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The steps below are general Ethernet Category 5 (commonly known as Cat 5) cable construction guidelines. For our example, we will be making a Category 5e patch cable, but the same general method will work for making any category of network cables.
- 568B – Put the wires in the following order, from left to right:
- white orange
- white green
- white blue
- white brown
Bulk Cable – Bulk cable can be found at computer stores, electrical stores, and home centers. You can obtain Category 5, Category 5e, and Category 6 cable, depending on your needs. For lengths shorter than 50′ use a stranded/braided cable. For lengths greater than 50′ use a solid cable.
There are two types of wire (solid or stranded) and which one you choose should be based on where and how the patch cable is to be used. See warning above about PLENUM cable. Stranded wire is best for a workstation patch as it can tolerate flexing without cracking the conductors; however, the trade off is that they’re more susceptible to moisture penetration. Solid is best used in a wire closet or for a patch that will be moved very infrequently, as the conductor tends to crack if bent and/or flexed. Cracked conductor leads to “reflections” which make for chatter on the LAN connection, hampering speed and reliability.
Replacing electrical wiring is part of making an old house safer, more modern and more livable. The approach you take will depend on your budget, your ability to access the walls, attic, and crawlspace and the level of demolition allowed. This kind of remodeling is easier to do in a newly purchased home than a well lived-in one. Do not attempt to replace your own wiring unless you are experienced in electrical construction.
Permits and Codes
Rewiring a house will require a permit from your local building department. Homeowners are allowed to do electrical repairs on their own houses, but the work will have to be inspected. You may want to consider hiring an electrician to advise and assist you with planning and discovery, since understanding the wiring of an old structure involves a good deal of experience and knowledge.
Accessing the Walls
The first step in replacing wiring is deciding how much you will access the walls. If your house is newly purchased, before you paint or move in, plan on cutting numerous holes in the walls to make running the new cable easier. If your house is lived-in, or you don’t want to cause a major disturbance, the task will take much longer and your options will be limited. You may have to leave the wiring in the walls intact and only replace the cable in the attic or crawlspace.
New Cable Locations
The majority of the new cable will likely be run through the attic and crawlspace before it enters the walls. Where you run the cable depends on your ability to access the spaces, but generally outlets are fed from below and wiring for lighting is fed from above. Be careful of hazards such as asbestos and fiberglass insulation, as well as the old wiring. Make sure the power is turned off before drilling new holes and cutting into the walls.
Rewiring an Outlet
To replace the wiring feeding an outlet, the old outlet needs to be removed. It may be possible to pull the old cable back through the hole in which it runs. However, if it is stapled in place, then that is not an option. You will have to drill a new hole for the new cable.
Drilling New Holes
If you are refeeding an outlet or a light switch and you can’t reuse the old cable’s hole, a new hole is necessary. Although it requires a fair amount of skill, new holes can be drilled from inside the room with a flexible drill bit. Alternately, accessing the crawlspace or attic and drilling through the wood plate is necessary. Locating your hole involves careful measuring. Drill a 1/8-inch hole first to make sure you aren’t about to drill a hole through your floor or into a stud.
Determining the Number of Circuits
Often old wiring does not provide enough circuits for the energy demands of modern appliances, lighting and technology. Before you start running cable, you must plan your circuits according to the rules of the National Electrical Code, or NEC. The NEC gives guidelines that must be followed, especially for spaces such as the kitchen and bathroom. Do research on housing circuits to help plan your layout, or hire an electrician as a consultant.
Replacing your Service Equipment
Besides replacing the wiring, you should also consider replacing your electrical service, which includes your main panel and any subpanels. This may be necessary if your old panel doesn’t have enough room for the circuits you have added. Also, it may be advisable if your old panel is in bad condition or if you have fuses instead of circuit breakers. If you upgrade the panel, you will likely have to replace the wires that feed the house. This job is best left for a professional electrician.
Fancy home theater entertainment centers can wreck the fidelity of a good sounding hi-fi system. We discuss what to avoid to maintain the best performance of your audio equipment when placed in furniture.
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If you’ve never pulled wire through conduit, it may seem a bit troubling. How in the world can you get the wire to push through the conduit, especially when the conduit run may be hundreds of feet long? Unless the conduit is very short and/or perfectly straight, pushing it through is highly unlikely. And, of course, it won’t just crawl through the pipe itself. Dry and bare wiring being pulled through conduit, especially PVC conduit, creates friction, making it even more difficult to pull the wire.
There are a few basic tools and supplies that can help make pulling wire through conduit a snap, however. And remember: It's always easier to pull wires with a partner.
