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Barn conversion, ideas please

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by Nic Rhodes, Feb 16, 2003.

  1. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I hope this is the right place for this....

    Decision time but I need some help guys

    My barn has got full architects drawings and a quality builder has been engaged to start, probably in the next few weeks but there are still a few things I am undecided on. I should meet with the electrician this week. I would appreciate any advice from my friends here.

    Electrics
    I have had a decent number of sockets specified around the room but feel I also need ones in the floor for a floor mounted projector. Is this worth it? The projector is probably the only AV device that will not change position in the room (along with the screen). Although I will start off with my dedicated mains ring, it is highly likely in the future that I will rewire with Kimber cable when I have money again (after twins?!). I would like this to be as easily accomplished as possible by me (time permitting). Any suggestions on what to instruct my electrician to do to enable this?

    The projector will take 5 leads from the projector to the scaler and I am unsure how to hind them, though I don’t want to trip over them I may want to change things at a later stage like a scaler upgrade. [Let’s hope the Tag isn’t silly money]. Are these the best plumbed in cables to have? If so I will put 5 BNC leads under the floor etc with a good extra length, just in case!

    Herein lies my problem. If I was installing a one off system I would probably hide all the mains, interconnects and loudspeaker cables in the walls / floor and call it a job well done. However knowing me I always like to experience new things and things are therefore like to chop and change a little more than most systems. How do I best accomplish this? I had thought about these false skirting boards but don’t want to get interconnects / LS wires too close to mains. Perhaps I am looking at something more akin to a shop demo room here! Any ideas on how I might attempt this?

    Lighting
    I want to keep as basic as possible but controllable. I would like to keep this as simple (read cheap) as possible at this stage and add the Lurtons of this world at a later stage. I do like the idea of separate lamps with X10 controls (I have loads already) combined with 6 gentle up-lighters. Any other suggestions I should look at?

    Aesthetics
    Room colour is undecided at this stage but is low on priorites at this stage. I like the idea of deep green or deep red. Certainly a dark ceiling. It is highly likely that the room will have black curtains down the sides to help me optimise the acoustics as well as control the light level. Room floor I would like to be real wood (maple) but will also have a liberal covering of mats etc. Mats / rugs / curtains are all post build tweaks that I will expect to happen in the year or two following the completion of the AV / Music room.

    I have most things sorted except for a final power amp and screen. The screen will come from Gordon but I am ‘unsure’ about power requirement for a room this size (It isn’t huge but much larger than I am used to). I have listened extensively to many power amps but not being able to get them into the room has held me back at this stage. Room size is 27’ by 17’ going up to the A frame roof. Room volume is therefor of the order of 6500 cubic feet, perhaps 6x the average 12’ x 12 room. I am obviously familiar with speaker sensitivities and power rating but I am struggling to get a feeling of how many watts are need to drive L and R (with two small subs as well). What work I have done seems to indicate a massive power amp. Do you think this is correct?

    The room will also have a significant music / film library to store.
     
  2. JohnS

    JohnS
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    I think your best bet for the electrical and speaker cabling is to use replacement upvc skirting that is also trunking. These come as a multi-chamber affair so will allow you to keep electrical and speaker cables in different compartments. Its not cheap though! www.cpc.co.uk is probably a reasonable place to start looking to guage cost. They also do a dado rail version if you want two completly seeperate runs.

    As far as cables to the projector then some round conduit as large as you can get away with and some draw string twice as long as the run so that a cable can be worked in or out from either end. This is easier said than done though if you are trying to get a conduit run through joists.
    In a wooden floor, how about a purpose designed hinged lid over a gulley. The lid made from the same wood as the rest of the floor and so could "blend". Again it may prove difficult depending on which way joists run.
     
  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I'm with John. You need to run conduit under the floor.

    Lights: Lutron is quiet and dims everything. Others don't dim everything and can be noisy. X10 isn't that smooth but is cheap and effective. Only thing to watch with it though is that you don't have noise from anything on the circuit as it will disrupt control. That includes noisey switchmode lighting transformers. With these you amy find that when lights are off they go on but once on they wont go off......

    Dark red is a great colour for a room. I've done dark green with same coloured roof as well. You have to remember with a really dark painted room though that you need LOTS of light to see anything when you want to see something.

    Gordon
     
  4. Zig

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    A point or two to bear in mind which may be of some help for you. Drilling or notching the joists to accept large conduit will weaken them, it would be worthwhile discussing this with the architect who should be able to specify thicker joists if needed. Also I would get a sample of the Kimber mains cable so that the electrician can run large enough conduit for easier mains cable changing later. He may well need to use deeper wall boxes too so you have more room with the cable.
     
