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Unique Situation..

TVs & Video Components

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Unique Situation..

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I am planning to build a home entertainment center using car components. My only power source is 12 volts D.C. because I'm totally off the power grid. (Solar) I'm a technical person but I can't find the unit/equipment that I'm looking for..

 

I'm in search of an in-dash unit (CD/DVD/Tuner/Over-The-Air Digital TV Tuner) with true digital video output to feed a video projector. (Surround Sound capability would be an added plus!) I have the projector figured out but I want a good head unit to provide what I want without having a bunch of interconnected boxes and switches to deal with. Any ideas?

 

Thanks in Advance!

"If It Don't, I'll Always Think it Shoulda"

Verified Answer
  • I would like to toss in an idea that has just surfaced here at Crutchfield.  Consider an RV unit, like the Concertone ZX690.  While this is larger than a traditional car stereo, it is designed to be mounted in a cabinet style enclosure and offers many similar features as that of a home theater receiver.  With it's built in CD/DVD player, you'll be able to enjoy up to 3-zones of audio from this one device.  You can have up to 5.1 audio in Zone 1, and 2-channel stereo in Zones 2 & 3. 

     Of course, this doesn't provide you with a large video screen, you can connect it to an external TV via a composite video connection.  If you want to step up to the Concertone ZX800, you can gain an HDMI output. 

    As for the converter (AC to DC), we don't have anything to offer there.  I've found that in my own "jerry-rigged" applications that ebay has been a great source for inexpensive, and sometimes reliable converters.  Since you're venturing into an area where manufacturer's aren't comfortable providing instructions for altering their products for use, you'll likely not find many diagrams or instructions on the web. 

    Does anyone else have an idea to help "stinkin hillbilly"?



    [edited by: mike_242 at 6:11 PM (GMT -5) on Sat, Mar 17 2012]
  • Thanks guys! The RV thought made me investigate under a different light!

    I found a Jensen AWM975 that looks like it will fill my bill. The HDMI output only works with the DVD player but that's OK. Operates directly on 12 V.D.C. (NO Inverter/Conveter involved) Dolby sound, Aux. input(s)... Might have some ground loop issues but I'll figure them out..

    My projector is an LG HX350T that requires 19.5 V.D.C. I use a 250 watt laptop voltage converter to operate it. It's a bit of a power hog but the picture is incredible! (9.25a.) The TV tuner is built in and will do both analog and digital OTA. That takes care of the tuner issue..  ;)

    This 'ol stinkin' hillbilly is gonna have a living room cinema!

    The Atom computer is a good idea too but the Jensen is all in one box. I ordered one tonite..

    I'll give ya'll an update in a week or so..

    "If It Don't, I'll Always Think it Shoulda"

All Replies
  • Trying to hammer mobile audio equipment into a residential environment is almost always a bad idea.

    If you truly want to be "off the grid" you may want to try using your solar power to provide some task lighting and taking advantage of a library card.

    Or you may want to consider a natural gas or LP generator to provide reliable AC current for movie night.

    You could calculate the amount of current available to you and scale the A/V system to those limits, but I suspect you will be sitting a few inches from a tiny screen using headphones and a tiny battery powered amp.

         RESIma

  • Alex,

    Thank You for your response but I must say that I didn't expect condesending remarks of my lifestyle. I've been totally of the grid since '89 and I'm a tech for Motorola so I believe that I'm totally aware of what I'm doing. Please don't assume.

    Currently I'm watching a 50+" screen with a great sound system, a tv tuner/portable dvd player connected direct to my 12 volt battery that amazes most folks that see it. (No Inverter involved) I can move it outside if I choose to, fire up the grill, have a few beers and spend some quality time with friends. Obviously I have internet so it's not as archaic as you may believe.

    I was attempting to clean up a little by trying to find a product that would make my wiring issues easier and more simple, that's all. I was hoping to get some insight here but I guess that I was wrong. A few questions from you would have informed both of us much more than an uneducated statement. From one moderator to another, brush up on your tactics a little. (E.T.A. #WCM-R118236)

    Don

    "If It Don't, I'll Always Think it Shoulda"

  • Easy does it there, big fella. Wasn't being condescending. Just being me.

    A little more up-front info from you would have been good, then I wouldn't have had to make any assumptions, but now that I've got it I'm sticking with the line that car equipment isn't the way to go, and that your assumption that a mobile HU will provide you with an optimal solution is incorrect.

    What I'd do is build an HTPC with HDMI output, a OTA TV tuner and a sound card that decodes 5.1 (at least). You can easily build one for less than $600 if you use a Linux OS, slightly more with Windoze. There are plenty of 12 volt input power supplies out there, and if you use a small form factor the whole thing will be easily portable. It will play DVD's, stream content, tune OTA, play music, play games, the whole bit. All tied up in tidy little package, with on screen display and remote control capability, that you can hide just about anywhere

    You could even use something like this and hot rod a power supply if you wanted to.

    There are plenty of excellent powered speaker systems out there that you can use as well. Audio Engine would be a great choice.

    If you're a tech, you know that the best way to get an effective solution from another tech is to provide as much information as possible up front so no one has to go on a fishing expedition. It's the polite thing to do, after all. Geeked (ETA International RESI103ma).

         RESIma

  • I'll apologize for being a bit defensive. It's hard for me to remember that most folks can't understand my situation. Think of it as a shack in the woods with a big 12 volt battery as the only power supply with a limited charging system. (With the mindset of not using A.C. for anything, if possible.) I think "outside of the box" constantly..  Wink

    I'm trying to avoid using my/any computer because it would use as much energy as the projector. Being there isn't a head unit that provides an HDMI output, I'll have to settle with composite video.

    Is there a powered head unit that will give me that? I'm trying to get most of my entertainment things in one box instead of having the need to constantly switch sources manually to my speaker system. If I had CD, DVD, Radio Tuner in one box, I'd be a happy camper, especially if it had remote control function. I plan to upgrade my projector to a unit that has a built-in OTA tuner being no head unit has that option. I could use an aux. input on the head unit for the audio. Does that sound like a plan?

    "If It Don't, I'll Always Think it Shoulda"

  • In Alex's defense - we get posts fairly often on here with members wanting to run a 1,000-watt subwoofer amp off house current and a PC power supply and start a house fire.

    To answer your question - most any DVD receiver will do what you want and provide composite video output.  I'd recommend a double-DIN so you don't have to deal with the folding screen, as I think they are less reliable.  There are some OTA DTV tuners for mobile audio - but they are just coming onto the market.  Not sure if Kenwood or Directed has them out yet - This appears to be stand-alone, so you wouldn't need a special head unit for it - not sure if it would be more reasonable than upgrading the projector.

    Not sure what you mean by a powered head unit - unless you mean one with an internal amplifier - which just about all will have.

    Finally, I don't think you'd use the Aux Input on the head unit, I think you would use  the HU RCA outputs to feed your existing stereo system.

    Hope This Helps!!!

    Anyone else have suggestions?

     

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • An HU that does what you want would essentially be a PC dressed up to look like a car A/V device. I'm thinking it would have some features you don't want (or that would be awkward/unappealing on a large screen) and lack some that you do. I don't know of any HU that will give you what you're looking for. Maybe someone at Crutchfield will have a suggestion.

    Before you decide, check out this mobile PC (and motherboard), this PS and this DVD. The DSUB15 (VGA) video will give you the image quality you're looking for. If you want to really keep the power consumption down, use one of these instead of a hard drive (embedded OS' are what is in HU's and other components). Add a USB OTA tuner on a stick and run Medibuntu or another HTPC option (check out GeexBox for a superlightweight solution).

    Essentially, I'm suggesting that you can build a better Mobile HU for your application than you can buy.

         RESIma

  • http://www.crutchfield.com/p_130P1400D/Pioneer-AVH-P1400DVD.html?tp=20217

    Not sure that wouldn't work for you.

    Agreed, other than an FM tuner, Alex's solution would work and there are probably Linux apps for an FM tuner.

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • I don't think composite video will provide an adequate viewing experience with a projector. It wouldn't pass muster with me.



