Clean AV Home Theater Wiring with Decora Style Wall Plate Connectors

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Decora Style Wall Plates

Home theater systems are great, but they come with 1 serious drawback, unsightly wires! Most of us men could care less about wires, but the spouse is a different matter. Try convincing the wife that wires everywhere is a small price to pay for AV heaven and you will be in for a rude awakening. So how can you get to AV heaven with high SAF (Spousal Approval Factor)? The  answer, decora style wall plates!

Common Decora Wall Plate Types

Speaker Binding posts

“F” connector for Cable/Satellite

Video Component for DVD/Blu Ray Players/Gaming systems

DVI for Blu Ray/TV

Decora wall plates come in various types. You may have seen these at home depot and you may have noticed that some of them are well over $20 bucks! If you’re like me, then you sure as hell are NOT going to pay $20 bucks for something so simple. Not only that, but you will need several depending on what you are installing. So a word to the wise, do not buy these at Home Depot, I say again DO NOT buy these at Home Depot or the like!

Master video component and speaker plates

Instead, check out Parts Express to get them at about 1/2 the cost.

Installation: Now that you know where to get them, the question is how easy are they to install? Well, installation is straight forward.  If you have access to your attic then you easily run all your wire up there then either run the wires through the wall. Running wires through the wall is fairly straight forward as long as you have a fish tape reel which allows you to easily fish wires out of walls. If the room has exterior walls, then fishing wire can be tricky because of the insulation, horizontal 2×4 blocking and vapor barriers. Instead, either consider ceiling mounting your plates for things like surround speakers.  The image below shows a ceiling mounted double gang box and plates for a projector component video jacks and rear speaker binding posts. In short, avoid running wires on exterior walls interior walls have no such obstacles. Here are the installation steps.

Ceiling Mounted Double Gang

1.  Determine the location preferably on interior walls.

2. Inspect the attic space to make sure you can run wires.  For running wires behind walls, you will need to drill holes on the top 2×4 wall plates.  A handy way to determine the locations where to run wires in the attic is to poke holes in the ceiling with a wire coat hanger in the general locations where you plan to install your plates.  You will be able to see the hangers sticking out once you clamber on up to the attic which will help you locate your wire feeding locations.

3. Run wiring.

4. Cut out wall holes for your gang boxes. Low voltage “old work” boxes work great and are much easier to install than regular wiring boxes. Cut outs for Single gang boxes are 2-1/8″ x 3-5/8″. Double gang boxes are 4-1/8″ x 3-5/8″.

5. Fish wire out.

6. Install your low voltage boxes.

7. Connect wiring to wall plates.

Easy wiring on Speaker Binding Post

8.  Screw on wall plates to boxes.

9. Finish by installing the decora cover.

Wired Home WHIRK2 Installation Manual How To

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Wired Home IR Kit

What is it? The Wired Home WHIRK2 is a 4 unit IR (Infra Red) repeater kit that allows you to place your components (cable box, satellite box, DVD player, Blu Ray player, etc) in a remote or hidden location.  This lets you control your components with your remote control even with the component infra red eyes out of sight. Very cool if you want to maintain a modern and sleek entertainment area with your ugly control boxes out of site. Works great with solid AV cabinets that have solid doors.

Best Price on Wired Home WHIRK2 IR Kit

Components: The kit consists of 3 basic components, the IR Eye, control unit with power plug and IR emitters (you get 4 of these).

IR Target

IR Controller

IR Emiter

Installation: Other than running the IR target wire, installation is pretty straight forward and wiring consists of nothing more than connecting the 3 IR target wires to the supplied connector.

Step 1. Locate where you would like to install the IR target.   Just below the TV is an excellent place if you have a wall mounted flat screen. Otherwise, just above the TV is also a good place if you have it on a stand. The key here is that the target must be within site your remote. Remember that this is what you will be pointing your remotes at so it cannot be hidden.

Step 2.  Run the IR target wire. The wire will connect to the IR controller and the supplied wire is plenty long for installs where your components will be in the same general location as the IR controller such as components inside an AV cabinet.  This type of install will be the easiest.  If wall mounting, drill a hole for the IR Target tube.

The tube is designed for wall mounting and has a threaded body for the included nut that secures it in place. Of course, most people will not be able to use the nut as it requires behind the wall access so make the hole slightly smaller than the tube so that it stays in the wall without the nut.

Fish the wire out of the wall once you have the tube installed. You will get a much cleaner installation if you are using decora style wall plate like the one below. As you can see, I drilled a hole in the plate for the wire.

IR Target wire

Step 3: Secure your IR controller/hub. Inside or behind your AV cabinet is an excellent place. It must be within about 10 feet of your components as the IR emitter wires are about this length and have a headphone type connector at the ends of them that plug directly into your ir controller.  Also keep in mind that your IR controller/hub will need to be withing 6ft or so from a power outlet.

IR Emitter Plug

Step 4: Connect the IR target wires to the supplied connector. Red goes to V+, black goes to G and white goes to IR. You will need a small screwdriver to secure the wires to the connector. It will help if you plugin the connector to the controller before you connect wires so that you can see which wire goes where since the labels are on the controller and not on the connector.

IR Target Connector Plug

Step 5:  Connect your emitters to the controller. The controller is clearly labeled.

Step 6: Connect the power to your controller.

Step 7:   Test that everything is working by holding  the emitters up to your component’s infra red eye.  The emitters come preinstalled with double sided tape so that you can secure them directly over your component’s infra red eye.  Be sure to test before you stick the emitters on! You don’t want to mess up the adhesive tape by pulling the emitters off and resticking them on. Below is an emitter installed directly over the IR eye of a Sony Blu Ray player.

Installed Emitter on Blu Ray

That’s it, you’re done! Now enjoy a clean AV space with no clutter or ugly boxes sitting on top of your cabinets.  Below is the final product, No boxes! Find the Wired Home WHIRK2 IR Kit at Parts Express.


Look Ma', No boxes!