[Home]Ceiling Mounting The Projector

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After enjoying the home theater for a couple of weeks with the projector sitting on the coffee table, I finally got around to the final installation task - mounting the projector to the ceiling. After reviewing the installation instructions for my Chief RPA-102 ceiling mount, I found again that equipment installation in an already-finished room would take some creativity. The mount that I have is designed to either be pipe-mounted, or installed onto four long lag bolts attached to ceiling/floor members. The slots for the lag bolts describe a circular path so that the mount/projector can be rotated 30 degress or so (yaw adjustment).

Neither of the normal mounting options was available to me, since I have a sheetrocked ceiling, and I was not about to pull any of that down to secure a pipe or lag bolts. For the same reason, I also had the challenge of getting the power and video signals to the projector once mounted.

Creating a Mounting Plate

After reflecting on the problem for a while, I came up with a pretty good solution - I found a way to mount the projector indirectly to a ceiling joist. The indirection comes in because the bolt pattern (a rectangle) on the mount doesn't have the right dimensions to just screw it into the ceiling joist with a set of wood screws. So, I designed a "mounting plate" onto which I bolted the projector mount, then attached the mounting plate to the ceiling joist with wood screws.

The mounting plate is 1/2" MDF shelving bought from the local hardware store. I had them cut a square piece off the end of the shelf. When I got it home, I set the plate up on my handy-dandy Workmate bench, and drilled three equally-spaced holes, sized for #8 wood screws, in a straight line across the square. I would screw the plate to the ceiling through these holes. I then drilled four holes for #8 bolts in the pattern required by the Chief projector mount. I bolted the projector mount to the plate, being careful to leave just enough play so that the mount could be rotated, with some effort, within the installation slots for the bolts.

Bottom of projector mounting plate, with Chief projector mount bolted on.

No ceiling is perfectly flat (especially mine), so I needed a way to prevent the plate from rocking once installed against the ceiling. My solution for this was to attach three 3/8" tall self-stick rubber feet to the top of the mounting plate in a triangular configuration. Three points define a plane, so I was guaranteed a good "footing" for my plate on the uneven ceiling.

Top (ceiling side) of projector mounting plate. Note rubber feet.

All that being done, I screwed the plate to a ceiling joist with three #8 x 2 1/5" wood screws. I wanted to do it with round-head screws (because they have a flat bottom surface that would mate nicely against the plate), but had to use flat head (countersunk) screws instead. Whatever - it worked fine. After mounting the plate, I pulled down on it a bit, and found that it was super-secure (at least it feels that way to me). I figure if two little 25lb-limit plant hangers can hold up my 30lb pulldown screen, then three #8 wood screws driven 1" into the joist can support 20lbs of projector, mount, and plate no problem.

Mounting plate, screwed into ceiling joist.

Longer shot of mounting plate, screwed into ceiling joist.

Projector and Wiring

Once the plate was on the ceiling, it was child's play to attach the projector to it. I had just enough play to be able to rotate the projector on the yaw axis, as planned. I used the lens shift feature of the projector to adjust the other axes.

Next, I put the Wiremold surface raceway into action. I put a vertical piece on the front wall, nearly to the ceiling, then installed three pieces leading from that point back to the projector, along the ceiling. The third piece needed to be cut down a bit, which worked out great, because I used the left over to make a right-angle turn to the projector. It looks very neat, if I say so myself. At first I was afraid that the self-stick adhesive would not be strong enough for ceiling mounting, but it seems to be holding nicely (for now, anyway).

Projector mounted.

Cabling was next. I had to make an extension cord for the projector A/C, since it seems to be impossible to get a 25' long computer-style extension cord. So I bought a regular 25' grounded extension cord, and cut off the female end of it. I cut off the female end of a spare computer cord, and spliced it onto the extension cord. For my video cable I needed something much thinner than the thick-as-my-thumb combined cable I'd been using while the projector was on the coffee table. Blue Jeans Cable to the rescue: I bought 25' of their Belden 1855A-based component video cable, which is three separate, and very thin, cables. These cables are thin enough to coexist with the thick extension cord inside the raceway. I tucked the extension cord and video cable into the Wiremold raceway and snapped it shut (95% of it, anyway, there were some short sections on one piece of raceway where the wire had apparently gotten twisted in such a way that it was basically impossible to snap the raceway shut - rather than start over, I just did the best I could and snapped as much as possible).

(For those of you wondering about the wisdom of routing signal cable and power cable together - I'm happy to report that I see no visible side-effects to my installation).

Projector mounted, performing adjustments. Note Wiremold cable raceway.

Long shot of mounted projector.

Enjoying the fruits of my labor!

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Last edited October 24, 2011 9:11 pm by Mike (diff)

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