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My wiring setup...
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Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 630
Location: Illinois

Post My wiring setup... Reply with quote
I decided to start a new thread rather than cluttering up others just BSing about my wiring setup....

Humanzee wrote:

You must be building a castle. 4000ft of coax. dang. Why no optical cable? Very Happy Given that all of my TVs are network based I only user RG6 for the run from the cable co. drop to my HTPC server. Oh and for a couple security cameras. I've used maybe 100' total. My 1000' spool of RG6 is a foot rest at this moment.

Fortunately I have crawl space access under just about every room and attic space adjacent to the upstairs rooms so I can always run wire later, I figure if we have kids and they want TV so bad, they can run their own cables. Ha. Are you using the cat5 for network or other things like sensors. I went strait to cat6 for network. When watching HD recordings across the LAN I see like 2.5% network utilization with a gigabit connection.

I do have a lot of twisted pair wire to run for door sensors though.

Don't get me started on security system wiring. I still haven't even started that....

Well, I have quite the setup.

After reading the wiring your house guide over at cocoontech, I started coming up with all sorts of ideas. Here's what I'm currently implementing....

I have three runs of RG6QS (quad shield) going to each wall plate that I'm running. Each run is homerun to my wiring closet. One of them is for cable TV, another is for old school antenna that will be mounted in the attic, and another is extra that I plan on using for an auxillary video feed.

Also, going to each wall plate, I have two homeruns of Cat5 and one homerun of Cat6. Cat6 is for Internet, one Cat5 is for phone, and the other is an auxillary (I may possible have two computers in a bedroom and want two Internet connections.

As you can see, I don't really believe in wireless.

I have most of the wiring described above completed in terms of running the wire and terminating the bedroom ends. I still need to terminate the ends in the wiring closet.

Oh, I have also run I think like 500 feet of speaker wire so far. All the way from my wiring closet in the basement to the attic. I will be using these for in-ceiling speakers in each bedroom.

Let me find some pics to show what the hell is going on, and what the hell is holding me up on being able to automate the house...

Last edited by SnyperBob on Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:44 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 630
Location: Illinois

Post More wiring details Reply with quote
OK, so let me start with a visualization of what I'm working with in terms of my house and setup. Maybe this thread will evolve into a work log. Maybe that's a good idea...

First off, I have a tri level with a basement. I bought the house new, and have been working on finishing it as more money comes in. It effectively has four levels including the basement. The main level and upper level are finished. Fortunately for me, the basement and lower level were unfinished. This allows me to run wires to pretty much anywhere by going up through the basement or lower level into the finished areas.

Here's a rough idea what my house looks like. This was made in Chief Architect 10, and the nasty huge windows are just there so you can kind of see into each level. Obviously this is not a professional creation in CA, you can see tons of stuff that just doesn't look right, lol:

So, having seen that, you can see I have a lot to play with. The three levels not including the basement are about 1800 sq. feet. Not a huge house, but it's def. big enough for just me and the wife.

Let me first show you what I have run already. I created my own wooden rack in the basement. Yeah, I know the basement isn't centrally located in the house and it costs more homerunning wire all the way down there, but it's the best solution. I'll be able to have a huge room in the basement to house security, home automation, and (eventually) home theater electronics.

Here's all the wires running into the basement. The wood is my rack. I'll most likely replace this later with a real rack when I can afford one:

As I stated above, I had already run a ton of cat5, cat6, and rg6, along with some speaker wire. Here's some pictures of the lower level (unfinished still) and all the wiring:

In the last picture above, you can see a huge bundle of wire hanging from the ceiling. This is waiting to be run up through the ceiling, through the upper level wall, and into the attic.

In this bundle I have four rg6qs homeruns for future satellite dish. I would want this mounted on the highest roof of the house, out of view, so I needed runs to the attic. Also, I have 6 homeruns of speaker wire. This is to put a pair of speakers into each bedroom. I still need to run another pair so I can put speakers in the bathroom. I'm trying to decide if I should just put one speaker in each bathroom for whole-house audio.... I'm also running a couple extra cat5's, cat6 and rg6s to the attic 'just in case'

Here's a closeup of this bundle. I'm waiting to run it into the attic when it gets cooler outside (and in the attic):

Let me just say something about the lower level wall pictures. As you can see, I pretty much have all of my wiring running parallel to the electrical.[ I know this isn't a good idea, but it's the only way to do it since I have those half walls. I'm not too crazy about packet loss, interferance or whatever. I do want it to look nice when complete.

Ok, so here's how I have the wiring done. For the most part I have everything color coded. It probably cost more to buy specific colors of wire, but I don't care. I don't want any identification problems in the future.

For instance:
Blue cat5 = phone
Green cat5 = auxillary
Red cat6 = internet
White coax = cable/video
white speaker wire = ceiling speakers
black speaker wire = elk HA or alarm/intercom speakers (not run yet)
brown wire = security (not run yet)

So, I have all the RG6 homerun to the basement. Well, all the "video/cable" rg6 is homerun. I decided recently that I don't need to homerun all of the "antenna" rg6 feeds. I have them run to each corner of the lower level and I'll just run a splitter on them to the wiring closet. It saves a ton of cable this way.

