John Harding - Insert Catchy Title Here

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wall Plates

Next up for the wiring improvements: wall plates. At the moment, I have the following wires all coming into the equipment area:
5x Bose jewel cube speaker wires (see earlier post)
5x 14 gauge speaker wire
1x 3-RCA Component Video + 2-RCA Analog Audio
1x S-Video

I would like to add an additional set of wires, assuming I can open up some walls and run them:
1x Cat-5 Ethernet
2x 14 gauge speaker wire
1x 3-RCA Component Video
1x 2-RCA Analog Audio
1x S-Video

Currently, all this stuff basically just comes out of 2 separates holes in the shelving unit, and some of the wires don't quite reach all the way to where I want to put my equipment. On top of that, some of the cables (the video ones, primarily) have about 10-15 feet of extra slack that I'd really like to get rid of, or at least organize better. Wall plates seem like the way to go.

Found the following at RAM Electronics:
Standard wall plate units:
HDMI @ $39.15 (WTF?!)
Component Video @ $7.28
S-Video + Analog Audio @ $17.95
4-pair 5-way binding posts @ $19.35
2-pair 5-way binding posts @ 9.90
3-gang wall plate @ 2.25
2-gang wall plate @ 2.00
1-gang wall plate @ 1.00
Keystone modular units:
RCA jack @ 3.15
S-Video jack @ 3.90 or 8.10 - not sure what the difference between them is.
Cat-5 Ethernet jack @ 7.65
1-, 2-, 3, 4-, and 6-port wall plates @ 2.10
1-, 2-, and 3- port wall plate inserts @ 1.00, 1.10, and 1.20, respectively.

Clearly, the Keystone Modular stuff is more expensive, but I don't think I've got a choice for the Cat-5, at least at Ram Electronics.

On the speaker front, there's also this 5-pair binding post plate for 17.49, though I'm not familiar with the store/manufacturer.

Not seeing too much else that's reasonably priced...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bose Blows

After moving in, I finally started investigating the messed up speaker wiring that the previous owners had done in our place, and it turns out it's even crazier than I thought. The living room had 3 Bose Jewel Cube speakers (blech) mounted on the walls in approximately the right positions for Left Front, Left Surround, and Right Surround speakers. Great, I thought - just add one more and I've got everything solved! I had my contractor move a mysterious speaker wire from the adjoining room into a reasonable spot for the Right Front speaker and thought I was set, but I was Wrong.

The Left Front and Left Surround speaker locations have Bose's funky RCA->Custom speaker wires pulled to them. The Right Surround speaker location had regular speaker wire pulled, but fortunately I found adapters that will let you connect regular speaker wire to the Jewel Cube speakers. Groovy.

Problem #1: You can't buy just a single Jewel Cube speaker. Bose and their authorized resellers only want to sell you complete kits, or at least, a set of 5 cubes. Funk that. Turns out there are plenty of singles on eBay, but they're still going to run you about a benny.

Problem #2: The stupid Bose custom wire. The all-knowing internets seem to think that it's basically just 18 gauge lamp cord with an RCA jack on one end and their custom connector on the other. I'm going to cut off the RCA jacks and see if the internets are correct.

Problem #3: Assuming you've solved problem #1, apparently the speakers don't come with wall mounts. Fortunatley, that's an easier problem to solve either here or here.

For entertainment purposes only:
I briefly entertained the idea of running the pre-out for the Left Front and Left Surround channels out from my receiver and into the Bose receiver, running it in stereo mode with the speakers hooked up accordingly. Not good - lots of hum - maybe due to mismatches in line levels or too much volume monkeying? Blech.

Update: Yep - 18 gauge lamp core inside an outer jacket. I'm a bit concerned about whether or not 18 gauge is thick enough to handle the power I want to put through there, though I guess it's moot until/unless I get a new receiver. Now I just need to splice on an extension to reach the location of my receiver.