Introducing Maximum PC Lab North


Introducing Maximum PC Lab North


The Media Room is used for testing all home-theater type products, including home-theater PCs, larger speaker systems, iPod speaker docks, video projectors and screens, A/V-streaming solutions, media-center extenders, and the like. I had the entertainment center designed so that I had plenty of storage and could close the whole thing when the TV is not being used (the cabinets go all the way to the top of the nine-foot ceiling). The Media Room is actually a room--within-a-room, for acoustic reasons. You'll find the details of its construction here.

Greg designed bi-folding pocket doors that slide into the niche (and virtually disappear) when opened. The doors for the speaker niches are mounted on double hinges that allow them to open much wider than a normal hinge would permit.

The niche for the television will accommodate up to a 50-inch screen. We’re currently using a 42-inch ViewSonic N4285p LCD HDTV to test media-center extenders and A/V streaming products. I might have goofed by having Greg make the opening for the center speaker just big enough for the Klipsch RC-35 center-channel speaker—it doesn’t leave me room for anything bigger. The doors on either side provide even more storage.

Nearly all the equipment for the home-theater system are located in this one cabinet. The biggest mistake I made here was in not having Greg make the side cabinets deeper. Since all the cables terminate at the A/V receiver, there’s barely enough room behind the receiver to accommodate everything.

The cabinet holds (from bottom to top) an Onkyo TX-SR701 A/V receiver (still a great receiver, although it predates HDMI), a Niles Audio four-pair speaker selector, a somewhat-useless Philips DVD player, an AMD reference-design home-theater PC with a Blu-ray drive, a Dish Network satellite TV tuner, a Sonos ZP-80 Zone Player, and a Belkin PureAV PF60 power conditioner.

The device sitting on top of the DVD player is a Bluetooth transceiver for a Logitech diNovo Mini keyboard. A bathroom-type ventilation is installed at the top of the cabinet to evacuate warm air, so that the door can be left closed even with everything running.


Page 1: Introduction

Page 2: The Media Room 

Page 3: The Media Room: Wiring and Video

Page 4: The Media Room: Audio

Page 5: The Home Office and the Home Run

Page 6: The Kitchen and the Video Surveillance System

Page 7: The Garage

Page 8: The Solar Power System




+ Add a Comment


I'm currently remodeling my home and would love to have more info on the Z-Wave stuff you selected, how you configured it, etc.



I was also interested in more about lighting control and more information on Z-wave. I was planning on starting to do my home automation and was reading about Z-wave. Maybe another section added to the forums on this topic would be great for ppl to reply back with ideas and feedback.

Good article and very interesting.



Great stuff! Thanks for writing this up and walking us through your experience.

Did you hook up your HVAC to z-wave functionality? I'm curious to know more info on what you decided to do in this area...




Interesting stuff you got going on there. I see that you're using a piece of carpetting to help dampen speaker vibration on the pull out trays. Not too many people think of doing that. I use a small piece of cork between my speakers and the carpetting to help deaden the noise from the woofers so that I don't disturb my neighbors below.

- mike_art03a
IT Technician
Gov't of Canada



I think I'm drooling. Someone slap me.



So when's the PC lab north BBQ and music festival???? I'm there!

There's no time like the future.



that is a absolutely stuningly tech out home good job!



you sure went to lengths to make this house tech-ed out!

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