Entertainment Center – Bedroom

The bedroom tube TV was missing when I bought this Journey, which was fine by me because the RV had a 33″ LCD Vizio in the front room, and I’d had the foresight to remove and keep my 24″ LCD Vizio from my old Bounder before I sold it. So I didn’t need to horse the old tube type TV out of the house and I already had a nice replacement.

But so far, I’ve not done the carpentry job putting a door on the opening to mount the TV. (As of July ’17, I have added a door, see entry below).

I did put up a temporary mounting and figured out the best angle to display the TV and instantly noticed that the speakers in the TV are totally inadequate for my poor hearing. In my last RV, I’d found an adapter cable for the Panasonic dash radio that I could connect this same TV’s sound to and that worked fine. Here in this bedroom, there’s no dash radio so I had to come up with my own configuration.

And here’s a multi-function amplifier I bought for $20 to amplify the TV sound: Lepai 15W X 2 Amplifier . That link shows a 15W X 15W amp, whereas when I bought it, it was listed as 180W X 180W. The difference is probably due to some re-engineering to correct the marketing errors. It also costs more now and it’s no longer mislabeled as an 180 Watt. I’m skilled enough to recognize that 180 Watt was too much for the size…I assumed it was 18.0 Watt and the marketing department had mislabeled the device. Operation of this model was intuitive and doesn’t take long to figure it out, even when lying in bed using the remote, so I expect the model in the above link is the same. I didn’t have any problem figuring out how to use it with the buttons on the faceplate or how to use it with the remote.

It’s a cool product; in addition to the 3.5mm audio jack & RCA audio input connectors, it has a simple auto scan FM radio with telescoping antenna, a USB port for charging phones, and a SD card reader so you can play your MP3 tunes, along with standard spring loaded speaker lead output connections. And it comes with a tiny, but effective, remote! The remote uses that coin cell used in billions of computers to backup the BIOS settings so they are only $0.79 these days.

Since this is used in the small space of a bedroom, 15 watt per channel is adequate, plenty loud enough for me even though I don’t wear my hearing aid while in bed. I can mount the speakers up on a wall because they have the brackets on the back of the speakers to do that, but so far, I’ve not needed to as they stay put when I’m driving.

 I mounted the amp to the wall below the TV cabinet, connected it to the TVs headphone jack, and soon had it set up with a pair of unamplified computer speakers. Did not sound good, though it’s loudness was ample. So I checked a few nearby thrift stores and soon found a Panasonic mini speaker set. There were 3 out of the original 4 surround sound speakers along with a mini subwoofer. All for $8. The Lepai has speaker jacks on the back so I hooked up two of the speakers, and then the two subwoofer leads are hooked up to each + terminal of the Lepai, one subwoofer lead on each channels speaker output terminal. The subwoofer is designed for low frequencies and this is how it is suppose to be hooked to an amplifier that doesn’t have a separate subwoofer output. Works well, sounds great.

On Edit: Installing the TV – July ’17

The cabinet above the chest of drawers where the old tube type TV had once been installed was a potentially large storage area, but to maximize the room inside the cabinet, I decided that I needed a door to hang my 24″ Vizio (semi) smart TV on. Using a door also allows for a larger TV installation over one that would fit inside the opening. And maybe a shelf or two might be useful but I’ll get to that some other time. First, the door. I wanted something for the front TV too so I measured both openings, went to Home Depot and had them cut two panels for me from a 2′ X 4′ X 1/2″ sheet of clear plywood. Plywood because it doesn’t warp, shrink or expand due to weather and it’s clear (means that it’s cabinet quality) face can be stained and will look half way attractive. I also bought a piano hinge at an Ace Hardware that’ll run the entire door height of both doors in order to maintain stability over time. Something the TV door in my Bounder did was drift downwards over time with this exact 24″ Vizio TV and the articulated arm on it was also adding weight, I don’t want this door to do that. Likely that happened in the Bounder because the hinges I used were too lightweight for the door/TV/arm weight.

There’s plenty of excellent storage space there. I will eventually dress those wires too. Maybe put them behind a 1/8th inch plywood panel.

And here’s one of the problems with this project. That wooden edge on the left, where you can see my arm in the mirror is part of the bedroom closet slide. I must mount my Vizio TV to the cabinet door so that the bedroom slide can be retracted in such a way that it doesn’t destroy the TV, ever. I thought about putting the TV inside the cabinet and actually there is room, but at the loss of storage space. Eventually, I dropped that idea in favor of mounting it on a door instead.

