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post #31 of 322 Old 12-15-2014, 05:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok everyone, I know it's been a couple of months, but there really HAS been some progress. Just not the progress we originally planned.

The schedule had to be shuffled around, in order to make deadlines posed by my son's birthday party (2 wks ago) and the new baby girl (2 days ago!!). So, in stead of getting the movie room done by Christmas, we pretty much got the whole REST of the basement done by Christmas!

That's not to say that we didn't make "some" progress on the movie room, rather pretty much everything OTHER than construction is done! I've been working with Dennis Erskine on the plans, and those are pretty much ready! I prepped as much as I could, but I'll put up another post to get into that. I'm hoping to get it up today, but I'm not 100% sure on his sharing rules so I'm going to get those clarified first.

Now, since no one reads the text, here's some obligatory "demo pics"!! This is all pretty much from Oct and Nov. If you recall from the design pics above, the movie room size was sub-optimal, the room was about 16' square. We decided to take down the right screen wall and combine two rooms. This gives us a LOT more space, and turns the room around.

First, removing the original movie room door (right), and the door to the room to its left:




Then we removed the divider wall and pulled all the sheetrock and insulation from all the walls (that will change) and ceiling:



After that I prepped the room that will be added to the movie room. Ceiling only (to change out lighting), the walls are good:


Finally, the obligatory "demo pile" pics:


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post #32 of 322 Old 12-15-2014, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
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So, after all the demo was done, I started the process of making the basement livable again. That meant turning a room into a workout room, and pre-wiring speakers and TV for a hangout space, the bar, and the workout room. After that, the original doorway to the left was framed over and the movie room door was re-framed to be smaller (from double to single door). Some mud, tape, and a LOT of sanding later, and the hallway was reshaped for the movie room. Finally, some flooring and a TON of paint and carpet later, and the basement is done! We're all set on the basement now, and hoping to start on the movie room after the holidays! (Unless I end up w/too much free time on my hands during baby-leave!)

Here's what the hallway looks like now. You can see some posters up, and a blank space by the door. That's where the TV and MoviePoster app are going!!



If anyone cares to see the rest of the basement, let me know and I'll throw some of those up too!
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post #33 of 322 Old 12-18-2014, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright, had a great chat with Dennis, running through a lot of the Q&A about my design. It's really nailed down, and we're hoping to move forward as soon as we get through the holidays! As for now, I'm trying to get things ordered (lighting, a TON of rock and GG, GOM samples, etc).

I also got clarification on his releasability rules, so here's the official Erskine Group design for the theater!

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post #34 of 322 Old 12-20-2014, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Santa came early, and brought lighting!

So, I have a friend (more of an acquaintance, a friend of a friend) that works "in lighting". I reached out to see if he could help me with all the lighting stuff, since Home Depot & Lowes are pretty much useless, and I couldn't find a dedicated light store anywhere nearby. Come to find out, he OWNS the lighting company! They sell primarily commercial stuff , but he offered to bring by some stuff to show me. While chatting, he was talking about the gig they got doing the lighting for the 4 year reconstruction on the Capitol Building! Most of the things he was talking about went over my head (the color of white, in degrees Kelvin), but he was super helpful in checking out and making suggestions to the lighting plan.

More importantly, he brought toys! Here are the sample cases he brought over:

First off, he brought a case of LED strips. I'm planning to backlight the accoustic panels, and run a strip around the ceiling hidden in the crown moulding. The case had a bunch of white in different "temperatures" and wattages. Those are cool, but kinda boring. The piece de resistance was the RGB strip, and programmer! Here's a few pics of it rotating through a display scene! All the other strips you can still see in the case are the various whites he brought over. I'm leaning towards running white in the crown moulding. The strips in the pics are (mostly) coiled up 3' strips, but they can be cut to any length from 2" to 15.4'. For the record, this is the same strip in all 5 pics, just changing colors every 5 seconds or so.











Next, I'm thinking about some regular 6" ceiling cans over the main seating area. He had a better solution, LEDs that are a direct replacement for the bulb and carrier. These things were 12w, but WAY brighter than the 75w bulbs I have in there now. I didn't light them up for the pic, b/c they're too bright for my iPhone to handle!



Lastly, I plan to have a soffit running around the room, and want to mount eyeballs in there to shine down on the accoustic panel. He recommended I drop the 6" cans from the ceiling, and have these be the primary light source for the room. Again, these are LEDs that can be substituted into standard cans. This pic is the case, showing the various lenses and plates available.



There were a few other things brought over, but I think those would be the most fun for everyone here. I have some other info that I can pass along for anyone interested, but it would all take too long to type. If you have any specific questions please ask!
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post #35 of 322 Old 12-20-2014, 11:26 AM
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Hey Doug. Very nice progress and congrats on the new little one (already here???)!!

A couple of thoughts. First, regarding the LED replacement bulbs for the 6" cans. If you go this route, you have to make sure you get the dimmable versions of these bulbs AND that your dimmers are compatible with the LED driver in the bulb. But assuming that they are compatible, you still might reconsider going the LED route. The reason is that the LED bulbs will give you about 20-30% of their rated lumen output at the absolute minimum wattage needed just to get the light turned on. So the minimum dimmable brightness may be too bright for you. Something you should test.