In regards to the rg6 that I did homerun, here's what I have planned:

I'm going to basically have a patch panel setup. The above picture shows active cable TV lines. I'll run everything into a patch panel, and then run the feeds that I want live into a really nice splitter. If I want something active that currently isn't, I'll just run down and patch it into the splitter that connects to the line from the cable company

I'm sure this isn't the most efficient way, and definately not the most clean way in terms of signal to distribute cable to the house, but I want it to be easy. So all runs going to each wall plate in the house terminate at the patch panel. Then I just take my patch cord and connect it to the splitter. Sounds simple to me, I don't know...

I'll be doing the same with internet as well. I don't have the ends terminated at the patch panel in the basement yet, but that's mostly because I'm color blind. I need my wife to punch down the wires for me Smile

She already terminated all the cat6 ends in each bedroom wall plate. I did most of the rg6 compression fittings already. Here's a picture of one of the bedroom wall plates:

I'm not sure if you can read my labels, but there are four connections on the above wall plate. Top left is video aux, bottom left is cat6 (internet), top right is cable tv, bottom right is antenna.
Hidden still in the wall behind the plate and not terminated yet is cat5 for phone and cat5 aux.

So when completely terminated each wall plate will have 6 connections. lol? Here's an idea as to what it looks like. I'm glad my wife helped me terminate these, so it doesn't look like this in our bedrooms anymore, rofl:

So, I have a good grasp on the wiring for the house. I still need another 1000' of rg6 because I want to put in three more wall plates in the bedrooms upstairs. Currently the master bedroom has 1 wall plate, the corner bedroom as 2 wall plates, and the other bedroom has two wall plates.

I want to add two more to master BR, and 1 more to the 'other' BR.

Visual of what I'm talking about. Green is what I have currently, blue?? is what I still want to run. As you can see, I want to have a wall plate on each wall next to a door. I mean, you're not going to want to run an extension across a doorway right? How many old houses have you seen that have 1 measely wall plate per room??? Give me a break, lol:


Last edited by SnyperBob on Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:13 am; edited 5 times in total
Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:48 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 630
Location: Illinois

Post Reply with quote
Reserved for wiring ideas that I still have yet to do...

Initial plan:
There are a few things that I want to do in terms of wiring that aren't covered under HA or Security. First I really want a whole house music system. What initially brought me these forums was when I saw an article about HAI's in-house music system. Having played with carputers for years, I realized just how much I would use a music system in my house. Initial plans are for ceiling speakers in every bedroom (2 of them), and wall speakers or floor speakers in the living room, basement, garage, and kitchen.

Also, I want to wire the lower level to plan for it being the future entertainment room. Basically run wire/install a surround sound setup. Wire hdmi, svideo, and component cables through the walls in the event I want to get a wall mounted TV. There will not be any wires visible, everything will run through the walls and into the back of the TV.

I also want to run the cable for a subwoofer. I need to determine where a sub would sound best in the room and route the cable inside the wall. I'll just have a wall jack that the sub plugs into, and that will run all the way back to the equipment.

I initially wanted to plan for a ceiling mounted projector in the lower level. I can't afford one, but I figured I would run power, and all video cables to the future location. I'm not sure if I still want to do this. The issue of having a projector on the ceiling is that it would look awkward from the kitchen. Whenever we have a TV in the lower level, we'll be able to view it from the kitchen by looking down. If we mount a projector on the ceiling, we'll be looking right into the back of the projector all the time from the kitchen. I might be able to come up with some removable solution. (Mount the projector when we want to use it, and pull it down when not in use). If I think that might be useful, I may buy/run power and video cables to that location for future use.

If I do decide to go the route of a projector, I was thinking about trying to install a pull down screen in the ceiling. Basically do it before drywall, so that all that sticks down is the little pull tab. I would basically cut a littlel slot or leave a little slot in the ceiling where the screen can be pulled down through. I saw this in someone else's setup and it was practically invisible when raised up into the ceiling.

Something else I was kicking around was if I should install a bar in the lower level corner room. I have decided that this room wouldn't be big enough for a bar. At least a bar that I would want. So that has been nixed.

My other idea that I'm kicking around is if I should plan for a future fireplace in the lower level. And if I do want one, should it be gas or electric. We didn't have one built when the house was built. I would have loved one, but it was like $5 grand and we just couldn't afford it. I've seen some other houses near by that have these little vent things coming out the sides of the house (rather than having a chimney up to the roof). I think those are electric fireplaces. They don't give off much heat, but they're romatic and more affordable that the one the builder put in. Hell, the one the builder put in wasn't even all masonry, so we wouldn't be able to have super barn-burner fires in it anyway (without melting the siding on the outside of the chimney).

So I'm going to look into going the route of an electric fireplace perhaps.

The other idea that I've been kicking around and really think I'll plan for, are 1-wire sensors. If you're not familiar with these, it's basically a newer system put out by a few companies. You can run one wire to a sensor, or dais chain multiple sensors with a single wire (cat5e) . For instance, I can put a few temperature sensors around the inside and outside of the house. Or I can put a rain guage outside and a weather station on the roof and have the latest local data every morning...

