The purpose of SETUP is to make sure that all equipment is wired correctly and functioning properly and to complete as much of the initial equipment setup as possible prior to systems integration.

System Test and Integration Procedures Part 3 - Equipment Setup and Testing

George Wilkinson

Taming the Beast
System Test and Integration Procedures

Part 3: Equipment Setup and Functional Testing
By George Wilkinson

The purpose of SETUP is to make sure that all equipment is wired correctly and functioning properly and to complete as much of the initial equipment setup as possible prior to systems integration.

Part 1
Planning

Part 2a
Cable Testing 1

Part 2b
Cable Testing 2


Part 2 in this series describes the process of low-level testing, using continuity or other electrical testing procedures, of wiring installed to insure there is not any open conduction or shorts that might have been the results of damaging during or after it has been installed. This is refereed to as the test and verification procedures. The procedures also allow for comparing the installed cable with a wiring list for wiring schedule to make certain all cables have been installed that are required and that the source and destination is correct. This is a very important step in the installation process so that wiring issues to do impede or complicate the final installation or functional tests.

Once the final installation phase is completed, the next step is to conduct the System Functional Test and Setup Procedures (SETUP). These procedures might seem mundane at first thought, but they nevertheless important to complete prior to the systems integration task. As discussed previously, each set of procedures builds on the previous one and subsequent steps are important to the procedures to follow. None should be less for more important to the other.

The purpose of SETUP is to make sure that all equipment is wired correctly and functioning properly and to complete as much of the initial equipment setup as possible prior to systems integration. They involve a rudimentary, yet comprehensive, functional test after all equipment and connections that have been completed.

Furthermore, they should be considered critical and therefore be completed by the installation personnel who have the necessary expertise to faithfully conduct these procedures in an accurate and dependable manor. Not all installers are adequately knowledgeable or trained for this task, although many do. In some cases the only qualified personnel are those who are skilled in systems integration and programming.

The important point is that they are conducted properly to ensure the correct outcome whoever does them. However, you do not necessarily want to have those who are expert in programming and systems integration performing basic systems setup and test. Your goal should be to train at least a few installers to perform this task or to hire some with the skill to do so. System integrators and programmers require a higher skill level and usually paid more than the average installer wages, so it makes economic sense as well.

Defining the SETUP

SETUP is to ensure the correct functionality of all equipment in a system and that no faults with the equipment exists prior to systems integration. You want to verify that all active equipment is working as it should, such as power amplifiers, distribution amplifiers, switchers and source equipment such as receivers, CD/DVD players, digital storage mechanisms, and the like.

You also want to perform as much setup for each equipment item as possible prior to systems integration. This could include internal programming, such as internal input/output programming or presents and signal normalization. Some systems include "local" systems that can operate independently of a master system and might have remote controls that need to have some setup or programming for local operation. In some cases the local equipment might also be controlled by a system programming device and require some form of setup for that integration to take place.

Most of the information needed to do preliminary setup or programming is included in the manuals and technical information supplied with the equipment. Although each manufacture and model of equipment will vary in each system design, your company will probably use a core of equipment models so the processes will be nearly the same for each project. Therefore, you could easily write procedures that are somewhat generic and use them for each project.

TIP: For equipment with many features and setup options, consider preparing a product detail sheet that can be included with the installation documents when that unit is used. Also, it can be used to provide customer specific requests that can be coordinated by Sales.

You could also develop individual procedures specific for each equipment model you commonly use and include them anytime that unit is used and you could compile your test procedures based on what is being installed. In some cases there are customer specific requirements that must also be taken into consideration. In some cases the order of performing procedures might be technically important. Sometimes it might be dictated by customer preferences.

The most important factor in executing a well planned and technically complete SETUP is why it is important to the systems integration phase. For instance, a person performing control system programming (if applicable) must do so with the assumption that the system is wired and operating without any dysfunction. The process of debugging code is much more time consuming and very inefficient if the system or its components are not functioning correctly, whatever the cause. This is because in the process of debugging code you have to assume that hardware is not the issue. Otherwise you may wind up devoting a lot of time debugging code only to find out it is not the code but incorrect wiring or dysfunctional equipment.

