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Replacing Analog TV with Flat Screen LCD Saves Space and Weight

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I have just completed replacing the analog televisions in our 2004 motor home with flat screen HD LCD TV's.

Both projects were done with a little help from friends but were relatively simple to do and the results are spectacular. Our coach is a Monaco 40' Windsor. The front TV has been a head knocker since we purchased the coach. This being our second Monaco, we knew what we were getting. Now the flat screen TV has allowed me to cut the cabinet back in size to move it largely out of the way of incoming heads! The old 24 inch TV was replaced with a 32 inch Sharp HD LCD. The old TV weighed 75 pounds. The new one weighs about 27 pounds. The new LCD TV uses about 100 Watts, the same as a 100 Watt light bulb.

I took 5 inches off the depth of the cabinet and 2 inches off the height of the cabinet. The cabinet front now is flush with the bottom of the adjacent electronics cabinets. The bottom of the cabinet extends about 5 inches below those same cabinets. The cabinet was screwed together but not glued so it was easy to disassemble. I took the pieces to a friend who has a nice wood shop. He cut five inches off the back edge of each side leaving the finished front edge. The back edge would be covered by the piece on back of the cabinet. On the cabinet floor he cut 5 inches off at an angle. This time I asked him to cut off the front to preserve the best piece of the back. This eliminated the need to cover the screw holes in the base from mounting the old TV. I then cut the finished edge of the scrap from the base and attached it to the front edge of the base. The cabinet was shortened by cutting two inches off the top of the cabinet. To make it fit as the original I had to do some additional trimming on the rear of each side piece at the top but this was not a precision cut and would not show when the cabinet was reinstalled. I have elected not to put the frame on the front of the cabinet as the appearance of the clean screen appeals more to me than having part of the TV concealed by a frame. The frame is stored in case I change my mind. The manual controls on the Sharp TV are on the top of the set. I left a blank space in the top trim piece to allow access to those controls. Access to these is handy when someone comes to the door and you need to mute or turn off the TV. While remodeling I made an additional change. The dash and stairwell have always been poorly lit at night so I went to Home Depot and purchased a couple of small spotlights which I mounted on the side of the cabinet. These are on a rheostat control which makes for a nice background light for night viewing and also illuminates the dash and stairwell with good light at the touch of a switch.

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If you look at the pictures, you will see that the ceiling remains to be healed. I have talked to a car repair shop about vinyl repair but the solution I was offered was not acceptable. They wanted to replace the whole front panel of the ceiling. I may end up doing that but will check other shops to see if there is a simpler alternative. For now, the impressions of the cabinet are relaxing and becoming less noticeable. In fact I hardly notice them anymore. They are more noticeable in the picture than their actual appearances. If anyone has suggestions here I'd love to hear them.

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The TV is rear mounted on a steel frame which I had fabricated at a local welding shop. The frame was modeled after a friends TV mount in their 2008 motor home. Steel weighs more than their aluminum frame but the steel frame is simpler and cheaper to install. I am still many pounds ahead of the old TV. So I have a larger TV with much better native resolution and the ability to receive all digital broadcasts without an additional converter box. By the way, I picked up the TV at about 30% off as a display model at the local Wal-Mart. The old Sony TV had speakers on the side of the screen. The new TV with its wider screen almost exactly matches the old TV's width but is a little shorter. What I am looking at now is almost all screen!

One caveat, our KVH dish depends on an old Hughes receiver with its slow speed data port. The old receiver is also in my friends 2008 RV! This receiver puts out only an analog signal. As a result, the picture I am watching when using the dish (most of the time) is an analog signal. It still looks so much sharper on the LCD TV that we are very pleased with it. One of my first reactions was that I could now read the fine print at the bottom of the screen on the commercial disclaimers! Of course they don't leave time to read more than three words! But now I can read all the score and game information on the sports channels. Direct TV says I can replace the old receiver but KVH tells me that new receivers don't have the required low speed data port to accommodate the auto search feature of the dish. So I could manually tell the dish if I have the right satellite or select search again if it finds the wrong satellite. For now I'm accepting the analog picture as a trade off on not having to mess with locating the satellite in a more tedious manner. One additional change I made was to run a S-Video connection from the satellite receiver to the TV. This improved the picture and now I can change from satellite TV to broadcast TV by simply changing the input selection on the TV with the remote instead of using the switch box which requires manually switching from antenna to satellite. In eight years of living full time in motor homes full time I have never used the VCR. Using it would require an adapter or replacement with a digital recorder of some type.

