The 12 Volt TV Upgrade
Every motor home, semi-truck & RV deserves a true 12 volt television. What many don’t know is just how simple and beneficial upgrading the standard TV can be. Most vehicles that come equipped with a TV are using a power inverter to supply the TV with power when the generator isn’t running. This is very wasteful!
Unless the vehicle came with a very high dollar inverter the inverters efficiency is likely less than 92%. This means that when the TV is in operation and the inverter is powering it 8% of the power that the inverter is using goes right in the trash. Most TV’s that come in RV’s and motor homes are power hogs, drawing around 10amps. If this is the case then the power inverter needs to draw almost 12 amps to power the TV.
A true 12 volt television whether it’s a CRT or a Hi-Definition LCD Flat Panel will draw only about 5 amps. That means more amps and watts in your pocket! Here’s were the upgrade starts to get tasty! These units will (99.9% of the time) come with a 12 volt power cord and a 110V power cord. The 110V power cord will often transform the 110V ac power into 12V dc power before delivering it to the TV.
The included 110V power cord is a great way to keep from using more of the stored vehicle power than absolutely necessary. When camping or staying over at a facility that provides 110V shore power the 12 volt TV can be powered from shore to help preserve the onboard 12V power.
Installing a new 12 volt TV is usually pretty simple. The CRT(tube type) will usually fit right into a TV cabinet in motor homes or on the “night stand” shelf in semi-trucks. The LCD Flat Panel 12 volt TV’s have a base that is great for standard installs but can easily be removed for wall mounting. LCD 12 volt TV’s are VESA(video electronic standards association) wall mount compatible. With the proper VESA TV wall mount an LCD 12 volt TV can be installed in virtually any location where there is 12 volt power.
If the wall mount to be used is “extendable” or with an articulating arm the TV should be secured before the vehicle is set in motion. Most people will use some type of bungee cord to keep the TV from swinging out away from the wall while traveling. After all, getting hit with a TV has never been at the top of the things to do while camping list.
Most vehicles manufactured for traveling also come with some type of an antenna built in. A lot of manufacturers will also install an antenna booster/amplifier. These should still work fine after the digital transition is complete. There is a great little inline TV amplifier made by Roadpro that works great for portable 12 volt TV’s. First make sure that the manufacturer has not already installed an booster before installing a new one. Having two amplifiers doesn’t mean double the power. Most of the time the signal will become unusable. Other times one of the amplifiers will ruin the other.
These are the most important things to consider when shopping for a new TV for your semi-truck, motor home or RV.