Cat5e is cheap and I need to buy more for the security pads, so I'll probably just get a 500 foot roll of a new color (gray?) and run some of that for the 1-wire stuff.

I had originally kicked around the idea of motorized shades in my lower level. That level of the house will be where we watch TV and movies all the time in the future (once completed), so obviously the big windows we have down there will be a problem. I had thought that motorized shades would be too much of a hassle and too much money. After doing some more research, I came across:

It appears it will only cost about $200 for the hardware, per window:
IR roller shade motor = $108
IR Remote = $29 (when added on to shade motor purchase)
4 foot roller tube = $12 (added on)
Brackets = $2.50
End plug = ~$3
Power transformer = $20-$45

Edit (06-16-2008):
Somfy Sonesse ST30 24VDC RTS RF Technology Roller Shade Motor $250
Somfy 24VDC 1.25A White Wall Plug Transformer $45
Somfy Telis 1 Pure RTS Technology RF Remote 1 Channel $59
4 foot roller tube $15
Brackets $2.50
End plug $3.50
Plus actual shade fabric or whatever is going to be used. Probably about $800 total for two windows. Sad

The only additional expense would be for the shade material that would need to be added to the roller. I think that's about $50. I only have two main windows in my lower level entertainment area, so it would be about $500 total for motorized window shades. They have motors that come with RF control too for a little more $$ (as opposed to IR control). I could easily automate these shades into a scene or something.

Have the lights dim, the shades come down, and the entertainment center switches to movie mode.....hmmm Smile

Well I've been slowly working on acquiring hardware for the whole-house music system. I won an auction for a Slink-e IR controller. Basically, it's an affordable way to blast IR commands from computer to whatever you want to control. In my case, it will be a stereo receiver. Unfortunately the Slink-E is no longer made/sold. It was discontinued a few years ago. The best part about the Slink-e is that it can learn IR commands from old remote controls that you may not be able to find codes for. It also features up to 8 independent IR flashers. Most modern day similar solutions cost hundreds of dollars.

The advantage of independent zones, allows me to have 5 of the same stereo receivers if I want, and have independent IR control via the Slink-e. This is important because all of the receivers would use the same IR codes. The Slink-e comes with one or two onboard IR blasters. For about $5 in parts, you can build the expansion port that opens up all 8 zones. They used to sell the expansion, but since it's discontinued good luck trying to find one

I also won a couple pairs of ceiling speakers. 6.5" speakers. They're cheap, but should do a nice job for music and whatnot. I could always replace them later with Polks or something, when I have an extra $grand$ laying around...

The whole house music system is going to be independent of the HA system. Basically I'll have music playing all the time and you can turn it up or down in each zone. Utlimately I would like to have a separate stereo receiver for each zone. Basically, each bedroom would have it's own receiver. This would allow each bedroom to listen to music independently. Each would have their own FM tuner, etc...

I ran an auxillary Cat5e to each wall plate (the green colored wire). I was thinking I could use this wire for IR distribution to each room in the future if I want to go that route. For the time being, I think I'll use Net Remote or just plain Remote Desktop to control media on the streaming server remotely. ie...sitting in the master bedroom, use the laptop to queue up some music. I'll eventually make this more fancy when money permits. I'm thinking touchscreens in the walls either connected via long VGA cables to the server, or just use some cheap touchscreen/computer combo mounted right in the wall if the price is right.

So, I'm getting ahead of myself. Currently I'm just working on getting the stereo setup up and running initially. That includes bidding on cheap ceiling speakers as they show up on the Net, and possibly picking up a cheap $40 stereo receiver that will do some basic stereo music stuff (input capability, IR control, decent amount of power, etc...)

It will probably be after Christmas when I get this up and running. I didn't want to spend too much on this aspect yet, since I DO need to complete the rest of my freakin house, lol.


Finally got another 6.5" ceiling speaker, and my Slink-e. Not sure when I'll have time to play with the Slink-e. Oh! I got my order from x10 too! 12 ds10a's for my make-shift security system. I think that was the fastest order yet, got them in like 2 days from I may need to get a heat shrink gun so I can soldier these ds10a's onto the wires I'm going to run to each window/door...


I received a cheap Technics stereo receiver that I bought ($40 shipped). Too bad it didn't come with a power cord. I bought it used off eBay. I'm waiting on a power cord to arrive! Hope this thing works! I'm planning on using this for the whole house music setup I want to do. This will drive the ceiling speakers in the bedrooms.


I ran speaker wires from the basement wiring closet to the top of the kitchen cabinets and to the front room. I have a stereo cabinet in the front room. I pipe that stereo into the kitchen on the other side of the wall. This works great for now, but I want to move the entire 1970's stereo cabinet from our front room to the basement wiring closet. When I eventually do that, I'll keep the speakers in the kitchen and front room.....I'll just connect them to the stereo that will be in the basement. Wewt


I spent the day (by myself) running the wire and installing the master bedroom ceiling speakers. I took the speaker wire that comes from the wiring closet into the basement and ran it into the volume knob that is in the bedroom's wall. Then, I ran speaker wire from the volume knob to the ceiling speakers.