In the rear, the cabinet for the TV was a fixed cabinet which offered no advantage in reducing cabinet size. I toyed with the idea of using the space behind the TV for some storage but the angled shape of the cabinet and the fact it already housed some other electronics made it impractical. I removed the old 20" Sony TV which weighed 50 pounds and replaced it with a LG 26" HD LCD TV which weighed 23 pounds. The TV was picked up as a floor model from Circuit City just after they went out of business. Again the savings was substantial. The LG TV didn't have strong rear mount studs. They are only attached to the plastic back of the TV and the manual cautions against installing the TV in an angled position in a normal static installation. The rear attachments clearly would not be sufficient for use in a motor home. So I altered plans and installed the TV on its base mount. There was sufficient space in the cabinet to use the old angled base from the old TV. The base had a hole for a securing screw. I screwed the base to the angled base which is screwed into the base of the cabinet in the original position. The top of the TV rests against the inside of the cabinet which I lined with a rubber seal for a cushion. There is sufficient tension on the base of the TV to keep the TV from rocking back and forth while traveling. To conceal the base mount, I took a piece which had been removed from the front TV cabinet and angled it from just inside the base of the cabinet and up over the plastic base of the TV as a kind of skirt. It looks like the TV is sitting on the skirt. I cut a notch in the skirt so it fits over the support column for the TV and the skirt then provides an additional anchor to hold the base of the TV down. The TV is entirely recessed in the cabinet.

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Both projects started with substantial research on-line. After carefully measuring each cabinet I began looking at TV dimensions. I was pleased to find that each cabinet would accommodate a larger screen TV. I made a list of suitable models and kept this as my shopping list. Then when I found a possible TV on sale I could quickly check my list to see if it was a suitable model for my application. Both TV's are HD but I really don't find many models that are just digital TV and those are not as desirable as the LCD TV's. I had to dig hard and long to find information on the cabling for digital TV. It turns out that the normal antenna cable transmits a fine HD signal. There are HDMI cables for best HD signal but these are not necessary to get a good HD signal. Both TV's are 720P which all consumer advice sources indicate are sufficient for TV's less than 40" screen size. Had I realized the LG TV didn't have a strong wall mounting apparatus I would not have purchased it. In addition it has menu and feature quirks that I consider undesirable. Lesson learned... anyone want to buy a slightly used LCD TV? Both projects were completed inside of three weeks while we were staying at our winter retreat in Texas. My wife tolerated the tool boxes and disarray for three weeks and I really appreciate the minimal complaints. Now she just marvels at how good the picture is on the TV!

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Nice Job,,,

Couldn't tell how much ceiling had to be repaired,,,,,but just wondering,,,,if a nice decorative wood trim might work.....Same color or tone of the cabinet.

just a thought.

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Nice Job,,,

Couldn't tell how much ceiling had to be repaired,,,,,but just wondering,,,,if a nice decorative wood trim might work.....Same color or tone of the cabinet.

just a thought.

Thanks for the suggestion Xplorer. My initial thought was to do just that. I could put a piece of paneling over the spot. It is a small area, about 5" x 30". I decided to wait and think about other solutions. A friend of mine suggested the vinyl repair route and that would be ideal if we could get it repaired without a big fuss. I'll try at least one more vinyl repair facility to see if somebody has a better solution. Otherwise I'll go with the wood panel. It could be glued in place or I could attach with small screws countersunk into the paneling and then painted to match.

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It really does look good.

We removed our overhead TV,,,and set up a 37" flat panel on a TV Stand behind the Co-pilot seat,,,,bolted the stand to the floor, and secured the TV to the stand.

The cabinet is empty,,,and tried without any luck so far to find a carpenter to finish the overhead cabinet,,,,now I am going to take a look at what you did,,,and revisit this project.

Bein Texian,,,,I think I would make a visit to one of the home improvement stores,,,,and pick up the 5x trim and the decorative Texas Stars and mount one on each end of the the ceiling trim.....jmho,,,I think it would look good,,,,and the 5 inch width should be able to be covered.....