Second, regarding the LEDs...those look like standard 5050 RGB LED light strips that come in 5 meter spools. Given that you are going to be lighting the splays, a perimeter soffit and a handful of other areas with these lights, how are you handling the dimming power supplies needed to control the system and what controlling system is shown in the picture? When I looked at using 5050 lights a couple years ago, the power supplies were available but expensive and the controllers were limited....especially ones that controlled lots of light strands. I realize time has marched on so I was curious what controllers were available and how they can control the lights (IP, IR, etc.).
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post #36 of 322 Old 12-21-2014, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey TMcG, thanks for the response! I have some answers, and some research I'm supposed to be doing, and some that I'll have to check on that you raised.

The rig he gave me for the 6" cans included a dimmer switch with it, and he sent me info on the compatible switches from the manufacturers site (included below). I told him that I'm looking to incorporate it all into a networked switch, so my iRule can control everything. He'd never done it personally, but knows that there are a couple of options available. Also, if I think I understand your concern properly, the lowest setting isn't a problem any more. I can dim the light all the way down to "barely on", so I'm thinking that hurdle has been cleared?
I'm planning to check out the info, but here's the link on those:
Cooper Industries

The LED strips look a little trickier, as you pointed out. We talked about on how to wire them up, and did some simple math per circuit. The short version is that it looks like I'd have 3-4 groups of lights, all set to a few (3-4?) drivers, running to their own transformer (to reduce hum on dimmers), and set to another networked switch.
Here's the link to the manufacturer's website, and their drivers :
Acclaim Lighting Drivers

The overall idea is that he saw what I was looking to, and is going to help with the final BOM. I'm working on putting together a 95% lighting solution (my needs), which he'll then put into an actual lighting design. He'll also whip up a wiring & switching diagram for me, so it can be set up. He's being super helpful, and is more than willing to put it all together as a proof of concept, since he's a big ole' lighting geek! He generally works larger commercial projects with this stuff, and is interested in the feasability of homeowner uses for it. I'm not too worried about the cost (yet), since he's going to give me straight up his prices. I'm pretty excited to play with all of it, and see what we can put together!
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post #37 of 322 Old 12-21-2014, 12:14 PM
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I can dim the light all the way down to "barely on", so I'm thinking that hurdle has been cleared?
That must be a very recent development because even the manufacturers that claimed they could dim to 1% showed - and I'm going from memory here - about 18% of total lumen output at its lowest setting. In other words, it was impossible to get the ultra-low 'burn' from an LED can light. If that's changed, great....but something I would absolutely verify in a darkened room with the actual fixture.

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The LED strips look a little trickier, as you pointed out. We talked about on how to wire them up, and did some simple math per circuit.

I'm working on putting together a 95% lighting solution (my needs), which he'll then put into an actual lighting design. He'll also whip up a wiring & switching diagram for me, so it can be set up.
@Mr.Tim has quite a bit of practical experience working with LED 5050 light strips and has a GREAT post to show the electrical considerations for the size of the power supply at THIS POST. Later in the thread you can see the magnetic low voltage dimming power supply he used in conjunction with a Lutron Grafik Eye and Lutron TVI low-voltage interface on one of the Grafik Eye zones.

The tough thing I found with the LED light strips was all the multiples of power supplies and control boxes that were necessary to scale a larger system with these strips and the fact that most could only be controlled by DMX, which leads to another interface to transcode the control protocol from either IR, IP or RS-232 into DMX.

There's no doubt there are more control products available now than there was a couple of years ago. I look forward to see what your guy puts together and post here in your thread. I'm sure your lighting guy knows this, but hopefully he remembers to take into account the resistance of any leader wire into his power calculations for each zone.
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post #38 of 322 Old 12-21-2014, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok another mini-update, and a call for help.

The outside of the HT is a long hallway, that we want to put movie posters on. The intent is to start with an Ep IV poster that we've had for a while, that is already professionally framed. Then have a couple of other posters, then a TV mounted in the wall with Meyer's Movie Poster app running. The REAL goal is to make them look alike, which is proving harder than we thought.

The Star Wars poster is in a nice frame, so I want to make the others match. I'd like for the two in the middle to look similar, BUT be able to swap those out (not permanently mounted inside). I'd like to just tack a copy of that frame around the TV in the wall, so it looks the same. Finally, the wall to the right of the door will have the Sons of Anarchy poster in a "5th" frame, also matching. I think I can figure out how to make 2 of them easily swappable, by just not installing the back too permanently. The TV should be easy, and the last one easy.

The problem?? WHERE do you guys get decent framing stuff? I made the mistake of going into a frame shop, and they quoted me around $200 per poster, WITHOUT permanently mounting them. Has anyone done something like this?? I think it might be cheaper and easier if I weren't trying to match an existing, but changing out the SW frame is pretty much off the table.

Pic included for clarification, just don't judge the TV install. I just cut, framed, and installed it yesterday. I put it in place, and then threw the electrical box and HDMI/ethernet cables in there for fit, and stuck up some random trim I had laying around. The TV still needs to be boxed for depth, and the real frame installed. Also, the HTPC isn't done yet, so no MoviePoster app showing on it yet.

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post #39 of 322 Old 12-21-2014, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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That must be a very recent development because even the manufacturers that claimed they could dim to 1% showed - and I'm going from memory here - about 18% of total lumen output at its lowest setting. In other words, it was impossible to get the ultra-low 'burn' from an LED can light. If that's changed, great....but something I would absolutely verify in a darkened room with the actual fixture.
Hmm, interesting. I don't know how to test the actual output I'm seeing, but if you can give me a heads up I can try? I also don't know that I understand why it's a problem? I was thinking about installing them for utility work (cleaning, vacuuming, etc), so wouldn't they either be on or off?

