Because here we go again. We have finally made some progress on the TV front. I know, I know, we shouldn’t even want to be watching TV instead of exploring whatever wilderness we’ve parked in. And we don’t have a TV problem — we can stop anytime we want. We just don’t want.
We head off to the wilds of Vancouver Island quite soon, and the specific wilderness locations we’ll visit include Crystal Cove Beach Resort (this is wilderness with a coffee bar and a DVD library). It’s a real vacation, movies sound good, and so… could we finally settle on a TV setup so we can borrow those DVDs?
We looked at combination TV / DVD units — 12-volt ones. But to get quality you have to spend too many dollars, and the quality ones aren’t available from companies that have a decent return policy.
So I figured something else out. I found a 24 inch (huge!) Samsung TV at Costco that runs on… 14 volts of DC power.
A good strong 12-volt feed, I have read, should be enough to power it, especially if Toto is plugged into a current bush and the power converter is charging the batteries all along.
Just down and across that same Costco aisle I found a Sony Blu-Ray player — a really small, light one. And it runs on… 12 volts.
(Note that both of these appliances are sold as 120-volt AC units. But in both cases, the external power cord includes a “brick” — a transformer, that converts the electrons from AC into DC and squeezes them down to 14- and 12-volts, respectively.)
So all I had to do (in theory) is find a way to tap into Toto’s 12-volt system. And I did. I found an adapter that lets me plug the TV into a 12-volt outlet we had installed in the Toto Lounge. And I tapped into an underutilized LED light circuit to hard-wire the Blu-Ray player, which is now mounted underneath a Toto Lounge cabinet, held in place by Very High Bonding (VHB) tape. Wow that stuff is strong.
I tapped into a nearby LED light circuit to get the 12-volt DC power this player needs. Much of the wiring in Escape trailers runs beneath false floors in the overhead cabinets, so I had to “fish” the wire I added through that false floor. It worked out okay. Radio Shack sold me an adapter that let me plug my circuit extension into the back of the player. Only 1 hole drilled, and I finished it off with a rubber grommet to prevent the wire from rubbing on any sharp edges.
The bottom of the player is meant to be sitting on a shelf, so it’s not purty. I’m going to find a small piece of polycarbonate (or something) to give it a more finished look. Any day now.
We have also acquired an articulating mount for the TV, and an adapter that lets us take the TV off the mount for travel. I marked the mounting location, but I can’t install it yet — the wall (next to the fridge) needs reinforcement. Right now the center part of the wall is just a flimsy panel.
So, about our trip. First stop: Chilliwack, BC, Toto’s birthplace. The Escape Trailer Industries factory has offered to swap our refrigerator for a newer model — almost for free — after having convinced its manufacturer, Dometic, that the old fridge was underpowered for many North American locations.
We can get into Escape Trailer’s unparalleled level of service to its customers at another time — we could go on and on about that. But for now… since they’re going to have the refrigerator out of the way, they have agreed to reinforce that wall and install the TV mount.
And while they’re at it they’re going to reinforce the attachment of the solar panel on the roof. We’ve had no problems with it, but one or two other trailer owners (out of hundreds) have, and the Escape folk, as is their wont, are taking care of it, at no charge, just to make sure it won’t become a problem later.
So with the Blu-Ray player we’ll have Netflix and Amazon Prime and all that other streaming stuff. And we’ll be able to play discs. And we’ll be able to watch shows and movies. If we happen to be at an RV park with TV hookups, we can run a coax cable (temporarily) over to the nightstand where it comes into the trailer. And I can permanently (and neatly) extend that coax if I want by running it through cabinets. Not sure I’ll bother.
Of course we don’t have to watch TV. We choose to. When it’s sleeting outside, or when we just have to know what happens next on The Walking Dead.
And hey, maybe, while we’re tucked into the Toto Lounge with the boys, we can watch some Wilderness Shows.
One final note: Sooz is thrilled to have two new remotes in the family. Well, maybe not thrilled.Sharing is caring!
Following is daring.