Mod #16: Flat Panel TV Mount

Mod #16: Flat Panel TV Mount

Submitted on: 06/20/08

     Category: entertainment
Mod Rating: 12345

(99 ratings)

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Mod Description:

Only until recently have flat-panel televisions become an available option in most RVs: anything from 10″ under-the-counter mount to a 42″ flip-down LCD to a combo TV/DVD on an articulating arm, and everything in between. For those unlucky RV owners that did not have the luxury of this option, this mod is for you.

Mod Difficulty:

With so many different TV mounting options available, chances are your flat panel TV mod will be custom. A flat panel TV is obviously much thinner than a standard CRT or tube type TV and is considerably lighter. So a direct replacement in your RV is typically not possible without modifications. And now with the analog to digital TV signal transmission change upcoming, most CRT type TVs won’t be able to handle the new over-the-air digital signal type without a converter box. So out with the old and in with the new.

There are two types of flat panel TVs: plasma and LCD. LCDs are a better choice for an RV. They are more durable and consume less power than a plasma TV, two attributes all RV owners can relate to. The most common sizes for RVs range from 15″ to 19″. This size range will accommodate most RVs, like truck campers and travel trailers. 5th wheels, class A’s, and class C’s typically have larger TVs as standard equipment, so LCDs up to 32″ are possible to install.

Features found in most of the newer flat panel TVs include built-in speakers, HDTV tuner, HDMI and VGA cable inputs, and even built-in DVD players. If you don’t understand all the terminology, don’t worry. Stick with brand names with the newest offerings and you won’t go wrong. Keep in mind too that the TV in your RV doesn’t have to be as sophisticated as the one in your home. It can be if you want to invest the money but for the occasional movie over a weekend outing requires only basic TV features.

The most popular mounting option is to use an articulating arm, an arm that allows the TV to be positioned at different angles for optimum viewing. It’s popular because the TV can be mounted in almost any location in the RV provided there is a solid surface to fasten the mount. Some mount the arm inside the original TV cabinet in such a way that when the arm is collapsed, the flat panel TV rests flush with the cabinet opening, providing a very clean look. Often times, the stock TV location is not in a good spot for all to view. Having the ability to pull the TV out and angle it toward the viewers is a great alternative. There is also an under-cabinet mount flip-down LCD TV/DVD combo unit that’s perfect for smaller RVs. These units not only flip down but rotate nearly 360 degrees. They also have built-in speakers so wiring the unit in is as simple as plugging in the AC cord.

Of note, some LCD TVs have a seperate power supply that converts 110 VAC to 12 VDC, which plugs in to the back of the TV. It might be possible to directly wire the TV’s DC power input to the RV’s 12-volt system. Use caution though. When the batteries are charging, the 12-volt system can reach as high as 15 volts. Make sure the TV is rated to handle this high of a DC voltage. You can usually find the specifications in the owners manual.

TipWhen planning where you will mount your LCD TV/DVD combo unit, be sure to take in to consideration the clearance necessary to insert the DVD. Some of the DVD slots are on the side while others are on the top of the TV. If you mount the TV too close to a wall or the ceiling, you won’t be able to put the DVD in!

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24 Comments For This Mod

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  1. jmt

    Recently installed a new 19″ flat panel/dvd combo in our bunk room. Very easy to complete. Took me less than an hour and I was up and watching movies.

  2. Bob Vaughn

    I built a slide out shelf for my TV so that I could get behind it to get to the plugs ….
    http://community.webshots.com/album/570349064yTkXdA?vhost=community

  3. ModMyRV

    Great idea. How is the TV anchored? From the bottom?

  4. Mortaine

    We have 2 flat TVs for our motorhome– we mounted one on a tilting TV mount onto a wooden board, which we then mounted to the space where the old CRT TV had been. The other one is free-standing on the desk in the living room, because we have yet to find any way to anchor something onto the chipboard walls. All the wood trim can be used for nails and screws, but the ideal location for this TV is on one of the wallpapered walls, and those are made of thin chipboard that won’t support anything substantial. We keep coming to Modmyrv.com hoping that someone will have an answer for how to attach something heavy, like a TV, to these walls, but so far– no joy.

    ModMyRV: Most flat panel TVs have a standard set of screw holes on the back for mounting on the wall, so it’s not necessary to mount them from the bottom. These screw holes match standard mounts and brackets that you can usually find in appliance stores or online, and they’re very sturdy– as sturdy as whatever you then attach the mount to!

  5. Jim Dailey

    I have looked and have been unable to find the mount in the top picture. Can you help please?

    Thank You

  6. ModMyRV

    @Jim Daily: That mount is a few years old and was purchased through Wal-Mart. Here is the latest incarnation:

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=11331642

    There are cheaper but this one provides great articulation and reach.

