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 How to pre-wire Cat for home automation??
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frisk3
Starting Member

Canada
2 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2011 :  04:03:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We are building our last home before retirement and I need help! We are not at insulation/drywall stage yet. I've wired 6 outdoor cameras using Cat 6. These are all IP cameras hooked up to local cable and through a hosting company I can view my house from anywhere while being built. No problem. Behind the wall in my home theater where my screen will be is my "comunications" room. Satelite wires, cable TV, phone, security (smoke/Co2, sump pump high water) all end run in this room. No problem. I also sent 2 RGB6 and 4 Cat 6 (bundled together)to all 10 "known" TV locations again terminating in the comunications room. Still no problems. Ran 14/2 speaker wire from speakers to wall controller in each room and then to comunications room. Still no problem. Now my problem! Had electrician run 3" deep gangable boxes at every switch in the house. I also had the electrician essentially run power in to the switch with the switch controlling the hot in the wall and not in the ceiling. I've read where this is best for later trying to control through home automation. So now I'm left with running Cat 6 to the items that I want to control later after the house is completed. I understand I'll need some sort of conrolling system (the brains, no names mentioned) in the communications room however do I literally just run the Cat 6 into the light switch where the 14/2 wire is, and then to the communications room? Is it as easy as that or am I missing something? Is there anything else regarding this phase of wiring I need to do pre-drywall. I will try to keep the Cat away from hydro wires when running parallel etc. I apologize for the rant however it gives those with knowledge that respond the sense of prewiring already done.
Thanking you in advane for answering
GEORGE

stusviews
Moderator

USA
11474 Posts

Posted - 12/04/2011 :  2:06:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by frisk3

... do I literally just run the Cat 6 into the light switch ...


It is a violation of the National Electrical Code to have low voltage wiring, such as speakers, Cat6, coax, etc. in the same box as line voltage unless there is an approved separator in the box.

The most common method of running low voltage is in tubing and, as you indicated, to a central location. You can also just string it in the walls.

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frisk3
Starting Member

Canada
2 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2011 :  02:55:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Understanding that the Cat wire does not go into the electrical box how does the Cat control a typical switch? My problem is if I can't understand how the 2 marry together I can't figure out how to pre-wire.
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BLH
Advanced Member

4471 Posts

Posted - 12/05/2011 :  04:32:01 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Normally CAT wiring is never involved with controlling switches. At least with protocols like X10, Insteon.

I believe there is a very pricey automation control system that may use CAT wiring but it is only avilable from Certified Installers. That have to set up the system and be called back to do changes as the end user can not do it.
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easytim
Junior Member

45 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2011 :  9:43:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit easytim's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Do some more reading, I'm just trying to help
http://www.cocoontech.com/wiki/Wiring_Your_New_House_101

http://www.led-guy.com This is an information only web site about LEDs - I'm sharing some ideas here
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
11474 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2011 :  9:55:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good reading, thanks. Ultimately, line voltage must be separated from low voltage including audio, video, telephone, network, etc. unless your municipality does not require compliance with the NEC.

The NEC is a recommendation, not a law. Only your legislature regulates building codes.

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foxtail22
Average Member

USA
87 Posts

Posted - 02/14/2012 :  1:09:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit foxtail22's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Most local electrical inspectors are going to call you out on low and high voltage lines being in the same box. I am not sure what you are thinking as far as control but Cat6 cable is normally used for computer local area network(LAN) connections. They would typically be wired into a box in the rooms which could include telephone, cable, and LAN (all low voltage) in one box. It can be located adjacent to the AC box but can't by code, share it. The CAT 6 would be home run to a central structured wiring panel along with the cable and telephone. As far as control goes, you can use a system like Insteon for control which sends the control signals across the AC lines using plug in or wire in modules. You then buy a central controller which allows you to create programs to control the devices to create scenes such as dimming the lights for movie watching, turning on and off night lights, adding motion detection, etc. Smarthome.com sells the entire line of Insteon devices to let you do most anything you can dream up.

You might also want to wire all your windows and doors including garage windows and doors back the the central wiring panel and install a security system that also can be connected to the other home automation support to fully integrate your system. Galss break and security motion detectors should also be considered. Also run cables to the locations where you would want to mount your security system control panels such as next to the door you use to go outside and in the master bedroom.

I built my house 6 years ago and did a very similiar thing. I ended up with 20 LAN jacks, and 32 security zones all home run to the structured wiring panel along with 16 Cable runs for TV, and 20 phone jacks. At the time Cat5e was what was available and I found that dispite the fact that it had 8 wires and I only need two wires to each window, Cat5e was cheaper then two conductor cable normally used for windows and door sensors, so I used Cat5e for my LAN, my security sensors, and my telephone runs. Dispite all the LAN connections, today I use a wireless connection on my laptop along with my many wired LAN jacks.

I also ran wires to panel locations in the bedroom, and kitchen from the garage doors and used Cat5e to provide garage door control and and LED blinking status to indicate that a door was not fully closed. We live in an ares served by oil heat so I ran a run from the oil tank via the central wiring box, up to a wall location in the hallway by the door to my garage and installed a fuel oil supply indicator.

I also ran a cable to under my kitchen sink to later add motion detector control to control a far end circulator pump to provide instant hot water whenever you go into the kitchen.

Lastly, no matter how much planning you do, having moved 13 times and built 4 houses along the way, it is guaranteed that you will either forget something, or come up with something new you would like to add down the road. I have done this in my last two houses and it has saved me a lot of work and grief and that is to run a 2-2.5" pipe from your basement or lower level to the attic. This will let you fish a cable later and from the attic, you can drill and drop it down into the wall petitions and fish it through to your cutout for mounting a box in a top floor room. Likewise if you have a basement and you plan to finish it, run a pipe across above the ceiling to allow you to fish wire from one end of the house to the other.
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