Moving Overhead Projection to Upstairs

After the Tuesday member meetup, I enlisted the help of new member, Greg P, to transport the motorized projection screen from the basement to the new upstairs space. So we’re half way there. Well not quite.

The place that people I’ve talked to have reached consensus on for the projection screen is basically in front of where the new member cubby shelves reside in the upstairs space (i.e. the interior wall adjacent to the interior shared hallway). Then the overhead projector could be mounted on the “crossbeam” that traverses the longest part of the interior space.

It’s a good plan. It just has two impediments we have to overcome.

The first is mounting the motorized projector screen, and in chatting with Jason Y, I think we converged on the idea that what makes the most sense is to hang it from chains anchored to the ceiling. Wendy M contributed a good idea to help stabilize the situation so it doesn’t swing would be to add two light (non-load-bearing) supports for the motorized bit to rest on, that could be anchored to the wall at an appropriate / safe height protruding out beyond the personal storage cubbies.

The second is getting non-switched electrical access to two locations. The first is in the vicinity of the motorized control for the projection screen. The second is in the vicinity of where the projector will be mounted. The overhead lighting is plugged into outlets on the ceiling which would be pretty ideal were it not for the fact that those outlets are switched (i.e. to turn the lights on and off), which is in opposition to the projector being on with the lights off. So we need to address getting power where it needs to be (and, ideally, to do so in a way that is not a hideous eyesore) for the projection system.

Turns out I took the act first, think later approach here, but at least it’s forward momentum, and puts us in a position to do something we are collectively quite good at: solving problems. So lets solve this one. Who’s with me? Any volunteers to help overcome some facet of what I’ve described above?

the outlet boxes overhead have two switched outlets (used for lights) and two always-on outlets (currently unused) - so projector and/or screen can be plugged in up top

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That’s great, thanks for the info @Elliot_Wells. The closest outlet for the projection screen motor plug is on the ground under the cubbies. We’ll probably want to run an extension cable up a track to where the notional stabilization supports will be to make that extension more aesthetic. Agree?

The only alternative approach would be to add a first class outlet up above the cubbies in the same general area, but that would probably require an electrician to intervene…

Yes and yes.

It’s worth passing along that technically we can’t use non-fused extension cords for anything but very temporary solutions. (The thinking is that an extension cord which is pinched or covered can generate heat while not creating enough load to trip a circuit breaker and become a fire hazard if left unattended). I THINK cords with over-current protection are okay but not sure.

Probably fine to prototype with extension cords, but we should plan to hard-wire in a cord of the appropriate length once everything is in place.

Not clear how cutting off part of an extension cord and permanently wiring it in is better than just plugging into one - but it becomes a different class of device which isn’t prohibited.

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May I be permitted to buy lengths of chain and anchors to hang the projection screen, e.g. from Lowes, then submit for reimbursement.

If it’s less than $50 no problem

We did it \(^O^)/!

Well almost… there are still a handful of TODOs on this project.

  1. The projector is mounted slightly askew (points a bit to the right) and could stand to be pitched slightly down toward the floor. (a) There’s a slot in the right side of the mounting plate for adjustment, but unfortunately the channel is in not oriented in a way that we can make the adjustment. So either the slot needs to be re-cut or modified to allow that. (b) I think a shim in the front of the projector and an adjustment of the mounting screw lengths would do the trick on the pitch. In both cases some tweaking in-situ is required.
     Requirements / Tools
      - Dremmel?
      - Screw driver / Hex driver
      - Scrap wood for a shim
      - Ladder
  1. The electrical is still ad-hoc. We need to obtain or acquire a couple of longish extension cords to complete this job. (a) One we will have to re-wire to the retraction / extension mechanism being careful to copy the existing wiring junctions down before taking it apart so that we can replicate it. That extension cord can run up the chain on the left side, then along the ceiling, and plug into the of the strip lighting. Electrical tape should be used to wrap re-wired electric and to improve aesthetics and safety of the motor up/down control cable which is quite deteriorated. (b) The other one will have to go from the mounted projector straight up to the ceiling and then down along the ceiling to one of the two outlets and plugged into one of the non-switched outlets.
     Requirements / Tools
      - 25 foot NEMA extension cable (for projector)
      - 12 foot NEMA etension cable (for motorized screen)
      - Electrical tape 
      - Ladder
      - Wire ties or electrical conduit
  1. The screen motor control dangles in space next to the screen presently. It would be nice if we had a wall mounted cradle for it to be seated in when not in use so that it’s out of the way.
     Requirements / Tools
      - 3D modeling and printing skills
      - Creativity
      - Anchor hardware to mount it on the wall

Progress update. Thanks to @jongsanders and others for taking care of Item #1 above! The projector is projecting a nice orthographic picture onto the screen. As a bonus, Jon also noticed the chains hanging the projector were linked to the screen sub-optimally, and took some time out to re-hang it properly so that the screen doesn’t catch during rolling / unrolling.Thanks!