Ask an Electronics Technician, The E help Thread!
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Ask an Electronics Technician, The E help Thread!


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Old 12-28-2014, 10:08 AM   #1
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Ive been an Electronics Technician for about 35 years now. My interest, training, Background and expertize in the area have grown wide over years starting as a US Army Radio Operator in 1980, apprenticing 10 years in a TV shop and as Lead E-Tech the last 20+ in our Universities Sciences Electronics shop. Aside of my main income, Ive owned a couple businesses that deal with integration of high tech electronics into auto's, Homes and commercial entities. Im closing in fast on designing, wiring and launching 1000 Tech enhanced Learning spaces mostly in Colleges and Universities on the east coast, some are the first of their kind.

Many of the things I work with have little or no practical consumer applications (Xrays and tons of lab quality equipment). Other stuff I do is all about what people want in their homes and businesses Like Big Video Displays, Surround Sound Systems, Digital Signage, Voice and sound Reinforcement and Multi Media systems delivery and control.

I do not pretend to know everything and will often tell you, "I will get back to you on that one". I will get back to you, I cant know everything but know how to find out quickly enough.

Are you thinking about doing some Home Systems? Adding a Big Screen, Zoned Sound System, Security Cameras or having issues with one you currently own? Ask an E-Tech, me! If I dont know the answer, there are at least a few folks here that are Engineers that can tell us both what to do.

One of the home projects Im currently working on is moving my Whole Home System to a centralized location. I underestimated my intentions 12 years ago when I started building it and its outgrown its location in the living room, wife says its got to go and I agree- Unfortunately Ive already got over 5 miles of wire and cable run to the old location so rerouting and reconfiguring everything will be a challenge (I like challenges).

The Backbone is all Crestron switching and control and when Im finished, there will be two 5.1 surround sound systems, 3 (maybe 4)flat panel displays, up to 10 other stereo zones indoors and out of sound, multiple cameras, lighting controls, Dish/ DVR, AM/ FM/ TV Antenna, Phone and internet distributed from one central location to the entire home. Heres a link to the main processor that runs the entire system, check it out, its awesome!

http://www.crestron.com/resources/product_and_programming_resources/catalogs_and_brochures/online_catalog/default.asp?jump=1&model=AMS#

When I say its a project, it is and prolly will never be finished till the day I sell our home many moons from now but I expect to have much of it fully functioning in the next few weeks. I dread cutting over to the new location cause thats gonna mean lots of crawling, reterminating and programing before my wife can again push just one button on the touch panel labeled for her and see and hear her favorite FOOD Network without yelling to me "It doesnt work"!

Thats my fun, what have you got going on in the Multi Media or other Electronics world you want to talk about or have questions about?
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:41 PM   #2
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I got some simple things for you. Fix the outlet in my bathroom and mount a TV on the wall in my bedroom.
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Old 12-28-2014, 01:36 PM   #3
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I got some simple things for you. Fix the outlet in my bathroom and mount a TV on the wall in my bedroom.
Easy Peasy, Only thing is I wont give advice other than get an electrician for 12o Volt wiring issues in someones home. Even if I were a licensed Electrician, the obvious is I dont want to see anyone hurt especially people I like like you Winds!

The TV on the wall is easy. The mounts now a days and the very light TV's arent too tough to hang at all. Take a picture of the wall you want to hang it on and tell me what size TV your putting there and we can get you going on the job in no time flat!

Mounting considerations-

Power? Cable TV or Sat TV outlet? Are you using a Convertor Box, where could that go? What type of walls and can you find any stud's in them near where your mounting? A swing arm mount or just a flat or tilt bracket on the TV?

Thoughts to Ponder about DIY-
Do you have basic tools and any understanding of fasteners? If your capable of hanging a heavy mirror, you can probably hang up to a 40" LCD or LED TV safely on a tilt bracket.

Option- when you get that electrician to fix your outlet (soon!). Have him/ her hang the TV Bracket for a few bucks extra. They are very capable of doing that and might be able to fish some wires in the wall if you want to dress up the installation.
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Old 12-28-2014, 04:59 PM   #4
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Mounting considerations-

Power? Cable TV or Sat TV outlet? Are you using a Convertor Box, where could that go? What type of walls and can you find any stud's in them near where your mounting? A swing arm mount or just a flat or tilt bracket on the TV?
I think a tilt bracket would be fine. All the other questions, I dunno. That's why I want someone to do it for me. Well, I have cable to my one and only tv in the living room. I wouldn't know how to get cable to the tv I want in my bedroom.

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Thoughts to Ponder about DIY-
Do you have basic tools and any understanding of fasteners? If your capable of hanging a heavy mirror, you can probably hang up to a 40" LCD or LED TV safely on a tilt bracket.

Option- when you get that electrician to fix your outlet (soon!). Have him/ her hang the TV Bracket for a few bucks extra. They are very capable of doing that and might be able to fish some wires in the wall if you want to dress up the installation.
My walls are real plaster. Not plaster board or sheet rock, as it seems to be called. It is difficult to even hang a picture on real plaster. It tends to chip away. Again, that's why I want someone to do it for me.