In some cases equipment in the integrated system is supplied by the owner or others. Often times this related to equipment the owner already posses and it needs to be considered just like any other part of the system.

Furthermore, if it is a hardware issue, the programmer's task becomes one of troubleshooting hardware issues that are not in the programming part of the budget for the project. In extreme cases it is likely that the programming and systems integration tasks could take three times as long. This could seriously compromise the profit of the entire project or impact the ability for the system to be operational on schedule. Either of these you want to avoid and performance of this task is critical to the outcome of the project even though they are not technically superior.

With all of these procedures completed prior to systems integration, the remaining installation tasks are capable of being performed more expeditiously than otherwise would be experienced.

Once all equipment setup and testing and any local programming has been completed, the next step is to perform preliminary systems checkout procedures for each major technical discipline for all equipment installed.

Preliminary Systems Checkout

The initial step in functional testing of the system with active components is the need to initially power up the equipment. It is prudent to check the AC power prior first to ensure that it is the proper voltage. While it would be a rare occurrence, the results of having 240 VAC when equipment installed is configured for 120 VAC power could be catastrophic to equipment and a very expensive error that could have easily been avoided.

You do not need to check every outlet, but at all places where equipment racks or other enclosures exist and where the majority of the equipment receives its power should be checked before any equipment is connected to power. If it is greater than 125 VAC or less than 105 VAC, you may have a power problem that needs to be resolved before you continue. You should also record the exact reading as part of documenting the procedures.

The follow lists procedures identify several types of basic systems as examples to help you compile your own set of procedures. There not in any way considered comprehensive or complete. The following are examples for a few different technical disciplines and not indented to be comprehensive or complete. Most manufactures offer test procedures of their own that can be used to prepare your procedures.

Telephone Distribution Systems

If telephone service has already been established at demarcation, the simplest test would be to plug a phone into each outlet and confirm a dial tone. However, the outlets, cable and distribution panel should be tested for proper operational functionality prior to service being connected by the service provider so that any equipment or installation problems can be resolved prior to connection to the local telephone service provider.

These procedures test for a two line system. If there are three or four lines required for a specific installation, you will need test equipment designed for four-line capacity.

  1. Connect a telephone line simulator, such as a Teltone TLS-3 for two line system or equivalent, at demarcation without service provided or disconnected for this test. This assumes you installed the wring from the panel to demarcation. Otherwise, connect the simulator to the distribution panel. This type device emulates a telephone network. For a complete systems check you will need two analog telephones or two telephone test sets.
     
  2. Using the telephone numbers programmed into the telephone line simulator, the station at demarcation dials the number for line and the station connected to the first outlet tested should ring until it is off-hook (answered). Note: If the station you are calling is off-hook, the line indicator should be illuminated indicated an off-hook condition that must be resolved to conclude the test.
     
  3. Repeat the same procedures by dialing the telephone number of the second line. If it is a three or four line system, repeat accordingly. NOTE: Note that the corresponding line indicator light flickers properly while the line is ringing.
     
  4. Once the other station has answered (gone off-hook), the two stations can talk and evaluate the quality of the line. The voice quality should be clear and the line should have no detectable noise or hum to pass this test. If problems persist, then the source of the trouble will need to be located and resolved before continuing this test procedure.
     
  5. Once the first outlet you test passes for voice clarity and noise, systematically go from one outlet to another until all outlets installed have been tested and verified operational with acceptable quality.

Network Distribution Systems (LAN)

Even though the underlying technology is sophisticated, LAN systems are usually as easily installed as a telephone system. However, the quality of the cable and connectors installed has to meet a certain degree of performance if the network is expected to be functional and reliable. Transmitting data through copper wire is much more susceptible noise, interference and other line quality issues that may be acceptable to voice only transmission but will not work well with sending data over those lines. Also, the type of service, modem, network hubs, switches and other LAN devices connected in the system

The most simple and adequate test for a LAN system is to use a laptop computer after internet service has been established. If you can get onto the internet using a browser, you have it tested and verified. Email and other internet related operations are normally the responsibility of the service provider the customer has chosen to use and setup of their account information to access their email. Once internet service has been established, account information is not necessary to test for access, so any computer with an internet browser will usually work without any problem.

  1. With the internet service connected to the incoming line of the cable or telephone line modem, verify line activity in the modem and LAN distribution panels. Refer to the installation manuals provided with the modem and distribution system used in the installation for any setup or troubleshooting that may be required.
     
  2. Connect one of the LAN outlets to the computer using a standard internet cable with RJ45 connectors. Open the browser. If it is not set to connect to a web address in the preferences, type in a web address you know is good. It everything is working correctly, you should see the web site displayed in the browser in short order. If it fails to connect to any site, there is probably something wrong with the equipment or service provider. Refer to the installation manuals of the equipment installed for troubleshooting procedures or call a network advisor. As a last attempt, you may need to contact the internet service provide the customer has employed.
     
  3. If the first outlet works correctly, systematically go to each outlet provided in the installation until all outlets have been verified as functional.

RF Distribution Systems

RF systems are technically more critical to other types of signals and required more specialized test equipment. I it a mistake if you install RF systems without having the proper test equipment. At least, you will need a RF signal generator (known source) and an RF meeter or analyzer.

  1. Connect a known RF source to the input to the distribution amplifier and record the input signal strength.
     
  2. At every outlet in the distribution system, record the RF value. This will provide an accurate gain structure for the distribution system, provide information needed to resolve any signals that my be too high or low for proper operational quality and provide information necessary when making future changes in the system.
     
  3. Check all displays connected to the system to determine if the signal level and quality is acceptable. Contact Engineering if there are problems that cannot be resolved.

Other Systems and Components

IR Systems

  1. Verify all IR emitters are covered with boots to prevent interference. Also verify that the emitter wires have been secured neatly (tight) on the bottom or top of the equipment with tape or other secure mechanism in two places (near the front and the rear).

Regulated or Filtered Power Centers

  1. Check these units to make sure they power up properly and check the voltage readout, if provided. If the voltage reading exceeds values specified, check the power unit's input voltage to verify it remains within the same range. If the output is significantly less or more than it supply voltage, then the unit may be defective or improperly setup, depending on the model. This should be resolved before proceeding with the remaining procedures.
     
  2. Confirm that all signal lines (Telephone, RF, etc.) have been installed to go through the power center's protection facilities as specified in the installation documents.

Integrated and Non-integrated Power Amplifiers Speaker Outputs

  1. Before applying power and turning the unit on, make certain all speaker cables to the unit are disconnected and tested shorts that will cause dysfunction while performing test procedures and possible damage to the power amplifier.
     
  2. Using an ohm meter or impedance meter, measure each speaker line and record the value. An ohm meter reading will indicate a value that is less than the impedance since it is measuring DC resistance. The more reliable and efficient manor to test speakers is to use an impedance meter, which uses an AC signal to give the true impedance value. Confirm that this value is not lower than the recommended value recommended by the manufacture for the unit. Note: Make certain all analog speaker volume controls are at their maximum settings to prevent erroneous readings.
     
  3. If impedance reading on any speaker run is lower than the value allowed by the amplifier, the best resolution may be to raise the system impedance by adjusting the tap values in the smallest rooms to a higher setting and re-check the system load on that run. If this does not resolve the issue, the problem may be with speaker impedances are too low, too many speakers are on the line or there may be a short somewhere along the run that will have to be located and fixed. Note: Using a test instrument with a TDR is your best procedure at this point because it will be able to give you an estimate of where the short lies.
     
