Exercise Room TV with Sonos Playbar

Feb 2nd, 2018No Comments

When Gary and Christine moved into their new home they wanted a TV mounted in the centre of their exercise room they wanted a TV mounted above their Suntan Bed which could swivel a full 180° degrees so they could watch it while running on the treadmill, working out on the Universal Gym or view the TV while sitting in the Sauna. 

Mounting the TV was the first challenge but Gary’s  second request was also complicated.  “I don’t want speakers in the ceiling”  Gary told Doyle from Ion Smart Security.  “I want a soundbar on the TV with the ability to focus and concentrate sound in the direction the TV is pointed”  “Lastly I want the wiring to be clean”

IMG_6420With years of commercial audio and video experience Doyle decided the best way to meet the clients design criteria was to mount the TV in the exercise room using a ceiling mount rather than a full motion wall mounts.  “Wall mounts only allow about 130° degrees of motion so they wouldn’t work for this application”. The ceiling mount needed to be modified to work with the tight confines of the space above the ceiling tile.  “In commercial applications we usually have a lot more space above the ceiling to work with but in this case we had less than nine inches above the ceiling tile and to make matters worse we had to work around heating vents and water pipes.” 

IMG_6436After figuring out how to mount the TV the next step was a method to mount the Sonos Playbar.  Doyle modified a traditional Sonos wall mount to work with a special Soundbar bracket.  The modified soundbar mount attached to the back of the TV and mounted the Sonos Playbar tightly and securely to the bottom of the TV.  In addition to the Sonos Playbar a Sons Sub was placed in the corner of the gym and paired to with the Sonos Playbar.  With the speakers installed the next step was to Tune the Room with Sonos’ “TruePlay” Speaker Calibration.  Once the calibration was complete the system sounded phenomenal.  The sound was crisp and clean with super tight bass … not a easy feat in a room filled with potential echo’s and standing waves. 

IMG_6426With the TV mounted, the Playbar installed Doyle Turned his attention to wiring up the Shaw cable box and cleaning up the wiring.  The Shaw cable box was mounted behind the TV hidden from view but still in remote control range.  The power and video cables were covered with split loom tubing and neatly wrapped to provide a clean look from all angles.

With the install complete it was time for Gary and Chris to give the new TV and Playbar a workout.  With Gary on the weights and Chris running on the treadmill the volume from the Sonos Playbar was not only loud enough to overcome the ambient noise in the room but sounded fantastic.  After their workout it was time to hit the sauna.  The TV was able to turn enough to allow a “Straight On View” while sitting in the sauna and the direction sound of the Sonos Playbar mounted below the TV was terrific.  “Overall we’re very happy with the install Doyle did … I’m a pretty handy guy but this is something I couldn’t have done myself”.

If you would like more information on TV Mounting, Sonos, Security Systems and Home Automation give call (780) 489-5522 or https://www.ionsecuritysystems.com
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New Wireless Flood & Freeze Sensor

Mar 27th, 2017No Comments

Water damage is among the most costly insurance claims and more common than you think.   A small water leak from your washing machine, dishwasher, sink, air conditioner or sink can create thousands of dollars of damage.

Early detection is the key to minimizing and preventing costly water damage from occurring and the new REx18 Trident Water & Temperature Sensor is a great way to monitor your home for leaks and low temperature conditions.

This new Water Sensor is completely wireless and fully self contained.  The triangular puck design is incorporates the water probe, temperature sensor, transmitter and battery all in one unit.

Previous water sensors were sometimes difficult or awkward to install but the new Trident Sensor is easy to deploy, attractive and can be installed in more places where conventional wired or tethered water sensor probes just won’t work.  The REx18 Trident Sensor can be wall mounted or just placed on the floor near the area you wish to monitor.

Traditional water sensors will continue to be used in concealed places like sump pumps but the New Trident Sensor is attractive enough to be used out in the open and looks great beside or underneath, Sinks, Toilets, Bathtubs, Refrigerators, Dishwashers, Washing Machines and Water Heaters.

Protect your home from costly water damage today by adding one or more Trident Water Sensors to your Ion Smart Home Security System.

To find out more about the new REx18 Trident Water Sensor call or visit Ion Security  780-489-5522.

 

Lutron Smart Connected Lighting Solves Problems

Jan 21st, 2017No Comments

 

When building a new home or renovating and existing home sometimes the location of the light switches doesn’t work well or efficiently and changes need to be made.  Moving hard wired light switches can be costly but sometimes using wireless Smart Light Switches like Lutron’s Caseta and Radio Ra can solve the problems economically without the expense of ripping open walls and costly re-wiring.

We recently met a home owner who wanted to automate their kitchen cabinet lights and outdoor lights along with adding a three way switch for the garage interior lights.

img_5152The kitchen lights were wired to a single gang double switch along with two other light switches into a 3 gang box.  The outside lights were wired as a traditional 3-way hardwire configuration and the garage lights were wired on a single gang on/off switch.  The home was brand new and the basement was finished so re-wiring the hard wired switches was not an option.

Doyle from Ion Security was hired and tasked with the plan of Automating the Kitchen and Exterior Lights and making the garage lights work on 3-way switch.  No additional wiring was to be added and all the all the new switches had to fit into the existing wall boxes.

img_5179Using Lutron Caseta Smart Light Switches along with an Ion Smart Home Control Panel, Doyle was able to configure the kitchen lighting to provide Smart Lighting Control to the kitchen under cabinet lights.  Some minor rewiring and the installation of a Lutron Caseta Smart Hub Pro, Light Module and Pico controller enabled the home owner to control the under cabinet lighting with the wall mounted switch in addition to having the lights automatically turn on and off on a schedule as well as be activated by a motion sensor through the Ion Smart Home Alarm System.

The next job was to automate the outside lights.  Once again replacing the existing 3-way switch with a Lutron Smart Switch and Pico allowed Doyle to integrate the outside lights into the alarm system and then automate them to work with schedules, rules and even turn on automatically if the security system is triggered.

The last problem to tackle was the installation of a 3-way switch to control the garage lighting where no 3-way switch or 3-way wiring existed.  Using a Lutron Caseta Smart Switch and 4 Button Pico Controller.  Ion was able to convert the existing single pole switch into a 3-way switch and thanks to the 4 button Pico controller both the outside lights (also a 3 way) and the inside garage lights were able to be controlled by a single 4 button switch inside a single gang junction box.

img_5162Once all the Lutron Smart Switches were installed they were PAIRED with the Alarm System and automation rules and schedules were set up to allow the home owner to automate their lights and save energy costs.

With the Ion Smart Home Alarm system the kitchen lights turn on automatically in the morning when the motion sensor is activated and then turn off automatically once the sun comes up.  The outside lights turn on at sunset and off at dusk and the Garage Lights and Kitchen lights automatically turn on when the home owner approaches the home or when the garage door is opened.  The Ion Smart Home Alarm panel knows when it is daylight or night and also knows when the home is occupied or empty and adjusts the lights and schedules to maximize energy savings. One additional feature of the integrated Smart Lighting is the ability for the Alarm System to Turn ON the lights in the event of a Fire or Burglar Alarm.

Smart Lighting and Home Automation can be complicated and confusing.  If you would like more information on affordable, hassle free Home Automation and Smart Lighting that just works, give Ion Security a call 780-489-5522.

SimpliSafe DIY Home Security System – ‘Inherently Insecure and Vulnerable’ to Hacking

Mar 7th, 2016No Comments


SimpliSafeAnother popular DIY Home Security system, ‘SimpliSafe’ was successfully hacked on February 17th, 2016 by Andrew Zonenberg of IOActive.com.

