Neat-O: Big Trouble in Pop Star Kevin Jonas’ Home

The backend of the Savant system in the home of pop star Kevin Jonas was a mess until N.J.-based Intra Home Systems got involved.

Arlen Schweiger · October 8, 2013

Pop music and reality TV star Kevin Jonas loves using his New Jersey home’s Savant automation system, but it took a serious rescue effort from Garfield, N.J.-based Intra Home Systems to get there.

While the original installation in this 7,200-square-foot house looked OK on the surface, it hid some serious issues underneath. And with so many subsystems involved - home theater, distributed house-wide video, distributed audio, IC Realtime surveillance cameras, Honeywell security/alarm, Lutron lighting control and HVAC control - those issues were just waiting to be exposed.

When multiple aspects of the overall system began failing, Intra Home Systems was contacted. A trip downstairs to the equipment rack room gave Intra Home’s Steven D’Addone all the evidence he needed to see why the original system was unraveling. The wealth of gear required for all of the systems was stuffed into a half rack rather than comfortably (and more suitably) configured into a full-height equipment rack. The wiring was a mish-mash and woefully hemmed together, with poor and inadequate power supplies fueling the components. The security system wasn’t even plugged in, according to D’Addone.

“There’s no new equipment in here, so this never should have been in a half rack,” he says. “On top of that, there was a combination of custom-interconnected wire, prefab cables, Velcro, zip-ties, electrical tape, bubble gum … most of the Apple gear was literally dangling on a hammock of wire. There were Christmas tree extension cords plugged into strip outlets, plugged into power distribution centers with 1-by-3 splitters from Home Depot. In the original rack there was only a nine-outlet strip. Also, in those extension cords the hot water heater, the HVAC system and the lighting control were plugged in.”

It took D’Addone and his team about two weeks to first decipher the entire road map of where everything was connected and then re-design, re-wire and re-program the entire system, including subsystems that had already been installed but now needed to play nicely with the overhauled Savant setup and all of its control options — iPads, iPad minis, iPhones. They outfitted the new Middle Atlantic BGR rack and prettied it up right down to the custom screw covers that Intra Home likes to use.

D’Addone likes the integrated features of the BGR, such as its side shelving, so he can mount HDMI converters and smaller devices with wire and power management. Intra Home installed a battery backup unit and two full-height strips with 12 outlets apiece, plus two more Middle Atlantic power distribution units with nine outlets each. The strip outlets in the back of the rack have surge and IP control, and Middle Atlantic’s power management allows Intra Home to log in and remotely control individual outlets. Also, lacing bars aid the cable management, so only the minimal amount of wires and cables connected to the components remain in sight.



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  About the Author

Arlen Schweiger is managing editor of CE Pro, Commercial Integrator and Security Sales & Integration magazines. Arlen contributes installation features, business profiles, manufacturer news and product reviews. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Arlen at

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  Article Topics

News · Equipment Racks · Home Control & Automation · Installation · Middle Atlantic · Neat-O · All Topics
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