my laptop with no problem at all.  Unlike some Bluetooth amplifiers, this one does not have the very annoying voice "feature" that tells you when it's connected or not, it just gently beeps, which is fine. 

I have another Bluetooth amp that is so annoying I never use it.  Every time it connects the thing says "Blutooth is connected", very loudly, with no way of turning this extremely irritating feature off (the brand name is Nobsound, so if you don't want a "talking amplifier" then choose another brand!)

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I agree - put loads of cables in - more than you ever think you will need. It costs very little to embed runs of CAT5e in the walls when building - but is a total pain to retrofit them afterwards.

Note - CAT5e has 8 cores internally - and can also be used for most control / sensors etc - ie you can splice into the CAT5e cable for most low voltage applications. A 300m reel of decent quality CAT5e will cost less than £50 - so you can go nuts with it without spending a lot.

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+1 to more cables. 

I tried to do this and yet there are already a couple of runs I wish we'd made that we didn't.  There's virtually no point trying to do this now, as the missing runs are long and would require too much disruption.

Someone (Prodave perhaps?) suggested putting a "liftable" section of flooring along the edges of halls and any part of a room to where you might want to run things.  It's much easier to lift that and run things through the floor, than trying to get into the walls or ceiling (especially if, like us, you don't have a loft above the insulation).  

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Here's another slant to this often talked about "forgot to put in a cable for......"

Yes I will try to remember all the cables I need, but you also need to think about technology changing and a need for something new.

So I am building my house in such a way that it should be possible to add new cables from just about anywhere to anywhere in the future.  How am I achieving that?

Well for a start there is a service void all around the house, so dropping cables down that should be possible.  To enable that, when I fit the floor upstairs (chipboard and carpet) I will leave a small strip all around the perimiter of each room that is only screwed down.  So to gain access fold back the carpet, unscrew an access strip, and you can drop a cable down into any segment of the service void (spare holes having been left at the top of each segment of service void).  That coupled with posi joists throughout, should mean I can add new cables from anywhere to anywhere.

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Worth noting that it is damned hard to pull cables through posijoists once the plaster board is up and the floor down (ask me how I know this..................).

I think that running fat flexible cable duct around through them might be an idea, with a loop of pull-cord, so you can pull cables thorough and still leave the pull cord in place for use in future.  There are a couple of places I wish I'd done this, and can say from experience that when I decided to split the kitchen/dining room ceiling light panel array into two, after it was installed and the ceiling plastered and painted, it was a complete PITA trying to run new cables to the kitchen end, as they snag on the metal webs in the posijoists. 

For anyone doing this, where the only access is a series of down lighter sized holes, I suggest putting the cables in a bit of 20mm plastic conduit and then bending that gently and feeding it up through a down lighter hole and through the posijoists and insulation.  It will catch on the top member of the first posijoist it encounters, but if you can get your hand up the same hole you can pull the conduit down in a gentle bend and get it through.  Once it's through the first one it's plain sailing through the rest.  The conduit needs to have a cap taped on the far end, with smoothed corners (I machined up a bit of 20mm acetal to a bullet-shape that plugged in the end of the bit of conduit). 

Once I had this trick sorted it was relatively easy to get the cables where I needed them, but it would have saved hours of faffing around if I'd had the foresight to fit large (say 50mm) flexible conduit around a few places before hand.  Given that rolls of black 50mm flexible conduit aren't that expensive, it's an investment I wish I'd made.  The only thing to watch is cable ratings, not likely to be an issue at for lighting or control circuits, but you may need to uprate heavier cables if they are run in conduits.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for advice.

I will put in

  • lots of data lines to relevant corners of relevant rooms,
  • a duct for twin coax to a putative dish JIC,
  • and multicore to controllers/detectors.
  • maybe coax to other rooms for aerial signal - after checking what reception is like on site.
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We just bough a load of twin coax and our electrician laid is as par of first fix, even to rooms where we aren't currently planning to have an outlet.  We are just leaving them snaked in the wall adjacent to a socket -- that way recovering the cable if we do want to commission a point is trivial.  whereas tring to lay a new one after boarding out will be a total pain.   Ditto with our Cat 5e.

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  • 5 weeks later...

I take it from this that apart form JSH who got it free, no one is bothering to use Cat6 but sees Cat5e as plenty future proof?  I had hoped to rely on wifi, but am stuffing my studs with rockwool (of which I have a big heap I got very cheaply)   I find Cat6 to be about double the price of 5e and I'm just "value engineering" my spreadsheet towards our final costing, so  every bit I can save counts. To get the benefit of Cat6 every component of a system would have to be Gigabit rated anyway and that Cat5e actually can generally run at or very near those speeds but simply is not certified to do so.  Would be a bugger to find that an advance  in technology requires CAT6 in 2 years time.....

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I can pretty much guarantee that Cat5E will be around in 10-15 years time, as we are still flood wiring buildings with it ...! 

 

If you plan to run HDMI 1080p over Cat5 then your issue will be the balun quality not the wiring - even 4K video is fine for Cat5 as long as you're not trying to send it 300m. 

 

What will become prevalent is power over Ethernet - PoE - and for this you really do need a copper conductor, not CCA. This is about the cheapest I've found pure copper Cat5 but I'm happy if someone can find cheaper ..!!

 

http://www.cabling4less.co.uk/products/1941/utp_pvc_cat5.e_reel_-_0.5mm/

 

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We put in loads of network and coax cable but I still managed to miss a few...

 

I forget to put in a length of coax from the loft to the distribution amp for the TV aerial! Fortunately all the upstairs bedrooms had two coax so I was able to pull one up into the loft.