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@Mr.Tim has quite a bit of practical experience working with LED 5050 light strips and has a GREAT post to show the electrical considerations for the size of the power supply at THIS POST. Later in the thread you can see the magnetic low voltage dimming power supply he used in conjunction with a Lutron Grafik Eye and Lutron TVI low-voltage interface on one of the Grafik Eye zones.
Good stuff, I'll check out that post, and maybe point Donnie to it. I definitely want to control all lighting scenes from my iRule, and I think the room had a Lutron initially. I'll have to check out the existing stuff, but honestly I haven't gotten that far!

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The tough thing I found with the LED light strips was all the multiples of power supplies and control boxes that were necessary to scale a larger system with these strips and the fact that most could only be controlled by DMX, which leads to another interface to transcode the control protocol from either IR, IP or RS-232 into DMX.

There's no doubt there are more control products available now than there was a couple of years ago. I look forward to see what your guy puts together and post here in your thread. I'm sure your lighting guy knows this, but hopefully he remembers to take into account the resistance of any leader wire into his power calculations for each zone.
Agreed, it's looking like it's going to take some planning to make sure everything works together. I don't know that I need to focus on DMX now, I'm hoping to stay IP with a networked light switch. Another question I had was "How do folks switch normally, if they have accoustic panels?"
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post #40 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, didn't have a lot of time to get cracking on the electric for the movie room during the holiday, but I DID get the MoviePoster app working on the TV.

I got a lot of movies "imported" to my XBMC test build, and a lot of the HTPC accomplished too. That started "simple", and ended up pretty high-speed in its own right, so I'll do a separate post for that one.

For now, here's the pics of the TV working with the MoviePoster app. Thanks to Meyer for all the help, I think I did everything wrong possible when I started!

First, here's the hallway leading to the movie room. To the left is the staircase coming down to the basement. Reminder: The intent is for all of those frames to look like Star Wars on the left. I'm buying 4 more identically sized (one to the right of the door), that just hasn't happened yet.



Now a bit closer look at that wall:



Finally, the app by itself. Two things: 1) Yes, the poster changed, 2) That's not the final frame, it'll be black to match the others.

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post #41 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, so the HTPC itself. I've been a computer geek by trade or hobby (or both) for a WHOLE bunch of years now, so out of all the parts of making a dedicated HT room this one was my strength. I started out thinking I'd just make a simple box capable of running some apps, and not put a bunch of time/effort/money into it. Then I started "moving" my DVDs & Blu Rays to it, and things changed. I ended up deciding to build a nice stand alone machine, for the following reasons:
  • First off, my collection is pretty good (~3-400), so I realized very quickly that I needed to be able to manage something that would scale.
  • Next, it needed to be capable of DVD and Blu Ray. That scratched my original idea of just re-using an old DVD burner.
  • Then, (as I'm sure everyone else out there has already realized) I started eating up storage space QUICKLY.
  • I started really playing with Meyer's MoviePoster App, and decided I wanted good dual monitor functionality.
  • I'm sick of paying my local Fiber Optic Service provider for DVR capability
  • Finally, well I was looking for stuff right before Christmas, so a lot of components were CHEAP!
All of that led me to scratch "cheap and easy" in favor of a more robust solution. The good news was that I had some decent stuff lying around, so it ended up being pretty cheap for me. (Relatively)

I know most don't care as much about the nuts and bolts, so here's some SPOILER tags to hide the goodies:

Spoiler!


Short version: I ended up picking up a new, dedicated HTPC case and stronger power supply. I put two hard drives in for movies, 4TB each, mirrored so I don't lose anything. There's a dedicated solid state drive in there as well, for the operating system and programs. It has a WAY overpowered CPU and memory, and should be able to handle anything I throw at it, AND support any gaming we feel like. The video card should also be able to handle everything we need. Other than that, I think just a cable card and I'm all set!

Can anyone think of anything that I missed? So far I believe I've hit everything I can think of, but does anyone have any other ideas for the HTPC that I've missed?

Thanks for reading!
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post #42 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 01:46 PM
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Hmm, interesting. I don't know how to test the actual output I'm seeing, but if you can give me a heads up I can try? I also don't know that I understand why it's a problem? I was thinking about installing them for utility work (cleaning, vacuuming, etc), so wouldn't they either be on or off?
Sorry Doug, just seeing this post now.

I don't have any references for you, it would just be something you'd have to set up and try. The reason for having fully dimmable lighting may not apply in your case or in every case, but many folks (present company included) will have very, very low lighting on during the movie - like wall washers or lighting above the seating - vs. pitch black with everything totally off. Having everything off is obviously the best for your front projection, but not as nice if you need to move around, locate a remote, etc. Most pro theaters have wall sconces, step lighting and some overheads at a very low burn.

You'll just have to try out the fixtures and see if the low-end of the dimming fits with how you intend to use the room. There's no right or wrong, just was making you aware that these dimmable LEDs don't dim nearly as much as incandescents / halogens so you weren't surprised after making the purchase.
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post #43 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 02:15 PM
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Can anyone think of anything that I missed? So far I believe I've hit everything I can think of, but does anyone have any other ideas for the HTPC that I've missed?
If you are looking for something truly scalable I would think that you would want an external NAS in a RAID 5 configuration to give yourself even more functionality and future expandability if you start building a really serious movie collection.
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post #44 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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If you are looking for something truly scalable I would think that you would want an external NAS in a RAID 5 configuration to give yourself even more functionality and future expandability if you start building a really serious movie collection.
Interesting. I can understand the idea of making it external for expansion purposes, and I considered that. I decided I only wanted to drop the cash on 2 drives tho, and they'll fit in that enclosure. If (when) it gets to the point that I need additional storage, I'll probably need an external stack.

Why do you think that a RAID 5 would be better for scalability? A mirror is more than sufficient for the purposes of a movie collection, and easy to break and recreate with a drive failure. It's actually easier to break and expand volume size on a RAID 1 (mirror) than RAID 5 (striping & parity). A parity bit isn't really going to do anything in this application, and the hot swap (at anything less than a 15k SCSI drive) is speed-prohibitive. Am I missing something, or did a fellow computer geek tell you that was the way to go, back in the day?
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post #45 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 04:42 PM
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Interesting. I can understand the idea of making it external for expansion purposes, and I considered that. I decided I only wanted to drop the cash on 2 drives tho, and they'll fit in that enclosure. If (when) it gets to the point that I need additional storage, I'll probably need an external stack.

Why do you think that a RAID 5 would be better for scalability? A mirror is more than sufficient for the purposes of a movie collection, and easy to break and recreate with a drive failure. It's actually easier to break and expand volume size on a RAID 1 (mirror) than RAID 5 (striping & parity). A parity bit isn't really going to do anything in this application, and the hot swap (at anything less than a 15k SCSI drive) is speed-prohibitive. Am I missing something, or did a fellow computer geek tell you that was the way to go, back in the day?
I suspected the reason you were going with two drives initially is that they would fit in the enclosure. With your OS and applications on the SSD (love that, BTW!), you get most of your 4TB for storage, but nothing further because of the mirroring (assuming you are using RAID 10). Yes, it's nice for instantaneous backup due to one drive failure, but that comes at a cost of 100% (i.e. doubling) your storage capacity (excluding the losses to parity for the sake of argument).

RAID 10 is striped, mirrored and extremely fast. It gives you the highest IO and fault tolerance BUT…you lose half your capacity. Since you bought 8TB, you’ll get 4 TB, usable.

RAID 5 uses “parity” to provide redundancy. You lose the equivalent of one disk. If you have five 4 TB drives, for example, you’ll get about 16 TB of usable storage. The drawback to R5 is write speeds. Writes are slower as compared to R10 since the disk controller has to figure out the parity piece and write that to every drive, so there’s a bit of overhead there. But that being said, it’s inconsequential in your environment based on the actual data throughput rate you'd be using for either one or even multiple HD streams. TONS of high IO servers run in R5. It’s plenty fast. Your network speed will be the limiting factor, not the disk IO as no processing would be done on the NAS itself, so it doesn’t matter.

The benefit is that you get a lot more capacity (around 30% more) without any noticeable performance difference. Not a big deal when you are talking about two 4TB drives, but a greater concern once you start archiving DVR shows and building your movie collection. If you thought Bluray file sizes were big, just wait until 4K files come along.....

As always, just my two cents!
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post #46 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TMcG View Post
RAID 5 uses “parity” to provide redundancy. You lose the equivalent of one disk. If you have five 4 TB drives, for example, you’ll get about 16 TB of usable storage. The drawback to R5 is write speeds. Writes are slower as compared to R10 since the disk controller has to figure out the parity piece and write that to every drive, so there’s a bit of overhead there. But that being said, it’s inconsequential in your environment based on the actual data throughput rate you'd be using for either one or even multiple HD streams. TONS of high IO servers run in R5. It’s plenty fast. Your network speed will be the limiting factor, not the disk IO as no processing would be done on the NAS itself, so it doesn’t matter.
Ahhh, very good points! I'm not going to bother w/the parity, since I'll primary be using it for the backup. TBH, I just don't want to ever spend the 3 weeks it's taken me to move my collection to a drive! If it costs me a drive to have that piece of mind, it's totally worth the $200 to me!

I definitely like RAID 5 arrays when I'm building servers and someone else is paying for the hardware. Personally tho, just picking up 2 drives and a PCI RAID controller isn't really that much more expensive for me, and fits in the HTPC case. Picking up a couple more drives (and a separate enclosure) stopped me from the rest of the thought process on the RAID 5. I always think about losing one for parity and another for the hot swap, so 2 down out of 5 (or 6). You're right that I'd only need one down to make one at home, if I didn't worry about the hot swap. In that case I'd have less loss, and I think it'd be the better scaling option. In a few (couple) of years, I could definitely see buying a dedicated RAID stack, a couple more disks, and changing out the array to a 5.

Great points, and thanks for the input! Anything else, from a functionality standpoint on the HTPC itself? Software? Apps?
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post #47 of 322 Old 12-29-2014, 07:07 PM
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Great points, and thanks for the input! Anything else, from a functionality standpoint on the HTPC itself? Software? Apps?
There are a lot of people who seem to prefer JRiver Media vs. XBMC, but I'm sure you can familiarize yourself with the differences in those threads if you had any interest.

If you are ONLY using an HTPC in your system, JRiver has some powerful built-in EQ and audio control that can really help to dial in your room but it requires some additional hardware. AVS Member DesertDome is definitely the guru on the matter and has worked on a number of systems including dlbeck's Savoy Theater.
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post #48 of 322 Old 01-19-2015, 06:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Holy HTPC storage Batman!!

So, I've been focusing on getting the HTPC up and ready for the last few weeks, and that has been an effort in itself. I'm not really sure of how much I should get into that on this forum, as my research into solutions led me to seeing that having a video library on a HTPC is still an ongoing battle between the studios and customers. I'll try to be somewhat general, and steer clear of the legal morass.

Spoiler!


Other than that, building the HTPC itself was somewhat of a challenge. I love the SilverStone case I got, I really think it'll look great in the rack. It made it a REAL challenge to fit everything in, and that's with a pretty tall one. (~7") I have a TALL processor fan, and a LONG video card (both reuse from another project), so I had to be very careful about where everything else went. If the mobo (more reuse) didn't have 3 PCI-E slots, I don't think I'd have made it. Setting up the BIOS RAID wasn't easy, since it was about 4 years old, and I had to re-flash it. Windows doesn't like single storage volumes bigger than 2.2 TB, so had to work around that. All in all, what should have been a simple 2 hr build turned into an all day affair. I'm thinking when I Have more time I'll buy a couple newer & smaller cards. That way I can dedicate one to the PJ and the other to the MoviePoster TV. That should also give me more room for another pair of 4 TB drives in a second mirrored RAID. I ended up going with Kodi 14 for the library software, and installed the newest load of Meyer's MoviePoster App. That looks AWESOME, and I'll put up new pics of that soon.

TLDR: Challenging build, but definitely worth it. Please let me know if there's any questions I can clarify. I tried to keep it mostly non-tech-geek, and focus on the HT parts, but can dig deeper if anyone wants more.

My other focus has been prepping for electric and wiring. That's got some interesting pics & diagrams (which I KNOW is what everyone really wants), so I'll put together a separate post for that.
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post #49 of 322 Old 01-19-2015, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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So I've been working with Donnie (my lighting bud) and Dennis ( my electrician bud) on the lighting / electrical / wiring diagrams. I'm hoping to get everything run and in the walls over the next month or so, and needed to stop and put together the plans, shopping lists, etc.

For main wiring, the overall design and layout came from Dennis Erskine. (not to be confused with the other Dennis, the electrician) In order to respect his IP (and because I'm a tech geek), I'm NOT going to post up that diagram. I have my own CAD software that my entire house is modeled in, so I'll be posting pics of that. All of the designs in this post are my software showing my project. The wiring diagram includes Dennis' input for speaker placement, so props to him.



For the lighting, I took Donnie's input, and kept it simple:
- White LEDs in step lights
- White LEDs running around in the crown
- 3" LED eyeballs in the soffit, splashing the accoustic panels (panels look flat in diagram, will be angled really)
- RBG LEDs on each side of each panel



Lastly, a BUNCH of receptacles and ethernet ports everywhere:



I think we're about to settle on this as the final design, so I'd really appreciate another few sets of eyes to tell me what I missed??
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post #50 of 322 Old 06-30-2015, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, it's been a while since my last post, but there HAS been some progress and we're moving forward once again!! A lot of the down time was spent with the baby and enjoying the rest of the basement remodel, but a big chunk was spent on planning and prep!

One of the first things I did was finish cleaning out and getting the room down to nothing. This was basically a few more dump runs for the rest of the sheetrock, and emptying out anything left. After that was a couple of DAYS worth of time tracing existing electrical wiring and switching. Then I removed everything back to the panel, and this week we're moving forward with running new stuff.

First off, here's the room, prepped and ready to move forward. You'll notice some water on the left side. Part of the delay was finding a waterproofing company and scheduling THAT fix.


Another view, of the front and entry door. This front will be the future screen wall:


Finally, a look from the entry door to the back. This is where the riser will be, the doors are an unfortunate necessity to utility areas.
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post #51 of 322 Old 07-26-2015, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, actually a lot going on lately. First we started with the final cleanout, as shown in the pics above. I brought it all the way down to the studs, only leaving a single set of lights from the old room as work lights.

The first thing I did moving forward was cut out the hole in the back wall for the server rack. The plan calls for the rack to extend back into the closet for a room on the other side of a wall, and be accessed through a swinging acoustic panel in the server room. Everything will be controlled by IP through iRule, but the panel will be hinged on the off chance we need to insert anything as arcane as a BluRay.

Here are a few pics of the wall stripped down, before cut out:




I cut out the studs and sheetrock, then reframed the opening:


After that, I started running conduit and electrical to the whole room. This is a pic from the closet-side, with the conduit in place, and a couple of metal boxes in place for dedicated clean power:


More on running electrical and conduit in the next post...
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post #52 of 322 Old 07-26-2015, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Now onto electrical and conduits.

The electric plans called for completely new lighting throughout the room.
The Step Lights are pretty obvious
The Crown light is a white LED strip running inside the crown molding, which is tacked to the bottom of the soffit around the room. It's intended to splash the ceiling
The LED eyeballs are running in the soffit, one splashing each of the acoustic panels, and three for the stage
The RGB LED strips are behind each of the panels, for extra color



Next are the power and ethernet connections, pretty self explanatory:


Finally speakers and HDMI.
SCPR = Speaker Copper wire run
SBAC = Speaker Balanced Audio Cable run
COAX = Coaxial Cable run
HDMI = Duh



In order to do this, it was either run 2x copper per speaker and a ton of BAC and COAX for forward compatibility AND hope that the HDMI never needed to be upgraded OR run conduits everywhere. I opted to take the time to run PVC conduits to everywhere that needed speaker or HDMI. In these pictures you can see the conduit running around the room, the electrical outlets run and hot, all of the new work boxes for speaker and ethernet, and my pink wire. After installing the PVC, I ran mason's cord through each conduit and tacked it at both ends. When I ran whatever cabling that specific spot needed, I pulled what I needed PLUS another cord through. That way I can always pull more or back it out.

First, all the conduits. The side speakers, rear, Projector, and MoviePoster TV setup all got a 1.5" PVC pipe, the front got a 3" pipe. The lowest boxes around the room are electrical, the highest will be the runs for the LED lighting. The middle are pretty much the ones with the conduit, and are for speaker, HDMI, COAX, etc.

Rear of the room, conduit running into server rack room:


Stage Right, showing the MoviePoster TV and 2 right side speakers:


Front of room, behind stage wall:


Thanks for reading my posts, comments and input appreciated!!
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post #53 of 322 Old 08-09-2015, 03:30 PM - Thread Starter
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A lot of good work has happened lately, so I have some good updates!

I finished all of the conduits, and ran all of the non-electrical wiring through them. When I ran the conduit, I used PVC and ran mason's twine through each, so I could pull cabling. Most conduits were dedicated for an individual speaker, and 1.5" PVC. The PJ conduit has 3x ethernet and 2x HDMI. The front conduit is 3" PVC and has 7 runs of 12ga copper (LCR, outside L&R, 2x sub), and one run of ethernet. All the conduits were specially laid out, and the mason's twine pre-run. That's the state from the last set of pics. The plan was to bundle the wire (copper or what ever) and a NEW Twine, and pull thru for the run. That way the wiring was run and I had more twine should I need it in the future. I'll just say it outright: These conduits SUCKED!! On the single wires, pretty much EVERY joint caught my pull wire?!?! On the multi's, the wiring was too heavy to pull (70" on the longest behind the screen) and the twine (heavy test stuff) just kept snapping!! I took the time needed to run it all thru (mainly pulling sections down and re-running), and it's there, but I don't think I'll do it again!! Was it just me, or have others seen this??

Anyway, after THAT treat was finished, I installed the soffit. The plan is for a soffit that runs around the entire room, with LED 4" cans in it (gimballed eyeballs, directed at the GOM panels), and a LED rope that splashes the ceiling from behind crown. To build the soffit (since it's mostly cosmetic, not structural), I went back and forth between metal studs and 2x4's. I've used metal before, but don't like attaching lighting to it. I ended up cross-ripping 2x4's and building out of that. After the soffit was built I installed the new lighting, wired it up, and put in some temp bulbs since the gimbal inserts aren't in yet. After that, I removed the old cans that show in all prior pictures and cleaned up!

'Nuff typing, everyone's really only here for the pics anyways...

Here's looking toward the screen, from the back corner:



Front of the room, with everything pre-wired and the double-width soffit. The stage and screen will eat a little more than 1/2 of the width:


Right wall, with door, MP TV backside, 2 right surround speakers:


Left side:


Rear; you can see the server rack cutout, where the 3 panels will be, the PJ drops and rear high speaker drops:


Now a shot from length-wise, with the newly cleaned up ceiling:



Finally, a couple of close up pics of the soffit, in case anyone has any questions:




As always, comments and suggestions very much appreciated!!
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post #54 of 322 Old 11-01-2015, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a couple of months, but there HAS been some progress.

Since the last update (almost 3 months ago) there has been a lot of thought into what the final room is going to be, since I'm getting close to closing up the walls. To that end, I settled on the final speaker design (9.4.4), and did a LOT of research into lighting (LEDs are going to be the end of me). The speakers were the easier part, all I had to do was run a couple more sub outlets to the side walls (2 behind screen, one on each side wall), and double the number of ceiling speakers. The LEDs were a huge challenge, one that I think I've just about solved. The short version is: there are a lot of nice dimmers that can be used with an iRule. There are nice LED strips that look great in the various configurations. There's million possibilities for drivers for said lights, and some even work with the dimmers that I'm considering using. The problem is finding a dimmer that works with a driver that works with the LED that I want, all controllable in the iRule! I think I have this solved, but if anyone has experience with this, I could use your help!!

The last thing I've done is insulate the hell out of the room. It's pretty much R-19 on all internal walls, with R-30 in the ceiling cavities and all the soffits. There's a couple of places that are R-13, but only where I didn't have the room cavity for more. You'll see in the pics that one wall isn't finished w/the insulation yet, that's where I'm still waiting for the cracks to be sealed. It's been a 6 month adventure to get that done, but it should happen before Thanksgiving. Then I can put up a little more insulation, finish a couple of little runs for the RGB LEDs for the accoustic panels, and close up the wall!!

Now, what everyone has been waiting for, current status pics!!

Here's what the screen wall looks like. On that wall are LCR, wide L & R, 2 sub (COAX and copper run to each), ethernet, and a bunch of poer outlets.


This is the Right wall, with the entrance and the MP TV behind the wood panel. It will be covered with an acoustic panel when done. You can see the duct tape on some of the insulation, where irregular framing had to be covered for.


