Info & Answers
Cleaning Up a Jungle of Wires
A look at how one custom electronics pro managed to tidy a poorly installed system and save it for these homeowners.
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February 08, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

Let’s just say the electrician who attempted to install this whole-house Panasonic communications system really phoned it in.

Fortunately for this client, he had called on his custom electronics pro to work on a different project when the installer, Joe Paciullo of ADR Media Integrators, eventually was led to this jungle of wires.

“He called us to add a flat-panel TV and extend audio to one room, and that’s when we saw everything that was going on,” says Paciullo. “A four-hour job turned into two-and-a-half days. In 30 years of doing this I’ve seen some real ‘winners,’ but this one was the ‘best.’”

The Problem

The mess stemmed from a major home addition that included five more rooms and a Panasonic KSU system to tie together the whole-house phone, intercom and security.

The electrician had told the client he could save him money on the phone and wiring distribution, but problems soon arose including phones not working properly, Internet distribution being spotty and cable TV reception becoming horrible.

“He showed us that room in the basement and we were amazed,” says Paciullo, who brought in lead technicians Ron Crawford and Todd Zorn to tackle the rewiring effort. “There were lots of Cat 5 cables run down to the closet and brought to junction boxes, but nothing was punched down properly, there was no structured wiring protocol at all, no color-coding matches, and parts of the system kept shorting out.”

Even the Panasonic wiring run to connect with the two security system enclosures (upper two boxes in the “Before” photo) wasn’t connected right, thereby leaving the homeowner without fire protection, Paciullo notes.

The Redesign

ADR Media Integrators began the redesign and installation from scratch, designing, mapping out, pulling and labeling all of the phone, cable and data lines room by room. In the basement closet, the team installed a Vantage ProLAN structured wiring cabinet (“After” photo, on right) to neatly house all the wires.

“On the box we had to get creative,” says Paciullo. “Normally, we recess it into the wall between studs, but there was concrete behind it, so we hung the enclosure instead. That actually helped us drop all the wires in through a raceway.”

The installers also incorporated a pair of Panamax surge suppressors - one dedicated to the security and the other driving the structured wiring panel - because there was no power protection in the space previously.

“Now everything’s marked and everything’s color coded,” says Paciullo, “and more important, everything works.”

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com and Electronic House magazine.

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