  4. To identify the problem with a speaker line's impedance, you will need to disconnect the line from all of the loads starting with the first one and re-check it. To isolate the problem, begin to connect the speakers and any volume controls one at a time in the series that they are connected until the problem is located. If it is determined that problem is not a short in the line, bad speaker or volume control and therefore is most likely a design issue, contact Engineering to determine the best resolution. If the problem is resolved and re-checked, record the final value.
     
  5. Make certain the gain on the power output of the amplifier or signal input is all the way down or off prior to turning the unit on to prevent excessive audio output to the speakers when conducting the following series of tests. Leave the volume controls set to their maximum value for the following procedures. Note: The volume controls will be tested in the following procedures to verify that they functionally turn the volume down. Leaving them initially at maximum allows you to compare the relative level of each one once a source is connected. Since all volume controls will be at the same value, this will help detect any malfunctions that may still exist in the speaker lines or speakers themselves. As a precaution, you can turn the volumes down from their maximum output, put this will take more time out of the process and it is somewhat difficult to have confidence they are all at the same value setting.

All Receivers or Receiver Sections

  1. Power up the receiver. Make sure that the audio output volume in turned all the way down first. Check to see if a product detail sheet has been supplied that may have any special instructions for setting up or configuring the receiver for use in the following steps.
     
  2. Confirm that all wiring connections are correct in accordance with the installation documents.
     
  3. Set the AM/FM presets according to the default set specified in the DISP for local reception. If the sales representative has provided a set of customer specific presents (communicated in the product detail sheet), those take priority and should be set accordingly.
     
  4. Check to see if the receiver needs to have any of its inputs configured in the setup for proper input selection and assignment (i.e. digital audio inputs, digital or component video inputs, etc.).
     
  5. If facilitated, name the inputs on the receiver's display appropriately.
     
  6. Using a known source with audio connected, test the receiver's speaker outputs to confirm the audio is heard from each installed speaker connected to its outputs. Confirm that all channels are correctly wired. If surround speakers are provided, see Ref.: 1.3.6.3 Surround Receivers.
     
  7. If provided, set the sub-woofer crossover frequency to 100 Hz if it is a single speaker system less than 12 inches. If it is larger than 12 inches or two systems are used, set it to 80 Hz. Adjust the volume to an appropriate initial level. Note: Ultimately the base level preference of the customer needs to be considered. If facilitated, set the auto power on to the on condition. Make certain that all sub-woofers are in phase. Contact engineering if there are any questions concerning this issue.
     
  8. If facilitated, make certain that the receiver's setup menu output to the TV display is enabled to allow on-screen setup functions to be displayed (for future use by technicians or for over-the-phone customer support).
     
  9. As a precaution for all the setup procedures, use the remote control for the unit and confirm that all setup settings have taken effect and that everything is working exactly as it should for this specific installation.
     
  10. When all input devices have been verified and tested, normalize all inputs, if facilitated. This includes all local equipment and/or house feeds. If there is any problem being able to normalize them properly, it may need to be resolved by other means. In such cases, contact Engineering to determine the best resolution.

Surround Audio

Surround audio requires special attention for it to perform best and not setting up the surround sound properly is a mistake for high quality systems. Although some equipment have built-in audio setup capability by using a microphone (sometimes provided), it is better to use professional setup equipment for best results. Sencore, for example, has a systems that automate the entire process designed for every configuration, including 5.1 and 7.1 systems, among others.

  1. Use the receiver's setup menu for surround sound modes to 5.1 or 7.1 speaker system respectively. If the receiver has 7.1 and 7.1 speakers are installed, maker certain these are "ON" in the surround sound setup. If, however, the receiver is only connected to a 5.1 speaker system, maker certain the 7.1 rear surround speakers are "OFF" in the surround sound setup. Note: The "OFF" mode also facilitates the use of the receiver to use the two rear surround channels for speakers in another room (multi-room mode) with a different sourced input (Ref.: 1.3.6.4).
     
  2. For surround receivers using surround speakers, use an appropriate test DVD with surround test tones to verify the surround speakers are connected and operating correctly for 5.1 or 7.1 respectively.
     
