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post #91 of 211 Old 05-02-2011, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Now that it's spring it seems like there are many other things competing for my time but I'm still hoping to make some progress throughout the spring/summer....there should be plenty of rainy days. Speaking of rainy days, like most of the country, we have been hammered this April by rain and storms. This was a great test of the crack repair and I'm happy to say that the basement has remained dry as a bone

I finished installing and wiring all the lights in the gym this weekend. I still haven't connected to sub panel but that will be done sometime this week. As you will see I did NOT find it easy wiring 3 dimmers in a 3 gang box with 12-2 wire!! Live and learn I guess.

The last 4 cans installed for the aerobics area


All the wires pulled (3 zones and power feed)





The plan was that this box was going to have 3 dimmers on the same circuit controlling 3 zones of light using 12-2 wire. It was at this point I starting thinking "htf am I going to be able to make this work???" The dimmers are bulky and I was already running out of room before even installing the first one. Nonetheless I plowed forward and wired everything up and, of course as I expected, there was no way in hell the dimmers were going to fit in that small box. I tried and tried but there was just no way.


So, I undid everything and ripped out the box. I made a trip to the store and picked up a deeper 3 gang box. I needed some wire clamps for the sub panel anyway and some new workshop light halogens so it wasn't a wasted trip. First time in a while getting out of the store under $20!!

Getting all the wires in the deep box was still challenging but thankfully there was enough space to work with. Here is the resulting ratt's nest



It looks much better with everything installed


Another thing I learned that I didn't plan for is that the capacity of the dimmers is diminished if you remove the tabs on one or both sides. I originally had planned for them to be in a specific order but that idea went out the window because the one I wanted in the middle (with tabs removed on both sides) wasn't going to support enough wattage for the lights on that zone. The 1000W dimmer is diminished to only 650W when both sides are removed and to 800W when one side is removed. I don't have any zone that will run 800W or more so I was able to make due with the 3 gang box. The aerobics room will only use about 300W so I put that dimmer in the middle and kept the weight room and cardio equipment room dimmers on the outside. This wasn't a big deal but if I had to do it over I would've scrapped the 3 gang box and put each on in it's own box.

Now it will be interesting to see if everything works! To be continued....

Thanks for following along!
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post #92 of 211 Old 05-02-2011, 10:26 AM
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I'm not an electrician, but my brother-in-law has been helping me out with some wiring projects. When he does the wiring in a box like that, he's shown me a few tricks/guidelines. First thing is that you have a LOT of the outer sheath in there. That should be taken back pretty close to the clamp (inside the box). He strips with a utility knife to slit down the middle, then cuts off the jacket/paper with dykes.

Second, is that he usually trims back the wires to "hand width". Basically, Grab the wires in your fist, up against the wall surface, and trim back to where the re-emerge from your hand.

Just guidelines, but it seems to make the process go more smoothly in my experience.

One more thing - take note that some dimmers use more traditional screw terminals (like a standard switch) instead of the pigtails like yours have. This will buy you a little more box space as well.
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post #93 of 211 Old 05-02-2011, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the good advice travisd. You know when I opened the dimmers and saw I needed to use wire nuts I was like "ugh that is going to take up even more space!". I don't think I had a chance with the smaller box no matter what I did. I'm going to start with the deep boxes from now on for multi-gang installations just to make my life easier. I used 6" lengths for all pigtails and wire slack inside box since I think that's what NEC calls for but then I realized they state that is the length from where the cable enters the box and I measured from where it exited the box so I could've cut them down to give me some more room for sure!
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post #94 of 211 Old 05-05-2011, 08:15 AM
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Looking good my friend!

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #95 of 211 Old 05-06-2011, 03:09 AM - Thread Starter
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post #96 of 211 Old 05-16-2011, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Made a little more progress over the weekend. I began ripping out the existing light sockets and pulling the old wire. I replaced the light socket at the bottom of the stairs with a can light and added 2 more can lights that wrap around the hallway leading to the gym. These are the only lights that will be controlled from the existing circuit. Everything else will come off the sub-panel. I also installed a dimmer for the 3 new hallway can lights. (Sorry for the pic quality this time around, my camera went missing so I had to use my T-Bolt phone for the pics this time)

Standing at bottom of stairs looking down hallway leading to gym



This is the third light after turning the corner in the hallway



Also replaced the old smoke alarm with a new CO/Smoke combo alarm and moved it to a more suitable location centered over the bottom of the stairs. I gave it a test to make sure the hard wire worked with the rest of the alarms in the house and everything worked well.



