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Wannabe Geek


Topic # 25126 12-Aug-2008 20:00
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Hi,
Calling out to any that can help (sbiddle, cyril7, jpwise, richms… anyone?). 

We’re renovating our 2 storey home – giving us a 3 bed + study + 2 lounge/living.  I’ve managed to persuade my partner that we need to have data cabling and that I have enough skill to do it (she took some convincing!).  We have a centralised data cupboard, with all the cable running underneath the house/through walls (all gib is off at present). 
So far I’ve run the following amounts of Cat5e to the following areas from the data cupboard 
2x -> Master Bedroom
2x -> Bedroom2
2x -> Bedroom3
2x -> Lounge1
4x -> Lounge2 (main)
4x -> Study 

Telephone is run separately (we’d already had the electrician install these so too late now) and we are getting an alarm (possibly monitored) installed for the house.  My plan is to install a patch panel/box in the data cupboard, which has phone and powerpoints installed in it. Here’s what I want to know (please) 

1.      
What should I do about TV/Video?  I’ve read that I should have sky spec’d duo shield RG6 coax run throughout the house – but can’t I just use Cat5e and baluns?
2.       Following on from the above question – are “baluns” essentially things that plug in to the RJ45 and coax TV connector, allowing me to run AV over Cat5e (in layman’s terms).  Do they work for standard RCA connections?
3.       Where can I purchase baluns in NZ?  I’m in WLG so any advice for good / cheap over the counter places for my patch panel and racks would be great too.
4.       Remote controls – I think I can run IR over Cat5e, with things like Blue Eye IR.  Can I get an all in one IR/AV Balun to carry everything I need for SKY in one connection (or multiple cables).  That way I can set SKY up in the cupboard and relay it around the house.
5.       Do I need a splitter or some kind of distributor for the AV signal over the Cat5e. 

What else have I missed? I can increase the number of Cat5e runs pretty easily.  Or should I just run coax everywhere?
 


Thanks a million for your help (of course, the gib goes up in about 3 days so ANY advice is really appreciated)

 

Deonorth


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  Reply # 156388 12-Aug-2008 20:29
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Hi, you must not shall not must never just run cat5e for RF distribution. Cat5e has no ability to pass 1GHz which is what a Satellite LBand signal starts at. You cannot pass Lband over Cat7 let alone Cat5e.

I suggest that you run 3 coaxs to the main lounge areas, and 2 to the master bed, one to each other bed is fine.

I must repeat one again, do not run cat5e for RF, you will be disaapointed.

A couple of months ago I was asked by a Sky tech to go to a new home that he had attempted to install in and found that it had been fitted with PDL Lexcom (which is cat7 which is 3-5x the bandwidth rating of cat5e) and no coax had been run. It was not possible to run Lband over cat7 with baluns, cat7 still has >5x the loss/meter as RG6 at Lband after 10m the signal was totatlly lost. On first appearance it seemed that it was impossible to run any more cables from the comms cupboard (where fortuanetly 2x RG6 had been run to the roof) to the main lounge, but some lateral thinking I got two RG6 runs from to the lounge. Even with Cat7 Lexcom deploy very high gain amplifieirs which are not good for DVB-T signals to overcome cable losses and even then the system is only rated to 800MHz and still has 3-5x the loss of RG6/m.

DONOT RELY ON CAT5-7 CABLES FOR RF DISTRIBUTION OR YOU WILL BE SORELY DISAPPOINTED!!!!!

Cat5e is fine for IR, most IR solutions expect to find cat5e for cabling.

In light of the new cabling requirements for Sky HDi, I suggest you allow for 3x RG6 to the roof, or at least allow for easy cable runs, 3x RG6 to the main AV centres, 2x RG6 to master bed, 1x to minor bedrooms and other rooms.

Cyril

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  Reply # 156390 12-Aug-2008 20:31
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If your patch panel is going to include phone, and you have a lot of jackpoints, consider an ADSL splitter so you can make the patch panel POTS only, and you wont have ADSL filters everywhere. The data cupboard is a perfect place for the dedicated ADSL port.

