The Future is Now

Time to take advantage of that “future expansion” I mentioned in my last post. The space left after removing the shelf is 38″ wide by 22″ high by 8″ deep. Perfect for a flat-panel if you ask me. I researched every single panel made in the last 2 years and found a discontinued one by Sharp that had both removable speakers and a separate ‘tuner’ box. It measured 21 1/2 inches high by 36″ wide. It was going to be a challenge to mount but one I was willing to take on. I took a chance and ordered a used/refurbished Sharp Aquos 37G4U on eBay. I wanted the separate tuner box because the other components (DVD/TiVo, etc) were going to be about 8 feet away and I’d rather route one large cord to the screen then 3 or 4 component cables (each with 3-5 RCA leads) and the cable TV coax. Plus, the screen is in a very tight space which is not good for cooling. The fewer electronics there to generate heat the better.






I couldn’t use a typical plasma/LCD mount in this set-up because I didn’t have enough space to ‘drop’ the screen into the mount (most had a 1/2 “lip” to hold the screen). A full articulating mount seemed like overkill, plus the ones for 37″ TVs are very expensive. I thought about custom-building a simple mount out of aluminum, but didn’t want to try it without a drill press. Fortunately, I found a good compromise with the Peerless 850 — it pulls out a modest 10″ and rotates a bit. Great for good ventilation during long movies, or for rotating the TV a bit when folding laundry on the floor.

With only 1/4″ clearance on the top and bottom, accuracy was critical. I test-fit the screen on the mount on some bare stud-walls in the basement to get exact measurements before trying it for real.






Here it is installed in the shelves.






Now for the wiring. In the lower-left of this picture you can see the DVD player and the tuner box tucked under the built-in desk area. The large gray cord is all that goes to the TV.






Then I used a hole-saw bit with an extender to drill through the shelves and the wall.





I installed some PVC pipe as conduit in the longer runs through the wall to make running the wire easier. 

I installed some PVC pipe as conduit in the longer runs through the wall to make running the wire easier. Unfortunately, this room was not wired for cable TV. However, since my condo sits right above the garage that should be easy to remedy. I removed the baseboard right behind the DVD player area to find — the house’s original baseboard! As you can see, it was really wedged in there:






I didn’t want to cause a lot of damage getting it out, since I didn’t want to make this into a drywall project, too. A circular saw wasn’t going to make a big cut once I set the depth guage to about 1/2″ (the gash in the wood is where I tried to do that and changed my mind). A quick trip to Home Depot solved my problem — I found the as-seen-on-tv RotoZip that has now been legitimized since it was bought by Bosch. It cuts everything, has a depth gauge, and can get pretty close to the edges of the baseboard. It also comes with this great carrying case:






I was thinking that it would make a pretty hip purse, and at $150 it seems pretty cheap when compared to a designer bag. What other handbag comes with a RotoZip as the included accessory?

To make an already long story somewhat shorter, the RotoZip lived up to its name and I had the wood pulled out in about 60 seconds without damaging the neighboring drywall.






I RotoZipped through some of the lath, dropped a coax into the garage, hid the large hole in the wall with the DVD player and Tivo, moved the tools back to the garage, cleaned up enormous mess I made, and now I’m ready for houseguests! (And I’ll get away with it as long as my guests don’t read my blog.)