Project: Hide the DMA2100

19 Jan

I recently decorated the dining room and den (a kind of brick conservatory extension on the back of the house). This room is going to be a chill out room and as always I want to keep all the wires hidden and everything as minimalistic as possible.

Anyway, I bought a 26” Sony LCD TV to go in there and then a wall bracket with an arm so that the TV could be viewed from the dining room and from the Den (There’s an L-Shape sofa going in there in a few weeks which will pretty  much fill that room). I had a DMA2100 media centre extender ready but couldn’t think of the best way to mount that below the telly as I didn’t want anything sticking out. One option was to mount it vertically behind the telly, but then the TV wouldn’t have been able to sit as close to wall as I wanted and it would have looked a bit of a mess.

In the end I decided that I only needed to see the Infra-Red part of the DMA2100 and the rest could be hidden. I also wanted to be able to control both boxes via the home automation system, so I needed to have an X10 appliance module in there somewhere. So my plan was to extend the wall very slightly, and hide all the electronics behind the new false wall. I ran a power cable and HDMI cable up the wall (behind some metal shielding) and fitted a new plug socket and HDMI wall socket (a standard HDMI cable simply plugs into this) behind where TV was going. I also ran a cat5e network cable down to it, under the carpet and behind the flase wall as I prefer to avoid using the wireless if I can avoid it, hard-wired FTW!

I then managed to pickup an X-Box Infra-Red module form ebay for a few quid and had hoped to use the existing IR module and connect this to the DMA2100. This however didn’t work. That same day, one of my DMA2100’s bricked, the old flashing lights on the front and no action. Although a bit annoyed I now had a donor for parts for other porjects and so swiftly stole the IR module from this dead DMA2100 and fitted it inside the plastic casing of the x-box unit. I then ran wires to the DMA2100 and soldered onto the 3 pins that conencted to the IR module and hey presto, my new Infra-Red reciever worked!

Now it was all tested and working, I also wired in an Appliance Module and tested that it would turn on and off ok, and that also worked perfectly. So, concept proven, it was then time to hack off the skirting board, or rather gently remove and I was reusing the existing skirt around the new wall. I then measured up the heght of the windowsill in that room and decided to make my new shelf at the same height. I then built a basic frame with some wood and screwed in the plaster board. I then plasstered and smoothed it and left it to dry, once that was done it was ready to paint the room.

Once painted, I cut out a hole for the infra-red receiver and then connected that up to the DMA2100 which I had slotted in behind the new wall.

All that was left to do then was to mount the TV onto the bracket and then cut, fit and paint the new shelf and cut the carpet. The shelf was pretty straight forward to make, B&Q sell pre-rounded boards, so I just had to cut it to size with the jigsaw.

As the DMA2100 remote controls the TV volume, the Sony TV remote is redundant (All content is viewed only via the media centre extender). All in all, this project worked out exactly as planned, so I’m pretty happy. On to the next project now.