According to Zonenberg there is a “critical” security vulnerability with the ‘Simply Safe’ System which makes it ‘Inherently Insecure’ and Prone to Hacking.

‘Simply Safe” is marketed as a low cost, no contract DIY security system with endorsements by consumer advocate Dave Ramsay and numerous five star media reviews including Good Housekeeping, Fortune, New York Post, Boston Globe and Tech Crunch just to name a few.  Prices for the base SimpliSafe system start around $200 dollars with monthly monitoring between $15 and $25 dollars (USD).

yard_sign_271_256Zonenberg revealed the details of the SimpliSafe’  hack on the IOActive blog stating “Consumers of this product need to know the product is inherently insecure and vulnerable to even a low-level attacker.  This simple vulnerability is particularly alarming because; 1) it exists within a “security product” that is trusted to secure over a million homes; 2) it enables an attacker to completely own the system (i.e., disable it, change PIN codes, etc.), and; 3) many unsuspecting consumers prominently display window and yards signs promoting their use of this system…essentially self-identifying their home as a viable target for an attacker.”

SimpliSafe responded to the hack announcement on their blog February 19, 2016 stating “The hack described is sophisticated and highly unlikely”.

SimpliSafe went on to recommend users Change their PIN Code regularly, monitor notifications for unexpected activity, take note of any suspicious person near their home and upgrade to an interactive plan and use remote access for arming and disarming their alarm system.

No security system is infallible but the SimpliSafe hack is just the latest glitch in the DIY Security and Home Automation market. 

Consumers need to be aware that not all DIY Security and Home Automation Solutions are secure and just because a system is being sold on-line or at their local hardware or electronics store doesn’t mean that system is safe and not vulnerable to hacking or exploits. 

Sources:

IOActive Blog

SimpliSafe Blog

BlackHawk Golf Club … Sonos & Golf a Perfect Fit

Dec 25th, 2013No Comments

CIMG5424

When BlackHawk Golf Club approached Ion Security to do an AV upgrade to their Club house as part of their 10 year anniversary renovation it was clear that a conventional wired solution was not going to work and some out of the box thinking would be required.

SONOS_overviewYou usually don’t hear the word Sonos and commercial audio system in the same sentence.  Sonos is a popular streaming music system normally used for residential whole house applications but with a little outside the box thinking integrator Doyle Serink of Ion Security has successfully installed Sonos Music Systems in various commercial establishments from restaurants, offices, warehouses and now a golf course.

What I like most about Sonos says Doyle, is the simple, straightforward interface for our customers.  Often commercial AV systems can be complicated and difficult to use but with Sonos the customer just gets it and almost immediately knows how to operate the system with very little training.  Sonos systems are also extremely flexible allowing us to install music in places where a wired system would be impossible or very costly to install.

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Old AV Equipment

Two different integration companies had previously installed the audio and video components at Blackhawk over the years.  The AV company that did the initial install provided a basic 70V audio system with paging and years later during an expansion reno a second AV company added some HDTVs to the lounge and mens locker room.  The existing system was a complete nightmare with many zones in the audio system not working properly and nobody on the staff really understanding how to work the system.

The main goals of the AV renovation was to get all zones of music working again and improve the outdoor microphone paging.  The audio system in the banquet room also needed to be improved but that would be a separate project.

The audio system for the Club House would be getting a complete facelift and five new Flat Screen HDTVs would also be added to the lounge.

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Existing Wiring Mess

The TV and video side of the project was pretty straight forward however the audio system quickly became a challenge.  The main wiring for the AV system was centralized in the lounge however the Clubhouse was renovated and expanded a couple of times and there was no way to run wiring between some of the new and original portions of the building.  The ceilings  were drywall, vaulted in some areas and the roof lines between different sections of the building didn’t line up.  Going underground wasn’t an option either because the basement was a parking garage for the golf carts and only extended underneath a portion of the building and not the entire structure. There was no way we were going to get wiring to some parts of  the building.

