Automated Home 2.0 – #16 The Wiring Has Begun!

Smart Home Cable Arrives in the Automated Home 2.0

Just a quick update this time, but an exciting one. On Monday these cables were delivered by Epitome Living as the electricians started their first fix wiring.

Hiding on the far left of the photo above is a box of Cat6. perfect for our PoE camera positions around the house, now and in the future.

Next up we have a kilometre of Cat6a for general data duties throughout the house, connecting up to all our UniFi kit. Whilst this may seem like overkill, especially as we’re only using 1Gbps switching, this infrastructure will enable 10Gbps networking internally in the future, as well as provide options for reliable HDMI distribution should that be required later too.

I’ll come back to that purple reel above the Cat6a shortly.

Front and centre in green is 500m of Loxone Tree cable. This is a hybrid cable carrying high current 24v DC for Tree light fittings over 2 x 1.5mm cores, as well as a twisted pair to power switches and sensors. There’s another twisted pair in there too which serves as a data link for each Tree device. We have more of this cable on the way to us too.

The pink wire beside this is 14/4 Speaker Cable. This is a 4 core 14 AWG (approx 1.5mm) cable which feeds stereo audio into a room. We can then link over to the other speaker from the first one. Using this single 4 core cable saves running 2 physical cables back to the rack. It’s also perfect for a single “stereo” speaker, e.g. one with 2 tweeters. The purple cable on top of Cat6a on the left hand side is 14/2 Speaker Cable. This is useful for direct links to individual speakers.

Then we have the 250m of orange CAT7 used for general IO (inputs and outputs). For example, a simple doorbell at the back door, any standard retractive switches that are required, interaction with the garage doors and connections to the MVHR system. Cat7 has individually shielded pairs and carries slightly (but only slightly) higher currents than Cat6a. Also, from a system design point of view, having cable in another colour really helps to identify these IO device runs.

In black we have good old WF100 COAX. While everything in the AV world is moving towards IP, we’re still allowing for a terrestrial antenna and cabling for a satellite dish to see us through the next few years.

Finally in this picture is the white flex. This is 4 Core, which has been specified for the low voltage connections to motors, such as the electric windows and blinds. Not pictured is the 3 Core and Earth for 230v motors on blinds at the other windows.

Other cables that didn’t make this photoshoot include T&E (Twin and Earth) for any 230v lighting fixtures, as well as a 5 Core flex that we’re using for all LED strip work.

We’ve got about 10 days now until the internal plaster work starts and our opportunity to bury any more cable in these walls vanishes. So, what have I forgotten?! 🙂 :

Next Time

The UniFi hardware has all arrived now so I’ll take a look at that next time. For now remember to check out our Instagram to follow the project, read the rest of the Automated Home 2.0 blog posts and find the links to all the products we’ve used in our self-build.

Last update on 2022-07-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3 Comments on "Automated Home 2.0 – #16 The Wiring Has Begun!"

  1. It’d be great if you can share a wiring plan to give us a feel for where you’ve put each kind of cable.

  2. Why use CAT7? Isn’t that more for noisy environments that require shielding? As a network backbone sure I can understand why you might want more than CAT6 but why bother using it for MHRV or door bell?

  3. epitomescott | March 22, 2021 at 9:05 am |

    Hi Bobby

    Good question! Loxone practice has long been to use Cat7 for a variety of purposes.

    There are a few communications that can exist in a Loxone system. The main ones are Tree (peripheral type devices and some in cabinet extensions), Loxone Link (between extensions in a cabinet and to other cabinets) and general IO (basic inputs and outputs). Often there is 24v DC power required as well.

    I think it’s because of this mixture, and the potential for additional features in the future, that the “standard practice” is/was to use Cat7 for everything. It certainly was the manufacturer recommendation for Tree originally (they now also have a hybrid cable to allow 24v DC lighting power and Tree comms in one cable) and I believe remains to be for Loxone Link due to the shielding.

    If you’re thinking about standalone, basic IO in isolation, Cat7 may seem like overkill. Part of the decision to use it comes down to practicality – we are already using it for some of the items mentioned above, so to have a few metres run for the MVHR and doorbell does no harm. It’s also great on longer runs due to slightly thicker copper and of course leaves options open for future expansion, having those spare cores which are shielded.

    Hope this helps!


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