First I cut holes in the ceiling, and tried to stifle the avalanche of insulation:

I had to remove all of the wife's clothes from the closet. The attic access is above her side of the walk-in closet. Those are all her clothes on the bed. The gray baggy thing is what I bought to keep the insulation off the speakers. It comes with a flexible steel ring around the edge. It's about 15" in diameter which is about twice that of the 6.5" speaker. After cutting the hole in the ceiling, I pushed the protector up in the hole and pushed the steel ring part securely against the drywall. I then pushed the baggy part up into the insulation. I ran the speaker wires under the steel ring into the 'protected area'. I think these things were designed to be snapped around the speaker like a shower cap. I like this design better because it stays up in the ceiling when I pull the speaker out:

Here's the final look:

Note: (01/22/2008) This worked out really great. In the few days that I have had them installed, I listen to these speakers every day. I just have a stereo receiver in the basement playing music all the time. It's really nice being able to turn the music on and off with the volume knob right in the room

Week of 03-31-2008:

Each day this week I've been working on the lower level of my house. Specifically, the electrical. My best friend is an electrician, and he was supposed to help me out a ton with materials and labor. Well, it's been like 6-8 months and he's spent only a few days (total of maybe 5 hours) working on my lower level. I've had to buy pretty much all of the materials, and nothing is getting done.

I have a freaking degree in Computer Science/Engineering, so I can pretty much handle all of this....I'll post up pictures eventually, but I should be able to have nearly all the electrical piping done by the end of this weekend (04-06-2008)


I bought on eBay four more volume knobs for my whole-house audio setup. I figured while the weather is still cool (and so is my attic), I can get the volume knobs put in the 2 remaining bedrooms and the upstairs bath. Hopefully I can talk my wife into helping me do this, this weekend...


I cut some more holes in the walls to install the volume knobs that I bought almost two months ago. I heard that next week is going to be in the 80's and almost 90 degrees. I definately don't want to be playing around in the attic when it's that hot outside.

I didn't get the knobs installed, but I did get most of the wires fished. I still need to pull a couple extra wires from the wiring closet in the basement to the attic. Another pain in the ass, was some of my home run speaker wires weren't long enough, so I had to make some splices in the attic. I'm not happy about this.

I had a friend in town and my mom was in the hospital the next week, so I never returned to this. This may have to wait until the end of summer when it gets cooler out again. Bah

Last edited by SnyperBob on Mon Apr 13, 2009 4:13 am; edited 16 times in total
Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:52 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 630
Location: Illinois

Post Reply with quote
reserved for HA stuff to be added to the house.


Well, I've been on vacation for the past week and a half. I've managed to get the lower level security stuff installed for the most part. Thing is, I needed to redo my house server. I haven't reformatted in over a year. I've been playing and tweaking all kinds of different programs and games over the past year on that machine and now it's a turd. It's time to format and start fresh when it takes over 5 mins to boot and the loading bar on the initial windows xp screen freezes for long periods of time until it finally loads, lol.

So, over the past week I formatted and started the long process of reloading all of my needed software. This time, there are NO video games installed. This time around I have a new ally on my side: Norton Ghost. Once I get everything set up perfect, I'll create a Ghost image so I can easily go back if I run into problems. Sure, there's the Windows XP restore/checkpoint thing, but that never works for me.

Norton works great, I used it on my other machine and love it. Now when I get a virus or something nasty on it, instead of spending hours trying to kill it, or days takes 15 mins to restore a Ghost image. Restores back to when there was no problem, fresh as a summer's breeze, lol. How cool is that? No more stress. I highly recommend it!

I'm almost to the point where I have everything reinstalled. I just have a few more things to install. I still need to tweak vCrib and try to get it up and running (previously I didn't have ANY hardware to interface with it).


The day was unseasonably warm, almost 40 degrees and dry outside. It is supposed to be below zero this weekend, so I spent today putting in my x10 sensors in the detached garage. I have a ds10a on each window (2 of them), and one on the service door. I also rigged one up on the overhead garage door.

I already had a motion detector out in the garage. I set up all of the sensors with transmitters in the garage and figured I would test them out. I had set them up in vCrib as objects inside the house before going out to the garage and installing them. After installing in the garage, I noticed that my w800rf could not see them. They were out of range or something. I was kind of sad, but then realized that my w800rf antenna was laying on it's side on the floor of my office. I picked it up, moved it 5 feet closer towards the garage (inside my office) and propped it so it was upright. I could now see the garage sensors!

The garage sensors work great. I can see the garage door go up first, then motion detector fire as I drive into the garage, and then the garage door close, followed by the service door open/close (me walking out the side door). Then I can see the motion in the kitchen as I come in the back door. Freakin' cool!


Well I'm back up and running since Vaughn gave me the fix last week for my vCrib error that I was having. Today I spent some time setting up TTS groups and a couple basic actions. I still have a long way to go in terms of understanding how commands and actions work. For now I'm just setting up TTS responses if someone enters a room when security mode is set to AWAY.


