A house in rural upstate New York was outfitted with an enormous Savant home automation system, containing over 20 zones of audio and video, installed by regional Massachusetts dealer, Tune Street. But when the project was completed, Tune Street was being repeatedly called by the client to remotely reboot or fix lighting, shades, set top boxes and other parts of the system that were randomly dying out or malfunctioning. If remote reboot was not an option, Tune Street had to send a team member out to the house, which was three hours away.
“The power supply to the home was so horrible because of the generator and the equipment providing service to the house that products like Apple TV, Direct TV, and components of the client’s Savant system were dying constantly. It was never-ending,” said Tune Street president Luke Germain. “It was an installer’s nightmare.”
Reboots were needed so frequently in the home that the Tune Street team installed reset switches in the customer’s racks to make it easier for them to remotely reboot their devices.
Tune Street couldn’t determine the source of the issues with the system that was causing device failure, and fielded repeated service calls for a year. “I’d talk [the client] through rebooting his stuff, praying that it would work remotely,” said Germain. “It was a constant reboot process or the products would literally be dead and we’d have to replace them.”
Beyond frequent remote reboots and on-site service calls, Tune Street found themselves replacing equipment earlier than its standard life cycle. “We had replaced his equipment so many times that that racks literally looked like spaghetti after a year,” commented Germain.
After a year of reboots, service calls, and chasing “ghosts in the system” that were causing product malfunction, Germain learned about SurgeX power quality and diagnostic intelligence solutions. Power issues affecting equipment was a problem that his team hadn’t yet considered. “Unstable power can cause devices in a system to lock up and require reboot or replacement which is why the number one piece of dealer feedback that always comes back to me after they’ve converted to SurgeX is, ‘We’re rebooting less devices, less frequently than we used to have to,’ ” said Jimmy Paschke, manager, residential sales at SurgeX.
Once he learned about power quality issues, Germain sought a resolution for the New York house with a two-step approach consisting of monitoring and power quality protection with SurgeX devices. He installed an Envision diagnostic intelligence monitoring device with Expert Manager analytic software to determine the power quality conditions in the home, and to provide proof to the client that the issues were coming from the utility, and not the installed equipment. “The first thing we did was put the power-monitoring Envision unit in and we left it there for a week and pulled up the logs,” Germain said.
“We showed the client that every hour, his power was dipping down to 110 volts in a lot of instances,” Germain said. “It was a mess.” The Envision device also revealed that power surges and spikes were hitting the system constantly, and were the unseen culprit for the compromised devices.
Having determined and provided proof that there were unsolvable power issues in the home, Germain said, “We put SurgeX products in each rack; there were four total in the house.” The SurgeX products included a XR115 120V/15A outfitted with SurgeX’s Advanced Series Mode surge elimination technology and Impedance Tolerant EMI/RFI filter to safeguard the client’s digital equipment from AC surges and electrical transients that erode performance, and a UPS-1000-OL that would supply constant, clean power to the home during the frequent blackouts and brownouts.
The Tune Street team selected the XR115 for the surge elimination component of the install to provide a long-lasting solution that would end equipment replacement.
Since installing the SurgeX power protection foundation, Tune Street has seen a dramatic reduction in service calls from the New York homeowners. Germain said, “When we put the SurgeX equipment in, we waited maybe a half a year and since there were no issues, we redid all the racks and cleaned them back up. To this day, we still have had no issues.” After seeing the results of his experience, Germain and Tune Street require SurgeX power protection for all of their installations to safeguard their clients’ systems and prevent service calls.
Paschke and the SurgeX team see cases consistent with the issues that plagued Tune Street at the New York installation; “What we’re trying to help the dealer benefit from, when it comes to a solid power foundation, is not having to react to the call from the customer saying ‘something doesn’t work’ nearly as often.”