Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


01:47PM | 02/23/03
Member Since: 02/16/03
2 lifetime posts
I am currently remodeling my home, and have so far tried to anticipate the future installation of all of the various types of wiring systems ; (120Vac, coax, Cat5E, audio speaker wiring, security system wiring, fiber optic cable, etc). I've installed two independent conduit systems throughout the house; each runs to J-boxes in the major walls (4"sq., and 4-11/16" sq. ) ( in some boxes I brought in conduits from both systems to a common box, and separated the box into two halves with a sheet metal divider), and then I'll install a two-channel surface raceway , running around each room, to provide a continuous strip- (looking like a slightly wide chair-rail) in which to mount/install all of my light switches, receptacles, ant termination connectors for each wiring system. The top half of the raceway will be reserved for the 120Vac wiring, (lighting control/switch wiring, and receptacle outlets). The bottom half of the raceway will be for any and all of the low-voltage wiring.
Now, I need to start looking for some kind of a master Network Wiring System Panel to install near the regular Power panel. All of my various low-voltage, Network wiring cabling and conductors will run to/from this panel.
I need any help/ advice/ suggestions on which type (mfg) of network systems are best; how to size up the particular capacities of each sub-system, ( how many video connections, how many telephones/ intercoms,security systems & controls; how many Audio input sources, how many speaker locations; how many Cat5E connections, etc); and what kind of control options can I utilize- PC(computer), remote clicker, What about IR, or Wireless(RF) controls?, and what about lighting controls?- X10 , Leviton, Lutron, etc., etc.,etc.
The options & choices are mind boggling, but I can install/implement one system at a time- pulling in new wiring as I need to- wherever it needs to be run. I just wat a Network panel that provides a lot of otpions, and has expandable/adaptable features!
Please post your best advice/recommendations etc.


05:25PM | 02/23/03
Member Since: 01/01/03
35 lifetime posts
A lot of this depends on the system that you intend to install. HAI and Napco, for example, have wiring blocks in the panel that you can directly connect sensors to. Even with these, though, you may need to group sensors into zones, and for that it's a nice thing to have an external patch panel or a wiring block.

If you need to patch cables before they enter a system, the best recommendation I can give is to use 110 blocks. For this, you'll need a 110 punchdown tool. The similar alternative is to use 66 punchdown blocks, but they are rarely rated for CAT5 which you'll be incorporating, and they need a special tool as well. With a 110 block, you can cross connect for everything but home audio in one place.

Another alternative is to install a patch panel. These typically have 110 connections on the back and take RJ-45 connections. They're more expensive, but easier to change interconnections with. A lot of dot-coms are unloading these pretty cheap on EBay these days.

I don't know what you mean about looking for advice on network systems. Are you looking for ethernet routers and hubs?

IR is nice for audio/video stuff, but line-of-sight is pretty restrictive. Your remotes are probably all you need there. Wireless is occasionally flaky, and I don't like it for security related applications because very few are actually secure or resistant to interference.

X10 is something to stay away from if you can. It's horribly insecure, subject to lots of problems with interference, and requires connections to the AC for every controller. No one serious uses X10 for security applications. And even for lighting, there are lots of users that have problems with getting units to communicate reliably.

All the other powerline signal carriers seem terribly expensive to me. If a switch costs over $100, it makes little sense to not use the $2 switch it would have replaced.

You may want to consider building your own from the ground up if you're into tinkering. When a high-end HAI controller costs $1500, it's a decent incentive to experiment a bit.



05:18AM | 02/24/03
Member Since: 12/30/02
46 lifetime posts
When I wired my house last year I did searches on the net to find everything I needed. Try "distribution panels" and also go to and


06:12AM | 04/02/03
Member Since: 03/31/03
7 lifetime posts
Distribution panels are often really expensive simple metal boxes.

For phone/computer/etc, I've used basic patch panels and punchdown blocks in a wood "cabinet." A basic 1x4 or 1x6
frame with a door and a plywood back do most of what you need.
A smoked glass framed front door looks nice. Toss in a hole or
two for some status LEDs and you're set.

A deep (4-6") 18" x 24" metal box might provide extra
shielding. I've most found distro panels to be a really expensive option without offering a lot.

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