Saturday, June 3, 2017

DIY - Retractable System for a TV in a Gazebo

A TV that is safe from the Rain

Hinges and Pulleys and Unistrut

We recently made the investment in a Gazebo for our backyard. I love it outdoors and would probably spend my entire life out there if I didn't live in Michigan. . . While we had a deck with comfortable furniture, we knew we wanted to make some improvements so that we could extend our time outdoors.

One of the challenges with outdoor furniture that has cushions is that rain is the devil. I don't know if it's the foam stuffed in those things, but they seem to absorb about 10X the water that they should and if they get wet it is literally DAYS until they dry out. We have had two protective covers over the past two summers and they both ripped. The tarp that we "upgraded" with was quite the sight.

Putting the furniture under the gazebo, strategically, has proven to be a much better solution. With the shift of just a couple of pillows, we can prevent the waterlog. Before, if it was going to rain in the next 24 hours, I would debate about pulling off the covers, and bringing out the TV. TV? Yes, I know that for some having a TV outside might not be in tune with communing with nature. All I can say is watching a scary episode of Supernatural in darkness is a really nice family bonding moment. It's also a way to encourage kids to spend time with us if they can watch their favorite shows on HULU or Netflix.

The TV was something I had to deliberate about more than taking off the cover. Before the shelter provided from the Gazebo roof, the TV was either stored in the garage or the basement. Now, I know these are first world problems but lugging the TV and putting it into place, and then having to reconnect power and internet, was not always an easy task and it certainly was something we second guessed if we were only going to be spending a half hour outside on a school night. . .

When I first asked my own personal MacGyver if he could rig something up with this gazebo he had to think about it. I could see those gears turning and this is the results. Now, right now it may not be pretty but the plan is to wrap all the mechanics of this project in bamboo. I just wanted to be able to show you how to accomplish this before we moved on to the decorative part.


The TV itself is connected to two pieces of Unistrut with replacement screws that go into the holes in the back of the TV. These two strips of strut are then fastened to two perpendicular strips that have been attached together with Unistrut fittings. A third bar runs parallel to the two attached to the TV for more stability. This entire framework was attached to two large hinges so that the Unistrut is suspended from the interior beam of at the bottom of the roof.

On the bottom horizontal strip, a loop of rope was created that can be attached to a carabiner that is on the end of a longer rope that is positioned between three pulleys. When the TV and this carabiner are attached, a person can simply pull on the other end of the rope, and retract the TV up into the interior of the roof, away from any rain.

This literally takes seconds to pull up and we just secure the end of the rope to a hook on one of the gazebo's posts. To bring the TV back down you simply reverse the actions, unsecuring the rope from the hook and lowering the TV down with a slight pull in the other direction. The rope with the carabiner is then detached from the TV so it's not blocking the view.


As you can see from the photo, there's a roll of bamboo fencing ready to go to wrap around the Unistrut structure. We aren't going for an industrial theme in our backyard but more of a kitschy Tiki type thing. We think the bamboo would be the perfect addition.

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