In addition to the wiring challenges Doyle discovered that the existing audio system consisted of a mixture of 70 volt and 8 ohm speakers in various zones.  Normally large commercial sound systems are all 70 volt however at BlackHawk it appears the two previous AV companies really mixed things up.

Doyle and the Ion team went to work redesigning the AV system from the ground up.  In preparation for the new back bar millwork the existing AV equipment was removed and the current system was stripped down to the bare wiring.

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New AV Equipment Rack with 8 Sonos Components double stacked on bottom

With the bare wiring exposed Doyle set out to design a new AV system which would take advantage of the existing Hardwired zones and then creatively use SONOS components to bring music wirelessly to the zones which couldn’t be hardwired.

12 Independent zones of audio were needed including the restaurant, lounge, banquet room, locker rooms, hallway, washroom, pro shop, patio deck, kitchen, outside tee box and driving range.  The restaurant speakers were 8 ohms allowing a Sonos Amp to be connected directly to them without modification however the remaining speaker zones were all 70 volt speakers.  Sonos components are normally not designed for commercial 70 volt installations so Doyle used 70 Volt output transformers to convert the Sonos Amps from 8 ohm to 70 Volt output and added Sonos Connects to the 70 Volt amplifiers in the hardwired zones.

Audio sources included two microphones, 1 from the proshop and 1 in the banquet room, two satellite audio feeds, a laptop and ipod feed for a total of six audio sources.  While some sources could be hardwired to the AV system others were located in different rooms or areas of the clubhouse and needed to be connected and streamed wirelessly.  Sonos Connect units were used to enable some source components to be  connected wirelessly back to the main AV system and other zones.

CIMG5337With the AV system fully installed the next step was to show the staff how to operate new system.  The old system was complicated and difficult to operate requiring staff to flip several source switches and adjust numerous volume controls for each zone of music.  The old system also limited all zones to only two sources of music.

The new Sonos hybrid system was controlled entirely by two dedicated Sonos handheld controllers.  The new system allowed users to select music or audio sources for each zone directly on the handheld controller and assign or group zones together to play the same music on all zones if desired.  The staff and ownership was delighted with the ease of use and touch screen control of the Sonos system …. no more flipping switches.

This was the first time we used a Sonos Amp with a microphone connected for paging commented Ion Integrator Doyle Serink.  I wasn’t sure if the Sonos amplifier had enough headroom to handle the dynamic range of a live microphone but surprisingly it did.  It was a little tricky to balance the Sonos Amp and microphone gain but once it was set the sound quality was excellent and there was no audible amplifier clipping.

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While Sonos is primarily used in home audio applications there are many commercial projects where Sonos can be an ideal fit,  Sonos wireless architecture allows you to affordably install sound in rooms which otherwise may be cost prohibitive and with a little creative out of the box thinking Sonos can be a creative solution to many audio obstacles.

If you would like to know more about Sonos audio systems for your home or business or have a Sonos system which is not working properly and require assistance give Doyle at Ion Security a call 780-489-5522

 

 

 

At First Glance …. Wall Mounting a Flat Screen TV seemed like a simple and easy job

Aug 25th, 2013No Comments

IMG_1911When Sarah Miller moved into her new condo she called her dad over to help her mount  her new Samsung 60” Flat Screen TV.  At first glance hanging the TV seemed like a simple and easy procedure but as Sarah and her father soon discovered mounting a TV on the wall can be a lot more complicated than originally thought.

The first problem Sarah’s dad discovered was there was no backing behind the drywall where the TV was to be hung.  To make matters worse, due to the stairway, the studs were not spaced on 16, 19 or 24 inch centers but rather spaced differently between each of the three studs he found.  Where the TV was to be located there was only a single stud for backing which was off center and certainly would not hold the weight of the TV by itself.

