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Author Topic: Audio/video equipment?  (Read 3466 times)
John Z
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« on: February 27, 2007, 08:14:25 AM »

I am about to start building and installing my entertainment system. I am wondering what you have found to work well. My first thought was to use home type 110 volt equipment for a DVD player and stereo receiver. Now i see auto type 12v systems that have AM/FM, CD, DVD, MP3 etc all built into one in-dash unit. I am thinking about using one of these with a 110volt LCD TV which will run off an inverter. Any thoughts from you would be appreciated as to what has or has not worked for you.
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Brian Diehl
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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2007, 08:43:33 AM »

My only thought in the all in one dash units are the good ones are all VERY expensive.  The household type equipment usually is a little cheaper and is what I am going to go with.  I'm using a car audio stereo/cd player and a home style DVD player and amplifier.
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John Z
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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2007, 09:05:21 AM »

Hey Brian, have you bought a tv yet for the coach? I am waiting for the digital turners to come down a bit in price,,, the analog ones sure are getting cheap. Wondering what type of mount system you are using or planning to use. I seem to remember seeing a tv with a vga input which would be nice for using with the computer too.
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« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2007, 09:31:54 AM »

I wrestled with some of these same decisions when I set up the A/V equipment in my 4104.  I came to the conclusion that the best way to go for audio was to use a good quality car system. They sound good, are built for the temperature and vibration of mobile use, and running off 12 volts greatly simplifies things.

Although 10+ years old, my Sony head unit has tremendous flexibility through its Unilink controls. It ties into my 10 disk CD changer, and displays disk titles. I could add a second CD Changer if I wanted. There is a Unilink expansion box (Model XA-300) which has RCA jack auxillary inputs. I use these for running the TV's audio signal to speakers distributed through out the bus. I tie my iPod into this as well.  The expansion box even has a USB port for connection to my PC. I use that for the Delorme GPS voice commands. One of the coolest features is Sony's remote stalk controller which I mounted to the side of the dash and lets me control everything from the driver's seat  (Model RM-X4S).   Check out Sony's Xplod website for more info on these specific items.

From a video equipment standpoint, what I currently have is ancient and I am in the process of redoing this.  I have an old 9" TV that runs off 110 or 12 volts, like on the units you see for sale at a truck stop.  I plan to replace it with an LCD flat panel (19-23") mounted to an adjustable articulated arm. I recently built something similar for a nursing home patient who is confined to a bed, and it turned out real nice. I believe there are some LCD panels that run directly off 12 VDC, and require a brick style transformer for home 110 VAC use.  I need to look into this further, but it looks plausible that if properly protected/filtered, the house batteries could power the TV directly. I haven't decided whether I will use my laptop or a separate device as my DVD player.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 01:23:21 PM by WEC4104 » Logged

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Brian Diehl
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2007, 09:40:45 AM »

Hey Brian, have you bought a tv yet for the coach?

I'm using a Samsung 21" LCD tv.  I tried to use a cheaper Sharp unit, but the blurring of moving objects was just too bad.  I returned it and spent the extra $150 for a better unit.  I don't have it mounted on a wall yet as I'm really not to that point, but do use it while traveling.
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John Z
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2007, 09:52:13 AM »

WEC, thanks for the info on your system. I am inclined to head off in that direction also, as i like the compactness of a single unit to handle all audio/video chores. I will look around and research that Sony unit tonight, as it does sound nice. There really is no shortage of auto in-dash dvd sytems out there and the price has really come down. A salesman at best buy told me that he guessed most tvs are running on 12 volt internally. Not sure if it is worth it to open one up and check that out or not, but it sure would be nice to just go around the transformer they use to drop to 12 volt if it is true. Anyone know anything about this?

Brian, you have got the size tv i want to put in my coach also. I have avoided doing it because i can't decide if i want it mounted right behind the driver seat, or on the wall between the salon section and the kitchen. Both areas work out well.
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2007, 10:04:35 AM »

Hi John,

The Automotive systems are the way to go.  Wayne and others above have detailed the reasons well.

Now, If they only would make a TV that can withstand heavy vibrations......

Nick-

Oh, Here is one of my bus systems
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John Z
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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 10:34:57 AM »

Nick, what brand type of equipment is that? I see automotive monitors for sale, but they seem to only go up to about 13" size. And then i would need to buy a unit with a tv tuner built into it. They also allow VGA input from computers which would also be nice.

Have you had problems with the home type tv's? I would like to avoid any brands/types that are prone to giving problems. I suppose i can avoid the vibration/shock problem by leaving the thing sit on the couch until it is time to use it!  Undecided
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« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 10:49:21 AM »

John:

I took a look at a number of the smaller 15-17" LCD panels at Best Buy and Circuit City earlier this month.  It seems most had the AC cord running directly to the unit. However, a number of them used an external power supply (like a laptop computer).  Of these, most had the jack on the back of the set labeled 12 VDC.  I think I also saw one labeled 9 VDC.  As you go up in screen size, the odds of having the AC adapter built into the set goes up. It may be possible to find something in the 19-23" range that still uses the external adapter.