    [edited by: Alex W at 11:26 AM (GMT -5) on Mon, Mar 12 2012]

         RESIma

  • stinkin hillbilly
    I'm trying to avoid using my/any computer because it would use as much energy as the projector. Being there isn't a head unit that provides an HDMI output, I'll have to settle with composite video.

    Why I suggested that.

    A better question might be the power consumption of the HTPC that Alex is recommending.  The car stereo is maybe 10A - but most of that would be in the internal amplifier that the OP probably would not be using.

    Anyone else have suggestions?

    2002 Ford Focus JVC KD-A815 Sony CDX-GT410u Sony XT-100HD HD Tuner Stock speakers, no amp, no subs

  • I would like to toss in an idea that has just surfaced here at Crutchfield.  Consider an RV unit, like the Concertone ZX690.  While this is larger than a traditional car stereo, it is designed to be mounted in a cabinet style enclosure and offers many similar features as that of a home theater receiver.  With it's built in CD/DVD player, you'll be able to enjoy up to 3-zones of audio from this one device.  You can have up to 5.1 audio in Zone 1, and 2-channel stereo in Zones 2 & 3. 

     Of course, this doesn't provide you with a large video screen, you can connect it to an external TV via a composite video connection.  If you want to step up to the Concertone ZX800, you can gain an HDMI output. 

    As for the converter (AC to DC), we don't have anything to offer there.  I've found that in my own "jerry-rigged" applications that ebay has been a great source for inexpensive, and sometimes reliable converters.  Since you're venturing into an area where manufacturer's aren't comfortable providing instructions for altering their products for use, you'll likely not find many diagrams or instructions on the web. 

    Does anyone else have an idea to help "stinkin hillbilly"?



    [edited by: mike_242 at 6:11 PM (GMT -5) on Sat, Mar 17 2012]
  • I don't think composite video will cut it with a projector, so I'd lay off the ZX690. The ZX800, on the other hand, looks like it may have possibilities! What is the current draw?

         RESIma

  • Alex W

     What is the current draw?

     

    The owner's manual lists the maximum consumption as 10amps. 

  • Thanks guys! The RV thought made me investigate under a different light!

    I found a Jensen AWM975 that looks like it will fill my bill. The HDMI output only works with the DVD player but that's OK. Operates directly on 12 V.D.C. (NO Inverter/Conveter involved) Dolby sound, Aux. input(s)... Might have some ground loop issues but I'll figure them out..

    My projector is an LG HX350T that requires 19.5 V.D.C. I use a 250 watt laptop voltage converter to operate it. It's a bit of a power hog but the picture is incredible! (9.25a.) The TV tuner is built in and will do both analog and digital OTA. That takes care of the tuner issue..  ;)

    This 'ol stinkin' hillbilly is gonna have a living room cinema!

    The Atom computer is a good idea too but the Jensen is all in one box. I ordered one tonite..

    I'll give ya'll an update in a week or so..

    "If It Don't, I'll Always Think it Shoulda"

  •  Glad to hear you found a solution that works for you.  I must admit I am quite intrigued where you are doing this all completely off the grid.  Out of curiosity, how much current can your solar/battery system continuously provide?

  • "Out of curiosity, how much current can your solar/battery system continuously provide?"

    It can vary from day to day, week to week, depending on the amount of sunlight that I receive. On the normal, I can safely use ~50-60 aHr. a day IF I get a little sun. The winter months are the toughest. I constantly monitor my battery voltage..

    My system is small compared to most. I have 512 watts of panel and use 4 - 6 volt golf cart batteries wired series-parallel for 12 volts. When fully charged, I can safely use ~100 aHr./day, which is during the summer. (25% discharge of the battery) If times get real rough in the winter, I have a back-up charging system consisting of a gasoline generator and a large battery charger.

    Ground loop issues are my biggest PITA! Sometimes the issue shows its face immediately and sometimes things will smoke after a week. *Always need to check for voltage differences in shielding between items.* Dunno how I'll check the HDMI connection. Could be an expensive blunder..

      

    "If It Don't, I'll Always Think it Shoulda"