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Old 07-02-2013, 08:11 PM   #1
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RV TV Retrofits

Like many of you, we own an older coach that came equipped with analog tube TV's, and although digital converter boxes worked well, we never cared for the placement of the forward TV in a compartment over the dashboard. When we watched it from the couch, we had to turn our heads 90 degrees (can you say "stiff neck"?), and it was really too far to see from the table. A new solution was called for, and we thought we'd share ours with you.

Rather than attempting to cram a flatscreen DTV into the old over-the-dash cabinet, we decided to re-purpose the cabinet for storage and find somewhere else to mount a flatscreen. First we removed the TV cabinet face, then the old tube TV (it weighed a ton), and finally the cabinet itself. Then we shortened the cabinet so the bottom would be flush with the cabinets on either side, constructed a new face and door patterned after the rest of the cabinets (using 1/2" plywood), and upholstered the whole thing with foam, vinyl fabric, and a bunch of 1/4" staples.

(After looking at several fabric stores, we could not match the original vinyl, so we went with a complimentary color that matches our dashboard. We found a pair of locking lift hinges for the cabinet door online.)

When we were finished with the cabinet, we had gained a significant amount of forward storage for things like DVD players, lanterns, and laptops, not to mention a pleasing amount of rectangular windshield space. Then we went shopping for a flatscreen DTV.

Selection criteria for a replacement DTV included enough size to be viewed from anywhere in the forward cabin, excellent picture quality, light weight, and a reasonable price The flatscreen we chose was a Samsung 26-Inch 720p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black), model UN26EH4000. (It's not 1080p, but it's also not a 55" screen, so the picture quality is superb.)

The Samsung only weighs in at 10 pounds, meaning we could mount it on the end of our galley cabinets using an articulating (tilt, swivel, rotate) wall mount.

We chose a full motion VideoSecu articulating TV wall mount that fits most 15" to 27" LCD/LED flatscreen TV's with VESA mounting points. It's available from Amazon for about $15. (Note the white video cable that I managed to snake through a soffit running along the ceiling of the coach. I also installed a 110v power outlet directly below the DTV in the side of the base cabinet, extending a power circuit from another galley outlet. Also note the black 1" nylon straps running between the cabinet and the mounting plate; more on those below.)

As you can see from the pictures, with the mount fully extended, we can turn the Samsung 180 degrees for viewing from anywhere in the forward cabin, front to back, as well as from the side couch. The mount is secured to a 3/4" vertical style in the cabinet end using 3/16" x 1.25 bolts, washers and hex lock nuts with nylon inserts.

The TV is stowed by rotating 90 degrees, then it is secured to the cabinet with the black nylon straps (adjustable) and buckles. Even on the roughest road, this thing doesn't move much, and it's only about 1" deeper that the cabinet itself.

In the bedroom, we removed the old tube TV and mounted a 19" DTV, a Visio, again using nylon straps to hold it in place when not in use. As you can see below, we mounted the bedroom flatscreen using a light duty wall mount that in turn is bolted to a horizontal 3/4" hardwood insert. The latter was fabricated so it can be secured on either side using the face frame of the cabinet, and there's enough room across the bottom to slide in a DVD player.

And like the larger Samsung mounted in the midst of the forward cabin, the bedroom Visio does not move when strapped down.

We have less than $500 invested in this RV TV retrofit project, and we're very pleased with the outcome. No more stiff necks, either, because the only head turning we do is to take in the views offered by our newly unobstructed picture windshield.


Tom and Peggy Ryan

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Old 07-02-2013, 09:27 PM   #2
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Good job; that looks great!

Sarah (RVM69), Hubby, and Harry the RVin' Dog
.......2012 Fleetwood Bounder 33C | 2012 Jeep Wrangler

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Old 07-04-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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Great job! Thanks for sharing!
Joe & Annette

2002 Monaco Windsor 40PBT, 2013 Honda CRV AWD
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Old 07-04-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
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Thanks for excellent write up and pictures

Excellent idea, many thanks for such detail write up and pictures.
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Old 07-04-2013, 02:52 PM   #5
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Very nice install and the thought given to your install shows in the detail. Well done and thanks for posting the detailed photos and write up.
Bruce & Nancy
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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Looks terrific! Thanks for the details and pics.
2005 Newmar Essex 4502
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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Looks good, I still have to do my Dutch Star TV's. Maybe this summer.
2002 Dutchstar, Spartan Chassis, 350 Cummins, 2012 Explorer.
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:42 PM   #8
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I just replaced the front tv on my 2001 dutchstar with a 29" Vizio led. Chose the Vizio with the speaker built across the front of the TV. So many of the units have the speakers located under the face of the TV. Don't have
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Old 07-05-2013, 01:44 PM   #9
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Don't have sound bar to deal with and don't have the sound round system
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Old 07-05-2013, 05:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 1dutchstar View Post
Don't have sound bar to deal with and don't have the sound round system
I put two small Visio flatscreens my last RV, and at home we have a 42" Visio with the speaker setup you described. I'm a big Visio fan. We buy refurbished whenever possible - save a bundle.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:09 PM   #11
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Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!! I'm shopping for MH and simply do not like the location of the TV in most of them.

Now I can pick the floor plan that suits me best and not worry about the TV locations!
Michael - 2014 Ram 2500 CC, 6.4L HEMI
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:51 PM   #12
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Nice job on the TV swaps. I looked at 24" LED Sansui at BJ's yesterday. The thin lightweight TV gives so many more options for placement and really saves on mount bracket cost. The Bedroom Tv is going to go LED. Goodbye CRT.
3 Humans,2 Dogs,1 Vision, sharing a Winnebago Sightseer 35J on a Workhorse Chassis. Allen, Donna, Drew, Bella & Pippy in the MH we call Glor-E-B!
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:09 PM   #13
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I just put the 24 Sansui with built in DVD player in our bedroom. Very nice TV. Very light.
1998 Winnebago Adventurer 35WP
F53 chassis-460 engine
Racine, Wisconsin
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:48 PM   #14
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I also upgraded the TV but in my case I was OK with the forward placement as we pulled out the couch and replaced it with a chair and ottoman for DW and I have a La-z-boy recliner.

So I found an articulating VESA mount that also moves up and down - counterbalanced with an adjustable spring. I pulled the CRT and put in a shelf in the empty box and mounted the bracket.
I bought a 40" Samsung LED TV that only weighs 26# and it lies on the bed for travel and I simply hang it on the mount when we land. During the day it is pushed up towards the ceiling and when we sit down to watch it, we pull it down into the low position so that we are not having to look up at it. Makes it much more comfortable.

It seems to be the #1 modification that people do to their older RVs.

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