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x•s•v•toys (ex-es-iv-toyz or excessive toys): Exceeding a normal, usual, reasonable, or proper limit for the purchase of consumer electronics.

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The xsvtoys "RETRO" Structured Wiring Story - DOCUMENTATION


Phase four – Document your Structured Wiring system

After you have connected some wall plate jacks to the cable TV and phone distribution modules in the SMC, you might want to make a record of how you have set up your patch cables. One way to do this would be to further annotate the floor plan drawing by adding labels showing active jacks and what they are. This is shown below where there are TV connections active and one telephone for line 1 (L1). However, this sort of drawing might get overly busy and difficult to interpret.

floor plan

A better way to visually show what is going on is with a connection diagram. You could draw a simple schematic by hand, or create something on the computer with Microsoft Visio or something similar if you feel creative. There are not any specific rules about the right or wrong way to do this. There are various approaches that you can take, to document the SW system both as permanently installed and as the "patched" configuration. It is probably a good idea to have at least one document that provides a description of the system, because you are sure to forget where the maze of wires goes after some time goes by. It is true that if everything is well-labeled a knowledgeable person should be able to figure everything out by looking at it, but life will be easier if things are written down.

Here are some of the various ways to document the system. (click pictures to enlarge)

Wire Table

At the minimum it is probably a good idea to have a table that lists each wire and where its two ends are. In this example, the location of each end of the wire is shown along with its termination position, the type of termination, and also the type of cable is listed.

wire table

If you use a spreadsheet to make this table, then it is a simple matter to sort all of the wires so you can view the system differently for more convenience. For example, this version sorts all of the wires by destination, so you can see the wall plates grouped together.

wire table

Don't forget to write down a key for all of the abbreviations.

wire table key

Wiring diagrams

If you are feeling more ambitious, you can create a more formalized wiring diagram, such as this example created with Visio.

wire diagram

The above diagram serves as a reference for all of the wires that have been put into place for the structured wiring system. In theory, you should be able to reference this diagram and keep track of patch cables. You can also supplement this drawing with all of the patch cables as shown below. This drawing gets to be a bit busy, and also remember that it needs to be updated every time a patch cable is moved if you want it to be up to date. But it looks cool.

wiring diagram

If you have a network that has more than a one or two computers, you also might want to make a network diagram in this sort of style.

network diagram

Print hard copies of all of your tables and diagrams and keep them somewhere near your structured media center. These printouts come in handy as a reference when you want to make some changes.

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