- AV Links.
I am still undecided about the type of cabling I will use as I am trying
to build a low cost unit to send AV over CAT5. I have seen inside a
commercial unit which does this and I believe I can build a similar unit
for under £25 as a stand alone adapter or about £15 if built into a
piece of equipment as a CAT5 interface. Whatever cabling architecture I
decide upon there will be 2 links from each location to the
wiring/equipment closet (under the stairs probably).
I hope to get the CAT5 method working as this would:-
With the increasing use of digital Audio and Video, CAT5 seems to be the
obvious choice. I haven't actually tried this due to lack of digital
equipment but I think it would be fairly simple to send the digital
output of a CD player over CAT5 to the digital input of an amplifier
located some distance away. In theory, all that would be required would
be an RS485 Transmitter/Receiver costing less than £5. This should also
hold true for digital TV baseband which is a 16Mbit signal at most and
falls well within the 100Mbit specification for CAT5.
- Simplify the cabling
- Maximise the flexibility
- Utilise commercially available outlet plates (Dual or
- Cost substantially less for the cabling.
- RF Links.
- Satellite LNB and TV/FM aerial downleads fed into the wiring closet.
- Distribution Amps in wiring closet.
- 1 or 2 CT125 coax cables to each room. Possibly extra to
main AV ports.
For my satellite system I currently use a Triax 85cm dish fitted with 2
dual LNB's (seperate H & V outputs) which are connected to a
Satellite Solutions HQ5401 tone switch. This is a device which takes 4
LNB signals, and uses a combination of 13/17 Volt switching and 22kHz
tone switching to route the required LNB signal to one of 4 satellite
In my particular setup the LNB signals are:-
||13V No Tone
||17V No Tone
||13V 22kHz Tone
||17V 22kHz Tone
It is also possible to connect your terrestrial TV/FM aerial to the unit
so that a single cable can feed all TV/FM/Satellite signals to the room.
By fitting a 3 outlet plate the seperate signals are available for use.
However I would probably keep the TV/FM seperate from the Satellite by
using individual cables for each.
Another option is to have the Satellite Receivers located in the
Wiring/Equipment closet with remote control from anywhere in the house.
This greatly simplifies distribution and reduces "clutter" in
the individual rooms.
I plan to use a PBX to provide phone service and intercom facilities to
every room in the house. This would be located in the equipment closet
and use CAT5 cabling to feed the individual rooms. Rather than use
expensive RJ45-BT phone socket adaptors I plan to cut off the existing
plugs and crimp on an RJ45 plug. This offers a much neater solution as
the adaptors do not look very neat. I could just fit standard BT style
phone sockets but this would mean that those outlets were permanently
"phone" unless the plate was changed. RJ45 gives total
A central server located in the equipment closet will provide data
storage/backup for the home, office and kids PC's as well as controlling
the automation system. I dont have the computer yet but I am slowly
collecting the parts to build it and I already have a name for it.
It shall be known as "KHAN" (Keith's Home Automation Network).
This will be connected to an 8 port hub which will be patched over the
CAT5 to wherever the PC's are located.
Double power points located at all the locations where equipment,
appliances or lamps are likely to be located. Each power point will have
an adjacent Dual CAT5 outlet. Certain locations will have additional
Due to the high cost of X-10 modules in the UK and the reliability
problems which can be experienced from time to time, I plan to use a
hardwired lighting system using homebuilt room controllers controlled from
the PC. The room controllers will be able to operate in "standalone"
mode in the event of the PC crashing.
Keypads and Infra Red sensors will communicate with the room controllers via
dedicated CAT5 cables run between the switches and room controllers. A
certain amount of "redundant" cabling will be installed to
enable the house to revert to "normal" wiring with the minimum
amount of disruption should I decide to move house.
Room controllers will also communicate with KHAN so that a complete picture
of what the house is doing will be available via any PC or TV in the
house. In addition to lighting control the room controllers will also
contain relays for operating Ceiling Fans, Curtains and Blinds, as well
as interfacing motion detectors and temperature sensors to the HA
I also plan to install some hardwired circuits for table lamps in the
main living rooms. These will be terminated in 5 Amp round pin sockets.
This is to prevent any other equipment/appliance being inadvertantly
connected to a dimmed circuit. I also intend to design and build some
self contained Appliance/Lamp Modules similar in style to the X-10 units
i.e. Adaptor Style but "hardwired" via a short CAT5 flying
lead to the controller. As I plan to have a Dual CAT5 adjacent to every
powerpoint there will be no problem linking the modules to KHAN.
- Whole House Audio.
I plan to use homebuilt multichannel amplifiers located in the equipment
rack to feed speakers located around the house. The speakers would either
be concealed ceiling speakers in areas where background sound it the
primary requirement or proper speaker cabinets in rooms where the music
is primarily intended to be listened to. Sub-Bass units will be built into
items of furniture or installed beneath the floor with small vents to enable
the sound to propagate throughout the room.
The sources will be CD, Satellite, TV and Radio either from centrally
located equipment or "Local Sources" located in the
listening/viewing rooms. These will all be controlled by a central AV
Switcher. For radio I plan to use several secondhand car radios mounted
into a rack panel and tuned to the individual stations that I commonly
listen to. I may also have an old satellite receiver for picking up the
satellite radio stations.
Very few details on this for obvious reasons, but suffice to say that
there will be a hardwired commercial alarm system with the sensors also
interfaced to KHAN to provide additional security features as well as
room occupancy detection and to automatically turn on the lights as you
move throughout the house.