 

I also forgot to put a wire in for the front door bell. A wireless system sorted that but it's a pain replacing the batteries. I might also be tempted to run a network cable to the front door bell area?

 

Our alarm system is wireless (works well) but the external bell box also needed a wire that I forgot about.

 

We eventually installed a security camera system that used networked cameras - so if building again I would add the necessary weather proof cable for that at the outset. I used Ubiquiti "TOUGHCable" and matching connectors.

 

Edited by Temp
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We used CAT6.  Yes it was more expensive, but in the scheme of things not such a big expense.  

 

If doing it again, I'd probably put in more CAT6 to places where any form of AV equipment was going, as it seems just about everything comes with a network cable.  I'd probably use cheaper CAT5e for light switches (we have a home automation system).


Missing out wiring a front doorbell seems common - I have two friends who both managed to do it and ended up having cheap plastic battery powered wireless doorbells stuck outside their lovely new doors.  I'd actually run two cables to the door: one for the doorbell switch, and the other in case you ever want to install an intercom (possibly including a camera).

 

Plan for external PIR sensors, in case you want to do more than just use PIR security lights.  We have a couple of places where the PIR is wired back to our home automation system, so we can do more than just have a light come on when a PIR is triggered.  Ditto for possible security cameras, as mentioned above.

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23 hours ago, jack said:

Missing out wiring a front doorbell seems common - I have two friends who both managed to do it and ended up having cheap plastic battery powered wireless doorbells stuck outside their lovely new doors.

 

Tell them some of the Byron wireless units are/were designed for use with a separate bell push button. I splashed out on a nice brass unit.. 

 

https://www.jim-lawrence.co.uk/product/13308/brass-door-bell-with-ceramic-push#3078AB

 

   

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Slightly off topic, but when we were doing the cat5e cable runs I assumed that it could take a phone signal, but looking at the connectors they won't fit in a phone socket.

 

I'm sure there is an adaptor to convert the two of them, but can someone tell me what they are called?  Is it an RJ11 to RJ45 converter?

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On topic and from the TEF forum it's worth mentioning about the importance of buying decent Cat5. Ideally solid copper as opposed to copper over aluminium  or copper over steel. I'm currently looking at long runs for PoE CCTV.

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2 hours ago, Calvinmiddle said:

Slightly off topic, but when we were doing the cat5e cable runs I assumed that it could take a phone signal, but looking at the connectors they won't fit in a phone socket.

 

I'm sure there is an adaptor to convert the two of them, but can someone tell me what they are called?  Is it an RJ11 to RJ45 converter?

Do you mean this sort of thing?

 

https://www.run-it-direct.co.uk/RJ11toRJ45B.html

 

Sometimes neater to change the whole lead on the phone.

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3 hours ago, Calvinmiddle said:

Slightly off topic, but when we were doing the cat5e cable runs I assumed that it could take a phone signal, but looking at the connectors they won't fit in a phone socket.

 

I'm sure there is an adaptor to convert the two of them, but can someone tell me what they are called?  Is it an RJ11 to RJ45 converter?

 

Which socket ...?? You can patch phone to cat5 by just matching the colours at each end. Most phone and cat5 wall plates have standard punch downs. 

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1 hour ago, PeterW said:

 

Which socket ...?? You can patch phone to cat5 by just matching the colours at each end. Most phone and cat5 wall plates have standard punch downs. 

Yup, that's doable. 

The downside is no cross connectivity after your second fixed, eg a phone outlet is never going to do data without a strip out and re-termination. The whole idea of cabling in cat5 is that you can patch things without having to make any alterations to the hard wired side. All the cat5 outlets get same - config wired and you then use an adapter 'dongle' ( like the RJ45 to BT adapter ) and then plug your phone into that. 

Tbh, with cordless DECT telephony it's a wonder why people want the bother. The Panasonic ones I fitted for the last customer worked at over 30m away from the house. Crackled a bit at that distance but pretty good for change of £100 for a 4 pack ;)  

Plus with the DECT ones you can transfer calls from one handset to another, page, intercom call and more so a lot of pros to support considering them IMHO. You can also get DECT repeaters for certain brand cordless phones which will give you another 30-50m range ( garage / outbuildings etc ). 

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2 hours ago, PeterW said:

 

Which socket ...?? You can patch phone to cat5 by just matching the colours at each end. Most phone and cat5 wall plates have standard punch downs. 

 

I have all my cat5 cable running from the sockets in the house back to a central place and these all terminate in a rj45 plug.

now that I've had a look at that video and done some digging I think I need 2 adapters, one that will allow be to plug the rj45 plug into the Virgin media phone socket.  And another one to plug my cordless phone into the cat5 socket - although I think I can get a cable with the correct plugs on the end for that one.

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We recently installed Sky Q, it works over wifi, but it works much better using ethernet from the central box which now acts as a server to the other boxes.

 

If I was putting Cat 5 in I would terminate it near to where TVs are going as you can then use it for Netflix/smart tv as well as distributing TV around the house. Even if you don't have these now they will become more common place.

 

I'd still stick with Coax also as Freeview offers a decent, cheap service for spare rooms or if you don't want to pay for satellite/cable.

 

As has been said Cat 5 is irrelevant for telephone use. Until Sky Q came along we only used it to extend the WiFi and for HDMI over Cat 5 in the house, DECT phones have much better coverage than WiFi.

 

WiFi speed can half going through a couple of walls in a timber frame house. We now have almost the same speed everywhere in the house as the Sky Q boxes act as WiFi repeaters. Sky initially used wireless repeaters, the speed of my WiFi dropped by 2/3 doing it this way, wired is the way to go.

 

If you want to put in CCTV I would consider Cat 5 to the eaves so you can put in tidy little dome cameras.

 

 

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