A month or so ago I noticed that some of the joists in the theater/game dipped a bit when compared to the others. I am going to hang some lines and see where I need to shave off some wood to level up the joists to help minimize waves in the finished ceiling. And I got to buy a new tool for this.

Here is the room with the problem:



And here is the new tool I got to buy:






So up next will be to rip out the remaining old light sockets/wire, rewire the workshop by adding some lights and moving a switch and outlet, install outlets in the gym and level up the joists in the theater/game room. I am in "payoff" mode right now (the lighting,wire, bulbs etc.. was a big purchase) so I'm trying to limit what I do to the materials I already have.
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post #97 of 211 Old 05-16-2011, 10:05 AM
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Barlav,

A belt sander works well for the wider boards, and a simple planner works for 2x4s on edge.

Don't forget about the nailers for the awkward areas drywall will need screws.

Looking good!

Robert
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post #98 of 211 Old 05-16-2011, 10:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer
Barlav,

A belt sander works well for the wider boards, and a simple planner works for 2x4s on edge.

Don't forget about the nailers for the awkward areas drywall will need screws.

Looking good!

Robert
Doh! Missed the ryobi planner......
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post #99 of 211 Old 05-16-2011, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer
Barlav,

A belt sander works well for the wider boards, and a simple planner works for 2x4s on edge.

Don't forget about the nailers for the awkward areas drywall will need screws.

Looking good!

Robert
Doh! Missed the ryobi planner....
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post #100 of 211 Old 05-16-2011, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post

Barlav,

A belt sander works well for the wider boards, and a simple planner works for 2x4s on edge.

Don't forget about the nailers for the awkward areas drywall will need screws.

Looking good!

Robert

Thanks Robert! I am planning on making a pass through before drywall and making sure I have nailers up for all of those areas. I already see quite a few that I need to address.
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post #101 of 211 Old 05-29-2011, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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While I haven't had any time to move forward in the basement the last couple of weeks I have been researching what I am going to do for the touch screen jukeboxes that I will have in the gym and theater room. I was originally going to have 2 separate computers hooked to 2 separate digital receivers controlling 2 different sets of speakers in each room via 2 fixed touchscreen monitors. Instead I think I am going to keep it simple and use 1 computer, 1 receiver and 4 speakers (2 in each room). I will have one music collection on a network drive so I can access from other areas as well.

I have a decent size music collection and come to find out it is a mess. I am currently going through it and cleaning it up and making sure all the files are tagged correctly with artist, track name and cover art so it will work well with the jukebox software.

Here is a screen shot of the software I am going to use for the jukebox. It is designed specifically for a touchscreen implementation. I have gotten familiar with it and, except for some minor bugs, I am quite pleased with it.


I can put the software in "party" mode and when I am entertaining all the guests have to do is search for their music and add it to the queue just like a real jukebox. It is quite slick!

My original idea was to have permanent touchscreens in each jukebox location but then I thought outside the box for a minute and came up with an even better idea. I am going to use an iPad2 as the interface for the jukebox. I will remotely control the music server with the iPad2. I will add wall mounts for it in each location that has the speakers so this will be the best of both worlds. I can keep it fixed or yank it off the wall and have wireless access to the music from anywhere and use the iPad2 for other things when not using the jukeboxes. This will work out great since I will be able to use it out on the deck too where I also have 2 outdoor speakers that will be connected to the music collection. And this finally gives me the reason I've been looking for to buy an iPad2!

I still may run wires to the jukebox's speaker locations in case I decide to also put in a fixed touchscreen at some point. I have borrowed a friend's iPad2 to test out the remote connectivity of the jukebox and it works great! It is slower than using a monitor connected directly to the server but it works just fine and having the wireless access adds the cool factor I was looking for.

My iPad2 arrives 06/14. Hopefully by then I will have the music collection in good shape and the server up and running. First test of the jukebox will be in July where I'm hosting a summer deck party. I am curious to see what the feedback will be.

I am hoping to find some time to get some more work done in the basement soon but I feel too guilty working down there when it's so nice out after this horrible winter/spring!!
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post #102 of 211 Old 06-09-2011, 06:38 AM
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The jukebox software looks very cool barlav! I'm interested to see how that works out for you. I am too lazy to look back through and see what you have planned for theater control (sorry) but you could also use the iPad for that with iRule...I bought the software but haven't fooled around with it much yet...it looks cool though!

I haven't received my invite to the July deck party yet...it must still be in the mail!

