Monday, February 28, 2011

Wall mounts for Flat Screen Displays

Wall mounts for Flat Screen Displays

Everywhere you turn there are examples of flat screen displays mounted on a wall, airports, sports bars, restaurants, your buddy's house. They range in size from a small 12 inch LCD to 55 inches Plasma or a newer LED displays, with some weighing over 100 pounds. Plus to complicate the situation, there are just as many variations of mounts available, slim, low-profile, swivel, tilt and adjustable tilt. How do you choose and how much is it going to cost are the two questions asked all the time.

First, let us tackle the question on styles. Choosing the type of mount requires you to take a few factors into consideration. Displays should be viewed at eye level to avoid neck fatigue. When mounting the display above eye level a tilt mount or mounting the display as far from the viewing area as possible is recommended. Distance reduces looking up at a sharp angle. However, for standard tilt mounts as much as 4 inch spacing may be necessary. A corner mount location will require some swiveling and tilting to get the optimal view. Mounting on a wall that can be viewed from the sides require a low-profile mount. This provides a neat side profile view and hides the connections. The newer low-profile mounts only require a 0.31 spacing between the wall and the display. If you are tilting the low profile mount a minimum spacing of 0.75 inches is required between the wall and the display. In addition, some ultra slim low profile mounts have less weight capacities. You want to stay with a high weight capacity fixed or tilt mount for the bigger displays, especially if ultra slim low profile is not a concern.

VESA is a Video Electronics Standards Association, which helps display manufacturers standardize the four holes mounting pattern on the back of the display. Nowadays most manufacturers comply with the standards, but the standard still varies depending on the display size and the manufacturer. Most new displays will comply with VESA whole patterns. The display’s VESA actual requirement is located in the manual.

Wall mounts are constructed from steel. Displays are made from a combination of plastic, metal and electronics. Important because you want the display to stay on the wall, where ever you decide to hang it. Falling of the the wall is not an option. This is not a problem if you attach the mount to the wall properly and the display to the mount properly.

Now that VESA makes it simple to match the display pattern with the proper mount designed, one more critical factor is the display's weight. A steel mount will specify the maximum load weight. As we stated, an average 50-inch displays will weigh 70 to 80 pounds and some older plasmas as much as 100 pounds. Remember the mounts are steel and most will support the weight they are designed to carry. The critical component is the wall and the structure of the wall to support the weight. If you are mounting a heavy display unit on a wall, make sure the wall is structurally sound, follow the mounting directions and you will not have any problems.

Finally, how much should you pay for a wall mount? This will depend on the profile, swivel, and tilt requirements. You do not need a name brand mount, unless you have a specific design problem. These are steel mounts and as long as you matched them to the display’s mounting specifications, adhere to weight limits and install them properly, they will perform as design. So save your money and put the savings into upgrading the display, adding a Blu Ray or surround sound system, which are more important for a full high def experience.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Compression Connectors and Tools

There are three things you want when installing an audio/video system, so you can get to the job of enjoying the finish results.

1. It should be easy
2. Work properly
3. Last forever, without any problem.

Compression connectors matched with the right coaxial cables are designed to provide all of these.

The connectors are available in three primary styles, which will fit the needs of consumer, professional and commercial applications. RCA connectors are the most common and found on most consumer audio/video electronic products. For broadband and CATV, you will see the F connector. Professional and commercial installations used BNC connectors.

Two types of coaxial cables RG-6 and RG-59 are found in 90% of the installations. Old installs used RG-59 for common house runs. The RG-6 is popular today and my favorite. RG-6 is a 18 gauge single conductor solid or stranded wire. Solid conductors offer the best properties and are easy to use with compression connectors. RG-6 works for audio and video, both digital and the older analog signals. The larger 18 gauge is also good for longer runs.

Terminating RCA's, F’s or BNC connectors to RG-6 is a four step process and requires only three tools, cable cutter, coaxial stripper and a compression crimping tool. A small curved jaw cutter does a nice clean cut without deforming the cable. However, any sharp wire cutters will work that are designed to handle up to 12gauge wire. The coaxial strippers are connector specific and cable specific. Liberty offers a complete CM-TOOL-PAC that includes all the tools with a case for easy storage.

The one piece all metal connectors from Liberty and White Sands Engineering are high quality great value products. They are an all-metal design rugged and can handle tough conditions. Instructions for terminating connectors are simple. Details on terminating the connectors are available online. The Liberty connectors have a nice color-coded feature to allow you to confirm you are using the correct connected with the cable.

Cables made with these connectors and coaxial cable, will work on the following applications left/right audio, composite video, component video, subwoofer, S/PDIF, CATV or HD SDI. In other words they will work for just about every audio or video application you require. What is the down side? None!

On your next electronics install project check out the compression connector products and you will be pleasantly surprised, how easy and fast you will be enjoying your listening or viewing experience and not worrying about problems for years to come.