I am considering an upcoming article on installation tips and tools. If anyone in the group here has any good tips you would like to pass on to the group I will be glad to reference you if it goes to print.
Did anyone catch the installation fishing contest at the last ISC West? It was put on by B.E.S. and the Training Dept. Some pretty fierce competition and the winners beat the others by hundredths of a second.
One drywall screw and half a tube of construction adhesive.
| > I am considering an upcoming article on installation tips and tools. If | > anyone in the group here has any good tips you would like to pass on to | > the group I will be glad to reference you if it goes to print. | >
| > Did anyone catch the installation fishing contest at the last ISC West? | > It was put on by B.E.S. and the Training Dept. Some pretty fierce | > competition and the winners beat the others by hundredths of a second. | >
Here's a few that I've mentioned here before and maybe they're well known .... or not. Use them if you find them useful
When caulking, instead of getting it all over your fingers trying to smooth out a bead you've just laid down, mix a little bit of soap in a cup of water. Wet your fingers with the soapy water and the caulk wont stick to your fingers.
In the winter time, after the tube of caulk has sat in the van all night, trying to get the caulk soft enough to work with, can take some time. If there's a microwave oven on the site, loosen or take the cap off the tube, put the tube on a paper towel (just in case) and "cook" it for 15 second intervals until it's soft enough to work with. If you're going to need it throughout the rest of the day, carry the tube in your front pocket. Body heat will keep it at just the right consistancy.
When you are hooking a wire to a transformer strip the wire back about an inch so you can wrap the copper around the screw and hold it with your finger while you tighten it. This keeps the wire from pushing out while you tighten the screw, then cut off the excess.
Also wrap the wire clockwise so as you tighten it wont push the wire out.
Number one rule: Use the right tool for the proper job.
Number two rule: Keep the tools is good condition. Dull screwdrivers are dangerous and can be easily reconditioned. Rusty dykes, dull rusty drill bits, extention cords that are frayed, ladders with wore feet, brushes on drills, etc. can all be reconditioned and if not should be retired.
Tip: On a post wire installation, when your tech rings the door bell and the lady of the house answers, the most comforting thing for her to see is your tech standing there with a vacuum cleaner and drop cloth. It is more re-assuring then him standing there with drill motors, 6' flex bits, extension cords, ladders etc. First impressions are everything.
Tip: Have your sales person instruct the customer to have items moved out away from the windows, doors, panel location etc. prior to the installers arriving. This will save time and lessen the chance of the installer accidently damaging something.
Tip: Where contacts and magnets cannot be recessed or screwed down, people rely on the adhesive strip on the device. Clean the surface with alcohol or mineral spirits, place the device and then add a small bead of RTV (clear) around the edges and wipe smooth (using Jim's trick). Saves that trip back because the tape didn't hold.
The proper tools is a very good tip that Bob had mentioned.. One thing I always find (working in card access) is everyone using a #2 phillips screw driver for a #3 phillips screw and chewing the screws up.
One tip I've got (again, card access) is if you need to install an electrified hinge in a wooden door frame and the screw holes are stripped out... stick a wooden golf tee into the hole, break it off and re-drill the hole. This works better than a dowel since the tee is tapered.
I can remember my first tech tip way back in junior high school electric shop. It was wrapping a stripped wire properly around a screw terminal. An old time shop teacher that made sure we had good basic install skills. A very nice and basic tip. While this seems obvious to many of us techs, you would be surprised how many wires I see wrapped the wrong way.
Some really good tips everyone. I just goes to show you that good install ideas do not have to be big and fancy. I have often found that a new and simple idea can save time, money, and skinned knuckles.
Thanks to everyone and keep them coming. I am sure all in the group appreciates the feedback.
He is my tip to share......
I saw one tech at the installer fishing competition that, when fishing into an attic, would leave just enough slack and a loose wire twist on the end of his fishing rod in order to give a short strong tug on the wire to break it free from the rod in the attic. The wire would stay in the attic and he could pull the rod back down and do the next hole the same way. He could do an entire house with one installer instead of two.
Putting a tube of caulk in the microwave could be dangerous (most have metal ends that don't react well). In Alberta (where I did a lot of installs), we used to put the tubes right on the van's defroster. They were nice and warm by the time we got to the job site. Another trick (on pre-wires) was to place the tubes (and several boxes of wire) in front of the propane heaters the contractor would set up. Pulling station Z when it's minus 20 ain't pretty... :-)
I've cut up fish tape into 15' lengths. You feed one up into the attic with station Z attached to the other end. With a Grabbit in the attic you can do those runs with just one guy too. It helps to have someone "down below" to ensure the wire coming out of the box doesn't get snagged (that really sucks when it happens). Do your attic runs in the early morning (before 9:00 am) and you won't have to contend with the heat later on.
Usually only silicon comes in metal tubes. I've been using the acrylic and it always comes in the all plastic tubes. By the way, I'm not talking tubes that go into a caulking gun. I'm talking the little tubes. And anyway. Nowdays with micro waves with the metal shelves in them are usually able to take metal object as long as they don't have sharp corners. Like when you want to warm up chicken wings or legs. wrap the ends in foil so they don't get like a rock. Works pretty good. Old micros had a lot of problems with metal. New ones not so much.
I like to use stranded cable for transformers. It doesn't break like solid core cable can if the wire is flexed a bunch of times. Also, if I have some in the tool kit I crimp spade lugs on the wires rather than wrap bare wires around the screw terminals. This isn't entirely necessary but it makes a good, solid connection and there's no chance of a stray strand shorting the adjacent terminal.