After determining the studs weren’t in the right place Sarah and her dad opened the TV mount box only to find out it required extensive assembly and and seemed rather large and way too deep.  Using this bracket to hang the ultra thin flat panel,  would result in the TV protruding more than more than 3 inches from the wall … This can’t be right?

So far things weren’t looking so good for mounting Sarah’s new TV when Mr. Miller discovered a third problem.  The builder had installed the electrical outlet on the wall approximately where the TV was going to be mounted and also installed a cable outlet at the same location.  This would be suitable in the 1960?s, 70?s and 80?s when a single coax simply plugged into the back of the TV.  In today’s hi tech world of HDTV, cable boxes, bluray players and game consoles several cables including HDMI and Component Video are required to be connected to the back of the TV not just a single coax cable plug.  Sarah had purchased a stereo equipment cabinet to sit below the TV and house her Telus TV box, bluray player, and X-Box and Wii game consoles.  The builder did not provide any junction boxes or wiring ducts to enable the HDTV wiring to be fished up the wall from behind the stereo cabinet to the back of the TV.  Three strikes you’re out thought Sarah and her dad … time to call a professional.

Sarah asked her friend Allison who installed her TV and she said Doyle from Ion Security and Integration.  Sarah liked the way Doyle had mounted Allison’s TV, all the wires were concealed in the wall and the cable management was neatly done so she gave Doyle a call and booked an installation.

Steps to mount the TV:

The first step to mounting a TV is to determine the location where the TV is to be hung and then obtain the measurements of the TV and bracket to determine where on the wall the TV bracket needs to be located.

After looking at the TV mount the big box retailer sold Sarah with her TV purchase, Doyle pointed out the problems with the TV mount, especially the large distance from the wall the TV would protrude and suggested to Sarah to return the TV bracket back to the store for a refund and Doyle would provide a better, thinner more attractive ION TV mount for essentially the same cost.

Doyle marked out the locations of the studs on the wall, or in this case lack of studs or backing.  Without studs to screw the TV onto,  special drywall anchors are used to mount the bracket to the wall securely.  Doyle laid out the markings for the TV mount and screw holes but before attaching the bracket to the wall he first had to deal with the problem with the cable outlet and the need to move it closer to the baseboard.

Doyle removed the existing cable outlet cover and drilled and installed a new cable outlet box directly below the one provided by the builder.  Because the cable was coming from the basement it was easy to re-route the cable to the new outlet location and then cap off the old outlet.

With the new cable outlet installed and tested it was time to mount the TV bracket to the wall.  Once the TV wall mount was in place the next step was to cut out and install junction boxes to provide in wall access for 2 HDMI Cables, 1 Component Video Cable, and 1 Audio Cable.  These cables are necessary to connect the new cable box, bluray player and gaming console to the wall mounted flat screen.

Once all the cables were fished up through the wall Doyle placed the 60 inch Samsung TV onto the newly installed wall mount and connected and neatly organized all the wires.

With the TV mounted the next step was to connect all the equipment and components, then program the TV and calibrate the color.

Most TVs right out of the box have the brightness, contrast and color settings way too high.  While this looks good in the store, once you get the TV home and set it up the over saturation of color and high contrast result in a picture that looks artificial and anything but normal.  Doyle uses a special color calibrator measuring tool and program to adjust the TV picture to obtain the highest resolution and clarity with vivid detail and true lifelike color.

The end result was another successful TV installation.  Sarah’s dad showed up just as Doyle was leaving, we’ll what do you think Mr. Miller? asked Doyle.  Looks good he replied, looking over the TV from each side and then behind the stereo cabinet, you did a much nicer job then we would have been able to do, I like how you concealed all the cables,  it’s very clean and neat.

If you need a flat panel LED, LCD or Plasma TV installed give Doyle a call at Ion Security and Integration780-489-5522 or email info@ionsecuritysystems.com

Click on an image below to view the slide show to see all the steps required to wall mount the 60 inch HDTV with concealed wiring.

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