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Mod #16: Flat Panel TV Mount

Posted By Mark Corgan On June 20, 2008 @ 6:04 am In entertainment | 28 Comments

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!

ModMyRV recommends these parts for this mod:

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