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #103 of 211 Old 06-09-2011, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey AirBenji,
iRule looks pretty cool! I hadn't heard of that before. My plan for control was going to be my current Harmony remote but if iRule works out that would be even better. I would like the cool factor of being able to use an ipad as a remote. I will have to check that out for sure.
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post #104 of 211 Old 06-09-2011, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Well the apple store screwed up my order and cancelled the iPad2 on me because of a credit card mix up. Luckily I found the iPad2 I wanted locally so I grabbed it last Thursday during my lunch hour! So now no need to wait! I had it setup in a matter of minutes with the jukebox and it works even better than I thought it would.

As luck would have it my wife through me a surprise 40th b-day party (yeah I am an old man!) I had no idea it was coming because they did a good job distracting me with a lot of other stuff! Anyway, so we had a nice crowd over Friday night. The jukebox was a gigantic hit! Several friends/family members have asked me to setup them with the same thing. So far I only have it hooked to my outdoor deck speakers and speakers inside on the main system. It will be even better once it's incorporated into the basement in wall/ceiling speakers.

We were sitting around the fire about 50 feet from the house passing around the iPad and selecting the music to play. We could pause, control the volume, etc.. right from our seats. My guests couldn't get over how they were controlling the outside speakers from just a finger tap on the iPad.

Here are some pictures of the outside use of the jukebox:

Here are some pics of the iPad sitting on the patio table with the jukebox running:







Here are the outside speakers I'm using. They are pretty decent speakers and create a nice sound outside:





I still have a fair amount of work left to finish with my music collection with album art and tagging but at least I have it up and running! If anyone would like more info on the jukebox setup just let me know, I would be happy to share.


This weekend looks like rain so I'm hoping to get some more work done in the basement. The plan is to rewire my workshop now that I have walls to put the switches and outlets on and I also need to up the light output in there. I will also start installing/wiring up the outlets in the gym.
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post #105 of 211 Old 06-10-2011, 07:24 AM
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Happy birthday barlav! Wow though, 40 is oooollllld! Are you going to have to get that hip replaced soon?? Seriously though, the iPad and that software look very cool! And you should definitely check out iRule - it's very inexpensive and being able to design your own panels and buttons seems pretty cool to me (and it appears that you're a lot more computer savvy than I am). Good luck with the weekend's projects!

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #106 of 211 Old 06-13-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Ha yeah! I would gladly have my hip replaced if you would take care of all my drywalling!
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post #107 of 211 Old 06-13-2011, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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There is always something that cuts into basement time. This weekend started out with this. So now I am trying to find the cheapest way to replace this. I called one place and they quoted $500! And that is just for the window since I will be replacing myself. Seriously?? This is a simple 2 paned panel, no frame, just a panel. Anyway, I am looking around for a cheaper place.


After addressing the window I did manage to get into the basement for a while. First was the rewiring of the workshop. The WAF is back in effect now. She has been complaining about the dark storage area since I cut the power to the existing light fixtures down there.

Hoping to have all Gym outlets wired and fired up by the end of this week. And then it will be onto wiring bathroom and wine cellar. I am going through these sub panel breaker slots fast!! Also, at some point, I need to even up the ceiling joists in the theater area before doing the lighting.

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post #108 of 211 Old 06-22-2011, 09:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Didn't get much done this past week unfortunately. Had the brilliant idea of cycling around one of the Finger Lakes on Sat. and after returning from that I was toast. I did finish up determining where I will be putting the media in the gym. I also setup a new monoprice account. I can see that I will be buying a lot of stuff at this place. I ordered some low voltage wall plates for my first order. I decided to go with the direct hookup style as opposed to the plates that have the connectors built in. I believe in the fewer connection points the better.

Here are the plates:



This is where the tv will go for the cardio station. It will hide both the outlet and the media cable plate.



This will be the location of the big Tv in the gym. The plan is for a 42" LCD. There will also be a TiVo, Cable Box and perhaps a Roku device needed here that I will put on some built in shelves under the Tv. So I used a double gang outlet box for enough plugs. The only cables that will come from the media plate box in this location will be coax cable and cat 6.


This will be the location of the jukebox. It is on the back wall of the wine cellar (even though it looks like a beer cellar for now). I am going to start by having a wall mount for the iPad in this location. I will run a usb cable either to the plug or out of the media wall plate (since the media center closet is right next to this location). I will probably also run an hdmi cable and cat 6 to the media plate in case I decide to go with a permanent touch screen at some point.


And speaking of the jukebox, here it is in action providing the music while I'm working. It is great having this wherever I am!