  3. If facilitated, set the surround defaults for each individual source input.
     
  4. If facilitated, set the DISP (sound field) settings of the receiver according to the manufacture's procedures for the proper delay times based on the speaker placement configuration and room sizes.
     
  5. For multi-out units facilitated for multi-zone on a 7.1 receiver, if the two rear surround sound channels are used to power speakers in another room, the two rear surround channels must be "OFF" in the surround sound mode setup for it to work properly.
     
  6. If the receiver has a second zone output that is being used for a house audio feed, make certain it is activated and configured properly for fixed or variable output appropriately.

DVD Players

DVD players are often neglected and overlooked as simple with no setup or concerns, which is not the case. Todays players are more technically sophisticated than ever and with HD players now coming out on the market attention to them are more important. It is also important to make sure all features are operating correctly. Sometimes new equipment out of the box has some dysfunction it is important to make sure they all work before the customer discovers it and gives them the impression you did not do your job properly.

  1. Insert a DVD test disc and make certain it is selected as source at the receiver and the display device is powered on and connected properly to receive the video signal.
     
  2. Confirm that all wiring connections are correct in accordance with the installation documents.
     
  3. Check all primary functions of the DVD player, such as play, stop, forward, fast forward, etc. If it is a multi-disc changer, verify the skip disc function. Verify all other remote operational modes and control functions specific to this model.
     
  4. If facilitated, set the DTS and Dolby Digital outputs to on.
     
  5. If facilitated, set the aspect ratio to output 16x9.
     
  6. Set the unit for progressive or interlace scan output appropriately. Do not assume it is to be set to progressive scan. If the display has a good scalar, superior picture quality may result if the DVD player is set for interlaced output. Note: This should be communicated in the installation instructions through the equipment detail sheet for the display. If not, check with Sales or Engineering to verify the preference.
     
  7. If the unit has either an HDMI or DVI connection for the video that has been utilized, the digital output may need to be selected in the setup menu. If this setting is available, be sure that it defaults to the correct setting after power to the unit is turned on and off.
     
  8. If the unit is used for multi-zone, make certain the analog cables have been installed in addition to the digital cables (in such cases the drawings should indicate this).
     
  9. As a precaution for all the setup procedures, use the remote control for the unit and confirm that all setup settings have taken effect and that everything is working exactly as it should for this particular installation.
     
  10. If the DVD also has recording capabilities, do not forget to have a blank disc available and test it to make certain it functions.

CD Player

Like DVD players, CD players need to have all functions checked for proper operation. In addition, there are certain issues associated with CD players that need special attention.

  1. Insert a Music CD disc for test and select the CD input as the source.
     
  2. Confirm that all wiring connections are correct in accordance with the installation documents.
     
  3. With a Music CD disc inserted, check all primary functions of the CD player, such as play, stop, forward, fast forward, reverse, fast reverse and skip (song). If it is a multi-disc changer, verify the skip disc function. Verify all other remote operational modes and control functions specific to this model.
     
  4. If the unit is used for multi-zone, make certain the analog cables have been installed in addition to the digital cables (in such cases the drawings should indicate this).

VCR Player/Recorders

Although these devices are quickly going the way of dinosaurs, many installations still require them and they to be fully functional, including the recording features. Even setting the clock is frequently overlooked but is important not to forget.

  1. With a tape inserted and the VCR selected as the source, check all primary functions of the VCR, such as play, stop, forward, fast forward, reverse, fast reverse and any other special controls it may have on the unit.
     
  2. Confirm that all wiring connections are correct in accordance with the installation documents.
     
  3. Make certain the VCR is connected to record program material using the video signals, not RF (the drawings should indicate where these cables are connected in the system). With program material available, place the recorder into record mode and record a minute or two of material. Rewind the tape and use play to verify the recording function works properly.
     
  4. If facilitated, use the channel scan to set the receivable stations into memory. If a product detail sheet has been supplied with the installation documents, see if any preset station preferences have been communicated from the customer by Sales.
     
