AV Wiring – Part 3: Proper Planning Prevents Problem$Mark von Keszycki
You plan every other aspect of your remodeling or new-home construction project. Countertops, fixtures, flooring, lighting, wall finishes indoors and out. Yet somehow electronics and the built-in structured wiring they require can be an afterthought, especially in the beginning when so much else is in play. Unnecessary extra costs and frustrations can be the result.
Whole House Structured Wiring
Structured wiring for even the simplest systems involving more than one room requires planning before construction begins. Design changes can happen, but these should always be based on an initial plan. Engineering as-you-go is a sure route to problems. With just a basic floorplan, it is possible to lay out which services you need in each room.
The illustration shows communications, entertainment and multi-room audio locations for a typical home. Here are a few things to think about as you go through this process for your project:
- Incoming Services: Make sure you know where satellite, cable TV, phone and broadband services will enter the home.
- Head End: Different incoming services may enter the property from different locations, but all should end in a common location within the home called the head end. This is where most of your equipment will be located.
- Nodes (rooms & other locations): Integrated electronics usually require different types of cable at multiple locations in each room. A/V on one wall, phone and internet on a desk across the room, a control panel by the door.
We often encounter situations where cable service is run to the wrong wall, or wiring for multiple systems is all run to one spot. The costs of correcting these problems to match the way you will actually use the equipment, especially after the walls are up, are high.
There are other factors, too, during the installation phase, that can either cause or prevent problems. Typically, these are things that only experienced technology integrators understand. We’ll explain in Part 4.