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Clean AV Home Theater Wiring with Decora Style Wall Plate Connectors

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.

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