  7. Jim Dailey

    That mount is for 22-44 units. However Walmart did have one for my 19″ that I think will be perfect. My goal is to mount the LCD without destroying the existing cabinet.

    http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=11331655

  8. dinotoad

    This mount looks exactly like the one I got from Costco. I mounted it in the side wall of my TV cabinet. I put on a Sharp 19″ LCD. I left the feet on the LCD. I can retract it into the cabinet and close the door when not in use. I chose the Sharp TV because it give me the best angle of view (from the bottom). My wife just loves this new set-up.

  9. tgrshaw

    I used an arm like this to mount a 15.6″ LCD TV to a closet wall. The TV can now swing out to be viewed from the dining table or swung around 180 degrees to be viewed from the couch. I bought my bracket ($23.99 shipping included!) from http://www.igonemoble.com it was less than half the price I’d seen anywhere else. I used an 4″ X 6″ - 1/8″ aluminum backing plate inside the closet for extra support. It is rock solid! A good piece of Velcro holds it all in place for travel.

  10. Crang

    Hi, I made a similar mod to my lightweight hybrid trailer. When they say lightweight, they mean no studs to screw into! The walls are laminate styrofoam, fiberglass and veneer wood.

    I mounted my TV on a dual articulating arm above the refer which already had a shelf designed for the TV (Cable and power were there). The cavity behind the refer is hollow because the heat from the fridge is supposed to escape through the roof. I disconnected the fridge power and propane, 4 screws on the front and 2 at the rear that were screwed into the floor (the outside access panel) and the fridge came out easy enough.
    Next, I crawled into the cavity and measured the surface area on 2 sides (the wide side above the fridge and behind the shelf, and to the right side of the fridge. I simply used a 3/4″ plywood, cut to size and then glued and screwed a cleat to the board to be used to secure the board to the frame.

    The cleats were used to connect the board to the wood frame of the cabinet. This wood looked like a 1×2 to me. It was tight in some spots, but a 90 degree drill, or a hand screw driver worked also. Pre drill the holes in the cleat to make it easier on yourself.

    Put everything back together and mounted the TV arm. I added a couple of straps using quick clips like you have on backpacks to support the weight of the TV while travelling. This keeps the TV still and will hopefully ensure the TV stays on the wall!

    I can take pictures if anyone is interested! Email crang94 at hotmail.

  11. ModMyRV

    @crang: Sounds like a good project! You should submit your mod for the contest going on now. I would love to compliment this article with what you did. What do you think?

  12. vagosti

    Hi….I am looking to modify my RV with a26″ flat screen. I need an articulating arm that extends more then 24″. Has anyone come across one?????

  13. Crang

    @ModMyRV
    I would certainly agree that my mod would compliment this article, and I would love to enter the contest, but getting pictures is the problem! The trailer’s closed up for the winter. I will see what I can do.

    I have a couple others that would really benefit some folks out there. In particular, I upgraded my bathroom fan with the create-a-breeze/fantastic fan style. Much quieter, but my roof didn’t have anything to screw into (the old fan relied on the sandwich effect to secure it while the fantastic fan uses roof mounted screws). What did I do? Hopefully the right thing, as I will learn in the springtime. Stay tuned, or contact me if you need the info before I get it posted.

  14. Kevin

    With these articulating mounts, has anyone had problems with the TV swinging around while traveling? I read one person uses Velcro to hold the TV in the stowed position. Any other solutions to keep the TV stable while traveling?

  15. Crang

    Kevin
    I guess it would depend on the mount being used and the TV in question. I have 3 shortlisted favorites:

    1) 1 or 2 straps around the tv (nylon webbing), pinned up on the ceiling or wall higher than the TV in order to take the weight off. The straps and mounting hardware should be enough to support the weight of the TV.

    2) As seen on one of the featured videos on this site: mounting an LCD TV where a regular TV used to be. This guy used a block of wood (oak I think) together with a long bolt, twist handle like on RV windows, and a nut to secure the TV to the frame.

    3) IF the mount is dual articulating, drill a hole through the 2 sections when the mount is stowed away and drop a nail or similar pin. If you somehow secure the pin to the wall on a chain of sorts, it may even keep the whole thing from moving. The only problem with this is that there is still a lot of room for the TV to move, but at least it would not be completely extended. Be careful not to damage the integrity of the casting as this will be the weak point of the assembly.

    Hope I was helpful.

    crang

  16. erkme73

    I have 2002 Damon RV, and intend on mounting a 37″ flat panel TV to one of the exterior walls opposite the bed (after removing existing cabinetry.

    I don’t know how thick the wall is, if it has any studs (or wire) and how to make sure the bracket will hold.

    I won’t need any special tilting or articulating functionality, and figured the closer the set is to the wall, the less stress it will put on the screw points.

