Category Archives: structured wiring

Punching it

Last week, Ron and Odell from Ranserve walked the house with Steven to organize the punch list.

Two days ago, Odell and Cris began adjusting pocket doors and experimenting with how to fill the holes around the balusters.

Today, Aaron arrived with Chris and Bani to begin working on the kitchen cabinets — smooth edges, filling holes, adjusting drawers and slides. Aaron remeasured for replacement panels.

Above, Chris, left, and Bani, right, adjusting utility drawers between the cooktop and sink.

1-dsc_3678-001Chris arrived from Granite Security to install the glass break sensor missing from the ceiling in Steven’s office — outlined in the black box in photo above.

Chris also added “water bugs” at the washer and both tankless water heaters — sensors that alert us if the washer and heaters overflow.

Chris positioning the water bug at the upstairs tankless water heater.
Chris positioning the water bug at the upstairs tankless water heater.
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T minus 7 days

The port-a-potty was taken away five days ago. We’re 24 hours closer to moving in — and Team Ranserve is working through the punch list.

Above … Jacinto from Ranserve today began to scrape the old linoleum tiles off the floor in the old garage. We suspect one of the previous owners converted the garage into a rec room. We want to park the cars and use the space for storage and tools.

Catching up ... the whole-house surge suppressor that the electricians installed a couple of days back -- at the bottom of the electrical panel.
Catching up … the whole-house surge suppressor that the electricians installed a couple of days back — at the bottom of the electrical panel.
Odell chiseled the door frames to fit the strike plates for the deadbolts.
Odell chiseled the door frames to fit the strike plates for the deadbolts.
The painters continue to polish off the house, finishing off the ceiling where the balusters are inserted through the drywall into lumber framing.
The painters continue to polish off the house, finishing off the ceiling where the balusters are inserted through the drywall into lumber framing.
Tyler from Granite Security installs a network wall plate at the TV wall in the family room.
Tyler from Granite Security installs a network wall plate at the TV wall in the family room.
Odell cuts open the back panel of the shelf end of the island, to install an electrical box for the network ports.
Odell cuts open the back panel of the shelf end of the island, to install an electrical box for the network ports.
With Odell done, Tyler snaked the pre-wired Ethernet cable into the new electrical box and punched the wires to the connector.
With Odell done, Tyler snaked the pre-wired Ethernet cable into the new electrical box and punched the wires to the connector.
The connectors on the plug are color coded and labeled, making it easy to match the proper wire.
The connectors on the plug are color coded and labeled, making it easy to match the proper wire.
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Blower door test — and more

Today’s agenda at Emerald Hill stacked up meetings and tasks:

  • Gutters
  • Time Warner Cable for Internet, phone, TV services
  • Brett Grinkmeyer, architect, and his tour of Emerald Hill with prospective clients
  • Tyson from Granite Security for a tutorial on the security system
  • Blower door test
  • Cut down the hackberry tree at the northeast corner of the house
  • Assemble more Ikea furniture
  • Set up a computer in the pantry, out of traffic, to work on ShowStoppers @ Mobile World Congress

Above, Alex from ATS and Jonathan from Austin Air review the duct plans with Ron from Ranserve, in preparation for the blower door test.

Jonathan measures airflow from the duct in bedroom 1 as part of the blower door test.
Jonathan measures airflow from the duct in bedroom 1 as part of the blower door test.
Alex assembles the blower door.
Alex assembles the blower door.
We passed! The City of Austin requires less than 5 ACH -- air changes per hour. Alex and Jonathan confirm that Emerald Hill is tightly insulated and not leaking a lot of air. Ron is smiling at this measure of quality.
We passed! The City of Austin requires less than 5 ACH — air changes per hour. Alex and Jonathan confirm that Emerald Hill is tightly insulated and not leaking a lot of air. Ron is smiling at this measure of quality.
Tyson showed Steven how to configure and use the alarm system that we prewired into the house.
Tyson showed Steven how to configure and use the alarm system that we prewired into the house.
Rodriguez from Gilsa uses a chunk of concrete to grind stains off the first paver in front of the house.
Rodriguez from Gilsa uses a chunk of concrete to grind stains off the first paver in front of the house.
Ron and Kevin opened up the stair wall to add more blocking -- needed to support the shower wand in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.
Ron and Kevin opened up the stair wall to add more blocking — needed to support the shower wand in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.
Taking out the hackberry tree that was leaning toward the house.
Taking out the hackberry tree that was leaning toward the house.
Stripped of most branches in just 10 minutes.
Stripped of most branches in just 10 minutes.
Sections of trunk cut smaller to make them lighter when carrying off to the chipper.
Sections of trunk cut smaller to make them lighter when carrying off to the chipper.

