Widgets Magazine

Your AV D'oh!

The past few week have been spent in my 9-5 talking with others in the integration part of the industry. They were seeking my advice on some things, and I theirs. A couple of conversations sort of meandered into the realm of the “dumbest thing I ever did”. A few were quite remarkable. It lead me to think, what is your biggest “oops” on the job? Here are some examples.
One integrator, when they were just getting started in the industry, was tasked with completing a fairly complex RFP (request for proposal). This AV peep took every precaution and double checked all the costs to make certain there were no mistakes. There were a few items that their company did not handle directly so some calls were made to their distributor who provided the quotes over the phone. You know, the term “25-90” can mean a few different things. Well, in truth, they can mean two things when you are talking about money and costs. It could mean $2,590 or $25.90. Unfortunately for my friend, they were pricing a piece of equipment that cost their company $2,590 and put down on their RFP that it cost the customer $30. Not a bad markup if the piece cost $25.90. A horrible loss if the piece cost the company $2,590.
This was a very large RFP, and the company won the bid. Once the mistake was realized the job was well on its way, so it was not possible to recover the loss. It was one of those times when it would have been better to lose the bid, and save the money potentially lost.
Another oops was a design job based on a misunderstanding of the equipment. Another colleague was using some all-in-one boxes. These particular boxes did not have a scaler  built-in. It still isn’t clear why the specs weren’t checked, but let’s just say they were not. The job went through with everyone, including the designer, thinking they would have a scaled image at the display. Once the system was installed and commissioning began it was quite clear that this was not the case. In one room this would be no big deal. In an installation that included 25 such rooms, it became a very big deal. Scalers were selected, purchased and overnighted at a great expense to the integrator. It is a mistake my friend has not made since.
So, what is your biggest “goof” in the world of AV? Did you hang a display upside down, misquote a price, or write a program for an AMX system when they were installing a Crestron room? Leave your comments below.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

About Author

Tim Albright is the founder of AVNation and is the driving force behind the AVNation network. He carries the InfoComm CTS, a B.S. from Greenville College and is pursuing an M.S. in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. When not steering the AVNation ship, Tim has spent his career designing systems for churches both large and small, Fortune 500 companies, and education facilities.

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  1. Richard McLeland Wieser on

    This story is similar to the $25.50 item in your column. At a mandatory bid opening, the four submitting vendors showed up and met in conference with Purchasing Agent. The sealed bids were opened in turn. The first three were within 5% of each other with mine being the lowest by 1%. YES! A
    good sign we had done our homework. The last was carefully cut open by the Purchasing Agent. She announced the bid as being about 20% ($50,000) less than the others. The representative from that integrator sat wide-eyed as his face turned white. Seems his team counted four rooms, not five as specified.

    • My personal worst….new meeting space in a freshly built country club was to have their grand opening with some 500 guests. I received a call from the techs onsite stating that they couldn’t get an image via VGA from the lecturn to the projector and requested help. I haul a$$ across town, show up with only minutes until the presentation is to begin and quickly determine the cable had broken conductors right at the DB15 connection. Standing in the middle of a vast expanse of brand new, expensive commercial carpeting, I proceed to open up the cable and solder a fix. Once done, I….ummm…..simply dropped the iron. Without a thought, I just dropped the f#@^ing iron! As I heat shrinked my repair, I smelled my mistake. The iron had melted all the way through to the concrete floor, leaving a hole about 1″ x 3″ in the new carpet. D’oh! Thankfully the GC and owner were super cool, saying that a golfer was bound to drop his cigar and do the same damage soon enough but, man was I ever embarrassed.

  2. I did some programming work for an integration company working on a project 46 stories above ground. The centerpiece of the company boardroom was to be a 16 foot diagonal piece of rear projection glass. In the weeks leading up to installation, folks started asking how the screen was going to be lifted into place.
    Blank stares were had by all.
    Long story short, the integration company had to pony up for an unscheduled crane lift into the existing building that shut down a city street for the day.

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