Anyway,,,,you had a neat idea reducing the size of the overhead cabinet.

Thanks for sharing it with the pics,,,,DW liked it,,,,,so there goes the drippin faucet.,,,,lol

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Looks great! Have you tried taking a hairdryer to the ceiling?

I just installed a 40" Samsung LCD in our 07 Allegro. Yes, I know that seems big. I took my tape measure to the store looking for something 'high' enough to cover the hole removing the original 27" TV would leave. I lose function of the small cabinet to the left of the TV, over the driver's head, due to the TVs width. The TV is slightly skewed to the left to preserve function of the cabinet on the right, which is where the DVD player and satellite reciever is. Sorry I don't have photos, but the installation looks good, to my eye. I reinstalled the wood frame the manufacturer had surrounding the original TV. From the side (behind the TV) all you see is the nice woodwork. You can also see about 1" of the woodwork between the top of the TV and the cieling. This is much better than the unfinished edge of the plywood the cabinet is made of. The original TV 'box' is substancial, built out of 3/4" plywood. I through bolted a length of 2X2, slightly recessed into the opening, along the bottom of the cabinet, and lag bolted another length of 2X2 on the top side. The bottom bolts are carriage bolts, hidden by the upholstery. To this I secured 3/4 inch plywood to which I mounted a standard steel flat panel TV mount, purchased at Best Buy. The TV hangs from this. Few would know it was not factory installed. The bottom of the TV is even with the bottom of the original cabinet so little view is lost out the front "picture window". When seated in the driver or co-pilot chairs it's above your line of vision.

We've got 2500 over the road miles on the rig since installation, with no issues. It is nice to be able to toggle between TV, the DVD player or the satellite just with the TV remote. The picture is phenominal. As our sattellite dish (domed, auto seeking) is not of the latest generation, we can't get the full array of satellite HD available. An upgrade may be done in the future.

This fall I'll install a 19" LCD, with built in DVD player, in the bedroom. The TV will be a gift from my employer for years of service (selected from a supplied catalog).

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WE removed the 24" analog TV from it's cabinet in the front of our "Friendship" and were very lucky. The wires from the cabinet where the Satellite receiver and the DVR were kept were very long. We moved those electronics into the old TV cabinet and extended the cables to and from the receiver. Bought a 32" HDTV and placed it on a table/magazine rack/liqueur cabinet. The wires were just long enough to do this. When we travel the TV is on the bed. Removed the hide a bed and replaced it with two rocker recliners. Now we can both see the TV with out looking at the ceiling.

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I really took this as inspiration for the TV upgrade of our newly aquired 2004 Beaver Santiam. With the 24" CRT up front and a 20" CRT in the back, with analog receivers, there was a lot to be gained.

In the front I both replaced the TVs and cut 4 inches of the bottom of the front cabinet (makes a difference when you are 6'2"). I built a custom mount with hinges, which allows to the back when the TV is taken out of the mounting. With the stand can the TV also be taken outside when viewing the race in the sun or while grilling :-).

Before and after pictures:

BeaverFrontTV-BeforaAndAfter01.jpg

With all the extra space (and weight saved) was there also room to add a desktop computer behind the screen.

BeaverFrontTV-InsideOutside01.jpg

The rear 20" TV was also replaced with a 26" LED-LCD, this was really easy with a swivel mount inside the cabinet. Now there is a huge amount of extra storage too.

The total weight saving in the front is approximately 30 pound and 40 in the rear.

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Very clever, using the space for the computer. Do you use the TV as the monitor? I assume you use a wireless mouse and keyboard?

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Hi Per3110,

Welcome to the FMCA forum. Job well done, congratulations. This is the first time I have seen a computer used in this setup. You have provided me a very good option when I am ready to do as you have done.

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I found out that the power when switching from External Power to Inverter or Inverter to Generator is not clean enough for the computer to keep on running. I will have to add a UPS to the setup too. But there is plenty of more space to work with and I will weld a frame for hanging it from the coach frame above like the computer. Even with the UPS will I still be 15 pounds less than the original 24" Sony CRT.

With Windows 7 Ultimate is Media Center included too. this is a really nice feature for playing music and video stored on the computer. A simple remote is enough to navigate in the application. I also took the VCR out and have a TV receiver card in the computer too. With the right software is the computer able to record TV too.

