aca logo new c resized d

phone-icon resized+44 (0) 1525 37 99 33

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


CRIS User Guide

CRIS user manual front sheet


Your home has been installed with a CRIS cable system. CRIS (pronounced Chris) stands for Compact Residential Infrastructure System and is a connection box that terminates the cables connecting the televisions, computers, phones and other cabled parts that may have been fitted at the time of installation.

The CRIS enclosure is the heart of the system and although it looks technical it is in fact very simple to configure or make changes. This Guide is to help get the best from your system and takes you through the steps of cross patching the system.

Below you will see a typical system configuration that will look familiar to the system you have in your home.

CRIS enclosure with TV power indicator


Note:- Some of the components are mounted behind the mounting plate and are only visible if the bottom cover plate is removed. The TV system power indicator light (red LED) can be seen when this cover plate is removed.

Important:- The patch panels or full mounting plate should only be removed by a trained authorized person due to the quantity of delicate cables used for the installation.

Additional TV System Enclosure?

Sometimes a separate enclosure is installed to house the TV system, this is normally due to the amount of TV outlets installed and also the number of computer and phone sockets terminated within the system.

There may be two devices mounted in the enclosure if this is the case the enclosure includes a main system which is the amplifier and a secondary expansion amplifier. The main TV system is used to combine the aerials and satellite feeds and pass them to the main tv point. The equipment is used to split these signals into its relevant signal such as radio, terrestrial TV, satellite etc.

For further information see TV section


To connect a phone or computer to the service line provided, all that is required is the inclusion of a patch cable at the cabinet. This is a simple concept that has been around for a very long time and is demonstrated in the diagram below.

cris user tbus redone


The above shows a telephone, Phone1 plugged into an adaptor (used to convert UK phone socket to outlet plate socket) that is plugged into one of the room outlets mounted on the wall. The internal cabling through the building runs back to the CRIS enclosure and is terminated onto the back of the patch panel. Think of the link as an extension lead that is fixed into the fabric of the building. Phone2 is also plugged into an adapter connected to an outlet and is also patched into the phone line panel. Four phones can share the same line.

cris with patch leads 

CRIS enclosure showing colour coded patch cables

The CRIS cable system is based around open international standards and as such would normally be installed with a square type RJ45 category 5E dual outlet socket. This allows you to connect 1 phone and 1 computer, or 2 phones or 2 computers at each point at any time without having to get an engineer in to change the socket, as conversion is achieved by using an adaptor.


The phone outlets are connected to the phone line via the phone patch panel. This patch panel is configured for 2 lines each with 4 patchable lines (on the rear is a connection for a satellite set top box phone line).

Note:- A standard telephone line has a REN rating of 4 ( Ring Equivalence Number). All phones, fax machines answer phones and devices that connect to a phone line have a rating. Typically a phone has a REN rating of 1, some fax machines have a rating of 1,5 or 2. So theoretically 2 phone and a fax or 4 phones can be connected to the same phone line at any one time. You may find that if you exceed the REN rating the phones may not ring.

To connect and Patch a phone

  • Locate the outlet that you would like to use for your telephone, assuming that the socket is empty (i.e. nothing plugged into it)
  • Plug the phone via the little adaptor into the socket. The RJ45 plug can only be inserted one way normally with the retaining latch at the bottom, the UK phone plug has a retaining latch on the side.
  • Take a note of the outlet number (this is either the number inside a little window or a label on the module or faceplate)
  • Go to the CRIS cabinet
  • Locate the outlet number on the patch panel.
  • Plug in a patch lead (normally the leads are colour coded for services) into the outlet port and the other end onto the phone line panel. Line 1 or line 2 dependant upon the configuration.
  • Your phone should now be working. Check for dial tone, dialling, ringing and also speech out and in.
  • Repeat this for any additional phones.


In the unlikely event that this did not work:- double check the steps above; check the outlet numbers; check phone and adapter by plugging the phone and the adapter directly into the phone line patch panel R45 port to ensure dial tone etc; check patch lead from a known working one; check outlet in room or check using another socket.


If you are using a standard dial up modem on your computer, please follow instructions for a phone. Remember that the modem will possibly have a REN number that will have to be taken into account for the number of phones on one line.

Networking - The easiest and cleanest way to network multiple computers is via a Local Area Network with a multi port router or/and an Ethernet switch/Hub. A typical configuration is shown below

lan configurations

LAN Configuration

  • Locate the outlet where you would like to use your computer, assuming that the socket is empty (i.e. nothing plugged into it), also check the outlet number back at the cabinet to check that the port is not connected to anything
  • Plug the computers LAN port (10/100/1000) via an 'RJ45 to RJ45' lead to the socket. The RJ45 plug can only be inserted one way normally with the retaining latch at the bottom.
  • Take a note of the outlet number (this is either the number inside a little window or a label on the module or faceplate)
  • Go to the CRIS cabinet
  • Locate the outlet number on the patch panel.
  • Plug in a patch lead (normally the leads are colour coded for services) into the outlet port and the other end onto the a spare Ethernet switch port or directly to the routers port, (dependant upon the configuration).
  • If using a router, the router takes care of the ADSL line and log-in and password, the computers should now work via the standard mail and explorer packages. Check the computers for internet access to a known site.
  • Repeat this for any additional computers.

Note:- If the service from your ISP has a usage limit then all connected computers will add to that sum.

Televisions and RF Distribution

The TV distribution system is normally mounted into the back of the enclosure (dependant upon the installation). The TV distribution system is a multi way combiner and amplifier that distributes the aerial signals for terrestrial TV (both digital and analogue) FM and DAB radio signal with a port available for Satellite and an input for a modulator. The modulator port can be used for a CCTV system or transmitting a video / audio feed.

typical tv configuration

Typical TV configuration

The main TV point is an important part of the system, this takes the raw feeds and sends them back to the TV system to be amplified out to the rooms. A return loop is required for the system to work. This loop is via the equipment or a physical link.

The TV outlets are physically connected to the TV distribution amplifier (i.e. not patched). To connect a TV or video player/freeview device insert a fly lead from the TV outlet socket on the wall to the aerial input socket on the TV or video player/freeview device.

Using your TV user guide you can now tune your TV to receive all channels available in the analogue spectrum i.e. terrestrial channels BBC1 etc;  satellite RF2 outputs and modulated CCTV camera channels etc 

Similarly the same can be done for your radio channels from the radio output on the wall plate to your tuner. This assumes that a radio aerial has been installed and configured.

Note:- If an additional facility has been engineered into the system then this information should be available from the installer separately

CRIS Audio System

The CRIS audio system is a simple and reliable impedance matching speaker distribution solution. The system operates from a standard Hi-Fi systems speaker output. The CRIS audio system looks like a single pair of speakers to the Hi-Fi's amplifier. The rooms have a volume control to each pair of speakers or dual cone single point stereo speaker

audio system

Typical CRIS Audio configuration

The easy way to set up the system is to follow these steps.

  • Set the volume on the amplifier to low
  • Set the volume controls of the room to full volume
  • Raise the volume on the amp until a suitable maximum loudness is achieved in each room
  • Turn down the volume control and check that the range is suitable for your purposes
  • Adjust the master volume as necessary

There are only a small number of points to look out for with this system these are:-

  1. The master volume of the central amplifier affects the sound level for the whole house.
  2. The amplifier needs to be suitable for the number of volume controls i.e. 8ohm amp will run up to 4 pairs of 8 ohm speakers, a 4 ohm amp up to 8 pairs of 8 ohm speakers.

Warranty – ACA Apex Warrants the products manufactured by them against manufacturing defects for a period of 2 years. Returned products will be replaced free of charge after inspection at the discretion of ACA Apex. Responsibility for postage of returned goods is the responsibility of the customer.

Site Specific Information

During the installation of the CRIS network system the installer may have mounted a brush face plate below the enclosure in the cupboard on the stairs. A draw wire should be left in place to enable additional cables to be pulled through to the enclosure. This may aid the implementation of a router/local area network for your computers etc.

Note:- a new draw wire should be pulled in at the same time as pulling in the desired cable.

An example of a typical network set up is as follows

site specific

Further assistance and advice  is available direct from the manufacturer, ACA-Apex Limited or one if its approved installers.

You can contact us on 01525 379933 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.