Ceiling mounted digital projectors

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sarge, Sep 1, 2012.

  1. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    So I made one that was very secure and ran cords along the ceiling.

    In my not-so-humble opinion, it's much more safe than having the projector on a cart or table where kids run the risk of knocking it over, tripping over the cords, or looking directly into the lamp.

    [​IMG]

    In order for anything to come loose, the bolts would need to be undone. No earthquake is capable of doing that. And the projector is strapped to the shelf by military grade zip ties. And the two blocks that raise the rear of the projector are glued to the shelf. Each of the attachment fittings are rated at 10 pounds EACH. There are four of them. The whole setup does not weigh 15 pounds.

    The power cord runs to the rear to a power strip which it does not share with any component that would be on at the same time as the projector. The other cables run overhead and down along a wall. The cords don't look pretty, but they are secure and OFF THE FLOOR.

    Well, yesterday I was told I could not have my projector mounted on the ceiling. So now, if I want to use my projector at all, I either need to have it dead center in the middle of my room, among all the kids where they can touch it, look into the lamp, pull on the cords, and bump into it. Or I need to rearrange my entire classroom, including everything on the walls and all of the book cases.

    OK, so I get it about my home-built mount. Though I spent 20 years in the military restraining cargo inside of airplanes, I'm not certified in any engineering or construction trade. I know that the shelf is perfectly safe and secure, but I have no real way to document or prove it.

    Second, is the issue of cords. She doesn't seem to like the cords hung from the ceiling. Says they are a fire hazard. Based on what? Cords are cords whether they run on the CARPET or near the ceiling. And these cords are clipped to the ceiling tracks and zip tied together.

    She did say she'd order me a commercial ceiling mount like this one. That doesn't solve the matter of the cords - which isn't really a problem in my opinion. I'm afraid she will change her mind if she thinks we need an electrician to wire all the cords into the walls.

    Is there anything I am missing here?
     
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  3. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    My projector is mounted on a commercial mount like the one in your link - I love it. I purchased extension cables (for the video cables) and an extremely highly rated commercial extension cord that my husband ran along the ceiling to the wall on which my smartboard and dry erase board are hung, along the top of those, then down beside the dry erase board to the commercial (again out of my pocket) surge suppressor which, like yours, only has the projector plugged in. Although other teachers at my school have the ceiling mount (not all), I am the only one to take the time to run the cables on the ceiling & along the wall rather than on the floor or in front of students. I used command cable bundlers like these http://www.amazon.com/3M-Command-Co...346523642&sr=8-5&keywords=command+cable+clips and command clips like these http://www.amazon.com/Command-Mediu...346523642&sr=8-1&keywords=command+cable+clips to keep everything neat. I have had three principals in three years, and they have all three loved it! Even the fire marshal liked it! Although your setup is probably more sturdy (i.e., earthquake proof) than the commercial one, your P may be following district directives. As for the cables, I agree with you that they are less a hazard on the ceiling/walls than they are on the floor! What if a student "accidentally" pulls the projector down (or knocks it down)? That is not only a hazard to the student, but to the (very expensive) projector as well.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    One devoutly hopes it's district policy that drives your principal's objections, Sarge.

    I suppose fear of the fire marshal could be another consideration. Since it seems she wants the thing down anyway, might it make sense to invite the fire marshal in before it comes down to comment on whether the construction is in fact objectionable?
     
  5. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    My cords run through the ceiling and then drop down the wall by an outlet ... is that an option?
     
  6. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Your mount is still only attached to the grid itself correct? To be truly secure it would have to be mounted to a ceiling beam in my opinion so I think your principal is correct. Also, what would happen if something unexpected like a book or book bag got thrown at the device when another teacher was in your room who may not have the same managements skills as you. Are you certain it could withstand something like that.

    As a man I love the ingenuity, but as a worrier that setup worries me.
     
  7. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I also didn't realize how cheap the mounts were. Let us know what they end up doing with the cords. If its something easy I think many teachers would invest in it themselves if the school wouldn't pay.
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I did have the book bag concern (actually it was a basketball). But the same danger is present if the projector is on a table.

    I'm pretty certain that it would take several hits to get it to fall.

    The thing about the grid is that every other panel supports the weight of the light assembly. The light assemblies are heavier than my projector.

    The attachments I use are designed for people to hang plants in their offices from the exact same kind of ceiling. The ones I use are rated at 10 pounds each. They make them rated to 40 pounds.
     
  9. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    You've alleviated some of my concerns but you would really be opening yourself up to liability if anything happened as the "designer".

    If you or anyone you know has a drop ceiling at home, take the device down, and set up a home theater for yourself :) All you need is a projector and a white wall.
     
  10. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I was asking about mounts and my P said we couldn't afford it. We're a middle ranking school so we don't get federal funding, or much parent funding.

    We're probably one of the poorest in the district, but in a middle class area.

