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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Some TV/DVD player combination units are just perfect for a van! This model, found at the local Best Buy (about $120), has a separate 12V transformer to power the unit, so it's already set up to run on 12VDC. Buying an RV-specific TV/DVD seems to cost three times the price of this 20" unit.

Pulling down on the upper headliner, a roof cross beam is exposed. I inserted two RivNuts (silver) to the left and right of center, in holes where the plastic push clips were inserted to hold the headliner in place.
(green tape reminds me where the center is - so many holes, easy to hit the wrong ones!)

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Two 3/4" plywood x 2" strips were then attached to the rivnuts with 14-20 bolts thru the holes that also hold the headliner in place. At the other end, of the boards two more rivnuts were installed, and bolted up the other end of the boards.

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A cross board and flat 3/4' plywood backer plate is suspended from the top boards. The 4 holes are spaced to hold the 4 screws that hold the TV in place.


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A bottom brace of aluminum was located to hold the bottom of the backer board from moving or vibrating!

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...and here's a look at the TV in position! The bottom of the TV is even with the bottom of the lower headliner.


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At some point, the finished ceiling will cover the wood support strips.
A 12V power wire is routed down the driver side B pillar to a battery behind the driver's seat.

A magnetic mount antenna, temporarily stuck next to the van window provides about 12 channels of HDTV! No signal? Watch a DVD on the player built into the TV!
 

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As much as I hate Best Buy that's a great set up Eddie and a fantastic price!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
KOV,

I'm not a big BB fan either, but this item was tough to resist! On sale at $120, it usually sells for $149. (20" Insignia brand... I know... but it does have a good HD picture and a decent quality tuner)

What impressed me was the connections it offers.... USB, 2 HDMI, composite, component, computer VGA, and audio in and out.

I figured I could plug in a cheap color camera and use it as a surveillance monitor if I wanted to! :D

... and the height was a perfect fit. It uses a wall wart that delivers 1 amp DC, so I figure the TV uses even less. I'm not usually a combo guy, but the built in DVD means no extra wires and no extra space required.

Geesh, I sound like a salesman! (I'm not!) I did mount it in the back temporarily last fall, so it survived the sub freezing temps OK, we'll see how it does in a hot van this summer!
 

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where did you find the magnetic TV antenna - BB? I have a small digital 12V TV I take with me on trips. It sucks quality wise (but a friend gave it to me) I use a set of old rabbit ears inside the van and it pulls in quite a few stations if I'm in a metro area but it would be nice to have an antenna I could just stick on the roof while stopped for the night instead of bumping into those dumb rabbit ears every time i move around!
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I'm a ham radio operator so I tried a small mag mount antenna... works great!

It is sold as a 2 meter/440 whip antenna. It has a small coil and is actually pretty well tuned for ham and TV frequencies. This one on eBay is the same thing, with a very small strong magnet. Both mine and this one are about 17" long. It takes up no space and the coax is very thin so you can bring it in thru the door. I would permanently install one, but my van-to-carport roof distance is about 3".

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You do need an adapter that converts the male SMA connector (pictured) to a TV F-connector. It would be described as a "female SMA to male F connector adapter". ON my van, I stick it inside, on the metal trim of the window behind the driver's door.

I have also experimented with this. Not a finished project, but it works even better than the whip (20 stations vs. 12 in CT). Google DIY TV ANTENNA for measurements and options.

antenna.jpg

It works well because when you magnetically attach it to the side of the van, the 2 V's are the antenna and the metal of the van acts as a signal reflector to increase signal. It is better, but it is directional, so it will get different stations depending on which side of the van you stick it on.
 

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I actually tried making one of those a while back! It worked pretty good considering I'm in-between the Boston and Portland TV markets but I could only get Portland stations with a lot of fiddling about and no Boston stations at all.

I know Home depot has a $20 flat antenna that would stick to the wall but as you say they can be very directional.

I might check with U Do It Electronics in Needham, MA. They have a lot of those odd-ball electronic things.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
What do you mean by this? Is this a special feature of this particular TV?
I wouldn't call it special. You just have to look for it. It seems like on the smaller TVs (20" and under), some manufacturers don't have space for the power supply inside the TV, so they build it with an included "wall wart". On this set, the wall wart is rated at 12VDC 1 amp, and comes with the TV instead of a power cord.

When I was in BB, I looked at the 19"/20" sets and the Insignia brand (their house brand) had this noted on the box.

The important part is that this is not advertised as a car/van/rv TV. As soon as it says RV TV, the price jumps a lot.