    I bought this bracket: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=108&cp_id=10828&cs_id=1082807&p_id=4116&seq=1&format=2

    It the back of the set will be less than 1″ off the wall once its up. I have the bracket, but haven’t even attempted to start because I don’t know what length screws or type of fasteners to use. I can just see it now… 1″ screws projecting through the fiberglass jell coat on the outside.

  17. Tom Friedlein

    Be sure you have a way to secure the TV when raveling if necessary or you’ll be surprised on your arrival. Tom

  18. Papatony

    I recently installed a 26″ LCD in our 2004 Keystone Springdale. I removed the miniscule TV shelf located in the corner formed by the curbside wall and the wall which separates the booth dinette from the bathroom, and placed the LCD on the latter wall.

    I removed the dinette seat, then the trim and the plywood wall surface. I then doubled two of the existing studs, and added one where I wanted the TV mount. After I was sure of the location, I put 1/4″ carriage bolts through from the back of the new stud, because I felt they would be more secure than the allen-head screws supplied with the mount, and secured the new studs with lag screws. I then drilled through from the outside wall, pushed the cable through and installed an exterior cable jack (LOTS of silicone caulk!). During reassembly, I placed the mating interior jack high up on the wallboard, and connected the cable to it while the wall was open- no “fishing” required.

    This project really wasn’t hard; the whole process took about three days, including lots of “head scratching” time, since I had never done anything like this before.

    Pictures now in the gallery.

  19. fredm51

    The best place to find a wall mount is Amazon. Find a stud, make sure you screw into it. LCD and LED are not very heavy. Do not think about a Plasma they are way too heavy.I have a 29 ft coachman rear kitchen, it has space for a 32 inch flat screen. Amazon has low profile mounts for around $20 for this size with ez disconnect. Make sure you measure the opening and measure the tv to make sure it will fit and look nice. Also get a mount that the tv can move left or right so prior to locking it in you can center it and only have to make sure you can measure exactly the height. You want to make sure it is centered and not extending outside the encloser.

  20. RVBully

    Does anyone know where to find the exterior detachable mount that is pictured on this site? I would like to be able to easily move my TV from inside to outside on my C class RV. Any help or ideas are appreciated.

  21. mrgehring

    I mounted a 23″ 12V ( only 1.8A, BTW ! ) TV this way in our 2012 Springdale 179. I was able to locate the ( 2×2 ) studs by feel - I found a stud finder did not work well on the plastic RV wall material. As mentioned above, you really do need to secure the TV for travel. I used two 3/8″ screw eyes , one above and one below the TV, and we just put a bungee cord across it when traveling. Have done over 20000 miles this way, no problems.

  22. gregbauman

    I just ordered a wall mount for my 19″ flat panel TV. I got it from WalMart.com - here’s the link. http://www.walmart.com/ip/.com-Full-Motion-Tilt-and-Swivel-Articulating-Wall-Mount-for-10-to-42-Flat-Panel-TV-with-HDMI-Cable/21853465 They didn’t have the mounts from the prior links I had seen above, so figured I would refresh it here.

    It was just $18 and came with a 6′ HDMI cable too. I’ll let you know what I think of it this coming weekend, since it is supposed to arrive at my local store on Thursday for pickup. That was a free shipping option, which saved me at least $8 or so.

  23. gregbauman

    I picked up my web ordered mount from my local store today. Went really easy - was the right item when checked at store pickup. Installed quickly, too. Right now I have it installed at home as part of my office table / desk arrangement.

    The only observation I have is that the bolts to secure the mount to the wall are HUGE. They are 0.5″ x 2.5″ hex head screw bolts with a philips bit molded into the head. Too much for the RV mount, so I will need to reduce those down to something that the RV wood can handle - probably half that length, maybe a bit more.

    They do provide a litany of other bolts, washers and spacers to fit a variety of monitor backs, which was cool. Haven’t tried the HDMI cable that was included yet.

  24. SWFLNewbie

    Looking for a mounting solution for two flat screen computer monitors- approx 20-22 inches each, for use in new 2014 Forest River Charleston 430BH. Work station will be the booth dinette area. Windows and smaller cabinets with decorative lighting down the sides of the windows to the left if facing forward, walk space/open to right. Considered the table mounts, but want something we don’t have to constantly remove and assemble when we want to use the table space for other activities- needing something more permanent like a cabinet mount. Only problem is finding a cabinet mount for dual monitors that will come out far enough away from the cabinet to display the monitors correctly over the dinette. (Length of arm extension, and tilt, swivel, etc.) Any suggestions? Husband is a computer guy- can work anywhere at any time, and wanting to customize space for him so we can travel with our son over the summer break and get the hubby out of the office and into some fresh air! Would love and welcome the pointers!

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    [...] RV Flat Panel TV Mount | ModMyRV __________________ For Anthony, who was taken from our lives much too young. I love you honey, and I will always miss you. ~21 December 1973 - 29 September 2006~ [...]

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