The rear wall, with the opening for the server rack and the access door to utilities. The server rack opening will be hidden behind another acoustic panel. YES, you can see the new ceiling speakers in that pic, I'll put one of those up special at the end!!


Left wall, with the uninsulated section that needs to be fixed...


Here's the ceiling shot, with the new speakers installed. There's 4 new Triad in-ceiling silvers there, just installed over the weekend.


Lastly, the view from inside the server rack room. Here's what the mess looks like right now. This is 9.4.4 speaker copper, 2x COAX for front subs, 3x 4k HDMI (2 for PJ, 2 for MP TV), 6x Ethernet (3 for PJ, 1 for screen wall, 1 for MP TV, 1 for a floor jack in the riser). I think that's a bout it...


I think that's about everything for this update, thanks for reading!! Questions/comments/ input appreciated!!
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post #55 of 322 Old 11-01-2015, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, it's been a couple of months, but there HAS been some progress.

Since the last update (almost 3 months ago) there has been a lot of thought into what the final room is going to be, since I'm getting close to closing up the walls. To that end, I settled on the final speaker design (9.4.4), and did a LOT of research into lighting (LEDs are going to be the end of me). The speakers were the easier part, all I had to do was run a couple more sub outlets to the side walls (2 behind screen, one on each side wall), and double the number of ceiling speakers. The LEDs were a huge challenge, one that I think I've just about solved. The short version is: there are a lot of nice dimmers that can be used with an iRule. There are nice LED strips that look great in the various configurations. There's million possibilities for drivers for said lights, and some even work with the dimmers that I'm considering using. The problem is finding a dimmer that works with a driver that works with the LED that I want, all controllable in the iRule! I think I have this solved, but if anyone has experience with this, I could use your help!!

The last thing I've done is insulate the hell out of the room. It's pretty much R-19 on all internal walls, with R-30 in the ceiling cavities and all the soffits. There's a couple of places that are R-13, but only where I didn't have the room cavity for more. You'll see in the pics that one wall isn't finished w/the insulation yet, that's where I'm still waiting for the cracks to be sealed. It's been a 6 month adventure to get that done, but it should happen before Thanksgiving. Then I can put up a little more insulation, finish a couple of little runs for the RGB LEDs for the accoustic panels, and close up the wall!!

Now, what everyone has been waiting for, current status pics!!

Here's what the screen wall looks like. On that wall are LCR, wide L & R, 2 sub (COAX and copper run to each), ethernet, and a bunch of power outlets.


This is the Right wall, with the entrance and the MP TV behind the wood panel. It will be covered with an acoustic panel when done. You can see the duct tape on some of the insulation, where irregular framing had to be covered for.


The rear wall, with the opening for the server rack and the access door to utilities. The server rack opening will be hidden behind another acoustic panel. YES, you can see the new ceiling speakers in that pic, I'll put one of those up special at the end!!


Left wall, with the uninsulated section that needs to be fixed...


Here's the ceiling shot, with the new speakers installed. There's 4 new Triad in-ceiling silvers there, just installed over the weekend.


Lastly, the view from inside the server rack room. Here's what the mess looks like right now. This is 9.4.4 speaker copper, 2x COAX for front subs, 3x 4k HDMI (2 for PJ, 1 for MP TV), 6x Ethernet (3 for PJ, 1 for screen wall, 1 for MP TV, 1 for a floor jack in the riser). I think that's a bout it...


I think that's about everything for this update, thanks for reading!! Questions/comments/ input appreciated!!
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post #56 of 322 Old 11-02-2015, 09:16 AM
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post #57 of 322 Old 04-15-2016, 04:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, updates!!!

FINALLY, the cracks in the walls have been sealed! That means it's just about time to seal up the walls, which means I have to get the lighting done!!!

First, the most important one, this is what it looks like when the cracks are a thing of the past!!




While that was getting scheduled and done, I knocked out the remaining three lighting circuits. There's a run of (to be) eyeball LEDs in the soffit, which will be angled on the accoustic panels. They're currently in place, and you can see them in every pic I've posted for the last 6 months or so. More importantly, here are the 3 new circuits, for the 3 different courses of LEDs for accent lighting. There are Riser Step lights, a run of lights in the crown molding to splash the ceiling, and RGB color-changing lighting in the backs of the acoustic paneling, for a little bang. Here's the setup in the control room:




Next, a test run for the Riser Step lights. Just enough to take me to the first drop, with a little LED tape to test:


In this one, you can see the 5 places where the LEDs for the crown lighting will start. I ran everything to the switch, and put little bits on the connectors to test:


Lastly, the piece de resistance, the RGB strips. I did the same with these, just getting everything where I needed it, and putting short strips for testing:



That's everything so far. The last thing to do before closing up the wall is getting a bit more insulation there where the crack was fixed. After that I'm dropping in some lights behind the screen wall (almost forgot), then sheetrock goes up!!

I almost forgot: The lights are currently on plain-jane switches, but the final design calls for them to be controlled by the iRule. I've ordered some Lutron RA2 switches, which should do the trick!! I'm not installing those until after the rock and paint goes on the walls tho, so they'll be in a future update (hopefully a couple of weeks!!).
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post #58 of 322 Old 05-08-2016, 03:26 PM
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My mouth foams for updates....it foams!!!
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post #59 of 322 Old 05-08-2016, 05:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, two updates in a row. Sorry to take a few hours to post these, but I was reminded that my Mothers' Day responsibilities included grilling. Just warning you Beast, the first is not the update you are looking for... (If only because my OCD requires me to post in chronological order) Don't worry tho, by the time you read this, I'm already typing the lighting post...

This is the "rack update". If anyone remembers (or cares), the plan is for the rack to be cut out of the rear wall of the theater, and eventually be hidden behind an acoustic panel on a hinge. The cutout has been in most pics for the last 6 months, and I just finished building it out. The room behind the theater room is an exercise room, with a good sized closet. It's the closet that's on the other side of the rack hole. The rack has been built floor to ceiling, to look like a cabinet. Here's a couple of pics from the closet, looking at the back of the rack. This will be the BACK side of all the equipment, with the front side accessible from the server room.

Here's the top half. The top section is about 8", and that's where I've fed all of the cabling not yet being used (basically everything at this point). All of the wiring (speakers, network, HDMI, etc) in the previous pictures is coming out of the holes that are in the top right of the rack. Under that section is the main shelving area, which is about 5' tall x 32" You can't see them from this angle, but this area of the rack has an extra 6" width on the right, for raceway and cable management. You can also see the dedicated outlets there. Those are adjustable shelving arms you see sticking out, and a test shelf.



Here's a look at the bottom part, basically just a big 24" x 36" storage area for stuff.



Finally, a look from the screen wall, back to the opening as it stands now.
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Last edited by DougUSMC; 10-27-2016 at 06:58 AM.
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post #60 of 322 Old 05-08-2016, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, now the lighting update. For a quick re-hash, there are 4 lighting circuits in this room:
1) LED eyeballs on gimbals, in the soffit, for pointing ambiance lighting on each acoustic panel. These are regular 4" cans, with a dimmer.
2) LED strip light, hidden behind crown molding at the bottom of the soffit, to splash up on the ceiling. This is a big long run (~115') of white LED strip lights, on a dimmer.
3) LED strip lights, in the riser steps, to light down from within grates. Basically more LED strip lights, just a 6" piece in a box, on a dimmer.
4) RGB LED strip lights, behind each acoustic panel, shining out. This is color changing LED strip lights, about 7' each panel, on a switch with a remote control

Running the lighting was a little tricky, but the really hard part was making sure the whole thing was controllable from my iRule remote. For anyone new to LEDs, there's a lot of things to work out. I keep saying that my EE background is useless, b/c LEDs are more like sorcery. A dimmer may or may not work with a transformer (they're low voltage lighting), which may or may not work with the lights. It takes a lot of research to find a combo that works, that can be integrated with an iRule. I finally decided on the following:

- LED eyeballs: Pretty simple run of 4" cans w/LED eyeballs, to a Lutron Maestro dimmer
- LED strip lights: FlexFire LEDs run to Zurik LED dimmable driver, to a Lutron Maestro dimmer
- RGB LED strip lights: These are more complicated, because of the need to control the color-changing AND because the RGB driver doesn't like to be dimmed at the controller. We (the guys at FlexFire were super helpful and kicked a$$) worked out a solution where it's FlexFire RGB LEDs to a Multi-zone RGB receiver, to a Mean Well dimmable driver, to a Lutron Maestro switch

All of that wiring is just to get the lighting to do what I want. Stopping there and all of the lighting worked, I showed this in my post of a couple of weeks ago. Over this weekend I took the last step, which allows me to control all of it from my iRule (AND the app on my iPhone...).

The key to the iRule integration is the Lutron Radio RA2. There's what they call the Main Repeater, which is basically a brain for a whole-home system. All of the controllers (dimmers, switches, etc) talk to the Main Repeater, which is network capable. Basically then you can program whatever controls, scenes, etc you want to from the software running on your machine (laptop in my case), and send it to the Main Repeater. The Lutron repeater is an open standard, which allows an iRule plugin to talk to it like the app I have running on my iPhone. iRule has already developed and sells that plugin.

Full disclosure: Ran out of time tonight, so I haven't finished the iRule integration yet. I've watched their tutorial tho, and it looks pretty simple. So far it works on my iPhone tho, so I'm not concerned.

Here's what everything looks like. This is a pic from the theater into the server rack. You can see that I've started putting up sheetrock and painted the inside of the rack black. On the left is a 4 gang switch. There's one switch for each of the circuits there. On the top right you can see the Main Repeater, which I attached to the side of the rack. It has an ethernet cable connecting it to my network, and is RF to the switches. Lastly, you can see my laptop, which I'm using to configure the repeater. The way it works is that you set up everything in the software, and send it across the network to the repeater. Here's the big SCAM: I bought everything from Magnolia, who wanted to charge for installation and setup. They said it was b/c it was commercial setup only. I was having zero luck until I figured out that Lutron won't give you the software unless you're an approved installer. It took most of yesterday to get thru their online U training, but I'm now an approved installer w/my own copy of the software.



Ok, I think that's about enough for now. If anyone's interested, let me know, and I can post part #s for any/all of the components. I can also give more details on the wiring and setup of anything that anyone cares to know. I'll try to get the iRule integration done tomorrow, and post again when it's all working. Lastly, I think I went WAY overkill on the lighting, but I'd dig any more ideas!!
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Last edited by DougUSMC; 10-27-2016 at 07:02 AM.
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