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Several Golden Advantages of Pulling Bundled Cable in New and Remodeled Homes

I don’t know which manufacturer first invented bundled cable for residential and small commercial use, but it was a fine day for America and the rest of the industrialized world when they did. It is like the old proverbial phrase, “It’s better than sliced bread.”

Many of you are thinking privately to yourself now, “Wow this guy really likes his bundled cable!” But it’s true, this new way of wrapping multiple cable types in one tough outer coating made wiring houses and small businesses so much easier. It opened up many other possibilities in the sheer number of electronic technologies that could be installed due in large part to labor savings. However, it also reduced the overall cost of the cable as well.

Think About the Labor

Think about what it takes to pull a single cable through the walls from the most distant bedroom in a home all the way back to the electronics distribution panel. First you have to select a path in the framing studs of the home, then drill holes large enough to accommodate the particular wire you are pulling. When that is complete you set the cable up on a roller or pull it out of a box through the walls to the panel.

Yes, if you are going to pull three types of cable at once the trick is to just drill slightly larger holes in the framing then wrestle with each wire as you pull it through the walls. All the while special attention has to be given to the process to avoid kinking or tangling the cables. When you are all complete you have three different cables pulled for that bedroom.

Do It the Easy Way

Now picture yourself drilling a 5/8” hole in the center of the framing studs. Set up a 500 foot roll of bundled cable to be pulled off the roll. First of all when you pull the cable it is much thicker and comes off the roll without kinking or tangling. Those two problems are a thing of the past. You can be pretty rough while pulling it through the walls because the outer coating is thicker than smaller cable. Damaging the cable by bending it too much is not going to happen with bundled cable.

Now Look What You’ve Got

When you are finished you have successfully pulled two Cat 5e twisted pair cables, two quality RG-6 quad-shielded coax cables, and two multi-mode fiber optic cables. Into one room with one pull you have pulled enough cable for three telephone lines, one fax line, one computer terminal, video entertainment, a video camera, plus enough fiber optic cable to handle any technology that will come along in the next 25 years. Now you know why I am so excited about bundled cable.

Well if you have pulled one bundled cable to every room in your house, now you can install an electronics distribution cable in a centrally located room and choose the systems you want. What follows is a laundry list of systems people commonly incorporate in their homes.

  • Telephone system
  • Front door and whole-house Intercom
  • CCTV system for lifestyle and security cameras
  • Cable TV to each room
  • High-speed Internet access in each room
  • Access control
  • Whole-house stereo

Install Your Own System

Of course, what I have outlined here is the simple explanation of installing a structured wiring system. However, it is not rocket science, meaning you could install your own system saving yourself lots of money. This simple little explanation I have provided today is not going to be enough guidance on installing your own system.

Instructional Guide

What you really need is a complete instruction manual that provides specific information on which system to install along with specific connector type and model information and specific guidance on standard and optional electronic hubs. With that degree of guidance you truly could purchase the necessary components, then install the system yourself and in the process save yourself a pile of money.


Important Instruction Help In Your Preparation To Install A Security/Home Automation System

What follows is information on what you need to do in the preparation phase of installing a UL approved Security/Home Automation system. It is important that you purchase all your electronics and hand tools well in advance of your start date. All right you have your tools organized and on hand. The next thing you need to do is to get the cabling you will need specifically for your security/home automation system.

Choice of Cable

The type of cable you will need to have on hand is at least two boxes of CAT 5e twisted pair cable. There are four twisted pair (TP) in a Cat 5e cable. You will also need several “speed bags” of stranded 4-conductor security wire.

Pull From A Box?

Some installers pull security cable from a box however, I have found speed bags a God send in terms of saved time and labor. If you have a medium to large size house you will be pulling cable from several bags at a time. Perhaps you will pull from as many as eight speed bags at a time. Even though you are going to pull quite a bit of cabling through your walls related you security and home automation, you will get by with just these two types of cable. Structured wiring, home theater, central vacuum, and whole-house stereo require several more types of cable however, this article does not address those systems.

Prepare Yourself

It is very important you prepare yourself and any workers that may be helping you when the time has come to install your systems. It is important that you do not get ahead of yourself because problems can arise if you do.

Generally speaking you want to show up with all your cabling, tools, and helper(s) when the framing has been completed. The plumber will have already come and gone having completed his rough-in. You are now waiting for the electrician to complete his job. You absolutely cannot install your low-voltage wiring until the electrician has come and gone. The reason for this precaution is you want to install your cables as far away from his high-voltage wiring as possible. If your wires end up too close to high-voltage wires, you will pick up energy from attenuation which might manifest itself as interference in your electronic equipment.

