Video Sign for North Plains Public Library

  • Video sign at library entrance

    Video sign at library entrance

  • Inside view of sign - a bulletin board and an access door

    Inside view of sign - a bulletin board and an access door

  • Sign frame with bracing and mounting pads

    Sign frame with bracing and mounting pads

  • Door with caned panels for access and ventilation

    Door with caned panels for access and ventilation

  • Assembling LCD TV to the frame

    Assembling LCD TV to the frame

  • Preparing to mount the sign in the window

    Preparing to mount the sign in the window

Carolyn and I are avid supporters of our community library in North Plains. When the library needed a way to publicize its programs to passersby, we came up with the idea of mounting a flat-screen HDTV inside the window that faces the street, and using it to display slides advertising the library’s upcoming activities. But here were some challenging requirements:

  • The TV needed to be inside the window, to protect it from the weather.
  • The unit had to be very thin so it wouldn’t protrude into the room – about 3″ is all the space we had.
  • The appearance from inside needed to match the beautiful, clear fir woodwork in the library.
  • There had to be lockable access for service, as well as adequate ventilation of heat generated.

Starting with the thinnest 40″ LED-LCD TV available, I designed a structure to mount it within the window frame. I built it from clear, vertical-grain fir, and had fun figuring out the joinery to make it strong enough within that thin profile.

To conserve energy, we wanted the unit to turn on and off automatically each day. The HDTV had built-in wake-up and sleep timer functions, but unfortunately, after a timed wake-up it would shut off if 10 minutes went by with no buttons pressed on the remote! So I built and programmed a small circuit with an Arduino microcontroller that generated infrared pulses to simulate remote control usage. 

The sign served the library well for four years, with Carolyn creating a different series of slides each week. Eventually the TV wore out and was beyond repair. Unable to locate a new TV with that thin profile, the unit was removed and the parts reclaimed.