Is Your Ceiling-Mounted Projector Vibrating? We’ve Got the Answers
You’ve gone big AND gone home. No measly flat panel for you. You’ve got a massive screen and a home theater projector! You’ve been dreaming about this for a long time and now it’s finally a reality. You couldn’t be more excited. You fire up your first movie and…horror and disappointment creep into your brain. Something is wrong. Your ceiling-mounted home theater projector seems to be vibrating! You never thought this would be a problem! What do you do? Let’s discuss!
The top two causes for your ceiling-mounted projector vibrating are people walking on the floor above and structure-borne vibrations. You can easily test for the first one by having something walk across the floor above your projector. The second can be tested by playing sweeps (download some here) through your system at high volume. If neither of these are the source of the vibration, look at other sources like your HVAC kicking on or outside noise from something like a truck passing by.
What To Check
Before you start looking for solutions to your ceiling-mounted projector vibrating, you’ll want to double-check a few things. First, is it REALLY your projector that is vibrating? Or, possibly, is it your screen? Recreate your vibration test and examine your screen closely. If it is the screen that is vibrating, look at your mounting options or get some museum putty to securely fasten your screen to the wall.
Second, check your ceiling mount. The projector should have been mounted securely to the joists above. If it is mounted in any other way, you’ll want to address that first. But, if neither of these are your issue, then…
Consider Moving Your Ceiling-Mounted Projector
If your projector isn’t mounted to joists (or only partially secured to joists along with drywall anchors), then you’ll want to fix that first. But if your projector is near the back of the room, and the throw distance allows, then consider moving your projector to a shelf on the back wall. While it is no guarantee, the wall is much less likely to vibrate your projector than a ceiling mount. Walls are more inert, have more material between them and the footfalls above, and the projector can be decoupled from the shelf for added vibration mitigation.
Other than throw distance, you’ll want to ensure that your projector can work in this orientation. Some projectors can only display an image from a shelf-mounted projector when it is below the screen. Others will allow you to do so from above the screen. Don’t go through the trouble of moving your projector unless you are sure.
Look Into a Vibration Isolator
If none of the above works, or will work in your situation, you’re going to have to buy a Vibration Isolator. Chief makes one (actually a couple) that work fairly well. You’ll need to know the weight of your projector and buy the appropriate mount. We will warn you that they are fairly expensive (this one on Amazon is nearly $400), and they are not a panacea. They will definitely reduce vibrations, but they aren’t guaranteed to eliminate them.