  5. As a precaution for all the setup procedures, use the remote control for the unit and confirm that all setup settings have taken effect and that everything is working exactly as it should for this particular installation.
     
  6. Don't forget to set the clock!

Cable, Moxi (or equivalent) or Satellite Receivers

These units are sometimes provided by the service provider, but they are frequently provided by the sales and installation company. In either case, the equipment needs to be integrated with the system and therefore needs to have the same attention of any other equipment included in the system.

  1. With service connected, select the appropriate unit as the source. Verify the video and audio signals are present and working properly.
     
  2. Confirm that all wiring connections are correct in accordance with the installation documents.
     
  3. Confirm that the telephone line is connected and working.
     
  4. Confirm all channels are being received, including applicable HD and non-HD channels, local channels and regular cable channels. Important Note: Since HD local channels are confirmed, delete or hide all local analog channels.
  5. If facilitated, confirm that the surround sound channels are working while viewing an appropriate cable channel with surround output.
  6. Set screen format to 161x9 and default 4x3 set to wide. If applicable, verify the video set to 1080i.
  7. If the unit has either an HDMI or DVI connection for the video that has been utilized, the digital output may need to be selected in the setup. If this setting is available, be sure that it defaults to the correct setting after power to the unit is turned on and off.
  8. Make written record on the installation documentation of any account information, access card and serial numbers. This should be available from the drawings returned to Engineering for the as-build documentation.
  9. As a precaution for all the setup procedures, use the remote control for the unit and confirm that all setup settings have taken effect and that everything is working exactly as it should for this particular installation.

TiVo (or equivalent) Recorder/Receiver

  1. For the Receiver section, use the same procedures as in 1.3.6.8.
     
  2. Verify service and activation by recording a program as a test by using the guide and entering a selection to record once. Playback the recording to confirm.
     
  3. Set TiVo "Suggestions" in the Preferences menu to "Off."
     
  4. Set "Sound Effects" in the audio settings to "Low."

Digital Music/Video Systems

With the market trend moving toward digital content delivery, this equipment is supplied with every increasing frequency in each system designed. This equipment has special considerations, such as Internet connection and digital control and needs to be connected and operating correctly before integration and control programming. Make sure the Internet service is available at the time for these procedures to be fully tested.

  1. Setup the connection to the internet and verify it is working properly by inserting a CD/DVD and verifying that the playlist, art and other featured information is downloaded successfully.
     
  2. Confirm that all wiring connections are correct in accordance with the installation documents. Verify that all audio/video signals are working correctly when selected as the source device.
     
  3. Setup the connection to the internet and verify it is working properly by inserting a CD/DVD and verifying that the playlist, art and other featured information is downloaded successfully.

Video Displays

In addition to functional testing, it is important to make certain the displays are connected with the highest resolution available signal available, such as digital over analog, that should be indicated in the installation documentation but sometimes overlooked by installers. It is also important to set display to the the highest compatible resolution, especially for systems with HD content that is becoming more prevalent.

  1. Confirm that all inputs are wired according to the installation documents and that they all work properly and setup to display correctly according to the specific input signal.
     
  2. Set the display to the highest resolution that is compatible with the source. For HD system this will usually be 1080i resolution.
     
  3. Verify true widescreen format, which may be called different names by different models. Anamorphic or full is desired. Verify that non-HD channels are set to a wide setting to fill the screen. Note: if the display has a magnification feature, do not use this. Use the zoom instead.
     
  4. If the display has over-scan and it is needed to fill the screen, make certain that the setting does not cause other problems with the picture quality and settings. Confirm this after any adjustment of over-scan past a value of 2.
     
  5. Use mechanical adjustment of the projector as the preferred method to correct for any Keystone of the image. If the correct image cannot be achieved by mechanical adjustment, use the minimal amount of electronic Keystone correction as possible. Contact Engineering if you are not sure about your resolution of the issue.
     