I finally got some time today to upgrade my vCrib to the latest version. I needed to do this in preparation for the PLC I got last week. Also, I needed to fix the Events.exe bug that the older version of vCrib had.

Last week I received a used Insteon Serial Powerlinc that I got a deal on. I think it was $45 shipped to my door. Today I finally got the chance to test it out and see if it works. I had bought a box of cheap X10 plug in stuff (socket rockets, push button wall switches, chime, powerhorn), that has been sitting around. I want to see if this Powerlinc can trip them

I don't have a phase coupler yet, so I'm trying to see if i can put a chime on the same phase as the Powerlinc and see if it at least works!

I ran an extension cord to an outlet far away from all my computers and plugged the Powerlinc into it. I plugged the x10 chime into the other outlet plug.

I plugged the Powerlinc into the computer and loaded up vCrib's Insteon.exe. And.....nothing! It wouldn't detect the PLC. I wasn't sure if my PLC was bad, or if there was an issue with the software. I did some digging around and came across this guy's website:

I downloaded the 'set port' program, and also installed the Smarthome Device Manager (version 3-308) program. I ran the set program and received errors that the SDM software wasn't communicating. It appeared the SDM program couldn't read my PLC either. I clicked OK on the error I got, and set the COM port anyway (my PLC is the serial one). I set it to COM 3, and it worked!

Just by pure luck I found this set port program and got it going. Now vCrib's Insteon.exe can see my PLC and read the hardware version and all that. yay! I'll be playing with this more tomorrow when I have time Now I need to figure out how to make the chime, chime from within vCrib!


With some help from fellow vCrib member Humanzee, I was able to figure out the issue. Insteon.exe doesn't really do much for x10 devices. The program still needs to be run, to launch Insteon's SDM software. Anyway, in a nutshell I am now able to have the x10 chime go off when the back door is opened. This is a major step in HA for me! That's one thing that drove me nuts, people coming into the house without me knowing about it. Now I'll get chimed if a door opens.

I still need to get some x10 security remote controls so I can finish setting up my 'security system' in vCrib.


Received my 'care package' from Vaughn. It's like freakin' Christmas. Thanks Vaughn! He sent me some really nice goodies that I'll be sure to put to use. I'm really excited that I have some hardware that I can actually get my system up and running!


I finally had some time to play with my new hardware. Well, so far I just played with the x10 security remote. This thing works great. I set up some actions for my home-made security system. Now when the system is 'armed', if anyone opens a door, window, or if there's motion in the bottom two powerhorn upstairs fires off. Very nice! I tested it out.....there's some lag between the time of the breach and the time the powerhorn fires, but it's only like 3 seconds. I need to get a nice wireless sensor for my front door....For the time being I just have the powerhorn fire for like 5 seconds. I'll eventually get it going for as long as there's a breach, or until the system is disabled, or whatever.


I took the plunge and ordered an x10 phase coupler/repeater. Not much of a plunge at like $15 shipped to my door. Vaughn had one he was going to give me, but I know he's busy. I just picked one up and wired it in today. I also wired in an x10 wall switch, and installed an x10 lamp module. I can now control a light in the kitchen and the lamp in the living room that's on the other power phase in the house.

I immediately set up some actions in vCrib so these two lights will turn on automatically when it gets dark, and turn them off when morning comes. These are two lights we leave on in the house every night anyway, and my wife never shuts them off in the morning. I'm sick of shutting them off, so now I'll never have to again!

I had plugged in another lamp module in the corner bedroom but for some reason that one seemed to interfere with my sink light, so I unplugged that. I'll have to do more testing, but I think it's an issue with the actual lamp.

I can't believe how well this works. yeah I only have a few x10 devices plugged in at this point (x10 chime, x10 powerhorn, wall switch, lamp module), but I only need to send one command to the lights and they go on and off on their own. I need to get more motion detectors so I can turn lights on in each room automatically!

Last edited by SnyperBob on Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:40 pm; edited 7 times in total
Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:51 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

Joined: 22 Aug 2007
Posts: 630
Location: Illinois

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reserved for security stuff planned/added to the house

Initial plan:
Hard wire sensors in the main level, lower level, and basement. The sensors will most likely be connected to cheap wireless x10 units. Like the ds10a for windows and doors. I'll hard wire for motion detectors, but to save money initially, I'll just put in some cheap X10 motion detectors. The x10 wireless units will be monitored by a W800RF receiver.

Wire will be about $100. x10 stuff will be like $100. The W800rf will be whatever, like $85. So I'll have a full blown security system for a few hundred bucks. When I want to sell the house, if I think I can get the money back, I'll put in some actual security sensors and a panel ($1000 total?), and use it as a selling feature.

I'm still debating about what to do for cameras. I'm not sure if I should run wire now, or say screw it and abandon putting cameras in. I think they would be cool, but I have to draw the line somewhere. My property and house isn't that big that I need to turn it into a fort. I don't know, maybe a camera in the garage would be nice, since it's detached. I guess if I decide I can afford the wire before drywall time comes, I'll at least run the wire. Bah, it's such a tough decision. I'm not sure how long I'll be in this house, and if it's worth it...

