Surround Sound Wrap-Up and Ready to Go!

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Well, tomorrow is officially our first day out on the road! We’ll be hitching up and rolling out towards Memphis, though we’ll do an easy day. I’m thinking we may go just as far as Tupelo, MS, or maybe on to Memphis. We’ll see. By leaving a day earlier than planned, we have some slack in the schedule.

We’re going to try out an app called Track My Tour. It has a web interface so you can see where we are and pictures along the way. We may or may not use this long term, depending. May just stick with the blog. Anyway, if you want to follow along, click here.

The surround sound system is complete after a couple more purchases at Radio Shack to complete the wiring. Pictures follow. I pulled all wires where they needed to go, then pushed the shelf unit into the hole. Four screws into the sides hold it into place.

Drilling screw holes and screwing the shelves in.

Drilling screw holes and driving screws in.

The shelves all mounted, wiring pulled through, waiting for all the equipment. The Blu-Ray player is on the top shelf and the speaker switch and Apple TV unit will be on the bottom shelf.

Ready for equipment.

Ready for equipment.

Here is is all done. The wire running down the left side and out of the picture is the audio cable to the powered subwoofer. It is just draped over the cabinet for now since we’re packing up to move.

All done.

All done.

Here is a rather dark closeup of the cubby shelves.

Completed cubby shelves.

Completed cubby shelves.

Well, time to relax and try to get some sleep tonight. Tomorrow’s a big day!

 

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Surround Sound Part 2 of 3

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Counting down the days until the maiden voyage – tomorrow morning (Thursday), will be 2 days, or possibly 1 day. Needing to burn off remaining accumulated vacation days before they might disappear (or might not – the HR folks were not sure), Malcolm asked for Friday off as a vacation day, which would give us an extra day to get from here to Arkansas. Given all the rainy, stormy weather forecast for the Southeast the next few days, it might be wise to take an extra day.

There was progress on the surround sound system install this evening, as well as a couple of setbacks. First of all, we stopped at Home Depot on Malcolm’s lunch break and picked up some wood and screws to build a cubby for the hole where the old sound system was located. When Malcolm got back to work, he was blessed with an extra right angle power cord for the receiver to keep it from pushing out so far.

Malcolm cut the wood up into the required sizes at the house using the table saw, and helped Val by moving some laundry she had left in the washer over to the dryer. After work, a quick stop by the house by Malcolm to get the laundry and then on to the trailer for dinner. After dinner, we went to Lowes and WalMart to pick up some stain and a couple other tools. Malcolm had cut the sides of the box just a hair too tall to fit into the hole, so rather than running all the way home to do a quick shave using the table saw, we bought an inexpensive wood plane at WalMart.

We bought stain at Lowes based on matching the sample chips there against a picture of the project from last night that Malcolm still had on his phone. As you’ll see shortly, we couldn’t have picked a better match. Here are some pics that Val took of the progress this evening.

The opening where the old stereo used to reside had two spacers to bring the standard 12 3/4″ cabinet opening down to a 7 3/4″ wide opening. Malcolm removed those two spacers to open the hole up.

Side spacers removed.

Side spacers removed.

Here are the side spacers laying on the floor.

Side spacers.

Side spacers.

Once the insert was expertly assembled by Malcolm, using his awesome woodworking skills (ahem), he is shown here putting adhesive wood veneer on the front edges of the insert. You just line the stuff up and use a clothes iron to heat it up, melting the glue on the back, then press it firmly onto the wood. Once cool, just trim excess with a sharp knife. Really dressed up the edges of the wood since it is plywood.

Applying edging.

Applying edging.

Here is the insert just pressed into the hole. It will be held in with four screws drilled into the sides and into the cabinet face once done. This allows it to be pulled out for wiring access, when needed. The top remains open for cooling purposes and to get wiring to the top shelf of the insert. It looks a little crooked in this picture because it is not screwed in. Also, notice the almost exact color match.

Test fit.

Test fit.

The backwards progress was buying an RCA cord with too long of a strain relief on it (same issue we had with the power cord) and finding that one of our HDMI cables also suffers the same malady. We’ll have to shop for lower profile examples of those two cords tomorrow, then wrap up the installation tomorrow night. Stay tuned.

Surround Sound

Current Location: Fort Toulouse Campground, Wetumpka, Alabama

Still counting down the days until the maiden voyage – tomorrow morning (Wednesday), will be 3 days.