Pulling NM Cable Through Conduit
Most wire that is installed in conduit is insulated wire (usually THHN or THWN) rather than sheathed cable, such as non-metallic (NM), or Romex, cable. Running NM cable inside conduit is not a standard practice and may not be allowed in all jurisdictions.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) does not prohibit running NM cable inside conduit, but this installation is subject to conduit fill limits, just like insulated wire in conduit. Because NM cable takes up more space than individual wires, it's easier to exceed the fill limit with cable. Also, cable is difficult to pull through conduit, due to the cable's size and the sheathing, so running cable in conduit typically is limited to very short runs that do not require standard wire pulling techniques.
Also note that NM cable is not rated for outdoor, or wet, applications. It is never permissible to run NM cable outdoors or in other wet areas, even if the cable is installed in conduit.
Lubricating the Wires
Pulling wires can be difficult enough through straight runs of conduit, but throwing a few bends and turns in the run increases friction, making pulling much more difficult. That’s when you use a lubricant. Wire-pulling compound is a non-conductive lubricant in either a gel or a slimy, soapy form that makes both the conduit and wires slick by coating the wiring, allowing it to slide through the conduit with relative ease.
Apply the compound directly to the wires before pulling them into the conduit. Use the lubricant more heavily at the beginning of the pull and less so toward the end of the pull, as the interior of the conduit will become coated along its length as you pull. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application.
Adding or extending an electrical circuit is a job that seems intimidating to many DIYers, but in reality, the wire connections are rather easy if you have a basic understanding of electrical work. Routing the cables through finished walls is the challenging part. It is easy enough to run cables through unfinished basements or attics, but running them inside finished walls is another matter.
During major remodeling projects, you can route the wires where you need them to be by removing the drywall and running cables through studs and ceiling cavities. In other situations, it is neither practical nor desirable to remove drywall—it is a messy, expensive process that is best avoided if you can.
But it is possible to add or extend circuits in finished walls without destroying the walls and without putting yourself through an enormous ordeal. This is also the same process used when old wiring is replaced with new cable during system upgrades.
There are several methods for running cable through finished walls, and the approach you take will depend on the circumstances and how extensive the work will be. Does it involve simply extending a circuit from an existing outlet to a new outlet location? Are you running an entirely new circuit from the main service panel to multiple locations? Or are you replacing an entire house full of knob-and-tube wiring with new NM cable? The approach an electrician takes will depend on the scope of the job, but all retrofit wiring jobs use similar techniques.
In the example described here, we are running a simple loop of wire from one new wall box location to another, such as you might do when extending a circuit. The presumption is that the cable run will be looped from one box location down or up into a basement, a crawlspace, or an attic and then across floor joists before entering the stud cavity where the next box is located.
There is a third option for wiring. It involves running surface raceway wiring (such as Wiremold products) on the surfaces of the walls, but that can look unprofessional—and it may not be allowed by the electrical code in some areas.
Consider Code Issues
Remember to consult your local code on requirements for running cable. For example, in exposed locations such as open basements or attics, NM cable usually needs to be run through holes or notches cut in joists rather than stapled to the face of the joists. Thus, when looping a length of NM cable between new wall boxes, the process may involve running it through holes drilled in the floor joists in order to reach the stud cavity.
Also, make sure the wire gauge is appropriate to the amperage of the circuit. For standard 120-volt branch circuits, 12-gauge wire is used for 20-amp circuits and 14-gauge wire for 15-amp circuits.
Before You Begin
When adding or replacing wiring in finished walls, most electricians will attempt to make the horizontal portion of the cable run in the unfinished attic, basement, or crawlspace areas, looping the cable down or up through the wall cavity, across the floor or ceiling joists, and then vertically through another stud cavity to the next wall box opening. For the horizontal portion of the cable run, this can involve drilling holes in the joists where the cable will pass.
This is much different than how a home is wired during new construction, when horizontal cable runs are installed directly through studs from one outlet location to the next before the wall surfaces are installed. But when you are running wire in existing construction, the looping method prevents the expensive and time-consuming process of opening up walls and patching them after the wires are run.
When extending a circuit, for example, the electrician may run the cable vertically from an existing outlet box, up to the attic or down into the basement, across joists to a spot directly above or below the new box location, and then into that wall cavity to the new electrical box opening. For a DIYer doing this work, the most difficult part is figuring out a way to punch through the wall plates at the top or bottom of the wall in order to fish cable into the basement or attic.
If the job involves simply extending a circuit—such as when adding an additional outlet location in a room—some electricians will remove baseboard molding, notch out the drywall in the area hidden by the baseboard, then drill access holes through the studs to fish cable from location to location. This is a fairly easy way to run cables from one box location to the next. When the baseboards are reinstalled, the holes will be covered—no need for patching.
WiringPi is PRE-INSTALLED with standard Raspbian systems. Please DO NOT try to follow any installation instructions you may be given anywhere else. THIS PAGE is the definitive and proper way to do it.
Also note: WiringPi is developed and tested on a Raspberry Pi ONLY. It is for C and RTB BASIC programs on. If you are trying to install it on anything else, then good luck.
To update or install on a Raspbian-Lite system:
is all you need.
WiringPi is maintained under GIT for ease of change tracking, however there is a Plan B if you’re unable to use GIT for whatever reasons (usually your firewall will be blocking you, so do check that first!)
Note: wiringPi is NOT hosted on Github. There are many forks that you may find there, but they are not the original version maintained by myself.
To view the wiringPi sources, then go to:
and select the wiringPi link.
First check that wiringPi is not already installed. In a terminal, run:
If you get something, then you have it already installed. The next step is to work out if it’s installed via a standard package or from source. If you installed it from source, then you know what you’re doing – carry on – but if it’s installed as a package, you will need to remove the package first. To do this:
If you do not have GIT installed, then under any of the Debian releases (e.g. Raspbian), you can install it with:
If you get any errors here, make sure your Pi is up to date with the latest versions of Raspbian: (this is a good idea to do regularly, anyway)
To obtain WiringPi using GIT:
If you have already used the clone operation for the first time, then
Will fetch an updated version then you can re-run the build script below.
To build/install there is a new simplified script:
The new build script will compile and install it all for you – it does use the sudo command at one point, so you may wish to inspect the script before running it.
Click on this URL: (it should open in a new page)
Then look for the link marked snapshot at the right-hand side. You want to click on the top one.
This will download a tar.gz file with a name like wiringPi-98bcb20.tar.gz. Note that the numbers and letters after wiringPi (98bcb20 in this case) will probably be different – they’re a unique identifier for each release.
You then need to do this to install:
Note that the actual filename will be different – you will have to check the name and adjust accordingly.
Test wiringPi’s installation
run the gpio command to check the installation:
That should give you some confidence that it’s working OK.
WiringPi is released under the GNU Lesser Public License version 3.
Building a new home or remodeling? One of the most common questions our tech support department receives is how to cable a home for automation. Since the popular X10 and Insteon protocols send your commands over standard electrical wiring, adding various additional cable runs isn’t necessary, but automated lighting and appliances aren’t the only convenience to keep in mind when planning your cabling. There are a number of different theories on how automation wiring should be done and what type of cables should be used. The following is probably the most widely accepted and most practical method based on the Smarthome team’s experience and industry knowledge.
Wiring for Powerline Control Protocols
By design, equipment controlled over powerlines does not need much in the way of special wiring. However, for maximum reliability, it’s a good idea to install the following in homes with Insteon, X10, or UPB installations.
Neutral Wire at Each Wall Switch
Ask your builder/electrician to run the neutral wire to each wall switch location (the neutral cable is optional in many light switch wiring schemes and unless you specify it explicitly, it may get omitted). Insteon switches, dimmers, and keypads and most enhanced X10 wall switches require a 3-wire (hot, neutral and load) connection.
You are likely to want a number of In-Wall Remote Control Panels throughout the house.
These In-Wall transmitters can control groups of lights or execute complex lighting macros. With one touch, you can quickly adjust all the lights in a room to match the occasion or mood.
Plan these locations and have a hot and neutral wire run to a J-box at these locations.
Use Deep Junction Boxes
Insteon switches and keypads feature a slim design, making installation easy even in small junction boxes, but if you’re not yet decided on an automation protocol, it’s a good idea to specify the installation of deep junction boxes to accommodate any switch size. The deep models have extra working space and make the installation a little easier. Deep boxes only cost a few cents more than normal depth models. Look for single-gang boxes that are 22cu (cubic inches) or higher and double-gang boxes that are 36cu or higher.
Whole-House Surge Protection
Install a Whole-House Surge Suppressor to protect your electrical appliances and home entertainment products. If you are going to be using a significant number of powerline automation components in your home, adding just one whole-house surge protector will give you a good insurance policy against costly damage to both your X10 or Insteon system as well as other delicate electrical equipment in your house.
Isolate Non-Automation Loads
Work with your electrician to isolate non-automation loads. Having the kitchen and laundry appliances plus the heating systems on one phase of your electrical system will help keep potential noise off the X10- or Insteon-carrying lines.
