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CONTEST: Tell us your worst install mistake ever and enter to win an Epson projector!


Everyone has made a mistake setting up their home theater at some point or another - it happens. So we'd like to hear your worst real-life stories or funny moments from over the years.


Basically, anything that you can remember that you're willing to admit on here.
Be it something that happened while trying to hang your flat panel or even when building your dedicated theater. We'll then pick a favorite and award the winner with a shiny new Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350 projector, valued at $1299!


So yeah, just tell us your worst install mistake you've made over the years, and you might just get something cool to feel better about it. (Photos are not required.)


We will choose from of all entries made up until 11:59:59 PM PT Friday June 22, 2012 posted in this thread.


Full Contest Rules:
http://www.avsforum.com/a/avs-worst-install-contest-rules
 

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Ok, even though I can not win, I wanted to start this off.


So, we were building our dedicated theater and part of that design was a Star Dome that was 6' x 9' in size...oval. Seeing it is made from fiberglass, it did not really bend much. Of course the size of it did not really come to mind until it arrived and we needed to bring it downstairs to install.


Our stairwell is two levels, so, it was hard to maneuver this big large non-bending costly piece of art. But that was the the "opps" part. The "opps" part was not taking into consideration the angle of the stairs and thus being able to get it though an standard door height! Sure, the door is taller than 6 feet, but when you add an angle to the 9 foot part...well, you have an issue.




We could not clear the door but 1 inch!!!! Opps! And Ouch!


The solution was to remove the entire door, frame and all right up to the header just to give us that 1 inch we needed. I was ready with the rip saw to take out that header if I needed to for that wonderful piece was going in!




So...All in all, it ended well. I won't get into the power stapler and the pex water pipe. I'll leave that for another day.


 

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How about wiring speakers to each other as opposed to the receiver, then spend 40mins scratching your head why there is no sound! Too much of a mess of wires in the back, and evidently wired an output on the receiver of one speaker to the other as well, so it didnt look like anything was missing. labeling cables before plugging them in helps i guess. I will just stop there.
 

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I accidentally shorted a sub cable that was plugged into an AVR, that was on but the display was off, against the main power sub panel. Fried everything that had HDMI hooked to it (AVR, projector, BDP, DirecTv receiver). A grown man sitting in the middle of a room in tears at 2AM is not a pretty site
The worst part was 2 days prior to it happening I scolded a friend for working on his stuff with power still going to it, he had blown a fuse on a ML sub I sold to him.


Bill
 

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Wiring up 30 channels of signal level cabling. I had ran the three conductor through the screw holes on the 42U rack that you mount the equipment ears as to keep them out of the way.


Yep, I didn't even think about it and started terminating with compression fittings. I look up as I finish the last one and then realize the blunder:mad:
:D
 

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i have 2, though not as bad as some of the others


i always end up putting my front speakers too high(cant redrill as landlord will kill me)


after setting everything up; i go to power on the system and nothing works, spend ~30 minutes checking connections before i realize i than when the toaster and microwave are used at the same time, it trips the breaker(lived in very old house when i set up my bedroom ht 1.0)


thought of another one, not an install but pretty funny; when i was moving and packing up our family ht system i removed my fathers adcom (ga-555) amp from the entertainment center's separate, non attached cabinet/rack, i turn around after putting it in a box to start getting the N64 out of the smaller cabinet underneath and the entire a/v rack falls down on top of me, didnt get hurt, was just pinned under it until my mom helped me get it off(me or the adcom, man i should have stole that thing when my parents got divorced as my father yelled at me and left me there) me out but its a pretty funny story i thought worth sharing.



btw this contest is open to all use residents including Rhode Island right?
 

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Accidentally plugged my rooftop HDTV antenna into my Comcast cable splitter and didn't realize it until the Comcast "leakage dept" knocked on my door in a frenzy. Very embarrassing since I usually know more about the cable plant system than the Comcast techs that usually come to my house. I suppose that's what happens when you're in a rush.
 

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I bought a sunfire cinema grand a few years back, and when I was setting it up- I plugged my 2 polk SDA-SRS into the amp, running an internal bi-amp like the sunfire is capable of. Well what I did not notice is a single filament of copper did not push through the hole and bridged over to the negative post from the positive. I have a very dimly lit theater so I did not see it. So later that day as I was listening to music at near reference level I kept noticing the right channel cutting out. Sure enough I eventually noticed what the problem was, but it was too late for the amp at that point. I opened it up to find a nice scorch mark on the output board. D'oh!




2nd worst mistake- Teaching the wife how to operate my rack/projector..... My brand new epson has 380 hours on it now in the last 3 months.......
 

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Hey, there used to be an old highly entertaining thread about this once upon a time. Well, anyway, here's mine.


Mark this one under potential darwin award candidate -


So I have/had this bad habit of stripping wire with my teeth. (This is known as foreshadowing) Speaker wire stripping is what I had always used them for. But when I finished my basement (bar area / bathroom / spare bedroom) and my sub basement (theater room) I got in this habit of pulling the jacket off the wire with my teeth no matter what the situation was.


At one point in the project, I had been running up and down between the bar area and the theater room, shutting breakers off, turning them back on. Well, I ran back down in the theater room, all the lights were off, and the work lights were on. So I get up on the ladder to continue wiring the can lights in the ceiling. I cut the jacket off some dangling wire and grab the jacket with my teeth and pull.


About 2 seconds later I'm off the ladder, laying on the ground, a little bewildered. Yup, I striped a 20 amp 12 gauge live wire with my teeth and had my butt handed to me for my efforts. I had made the mistake of thinking the breaker was still off for the lights in the theater room because the bar area was also dark. (The lights were on the same circuit) Turns out I had simply shut the lights off in the bar area and, after being distracted by something else for a moment, had forgotten this minorly important detail. Dark rooms meant the electricity was off, right? Not so much.


No permanent injuries that I know of (My wife might argue some cognitive function was impaired. ^_^) and the resulting theater was totally worth it. ^_^

 

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A couple who were long-time friends of my wife and I- knowing my A/V insanity- asked if they could recruit my "services" to choose a new display, BD player, AVR, speakers, and sub for their newly-remodeled living room/basement theater.


Happy to oblige and with a ~$2,000 total budget we went ahead and picked out and ordered a new Panasonic 50" GT50 (~$1000) , Panny blu ray player (~$120), Denon AVR (~$450), and (5) Definitive Technology Pro Monitor 100's that I found for a steal, all 5, new, for about $150. The final piece of the puzzle, a Definitive Supercube 1 sub, pushed them a bit over budget, but it was also an absolute no-brainer- virtually new from a girl off Craigslist who was selling her ex-boyfriends "$hit" (her word not mine) whom she had "thrown out" a couple of weeks back. Bit of a questionable move on my part, I suppose, but don't fear, I paid for it.


So this stuff trickled in over the next week or so, pretty much going straight to their garage (didn't want it sitting in the house) until all had arrived and we were ready to put it together. When the time arose, we arranged for my wife and I to stop by on a Friday night to get their $2200+ dollar Home Theater up and running. Unbox some equipment, place it on a wide-open entertainment stand, position some speakers on stands, route some HDMI cables and speaker wire, run Audyssey. Easy enough.


Well, these folks have about 20 kids last time I checked (ok, really 6). And they're all over the place.


Just getting all the stuff in the house was an absolute circus...not improved an iota by December weather in Wisconsin. Now, I'm not a man of much patience to begin with, but I'm confident that kids pretty much hanging on your femur while you're trying to move a $1000 plasma tv across a 30' stretch of icy sidewalk is more than anyone can take. When I finally reached my boiling point I stopped and politely yelled at them (and immediately got that feeling a guy gets after yelling at someone else's kids) and they finally relented...so it seemed.


The tv was first into the basement and once it was down there, in an attempt to exercise some caution regarding condensation from the severe temperature change, we decided to remove it from its carton and allow it to "breathe" while the balance of the gear was moved in and situated. Now the reality is it would have been better off left inside the box for a lot of reasons, but especially so to better transition it through the temp change. But hey, who needs to really think when you're "clever"?



Everything else went rather quickly. Receiver in, a couple of boxes of speakers, the BD player. I scooped up the sole remaining item (Super Cube sub) and headed into the house.


Now by this time (we had dinner and hung out a bit first) it was pushing 8:30 and I was wondering why these 2, 4, 6, and 8 yr-olds were still up to begin with, but what do I know (no kids of my own at this point)?


Whatever. The sub was a decent 60 or so lbs but nothing I couldn't handle (hey, I carried my 140lb Captivator up a flight of stairs and into my living room in by myself):




I popped through the door like a guy with his first born- internally beaming about the deal I landed them, picking this sub up for $350- and started heading down the basement stairs just a few steps inside the back door. They (the stairs) were carpeted and my feet were actually relatively dry.


I (cautiously of course
) cruised on down like I had already done a half-dozen times, but with 5-6 steps remaining...


I remember having a feeling akin to someone stomping on the brake pedal to stop a car while you were an unsuspecting passenger. That, and the even odder sensation of my feet remaining 6 feet behind me.


It was all over in split second. The wife said it looked like I was "flying" from where she was standing. I suppose that's what it felt like for half a second so I'll go along with that.


The death toll?


Remember that 50" Panasonic plasma television that we un-boxed? Yeah, we decided to keep it at the foot of the stairs so it would be "out of the way" while we configured the speakers and other gear. The Supercube was now firmly implanted, dead-center in the TV. Done. Exploded. I remember the smell being like nothing I had ever encountered. I was staring at crap all over my hands while I was trying to figure out how they weren't cut anywhere. My chest burned...this 60lb cube had seemingly attempted to puncture my lungs. The bd player and AVR also laid in front of the tv (of course).


The AVR came out unscathed (yea Denon packaging), but the 300+ cargo (I'm about 240) was too much for the Panny BD player...I snapped the internal foam and bent the casing so badly the LCD screen was cracked and the disc tray wouldn't open. The sub, fortunately, was largely alright. Some of the mounting screws on the (rather stout) driver had either sheared off or busted through their cabinet mounts, but simply rotating the driver and tapping some new holes mostly addressed that problem.


But there was all this and this profound feeling of dread and despair. This was not a family of unbridled means (with 6 kids, not many are). I know they had been saving for the better part of a year (at least) for this moment which was now irreparably disintegrated. I felt horrendous.


When I discovered that their 4 year old had stuck a plastic sword through the banister and directly in between my feet, setting the wheels in motion, I have to say I felt about 10% better, realizing- at the very least- the catastrophe wasn't entirely my doing.


But, sigh, it didn't really matter. They were out a $1000 tv, a nice BD player, and now had a not-so-beautiful subwoofer.


Home owners insurance is nice, but it's not free, either.


When it was over my wife and I insisted that they allow us to cover half of their deductible .


And that was one check I'm glad I never saw as I spent the entire weekend on the couch, watching football, recovering and recalling how my Kuro had arrived to my home just a year earlier...





yes, those are gigantic cracks if you cannot tell...destroyed by two imbeciles who moved (really, bounced) it up my drive way on a cart in the middle of January.



ahhhhhhhhhh, isn't this stuff fun?



James
 

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I installed a new 3CH power amp & invited my Heavy Metal Guitar friend over to demo the amp. Gave him the remote, put on Panteras' "A Vulgar Display of Power

' , broke out the RS SPL meter and recorded peak levels of > 126 DB at the LP before the smoke suddenly spewed forth from the R front speaker, the sweet smell of ozone filled the air, then the breaker tripped in the basement. All was dark, and very quiet , except for the ringing in our ears. I went down & reset the circuit breaker, & we played around a while longer. We both agreed that the new amp sounded incredible. The following day I re-ran Audyssey, & discovered that I had 4 blown tweeters & 4 blown midranges in my front towers, along with a fried crossover in the R front speaker. Several weeks later, & several hundred dollars poorer, all was back to normal. The AVRs' volume limiter is now set to +10, versus the prior setting of +18.. I think that the ringing in my ears is gone now also.
 

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I was hanging a TV and pictures and such in the bedroom of our old apartment when we first moved in. I was tapping a brad in the wall and could tell I had gotten through the drywall and had some resistance. What luck! I found a stud. So I gave a big 'twack' with my hammer and it wasn't a stud. It was the freon line to the AC unit in the closet behind. Oily freon gas starting SPRAYING out of the wall. Like a geyser!



And the best part was I couldn't do anything about it and I called maintenance. They told me they'd be over in the morning!
 

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I have two on my latest install.


1. I had to run and ethernet cable from one side of the house to the other for the Denon. Ran down into a dark damp crawlspace only about 2ft high all the way to the router, drilled appropriate holes throught the house and the concrete footings. It's a 40ft run.


I never checked the cable to ensure it worked. Guess what? It was a brand new BAD cable. Had to buy another one and do it all over again.


2. Installed an inwall component cabinet and installed all equipment, then tied and ran all the wires on the back to reduce cable clutter. Well, I forgot to cut for the fan and run wires for zone 2. I made everything so tight i was unable to pull out the denon enough to remove the wires from the back so I had to cut the back of the cabinet off.




It all worked out in the end as i made it into an access door for future fiddling.

 
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First off
Quote:
I installed a girlfriend in my couch, worst mistake for my home theater i ever made. Now i am not allowed to upgrade anymore
ROFL, Love it...


I have several stories, as I have put together several media rooms in the various places I've lived...


Most recent, and probably my wife's favorite... We moved into our new condo, and had everything actually put in the rooms. I set up the baby's room so we could get her down for a nap quickly, as she is a complete terror (4-5 hours straight screaming) if she doesn't get her nap. We got her down, and we went to our respective areas to unpack. Of course my first priority is getting the media room back up. I have a Samsung 61" DLP TV. It's not HUGE, and it's not very heavy, it's just awkward to move around. I figured I could get it up on my stand by myself easily enough. I tried a couple different things, and almost had it a few times. My last attempt the edge slipped off and I could just see the screen falling forward to smash itself on the stand and the floor.... SO, I did what any theater loving man would do... I sacrificed my body. I threw myself under the screen so it smacked into my chest instead of the stand. It knocked the wind out of me, and fell completely on top of me, and I was laying on the floor with my TV on top of me. Again, the TV isn't super heavy (specially when compared to the 57" widescreen old school rear projection I had before, THAT would have crushed me), BUT, I had the wind knocked out of me, and it was laying across my chest and arms and I couldn't get any real leverage. I'm trying to QUIETLY call for help (since the baby is asleep), and my wife can't hear me. My phone is in my pocket, but I can't quite reach it. Its one of the old "candy bar" style phones, and she is speed dial 1... So I try pressing the keys through my shorts until I hear her phone ring upstairs. She answers the phone, and of course can't hear me. She hungs up thinking I'm kidding around with her. After about 5 times, she comes STORMING downstairs and yells "WHAT?!" as she hits the bottom of the stairs. She immediately bursts out laughing for about 10 seconds *THEN* asks if I'm OK. Of course, me being the smartass that I am said that I was fine, I was using the TV to help stretch my back :p She took a pic on her phone (I'm trying to see if I can find it to attach). She helped get the TV off of me (AND onto the stand!) and asked why I just didn't yell for her... I told her I didn't want to wake up the baby. She looked at me and said, "So, you're being crushed by a TV, and you didn't want to wake the baby??"


Ok, so maybe I've stripped a few live wires with my teeth as well




Here is a story from my first media room.

I moved into a house with my best friend and his wife. He and I were always the Go-To guys when people moved, and we had helped some friends of ours (brothers) both move from their houses. One of the brothers had a pool table that he no longer used, so he gave it to us for helping them move. It was a pretty nice 3 piece slate table, and we figure we could handle moving it and setting it up. We had JUST finished the basement which included a media room with a bar area (and perfect place for the pool table). We took the legs off the pool table and figured we could just take it down the stairs and swing it around and it would be easy. It BARELY fits through the doorway, but we managed to squeeze it through with some mild scraping of the finish. We get to the bottom of the stairs and THEN realize that the stairway wasn't all open like we thought, there was a beam a the very end that went to the ceiling, so that plan was shot! We thought we might be able to tilt it and work it around the beam, so we give that a try. We end up putting a HUGE hole in the wall at the end of the stairs, and completely tear apart the ceiling, AND it doesn't work. My friend decided at this point we'd wrecked the landing, might as well finish destroying it to get the table down! He went to go get some tools, and one of our other buddies helping us looks at it and says, "Hey, from underneath, it looks like it has seams, I think this thing may come apart." We spent the next 45 minutes taking it apart and found out it was a nice THREE piece slate table :p Then of course we had to call a professional to come redo the felt for us, and by the time it was all said and done, we paid them about $20 less than if we had them completely move and set up the table for us! The landing never did get fixed :p
 
