Hello, and thanks for stopping by. Here you will find all the gory details of my great odyssey into the land of Home Theater.

These pages contain many images so a slow connection could mean a painful experience.

If you see anything here that you're interested in and you have questions, drop me a line. I'll see if I can add more pictures or text to clarify.


I'm currently trying to figure out why the DVD image "stutters" occasionlly. After much XP tweaking (not any better), my current theory is that the DVD drive needs to be using DMA, not PIO. I can't seem to get the drive into DMA mode, so I'll be trying another drive soon.
The screen was finished before Christmas, even with all the problems. I've updated that part of the site. Don't have much to say right now as I'm trying to relax on this hectic holiday.
My problems with the screen are hopefully resolved. Dalite is sending me a new screen and I've resolved the masking issue tonight. It all works perfectly. Now, I just need the replacement screen and then a couple of loose ends and I should be watching movies! I still need to post some pictures.

I also received the new CPU for the HTPC: an Athlon XP 1700+. That should give me plenty of spare horsepower. Maybe I'll get some games for XMas.

Thanksgiving has passed and I'm not done. I was getting real close but a few problems appeared and I'm back to doing a little design. The screen enclosure is almost done, but not quite. I've updated the Screen page with what I have so far, but it needs more work.
I got the screen but it was slightly damaged by UPS. The shipping box was a little bent, which kinked the rolled material a little. Leaving the screen rolled, sitting on the floor has helped a little. When I get it hung up, I'll try a little heat from a blow-dryer. If that doesn't help, I'll get a new one. That would suck.

The bulk of the screen enclosure is done. The outside is painted white to match the walls. I'm finishing up work on the roller drums and weight bars then I'll assemble everything. I still have to sew some velvet too. My Thanksgiving deadline is shot, but maybe by the end of the weekend I'll be done.

New screen has been ordered. Because of some screw-up by DaLite, the new, smaller screen costs more than the original one I ordered. Oh well. I've built the frame for the screen and ordered an additional motor. My daughter had a snow day yesterday so I was able to stay home and get some things done.

Here's the short list of things still to do: finish wood/mechanical stuff, polyeurathane/paint the enclosure, sew velvet masking, make weight bar for screen, install screen, install masking, assemble motor controller, lots of wiring, hang enclosure on the wall.

I added a couple of links to screenshots of the plans for the lift arms in the Projector Lift section. They are to the right of the first picture.

I've been working on building the motorized screen but had a major setback yesterday. I had ordered the screen material but just found out that DaLite can't make the screen I want. I won't get into the details of why, but the result is that I've had to totally redesign the mechanical systems for the screen. What a stressful day. I'm still stressing out since I had to do a shotgun redesign and I don't know if it will really work yet.

Big update to the site. I added pictures and text to the Motor Controller, Projector Lift, and Wiring sections. I also added a "percent complete" indicator next to some of the sections in the contents pane on the left.

My main focus now is the motorized screen. I've ordered the screen material and I'm in the process of fabricating the enclosure and roller drums. I expect things to happen quickly, but with my luck lately, they'll drag out much longer than I want.

The lift is done and the projector is mounted! I've begun work on the screen enclosure now; making lots of sawdust.

I haven't had the time to update the site this weekend, but I did upload the images, so all I have to do now is add the text. I'll try on Monday.

Projector Lift installed, track lights installed, ceiling fans installed, media port wiring installed, living room is mostly put back together. I've been so busy with all this I haven't been keeping the site up to date. I have almost 20 new pictures to post and I'll be adding a "Wiring" section soon as a catch-all for the electrical and media wiring. It seems that 24 hours in each day is not enough.

Tonight I plan on making the final adjustments to the lift and installing the projector wiring, and body willing, mount the projector. I'm trying to get done with all this so I can begin work on the screen enclosure. My opening day target is Thanksgiving weekend, but I'm not sure I'll make it. I keep looking at my to-do list and it's always seems to be growing.

Rented scaffold on Friday morning, by noon I had my first injury. I firmly stand by my own addage, "It's not a real project until you draw blood."

The projector lift is up! The track lights are up! I still have to work on the ceiling fans, tweak the lift adjustments, and add a small section of track, I'm very pleased so far. I've taken pictures along the way and will post them soon. The last major hurdle is the 2" flexible conduit run through the ceiling and down the wall to the media panel. That will happen some time this week when my father can help, then I'll be able to run the video cable to the PJ.

Tested the MotorController and it works! I had only one problem: missing a ground connection on the serial port, but a quick 1/2" patch wire fixed that. I've got a couple more MotorController pics to post sometime.

I've rented the scaffolding for this weekend so I'll finally be mounting the projector lift and track lights. This is the moment I've been waiting for. Many pics will follow in the coming weeks.

Redesigned the site, hope it's better. I still have a couple of pages to add and some more pictures; maybe tonight. I've been busy with electrical wiring this weekend. I've also built the real version of the motor controller and hopefully will get to test it tonight.