 

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Wrapping up the low-voltage prewire

Chris from Granite Security today finished stringing wire for security, phone, TV and network through Emerald Hill. The last step was to install conduit between points x and y for Steven to pull cables between TVs on the wall and the amplifiers and cable boxes in the closets.

Above, the orange conduit is what Steven will use to pull cables between the TV in the loft and the equipment racked in the electrical closet above the distribution box.

The other end of the pull conduit hanging next to the distribution box in the electrical closet.
The other end of the pull conduit hanging next to the distribution box in the electrical closet.
In the closet downstairs behind the Great Room, Chris installed a second conduit pull.
In the closet downstairs behind the Great Room, Chris installed a second conduit pull.
In the dim light, Chris finishes the prewire by drilling through the plywood backer of TV wall in the Great Room ... not the best shot; the drywall is eating up reflective light and the camera flash was off by a fraction of a second ...
In the dim light, Chris finishes the prewire by drilling through the plywood backer of TV wall in the Great Room … not the best shot; the drywall is eating up reflective light and the camera flash was off by a fraction of a second …
And from the other side of the wall, Chris pushes speaker wire through the hole he just drilled.
And from the other side of the wall, Chris pushes speaker wire through the hole he just drilled.

 

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Installing the structured wiring

Granite continues to install the low-voltage structured wiring for security, audio-visual, network, phone.

These cable drops will be routed and organized into a panel and modules in the electrics closet.
These cable drops will be routed and organized into a panel and modules in the electrics closet.

 

Two days later, the panel is mounted and Chris from Granite is sorting wires for installation.
Two days later, the panel is mounted and Chris from Granite is sorting wires for installation.

 

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Adventures in structured wiring

Over the past months, Steven has walked the house with multiple installers of structured wiring, also known as low-voltage wiring — network, telephone, audio-visual, security.

It has been a frustrating, disheartening, difficult process that delayed the start of drywall installation by at least two weeks.

Steven takes the blame.

Oversimplifying this miserable saga …

Company #1 walked the house with Steven and Ron, sent the quote to Ranserve, would not communicate with Steven.

Company #2 delivered a quote with touchpads even though Steven specified touchscreens. On the third attempt to get it right, a specialist arrived in a truck, pulled boxes from the back seat, unboxed devices to show Steven — and it still took days to get an updated proposal.

Two installers quit Company #3 and the manager instructed Steven to find someone else to do the job.

Recommended by one of the companies that participates in ShowStoppers press events, Steven walked the house with company #4 days before he departed for Berlin and ShowStoppers @ IFA. The quote arrived in time for Steven to ask questions before leaving for the airport — and during a 50-minute phone call from Berlin. How does dialtone get from the panel in the closet to the jacks in the walls of each room — what distribution module by number and hyperlink and spec goes into the panel? How does Internet signal distribute to the rooms in the house from the panel? Using what module, by hyperlink and specs? “I will have to get you that answer.”

Also recommended by a ShowStoppers company, company #5 could not schedule the install until late September — but referred Steven to another company that could possibly comply with the already-late schedule.

Company #6 missed the count on glass breaks, nailed the network, telephone and AV details, but blew the budget by more than twice the allocated amount.

At this point, Mark and Ron at Ranserve intervened. They scheduled a second meeting with Company #1. Two hours. Walking everything. Talking everything. Speccing everything. The company asked for and received Ranserve permission to communicate directly with Steven. Steven received an updated bid the next day. He reviewed it. Carefully. There were several question. Steven approved it Thursday, 10 September.

Friday, 11 September, Granite Security delivered coils of cable to Emerald Hill and began stringing wire.

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