Temporary Audio Wiring – Using what i have :)

I have been planning a full on custom build out of my trunk but it wont happen for a while. I decided to temporarily hook up an old amp & pair of subwoofers yesterday. I was going to go buy an “amp wiring kit” when i decided to look around in my garage and see what i could come up with. I used liberty 14/4 for power/ground/trigger. Liberty 16/4 for speaker level to the subwoofers. And finally… a decade old pair of straightwire interconnects for line level from the head unit. It took me about 30 minutes, didnt cost a penny.

This should hold me over until i get ready to finish the trunk. I promise that this is “temporary” wiring as in… “i will actually wire it properly SOON” -vs- “this is how it will be for ten years” :).

Paint is done! Finally!

Paint is called Super Black and it has a matte finish clear coat on top. Car looks amazing. Big time head turner. Every time i take it for a ride someone asks me about it. No one can believe i got this car for $2800 and i only have $2200 invested ($5000 total) to get it where it is right now.

I found some great wheels. They are FESLER DESIGNS – FS903 wheels. I love them in black. The mercury they are on is sexy as hell. Next time i paint the Mark III im shaving the doors, losing most of the trim and going all black. I love that look. The only problem with the fesler wheels is that they are apx $1000 per wheel. This wiremunky cant swing that right now :). Hopefully i can find a set of knock off wheels for 1/4 of the price.

JL Audio Fathom Subwoofer X 4!

I am in Phoenix doing some upgrades. I got a pic of one of the 4 fathoms that are installed in our clients family room. These subs are beautiful and sound incredible. We have Focal surround speakers and Ariel LCR speakers that the client already owned. Sim2 C3X and a 63″ Pioneer plasma. For control we have a Crestron TPMC-8X, Crestron e-control Xpanel on his and her laptops a URC MX-900 and now we have an iPad. I think they are covered on the control front :). There are 10 Crestron wi-fi touchpanels here plus the iPad. All of them can roam using 2 Ruckus access points that share the same SSID.

I would love to stick 2 of these fathoms in the trunk of my Lincoln :). The iPad was sitting on top of it so i kept it in the pic with the Crestron Mobile app running our GUI.

JL Audio Fathom - Apple iPad Running Crestron Mobile

Universal Remote MX-980 & MRF-260 Installation

Finally got back to a project where i used 4 MX-980’s and 4 MRF-260’s. The project was mentioned in a July Newsletter from URC. Client called about his printer not working so i decided to take a couple of pics while i was there. This is the kitchen TV. The Chicago lake front is outside of those windows on the right so it was difficult to get a good pic.

Universal Remote MX-980 and MRF-260
Universal Remote MX-980 and MRF-260

We have zektor baluns routing audio and video to 3 of the TV’s and we are using a Digital Logger ethernet (controlled) power switch so that we can remotely power cycle the cable boxes, modem, router and access points.

Today’s service call was solved by canceling print jobs that were stuck for some reason. I installed logmein on the clients new computer so that i could remotely correct things like that in the future.

Clear Wireless Internet

In today’s world of constant reliance on the Internet, we are all generally expected to be connected at all times, or at least to have quick access to the Internet so as to be able to answer emails and find information quickly. Many people have experienced the inconvenience and potential consequences of limited Internet access on more than one occasion; in fact, in some instances, there are few things more frustrating than needing to access the Internet and not being able to. This is why the spread of wireless Internet technologies is such a fantastic development for so many people. Visit http://clearwirelessinternet.com to read about the specific ways in which wireless Internet can be available and helpful to you and whatever situation you are in.

One example of a certain type of person that can benefit enormously from access to a wireless Internet network is workmen or servicemen. These workers, who have to do all of their work at different sites (rather than in one unchanging office or home), can often find themselves in areas in which it would be inconvenient or even impossible to connect to the Internet with a cable. However, if a serviceman working in a remote or unfamiliar location needs to contact his client or boss, or needs to look up a job-related inquiry online, he will require efficient and reliable Internet service. This, of course, is where wireless Internet technology comes into play.

Imagine that you are a worker who has been given a specific task to complete at a remote site, but you forget a detail of your assignment… Rather than having to borrow an Internet connection from somebody else, or call your boss or office for a reminder, imagine being able to simply pull out your smart phone or other wireless capable device and check your email or office website. This is just one example of the conveniences offered to servicemen by wireless devices.

Unfortunately, there are some technological advances that are so useful and widespread that those who do not jump on board get left behind. This is true of wireless Internet in many ways; whether you use the Internet for entertainment, interaction, school, or work, you will almost certainly find yourself falling behind your peers in terms of speed and interaction. So, if you have not yet gotten connected, or if you wish to switch your wireless provider, do yourself a favor and research wireless providers to find out which type of service is best for you. You will soon be enjoying a level of convenience that spreads to many aspects of your life.

Comcast Installation – Update

I finally made it back out to my twin sisters place to clean up the mess that Comcast left. I had her return the old cable box to Comcast and get one with an HDMI port so that we could use the HDMI cable she paid for and already had installed. I used her fancy milk crate cabinet 🙂 temporarily until she gets a piece of furniture for that area. The slots in the crate were kind of nice for routing cables. If it were my place it would probably stay that way forever :).

I put in a surge protector, shortened the lengths of the COAX and CAT5 cables and moved the surge protector, modem and wifi router under the crate to contain them until she gets a new cabint. Cable box sits on top of the crate and i stashed the Wii behind the TV. The options were to use a wireless sensor bar and put it with the Cable box or stash it behind the TV. I decided to stash it behind the TV to keep them from having to replace batteries in the Wii. It’s easy to get to and off the mantle so my sister is happy.

