Another Wiring Mess Cleanup: Before & After
"Working from scratch" is how custom electronics pro Elite Audio approached this daunting takeover project.
April 23, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

Elite Audio and Legends Security and Sound, two South Carolina-based integrators, often share amusing stories about “cleanup work.”

In fact, Jim Dewitt of Legends passed up this amusing cleanup job — originally a $250,000 project, according to the homeowner — and recommended Elite Audio.

“I’ve been in this business 22 years, and this was one of the worst I’ve seen,” says Brantley Waites, Elite Audio president.

How Awful Was It?

The installation began in May 2006 and was only “partly working” in December 2008, according to the homeowner. By April 2009 the equipment and wiring looked as they did in the “before” pictures, and the distributed audio system played inconsistently from day to day.

Sadly, that was better than how the distributed video system performed — the owners could not select or switch any of the video sources or satellite channels from their touchpanels or keypads.

Of course, because the equipment was centralized in a closet rack (the purpose of having integrated systems, right?), that meant any time they wanted to change channels or go from satellite to DVD they had to walk to the closet and manually switch.

Rather than try and decipher the mess — the “before” wiring shown below is a pretty good indication — Elite Audio decided essentially to work from scratch. Waites, Anthony Kelly and Brantley’s brother Reid Waites re-installed everything, except for pulling all the wire out of the walls, over a two-week span to give the owners a new system.

Starting from Scratch

“We didn’t spend a bunch of time trying to diagnose what was wrong, we just gutted the equipment and started over,” Brantley says. “We removed the rack, disassembled all the rack components and cabling, removed all point-A-to-point-B wiring and re-labeled everything, pulled every control panel out of the wall and basically wired and verified the integrity to all of our specifications.”

That included identifying every cable in the mix of Cresnet, Ethernet, speaker wire and coax, and properly extending them unlike the integrator that had under-compensated the measuring during the original install.

Brantley took care of re-programming the Crestron controls, and in the end the systems actually worked. It brought the wife to tears after nearly three years of headache, he says.

Wall Connections: Before

Wall Connections: After

Equipment Rack Rear: Before

Equipment Rack Rear: After

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

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