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  Reply # 156395 12-Aug-2008 20:53
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Hi,

I have just done most of what you're suggesting.
We built a new house and I put in all the CAT6 cables myself, 16 of them, all terminating in a hallway cupboard into a patch panel.
I only had RG6 run into the cupboard and to the main TV unit in the lounge and at the moment it's only connected to the Sky box in the living room.  My telephone socket is also in the cupboard and patched into 4 inter-connected sockets in the patch panel.

With this setup I can patch a telephone into any room and using baluns which I bought off eBay (they were sent from the US) I can send the Sky TV picture and sound from the second scart port to any of my CAT6 sockets.  The baluns come with a Cat6 (or Cat5/5e) socket on them on one side and 3 RCA connectors (not sockets so you don't need an extra cable) on the other for video, left and right audio.  You can get them with component or s-video too.
I can confirm that they work, and they work great.  I don't have any means of changing the channel in the bedroom where we are patched in though other than walking to the living room and doing it.

I've not tried this yet but I will do when my next 2 baluns arrive.  I am going to inter-connect my spare 4 patch panel ports together and patch the Sky TV into one of those then in theory I can patch the other 3 anywhere in the house and have sky on 4 tvs if necessary.

Let me know if I can give you any more help and post if you find an IR receiver that can go over Cat5.

Cheers,

Neil

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  Reply # 156421 12-Aug-2008 22:08
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its probably cheaper to run rg6 cable everywhere than the cost of baluns will be if you are going to use the tv signal in every room

if you're planning to use ip based media extenders then the cat5 runs should be ample

i ran two cat5 and one rg6 to each room in the house i just renovated (and also to the garage) but i'm not sure i'm ever going to use the extra rg6 runs (except perhaps to the garage if i put a tv server in there)




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  Reply # 156437 12-Aug-2008 22:29
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Sat rated RG6 is hopeless for baseband signals, and the CCTV rated stuff is a pig to terminate since it wont go into F connectors so you have to crimp on BNC's since there are no crimp RCAs, and then put RCA to BNC adapters on it




Richard rich.ms



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  Reply # 156459 12-Aug-2008 23:54
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Wicked - thanks for all the advice so far.

From reading the few posts, it seems a strong suggestion that I should definitely run RG6 (multiple) to the main lounge/bedrooms.  Looks like I'm off to DSE to be ripped off tomorrow!  Have I forgotten anything else?


Neil - check out this for the infra red over cat5e.  I haven't found anything more (yet) http://www.blue-eye.co.nz/.  What was the brand of balun you used/found on Ebay?

thanks!

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  Reply # 156461 13-Aug-2008 00:14
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Deonorth: 
Looks like I'm off to DSE to be ripped off tomorrow!  Have I forgotten anything else?


perhaps you could call a JA Russell, Coreys or Ideal Electrical outlet and see what they might charge before heading to DSE.  they can also sell you data panels/housings, jacks, pdl equip etc

even better still find a sparky and get them to buy it for you - even if they add a margin it may still be cheaper than paying retail :)




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  Reply # 156463 13-Aug-2008 01:05
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Last time I was stuck and ventured to a dse store, they had nothing suitable for baseband video, just some horridly overpriced and rather crap looking 2GHz sat rated stuff. It would pay to be thinking about 3GHz cable since sky have upped their specs and there are solutions to drive 2 LNBs down a single cable, so long as its good to 3GHz - who knows what custom LNB they may end up with when they get the new sat in the other slot and have more HD available.

Decide what you are running around the house, and keep inmind that taking the sat dish to each tv means paying sky multiple times, or if skys not your thing, owning multiple freeview hd boxes since they are not cheap at the moment it may be somthing you want to think twice about.

You can run the output of the boxes over cat5/6 with affordable converters, but for short distance and they dont recommend putting a patchpanel in the path since they are gratuitiously abusing the frequancy range of the cat5/6 cables, thats also why there is only a 20-30m limit for them. Or use component - but I would really not be wanting to do that since that limits your sources unless you get a hdmi to component converter, and that still leaves you without all the advanced audio formats at the other end too.

HDMI splitters and stuff are all still stupid money and there are loads of incompatibilitys still being worked out so if you dont need it now, dont buy it now IMO...







Richard rich.ms

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  Reply # 156479 13-Aug-2008 08:01
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The baluns I got were like this one but without the s-video, just component http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/HI-FI-STEREO-RCA-AUDIO-BALUN-CABLE-CAT5-CAT-5E-EXTENDER_W0QQitemZ370074342057QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item370074342057&_trkparms=72%3A984|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1308
(if the link doesn't work, go to ebay and search for CAT5 BALUN)

I got my cable and patch panel from www.cablemax.co.nz, seemed to be cheapest and turned up next morning even though we're on South Island.

