Central vacuum - wiring help

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Old 10-01-19, 10:44 AM
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Central vacuum - wiring help

Hey guys,

I recently moved into a townhouse that has 4 levels and decided to install a central vacuum. The builder had the rough in done, so I though that it is an easy job to finish it, however I ran into problems.

The builder had a pipe and one low voltage wire (2 pairs) brought into the mechanical room, inside the garage. It looks like the other end of that wire terminated inside the inlet (#1) located inside the garage (same level). Inside the same garage inlet (#1), I found one more wire (2 pairs again) that look to terminate into the inlet from my second level (#2) (above the garage). Once I connected these wires inside inlet #1, I have working inlets in the garage and second floor.

That being said, the next two levels are connected to each other via another 2 pairs wire, but not to the rest of the system. The piping is all good, I confirmed that I have suction on both levels (3 & 4) once the unit is running, but I cannot turn the unit on/off from the level 3 & 4. There is no other wire in those inlets (#3, #4).

All inlets had the one pair connected to the outlet (black/green), while the other pair (red/yellow) was not used. I tied them all together (black and red together as one wire, and green and yellow as another wire), hoping that somehow the builder might have connected level 2 with either 3 or 4 via the other pair, but no luck.

Are there any installers here, that might shine some light onto a practice that I am missing? Any other ideas that I should try before opening up walls and such to run wires?

Thanks in advance
 
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10-01-19, 01:44 PM
ThisOldMan
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Sounds like they used telephone cable which has solid conductors. Small gauge solid conductors were not my first choice where there was a possibility of vibration or flexing.

Wiring is usually daisy-chained from inlet to inlet, so the vac unit and one inlet should have only 2 conductors connected. The remaining inlets should have 4 conductors connected (two conductors under each terminal). If each inlet has only two wires connected, there is a central junction point some where that you need to find and check.

Colors really aren't important other than if you use Red/Yellow at one end of a cable, you must use Red/Yellow at the other end of that cable. Then you can change colors if you want to, but it gets confusing if you do.

Unless there is a junction point you don't know about, the problem is likely at the last inlet that works or the first one that doesn't. I'd suggest starting at the last inlet that works.

Disconnect the wires from the inlet, tightly hold the cable several inches from the end, grab the bare conductor with a pair of pliers and apply steady pulling pressure. Not too much pressure. Do this for each wire you removed from the inlet. If the conductor is broken, it will pull out of the insulation; then you can strip and reterminate.

Watch for changes in the color of the wires used.
 
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Old 10-01-19, 01:44 PM
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Sounds like they used telephone cable which has solid conductors. Small gauge solid conductors were not my first choice where there was a possibility of vibration or flexing.

Wiring is usually daisy-chained from inlet to inlet, so the vac unit and one inlet should have only 2 conductors connected. The remaining inlets should have 4 conductors connected (two conductors under each terminal). If each inlet has only two wires connected, there is a central junction point some where that you need to find and check.

Colors really aren't important other than if you use Red/Yellow at one end of a cable, you must use Red/Yellow at the other end of that cable. Then you can change colors if you want to, but it gets confusing if you do.

Unless there is a junction point you don't know about, the problem is likely at the last inlet that works or the first one that doesn't. I'd suggest starting at the last inlet that works.

Disconnect the wires from the inlet, tightly hold the cable several inches from the end, grab the bare conductor with a pair of pliers and apply steady pulling pressure. Not too much pressure. Do this for each wire you removed from the inlet. If the conductor is broken, it will pull out of the insulation; then you can strip and reterminate.

Watch for changes in the color of the wires used.
 
Furd, PJmax voted this post useful.
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Old 10-01-19, 01:54 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Some good advice from thisoldman.
Gotta love the universal wiring used..... phone wire.

Doubling up the pairs is a great idea although with a central vac there is a control relay so the current draw thru the wiring is very low. Typically what happens is that the outlets are put in without connecting the wiring. Hopefully that's what you'll find.
 
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Old 10-01-19, 02:10 PM
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Not sure where I should look for the junction...as otherwise, I am missing one wire that connects inlet #2 to inlet #3. There are no spare wires in either of those inlets and I already ruled out the possibility that another pair is used, by connecting the spare pair too
 
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Old 10-01-19, 02:17 PM
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Did you pull out the upper floors wall plates ?
Nothing was there...... not even hiding just out of site ?

It's possible that a cable was missed.
 
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Old 10-02-19, 08:42 AM
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Yes, I had the wall plates removed, but nothing there... I ordered myself a endoscope inspection camera so I can inspect if there is a wire leaving inlet #3 and #4 outside of the one connecting the two... I figure it is the last resort before making having to fish wire through walls...
 
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Old 10-02-19, 09:48 AM
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There is a possibility of adding a central vacuum wireless control to your present system for under a hundred dollars without running additional wire.
 
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Old 10-02-19, 10:11 AM
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Do any of you have any experience with that? How strong is the signal? would it work on level #4, when the receiver is on level one in the mechanical room? that is my concern in contemplating a wireless solution...
 
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Old 10-02-19, 01:42 PM
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Sorry.... I'm not aware of a wireless solution. My systems are all hardwired.
 
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