As long as any surges or sags in the house batteries won't damage the set, it seems like the way I would want to go. For some reason I have a problem with taking the 12 VDC (+/-) from the house batteries, running it through an inverter to make 110 VAC, then running that through the set's adapter to turn it back into 12 VDC.  Also, I know my present cheapo 9" set requires me to reprogram my active channel list everytime I disconnect/reconnect to AC power. This is a PITA which I could live without and sove with a battery direct connect.

I also will be making sure that any set I buy has a VGA connection for a PC, as well.  
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 11:25:26 AM »

Hi John,

My system is a Pioneer AVICN3, I'm able to send the DVD, NAV, and other inputs to my main 30" LCD TV along

with being able to view them on the 7.5" screen. My favorite feature besides nav traffic is, the back-up camra

can split the screen with the navigation to enable me to track both at the same time. eliminating a 2nd monitor for back-up.

Wayne is correct about the 12v DC input on some TV's, I just checked my 30" LCD and the power pak says 12v dc.

It's a Magnavox.  Check out this thread on the new Pioneer all in one for half the price that I paid 1 1/2 years ago.

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=3442.0

Nick-
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2007, 01:02:17 PM »

I thought it was a toss up.  I ended up with a high quality home system  NAD surround sound home theater system.  'm very happy with it.  It has a remote, so its not an issue that the unit is behid my when I'm driving.  I have my entire CD collection with paylists on my Ipod, and I use that a lot while driving.  That is very easy to hit the next button if I'm sck of a song in the playlist.   I leave my inverter on all the time, but if I wanted to turn it off, that might be an issue where the 21v unit would shine.

At this time, I do not even have speakers hooked up to my in dash unit, a high  quality Kenwood unit.  I suspect that the tuner on an a unit made for cars is probably better and more likely to deal with multipath signal distortion  better than a home unit, although I've been very happy with the  NAD unit.  Multipath distortion is where the unit has to distinguish between the original signal and reflectd ones such as ones that might be bounced off of tall buildings as you drive down a street.  Dealing with a weak signal might also be an issue.

I have 5 speakers for the home theater, a 12v unit may not have as many options for movie sound as a home unit does.

I also have a powered subwoofer that really helps.  Makes for much better response - that lower octave enriches teh listening experience, and by removing the need to reproduce that lower octave fromt eh main speakers, it allow them to function  better as well. Of course, you can have a subwoofer with either kind of system.
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Jim Stewart
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John Z
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« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2007, 08:41:41 PM »

I think it should be pretty easy to open up a set, and find where it feeds out the 12vdc if that is what it is running on. I agree it sure does not make any sense to run 12v into an inverter and make 120v and then feed that into a tv that has to convert it back to 12 v in order to run. Why waste the capacity of your inverter doing something like that if it can be easily avoided? I imagine it would void the warranty at a big box store if it is opened though. Not sure that they would even know as i have not looked at doing that yet.

As for having to reprogram the active channels, when i was OTR the last couple weeks, it seems i had to do that every day almost anyway.

I have found an indash unit that plays AM/FM, CD, DVD, MP3 and a couple formats. It has 320 watts total for 4 channels, plus a powered outlet for a subwoofer. A fistful of input and output jacks plus remote. Using this means i have to buy a TV, not a monitor since this unit does not have a tv tuner in it. If i have problems finding a tv with vga input, then i will move up one notch and get the same unit with a tuner in it.

Nick your setup looks great! But it is beyond my budget for now. Can i ask where you mounted a 30" set? I can't even find space for a 20"!!!

H3Jim, i agree about the need for a sub for good sound. Have you wired in crossovers into your other speakers? I found that really makes a difference also for not much money, versus the combination speakers.
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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2007, 10:34:36 PM »

I have a normal AM/FM cassette and CD player (car type) over the drivers seat with two speakers up front (piezo tweeters and 12" woofers) and half way back 6x9 three way Blaupunct.  In the back I have a regular house type stereo system with speakers on either side of the bed (piezo tweeter and 10" woofers).  It is an AM/FM receiver, twin cassette deck, VCR, DVD, 5-CD changer.  My TV's are a giant 9" in the bedroom and a 13" up front-old style CRT TV's that are real workhorses. When digital comes into play, I'll just get the converter for my old analog TV's. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2007, 10:35:20 AM »

John,
The NAD home theater receiver system has a built in crossover, so it doesn't even send a signal over 80 hz to the main speakers when set up for a subwoofer.

RE: video out, get a monitor that has HDMI inputs, then you can send video from your computer as well.
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Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

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John Z
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« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2007, 10:55:51 AM »

Hi Jim, yep the indash unit has a separate output for subwoofer too. But i am putting crossovers in between separate tweeter and midrange speakers as well. You can really get some nice distance and separation that way. I am not familiar with the HDMI input you mention from a pc. Can you tell me more about that? TIA
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