Neil

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  Reply # 156558 13-Aug-2008 13:01
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neilinnz: The baluns I got were like this one but without the s-video, just component http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/HI-FI-STEREO-RCA-AUDIO-BALUN-CABLE-CAT5-CAT-5E-EXTENDER_W0QQitemZ370074342057QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item370074342057&_trkparms=72%3A984|39%3A1|66%3A2|65%3A12&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14.l1308
(if the link doesn't work, go to ebay and search for CAT5 BALUN)

I got my cable and patch panel from www.cablemax.co.nz, seemed to be cheapest and turned up next morning even though we're on South Island.

Neil


I use MuxLab baluns (they are made in Canada), but I think JayCar here in NZ sell similar stuff. I have two Sky boxes way up in my attic (i.e. quite long runs) that all my TVs and HTPCs are hooked to (and all my Cat5 ends there too). I use both Svideo + Audio and Composite + Audio baluns around the house to use up all the outputs from the sky boxes. The Composite version is handy because it has 2 separate video channels (as well as left and right audio). I plug the output of the HTPC IR senders (USB-UIRTs) directly into that second video port, and up at the sky box there is just a pair of IR LEDs with an RCA plug aimed at the front of each sky box. I ran coax everywhere too, but only use it to get raw Sat & UHF for Prime and DVB-T to the back of 2 HTPCs.

If you go the HTPC route another cost effective thing to do is use Hauppuage MediaMVPs to stream compressed video over ethernet and display it where ever you need it. The boxes are small and unobtrusive and come with a remote. They solve your IR distribution problem too.

I don't think anyone has mentioned running HDMI from source to display while you have the walls off ... all my displays have a cavity about a foot square behind them with two power points, 2 Cat5, Coax & HDMI to them. I also run Svideo, Stereo Audio & Composite back from the displays to the amp so I can plug things like digital cameras into front of the screen and hear audio through the amp.

On security, you might also run a few CAT5 if you ever want to put up IP security cameras - getting a couple of runs as far as the eaves is a big help if evey you go this route.

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  Reply # 156561 13-Aug-2008 13:13
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Even if you dont go IP cameras, cat5 and the baluns are so much cheaper then siamese cable for cameras, but with some of the LED illuminated ones you may need to hack the wiring to use 2 pairs for power since they pull close to an amp with the LEDs on them at night time.

I have had a little bit of smearing on the really cheap baluns I got for my cameras, and one is quite high up so is a pain to change.




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  Reply # 156565 13-Aug-2008 13:22
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Seems a bit silly to be entering the age of HDTV, installing wiring in a new home (or renovation) and we are talking composite video (or S-Video) distribution or RF modualted composite.

Cyril

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  Reply # 156569 13-Aug-2008 13:35
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One thing to remember is to make sure you use decent sized holes (25mm) when you drill so you can easily add more cable if required. Another option is ro run some bettaflex (or other flexible conduit) down the walls so you can easily add wire in the future if required, particularly near your main TV setup.

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  Reply # 156574 13-Aug-2008 13:50
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You will need 25mm min to pull a HDMI cable head through, and even then will struggle with if other cables are in the hole at the time.

Cyril

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  Reply # 156576 13-Aug-2008 14:10
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I would not suggest the flexable conduits, they snag heaps compared with the straight stuff, but they can be a prick to put in too.

There are stuff all good flushboxes available in NZ, since everything seems to be aimed at only single or double gang plates - if you are starting to pull speaker and many coaxes etc to a plate then your better off looking at the US styled decora plates and a 4-5 gang box, which are as rare as rockinghorse crap in nz nowdays. clipsal do some but they are always special order items and end up being like $25 or so.

My ones here are only mounted to the stud and there is heaps of flex in the gib when pulling cables out of the end plate, so I would suggest putting a nog under or behind any multigang box if you have the oppertunity.

Really there needs to be some field terminateable hdmi walljacks made so that you dont have to dick around pulling preterminated ones thru the wall, and even then, you still have distance and other limitations.




Richard rich.ms

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