How to Install Multi Conductor Cable Wire

Consumers have probably been in this position many times. Often they see a great sale on a new high-definition television or a set of speakers, at a price too good to pass up. They get the television or speakers out of the store, into their cars (if they don’t get it delivered, that is), and get it into their living rooms or offices.

Some of these electronic products are meant to be the centerpiece of the room or office, and so customers will set it up accordingly, building it out and placing it in the middle of in a setting such as a home entertainment center (or making plans to eventually get one that complements the TV or the speakers, and the room itself).

Installing your own multi-conductor wiring and cables can be great for saving money and making sure that the wiring and cable system works with the décor of your home or office.


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    Take the necessary precautions. Attempting to install a multi-conductor wiring or cables yourself can involve a fair amount of risk. You can not only damage the area you’re attempting to work on, but you can also cause yourself injury from faulty wiring, especially if there’s electricity running.
    • If you haven’t previously installed cables and wires yourself, familiarize yourself with the proper tools and skills needed for the project. Any wires you use should meet local building and fire codes.
    • If the house you are installing the wire in is still under construction, consult and follow the builder’s safety procedures—especially those having to do with using and storing extension cords and power tools.
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    Gather the right tools and supplies. In order to perform a project successfully, you need to make sure you have the right tools at hand.
    • For most projects, common tools include hammers, tape measures, small levels, linesman pliers, wire cutters and strippers, and laser levels or chalk lines. Most common drills should be ½” or larger.
    • You may also need spade bits from ¼” to 1 ½”. Other common tools for a wiring project include step ladders, wire labels, electrical tape, wire ties and attachments, nail plates, junction boxes, and backless brackets or P-rings.
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    Learn about the wires and cables available. Multi-conductor cables are designed for a diverse range of communications applications.
    • These include the common household uses such as audio and video systems, but can also include more advanced applications such as public address systems, actuator controls, remote control circuits, and data transmission. For in-wall installations of speaker and audio/video cables, use UL-rated wire labeled CL2 or CL3. For installing Ethernet cable, use CM, CMR, or CMP wire.
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    Find out the proper dimensions and features. Multi-conductor cables and wire are usually available in 14 to 24 AWG (American Wire Gauge). They come in a variety of configurations, featuring annealed stranded tinned copper wire, which is RoHS, CSA, and UL compliant.
    • You can also find insulation in a number of UL styles such as a color coded PVC or with a chrome gray PVC outer jacket that can withstand temperature ranges from (CM) -20°C to 80°C (-4°F to 176°F) and (UL) -40°C to +80°C, depending on what application for which the cable will be used.
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    Choose the correct wire for the project. Choosing the right wire is essential for the project. For speaker wire, you need to pick the right gauge for the distance from speaker to amplifier.
    • If the speaker is less than 80 feet (24.4 m) away from the amplifier, you should use a 16 gauge wire. If it’s between 80 and 200 feet, you should use a 14 gauge wire. For lengths over 200 feet (61.0 m), a 12 gauge wire is recommended.
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    Plan the wire route. Before drilling, make sure that you don’t get too close to AC power wires, since you run the risk of damaging them. Avoid them altogether if you’re running A/V cables. If you have to cross AC and low-voltage wires, make sure they’re at 90° angles.
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    Routing the wire or cable. When running the wire through the route, drill holes in the center of studs in order to avoid nails, taking care to avoid making large holes in load-bearing walls.
    • The diameter of the hole should be around twice the size of the total diameter of all the wires you plan to pull through. Avoid running multiple cables through one hole.
    • Center all holes vertically in a joist, and avoid drilling holes within 2 inches (5.1 cm) of the top or bottom of the joist. Avoid drilling in support beams or headers.
    • Roof and floor trusses or I-beams often provide you with “web” space that lets you avoid drilling unnecessary holes.


  • In a finished home or office, you should clear the area behind any walls before cutting through. If you drill a fire block or firebreak, repair it with the same material. If you’re drilling between floors, seal the holes with fire-resistant caulk that is compliant with National Electric Code standards.
  • If you work on a ladder, make sure it’s stable and close to the area you’re working on. Always have one hand on the ladder, and don’t carry any heavy items up and down the ladder that would make you fall. Unplug everything before connecting newly installed cables and be sure to turn off the power in the areas you’re working in.
  • Multi-conductor cables are also available with a 14 to 24 AWG foil shielding, with 2, 3, and 4 conductor configurations. These cables are constructed of an annealed stranded tinned copper wire, polyethylene color coded insulation and polyester aluminum foil shields with a stranded tinned copper drain wire.
  • Other available multi-conductor cables include a 20 AWG to 24 AWG variety with up to 60 conductors, featuring semi-rigid PVC insulation, 85% coverage tinned copper wire braid shielding, and a gray PVC jacket.
  • To terminate speaker wire at either end, you can use bare wire or speaker connectors. For Ethernet cables—which you can also use for audio/video connections—make sure to use CAT-5e or CAT-6 family of cables. For audio/visual purposes, you can use the unshielded twisted pair (UTP) variety of cables.
  • To terminate Ethernet cables, use RJ-45 connectors for either end, and secure the connection with a crimp tool. For audio/video (A/V) cables, Ethernet cable has become a popular option, since they tend to be cheaper than what A/V cables can usually cost. RG-6 cables are recommended for long runs through walls, since they are HD-capable and are less expensive than HDMI or subwoofer cable.
  • To terminate A/V cables, you may have to strip the cable and crimp it on the connector yourself. In some cases you can simply twist one end on to the cable.
  • Avoid installing wires next to AC power lines for longer than 5 feet (1.5 m). If it the cable or wire has to be beside an AC line, keep it at least 1 foot (0.3 m) away from the power line throughout the entire run. Also avoid feeding the AC and low-voltage wire through the same hole.
  • Consult your builder for maximum hole sizes in case you do need to drill. In order to avoid bending the cable as it goes past intersections of joists and studs, make sure that all curves are smooth and gradual. These turns should be snug without pinching the cable.


  • Avoid even spacing between staples
  • Avoid using cheap cable
  • Avoid kinking the cable
  • Avoid pulling too hard
  • Avoid running wire to close to power lines
  • Avoid crushing the cable
  • Avoid exposing the shield
  • Avoid nicking the center wire
  • Avoid simple finger-tightening the connectors
  • Avoid using a standard electrical box
  • Avoid using a cheap splitter

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Categories: Cabling and Wiring Connection