Shack/Office Refurbishment

Well what a job!!

My home office is also my shack and like most things, the infrastructure grew rather than was managed, so I knew the electrical power was not ideal and the network patch panel was full. The thing that brought it to a head was the need for a new floor covering, and so it began.

First job was to put in a new final circuit ring main to the office dado trunking and add a couple of additional power points for the UPS and mobile air conditioning unit.

As the cables are ran in the loft, I decided to install a decent fold down loft hatch and sliding ladder for ease of access, the loft lighting was also improved by installing 4 x 4′ fluorescent operated by a pull switch fed from its own dedicated circuit, this lighting made a huge difference.

To move everything out of the office to get access to the floor meant it needed to go somewhere, and the obvious choice was the loft, so off to Homebase for loft flooring and loft legs and of course it was boarded during the hottest days of July.

Once everything was out, I could start tearing down to rebuild:

The existing home network hub needed to come out:

MB Pro fitted

No going back now!

New cable drops for additional tap points near the TV and existing TalkTalk router are shown, I did move/rationalise other tap points around the house and in the garage. In the lounge I drilled through to the external wall and installed conduit in preparation for when Virgin Media install fibre to the home.

The network cables were in and tested using a cheap and cheerful wire mapper and did find a faulty tap point, so well worth £2.59.

Once the power was sorted out, it was time to start on the cabinet, this is a 12U wall mounted jobbie and cost £48.49 from eBay, the power distribution unit is fed via an 800VA MGE Pulsar Evolution UPS as is the red sockets.

Cables identified and marked up, rather than numbering the tap points, I opted to use a convention which accommodated change easily:

  • OFnn =Office, tap point nn
  • BD2/nn  = Bedroom 2, tap point nn
  • BD3/nn = Bedroom 3, tap point nn
  • LOnn = Loft,  tap point nn
  • Lnn = Lounge,  tap point nn
  • Gnn = Garage,  tap point nn
  • Hnn = Hall,  tap point nn

I, well me and my XYL took the opportunity to start to spruce the place up with a coat of paint as well. This shows the wall ready for the roller.

Wall cabinet finished, I added a small temperature controller which switches on the cabinet fan and the ceiling mounted fan within the cupboard where the cabinet is fitted.

Working top down:

  • 2U blank plate
  • Telephone line IN, OUT via ADSL filtered ports
  • Temperature controller
  • 24 port patch panel wired in Cat5e, two ports spare
  • Brush strip to hide surplus cable or manage surplus cable if your a purist
  • Netgear JGS524E Managed Gigabit switch
  • 1U blank plate (91/2″) (behind this is a 6 way PDU fed via UPS)
  • 1U 91/2″ Shelf with PoE to TP EAP245 Access Point
  • 1U 91/2″ Shelf with Metobridge Pro and EdgeRouter X
  • 19″ 350mm deep shelf

Bottom shelf from left to right:

  • Tach display for weather station aspirated sensor fan speed
  • Low noise linear 5v PSU for Blitzortung lighting detector
  • 12v PSU to Network Attached Storage (NAS) and CCTV interface
  • Netgear Duo 500Gb dual hard drive NAS
  • CCTV controller interface

 

Cabinet closed and locked after making sure it didn’t hit the ceiling light.

 

Room with everything put back in and tidied up.

To make life easier for working on the radio equipment cables and connections, I didn’t push the desk right back to the wall and also no radio related equipment is on the floor (PSU), apart from the foot operated PTT.

Radio wise I didn’t do much, I added a separate 12v PSU for auxiliary equipment, such as the led signage, VSWR panel lights and SG autotuner to name a few, I also added a common RF earth board for the shack equipment to connect to.

Radio all put back together and cables tidied up, not sure how long the office will stay this neat 🙂

Update

The cheap and cheerful cable tester unfortunately didn’t last the test of time and started giving some strange mapping indications, returning to eBay, I found a SC8108 Network Cable Tester for £17.98, this is superb value, and hopefully it will last longer than the last cable tester.

 

The SC8108 is very easy to use and has a number of useful, menu driven features, but for my small home network, wire mapping is the primary focus.

£17.98 SC8108 Network Cable Tester showing the mapping test results for a remote tap point from the patch panel.

 

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