New Home Structured Cable Install FREE cabling and networking Helpdesk
 Question by Don Wilkins posted 31 Oct 2004
 New Home Structured Cable Install
Hello, I'm going to be building a new home and I want to go nuts with the cable. This is going to be a large custom home and the only thing I will be doing is the low voltage stuff. I have never done it before, other than ran speaker wire in my present home ( before home networks were a consideration ) but I helped a friend run all his cable in his new home. A troubling point is that NONE of the cable we pulled in his home works. First thing I have figured out is that he should have had a tester and 'lit' each run to ensure it was true. However, this has me alarmed that this may be more difficult than I'm assuming. Any input is appreciated. I did run the cableing in my office ( 5 puters ) no problem, from start to finish. I want to do audio, video, data & phone.
All comments welcome.
 Answer by Dmitri Abaimov posted 04 Nov 2004
Dear Don,

It is difficult to see why the cables at your friend's house did not work. One thing I can say is that in a residential house there is normally no clear path for low-voltage cables. It makes it very difficult to pull, and when this happens, people tend to pull really hard on the cable in some tight places. A CAT5E cable is a rather delicate thing, and is only designed to withstand 25 pounds of pulling force without electrical characteristics degradation. A pulling force over 75 pounds may actually break a copper pair, and 75 pounds is rather easy to exceed if you are yanking on the cable. So, make sure all your holes are wide enough so the cable moves freely, without excessive friction. When the cable has already been pulled in, another thing to watch for is the pin payout. RJ45 jacks normally have little colored guides printed on sticky labels, attached to the sides or to the top of the jack. Make sure you follow those. It actually may be a justifiable expense if you buy a continuity tester that will test all four pairs of a cable for correct pin layouts, shorts or open pairs. These normally start at around $40 on the Net, but are a great help if you run into a problem.

Good luck with your own install!

Dmitri Abaimov, RCDD

Click here to see the expert's profile
Back to the current page of questions | Back to all the questions
Back to HELPDESK | Ask your question
Residential Cabling Guide

Home Cabling Guide

Finally, an instantly downloadable book that saves you thousands in home improvement dollars! Enjoy living in 21st century technology-advanced home while increasing its selling value and competitive advantage on the real estate market. Whether your cabling is for home office or high-tech leisure, you can wire your home yourself or learn "wirish" to speak with your cabling contractors in their language!

Learn more ...