Days in the Life: CEDIA Boot Camp

What to Expectd at This Fall’s Hands-On Sessions
Publish date:

CEDIA’s three-day, intensive, hands-on training sessions are scheduled for October and November. These three courses at CEDIA Headquarters in Indianapolis are a great way to expand your knowledge and hone your skills.

Image placeholder title

The Basic Residential Boot Camp (October 16-18) is CEDIA’s entrylevel course for everyone and anyone at a technology integration firm. If you would like all your employees to know the fundamentals, this is a great place to start. Home Theater Boot Camp (October 19-21) includes specialized information on everything from video calibration to proper speaker and seating placement. Advanced Networking Boot Camp (November 14-16) is for those with some background in residential networks, and it has become incredibly popular as home networks grow in size and complexity.

Image placeholder title

The Basic Residential Boot Camp is CEDIA’s entry-level course for everyone and anyone at a technology integration firm.

I attended both the Basic and Home Theater Boot Camps, and kept journals on both. What follows are some highlights from his notes on the Basic Residential offering:

Day One, 8:00 a.m.

The class is a pretty diverse group: in addition to some gents jumping from construction to low-voltage installations, our number includes a woman who serves as an accountant for an integration firm in LA, a locksmith who’d like more knowledge about smart systems, and a homeowner who’s bringing his 6,000-square-foot home into 2016.

The instructor, Ken Erdmann, has been at this game since the ’70s. He’s got a background in electrical engineering, and after years spent running a firm from behind a desk, he determined that working in the field was where he found the most satisfaction.

1:30 p.m.

Now we’ve moved into the grand overview of what an integrator does: Taking that cable, scheduling the gear and the lines, looking at the plans (whether we’ve designed them or not) and applying all that to the job.

4:00 p.m.

OK, finally time to hit the lab. Erdmann seems apologetic. He’s a hands-on guy, but the background info he’s had to deliver is pretty critical. He’s promising less lecture and more physical experience as we progress through the next two days.

Day Two, 8:00 a.m.

Time to cover some basic electrical safety. Instructor Ken says, “The NEC (National Electrical Code) is NOT a how-to book.”

1:00 p.m.

We’re handed short lengths of cables, termination ends, and the tools we’ll need. Compression ends on coaxial cables? Give me a sharp cutter and a proper compressing tool, and I can go to work for Comcast RIGHT NOW.

2:00 p.m.

The remainder of this day is spent terminating the cable in our practice rooms (again, only in the “new construction” walls of our own cubicle) and testing what we’ve installed.

Day Three, 8:00 a.m.

Today is Retrofit Day. Ken issues The Retrocratic Oath: “First, Do No Harm.” You need patience. You need drop cloths. You need to plan. You need shoe covers. You need drill bits and drywall saws. You need to know how homes are framed, no matter their age. You need a right-angle drill and a tool called a wet noodle.

9:00 a.m.

My lab partner Jordan Stipes and I hit the practice room. It’s about the size of a bathroom, so we decide it’ll be amusing to put the ceiling speaker directly over the space where a toilet would sit.

3:30 p.m.

We’ve installed several working video cables, door and window sensors, two UTP runs with jacks that terminate in our panel, two pairs of speakers in the walls, and a single speaker overhead, and three volume controls. Ken checks our work. Jordan and I get the thumbs-up. “Looks like it’s 0-beer-thirty,” says a fellow student. I turn up the volume. “Yep. Right after this song.”

Interested in attending? Space is limited, so sign up soon.