How I did it previously

Having previously wired my home with all the cables I would ever need over 12 years ago, I have now discovered that it is impossible to predict all your future needs.

At the time I prewired I included AV link cables from the lounge to all the other rooms in the house, and a daisy chained 3 pair cable for the phone in each room. Each room also had a TV aerial feed from the lounge giving TV and Video in each room.

Things I failed to predict:-

  • AV Links.
    By running all the cables back to the TV in the lounge it meant that the TV "HAD" to be located in the one position forever. Also the single AV link to each room meant that the system was uni-directional from Lounge to bedrooms etc. Bedroom to Bedroom or Kitchen meant having to unplug leads and repatch as required.

  • RF Links.
    Again the same mistake. All RF cables run to a distribution amp in the Lounge meaning lots of wires in the corner and no easy method to rearrange the room. Also at the time of wiring, domestic satellite wasn't even around. I subsequently had to install a CT100 satellite cable to each room.

  • Communications.
    Daisychaining a 3 pair phone cable around the house is fine if all you ever want is a single phone line, although it is worth noting that a faulty section of cable will cause all sockets beyond that point to fail. With seperate cables homerun to a central point, a damaged cable can be disconnected and would only affect the one socket. It also makes it very easy to install a PBX at a later date. I would run a 4 pair CAT5 cable back for each phone socket required. A basic UK telephone circuit uses 2 wires for the incoming line with 3 wires between extension sockets. Whilst in theory a 3 pair cable contains enough wires for 2 lines (3+3=6), In practice using a "split pair" for the third wire of each line results in crosstalk between the lines. The use of a 4 pair cable allows 2 lines with no crosstalk. Also the majority of PBX systems using dedicated terminals require 2 pairs for speech/data or transmit/receive in the case of some of the early digital systems.

  • Data.
    At the time I only had a BBC Micro and never envisaged owning a PC let alone having several PC's on a network. I dont even know if CAT5 was around at the time. If it was, I certainly hadn't heard of it! I did run a 4 core overall screened cable to each of the rooms (as well as the 4 core individual screen for AV use) but only because I had aquired a coil of it and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

  • Power.
    When I rewired I used only Double Gang 13A Switched Socket Outlets. The only exceptions being below the Kitchen worktops for Refridgerator, Washing Machine and Dishwasher. Here I fitted Unswitched Single Gang 13A Sockets controlled by a 20 Amp Switch with Neon indicator mounted above the worktop level.

    Behind my main AV rack I fitted 2 Double Sockets. I thought that this would be sufficient. In reality there were not enough sockets for AV. My solution to this was to fit some 4 way plugboards to the back of the AV cabinet for all the components to plug into. I used standard 13 Amp plugboards rather than some of the more compact multiplugs for the following reasons.

    1. A component fitted with a 13 Amp plug can easily be moved elsewhere.
    2. New equipment now comes with a molded 13 Amp plug as standard.
    3. The different multiplugs are incompatable with each other.
    4. 4 way 13 Amp Plugboards are a lot cheaper than Multiplugs.

What would I do differently next time?

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This page last updated : 5th October 2000