  5. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    Nic.
    Can i offer as a suggestion perhaps a dado type trunking around the entire perimeter, they usually have 3 compartments (B.S specifiied) to allow class1/2 (or A.V equivalent) wiring, nicer examples are well made in construction with a tapered top and could pass as skirting, pre-fabricated internnal, external bends and t-pieces are available for presentable customisations and would allow easy patch-panel type configurations to be integrated.
    If the floor construction allows a similar flush trunking arrangement would be a good option this has an oversized lid that sits flush to the floor level to allow easy access for what ever.
    I use Futronix lighting controllers which contain multiple assignable channels (for scenes) and definable fade rates (a must for that finishing touch!), at a fraction of Lutron cost's, but still, not exactly cheap
    I have used them for several years now without incidence and their customer service is to be applauded.
    Uplighting is most certainly the best soft light option given the nominally darker enviroment, L.V diochric lighting is best suited to light, bright rooms with clean lines given it's inherently cold colour temperature (very efficient, very bright).

    Steve
     
  6. Mark Ward

    Mark Ward
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    Do make sure you will definitely floor mount. In my room I saw this as the only solution, however now I'm going to suspend from steel cables. 100kg over 4 cables is no strain at all on the cables I've been assured. The has the added benefit of great freedom with seating options.
    From my experiences here.. Electricians will instist that spurs are more than adequate since the load isn't really so great. I may be teaching you to suck eggs here but my advice would be:-

    1/Do use ring mains not spurs, possibly more than one so you can keep video and any equipment that uses external transformers away from the rest?

    2/Isolated earthing with dedicated external spike(s) has a massive effect, greater than the mains cable from my experience.

    3/Don't put a huge quantity of sockets on the wall, good quality extention blocks can screw onto the skirting/wall by the socket and work very well. Should you ever come to sell the house you haven't got a stupid ugly bank of sockets to deal with.

    4/Use Good quality unswitched sockets

    5/I'm not convinced that Kimber mains cable is a cost effective solution. I used heavy duty solid core (as used in hospitals) with the intention of replacing late but have already decided to keep it.

    6/Allow socket positioning to allow you to go for all active speakers, even if you don't think you'll follow this route. You may change your mind later.

    7/Active subs really do suffer from hum on poorly earthed loops so make sure they are allowed for in your "clean" mains strategy.

    8/Run everything in conduit. I used 30mm black poly pipe which is reasonably cheap in 50M lengths and will take a lot of cable for some of my runs. I regret using narrower pipe for some of the more difficult run and it's borderline whether I'll get the necessary cabls through them. I may have to run an extra length.:(

    Trunking again, possibly even drainpipe under the floor if you have the room.
    Mock it up in a paint program, it really helps. I haven't painted my room but here it is in Green and Red
    I'm intending to have black steel hooks at the top of the walls all around so I can add and removed fabric hanging down the walls as needed. I got the idea from Leeds Castle where rooms used fabric to decorate royal chambers.
    I can't help feeling that a fitted carpet with thick underlay would help dampen sound refelction.
    You may need less than you think. If you get a chance to come to Kent you are welcome to see my 12,500cubic/ft room also into an A roof. I'm currently running with 1 X Rotel1075 (Waiting arrival of the 985 for the surrounds from Cyrus) and an old Sherwood reciver running the rears. I've not got my wall treatment, carpet or curtaining up yet and it already sounds pretty OK. I'm using a 10ft image at the moment on a sheet. I've ordered a 10ft Electric screen from Roland. Even though my is currently a work in progress you may find a visit could help some of your decisions.
    Ikea Billy Bookcases. They hold many 100's of DVD's each and can be stacked 2 deep if required.

    Hope some of this is of help. Good luck, it's actually a really fun time the months before you start :)

    Mark.
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Gordon's last top secret tip......

    If you are re-wiring then stick a couple in for devices you want to try occasionally. For the stuff which will be in situ fit a cooker outlet. The internal bus bar can take 16mm mains in on one side and have 5 x 13amp IEC/figure of 8 flying leads screwed off it. This takes up the space of 1 x 13amp Socket where you would have 5.....it also sounds better. No more secrets.......unless you cross my palm with silver.

    Gordon

    P.S. All you DIY mains leaders I have built my own prototype and might let a few out for appraisal....hahaha
     
  8. Broomie100

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    With regards to your lighting control. Can i recommend you take a look at Rako controls. www.rakocontrols.com
    The dimmers can be mounted local to fittings or in-line in the case of free standing lamps and plugged into a local socket.
    The control panels are WIRELESS and offer full scene setting and programming capabillity with hand helds optional as well as other "cute" functions
    I hope this helps
     
  9. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Nice stuff Broomie100 and welcome to the forums. I see on your profile that you list rako as your home page. I presume then you are an employee. It's usual for representatives of companies to make their name and position available in the signature under your post.

    Gordon
     
  10. themadhippy

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    As sevral have already mentioned use plastic skirting board trunking,companys such as marshal tufflex,egatube,and mita all spring to mind,it is avaliable in steel but it dont looke very domestic.
    for the outlets use proper 3 compartment flooring trunking with flush fitting outlet traps.
    has anyone considered using dimmers and control gear aimed at the entertainments industry? i know 96 channels at 2kw is a bit of overkill but some of the smaller 12 channel/500watt dimmers could be usefull
     

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