The touchscreens from most home automation companies run from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and that doesn’t include installation and programming. They look and perform great, but if you’re a DIYer like me, I can show you how to create your own on-wall touchscreen for less than $60!
Why do you need an on-wall touchscreen? How about using it as an easy way to control Sonos in your kitchen? Or monitor your security system cameras from your master bedroom? Perhaps even control the lighting in your theater? Most DIY-friendly systems like Sonos and Nest offer apps for commonly-available tablets that provide an easy way to control the systems with ease. All of the above scenarios are possible with the right gear and the right apps with only basic setup and programming required. So let’s get to it!
Parts you will need (prices current at this writing)
1x Amazon 7" Fire Tablet, $40 (recently on sale for $35)
1x Koala Tablet Wall Mount, $15
Why I chose these parts
I chose the Amazon fire Tablet for its ultra-low price of just $35 on sale. It has most Android apps available plus other control apps I use like Control4 and Philips Hue. It runs smoothly and the display is bright, and the battery lasts 3-5 days on standby. The Koala wall mount is cheap and looks nice and clean. However, I like the fact that it’s not in-wall, meaning there’s no need to cut out a big cavity to install it. If I want to move it to another location, I only have to spackle a couple of small screw holes. And it’s a universal mount, so I can use a different tablet if I wish.
Tools you will need
1x Drill or screwdriver
1x Stud finder
2x Drywall screws
You will only need very basic tools to install this. A drill is not necessary; it just makes the install go faster.
Steps to Install
Determine where you are going to mount your touch panel, just at or below eye-level is optimal.
Use a stud finder to find any obstructions in your wall before drilling the screws. You don’t need to attach to a stud as the load of a tablet and mount is less than two pounds.
Install the first side of the Koala mount, keeping it level.
Before installing the other side, slide the tablet into the already attached side of the mount and level it. Then mark the wall on the opposite side for the second bracket. You can even slide the other uninstalled mount on and mark its position on the wall.
After ensuring you know exactly where to place the other side, ensure it is level and adhere it to the wall.
- If you don’t like the wires showing you can run them through the wall, this is something I will be showing how to do in a future DIY article.
- Don’t forget, you can use any tablet you want!
- Don’t want to worry about the wires? Turn the brightness down on the tablet and let it go sleep to save battery, it can last for days until the next charge. Depending on usage.