Building a Smart things integrated lowering projector


(Steve Bratt) #1

There doesn’t seem to be a great location to post this on the forums, so im posting here. I thought you may like to follow along on my project to build a lowering projector stand into my home automation setup using a Linear actuator and a fibaro Switch FGS 223.

Im currently at the acquire all the parts and plan the build stage, but im hoping to work on this some more over the weekend and get some of the basics together. Im waiting for various deliveries at this point.

So the history. I am currently renovating a house in the UK and have stripped most rooms bear, we are living in the house so we cant gut it all at the same time, so we are having to do bits here and there to fit around us. While i was renovating the main bedroom above the living room. i took the time to install a 106" motorised projector screen under the floor. This lowers out of the ceiling and is connected to smart things using a Fibaro Roller shutter controller.

Here is the thread I posted detailing that project:

So for a while now ive been using my projector suspended from the ceiling. However Having the screen so well hidden its been digging at me the that having the projector hanging form the ceiling in plain sight looks untidy and i decided id like to go for a more stealth installation. So the idea of the hidden projector was born. Here is the current living room state

you cant see the projector screen hiding above the bay window, but you can see the projector.

My Idea is to create a low box hanging from the ceiling (i cant go up into the ceiling easily like i did for the projector so a hanging box is the simplest choice here. I initially thought it would be most simple to create a box that looks like a light feature, eg:

but in the back of it have a hole for the projector, no moving parts. however, this didnt allow me to set the projector far back enough even though it is a short throw. also I was worried about heat buildup in the hole.

some renders i created of the idea

At fist i thought a hinged door maybe enough, but keeping the door inplace and not dropping it down to fast could be difficult and also getting the angle correct for the projector could be awkward.I looked at all kinds of openers and soft close systems but none were really designed for vertical use. most for kitchen doors

I then decided some kind of height adjustable shelf or lowering shelf maybe the best idea, found a few builds on YouTube of similar things and though lets go for it.

ill post a render up later. the renders you see above are a box within a box, the outer box is about 5cm short of touching the ceiling which will allow light to cast out of the edges (led strip behind it). the inner box then does touch the ceiling and contains all the wiring, the mechanism and the projector itself. ive more or less finalised the design of the box in sketchup and ill just tweak things depending on how ill engineer the pully system to lift it up and down.

the box is 20CM high plus the bottom panel, Ive decided to use draw runners to keep the shelf level and in place, they are 3-4cm wide and when closed they are 20cm long which is great, they only extend a further 23cm which isnt as much adjustment as i would have liked but hopefully it will be enough.

as i knew about the 20cm restriction of the draw runners I bought an linear actuator from ebay (12v DC “JS-TGZ-U1”) which has a 20cm throw, this should allow the shelf to raise and lower by 20cm. and of course i cant fit anything taller than 20cm into the box when closed anyway so, it all should work out fingers crossed.

Most (cheap) linear actuators work by inverting the current flow. one direction to open the actuator and one to close.

After some great help from forum users, I was able to find a relay (DPDT) which using its coil can change the current direction of a DC power supply. linking this relay to a Fibaro FGS223 or FGS222 should allow me to open and close actuator pretty simply. I only have a very basic electronic knowledge so the simplicity of the circuit is going to be a bonus (no micro controllers or rasberry pi’s or programming skills required.

As of this moment the draw runners have arrived:

and ive build part of the frame and cut most of the wood

Hopefully Most of the parts will turn up in the next few days, although i have no idea when the actuator itself might turn up.

Ill post up further developments as the project moves on. Wish me luck!


Wiring Relay Project / Question if anyone is good with electronics?
(Robin) #2

Good luck!!


(Paul) #3

Ditto! Looks good. Good to see some SketchUp!


(Ron Talley) #4

Interesting. Make sure your PJ has ventilation as they do get hot.


(Paul) #5

Good point, I’ve installed quote a few of these into offices spaces and generally the fans run for a while after power off and then the projector retracts into the ceiling 10 mins or so afterwards.


(Steve Bratt) #6

The DPDT relay has arrived, Looking forward to the weekend when i can start some work on the project!

I dont think heat is going to be too much of an issue, as its probably going to be an open front and back on the shelf, although i have thought about closing the back but it is something ill be keeping an eye on!


(Adam V) #7

Sound like a cool project. I did the same thing in my place… but a lot less DIY! Just got a projector ceiling scissor lift from Future Automation and connected it to ST using this On/Off switch.


(Steve Bratt) #8

out of interest, what is the rough cost of one of those?


(Adam V) #9

I got the PD2.5 which is an in ceiling scissor lift. From memory it was around the £2k mark. Expensive but it’s very well built and has never failed. They have a door type one as well which I think is less expensive

I also use a pic lift from Future automation to conceal a tv behind a mirror. exact same switch setup to control it.

also re: screen motorisation I just use the trigger out from the back of the projector, so no need for any other motor controller etc to open / close it.


(Steve Bratt) #10

yeah thats simple enough to setup, however at the moment my projector is a bit old, so i cant turn it on with anything other than IR (it has a web interface im working to exploit) the problem being i can turn it on if its up in a hidey hole so it would never trigger the motor.

im hoping to get the screen, projector and projector stand tied into either a scene or single virtual button on smart things. will be cool to have the projector light up and the screen to come down, and the projector to lower down and the lights to dim, all at the touch of one button.

the only thing i need after that is to turn on the amp and set to the correct input, but thats a job for later

Also 2k is a lot of cash for me, ha, im hoping to build this box for the £200 mark including Leds and such!


(Steve Bratt) #11

More parts have arrived for the build, looking forward to working on this hopefully tomorrow. still no sign of the actuator of fibaro relay though so maybe no actual motorization this weekend


(The Viking AKA "Holy Crap You're a Giant!") #12

I have bookmarked this, as I’d like to make my projector retractable in my home theater.


(Steve Bratt) #13

well I mostly finished the frame over the weekend. despite the weather (i was cutting outside and it was raining on and off) I decided to turn the whole thing around by 90 degrees so it doesnt look so big and it will line up witth the TV. Fitted the runners, but need to make a few adjustments to shelf design to make it slightly stronger. also the runner screws arent strong enough in the mdf so im going to replace them with bolts. The motor should be delivered today or tomorrow and the fibaro relay is also out for delivery. May not get much chance to work on it in the week as because its MDF i cant cut it indoors, its just too dust. but ill update you if i get to play with the mechanism at all. Here are the pictures of progress so far.


(Steve Bratt) #14

my motor and fibaro device have turned up today too! exciting!


(Robin) #15

A very neat job… very nice!!

Looks heavy!! Hope you can find some nice strong fixing points in the ceiling!!!


(Steve Bratt) #16

yes it will hopefully be directly fixed into at least 2 joists, with some very large fixing screws and bolts…

I don’t want it dropping on my head or squashing the dog.


(Steve Bratt) #17

thought id post up the little bit ive done with this today in video form


(Steve Bratt) #18

Managed to do a few test runs of the projector lift project lastnight. Still some strength needed to be added to the structure and the cables dont slide as well as I would like through the Eye bolts, a little too much force and friction. I need to look at other more slippy types of cable, if anyone has any suggestions?


(Paul) #19

Forget the eyelets you need pulleys.

I’m not sure about the actuator dimension but have you thought about just using two of those to directly lower raise the platform? Just a thought.


(Robin) #20

Maybe consider a sleeved cable like what you get on bicycle brakes:

Also, mount the actuator on rubber pads and wrap with loft insulation to reduce the noise :wink: