I decided to do all the electrical work myself, but I consulted with an electrician just to make sure. I also got a copy of the National Electric Code, and a Black&Decker book about Home Wiring. Being a licensed aircraft mechanic and an avionics specialist to boot, I felt that I could handle this part of the project, and it has been my favorite part of the build so far.
My main panel is out in my garage, so I decided to run a subpanel to the lower level. I ran 6 gauge wire and protected it with a 60A breaker at the main panel. Only copper bus for this guy:
Here are recessed lights in one of the soffits flanking the screen wall:
SCORE! I snagged a used Lutron Grafik-Eye GRX-3106 on ebay. (Got the remote new on ebay for about half price also!) This is one of the coolest parts of the lower level now, and I highly recommend installing some form of lighting control - it makes a difference in what is needed out of the screen and projector.
Second bar wall is up with wiring starting to go in:
More recessed lights in the common area next to the bottom of the stairs with insulation loaded in. Menards had some rebates earlier this year, so I bought as much insulation as I could afford at the time to save a little $$.
The panel is done:
The Grafik Eye tests good!
LED rope lights check good! These will run behind crown moulding down either side of the theater up on the soffits. I got the Soft White 3/8" 120v LED rope light from OrangeTreeTrade.com.
They don't dim all the way out....hmmm...that is a problem. I added them to another zone with recessed lights as a test, and then they did dim all the way out. I'm going to have to add more load somehow. I looked at adding a dummy load: LUT-LBX-WH, but I'm not crazy about having a big resistor in my wall doing nothing but getting hot. I am going to run a wire down to the riser and add another rope and two step lights which (hopefully) will be enough load to make everything dim all the way out.
I am using the same Ecosmart 4" LED dimmable bulbs from Home Depot that were used in the Cinemar build.
Next, I reconfigured and repositioned the front recessed lights toward the screen wall to be 3-across and a bit closer to the wall:
Projector mount version 1.0 with the heavy soffit in the background. Didn't like the look of the arch with the flat surface behind it.
So instead we found these pendant lights at a store for $182 each. We bought three of them on lightinguniverse.com for around $90 each. It pays to shop around!
Added an aux control for the Grafik Eye lighting panel closer to the corner where it will be dark for someone coming into the area. Got it on ebay also, but paid full price as far as I can tell. That was a WAF decision...
Puttied up the backs of the boxes on the staggered-stud wall to help with sound from the furnance room. Got these from ATS Acoustics. Pretty reasonable price compared to some other brands.
Decided to add side surround speakers for 7.1 sound. Then I realized I compromised my staggered-stud isolated wall. I built this box and sealed with Owens Corning Quiet Zone acoustic caulk. Speaker wire is 14 gauge from Monoprice.com. Brackets are Bowers & Wilkins that I got on ebay. (Probably going with in-walls from Monoprice though! MUCH cheaper, and glowing reviews!)
Here I decided to alter the projector mount. This is version 2.0. I recessed the mount box by 3" and lowered the bar arch by 2", giving me 11" total for the projector and mount which should work out just right (within a 1/2" at least).
HDTV Coax run tests good! This was a major undertaking as our cable splitter is located in a panel in our master bedroom closet on the second floor. I had to run the coax up into the attic, down to the garage attic, and down the wall into the basement, then across the basement to the screen wall. It's a sad little home theater right now, but better things are coming!
I had a thought toward the end of the wiring process - maybe it would be nice to have some auxiliary inputs for the projector? So I ran a VGA and HDMI to the side of the bar. This will allow a camera or laptop to be able to show images on the big screen. Might come in handy someday. I also ran a CAT5 from the equipment area to the projector, and two CAT5s from the first floor computer room. Those will be connected to a D-Link 5-port Gigabit switch for wired internet to the PS4 and Receiver. We'll see if I ever need internet to the projector, but at least I have a means of getting there if I need to.
Fire-stop caulked all of my vertical wiring penetrations:
Here are the pendant lights installed over the bar:
Here is the construction of the theater area cove LED lights. I used 120v soft white rope lighting from www.orangetreetrade.com
. I painted both sides of the crown moulding to reflect more light. Then, I cut triangular spacer blocks at 38-degree angles for the 4 5/8" crown moulding to be attached to. The rope lighting was also attached to these. Sizing was very critical because it affected how the crown rested on it. Would have been easier to rip a 2x4, but with no table saw, I had to go this route: