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Old 12-27-2005, 07:30 PM   #1
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Since I have an 2001 Alpine Coach, retrofitting a large Plasma or LCD TV is very problematic, due to the front cabinet rework required and/or mounting and weight issues of the Plasma or LCD TV to be attached to the ceiling.

As an alternative, I've been considering a DLP front projector and projection screen such as the following:
Bestbuy for Optoma EzPro XGA DDR DLP Projector
Pull down screen

Then I would need to add a sound system and connect the whole thing to an HD capable satellite receiver.

Any comments?

Dale Dowdy
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Old 12-27-2005, 07:30 PM   #2
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Since I have an 2001 Alpine Coach, retrofitting a large Plasma or LCD TV is very problematic, due to the front cabinet rework required and/or mounting and weight issues of the Plasma or LCD TV to be attached to the ceiling.

As an alternative, I've been considering a DLP front projector and projection screen such as the following:
Bestbuy for Optoma EzPro XGA DDR DLP Projector
Pull down screen

Then I would need to add a sound system and connect the whole thing to an HD capable satellite receiver.

Any comments?

Dale Dowdy
2001 Alpine Coach 38FDDS
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Old 12-29-2005, 06:06 AM   #3
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Dale, I saw such a system factory installed in a new Country Coach Magna. Screen was HUGE. However, I did not get to see in operation.

Shop around on the Intenet for price. I found:
http://www.prestigecamera.com/product.asp?id=opezpro739&l=Nextag

Good luck. You are plowing new ground with this one.
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Old 12-31-2005, 03:51 PM   #4
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I just finished installing a 32 in. LCD to my 2000. I converted the box,where the original 20 in was to a media center. I then cut out the two center cabinets and replaced them with the LCD and boxed it in. I'll have it at Quartzsite if anyone want to see. Total cost without TV, less that $150.

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Old 01-02-2006, 09:10 AM   #5
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Dale, what you're suggesting could work very well. One advantage of DLP projectors is that they're very compact (easy to retrofit) and give you a lot of quality and screen size for the money. The Country Coach digital cinema option that Basil is referring to uses IIRC about a 55" inch diagonal screen, shooting from the midcoach galley area towards the windshield, where an electrically retracting projection screen is recessed into the ceiling. For many reasons that configuration is difficult to retrofit. A more viable plan is to install the DLP projector in the front overhead cabinets over the driver's head and project backwards in the coach. Given limited headroom in motorhomes, which is unforgiving of a ceiling mounted screen, you might use a temporary, floor mounted projection screen, such as this screen from Da-Lite: Deluxe Insta-Theater Screen

One caveat: projection systems can hardly be matched for a superb nightime cinema experience, but generally need a darkened room. Depending on the day-night shades in your coach, and your willingness to deploy all of them, you may or may not be happy with projector image during daylight times. I use a secondary television in the living room, a 30" Sharp Aquos LCD, for daytime, brief or casual use.

I am interested in the Alpine (Apex) Coach, but am currently a Western RV Alpenlite (fifth wheel) owner. I installed exactly what you're describing in my coach. Since I have a much higher ceiling height in the living room, I had an electric 84 inch screen through-bolted to the roof. Projected images come from a DirecTV HD DVR and an up-converting DVD player and they are absolutely superb. Sound is through a 6.1 DTS home theater system. Here are some links to the equipment I am using:

InFocus ScreenPlay 7205
84" Vutec Electric Screen
DirecTV High Def. DVR

I have some photos of my installation on this website: wheeler's RV Page

As this specific entertainment installation may be of limited interest to the Alpine Coach membership here on the board, you are welcome to PM me for more information. Good luck! --wheeler
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Old 01-02-2006, 10:50 AM   #6
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Wheeler,

Thanks for all the good info about using a front projector system. I hadn't thought about mounting the projector in the overhead driver cabinet area and projecting backwards toward the kitchen, but that is a very good possibility since it would greatly simplify coax and electrical cabling to the projector. Also, I don't see a good reason to install an electrically retracting projection screen. I think one that can be manually drawn down from the ceiling or extended up from a floor stand would be fine, which should again simplify things quite a bit. However, I'm not sure there is room for a floor standing screen in the kitchen area.

Once potential problem area that I ran across on a different forum was a concern about the DLP projector bulbs not holding up well under the vibrations and bouncing of a motorhome. Any comments on this potential problem?

By the way, after looking at your Web site, it's clear that you have done a lot of impressive modifications to your Alpenlite. If you buy an Alpine Coach Apex, I'm sure the Alpine Coach forum members would look forward to all the ways you might improve on it. Good luck in your considerations of the Apex.

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Old 01-02-2006, 12:27 PM   #7
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The projector should stand up you just have to make it secure to ceiling with mounting plate.
I installed a DVD surround system in my present coach sounds great. Fished wires thru cabinets pass-side to micro than across ceiling for rear spk's. DVD amp sets on shelf on dog house no room in cabinet on new coach. Radio shack transfer for tv from dvd sys. There is a MFG that put in projector TV to drop down screen up front an two TV's on either side of screen, bit of over kill. Sams sells project for about $999.
If you plan it out you can do anything, good luck. "007"
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:35 AM   #8
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Hello, Dale, and thanks for the good wishes. Quick followup to your questions. I am six foot two and I wouldn't want a ceiling-mounted (electric or manual) movie screen surface mounted to a 79" ceiling period, but that's me.

The aftermarket motorcoach projection system that I visited, and which worked so well, used the Da-Lite "Insta-Theater" portable floor screen (as referenced above.) Those folks screwed some velcro ties to the wall-- the whole movie screen only weighs twenty pounds-- and transported the screen & box vertically on the wall behind the passenger seat. I could also imagine storing it on the floor under the dining table. FYI, you would probably need from four to five and a half feet of coach width where you would install the screen to get a good sized picture.

Regarding the DLP projector bulbs not holding up due to the bumps along the road, I probably wouldn't worry about that. These days you can buy an insurance policy on the $300 lamps to cover premature failure but that notwithstanding, the PJ won't be turned on during travel and, besides, by the time you unpack your projector the bulb inside has already been transported on planes, boats, trains and UPS trucks with no apparent problem. I've certainly traveled thousands of miles with my DLP projector in a trailer, and often on dirt roads, and I never gave a moment's thought to the bulb.

In a related vein, if you DO install a satellite television receiver with DVR (hard drive-based recording) into your coach, I would recommend disconnecting AC power to it during travel. Just turning the DirecTV receiver "off" these days doesn't really keep the hard drive parked. Again, I have a trailer, so I don't have to deal with this, but I've heard some motorcoach people having problems with hard drive failure who use the inverter or genset while the coach is moving. Good luck and happy trails. Best from wheeler
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Old 01-04-2006, 08:34 AM   #9
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Question for Wheeler:

Welcome back to the forum, I always appreciate your input. I nominate you the "King of Gagets".
Regarding the electronic toliet. Are you happy with this particular unit, its function, and your comments on what it improves upon. Are the benifits worth the cost, how much, and where did you buy it.
I am considering the Data Storm ( you have )for the purpose of InterNet only. It's gets a little inconveinent trying a fine a Wi-Fi connection on the roard. The unit is costly, and I believe has a monthly access charge of approx 100 bucks. Do you have any experience with this new Verizon Broadband card, it's speed differences, what it will not do that the Data Storm does. The cost for the card is minimal, installation............ there isn't any, and a monthly service of 60 bucks. Even if it doesn't give you the whole nine yards, I thinking the value may be the price and ease of use. Your comments on the Data Storm, and from anybody else the has used the Verizon Card.

ThanX for your help, I know you are the kind of guy that likes to share. From looking at you pictures, you must be bored now........ I couldn't see anymore possible improvements.

Take care,
Walt
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:17 PM   #10
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Verizon Broadband card works well and can be used most anywhere your Verizon cell phone works. We have used one for most of the last year with great success. All you have is a monthly fee, and they might have some deals working this time of year.

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Old 01-04-2006, 03:49 PM   #11
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Hi, Walt! Thanks for the generous comments, I appreciate them. You characterized me correctly, and right back at you: I think you and I both enjoy the dreaming up of this stuff and installing it as much as (more than) using it!

I'll be brief, so as not to highjack this thread away from Dale. The Sealand Magnum Opus programable electric valve toilet has been a spectacular addition, if I may use that word to describe a toilet. :-P Probably in my top ten improvements. It's quiet, convenient, a true walk away flush, with three modes of water consumption, low, medium and "Residential," which prefills the bowl just like your toilet at home. I installed it myself; super easy to put in. Fits right where the factory Sealand "Traveler" toilet was, however new toilet needs 12 volts. Sealand valves need periodic cleaning/conditioning; no big deal. Toilet was really spendy (I think around $1,000) and I purchased directly from Sealand/Dometic. Some people like the Thetford Aria toilet as well; you might do a search comparing these elsewhere in the forum.

Regarding DataStorm versus cell phone internet connection-- that topic deserves its own thread-- and both sides have been argued persuasively for days. DataStorm continues to evolve and I think is getting better (easier, more reliable, somewhat faster,) but its chief advantage is that it works most anywhere you have a clear view of the southern sky. I prefer remote destinations (middle of nowhere,) so that aspect is valuable to me. Price of entry is still high and monthly cost is about $89 a month. Compare this to Verizon's card... I think you're referring to the EVDO PC Card. I don't have one yet but friends do, and they say it's great-- just pop it into a laptop and you have 700-800 kB/s internet connection (assuming you're in the coverage area.) Given the low cost of entry for the EVDO card, the ease of use, and reliability, if I were traveling mostly "on the beaten path," I sure would try that option first.

Once again, thank you for sharing your ideas with us. The numerous improvements to your Alpine Coach
Walt & Julie's Alpine Coach
inspire and humble me with their scope, imagination, and impressive detail. I continue to borrow your good ideas shamelessly. Happy New Year and happy trails. --wheeler
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Old 04-24-2009, 09:04 AM   #12
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Hi Danny and Claudia.
Thanks for the post; great idea! My 20" just gave up the ghost and I hadn't thought of reversing the components, as you described. Would you please share a photo? I'd love to see what you've done!
Thanks in advance,
jt
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Old 04-28-2009, 01:00 AM   #13
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JT:

I've you don't get a reply to this three year old post, do a FIND. He actually posted several pictures of the work. It's great!
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