In terms of other wiring, I think I'm going to buy more wire for the security system. I already have a roll of 22/2 and 22/4. I believe I need some 18/2 for locations where I want to put a security pad. The 22/2 and 22/4 will be for sensors. I'll run cat5e and 18/2 to the security pads. I think I'll probably have 4 keypads. 1 will be in the garage. 1 will be on the main level of the house, another in the master bedroom (need to talk to the wife about that), and the final one will be in my wiring closet for trouble shooting and whatnot. I guess I could get by with three pads.....pull the one off the garage for trouble shooting in the wiring closet, and just put it back when I'm done. That'll save $$$

The security system wiring will be up next. I need to get all the sensor wires run before I drywall of course. I'm going the route of using DS10A's from X10 for window and door sensors. I'll hard wire the window sensors all the way to the wiring closet in the basement. From there I'll splice in the actual ds10a, which is wireless. I'll then use a W800RF to monitor the ds10a. Kind of a cheap way for security. It'll work until I can drop the $1,000 on an Elk panel or whatever else I may want. I'm thinking of just hard wiring sensors on the lower two level windows and doors. I'll probably run wire so I can put sensors on the bedroom doors on the top level of the house, and monitor the door status' for HA stuff. I'm thinking I can just drill up through the door jamb into the attic, and pull the wires down from there and solder the sensors in.

I think I'll pick up about a dozen of the ds10a's for all the windows and doors I need to cover soon. I'll ask for the W800RF for XMas or something. Then I'll finally be able to run and use Virtual Crib. It's only been like 6 months since I've wanted to run this stuff!!!


Purchased 12 ds10a x10 wireless door/window sensors. had a killer 4 for 1 deal on their sensors. I also got it with free shipping.....woot!


Spent about half of the day wiring the lower level of the house for security. I used two types of wires: 22-4 and 22-2. The 22-4 is for motion and glassbreak detectors, and the 22-2 is for window and door sensors. I'm supposed to get a W800RF for XMas and some recessed magnet sensors. I'll replace the crappy ds10a surface mount ones with the recessed 3/8" ones.

All wires that I ran were run to the wiring closet in the basement. I'll put the ds10a wireless units in the wiring closet, spliced into the wires that run to each sensor's location.

I'm not sure if it's overkill, but every room in the lower level with a window I have wired for three sensors. 1 for the window sensor, 1 for a glass break sensor, and 1 for a motion sensor in that room.


For Christmas I received some rare earth magnets and recessed sensors (for windows and doors). I also received a W800RF that I will be able to use with my x10 stuff. I was on vacation this week and finished up running all of the wires for the security system.


Well, my wife spent most of the day in bed sleeping (getting over a cold), so I spliced all of my ds10a's into the homerunned sensor wires in the basement. I actually made a nice mount for them from a leftover extra shelf that I had laying around. Now I just need to get the recessed sensors installed into all of the lower level windows.

Here's what I did. I mounted all of the ds10a transmitters to a nice wood shelf that I had. I then hung the shelf from the ceiling with hook and eye hardware. Each transmitter is labeled accordingly:


Today I installed the recessed sensors in all of the windows in the lower level. I had to go out and get a long auger drill bit, but it made the job a lot easier. After installing the sensors, I was able to splice them in to the wire that I already ran. Instead of soldering each and every one, I just used cheap red crimp connectors for all of the connections. It was faster than soldering, and I think they work great.

To test all of the recessed sensors, the wiring that I ran, the crimp connections, and the ds10a's that I mounted in the basement....I got out my new w800rf. I didn't have time to reinstall vCrib to test everything on my server yet, but I found that the w800rf has a test program that comes with it. I fired that up, and went around opening and closing all of the windows that I installed the sensors on. There were 4 windows that I installed the sensors on. 2 out of the 4 worked perfectly. 1 more of them worked, but I needed to tweak the sensor locating in the window jamb. The 4th window didn't work at all. I redid one of the crimp connections and it proceeded to work after tweaking the sensor location in the jamb. Overall, it didn't take too much to get it working.

Here's the tools that I used, along with a foot long drill bit to drill windows:

First ran the wires to the right side (side that opens) of each window:

Drilled the holes in the window frames for the sensors:

Inserted the sensors:

And then just screwed the earth magnets into the window itself:

When the window is closed, you can't even tell there's an alarm system installed in the house, lol.

Last edited by SnyperBob on Tue Jan 08, 2008 6:33 pm; edited 8 times in total
Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:52 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
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Bob that is awesome documentation =) I should put up my wiring so you guys know never to ask me for advice. Actually as SAD as my wiring is, I am kind of amazed at the functionality I have. I have access to full 5TB of media in every room, all security cameras in most rooms, etc with only a couple wires in the whole house, and I am not using any wirless except security contacts. Mostly I just have a distributed system Wink

It makes me drool, if I can do all this stuff with Trailer Park equipment and wiring, what will you be able to do!? I can see I will definitely be upgrading the software for you! hehe

Thanks for sharing, it will be a nice thread. Do you think I should start one, even though my place sucks for wiring, to map the features I have verses the minimal wiring? The mission of vCrib was to bring to most features for the littlest money, etc. I mean I want to drive mansions and businesses, I also want the person in an apartment who thought they could never do automation to have all this stuff too.

