DIY Home Theatre

Project Status: COMPLETE

Goal: To make a DIY projector and DIY speakers from spare parts and minimal additional cost.


I don’t really know where the idea for this came from, I guess I’ve always wanted to build a projector. When I was a kid I tried by drawing things on clear cellophane with a sharpie and then holding a flashlight to it. Little did I know that lenses were required.

This was my first complicated electronics project. As if in, I didn’t understand everything that I was doing going into it. I knew basic wiring and all of that, but I knew it was going to get a little hairy. I was going off of a guide from Engadget on a DIY projector that used a full-size monitor and a bulb, but I wanted something much smaller, and with LED. No warm-up times for this guy.

Lessons learned: LEDs still produce a whopping amount of heat. Those two fans that I put inside the projector were NOT part of the original plan. Also, cheaping out on Fresnel lenses WILL come back to bite you. I tried getting away with those semi-rigid “page magnifiers”, and it really was a big pain. They were bending, one melted from being too close to the LED.. do yourself a favor and buy proper lenses.

There are two drawbacks to this setup: 1) The LCD panel is not high-resolution. At all. I think it’s something like 600×480, and blown up to my screen size, you can see the SUB-pixels. That’s right, I can see the RGB sub-pixels if I look at the screen from 3 feet away. No bueno. 2) Contrast. I adjusted it so that dark scenes are barely watch-able, but bright scenes are really washed out. I wish I took more pictures before I dismantled it for parts for DIY Projector 2.0 to show you. Still very enjoyable though, and the sound was fantastic.

Check out the gallery:



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