Easy access to equipment connects in closet?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Tom Koegel, Jan 2, 2005.

  1. Tom Koegel

    Tom Koegel Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm in the midst of remodel in which I am designing a family TV room. This will not really be a fully dedicated home theater room--more of a conventional family room with either one of the JVC D-ILA RPTVs or a plasma on the wall, with wall-mounted speakers in the front and inwall surrounds in the rear.

    More to the point, my wife's highest goal is to make all the electronics disappear into a nice wide (and reasonably high) cabinet at the rear of the room. My previous home theater room was a bedroom in the unremodelled house, and my wife had had a very lovely tall oak unit created to accommodate all my electronics, which are substantial: Denon AVR-5600, DVD, LD, Replay, VCR, etc. My one huge complaint about the setup was the difficulty--nigh on impossibility--of wiring the connects among all the electronics. The unit was built into the wall, and one had to reach around the electronics to plug things in. You either had to use a mirror or, for the most part, use a diagram of the rear panel of the devices and then plug things in by feel.

    The new cabinet is much wider than before, so I suppose it would be possible to lean into the right hand side of the unit while connecting all the devices that will be mounted on the left. But there must be a better way to do this for those of us without a true equipment closet and rack system where one could step into the unit and wire directly from the back. What do people use? I could imagine, I guess, sliding shelves. But the Denon (among other components) is an absolute beast in weight, and I can't imagine sliding this in and out. There must be a more clever way to do this than I am imagining.

    We are still in the midst of the remodel, so I have a lot of flexibility. And I am inclined to spend whatever money is necessary to make this work elegantly, as this may be my one shot to get this right--given how much harder it is to accomplish things after you finish the buildout.

    I appreciate all thoughts and comments.

    Tom
     
  2. Tom Rosback

    Tom Rosback Stunt Coordinator

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    Tom,
    I absolutely hate wall units with no way to get to the back of the equipment. Rear access is worth every penny it costs. I built a slide-in rack to hold all my gear. Atlantic Technologies makes slide-in racks that most pro installers use. These are dressed up with custom cabinetry. Or you can provide rear access through a 'closet' in another room.
     
  3. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Tom:

    Since you are in the process of remodeling is there any way you can have access to the closet from the back side? If not I would go with Tom's suggestion and get a slide out rack.

    Parker
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    I have a wall unit and I’ve never had a problem getting to the back of the gear. I just turn it sideways. It helps if your unit has enough shelving width and cable slack to accommodate this.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. Tom Koegel

    Tom Koegel Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Tom, Parker, and Wayne. The other side of the cabinet wall is outside the house, so slide out racks seem like the only way to go. Tom, are your slide out racks designed so that you can stick your head in the unit look over or under the shelves to inspect the rear panel of the device in question when the rack is partially pulled out? Also, what kind of weight can these support? My Denon is a very heavy piece of equipment.
     
  6. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Tom:

    One of our vendors, Cable Organizer, has a pull out system that allows you to rotate the equipment 90 degrees once you have pulled the rack out.

    If I were in your situation I would have some sort of rack that I could pull down and then mess with the wiring out from the wall. That way you can see everything a lot better and you aren't hooking up the wrong wire/cable to the wrong piece of equipment and so forth.

    Parker
     
  7. Tom Rosback

    Tom Rosback Stunt Coordinator

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    Tom,
    As the rack slides out on a track and rollers, it comes completely out of the wall and I have full access to the rear of the equipment. No neck-craning or head-twisting required. The rack is made of 3/4" MDF, and is now holding about 300 lbs of gear, including a 5 channel 300 wpc amp that weighs in close to 85 lbs by itself. Weight is not an issue.

    4" dia. roller bearing wheels allow the rack to slide on a track made of plywood and 1x2 lumber. This track is in two pieces, one is permanently mounted inside the closet, the other is stored separately and laid on the floor when the rack needs to be pulled out.

    Commercially available solutions like Parker mentioned are much more elegant.
     
  8. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Tom R:

    Great job on your HT and equipment rack. Commercial Sommercial. You ought to sell your rack to others. The one thing that I think would be cool is to put the whole rack on a plate that rotates 180 degrees.

    If you are not aware we have a theaters page which you can upload pictures of your setup.
     
  9. Tom Rosback

    Tom Rosback Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for the kind words, Parker. We get so much enjoyment out of our theater. What a great hobby, so many different aspects. All enabled by this forum.

    The 180 degree rotation idea is a great one, it would definitely come in handy, and I don't think it would be hard to do.

    I'm in the process of updating my website (so far, I've only managed to break a bunch of links and screw it up) and will post new pictures when I get it done.

    I hope there have been a few more Kansas City HTF meets. I enjoyed meeting you, seeing the TI DLP at the AMC 30 in Olathe, and going to Audioport. That was back in 2001, and I moved up here to Minnesota that summer.

    Regards,
     
  10. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Tom:

    That was a fun day. It was really cool getting to see Fantasia in an empty theater via their digital projector setup. I haven't been to any other type of get together here in Kansas City. Life has kept me way too busy.
     

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