In this post we are going to show you how we built a flip down in ceiling TV lift using a linear actuator, some brackets, a remote control, and a power supply. Many of our customers have used actuators to create inexpensive TV lifts in homes, offices, cars, and boats. Virtually anywhere you can use linear motion to move a TV you can use actuators to build a custom TV lift. This project was in a basement which had a drop in the ceiling so a 55" TV was able to fit easily. You will need about 10" of space in your ceiling to create a flip down TV lift. Check out this video to see how it works.
- 9" Stroke Linear Actuator (we used the Firgelli heavy duty rod actuator FA-400-L $129)
- Gas Springs
- Mounting Brackets (MB3 $9)
- Power Supply (12V DC battery)
Construct a Bracket
To use a linear actuator to make a flip down TV lift you have to create a large L type bracket. The TV will mount on the inside of the large L. The customer had this bracket custom manufactured from this concept drawing. The actuator will be attached at the top on the outside of the L so that as the actuator pushes it rotates the bracket 90 degrees around the fixed pivot point and lowers the TV down.
Attach the Actuator Using Brackets
Attach the actuator to the outside of the L bracket at one end and to a joist in the ceiling at the other end. In this application the actuator is fully extended when the TV is in the down position. When the TV is pulled close the actuator is pulling the end of the L bracket back into place and rotating the entire mechanism around the pivot point. The gas spring was used in this instance to assist with the pulling because the closer you are to the pivot point the more force is required. A drywall box was constructed inside the ceiling so that when the TV is in the down position all the electrical and things in the ceiling are hidden.
Connect the Remote Control
Here is another drawing to help you envision the concept. Remember that when the TV is fully down the actuator is fully extended. To figure out what stroke size to order (the distance the actuator needs to travel) determine the distance required for the short end of the L bracket to turn 90 degrees. 9" - 12" should be sufficient. We suggest the FA-400-L-12 because these actuators are quiet, high force, have built in limit switches, and are easy to operate. Connect the remote control which will operate the actuator and 12V DC power supply to run it all. Or alternatively have an electrician install a power outlet for you in the ceiling.
Operate the Actuator Without the TV
Operate the actuator attached to the L bracket and the ceiling without the TV installed first. Make sure the bracket and the drywall attached to it are opening and closing smoothly. You will need to adjust the position of the base of the actuator so that when the TV is lifted close the actuators internal limit shuts itself off when retracted just in time for the ceiling to fully close. Alternatively, you can install external limit switches to stop the actuator at a certain point. These are quite simple to install and can be found on the Firgelli website for $18.
After some modifications you can attach your TV to the bracket and then just sit back and watch your TV go up and down all day long. It is a great way to impress your friends!
Please feel free to leave a comment with information and/or questions on how to create a TV lift or ordering a linear actuator for you application.