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matt mcfetridge

Spark Room 55 install observations

We just got our first Spark room 55 unit (on wheels) and installed the unit yesterday by myself (took about 3 hours mostly fixing wiring lengths in cable snakes).


Aesthetically, the unit looks very nice. Height is taller and a more traditional height for a videoconferencing systems. The pallet and boxing the unit comes in, is much smaller and lighter than the MX300. The unit was easier to assemble as it uses some sort of magnet to brace to the floor stand. Wiring was another story...


The unit is very thin and compacted down compared to the older mx300. this means there is little to no space to store extra cabling in the unit like you could do with the 300. All of the cable ports face downward from about the mid back part of the back of the monitor. There is very LITTLE amount of space in the back for extra cabling. I had to rewire and do ultimately way too tight bend radii on the cables to make it all fit into the back. The cover is a suction piece that pops off too easily if you don't have the cables perfectly crammed in there (I was originally using the OEM cables that came with it).


The unit now comes with a directional HDMI cable that is the same length as the older one for the mx300. The jacked on it and internals is way more stiff and made it impossible to fit into back of the unit. Luckily I had the older style cable which is more more superior to the new directional cable (see image).


If it weren't for dealing with that HDMI cable and the lack of space in the back for excess cabling--it would have taken maybe 2 hours to install. Can't wait to see the wall mount version, but not super impressed with this unit so far. 7/10.





top cable is new directional HDMI terrible cabletop cable is new directional HDMI terrible cableIMG_2388.jpgIMG_2391.jpg


I understand the whole desire to want to keep the cabling nice and neat, not having a lot of loose cable lying around so you'd want to keep as much of it bundled up within the unit. However, I don't think the design of the cable compartment or cables provided can be to blame if the back panel fails to stay on because someone decides to try and hide more cable than the back panel can hold. If the length of the provided cables are too long, can always use third-party cables that are the length you want them to be that fits the size of the room.



I'm assuming you've never installed one of these systems before. The whole point of feedback is to try to fix these things before they get put into production. It seems like you want to make excuses instead of taking constructive criticism and taking it back to the telepres BU. My major reoccurring point with these things are that there are bad design choices that seem to be made by people that aren't testing these in the field and only make the products "appear"to be really nice aka form over function. It's like a typical apple response... "you're not doing it our way therefore you're doing it wrong".



Correct I haven't installed a one of these systems, my comments are just from observation of the pictures provided and comments you made. Also, I don't work for Cisco, I'm simply a customer just like you, and I never said what you did was wrong. All I was doing was pointing out that the back panel is most likely not wanting to stay on is because you're trying to fit so much of the cables into the small space, I noticed you have several loops of the HDMI cable and as well as the ethernet cable for the Touch 10 behind the back panel. All I can say is that Cisco can't determine the room sizes they're systems will be installed in, so they provide adequate cable lengths for most any scenario. If you want feedback to get to the TelePresence BU, you need to contact your Account Manger, they are the ones who can take your feedback to the product managers.

Is that piece sticking out near the bottom of the back panel, put there as a coiled-cable holder? Maybe that is where you are supposed to hang the excess cable length, uncoiling as needed for when you move the cart to a location where the power/data jacks aren't as close to the cart.

The hook at the lower back of the Spark Room 55 is for wheel base units to hang the Touch 10 and excess cables from so you can move the system around.  There is an image of this on step 8 of the Spark Room 55 Install Guide.

What's up with the HDMI cable diagram - does the cable really only work when attached in that one direction?

Hi Jeremy,


Yes its a directional HDMI cable (its labeled to say which end goes on which side). If you google redmere its similar in function where cable manufacturers do something on the cable like pulling voltage off one of the pairs to get it to run longer distances. I personally didn't like the cable and it reminded me of the extron pro series cables that are like firehoses. The older cables that came with MX300/MX800's were superior in my opinion....



My thoughts (and yes, I have installed both these and the MX300s before) were the same as @Patrick's.  Inside the back cover isn't designed to store masses of coiled up cable.  In all of our installations, we have the cable coiled up external to the unit.  This makes it much easier for the end user to get more or less cable depending on which room the unit is rolled in to.

Similar again to his response - if you want to provide feedback, then these community support forums which are mainly frequented by partners and customers, aren't necessarily the right channel.  You are best contacting you local Cisco Account Team who will be able to provide the feedback through the right internal Cisco channels back to the development teams.

Please remember to rate responses and to mark your question as answered if appropriate.

Hi Wayne,


Thanks for the response (Patrick also).  I'm only basing my opinions on experience of installing systems like these in appropriate sized rooms that a 55" screen would work in and the length of cables provided.


Generally a 55" screen is going into a small sized room 10-15' depth with a table of 5 seats approximately. I don't want to leave a cable bundle on the ground for ADA or other concerns that can cause issues or aesthetically look bad (Check on and show me a service loop in one of those super nicely designed rooms....


Either which way, the older unit provided tons of space to manage cables with excess lengths hidden on the endpoint and not at a table or some huge tail coming out. I'm sort of wondering if you guys are joking about the mobility feature of the MX300/Spark55's since yes they are on wheels, but really are designed to be moved around easily. A handle of something on the back would be helpful so the average user wasn't grabbing the unit and moving it by its screen and possible breaking it. not to mention the new plastic cable hook on the cable will break in probably 2 days of actually being moved if thats the case. I don't know maybe i'm wrong, maybe i'm too critical, but some of these ideas seem half baked by furniture designers in Trondheim and aren't field tested by real world customers or only work ona fjord...


thanks and happy turkeyday!



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