I am not expecting to accomplish much this weekend either, busy busy, but I would like to at least get going on pulling some wire for the new outlets.
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post #109 of 211 Old 06-22-2011, 06:12 PM
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So who is doing the artwork the artwork on your insulation? I'm guessing it was you that added the "I <3 Ke$ha"??

Looking good! I'm heading out your way this weekend for a stag party...look out Central NY!

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #110 of 211 Old 06-23-2011, 03:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Good eye AirBenji...I was hoping no one would notice my "artwork" Who doesn't love Ke$ha these days??

I will probably pass you on the thru-way. I'm heading to Albany for the weekend myself. Don't party too hard!
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post #111 of 211 Old 06-25-2011, 08:48 AM
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How do you connect the pc with the iPad? Does your juke software have this capability built in? I'm looking to do something similar in my house. I'd love to use the iPad to run my jukebox.
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post #112 of 211 Old 06-25-2011, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
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There are apps that will allow your iPad to remotely access your pc. The one I am currently using is called Splashtop (I prefer this one because it also allows streaming to the iPad which gives me remote access to the jukbeox even when I'm away). The jukebox software runs on the pc and is optimized for touch screens which makes the iPad a nice fit for it.
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post #113 of 211 Old 07-19-2011, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post! Summer is flying by as usual. I am basically at the same point as I was a month ago .

The only thing I've done is drill holes through all the studs for the outlets in the gym so I can run the wire freely to each of them. Nothing worth showing pictures of.

I also grabbed 200 feet of smurf tube one day as I walked by it at the store. Figured I would need it sooner or later anyway. It was just $40 which I didn't think was bad so I grabbed it.

Just wanted to check in. Sill motivated but keep getting interrupted with this sunny warm weather thing. Hoping to make some more progress this summer and will really get to it this fall/winter!
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post #114 of 211 Old 08-04-2011, 09:54 AM
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Argh! Dang all that sunny warm weather! I'm going to remind you of that comment in February...

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #115 of 211 Old 08-11-2011, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Heat wave finally got to me and decided to go where it is cool. And while I was down there I decided to do some work. I have learned that running wire is a pretty fast process. I have also learned that pigtailing outlets isn't so fast but I am getting better at it with each one. Currently I have the wired pulled to about half the outlets in the gym.


I decided to take a break from the wiring and install the coax distribution center to see if everything worked. The location of the distribution center is right below where the cable enters the basement. This was going to be the original location of my media center but now it will just be an access panel to get to this. I installed a dedicated outlet for it as well. It doesn't have juice yet so it is currently just plugged into a power strip for now. I will eventually clean up the wires and make them neater before I close everything up. I am planning to use conduit for all cable runs to the basement from this location also. This unit is working well and it is cleaner than using multiple splitters.






Also grabbed some network stuff since soon it will be time to make all the network cables.
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post #116 of 211 Old 09-12-2011, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Finally back to basement season! I picked up on wiring the gym over the weekend and completed all the outlets and wired it to the breaker box. All outlets are working great and it is nice to have standalone power in that area now. I added many more outlets than I am going to actually use but I still haven't finalized equipment locations so I wanted to make sure I was fully covered.

The outlet dedicated for the coax control center



Moved the temporary stereo over to where I am going to install the touch screen jukebox and made use of its outlet for now



I am currently finalizing outlet and lighting locations for bathroom, wine cellar and media closet. I will wire those rooms next and then I will continue with the wiring of the theater/game room. Thankfully the summer allowed me to catch up on everything debt wise with materials already purchased so now I'm even again and ready to buy more stuff for this fall/winter.

Goals for this fall winter:
1. Finish all regular wiring/lighting
2. Run all media wiring and conduit
3. Complete plumbing to bathroom
4. Complete new supplies/returns with ducting
5. Bridge floor joists
6. Finish fire blocking on exterior walls
7. Insulate all ceilings and exterior walls
8. Be ready for drywall

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post #117 of 211 Old 09-12-2011, 10:21 AM
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Your space is really looking nice. I can't believe how clean you are keeping the basement during the construction process. You could eat pizza off that floor Looking forward to future updates.
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post #118 of 211 Old 09-12-2011, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! Haha on the clean floors, it goes a long way for WAF!
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post #119 of 211 Old 09-14-2011, 06:49 AM
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Well done barlav! Looks like you're making some good progress.

The Esquire Theater Construction Thread:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1289590
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post #120 of 211 Old 09-15-2011, 01:57 PM
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Awesome job. I'll be keeping a close eye on this project as inspiration when I start my own here soon.
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