  6. Use the following initial setup values for the display.
    1. Brightness to 50% or less.
    2. Picture/Contrast to 80% or less.
    3. Sharpness to 10% or less.
    4. Color and Tint to 50%.
    5. Color Temperature to Normal.
    6. DNR to Off.
       
  7. For an articulated arm is installed, verify that cables are not stressed by any possible positioning of the arm and that the cables remain neat and secure without excess length.
     
  8. For DLP rear projector systems, set non-HD default to Pillar-box (black bars on side).
     
  9. Resolve Grounding and Noise Issues

Hum, noise and interference in audio and video systems is a common occurrence. Some may be a result of improper grounding techniques, poor or broken shielding, cabling run too close to offending wiring, or equipment with severe interference radiation by other equipment. There are methods of design and wiring practices, if implemented, to avoid most of these issues in the first place. However, if every precaution has been followed in the design and installation to avoid them, it may be necessary to resolve the issue in an appropriate and acceptable manor at the job site.

Sometimes there are multiple techniques to correct the problem. However, some of them may be a violation of local or national governmental regulations and these should always be avoided. In other cases there may be a preferred or best method to correct the problem. Contact Engineering about the best resolution before one is implemented.

Miscellaneous

Many miscellaneous items are often overlooked that can impede system integration. This list is not exhaustive, but cover several as examples.

  1. If a local system is facilitated with a house audio system override, test this functionality. Make certain the level control for the house feed and local audio is at a median level and switch between the two several times to verify the override function is working correctly.
     
  2. Verify that switching to the override does not cause a large variant in sound level between the two. If the levels are significantly different, check the system drawings and see if there are any way those levels can be normalized. If unable to resolve, contact Engineering to determine a resolution.
     
  3. If using universal remotes with muti-level screens for local system control, program the main power on/off buttons to function regardless of the current screen.
     
  4. External antennas need to be correctly installed (proper height without obstructions) and directional antennas need to be aimed properly. The antenna manufacture and many web sites allow you to check using the address where it is installed to give you the exact direction for best results.

Record all Data and Update Installation Documents

This part is frequently neglected and often ignored by installation personnel. If this is the case with your company, you need to rectify this situation immediately. Every company should finalized the system documentation with what is referred to as "as-built" documents; the name is self explanatory. They serve as a valuable asset for servicing the system and troubleshooting problems later and also serve an importance if Sales needs to respond to a customers request to add or change equipment to serve them better later on.

If for no other reason, it is just not professional to not have documents that reflect the complete and accurate system as installed. Even if your projects are for homes and not commercial establishments, you are still supposed to be professionals and documentation is one marker that sets apart those who claim to be professional and those who are professional. These are but a few items that need to be attended and your list is likely to be much greater.

  1. Always have a complete set of installation documents on-hand before conducting any of these procedures. These documents provide necessary information you will need to conduct these tests, conduct applicable equipment setup functions and program the components and systems.
     
  2. Always take careful note of the accuracy of these documents and make the necessary corrections so they will reflect the correct installation wiring and configuration. The completed set of corrected documents are referred to in the industry as "red-lines" since most often a red pen is used to not corrections for later updating the drawings and installation documentation.
     
  3. Where applicable, make notation of test results on the appropriate documents. This includes items such as RF signal strength at all outlets, resolution or other settings for displays, established presets, and the list can go on. IMPORTANT NOTE: It is prudent for anyone conducting these procedures to be diligent about recording ALL information about the setup details. It is better to document something properly than to assume it is not necessary.
     
  4. All corrections and additional information recorded in these procedures are to be submitted to Engineering to establish the final as-built documentation for the project. Copies should be readily available when needed by Service or Sales personnel.

George Wilkinson is a 35-year veteran in project management, system design, programming, testing, problem resolution, calibration and systems analysis for computer controlled audiovisual systems. He is a graduate in Electrical Engineering Technology from the University of Texas. His firm, Advanced Technological Services serves the commercial and home automation industry and he is a certified CEDIA designer. You can contact the author at george@atssupport.com

© Copyright 2006-2007 George Wilkinson. All rights reserved.


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