Wiring for Data
Data cabling will include more than the cat. 5 or cat. 5e you’ll use to use for your Ethernet network. This section provides the information you’ll need to install your A/V, telephone, HVAC, and security systems. The first stage in planning is to select the location of a central wiring hub location. This is where all the cables from all the different rooms come in and where all the external cabling (cable TV, phone, antenna, satellite, etc.) feeds into the house. Ideally this should be located next to your audio/video equipment since the speaker cable and video cable will feed to the other rooms from here.
The equipment housed in this location usually includes:
- Video Distribution Panel
- Telephone System
- Intelligent Home Automation Controller
- Multi-Zone HVAC Controller
- Security Panel and any other home automation-related central controllers/hubs
When adding a home theater system, creating dedicated home theater space, the possibilities are endless. Seating will have a huge influence on the overall comfort and Appeal of your home theater system.
The Equipment Rack will usually house not only your home theater equipment but all the amplifiers, DVD players and DSS receivers for the entire house. Before you could just stack all equipment on top of each other. That was fine, unit the equipments started having more energy processors and other components generate lots of heat. If the equipments are stack nowadays, it may burn out components. You will need space for the equipment and cooling strategy for the your gears.
Picking the right configuration for the home theater system:
Don’t buy an equipment rack without a cooling system. Some offer the ability to daisy-chain fans in one system so it can be automatically turned on and off based on temperature.
Your racking system should have a way to connect to multiple output power bars so that all your power cables can be managed nicely. The best power bars have slide-on stabilizing clips that make sure your power plugs don’t come out of the power bar.
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One of the more daunting perceived obstacles to driving a plug-in electric car seems to be the need for a home charging station.
While plug-in hybrids can be recharged overnight using their 120-Volt charging cords, battery-electric drivers should really have access to a 240-Volt Level 2 charging station.
Those will recharge the full battery pack in anything from 4 to 9 hours, depending on the specific car.
Many owners will want to retrofit a charging station into an existing garage, but to lay out the principles, we’re starting with what it takes to install one into a garage that’s being built or extensively remodeled.
We’ve just gone through that process for a new garage in New York’s Catskill Mountains. (Note this applies only to North America!)
There are several steps, but it’s important to understand that the wiring is the first step, and separate from the charging station–since drivers may later choose to upgrade to a more powerful station.
Circuit-breaker box showing 240-Volt circuit for electric-car charging station
First, work with your contractor and electrician to install a dedicated 240-Volt line to 1 or 2 feet below wherever you plan to locate your charging station.
We sited ours in a corner of the building so a car can be recharged inside, or we can run the cord out underneath the garage door or through the regular door on the side of the building.
Many contractors won’t have any prior experience with electric-car charging stations, so you may have to educate them.
The easiest way to put it in context is that it’s the same kind of circuit used for electric clothes driers or stoves.
Second, make sure your new circuit is capable of 50 Amps, which means a 40-Amp charging rate (using 80 percent of the circuit capacity).
Even if your first charging station is only capable of 24 Amps (as many less-expensive ones are), you’ll want to “future-proof” your garage wiring.
NEMA 6-50 socket
Third, tell the electrician to install a NEMA 6-50 socket–the one used by most charging stations that aren’t hard-wired–in the wall below the chosen site.
One electrician we spoke to preferred hard-wiring, which eliminates resistance heat between the plug and socket, but we wanted to allow the charging station to go with us if we move.
Fourth, once you have your garage wired, THEN select your charging station and bolt it securely to the wall.
Most people will buy a new one; we were lucky enough to have a used one given to us by Green Car Reports contributor and electric-car advocate Tom Moloughney, who was upgrading. (Thanks, Tom!)
There are more than a dozen charging stations on the market today.
They can be bought directly from the makers or found at big-box stores like Best Buy, Home Depot, or Lowe’s–from their websites if not necessarily in stock at your local outlet.
Things to keep in mind:
- Look for at least 24 Amps of charging capability; 40 Amps is best, but more expensive
- Charging rate should be at least 7.2 kilowatts, which will handle both Chevy Volts (3.3 or 3.6 kW) and higher-rate cars like Nissan Leafs and BMW i3s (6.6 and 7.2 kW, respectively)
- Make sure it has that NEMA 6-50 plug on it!
- Some charging stations are “dumb,” while others come from makers (e.g. ChargePoint) that offer online connections between your charger and a phone app and/or online site that will show you instant and cumulative charging statistics
- Ensure the cord is long enough to reach a car parked outside the garage. We’d suggest 16 feet at minimum, and 25 feet is well worth the extra cost.
NEMA 6-50 plug in socket
That’s the short and simple version of what you need to know. We’ll update this article if we get additional tips and pointers from readers or commenters.
Remember: It’s no more complex than an electric clothes drier–and there are millions of those in garages all over North America.