Identify Your Components

To install this system you must be able to first identify the various electronic components and connectors required to complete the job. Once you have gotten all these together you must understand the overall design of a typical system so that you can begin to formulate your own plan. After you have formulated the plan view for your home the next step is to pull the appropriate cabling throughout the walls to each zone originating normally in an electronics closet.

Make Sure the Windows and Doors Have Been Installed

Another important consideration is to make sure all the windows and doors have been installed. You can’t install security contacts to windows and doors if they have not been installed. If you are like most people you will be doing the rough-in work for several systems at the same time. You will be pulling cable for structured wiring, security / home automation, whole-house stereo, whole-house intercom, video cameras, central vacuum, and the list goes on. It is important to have at least one and hopefully two helpers on the job helping you with the labor.

Install Your Security Devices

Once the cable installation is complete you will install your contacts and other security components. When all the connectors have been installed, in the Trim-Out Phase you will install the UL approved security panel and connect each individual security contact wires to the security zones on the panel.

Installing Numerous Systems

It has been my experience that when people are considering one technology for their new or remodeled home, they are probably considering other systems as well. It would be in your best interest to have installation guide on each system you would like to include in your home. Read them all then purchase your components, special tools, and cabling so that they are all on the job site in advance of your proposed start date.

Here Is Your List

On the main page of my website are eight How To Install Ebooks which cover all the primary low-voltage systems from security and home automation to lighting control and whole-house stereo. Click on this link:


Video Entry

I have been installing some very reliable video entry systems over the years, however in the last couple years I have settled down with just one manufacturer. That manufacturer is GVI, which is the commercial video division of Sam Sung®. That is not to say that there are not several other manufacturers with outstanding features, it is just that I came to favor the Sam Sung® line. One of the primary reasons I like GVI is that there technical support is second to none. Once you have all the cables installed, properly installed your connectors and mounted the equipment, they can easily tweak the settings and have you up and running with your surveillance video system.

Security Surveillance Systems

There was a time when these systems were only referred to as security surveillance systems. That time has long sense passed as many of a home’s cameras are focused in on locations dealing only with family matters. A few examples of those types of locations are:

  • Front gate or front door for video entry capability
  • Swimming pool area to keep an eye on children
  • Babies’ room
  • Family room area
  • Back yard around the BBQ pit

So now a typical system has cameras focused in on areas of security while other cameras are there solely to enhance the family lifestyle. In any case the technology today is state-of-the-art and very reliable. In fact, the images from all the cameras on one screen, or one camera image full screen are available on a local monitor, local computer monitor, or any computer monitor in the world.

Old News

Now that I have told you what I have been doing let me just say frankly all that is old news. The technology with all the manufacturers has taken a giant leap forward in the last six months and GVI is out in front in my opinion. Of course, IP cameras have been around for a few years now, but many companies like mine have steered away from installing digital systems for a number of technical reasons.

I won’t go into all the technical challenges at this time, but the biggest one in my opinion was the difficulty in having the main equipment be able to identify the Internet address of each camera. This was especially true if the main frame and the camera manufacturers were different.

Like I say all that is old news because Sam Sung® GCI® has introduced AutoIP™ which is an IP Video Management System that takes the hassle out of networking. It does this by automatically detecting and configuring cameras and devices, making installation and use easier than it’s ever been.

The unit includes pre-installed autoIP™ software that is licensed for up to 8 cameras. Each appliance has a 3-Year ProSupport warranty that includes complete protection on all components and on-site technical support. A 3-year software service plan further protects the investment by including unlimited software technical support and free autoIP™ feature upgrades. The autoIP™ NVR solutions are designed to reduce installation time and maintenance costs of network video systems.

How Advanced is New Technology?

OK, so I have explained that this is the latest reliable technology available in Local/Remote Video Surveillance systems, but let me go further and explain why and to what degree it is advanced. Well, first of all it is much easier to install than traditional surveillance systems. The is no more need for running additional power cables to each camera because now the technology allows for video camera power to run on the same Cat5e which carries data. These systems don’t require coaxial cable.

The second and arguably the most important degree of improvement is the much greater clarity in the camera video image. In traditional color analog cameras about the best available was 550 lines of resolution. Now the resolution is over 1000. Not only that, now you can also purchase Megapixel cameras which are out of this world in how far out they can reach to provide you a perfect picture.

Bug’s Behind at 100 Yards

So before I get to far down the road in explaining all this new technology I should interject that this is not your Momma’s video surveillance system. The system is more expensive and the cameras, especially the megapixel cameras, are also costly. If I did list old style equipment and cameras, the price would be about 20 to 25% less. However, with the difference in cable cost and labor, that 25% doesn’t seem nearly as large. The Megapixel cameras are reasonably more expensive, but they can see a bug’s behind at 100 yards.