Last night, Malcolm had a lot of problems sleeping due to the remnants of his cold turning into a sinus infection. So, on the second day of his part-time employment, he had to use a sick day. He went to the doctor just before lunch and tried out the new medical insurance, as well. Routine sickness office visit was $35.00 copay. Our old BC/BS insurance from when Malcolm was full-time was a $30.00 copay. Nice.

While Malcolm went to the doctor, Val set about rearranging the kitchen cabinets a bit to get things where we want them and to get all the food stowed away. Along the way, she found a couple of storage items that would help organize better and made a list. Malcolm came to the trailer after the doctor visit and picked Val up. Off we went for what would turn out to be about 6 hours of shopping.

First stop was the feed store where we get the propane tanks filled. Val had noticed that they sold local honey and wanted to pick up a bottle. Malcolm wanted to see if they happened to sell heated water hoses for colder weather (they don’t). Next, off to Walgreens to pick up Malcolm’s prescription and one they had for Val. They had to enter our new medical insurance information in the computer then rang up the prescriptions. There is a $500.00 deductible per person per year for prescriptions, so we just paid out of pocket and it will be counted as part of the deductible. Neither prescription was very expensive.

A quick trip to Taco Bell for lunch, then it was off to Montgomery to pick up Val’s organizational items. But, as a point of history here, we had been talking about replacing the AM/FM/CD/DVD RV unit with a true stereo receiver solution. Malcolm had spent Monday evening researching different stereo solutions, and decided to stop at Best Buy in Montgomery (not the nicest of their stores, to be honest) and see what they had.

We found a nice 5.1 home theater receiver, a Harmon Kardon AVR 1700, in an open box marked down from their shelf prices of $499 to $159. It was missing a microphone that you would use to tune the system settings (no problem) and the antennas for the radio. Everything else was there and it was not scratched or dented, etc. Though the manager overriding the price at the register had her doubts that the label was on the correct box, it turns out it was. She just said, oh well, you got a good price. We were happy.

The next piece of the puzzle was to find a speaker switcher to allow switching the living room, bedroom and outside speakers on and off independently (one nice feature of the original RV unit). Best Buy doesn’t carry them, H.H. Gregg down the street didn’t, either, but the salesman there recommended we check Radio Shack. Sure enough, we found a 1 input to 4 output speaker switch. The last couple of items were a center channel speaker and a powered subwoofer (optional).

A quick call to our son rounded up one of each from our old home theater setup at the house. He also was going to bring the Wii and the Wii Fit board out to the trailer. In exchange, we let him raid the leftovers at the trailer (tonight’s planned supper). After dinner, Malcolm and David identified wires, stripped wire ends, ran cables from here to there and, after a quick run to WalMart to get a couple of items, the system was up and running after a couple hours.

We still have a few things to do. One is to find a lower profile power plug for the back of the receiver. It makes the front stick out too far for the slide to be able to close. Without the power cord plugged in, the unit sits just perfectly in the slot, only sticking out a couple inches. Also, Malcolm plans on building a cubby to put in the hole where the old stereo came out. He will make it so that the cubby can be removed to access wiring, if needed.

Here are some pictures.

Sale price sticker on the receiver.

Sale price sticker on the receiver.

The unit that came in the trailer.

The unit that came in the trailer.

Out it comes, leaving a hole in the cabinet.

Out it comes, leaving a hole in the cabinet.

The target receiver location.

The target receiver location.

Malcolm used the cordless drill and a 2 1/2″ hole saw to bore a hole in the left side of this hole for wires to pass through from the receiver to the speakers and up to the TV area. Nobody bothered to take pictures of the construction in progress, so we’ll fast-forward to the setup as it stands now.

It works!

It works!

The subwoofer is currently sitting in front of the cabinets at the lower-left of the picture. We’ll put a more permanent and longer cord solution in place for passing the audio signal to it and move the subwoofer behind the table between the two recliners. On the shelf (mantle?) around the TV is, from left to right, the 1 to 4 speaker switch box (under the box of tissues), the Apple TV box, the “Happy Campers” sign, the center channel speaker (we think we’ll trade it for a lower profile one that our son has at the house, since it blocks about an inch of the bottom of the screen), in front of it is the Wii infrared pickup bar, the Wii is sitting just to the right of the center speaker.

You can see the hole where the old unit came out and where Malcolm plans on building a little cubby. The receiver it poking out over the fireplace (remember, it will move in some once the cord issue is resolved) and you can’t see it, but our Blu-Ray player is just to the right of the receiver in the same cubby.

Well, that’s enough work for today. Probably will look at some lumber at Lowes tomorrow and see if we can figure out a nice looking cubby for the hole in the cabinet. Some of the devices on the mantle will move down to that cubby, depending on how it turns out.