It took me about 20 minutes to terminate cables and zip tie them into neat bundles and wire everything back up. Then i spent 10 minutes checking all the rooms in her house so that i could reinstall wall plates that the cable guy removed but didn’t reinstall and i had to carry around a trash bag to pick up all the cut pieces of cable and connectors. If that tech worked for me i would have fired him the next day. Total slob and ridiculously unprofessional. Enough stating of the obvious… check out the after pics below.

5 minute service call that took 4 hours

DirecTV was out at one of my clients houses and replaced a satellite receiver. I went out today to find out why its not being controlled. Its usually a broken or unattached emitter but sometimes its a nightmare where they totally hacked up the system. Today i found everything in place and the undamaged emitter laying next to the new receiver.

I pulled out the hot glue gun and attached the emitter to the new DirecTV HR24 receiver. When i tested the commands i found that the channel up and channel down buttons on the touch panel would make the box continue to channel up or down forever. Same issue with the navigation arrows. I have no idea why DirecTV would alter the codes on the remote for the HR24. Maybe someone there knows how it drives us crazy and they do it for spite or fun?

I had to break out my pronto TS-1000 to learn the commands from the new DirecTV remote and then convert the CCF data for Crestron DEAL. Then i replaced the driver in SystemBuilder. For some reason… SystemBuilder decided that today would be a good day to crash when i try to upload… every single time. I tried a few times and finally gave up and opted to load the processor via toolbox.

At some point all the new DirecTV commands were testing ok and i discovered that the TV was no longer being controlled. I checked the serial cable and then tried moving the TV to a different com port. Then i tried a different module from the crestron data base. I had been using a generic serial driver with string command for the fujitsu plasma. Eventually i discovered that if i move the TV commands (power/input selection) outside of the global preset macros they worked. Inside of those global preset commands they were ignored. Weird.. especially since these commands in these macros have been working for a long time. Its a fujitsu so that helps date the system.

While there, the client asks “when do you need to get into the bedroom?” “Why do i need to get in there?” i asked. “To integrate the system”. Rather than try and figure out what that meant i went up stairs to see what was going on. The master bedroom has an MX-700 in it with a TV/Receiver/DVD/DirecTV receiver. This system was installed a while back also. I found that they finally replaced the old sony CRT with a sony LCD. All i had to do was swap TV models in URC MX-700 editor and the bedroom was done. Good thing i had the loading cable with me!

Last bit of fun was when i asked about the guest house. “Sure, go ahead and check it for is, someone is moving in next week”. I found the DirecTV receiver to be totally “wont power up” dead. I found that the DVD player locks up at start up. So basically the guest house is offline. Good thing i checked.

Comcast Installation – Why i am not afraid of them entering into the “smart home” space

I just got back from an extended trip out of town at a project. My sister moved while i was gone and called up the geek squad to install her plasma. They mounted the TV and used bulk cable plates to route an HDMI cable to the right of the cabinet for connection at the soon-to-arrive Comcast Cable box. The Geek’s did a very nice job and actually helped my sister carry up a childs bed frame while they were there because the UPS guy wouldn’t carry it up!

All the comcast guy had to do was plug his cable box in and connect the HDMI cable… right? Wrong. They brought out a very old model with a DVI port instead of HDMI. So Comcast guy just needs to go get a newer model that has HDMI right? Wrong again. No HDMI port? No ability to remove a bulk cable plate and fish component cables? I KNOW! We will just run an RG6 directly from the cable box to the TV and call it a day! Who cares if they are paying for HD? Surely not the sub contractor that Comcast sent to my sisters house. You know.. the guy that removed the wall plates in all the bedrooms and left them off when he left. The guy that left debris under each wall plate. See the photos below. Clean up pics coming later this week when i go back out. I stopped there on my way from the airport this evening and didnt have any cable with me. This is why we have nothing to worry about from the providers. They will be stuck in iPad app land fighting with sloppy untrained subcontractors for a decade before we need to pay attention to them.

How To Install Heavy Gear When You Are Alone

A guy i worked with named Steve taught me this trick. I had to use it today to uninstall a pair of Monster power units… so i decided to write about it.

Ever find yourself at the wrong end of an amp… trying to struggle to get it in place so you can mount it? I have and it sucks. Not only does it suck… it isn’t good for your arms, shoulders back etc. The weight isn’t the issue, it’s the twisting and leveraging. To solve this all you need is a spare 2U rack shelf. Has to be at least 2U or it usually wont be deep enough. Just install it upside down @ the rack space under the heavy piece of equipment you want to install. Now you have a nice shelf to put the component on while you run your screws in. You will need to remove the feet from the component or make sure to drop the 2U low enough so that the feet can stay on.

It took me about 4 minutes to remove 2 of these units and that includes installing/uninstalling the 2U shelf and putting the ladder away.

Get rid of the IR bug! Embed your emitters!

Client got a new Blu-ray player today and i decided to snap pics while embedding an emitter inside of it. I have two very good reasons for embedding emitters.

#1. An embedded emitter can’t be knocked off by the clients or their maintenance staff. No more “its not working” phone calls that lead to you wasting half a day driving out to find that the emitter is knocked off or worse.. broken off.

#2. Using the Xantech 283DPRO i can install the emitter on every component before i put them in the rack. Then i have a nice detachable jack for the emitter. Later on when it’s time to service or replace the unit i can totally disconnect the component and easily pull it out of the rack without having to cut zip ties all the way back to the processor to save the emitter.

Another good reason is aesthetics. While it might not make a difference in terms of installation i think it sets us apart from the “other guy”.

Slide show below………….