I have more high resolution pictures here.

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I think I see the speakers on the bottom or side of the new TV, is there any problem with the audio? I'm ready to do something similiar in our '01 Eagle. The cost diff to get the speakers on the front AND the controls on the front (in case neighbor's dog chews remote) is about $100 premium :-(

Any thoughts appreciated.

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You may want to try using a hair dryer on low temp to see if you can get the ceiling foam to relax a little more. If that does not work if you are good with wood you could use wood trim to fill in the dents.

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I think I see the speakers on the bottom or side of the new TV, is there any problem with the audio? I'm ready to do something similiar in our '01 Eagle. The cost diff to get the speakers on the front AND the controls on the front (in case neighbor's dog chews remote) is about $100 premium :-(

Any thoughts appreciated.

The newer flat screen have very good sound. I'm not sure where the sound actually exit, but the quality is much better than the Sony 24" that was replaced (much more full sound with bass). The new TV still allow to connect to the surround sound in the coach.

I would not pay extra for speakers in front. It also takes a lot of room. The 4 inches cut from the bottom of the cabinet makes a huge difference. It took a day to finish rebuilding the cabinet (except staining the bottom of the sides that is still not done).

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Nice workmanship! I've been planning on a similar re-do and you've definitely provided additional motivation. Thanks for sharing the details and the pictures.

Tim and Beth Shields

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Great work, novel idea about the computer. I'm also thinking of a similar replacement. Do you have any pictures of the mount you designed and built? I want to mount an LCD/LED tv with the ability to hinge or move it out of the way to access the space behind while being very secure. I intend to build something myself and will detail it's construction as well.

Cheers

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I replaced the original 65# TV and 20 Pounds of supporting steel from our 2004 Trek per the attachment. The speakers are at the bottom of the TV so the speaker screen under the TV. The satellite receiver and surround system are under the speaker. The speaker screen is held in with velcro for easy access.

Bob Beers

F 341770

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Thanks for the suggestion Xplorer. My initial thought was to do just that. I could put a piece of paneling over the spot. It is a small area, about 5" x 30". I decided to wait and think about other solutions. A friend of mine suggested the vinyl repair route and that would be ideal if we could get it repaired without a big fuss. I'll try at least one more vinyl repair facility to see if somebody has a better solution. Otherwise I'll go with the wood panel. It could be glued in place or I could attach with small screws countersunk into the paneling and then painted to match.

Tom, I was thinking that when I cut the cabinet down that I would leave the top portion the full size and just stain the bare side. How does that sound?

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I found out that the power when switching from External Power to Inverter or Inverter to Generator is not clean enough for the computer to keep on running. I will have to add a UPS to the setup too. But there is plenty of more space to work with and I will weld a frame for hanging it from the coach frame above like the computer. Even with the UPS will I still be 15 pounds less than the original 24" Sony CRT.

With Windows 7 Ultimate is Media Center included too. this is a really nice feature for playing music and video stored on the computer. A simple remote is enough to navigate in the application. I also took the VCR out and have a TV receiver card in the computer too. With the right software is the computer able to record TV too.

I have more high resolution pictures here.

You are going to need a "Pure Sine Wave Inverter for your computer. The typical inverters on RV's are not "clean" enough for use with PC's or laptops. In fact it's recommended for LCD or LED TV's as well. In most cases, unless your coach is modified, the inverter (like in my 00 Winnebago)is too small to operate the added equipment. My unit used to have a 125 Watt inverter in the front cabinetry for operating the Analog TV and VCR. After I added the 37" LCD and the 1100 Watt Blu-Ray Surround system, the old inverter would not power up the new equipment. I added a 600 Watt Samlex Pure Sine Inverter. Now I can watch TV or movies when boondocking.

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Guest BillAdams

Need is not necessarily the right word. PSW (or true sine wave) is likely better but not likely required. We have run our TV's, computers, refrigerator, coffee maker, etc. all from a 2000 watt MSW inverter for the last 10 years of full-timing. With that said, should I have to replace it in the future I am sure I will buy a PSW.

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Tom, I was thinking that when I cut the cabinet down that I would leave the top portion the full size and just stain the bare side. How does that sound?

That would have worked. I just didn't think of it. I was too excited about getting that cabinet out of the way!

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