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  • Dave

    I’m late on just about every review and post I have had scheduled since returning from CES.  Why you ask?  Well I’m almost embarrassed to show you this first photo.  This is why.




    The HSS Podcast household has decided to have a generator installed and that required me to move the wiring cabinet that was installed by the previous home owner in order to install the new switch for the generator.  I have been meaning to do this for years but the mess you see above works and I’ve never had an issue with it.  Granted, the previous home owner wired the entire house horribly but the rat’s nest you are looking at was all me!  Let me break it down for you.




    A CAT5e cable runs to each room but was used as telephony and not data.  This is a fine solution but leaves me without a data connection where I want them.  I have one wireless phone in the house with multiple handsets and charger bases so I only need one wiring run as telephony.  The rest can be used as data except for one location.  What you see above is a DSL modem, wireless router, and a power strip for both.  Also, power for an antenna amplifier and distribution amplifier for OTA HD runs throughout the house.  The mess is further compounded by the fact that my entertainment center needs data and telephony.  Dish Network requires a phone line hookup or at least they did when I got my system 3 years ago.  I also need Ethernet at this location to hookup the XBox360, PS3, and Ethernet enabled TV.  I did a serious no-no by using the extra pair on the CAT5 run for the telephone hookup and the other pairs for Ethernet.  Works great but not recommended.  I know what you’re thinking.  Just run a new cable.  This location is in a basement and would be an absolute nightmare to pull off if it’s even possible.


    The other mess you may notice is a DSL filter on the telephone line.  Most households with DSL use filters at each phone location but I chose to filter at the wiring box and break out a clean telephone line to each room that may need it in the future.  Other locations that need data hook straight into the wireless router.


    Oh it gets worse!




    This is the CAT5 run to my data rack from the wireless router.  There are two coax runs to my HDHome Run’s as well.  These cables need to be properly routed.




    A closer look at the DSL filter contraption.  The telephone line from the NID comes into the house.  I wired it into a “biscuit” box and then plugged the DSL filter into the biscuit.  From there the telephone line goes to the punch panel for voice and the data portion goes into the DSL modem.  It has never hiccup’d.




    Here is a closer look at the Ethernet cable cannibalization for the entertainment center and voice line.




    Here it is in all it’s glory!  You can see the data panel is right where the new generator switching panel needs to be.  Right next to the electrical breaker boxes.


    Ready for the finished product?


    Christmas 2010 205


    Ahhh, much better.  CAT 5 from rooms that need data are properly terminated and jumped over to the switch on the data rack.  The only power in the wiring cabinet is for the distribution amp and antenna amp.  Telephony has also been cleaned up.


    Christmas 2010 208Christmas 2010 209


    Here are a couple of shots of the finished product.  There are still some droopy cables to tighten up but looks good and works perfectly.


    Racktop rack


    Next job will be to clean the rack up.  Bottom right is the Media Center server.  Above it is the test WHS with ioSafe.  Middle is my production server with external drive attached.  Up top is the DSL modem, router, switch, and two HDHR’s.  All devices are on a UPS.


    The generator worked perfectly when tested.  We dropped power and you could hear the UPS’s start to chirp while everything stayed powered up.  A couple seconds later you could hear the 10kw generator outside start and the switch inside clicked onto it’s power.


    So that’s my mess.  It’s a wonder the podcast ever got started with it but it all worked perfectly.  I’m off to clean that rack up now.


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    Might I suggest a slight improvement for your cabinet. The three holes at the top can be made more "cable friendly" if you take some pipe insulation (the kind with the vertical slits in it) and cover those sharp edges around those cut outs. Cable ties will be your best friend on that rack. Zip tie everything. Good job :)
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    Totally agree with jmwills about the insulation in the holes. Or, alternatively, you can get proper plastic protectors for the wholes at Home Depot or such. I'm not a fan of tie wraps; seems you never have side cutters to remove them when you need to right away, nor do you have new tie wraps handy when finished making changes. I much prefer velcro cabling ties; unzip them, make changes, rezip them; done. The velcro ties also have the added advantage that they put less pressure on the cables so they're less likely to crimp.
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    Nice work....were do you find the time. I doubt very much you are the only one here that is just a little bit embarrassed. Tbowland
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    Thank you for all your comments on the rats nest! I wish i could find photos of the cabinets I have done for customers. When I pack a cabinet for a customer I usually include a UPS, router, switch, cable boxes, etc. I like all my stuff outside of the wiring cabinet so I can goof with it from time to time. So having said that I don\'t expect to be inside this wire center very often. I have some of the plastic protective material for the top openings that I need to find. Thanks for pointing that out. I also have a massive roll of the double sided velcro that I use for securing cables. I plan on using that on the rack when I secure the cables to the verticle poles and such. I don\'t mind using the zip ties on the wiring center due to the fact that I don\'t cinch them terribly tight and I don\'t use the tool that automates it along with snipping it flush. That pulls the tie way to tight on the cables. I have some photos of the outside generator that I\'ll get into this post soon! It\'s a pretty cool box!
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