How to Hang a Projector from a Drop Ceiling
1. Find your location
2 Use a Universal drop ceiling mount
3. Use a Suspended Ceiling Kit
The nostalgia of visiting the cinema invokes joyous memories in all of us. Those were simpler times, but fun times. These days our lives are lived at a fast-pace, and we can’t spare a couple of hours a week, to go out and watch the latest blockbuster. Fortunately, you can recreate the environment of a cinema from the comfort of your own home. It’s called having a projector.
A projector enables you to enjoy the best in live sporting events and films, like never before. All from the relaxed setting of your couch. Before you can enjoy the magical world of entertainment that your projector provides, work needs to be done to install it and set it up.
Ceiling vs Counter
First things first, you need to do a little planning. Do I hang the projector from my drop ceiling, or place it on the counter? Placing a projector on the counter allows for quicker and easier setup, however, you may not enjoy as good a throw distance between the projector and the screen. It’s a challenge to identify a spot where nobody passes frequently. The last thing you need is someone blocking the projector during the most important part of the movie.
Hanging a projector from a drop ceiling may require more set up time, but the results are far superior. The throw distance between the screen and the projector is better, and nobody will get in the way of the projector’s light.
Where to place the screen
Once you have decided whether to hang a projector or place it on a countertop, the next step is to figure out where your projector screen will be placed. More than likely, it will be in your lounge, but this is a game of inches, and you need to be precise. Now that you know where your screen will be placed, it is time to work on the projector itself.
Grab your tape measure, and measure the distance from the wall to the start of your screen, then continue to measure half the size of the screen. This will give you the exact measurements, for where your projector should be mounted on the drop ceiling.
Preparing to hang a projector from a drop ceiling.
The only downside of having a projector is that the cables can be an eyesore. That is why wherever possible, mount your bracket as near to a power source as possible. If this is impossible, we have a few tricks to get around this.
Once you have measured the distance from the corner of the wall to the middle of the screen, write the measurement down and do the same on the opposite side of the room.
How to install a projector on a drop ceiling
Installing a projector on a drop ceiling is a lot easier than installing a standard. With a drop ceiling you don’t have to locate a joist or stud and drill holes in your ceiling. Also, with a drop ceiling you can easily run wire above the tile for an easy hidden run. Although pretty simple, there are different ways to install on a drop ceiling. Let’s go over a few below
1. Find your location – Find where you want to install your projector. Typically Projectors are installed in the center back of the room. Please make sure you know the throw distance of your projector. The last thing you want is to position your projector only to find out it doesn’t throw that far. Next you
2. Use a Universal drop ceiling. This is by far the easiest way to do it. You can purchase a tile fitting that’s already projector ready. Just remove one of your tiles and replace it with the new tile and you’re ready to go. This is probably going to be the best and fastest way to install your projector. Here is a good universal ceiling tile from Amazon
3. Use a tile ceiling plate- Many professional Home theater services use this method. It’s basically placing a ceiling plate on top of the tile and screwing it into the existing tile rafters. Next you will create a hole in the tile for the pipe column to go through. Lastly you will slide the pipe column through the ceiling plate and the tile into the projector mount.
DIY- You can install a projector yourself without purchasing ceiling plates or tiles. If you have a piece of wood that’s about an inch thick and 24 inches in length, then you can place that wood above the tile. Next drill the top projector bracket into the wood and let it hang. Lastly cut the ceiling tile to fit around the bracket, then place the projector on the bracket.
How to install a projector on a standard ceiling
Find a Location:
Measure from the corner of the wall, until you reach the same distance as recorded on the other side of the room. If you have done this correctly, then you should have the center point between the screen and the projector. Make sure that the throw distance between the projector and the screen is sufficient, to allow for enhanced imagery.
Find a ceiling joist
Once you have marked the ceiling with the points to install your bracket, you need to find the nearest ceiling joist. A ceiling joist is sturdy and provides support to the structures above. To find a ceiling joist, gently knock on the drop ceiling with your knuckle, until you hear a solid sounding object. Use a pencil to make marks on the joist, where your bracket will be fitted.
Adding the bracket to your projector
Once you have prepared the area on the drop ceiling for your projector to hang, it is time to add the bracket to your projector. Take your projector and flip it over, then loosely attach the mounting bracket, which comes with the projector.
Make sure that when the bracket is fitted, it remains in line with the lense. Any offset angle will impede the quality of your experience. If you are unable to align the bracket with the lens, you will need to compensate for it when mounting the projector on the ceiling. When you are happy that everything is in order, fasten the bracket to the projector using a screwdriver.
Your bracket is fastened to your projector, but the projector still needs to be hung from the drop ceiling. Grab your drill, and drill holes through the marks which you made on the ceiling joist. Hold your bracket in place whilst you screw it tightly into place. Remember to use the right quality screws, to avoid the risk of your projector falling from the heavens.
Now that your screen is in place, and the projector is pointed in position. The final task remaining is to connect the cables. Generally, you will require an HDMI cable and a power source to be up and running. However, running cables across rooms can be an eyesore, and dangerous.
To keep your cables tidy and organized, you will want to use decorative trunking, which keeps the wires in order. Connect the power source supply, and HDMI cable to your projector, and then run it along the roof, until you reach the wall. Remove the sticky substance on the back of the decorative trunking and stick it onto the wall, running downwards. Unclamp the decorative trunking, and run the cables down the trunking. Once you are confident that the cables are in position, clamp the decorative trunking closed. If your plug point is beyond reach, then you will need to employ an extension cord.
Decorative trunking can be used to run cables up and down walls, as well as sideways along the skirting of the wall. It’s safer and extends the life span of the cables, as well as ultimately increasing the longevity of your projector.
Hanging a projector from a drop ceiling involves more time, than setting up a projector that sits on a counter. However, a projector hanging from a drop ceiling offers a better throw distance, looks more professional, and will likely last longer, than a countertop projector which is in harm’s way. If you follow the steps we presented above and use clever positioning and planning, you will have the cinema setup reminiscent of days gone by. The only requirements are a pencil, screws, a screwdriver, drill, and a step ladder.