Drilling Holes & Pulling Cable for Home Electronic Systems in New & Remodeled Homes

Get Yourself a Substantial Drill

You are going to need a fairly substantial drill to drill one inch holes through your 2 x 4 studs. Something like a heavy duty Milwaukee drill will be required. If you try to do this work with a small drill you will work yourself to death. Don’t worry about the investment as you will use it time and again on your installation and nothing short of a big drill like this one would be able to drill the 2. 5 inch holes for the piping of the central vacuum system.

Plan Out A Path

What you need to do is to plan out a path for your alarm cable runs from your windows, doors, motions, glass breaks, access control, wireless receivers, and photoelectric beams in through the walls and rafters back to the rear of the OmniPro II enclosure. You want to keep your cable far away from 110 Vac cables so that no attenuated currents are generated in your low-voltage wiring. In fact, get in a habit right from the beginning once you run your cables in the attic, to go back and use big 1” metal staples and a hammer to staple them as high as you can to stay out of harm’s way. If you must run you cable near high voltage wire, and you will have to from time to time, try to:

  • Run your cables at least 12 inches from them when running parallel
  • If you must cross them, cross at a 90 degree angle as much as possible

Pulling the Cable Bundle

A Word of Warning: Now is the time when I should point out that each bundled cable and each wire of any type that you pull needs to be clearly identified and marked. It needs to be marked on both ends and it needs to be logged on your wiring schedule (legend). Create a wiring legend. All you have to do is to print it out and log the wire runs on your legend. One further note, from the time you create your wiring legend to the time you use it will likely be months. Protect it in a safe place, make additional copies, do whatever you have to do to make sure you can find it when it comes time to trim out your wires and hook them up to your equipment. If it gets lost, it will take you a long time to identify them again.

Start Downstairs and Work Clockwise

Start in a given room downstairs on the first floor and move clockwise (left to right) around the room pulling the cable for your various windows & doors, motions, glass breaks, smokes, home automation triggers, etc. to the OmniPro II panel. Once you have installed every cable for every device in the room move in a clockwise direction to the next room.

Set Up Your Speedbags

Now you need to set up your speed bags on the floor so that the cables will uncoil easily without kinking as you pull them through the walls. It will take two people to pull the cable through the walls. One person pulls the cables from the speed bags and feeds it to the other person who is pulling it through the pre-drilled ¾” to 1” holes. Never make sharp 90 degree turns with the cable as it could cause damage to one or more of the wires in the bundle.

Once you arrive at the OmniPro II panel leave enough slack so that your wires almost touch the floor. The point is that you would rather them be a little long than take a chance you might cut them too short. Use these wire markers to label your wires on both ends identifying each window, door, motion, photoelectric beam, glass break, etc., so that in the months to come you’ll know where each wire originated.

A Really Professional Installer

A really professional installer will always pull an individual alarm wire to each window and door in the house. Now you may have talked to someone who has said to you, “No, all you have to do is to install one alarm wire for each bank of windows or one alarm wire per room. All you have to do is pull the alarm wire all the way to the furthest window, loop the wire leaving about a foot of slack at each window, and then you can daisy chain the windows together utilizing just one zone on the panel”.

That sounds good and in fact works a large percentage of the time, however when one of those wires gets cut or shorted out by accident during the construction process by other trades, you will lose that entire group of windows. Now the only choice would be to install wireless contacts.

Let me explain how you will do it with much better results. You only need a 2-conductor wire at each window or door, but you are going to install a 4-conductor wire. When you install the contact in each window you will wire it up to the green and white wires. If when you test the window and there is no conductivity between the green and white wires, you have another pair, the red and black wires, as backup. By running a 4-conductor you have doubled your chances of success for that security zone. That is good cheap insurance.

The second step you are taking is to pull an alarm wire to EACH WINDOW & DOOR. Later in this presentation I will show you how to test each zone and then join it with other alarm wires in daisy chain architecture at the OmniPro II location utilizing just one zone.

Chances of Total Success Have Gone Up Tremendously

Now your chances of total success have gone up tremendously. If in the years to come that zone of multiple windows has a problem and does not work anymore, you can retest each window individually to see which one has gone bad. Replace the contact; reconnect all the wires and you are back in business. The bottom line here is that there is nothing more frustrating than to lose a bank of windows plus expend countless hours troubleshooting the problem.

Well, you have one zone completed now pull security wires to each location for every window and door in the house.

The window and door contacts are the only devices that are 100% completely installed and tested in the rough-in phase prior to the drywall being installed. You can see just by looking at it that later you are going to drill a 3/8” hole in each window seal and door upper threshold and mount the part of the contact with the wires attached to it. Once you pull your cable to a particular zone, strip and connect your wires, you will connect them with these wire connectors more commonly referred to as “Bennies”. The other part of the magnetic contact will be installed in the top or side of a window or door. When they are lined up and the magnetic contact is made it will cause the security controller to see a closed zone. If the window or door is opened and the magnetic contact is broken, the controller will see the zone as “not ready”.

In this article I have given you a good overview of the process of installing a security and/or home automation system. To go the rest of the way you are going to need an installation eBook that takes you step by step with photos, wiring diagrams, and detailed instruction. I have written such a guide which is available on my main website @: