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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been hard at work getting my theater room ready for moving stuff into place (will be getting a CRT projector); a bit of touch-up paint and that stage will be finished. I picked up a couple of 18' red rope lights (grey ceiling, burgundy walls, both in flat), but I'm not quite sure how to effectively put them to use. The effect looks like it would be very cool, and the flat paint seems to be good and non-reflective, but they are quite bright. I haven't placed them on the walls/ceiling yet and sat in a regular seating position, but it seems like the brightness would be distracting. Do people generally install the rope lights behind soffets (?), only behind the main seating position, at floor level, or something else?


Dan
 

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Dan-

All of the above!


Spend some time with the search engine and read some of the many rope light threads. You'll find that they are being used in a number of ways. And, most of them are dimmable, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I found the sheer number of references a bit overwhelming and was hoping for a consensus of some sort. :) I'll hit the search again, though...


I hadn't considered a dimmer. The lights I've got (GE) don't indicate one way or the other if they can be used with a dimmer, but I'm guessing they're ok. I don't have easy access to wall re-wiring, so it would need to be an external dimmer switch. I haven't looked for those, but I would assume there's such a thing in the lighting section?


Thanks,

Dan
 

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A couple of thoughts for you:

- Rope lighting looks best when it's used indirectly, like behind soffits, etc.

- You can use an in-line dimmer or an X-10 dimmer, which would allow you to turn the lights on/off/dim remotely. X-10 lamp modules plug in the wall between the outlet & the rope light plug. You use an x-10 remote controller plugged into any other conveniently located outlet. These are pretty cheap -- I'd expect approx. $20 for both the lamp module and the controller.

- This time of year, there is a lot of cheap rope lighting available in x-mas light depts of Target, etc.


Regards

BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the suggestions. I realized last night that a soffit is pretty much out of the question, as it would have to run right where a motion sensor (existing security system that I haven't yet activated) is installed... The other side of the room does not lend itself well to a soffit (back of the fireplace, wood enclosures for the furnace and water heater, and a recessed door to the living room in between the two; Here's a rough mockup of the room I did before actually moving in; the back corner shelf is gone now)...


Given that, I'm thinking there are two places that will best lend themselves to rope lighting:


1) on the back edge of the screen for indirect ambient light


2) on the front lip of the back seating riser that I plan to build eventually...


#1 would be good to have controllable (I looked at the X-10 site; are those products also sold at stores such as Home Depot and Lowe's?) to adjust the lighting to the movie or turn it off altogether, but I would think #2 would be fine once dimmed to the proper level. I plan to plug the rope light(s) into a power strip used for my amps and subs to turn them on all together, so that would be a convenient way to turn the lights on at the same time.


I picked up the two 18' sections for $7 each at a discount store (just browsing through after visiting the lumber yard next door), which is a few bucks less than I've seen them anywhere else. Unfortunately, 18' isn't quite right for any one dimension I'm working with... For my intended screen size, it needs to be more like 22' to wrap around the perimeter, although I don't see any reason why I couldn't make a smaller inner rectangle to wrap the 18 footer completely around and just dim it less.


Dan
 

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I'm installing rope lights under the overhang (1 1/2 inch) of my risers and stage. This way the light is directed down instead of up into people's eyes.
 

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Dan, off-topic, but make sure you have a good power strip for your equipment, maybe not even an actual power strip, but a good power center isntead. You don't want to make power problems any worse with a cheapie ($8) surge protecting strip.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The power strips I'm using are competent (rated high enough for the equipment), but certainly not of the luxurious $100-400 power center variety. The wiring in the HT portion of the house looks to have been upgraded fairly recently (new outlets, wire, and electrical panel), which is good because my office at the other end of the house can't run my computer and laser printer at the same time without the lights flickering...


I'd love to build a stage and put rope lighting there, but my room presents a major challenge in that respect. It slopes down rather sharply to the front and to the left, making for a lot of levelling that would be necessary. I haven't measured it, but I think the left speaker sits about 4" lower than the right speaker. A well constructed stage would be a handy way of levelling that, but I think it would be less trouble to just place the appropriate boards down for each speaker, as I've been experimenting with.


Dan
 

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Instead of a soffit, you can use a piece of moulding along the ceiling (slightly below) to hide rope lighting.


You can get X-10 controllers & modules at Radio Shack (under their own brand -- Plug N Power).


Regards

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As mentioned above, I don't think a soffit (or molding) is going to work well after all, due to the motion sensor on the only wall it would really fit with. I'm probably better off working with alternate lighting placements than making a mess of that...


Sounds like Radio Shack is worth a look, thanks. I'll be making a big Home Depot trip later this week, so I'll see if they happen to have anything, too.


Dan
 
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