24-7 Digital Recording

In addition, the typical system these days is recording twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Each camera’s images are recorded every second, or to save on hard drive space some are set in a motion detection mode. In other words, when armed in this mode, the images are not being recorded except in the case of movement where movement is not expected. A good example of that would be an infrared camera in the garage. During the night no movement is expected in the garage. If and when the camera picks up movement the images are recorded for a specified amount of time.

Control The Cost

The keys to this and any other video entry / lifestyle & security video system are capability and cost. The absolute best way to control these issues is to install the system yourself. I help by providing lots of FREE information on this and other related home electronics systems like my 10 Video Mini Course. I invite you to follow me on my BLOG, sign up for my bi-monthly Newsletter, and view my ever increasing list of How to Install videos.

In addition, I have written an eBook on How to Install Security & Lifestyle Video. In the book you will receive step by step instructions on installing the system which integrates with the Security & Home Automation controller I have been installing for years.

Installing Multiple Technologies?

It has been my experience that when people are considering one technology for their new or remodeled home, they are likely considering other technologies as well. I make available a FREE eBook on How to Install Modern Home Electronics. Download the free copy and it will give you an overview of several systems which are commonly installed in homes.

If on the other hand you want to bypass the more capable and costly video entry systems and just purchase a simple telephone integrated video entry system, I have a product site where you can pick a system and have it shipped to you within days.


Alarm Wire

When writing about alarm wire I always distinguish between security / burglar alarms as opposed to home automation systems which also have a UL approved security controller. Regardless of the system involved, alarm wiring will always have a significant role. Many security installers will state that alarm wiring will normally be a 22-gauge, two-conductor cable. And most installers will go on to advise the use of stranded cable rather than 22-gauge solid copper wire as is contained in a Cat-5 cable.

Watch Out For Drywall Screws

The reason they advise the use of stranded cable is that should a drywall screw somehow come in contact with the solid copper wire it will likely break leading to a loss of all conductivity. Whereas when a screw touches a stranded wire, with any luck at all some of the strands of wire will survive thus maintaining conductivity between the zone contact and the security controller.

Recommendation Will Save Your Bacon

All that is needed for normally open or closed contacts used in doors and windows is a two conductor wire. However, I have a recommendation to all would-be installers. It is a practice which has saved my bacon many times over the years. I always run a four-conductor wire between each door, window, motion detector, glass break sensor, photoelectric beam, and any other device being installed as part of an overall home automation and/or security system.

All motions, smokes, glass breaks, etc., always use two wires for 12Vdc power as well as two wires for normally open or closed contacts. Why not just purchase one type of cable to service both the devices requiring power and normal door and window contacts? The difference between the cost of a box of 2-condcutor vs. a box of 4-conductor is negligible. Yet the savings in labor is immeasurable.

Do the Smart Thing

Do the smart thing, use the green and wire wires for window and door contacts, leaving the extra red and black pair in reserve at each location. That way when it turns out that conductivity has been lost on the green and white pair, one or both of the red and black wires can be used to complete the zone connection. That beats having to purchase and install a wireless device at the lost door or window or losing the zone all together from your overall system.

Home Automation is Important

Home Automation refers to an intelligent home, which is controlled by a 2-way interface computer. Without conscious thought by any human, it manages the systems in your home to provide you and your family with the ultimate in luxury, convenience, safety, security, substantial energy savings, and peace of mind. Automation makes it possible to integrate various technologies into one cohesive system.

An automated home adjusts the security, cooling, heating, and lighting automatically for comfort, energy savings, and convenience. A home automation system takes the place of a standard security system, and for not much more, greatly increases the value, safety, and efficiency of your home.

Control in Multiple Ways

Systems can be accessed and controlled over the telephone, either from within or away from home, and over the Internet. Check and adjust lights, temperature, and security from your phone and/or computer. Not only can you call into your system to check on the status of your home over the telephone, but your system can actually contact you! The system can be programmed very easily to call out over the phone to inform you when your children have arrived home from school or if the alarm has gone off.

You can expand and customize your home automation system. Not everyone wants the same capabilities in their Security/Home Automation system. I provide lots of FREE information on How to Install Electronics in Homes like my 10 Video Mini Course. You can join my Newsletter, follow articles in my BLOG, and watch my How to Install Videos. In addition, I have written several How to Install eBooks. At the center of them all is my How to Install Security & Home Automation eBook which shows you detail by detail how to install a specific system.

Installing Multiple Technologies?

It has been my experience that when people are considering one technology for their new or remodeled home, they are likely considering other technologies as well. I make available a FREE eBook on How to Install Modern Home Electronics. Download the free copy and it will give you an overview of several systems which are commonly installed in homes.

If you are a person who is not in need of information on installation, perhaps you would prefer to go directly to our product website where you can shop safely for home electronics at very reasonable prices. We can have a product shipped to you within a few days.