Okay, so you made up your mind, you’re going to run thousands of feet of wire throughout your house and jump in waist deep with this whole home automation stuff. Great! But, if you’re going to be running all this wire you need a good way to keep it all straight.
So… a few questions to ask yourself, and the answers to you absolutely need to keep straight:
- Which wire goes where?
- Which wire goes to what device?
The only way to always know the answer to these questions and to make life MUCH easier when it comes to terminating the wires/hooking everything up lies in a good wiring naming convention. This information can then be printed on labels that get installed on the actual wires, cross-referenced to information in spreadsheet/databases, pretty much anything that easily helps you understand what the dangling wire in front of you does.
In researching this I created a Prewire Naming Convention thread at Cocoontech asking the members, “Was wondering if any of you might have a naming/wiring convention that has worked good for your project and are willing to share.”
From the many responses there was one from a member, Bucko, which I adapted slightly and worked awesomely for Quadomated. The idea is to provide lots of information in a very small footprint so that when you look at the label on a wire you know exactly where it goes and what it does.
Wire Naming Convention
TT = type of device (i.e. WS = window sensor, DS = door sensor, ET = ethernet outlet, etc.)
RRR = name of room (i.e. BA1 = bathroom 1, BR3 = bedroom 3, DIN = dining room, etc.)
D = direction (i.e. N = north, SE = southeast, C = ceiling, etc.)
P = port number (only used for media outlets, left out otherwise)
A couple sample labels following this naming convention:
DS-FAM-ES Door Sensor, Family Room, East South Location
DR-ENT-N Door Strike, Entryway, North Wall
SP-FAM-SL Speaker, Family Room, Surround Left*
ET-FAM-W-11 Ethernet, Family Room, West Wall, Port 11
WO-SUN-E Window Operator, Porch, East Wall
*Notice the naming convention was adapted slightly for use with my speakers. I decided to be somewhat loose with the naming convention, and provide what information made the most sense for certain situations.
All the Possibilities
To help others who might want to use a similar naming convention I’ll list all the TT, RRR, and D I used in and from there you can add/subtract/modify whatever you might need for your installation.
Type of Devices – TT
AC – Access Control Device – CAT5E cable
CM – Camera – CAT5E cable w/ Power over Ethernet
DO – Door Operator – 16/4 stranded cable
DR – Door Strike – 18/2 stranded cable
DS – Door Sensor – 22/4 stranded cable
ET – Ethernet Port – CAT5E cable
HD – High Definition – HDMI cable
KP – Keypad – CAT5E cable
MS – Motion Sensor – 22/4 stranded cable
SH – Shades – CAT5E main trunk w
SP – Speaker – 14/2 stranded cable
TP – Telephone – CAT5E cable
TS – Thermostat – CAT5E cable to controller, thermostat cable to boiler
TV – Television – RG59QS Coax
WO – Window Operator – 18/2
WS – Window Sensor – 22/4
Name of Room – RRR
BA1 – Bathroom 1
BA2 – Bathroom 2
BA3 – Bathroom 3
BR1 – Bedroom 1
BR2 – Bedroom 2
BR3 – Bedroom 3
DIN – Dining Room
ENT – Entryway
FAM – Family
GAR – Garage
HAL – Hallway
KIT – Kitchen
LIV – Living Room
MED – Media Room
OUT – Outside
PAT – Patio
SUN – Sunroom
Direction – D
N – North
S – South
E – East
W – West
C – Ceiling
Initially, this was going to be it for direction, but as I wired sensors to all the different windows/doors I realized I needed more than just that, and for those places with several sensors/devices per wall used the more descriptive directions of NW, N, NE, EN, E, ES, SE, S, SW, WS, W, WN. This allowed me to wire and understand the location of up to 3 sensors per wall/direction.
As an example, in my family room I have two doors on the east wall. DS-FAM-EN is my double pocket sliding doors whereas DS-FAM-ES is my Anderson 8 ft sliding glass door.
Further, for speaker wiring I used:
FL – Front Left
FC – Front Center
FR – Front Right
SL – Surround Left
SR – Surround Right
RL – Rear Left
RR – Rear Right
I know this might all seem like a lot/rather overwhelming, but as I’ve moved this naming convention into actual use it has been a very effective way of knowing exactly what wire goes where and to which device.
Sure makes life a lot easier 5 years later down the road, when I’ve forgotten what that dangling gray wire is. Oh… WS-SUN-E… it’s the window sensor on the eastern window in the sunroom!