Does your tech only work when it wants - not when you need it? Many churches only upgrade their Audio and Video equipment when something stops working, so extending the life of the equipment is crucial to get the most value out of your gear. Here are a few tips for audio and video equipment maintenance to keep things running optimally:
Dust Dust will wreak havoc on A/V equipment if gone unaddressed and is one of the main reasons for equipment failure in churches, especially when it often only gets used once a week.
Cover It – Covering equipment that is powered off between uses is a great way to help reduce the amount of dust that will collect on and in equipment.
Clean it – Using compressed air to remove dust from vents and fans on equipment can help reduce the amount of dust collecting inside. Remember to power off and unplug the equipment and follow the instructions on the product. Do not turn the can of compress air upside down or it could spray out liquid that may damage the equipment.
Move it – Audio mixer knobs and faders that never move collect a lot of dust and can start to cause noise in the system. It is a good practice to regularly note the position of a knob or fader and then to turn it back and forth to both ends about 10 times before returning it to its original location. This will help to clean and lubricate your knobs and faders.
Spray it – After checking the manual for your equipment, you can purchase your manufacturer’s recommended Contact Cleaner and Fader Lube for a deeper clean of the mixer. Again, make sure to follow all instructions on these products.
Declutter the booth The A/V booth has a way of collecting junk that does not belong there, from candy wrappers and bulletins from years past to spare lighters for the acolytes. Keeping the tech area clean and organized can go a long way in respecting equipment that costs valuable ministry dollars.
Visual Inspection A couple of times a year it is a good idea to visually inspect any hanging speakers and wiring to make sure that they are still securely fastened and safe. You want to make sure that all brackets and safety cables are still securely fastened and that wiring is not frayed.
Don’t forget the accessories Remember not to simply focus on the main pieces of equipment but also inspect all microphones, cables, and direct-in (DI) boxes. It is a good idea to annually clean or replace the microphone grills.
Projector To get the most out of your projector, you want to regularly remove dust from it as well. Compressed air and a duster work great for this, along with a proper lens cleaning cloth or towelette for the glass lens. Check the projector for air filters, remove them, and clean them according to manufacturer instructions. Usually this is done by carefully blowing compressed air through the filter in the opposite direction of airflow during normal operation. Be careful not to flip the orientation of the filter before removing it so you don’t put it back together with the dust on the inside where it can be pulled into the projector. Over time, traditional projector bulbs start to dim and eventually burn out. If you notice the projector is not as bright as it once was, you consider replacing the bulb while you are servicing the projector. Remember to wear gloves during this process so that you do not get oil from your skin on the bulb or mirror. Reference the owner’s manual for instructions on replacing the bulb.
Camera Clean the camera lens regularly with a proper lens cleaner kit. Paper towel and even some fabrics that are not made for cleaning lenses will scratch them.
Cables Clearly mark cables that need repair – take the time to mark bad cables with tape and a marker. Put tape over the ends of the cable and mark what the problem is. Bad cables that don’t get marked frequently make their way back into use and cause more problems. If there is a bad cable that you do not have the ability to fix, dispose of it properly. There is no benefit from keeping bad cables around.
Power There are opposing thoughts among professionals on leaving equipment running or powering it off between uses. Whichever side your church is on, it is important to make sure that the equipment is getting the appropriate voltage to operate properly. You can purchase a plug-in voltage meter to monitor this, and your church can purchase a Power Conditioner if necessary. All equipment should be plugged in to surge protectors.
Professional Maintenance Consider hiring a professional to come in annually or as needed to go through the entire system and re-calibrate the equalization (EQ) on the main system.
Your ministry’s A/V resources are tools that can help you reach your physical and digital community in new and exciting ways. If you are looking to purchase new equipment or just want help making your system perform better, contact our Connectional Relations team to set up a free A/V consultation with our experienced A/V specialist.