Th model I bought is:
Insignia™ - 20" Class (19-1/2" Diag.) - LED - 720p - HDTV DVD Combo - Black


  • Model: NS-20ED310NA15
  • SKU: 2926265

Ed
 

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I've discovered that a lot of things made for the world market are actually made this way. The LED lights I bought from IKEA for my van have a 110 vac power supply they run off and when I looked a bit closer it turned out they are actually 12 vdc so I just spliced them directly into my 12 vdc fuse box and they work perfectly. The TV I use in the van has a 110 vac external power supply but it actually runs on 12 vdc so I just got a 12v cord with a cigarette lighter plug on one end and the correct size 12 vdc plug on the other and it works like a dream. I'm sure there are many other electrical appliances that are sold as 110 vac but actually are 12 vdc, you just have to look close enough.
 

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Digging up this old thread as I was browsing the forum today (Slow Friday at work) :)

I like what you did, the first thing the wifey said when I brought the PM home was "Can we put a TV up there above the cab"? She wants some kind of rack to slide it up and store it flat in the overhead, then slide it out and down for viewing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Digging up this old thread as I was browsing the forum today (Slow Friday at work) :)

I like what you did, the first thing the wifey said when I brought the PM home was "Can we put a TV up there above the cab"? She wants some kind of rack to slide it up and store it flat in the overhead, then slide it out and down for viewing.
It's funny, I have had it there for about 9 months. It hangs down the same height as the cross piece of the headliner behind it, yet somehow, every now and then I bang my head on it (still works tho). I guess if it wasn't there, I'd just bang my head on the front of the headliner instead! :D

A hinged flip down would probably be easy to make, but I may put a sunroof in the flat roof area and the TV would block it if folded up.

Ed
 

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I practically went nuts when I first saw the number of AV instals in vans here! I go camping to get away from that crap. Well I am ashamed to say KOV and some of you influenced me. I noticed traveling this winter that there are 5 or so hours of DARK and COLD so you can't sit outside, you tire of reading every night, and listening to the radio gets to being so 1950ish that I have come over to the (formally) dark side. I ordered a Samsung 19" TV with a Brick that outputs 14 volts on KOV's recommendation that it will operate fine on the 12.8V my battery puts out. It takes a USB thumb drive and unlike the Insignia it plays movies/video/etc off the USB! Who knew! I need to learn how to get my iTunes and Amazon movie downloads on to the USB w/o ARM or whatever. A 32GB thumb drive will hold about 6 movies, seasons of a TV download etc. and I can send my current content to the tv from my computer via HDMI of course. Next trip to Anza Borrego in CA and I'll watch a movie in bed for a couple of hours after dark. I am almost ashamed.
 

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I bought a 2t drive and loaded hundreds of hrs of what I enjoy on it and it plugs right into the USB / thumb drive on the back of the TV. Works great in six weeks on the road I used it every night and never even bothered to connect up the antenna. I bought one from Bbest Buy but was not impressed with its input capabilities and it would only play commercial DVDs to boot. Useless to me so back it went and the Samsung fill my needs perfectly, not to mention it was only $129! No DVD player needed or wanted the 2t pocket hard drive can me used with it, loaded up from my computer and the Samsung plays every video format I've thrown at it, not to mention slideshows & MP3's to boot. It runs on 14vdc but as RD said it runs perfectly off my 12vdc (nominal) house batteries. I just bought another power supply and chopped off the 14vdc plug and added a 12vdc cigarette lighter plug on the other end. Neat, clean and very function able.
I'll post photos tomorrow after winding down from six weeks and 9500+ miles on the road tonight!
 

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I wouldn't call it special. You just have to look for it. It seems like on the smaller TVs (20" and under), some manufacturers don't have space for the power supply inside the TV, so they build it with an included "wall wart". On this set, the wall wart is rated at 12VDC 1 amp, and comes with the TV instead of a power cord.

When I was in BB, I looked at the 19"/20" sets and the Insignia brand (their house brand) had this noted on the box.

The important part is that this is not advertised as a car/van/rv TV. As soon as it says RV TV, the price jumps a lot.

Th model I bought is:
Insignia™ - 20" Class (19-1/2" Diag.) - LED - 720p - HDTV DVD Combo - Black


  • Model: NS-20ED310NA15
  • SKU: 2926265

Ed
Would they have one of these in a 32" with the 12V wall wart?
And how did you make the wall wart work for the van application?
Cut it off and wire direct?
Thanks
 

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You don't want the Ensignia brand it is overpriced POS and a poor choice for a van for many reasons (sorry. Eddie). The Samsung is a higher quality, more functional TV and will run fine on 12vdc, do more for you and make you will much happier and you will be far ahead in the long run. Mine is a 22" and I paid $129 for it at BJ's!
 

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Samsung has the 19" w/usb and wall wart on warehouse sale for $90
Safe, strong, simple.
BTW these TV's were the ONLY ones I could find that will play video through the USB port a great option for us travelers, no DVD player needed. Programs to put your DVD's on USB are available on the 'Net. A 32GB thumb drive will hold about 15 movies for $10 128GB for $16 from China=60-75 movies!
 

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I'm trying to figure out a way to drop the awning on the side down and make a screen for it then use a projector to have the "Drive-In" experience when we're "glamping"!

:)
 
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