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Awhile back when i first got into home theater I had a couple of old philips towers which i believed had 2 powered woofers in them. The surounds were coming lose on the top woofer in each cabinet as they were around 20 years old so i decided i would cut the power to the top woofer and wire into the bottom ones instead. It didn't work to well as the bottom woofers were actually passive radiators. After that i somehow got the bright idea that it might work if I wired the black and red wires from the top woofers together
needless to say there was a smokey aroma in the room a few minutes later and i was left confused as to why
 

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Mine is financial and related to the entire install. I completed my home theater basement at the top of the bubble in 2007 and took a second mortgage out on it to do so. The intent was that of course, finishing the basement nice would increase the value of my house or in the last get my value out of what I put in. Simply put, they valued my house at $400K for that loan and happily gave me the second mortgage at a rate that today is just about silly (9%). This was not an issue for us, we could and still can easily afford both mortgages (25% of our net income) but that's not the point. The house is now valued at maybe $225K and we owe between the two $300K. Nobody will let us refi that second mortgage period... I would save $1200 a month consolidating the two loans but its impossible (and I've tried hard). The good thing is that I'm refi'ing the first one (23 years on it) to a 15 year loan at EXACTLY the same payment now. It was good that I chose to build my theater myself and GC big items cheap, I did it for 1/4th the cost of the GC's that quoted me. So the obvious mistake here is to be careful with your finances when it comes to your theater builds. I've had mine 5 years now and put thousands and thousands of hours on the system and consider my payment worth it. But now I'm getting to the point where I'd love to replace my projector with a new 3d unit (hint hint, I'd love to win). But I am in a financial situation today that I have no problem with but I'm not comfortable with (for example if one of us lost our jobs).
 

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My second biggest problem was with my initial Electrical. My space was an unfinished basement with bare bones electrical. So my neighbors dad was one of those "can do anything" people and they offered to run electrical in my basement theater for $500. They installed 8 can lights, stair lights and electrical box's along the walls. I started noticing soon after (space still being bare walls) that half the stuff didn't even work. Some can lights would turn on, some wouldn't. I put bulbs in the first set of can lights and 1 of them wasn't even wired up! The stair lights would turn on and off variable to how the two switches were set (I have no idea how they did that). Needless to say, when I started getting serious about the space I hired a proper electrical contractor to come out to add several new things like I wanted such as wall heaters and dedicated circuits that required a new sub panel down there. Those guys took one look at that existing electrical and basically ripped it out and started over. The electrician was shocked and asked me if I hired someone on crack (seriously). They were good about this and didn't even charge me extra (I have the general feeling they still made a lot of money on the adventure any ways). The contractor told me my house would have burnt down if I had put sheet rock up. These guys did me right, got permits and had it properly inspected. In 5 years it has worked flawlessly with all the good stuff I have down there! Lesson learned, let the pro's do the important stuff.
 

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My mistake may seem trivial, but it's a funny example of letting my enthusiasm get the better of my common sense.


Have you ever heard of the Laserfilm video format? Of course not. Why would you? It’s an ultra-obscure video disc format developed by McDonnell-Douglas in the early ’80s for flight simulators. The format didn’t catch on and was never marketed outside the company.


Nevertheless, several years back, someone got hold of a bunch of these players (they were cleaning out McDonnell-Douglas storage, I assume) and listed them on eBay for extremely low prices. Curiosity got the best of me. I think I paid $10 for one, but the damned thing was so heavy that the shipping cost twice that. Still, $30 was still not a lot of money to waste, so I didn’t feel too bad about it… until it got to my home, and I quickly realized that I had no idea what to do with it.


The Laserfilm player was a big, heavy tank of a machine. It had only one video output: RF coax (the pointy one that cable TV comes in on). I managed to plug this in (I had to route it through my VCR) and power on the unit. That brought up a blue screen that verified it was working. And then… Well, that was it. I had no software to play on this thing, and no way of ever getting any.


So, two minutes later, I unplugged it. That was the end of my grand Laserfilm experiment. I eventually got rid of the player, but I have to admit that it sat as a doorstop in my home theater room for quite a while, taunting me with repeated reminders of my foolish impulsiveness. I’d like to say that I learned my lesson and never made similar mistakes again after that, but sadly that’s not the case.
 

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My worst mistake: I setup the display, connected all the wires in their correct inputs/outputs, switch on the display Then I realized I DIDN'T PLUG EVERYTHING BACK INTO THE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS!
 
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