How to Make the Best of Your New AV Equipment
Audiovisual equipment is a significant investment, one that has multiple benefits. As such, taking proper care of your equipment is essential to prolonging its life and getting the most out of your investment. Most businesses leave their AV equipment as is until something goes wrong, and then they call the vendor or the manufacturer to fix or replace it. In these instances, not only does the business waste time while their equipment is out of service, but they end up spending more money on equipment they already bought, money that could have been spent on different AV equipment to make their work lives even easier. Of course, AV equipment won’t last forever. Every piece of equipment has a lifespan, and it will give out eventually. But that doesn’t mean you should just sit around and wait for it to happen. Below are ideas you can implement to ensure your equipment lasts as long as it possibly can:
Organize and Store Your Equipment Properly
Improper storage of audiovisual equipment can lead to damage and deterioration. It should come as no surprise that water and moisture in general have adverse effects on AV equipment. Moreover, drastic variations in temperature can encourage corrosion. For the best results, always ensure your equipment is stored in a dry, room-temperature place. Ideally, all equipment should be placed on racks or credenzas as an elevated surface protects the equipment from the floor’s temperature changes. There are so many racks to choose from. If you need a place to start, one of the best rack brands is Middle Atlantic from Legrand.
Any smaller, more delicate equipment may need to be stored individually. For example, microphones should be kept in water-tight containers when not in use to protect them from dust or moisture. Any cameras or lenses should be kept either in protector cases or camera bags. And don’t forget your cables. Cable covers can easily be damaged when bent or coiled too tightly. Be sure to wrap your cables properly and secure them with Velcro.
If your business has a lot of AV equipment, organization is just as important as storage when it comes to prolonging your equipment. Consider labelling all your equipment, complete with colour coding the equipment that belongs together. This will save the time of trying to figure out which cables go with which devices, not to mention the money spent replacing any lost items. When organizing your equipment, make sure everything has its own place and that everything is always returned to its proper place.
Keep Everything Clean
Like most things, AV equipment that is kept clean lasts longer. You should clean your audiovisual equipment regularly, not just when it looks dirty. In a previous post, I mentioned the iCloth, a cloth made specifically for audiovisual equipment, as a perfect solution to keeping your equipment clean. Make sure to clean your equipment at least once a week to avoid any dust build-up that might cause overheating or clogging. When you clean your equipment, make sure to clean every part of it, including the back side. Keeping the rear vent on displays clear of dust is crucial to maintaining a proper airflow.
Other than regular cleaning, another way to keep your equipment clean, especially in the context of the current pandemic, is to wash or sanitize your hands directly before and after you handle any of your equipment. Not only will this ensure that you are transferring as little germs as possible to your AV equipment, but it also saves your equipment from any dirt, oil, or Cheeto dust you had on your fingers, which ultimately will help prolong the life of your equipment by ensuring no components get clogged with filth.
Ensure Your Equipment Doesn’t Overheat
If AV equipment strongly overheats, it could cause damage to the internal components, resulting in a shorter lifespan for your equipment. Make sure to pay attention to the heat your equipment is producing. AV equipment is meant to be warm but seek expert help if you are ever worried about the level of heat being produced. That being said, most equipment should shut down if it starts to dangerously overheat, but you shouldn’t rely on this mechanism for two reasons. First, if your equipment does shut itself off because of overheating, there’s always a chance that an internal component is already damaged from the heat. Second, if your equipment malfunctions and doesn’t shut down despite being dangerously hot, you could potentially start a fire, which will put your other equipment—and more importantly your employees—at risk.
There are plenty of ways to prevent equipment overheating. To start, you’ll want to ensure that your equipment is kept in a well-ventilated area. If you require more ventilation, a ventilation fan is always a good idea. Another way to prevent overheating is to make sure your equipment has plenty of space around it. Do not stack any AV equipment on top of each other to save space; this only creates a hazard. Finally, keep all AV equipment as far away from any heat sources as possible to ensure your equipment isn’t being heated by an outside source.
Power Everything Down When Not in Use
As mentioned above, all AV equipment has a certain lifespan. Typically, this lifespan is measured in a certain number of hours. For example, on average, LED screens should last for about 40,000 to 60,000 hours according to Google. This means that a typical LED screen should last about 4.6 to 6.8 years of continuous use. But if you cut down the screen time by half, your screen should last twice as long! Therefore, by shutting down your equipment when it isn’t in use, you can effectively increase the number of years you use it.
Powering your equipment down doesn’t just make it last longer. It can also help your equipment perform better. The fact is, just like humans, AV equipment needs to rest occasionally in order to perform at its best. So, make a habit of turning it off whenever it isn’t in use.
Read the Manufacturer’s Manual
This may go without saying, but I also feel like most people don’t bother to read the manual unless something goes wrong. This is a common mistake. Manuals are a very useful tool for understanding how your equipment works and how to keep it in the best condition possible. When you get your new AV equipment, the first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with its manual. Is there a section that talks about how to prevent malfunctions? Read that section, and make sure to follow all the steps they recommend. Is there a section that goes over what to do if a malfunction occurs? Read that section before something goes wrong to make sure you’re fully prepared for such an event. Manufacturer’s manuals are there to ensure customers are fully knowledgeable about their new equipment, so it’s important to take full advantage of them.
Invest in Support
Unless you’re an audiovisual expert, it’s really difficult to fix any malfunctions yourself. That’s why one of the most important parts of any audiovisual installation is the after-installation support. Most audiovisual supply companies have some form of this technical support to ensure their customers remain satisfied with their equipment. For example, here at Matrix our one-year warranty on all installations offers our clients multiple options of free technical support from telephone troubleshooting to on-site services during the warranty period. We even offer options for support after the warranty period is over. Make sure to utilize whatever technical support is available to you if anything goes awry. Even if you’re past the warranty period, it’s always worth it to pay extra for support rather than attempt to fix anything yourself.
Perform Routine Checks on Your Equipment
After a couple of weeks to a month, you should be more comfortable with your equipment and how it works. Once you become more familiar with your equipment, make sure to perform regular checks on your equipment to ensure it continues to work in the way it should.
If you use your equipment every day, these checks can easily be done during these daily uses. Just be aware of how the equipment is working while you’re using it. Ask yourself questions during these checks. Is it powering on the way it should, or is it taking longer? Is the brightness of the screen or projector bright enough for everyone in the room to see the presentation? Are the speakers reaching every section of the room, or is the sound muted in some corners? Move around the room during these checks, so you can get an accurate understanding of where your equipment is excelling and where it isn’t. The most important part of taking care of your equipment is familiarizing yourself with how it should work, so that you can recognize any anomalies as they happen and fix them as soon as possible.
Our professional team carries the highest industry credentials, many years of experience, and well-established relationships with industry-leading suppliers. We are here to help you find the best audiovisual equipment and make technology simple to use. Contact us today to learn more about how to care for your AV equipment!