Tip for CA10: when making vcrib graphics, once you have your snapshot angle of a floor, set all doors open and take a picture, then all doors closed, take a picture, then no doors and take a picture. Then use the no doors for your vCrib background and use Photoshop or the such to crop out the doors in the open and closed positions. Set them to the device ON and OFF picture, drag them to the right place and you will have properly animated doors for your interface.

So are you going to use an Elk panel, Bob? If so let me know so I can go buy one and start working with it too. Let me know any other equipment you are thinking about so I can at least research how hard they are to interface to..


the Crib Keeper
Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:47 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

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Thanks for the comments.

First off, yes I think you should create a thread with info about your setup. Like you said, you want ppl to be able to have a HA setup with little money. It doesn't matter how much (or little) money you have into your system. It sounds like yours is maximum functionality on minimum budget. That's the key to automation. Yo uwant something simple and sweet. Something that gets the job done, while allowing anyone to use it. How many times have you heard of million dollar homes that the owners don't know how to use the crazy advanced stuff built in.....and they end up reverting back to $1 light switches or a cheap universal remote because they can't get anything to work right.

And as you and I have discussed, that is actually my setup too. I obviously don't have much (right now, no) money to dedicate to HA. But right now, I'm at the point of prepping for it in the very near future, so when I do have the money I'll be money. haha....

That's what I love about Vaughn's setup. He uses like 5 sensors and completely automates his bathroom for like $80 or whatever. That's fkn awesome.

Unfortunately I'm trying to get the WAF (wife acceptance factor) initially started by completing the damn lower level. Once that's done, then she'll be most responsive to me doing some sweet HA.

The best part about the current stage that I'm in now (wiring, design, etc..) is that my wife has no clue wtf I'm doing or planning. I've explained it to her 10 times over, but she really doesn't know. That allows me to run all this extra stuff without her even *knowing* what it's going to be capable of.

I figured a few extra hundred dollars worth of wiring now, will save me years of headaches in the future. Well, maybe not years, I'm still not sure how long I'm going to stay in this house.

Having said all of that, all my current money is going to finishing the lower level, prewiring, and building a detached garage. The garage should be going up within a month or so and that's all paid for.

So, the main priority is finishing the lower level bathroom (we currently only have 1 bath upstairs) and finishing the main room in the lower level (room that's viewable from the kitchen above). That will only take a couple hundred bucks worth of drywall and it will look finished. Yes I know it will still need trim, flooring, etc...but the drywall is the main part to make a room look way better (than mine do now, lol).

Unfortunately the drywall is being held up with the electrical. I'm trying to get the electrical done for cheap by a buddy. Have you ever bought conduit pipe? That stuff is like $1 a foot. Figure out how much that is for two entire levels of a house (lower level and basement)....yikes! Not to mention the garage will need power soon too!

So realistically, unless I can get some mad overtime at work, or Vaughn can score me a job where he works, I'll be getting the HA stuff beginning of next year. Sad

Oh, back to the question - yes I plan on eventually using an Elk panel. I'll just run all the wire and sensors now, and connect them to those ds10a's and let vcrib handle them until I can afford a dedicated panel. They're like $500 not including upgrades and extra pads and whatnot.

Bah, that just reminded me that I need to run extra wire for a security pad in our master BR, lol...Smile
Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:10 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

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Don't forget to run buried conduit out to your garage if you can. If you are like me, you'll have plenty of projects going on out there and want to have some media or security there wired into the rest of your system.

We are actually on a similar trejectory, except, we are remodeleing instead of building new. It sounds like you still have some modivation. We've been at our remodel project for over a year now and were getting tired. Of course we've done it all ourselves sans installing the counter tops. I was installing light fixtures about an hour ago. this weekend its time to start on another bathroom.

Anyway, I lucked out some with this house in that the previous owner had a dorky little radio shack secuity system. It was littlerally a light switch to turn it on and off. No code panel or anything. Of course this system was about useless and the wife hated it. We accidently set it off once and that was enough for her. Louder than loud, we have a school bell inside the house, and there was litterally an air raid style siren. I pulled out the old controller box and re routed all the door sensor wires and siren wires to the room under the stairs. It will make for a small server room. Since I have a crawl space it was pretty easy. I've strung Cat 6 and two RG6 and a phone line to the areas where I am using a TV HTPC etc. The future locations I can string later once we have a TV for the bedroom etc. The nice thing about having the server under the stairs is that it shares a wall with the kitchen. So I letterally just have to pass monitor cables through the wall to have access to the HA server / Media server/ TV DVR etc. Not much room under there for me to sit and configure anyway, it will be tight with just computer cases and wiring panels. So a monitor in the kitchen will serve many purposes. Our home has such an open floor plan that most areas can be covered by one or two sets of speakers. The only really isolated rooms we have are the bedrooms. I plan on having an HTPC at each TV so they will have speakers built in. Thus im not running speaker cable all over the place. I have acces to add speakers / cameras etc from attics etc later so Ill be building as I go.

Ive run some conduit but its not required here. I only did it to provide a path from the crawl space to the attic in a wall where I am running camera wires and doorbell wires etc. It looks like your planning ahead, which is good. I don't expect to need 6 items per wall plate so I just got the 4 port plates. I might have a couple of the higher number plates for distributing surround sound speakers etc. If I ever get money for a theater amp that is.
Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:01 am View user's profile Send private message

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yeah, that's cool we're pretty much doing the same thing.

I understand about getting tired with it....I'm finishing the lower level myself and I've been working on it for months. If I had the money to pay for everything I would of had it completed by now, but that's just not possible. When I run out of money every two weeks, I pretty much just sit there and stare at what's left to do.

That's where I'm at now, so I'll have free time to play with the software.

Buried conduit to the garage is a must. I have some other crazy electrical ideas while the walls are open, but I'm not sure if I'll carry thru with them. I want a transfer panel on the outside of the house where I can hook up a gas generator in the event of power loss. I also want to relocate the A/C condensor to a different outside wall of the house. I wanted this initially when I built the house, but the developer would not fkn budge on the location of the condenser (it's right outside the back door right next to the damn patio).

How crazy I get with adding features and more stuff to this house depends on how long we decide on staying. December will be two years....I was expecting to be out of this house in 3 years (1 year from this Dec.), but we'll see. If I end up going back to college for a masters or the wife does, we may be stuck here for a while....

Last edited by SnyperBob on Tue Oct 16, 2007 2:18 am; edited 1 time in total
Fri Sep 14, 2007 12:18 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

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Post Whohoo Reply with quote
One step closer to being able to spend money on HA...

Beginning of Thursday:

Mid day:

End of day:

Friday's weather is looking sunny all day, they should pretty much have it finished. I assume they'll have the roof, siding, and soffits built in a day. Wewt!! Now I just need to trench and run the electrical (and low voltage) Smile

The garage is 28' wide X 24' deep...
Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:36 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

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nice and deep, you could probably park double deep if you wanted to. small cars anyway. I got some of those laser parking aids to put in so that we can park and leave the maximum space in front of the cars for what ever. I havn't put it in yet, though. No point for now. If only we could get some of the construction materials out of there we might be able to park inside.

vCrib Tester #1, Forum moderator, using INSTEON devices, X10 sensors and remotes via W800RF, All doors are wired with contact closures.
vCrib Wiki
Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:38 am View user's profile Send private message

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Hey guys!

I haven't drifted away, I've been slowly working on getting all the pieces to align to I can get closer to HA Heaven! lol....

Well, the garage was finished shortly after I had posted the last pictures in this thread. Here's how it looks:

Last Friday I rented a trencher. Check this bad boy out:

I had some fun destroying the yard. Not bad for just a couple hours work and not breaking a sweat!

The black pipe is a 4 inch drain pipe for my sump pump. The other trench goes from the garage to the house. Inside there's a 3/4 inch rigid for power, and a 1.25 inch PVC for low voltage.

Saturday I worked on getting the pipes buried and tapped into the house and garage:

Sunday my electrician cousin did all of the wiring:

60 amp dedicated to the garage

And it's done!

To save money I just put in three 8 foot lights and a few outlets. When I get more money I'll put in coach lights on the front of the garage and more outlets inside and outside of the garage.....

Today the wife and I worked on terminating some of the low voltage cat6 in the cable closet. I need to get the cable modem, router, and my server moved to the cable closet. That will be a big step towards the master plan. Tomorrow (later today?) I'll be pulling the coiled wires in the living room up into the attic. It's finally cool enough outside!
Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:47 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address

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Looks Good,
The wife and I have done all the work on our remodel our selves outside of the counter top installation. Today we have a carpenter at the house working on the rebuild of our staircase. It's driving me nuts to be here at work and not being able to see whats going on. For me to just hand the project over required a bit of faith. I don't have any indoor cameras setup but at least I can tell what time he started working. Very Happy

vCrib Tester #1, Forum moderator, using INSTEON devices, X10 sensors and remotes via W800RF, All doors are wired with contact closures.
vCrib Wiki
Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:28 pm View user's profile Send private message
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Awesome looks good. Glad your still around! I have had the LV guys here running new RG6 lines for my camera and getting more cable off the back of my house. Not quite as intense as what you got going on, but keeps me busy from coding though. I replace my main HA computer with a Vista media center. That is causing some real pain. So far two of my Vista machines like to crash MCE and they don't like having DIVX codecs on them and I can't remote control from my MCE2005 machine, the pointer on the MCE keyboard is super erratic.... argh

Glad your work is going smoother. I should have a new client out tonight or tomorrow. Email me if you still want me to buy that hosting.


the Crib Keeper
Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:32 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

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Humanzee wrote:
Looks Good,
The wife and I have done all the work on our remodel our selves outside of the counter top installation. Today we have a carpenter at the house working on the rebuild of our staircase. It's driving me nuts to be here at work and not being able to see whats going on. For me to just hand the project over required a bit of faith. I don't have any indoor cameras setup but at least I can tell what time he started working. Very Happy

Man, I want to see some pics of what you got going on. Sounds like some really nice remodeling!
Wed Oct 17, 2007 3:56 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
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