Here’s a partial list of things I’ve done and products I’ve used that made my life as an installer easier and more efficient. BTW, feel free to comment/add on to the list. I’m sure you’ve had more than your fair share of frustrations when confronted with a vexing and time-consuming problem. Tell/share to us your solution and help others who might have the same predicament. Remember a minute saved is a dollar (or more) earned!
– As much as possible, get a blueprint of the residence or at least draw up a layout of the rooms. Use your copy for marking changes, adds and install locations. After all is said and done, an as-is drawing is one of the best sources of info you can give to the homeowner. Tip: Scan the as-is drawing so you’ll have soft copy of the print. With a document editing software , you can even “clean-up” your copy!
–Properly label all of your cables (headend and at the rooms) as soon as they are installed. However, what do you do when the labeling machine is not working? My workaround is to use fine-tipped permanent markers not just in black but also silver/gold colors. Any cable can then be marked legibly whatever color the cable jacket maybe. Tip: Silver/Gold permanent markers can be used to mark “wall wart” power supplies, power cables, etc. to easily identify what’s plugged-in, for example, in a strip outlet.
– When designing/wiring for the automated home, specify a cable jacket color for each ”system”. For example: green Cat 5e-Telecom, blue Cat 5e-Data, white Cat 5e-Security, grey Cat 5e-Music, etc. Tip: When jacket colors are not available, use colored electrical tape to mark the system types.
–Use the biggest wiring enclosure whenever possible. Nowadays, a minimum of 2 wiring enclosures will give you the most flexibility. The coaxial cables go to one enclosure while the rest go to the other one. I’ve done/designed the layout of these enclosures so much that I now have a template/diagram where the system modules are situated in the enclosure. If you need a copy of the template, email me offline and I’ll send them to you. Tip: Using the same manufacturer when populating the enclosure ensures good fit between modules/hubs. A universal mounting plate is typically available for installing modules from other manufacturers. If all else fails, drilling a different mounting hole and velcro would always do the trick.
–Most important TIP for the day. DOCUMENT (write) everything. Trying to remember something 2 or 3 months after you’ve done them is not fun As they say in my Navy days ” Nothing is ever done until the paperwork is done”.