Tips & Techniques from the
MAKING THE CONNECTION
Tips on Ensuring Proper Connection of Components
June, 2008 — Displays, sources, amplifiers
and other equipment are obviously important parts of any
A/V installation. However, these components alone don't
produce the picture and sound your customers are looking
for. Often an afterthought, in addition to equipment, installers
have to seriously consider the task of connection.
Without proper connections, the performance of any system
can be severely compromised. Among other things, noise
in the picture and audio can be introduced, certain colors
might be missing or intermittent picture and sound may
occur. Even worse, these issues can arise after you've
left the site, leaving your customer with a system that
doesn't work, and you with having to drive back to the
site for a service call.
Before running any wire in a wall or ceiling for anything
from mounting a flat panel display or projector to running
wires from room to room, it's important to first consider
the type of wire to use for the job. Take into consideration
not just how to maximize performance and to cover length
needed, but be certain you are meeting building codes.
In order to run a wire in most residential walls, look
for "UL Listed CL3"
(or CL2) on the insulation or packaging. In commercial
or multi-unit residences, plenum-rated cable may required
which is listed as "CL3P" or "CL2P" depending
on voltage. Check your local codes to be sure as they are
often different from town to town. You don't want to hold
up passing inspection because you didn't run the proper
choosing wire or cable length for any piece of gear,
consider the serviceability of each piece. Make sure
you have enough slack to pull the piece of gear off
of its shelf to disconnect/reconnect if necessary
without so much extra length that keeping the wires
neat and easy to trace is difficult or impossible.
Bulk cables and quick and simple-to-terminate connectors
will help give your installation a neat, more organized
appearance because you control the length. Some connectors,
such as ITC's tool-less connectors, offer easy termination
without the use of multiple tools or dies and can
If you prefer to make your own custom length cables from
bulk wire, choose a connector solution that is easy to
use, offers a high-quality connection and doesn't force
you to buy more tools than you need— whether you
see it as a one-time project or not.
Consider your performance target when choosing either preassembled
cables or bulk wire and connectors. Saving money by cutting
back on any link in the chain will weaken the performance
potential of your entire system. Wires and connectors are
no exception to this rule.
HDMI cables vary in how far they will carry a full 1080p
signal. If you want to get the best performance and all
the high definition you purchased, make certain the HDMI
cable you buy is rated a full 1080p for the length of cable
needed between your source and display. This is especially
true when mounting projectors or flat panel displays, where
runs may be longer, often buried in the wall or ceiling.
Check first and save the regret of having to run additional
Eric Wieland is ITC's Brand Manager.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ITC tool-less
connectors feature a captive center pin that securely grips
onto the center conductor using a unique spring tension
system for maximum contact and conductivity.
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