I do have a mighty fine Bosch/Skil drill. I have some understanding of fasteners but not enough to trust myself to hang a tv and know that it won't come crashing down.
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Old 12-28-2014, 05:10 PM   #5
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Ive got some paradigm tower speakers as my fronts in a 5.1 setup. Got them from a friend going through a divorce and they were a steal. I have them hooked to a yamaha receiver. These are supposed to be high end speakers and the manual recommends they be hooked to an amplifier (in addition to the yamaha head unit). It also says that if you dont have an amp, you can "bi-wire" them by running two sets of speaker cable from the same output on the reciever. Thats what i did and they seem to sound pretty good. My question is: is it worth getting an external amp and am i losing sound quality by not doing so? The speakers are loud and clear....much louder than i care to push them and without upsetting the neighbors.
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:30 PM   #6
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I'll jump in.

It depends on the quality and features of your current Yamaha. I've got a Denon 7.1 in my basement, and had to add an amplifier to power the patio speakers. The good news is that most amplifiers are pretty reasonably priced compared to an A/V receiver. Depending on power requirements of cours


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Old 12-28-2014, 10:43 PM   #7
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WF, I tried your link and under specs it said that product had been discontinued. That is what is driving me nuts about home entertainment. It keeps changing and it seems like every time a simple solution comes along it gets replaced by a pricier alternative and I end up more confused.

So let's talk basics for a moment. I currently run everything on my lap tap. I have an HDMI cable ran to my TV and my TV connected to surround sound. I would like to tie in a TV antenna and have speakers throughout the house for listening to music. What is the simplest an easiest way to tie everything together, and do it really cheap? And it would be nice to run everything from my laptop but computers and entertainment stuff seem to be set up specifically so they won't play well with each other?
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:47 AM   #8
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Ive got some paradigm tower speakers as my fronts in a 5.1 setup. Got them from a friend going through a divorce and they were a steal. I have them hooked to a yamaha receiver. These are supposed to be high end speakers and the manual recommends they be hooked to an amplifier (in addition to the yamaha head unit). It also says that if you dont have an amp, you can "bi-wire" them by running two sets of speaker cable from the same output on the reciever. Thats what i did and they seem to sound pretty good. My question is: is it worth getting an external amp and am i losing sound quality by not doing so? The speakers are loud and clear....much louder than i care to push them and without upsetting the neighbors.
I think you might be talking about Bi-Amping the speakers not Bi Wiring. Your typical 2 (Woof/mid, tweeter or 3 way speaker (Woofer, Mid, Tweeter) use a single combined input with internal crossovers to seperate the appropriate frequencies inside the speaker. Bi amping for 2 way or tri amping for 3 way splits the combined speaker system into 2 seperate inputs (or 3) for the Highs and the lows. The easy explanation is if you do this right, your speakers can perform at peak efficiency and you can contour the sound in ways that you could not do the way your hooked now.

Unless you have a really sharp ear, your seeking audiophile sound and you have an audiophiles wallet and patience to get there, dont bother, it adds uneeded complexity to the system.

Sounds like you have a nice system the way it is. The best way to get the most out of your system is to ensure your speaker placement is as close to the manufacturers guidelines as possible even if it doesnt look the way you would like, it will sound the way it should if you do!

Enjoy!
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:50 AM   #9
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I'll jump in.

It depends on the quality and features of your current Yamaha. I've got a Denon 7.1 in my basement, and had to add an amplifier to power the patio speakers. The good news is that most amplifiers are pretty reasonably priced compared to an A/V receiver. Depending on power requirements of cours


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They are trying to give you a whole home system but the second zone is actually also being used to power some of the 7.1 speakers also. Thats a great reason to use a second amp with the Variable Line level outputs. More bounce to the ounce!
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Old 12-29-2014, 09:58 AM   #10
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I think a tilt bracket would be fine. All the other questions, I dunno. That's why I want someone to do it for me. Well, I have cable to my one and only tv in the living room. I wouldn't know how to get cable to the tv I want in my bedroom.



My walls are real plaster. Not plaster board or sheet rock, as it seems to be called. It is difficult to even hang a picture on real plaster. It tends to chip away. Again, that's why I want someone to do it for me.

I do have a mighty fine Bosch/Skil drill. I have some understanding of fasteners but not enough to trust myself to hang a tv and know that it won't come crashing down.
Sounds like the plaster walls could be a bear to deal with. Plaster usually means youve got relatively impenetrable walls also. If that plaster is on masonry (Brick, concrete), its not a big problem to hang the TV but your not gonna be doing it. Someone with the bcg can use Tapcons or shields and lags. If its on sheetrock, your gonna need to locate at least one stud to hang a smaller tv and drill pilot holes with a Masonry bit and hammer drill. That will make a cleaner penetration than a regular bit.

As far as the wiring goes, you will probably need an electrician to make that happen (as I said before, they are a good choice to do all of the job). Yesterday. it literally took me 4 hours to run 3 wires inside a 10' wall and Im not new to this.

Wish I was closer Winds, Id do the whole job for you for fruitcake!
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