    I had noticed that beams were running over the drop ceiling that would be perfectly secure to attach a cage to with zipties that would hold the projector.

    I had planned on running it by my P, but someone gave me a cart, and I set it all up, and it was more convenient than I thought it would be.

    Apparently though, another teacher came in and said I'd have a problem with the fire marshall because of my cables, and at this point, I was like: "Really now?" We're not supposed to plug an extension cord into a power strip, so I have to work on a cart, with a 3 foot long power cable. .____.;

    I basically told her, eff it. When the fire marshall makes a visit I'll change it.

    They told me the same thing about protecting blue tape on the floor with clear tape. They said the custodians would have a fit, but I talked to the custodian and maybe did a little schmoozing and she said I could keep it.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    As far as damage to the projector, you're correct. If the projector falls off a table, however, it's probably not going to land on some kid's head. If it falls from the ceiling, it could.
     
  12. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    My guess is that it is just a liability issue to protect the school and you. I am sure your mount is as good or better than the ones the school buys, but there is more protection for you and the school if anything happens!
     
  13. math_teacher

    math_teacher Companion

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    Your mount looks awesome.......kudos!

    I wanted mine mounted on the ceiling a year and half ago and had suggested it to my building supervisor and he thought it was ok - I bought the mount on my own to test it out then figured the school could order more for other classrooms once mine worked. But cords running along the ceiling came up as a fire hazard and the nixed my idea. Somehow having the projector on a desk in the middle of the classroom with multiple wires running along the floor was considered safer.

    UGG - I feel your pain. good luck!!!
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    While your ingenuity and care are evident, it's always best to have a professional do such installations and wiring after admin approval.
     
  15. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    This is exactly what I'm afraid of. Once the projector is safely hung, how you run the cords from the outlet to the projector is simply a matter of aesthetics. The only thing I can't do is run them above the ceiling panels. They have to be below the ceiling or on the floor.
     
  16. bros

    bros Phenom

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    First, my dad and uncle would find that mount hilarious, because both of them have had to cobble things like that together at the last minute (they work in the AV industry and occasionally things don't get shipped or something breaks, so they have to improvise)

    Secondly, with the issue of the cords, depending on the building code in your area, you may be able to use a staple gun to gently staple the cords to the ceiling, then when it reaches the wall, use electrical tape to hold it to the wall
     
  17. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Hey if anything- you could go into business of building awesome things like this for teachers? :D

    I'm sure it is extremely well-built but all over head projectors like that worry me. Could you push up the ceiling tiles and run the wires over them? I know people will cut those tiles to fit wires through.
     
  18. math_teacher

    math_teacher Companion

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    I know when I was looking into running wires - I was told that the wires couldn't lay on the ceiling tiles -- that part was a fire hazard also......


    :(
     
  19. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I've been searching and searching. I know that codes do not like flexible cords above ceiling tiles. Electrical cords above ceiling tiles should go through conduit to actual outlets.

    I can't find any codes that relate to suspending cords from a ceiling. I think that's because nobody ever wants to do it because it's unsightly. The only similar situation are those hanging lamps with the cord hidden in the chain that runs to an outlet near the floor.
     
  20. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    All of our projectors are mounted on custom made ceiling mounts. Yours looks OK to me but then I am not an engineer. Regarding the cords the weird thing with ours is that they get an electrician to wire in a separate circuit for the projector and they have a plug socket with switch mounted on the ceiling next to it. The switch has to stay permanently on because you can't reach it. When I said why not just run an extension lead from an existing socket on the wall so that I can isolate the projector if required I was told this was not allowed!
     
  21. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I'm trying to avoid having to re-wire my classroom. That would be prohibitively expensive for the school and they would never, ever do it.

    What I need to find is an actual CODE that says securing an electrical cord to the ceiling is not allowed. From an electrical standpoint, this is no different than running it along the floor. The component and the outlet have no idea the route the cord takes from one to the other.

    As I've said, everything I've read is about running cords above the suspended ceiling. Had I put a small hole in the ceiling tile, ran the cord to the wall, made another hole, and ran the cord down the wall to an outlet (perhaps hiding it behind a picture, a bookcase, or (gasp) a poster, THAT would be illegal.

    But it would look much nicer.

    That's not what I did. I mounted the projector on the ceiling. I plugged it in. I lifted the cords up out of the way, and secured them to the ceiling with hooks and zip ties. It doesn't look pretty, but uses the cords no differently than if it were sitting on a cart or table plugged in to the wall.

    When I take the projector down tomorrow, and put it on a table, I plan on lifting the cords up out of the way and attaching them to the ceiling. My justification will be safety - cords on the floor are dangerous. Period.
     
  22. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Sep 4, 2012

    I would ask your P where in her administrative handbook/fire code regulations does it say these things? If it's actually in there, then change it. If not, then you can leave your projector as is.

    I can't stand people who make up rules.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I hope she at least appreciated your efforts!

    It seems to me to be secure. One could find potential danger everywhere...
     

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