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Equipment Maintenance, Replacement Schedules

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Jake Abramson
Equipment Maintenance, Replacement Schedules
on Nov 21, 2008 at 5:55:02 am

I'm trying to come up with a general Maintenance and 3 year and 5 year equipment replacement schedule. I'm curious to know what type of life expectancy you put on various equipment. I run a medium use full production studio with a few productions a week. I also have several field cameras/equipment that get used several times per week, and in dusty conditions (Phoenix Area)

This is what I've come up with:

No piece of studio equipment will be in operation more than 5 years. Any piece of equipment with a computer as a component will be replaced every 3 years. UPS batteries every 3 years. Decks will have general maintenance every 6 months with a major maintenance/overhaul if necessary every 18 months. Cameras will go in for service, pixel remapping every 12-18 months. Lenses will go in for general service every 18 months. Studio equipment includes decks, monitors, routers, switcher, CG system, cameras, CCUs, UPSes, Teleprompters and Controllers, Studio Monitors, Speakers, Mixers, Wired and Wireless Audio, Patch Panels, Intercom, etc.

No piece of Master Control equipment will be in service more than 5 years. Any piece of equipment with a computer as a component will be replaced every 3 years. Decks will have the same service/replacement schedule as above. Master Control Equipment includes servers, drive arrays, Decks, Routers, Monitors, Speakers, Mixers, etc.

No piece of field equipment will be in operation more than 3 years. Cameras will have general maintenance every 6 months with a major maintenance/overhaul if necessary every 12 months (including pixel remapping). Tripods will go in for service every 12 months. Field Equipment consists of Cameras, Tripods, Wired and Wireless Audio, Monitors, mixers, etc.

No piece of edit systems will be in operation for more than 3 years. Systems will be software upgraded annually. Hardware upgrades will be determined on a year-to-year basis with full replacement every 3 years. Decks will follow the same maintain/replace schedule as the studio decks. Edit systems consist of Computers, Decks, Monitors, Audio mixers, etc.

Any suggestions are helpful


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Bob Zelin
Re: Equipment Maintenance, Replacement Schedules
on Nov 22, 2008 at 5:35:14 pm

you have way too much time on your hands. I am in the equipment maintenance business, and have been doing this independently since 1982. My background from old post facilities was to do regular maintenance on equipment, with a schedule like you are suggesting. Always clean the VTR heads, align the audio for unity, etc. (this is late 1970's). In 1983 I was hired by Entertainment Tonight in NY to do emergency maintenance for them. They had Sony BVU-800 3/4" VTR's at the time. "How often do you have these cleaned" I innocently asked. "Cleaned - what do you mean - no one has ever touched these decks" - this is a year after they opened. Since that time, I have realized that right or wrong, NO ONE wants to maintain equipment, no one wants to replace equipment until it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. This is everyone from the smallest one man company to current TV stations, and Cable networks. No one "obsoletes" equipment, just because 3 years has past by.

With that said, modern gear - particularly computer based gear - lasts about 3 years. Most drive arrays die after 5 years, and it's impossible to get replacement parts for them, and since technology changes so quickly, and things get cheaper (think SCSI vs. SATA) - that people just "give up", throw out the old clunker (that they paid thousands for), and replace it with the newer, cheaper, better faster equipment. When does this happen - usually when the old gear dies, or is no longer compatible with the new equipment that is on the market. This is anything from simple plug in's for Adobe products (that don't work with old Adobe software), to SD gear that is no longer compatible with new HD gear.

SO, how much is that $25,000 BVM CRT monitor worth ? How much is that $80,000 Sony DVR-20 D2 VTR worth ?

If you are working for a company that wants to justify modern computer equipment for longer than 5 years - well, they are on drugs and have no clue as to what happens in modern society today. Today, school systems no longer want dontations of $80,000 AVID ABVB Meridian systems, since they can't ingest simple Firewire or HDMI cameras that students may own.

THROW IT OUT, and go back to work.

Bob Zelin




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