* TV Conversion to Flat Screen *

Our motorhome TV TV2came with a 26" RCA television, typical of the early 2000's. In 2012, after the death of a family member, we ended up with an "extra" 32" LED flatscreen TV we had purchased earlier for her to use in residence hospice, and after looking at the options decided the best use for it would be to put it in the motorhome. The original TV was in a cabinet up front, and we decided to re-use that space. Satellite antenna controller, Dish Network box, and the VCR/DVD are all in the cabinet immediately to the left, and the multiple source switch box is in the cabinet to the right. The oak surround was attached with four screws through the side panels ...2 on each side under wood plugs. There also was a surround sound speaker mounted in the cross piece on the top of the TV. After removing the surround, the tie down strap across the top of the TV is visible, bolted down on each side. After removing the nuts, the strap can be lifted off the bolts and the television removed. But before pulling it out, I had to reach through the access hole behind the TV against the windshield to disconnect the surround sound, VCR, and antenna coax. After pulling the TV out part way, the power cord can be removed from the outlet in the ceiling of the compartment, then the old TV can be totally removed from the enclosure. A strong assistant would be handy for this part!! For now the old 26" TV is sitting in the shop ...we have no idea what we will do with it ...maybe hook it up to an OTA antenna and digital box for local channels out in the shop?

While TV3 TV4While at an RV rally last September, knowing our plan for the 32" flat screen, we ordered an RV flat screen TV mount model TV1-003H from Morryde. The rep assured us the mount could be reversed in the bracket to give us the front/back offset we would require. However, when the mount arrived after we got home a month later, it was obvious that it would not reverse, and would not work for our situation. After discussion with a Morryde tech on the phone, I returned the original $65 mount for credit, and ordered a higher priced model TV40-001H mount for $180. We had originally checked this mount out at the rally but decided we didn't realy need it's features ...we were wrong. The more expensive mount has various settings to allow you to fix a permanent angle of the TV downward, to move it in and out, and to swivel side to side as desired. But the floor of our TV cabinet is already sloped downward toward the viewing area, and I had to install the mounting plate upside down to get it to the proper angle and level to work for us. We don't need the ability to move the TV outward adn the swivel side to side, but that feature does allow the critical access to the back of the TV required to attach it to the mount in the enclosed cabinet, or to get to the connection ports at some future date. I attached an HDMI extension and a USB extension to the TV and ran them into the equipment cabinet to the left for future easy connection to the USB port for memory stick or hard drive photos, and the HDMI for our Wii and other such items.

TV5 TV6Some who do this conversion want to use the space behind the flat screen TV for storage, but we are a bit leery of that due to the extreme heat that occurs up front on hot summer days. If we store anything behind the TV, it will be long term items we rarely if ever need. Whether of not we close up the access hole against the windshield remains to be seen ...it is within the tinted portion toward the top of the glass so not really noticeable from outside. It helps with air circulation behind the TV, but that may not be as important with the new flat screen as it was with the old tube TV. After the TV was out of the way, I totally removed the original hold-down strap framework by removing screws into the top of the TV enclosure. Then came the BIG step ...in the picture on the left you can see the curved structure of the vinyl covered doublel-layered metal floor of the TV cabinet. After a lot of thought, we decided the right way to do this would be to CUT THE CURVE OFF, and make the bottom of the compartment flat across the front just as the top was. After peeling the vinyl covering back and carefully applying masking tape to the top and bottom of the cabinet floor, I used a dremel tool w/cutting wheel (several cutting wheels in reality) in the tight corners on each side, and then a saber saw to cut across the floor ...first the top from the top side, and then the bottom from the bottom side since the floor was too thick for the blade to reach through the bottom from the top. With the nasty foam backing on the vinyl (think car headliner material), after pulling the vinyl back out of the way it was a sticky, messy job, but it went pretty well, and before long the cabinet floor was flat across the front!

TV7 TV8With the front portion cut off of the compartment floor, the two pieces of the hollow floor were not terrible stable, so I put a piece of 1x1 between the two layers of metal and fixed it in place with screws. That stabililized the compartment floor, and then I could wrap the vinyl around the front edge and up onto the compartment floor. You see on the right the piece that was removed from the compartment floor. After stretching the vinyl back around the newly cut edge, I removed the attachment bolts from the front edge of the TV mounting bracket and secured the vinyl under the bracket so it will not come loose. The lower edges were glued to the metal with "Household Goop" ...a great glue for pretty much any type of material.

TV9 TV10

After mounting the TV to the bracket, the bracket was adjusted to be secure and not rattle while driving. We have made a few trips since the installation, and noted no movement/noise from the TV. In the picture on the right, the TV is in the extended position and turned to one side. This might be helpful for viewing in some mounting situations, but is not necessary in ours.

TV11 TV12The TV was a perfect fit side to side ...could not have been tighter ...but we had gaps at top and bottom. After some adujustments of the mounting bracket, the top was just wide enough to accommodate the surround sound speaker. We first thought about getting some oak stock and finishing it to match the original cabinets, or cutting pieces out of the original surround to fit, but after considering the options we decided it was much simpler than that. We liked the black appearance of the cabinet around the flat screen picture, so I bought some 1/4" plywood at Lowes, and some black denim-print cloth at Hancock Fabrics. After cutting the plywood to size, I used Goop (again, a great adhesive!) and staples from a standard desk/paper stapler to fasten the fabric to the plywood. On the top I attached an angle bracket inside the cabinet at each side, then put velcro on the angle brackets and along the top metal strip, and matched that velcro to vecro stapled to the cloth covered plywood. You can see in the picture to the left below that I also had to cut away a bit of the upper metal structure right in the center to make room for the surround sound speaker. Across the bottom I used an angle bracket on each side, and two more angle brackets mounted to the bottom of the cabinet.

WortOne special item is needed to accommodate the original surround system in a Winnebago coach ...you either need to buy a TV with audio out plugs, OR you will have to come up with a "wort" ...either removing one from an original Winnebago installation or finding the original supplier. Since we had not planned ahead for this conversion, but rather just happended to end up with an extra Emerson 32" flat screen, we did not get a TV with the audio out plugs. While many TV's installed in Winnebago coaches have the "wort" attached from the factory, our's did not since the OEM RCA had audio out plugs built in. After some online research, I called River Park Audio in Elkart IN at telephone 572-522-7781 to get the original "audio out" cable provided to Winnebago and other mfg'ers. They understood immediately what I wanted. They call it an MT02 Modification Pigtail, Part #0000HRN-MT02. It has two RCA plugs on one end, four loose bare-wire ends on the other, and a large round filter around the wire between the two ends. The cost was $10.++ plus shipping ...$24.70 by the time it was over. Then I had to take the back off the new TV, drill a hole to get the wire through the case, and solder the loose ends of the audio cable to the speaker wires. Unfortunately, the Emerson lasted only 5 months and was replaced with a 32" Vizio with built-in audio out plugs.


And here is the final result. The first bottom trim piece I made left a finger-wide gap between the bottom trim and the TV to allow access the TV control buttons along the bottom edge of the TV, but we didn't like the appearance with light making the inside of the cabinet visible during the daytime, so I made a slightly wider strip that totally closed the gap. Having the control buttons on the TV itself accessible isn't all that important as the TV can be controlled from the remote just fine. If we lose both remotes (the original TV AND the Dish) we can always just pull the velcroed trim strip loose to get to the controls.



And here on the left is the original rear 19" TV. After pulling it out of the "box" on the wall, I created a 1/2" plywood door mounted ]on a piano hinge to the left, mounted the flat screen TV on the door, and then added two cabinet catches to keep the "door" in the closed position when driving while providing easy access to the storage behind the TV. By mounting it on the face of the "box", I was able to use the same model Vizio 32" TV here as was installed up front. This is a HUGE improvement over the original 16" CRT.

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