I’ve been known to be goofy enough that I might crunch any TV hanging from the outside of a cabinet door in this setup because of not paying attention. And so I want to make sure it doesn’t stick out too far. I experimented with positions for the TV and did some measuring and found that I cannot use the articulated arm with this TV if I’m adding a door. It, and the TV mounted to it, sticks out so far from the cabinet door, that the slide would smash into it when retracting. I figured I’d gain 1/2″ of clearance by using a flush mount door rather than a surface mount too.

So I had a plan, and that involved mounting the TV to a flush mounted hinged door. That setup would also give me all the available space inside for storage.

First thing I did was to cut a piano hinge to length. Here’s how I setup my special vice on the kitchen counter so I could hacksaw it. You’d be surprised at the number of tools I have…
Here’s the back of the TV, along with some of the tools of the trade.

First I mounted the new door with the hinge on the right, but didn’t take long to realize I could not open the cabinet as wide as I wanted because over to the right, a bedroom mirror’s fluorescent light assembly and cover blocked it. Also, if the TV banged into that area it could be damaged.

So I flipped it over and put it on the left side of the cabinet frame. Much better. Opens as wide as I need it. And there’s just enough clearance that the TV ends up flush with the closet when the door is open, and doesn’t bump into anything that might scratch the screen.

And here I’ve added a magnetic latch plate to hold the door closed.

Here I’ve added a couple wooden blocks that hold the metal brackets typically used as shelf braces that I’ve repurposed for this job. They slip into slots molded in the bottom of this particular brand and model TV, and with the wooden blocks, will hold the bottom of the TV, loosely so it can pivot forward. This pic doesn’t show it, but after this picture I cut a wide slot in the door for the electrical connections to the back of the TV. And drilled a couple holes for the nylon cords used to secure the TV at an angle for viewing. I’ve been mulling over a couple different ways to hold the bottom of the TV and I think I’ll give those a try later on. Maybe a nice ‘L’ shape strip of wood, attached with screws from the back, that the frame of the TV sets inside. This unattractive setup was because I was conserving wood and just use a couple scrap pieces of plywood.

And this picture shows the cords. Instead of using that articulated metal bracket that’s very common for holding this type of LCD flat screen TV, I just made up two nylon cords that are clamped between two flat washers by the mounting screws normally used to attach the TV to those metal articulated arms. I normally don’t need to move a bedroom TV all around anyway so a semi-fixed setup suits my lifestyle. The cabinet is horizontally angled perfectly for watching TV in bed and then I just use the nylon cord to allow the TV to drop down to the correct vertical angle for viewing when the slide is extended, but I can easily push the TV up out of the way when needed. And so can the slide when it’s being retracted. And it’s the kind of setup I only need to do once to get the perfect angle for TV viewing, and won’t need to do it again.Here’s how I mount the two nylon cords that’ll hold the TV at the correct viewing angle. Once they are threaded through the door, I tie a knot in them to hold the TV from extending too far…but I can still easily pull it back so it’s flat against the door. The cords are strong enough to hold the TV even if it becomes detached from the lower brackets. Not likely to happen unless I hit a big speed bump on the highway. In which case I’ll have bigger problems.

The above shot of the back of the TV shows that repair I had to do to the headphone jack in the TV. I once dropped the TV and the headphone cable plug that was plugged into that jack caught on the edge of a cabinet, and broke the jack away from the circuit board inside the TV. I added an external. While I was doing that, I noticed that the TV has a SPDIF connector and since I didn’t know much about it, other than it uses light to communicate, went ahead and bought an audio converter I can use with it. Gave me the chance to learn something new. I found an audio Digital SPDIF to RCA Analog converter on Amazon. The adapter connects from the TVs digital SPDIF output, gets converted to analog, and is cabled to the Lepai Stereo amp input. After mounting the adapter to the wall of the cubby hole, it makes for a nice clean installation.

And here’s how it looks when I’m in bed watching TV. Surprising how small that 24″ TV looks in this picture. It’s big enough for pleasant viewing though. The amp and Panasonic speakers add an extra sonic depth and richness to the sound over what the TVs speakers provide. Here you can see the bedroom mirror and the wooden cover over the florescent tube, which is why I moved the hinge to the left side of the cabinets new door.

Here’s the angle I’ve set it at…the closet slide will push the TV up and out of the way when I retract the slide for travel, without damaging anything, and when the slide is extended it’s an appropriate angle for pleasant TV viewing. There is an angled fascia board on the top edge of the slide that turned out to be at the perfect angle for pushing the TV out of the way as the slide retracted. So less possibility of damage. And of course I can open the cabinet, pull the cord to retract the TV so it’s flush with the cabinet door, and then loop the cord over a screw I added to hold it. And when I open the cabinet door all the way, the plastic surround at the top of the TV prevents damage when it bumps into the closet.

So that’s the installation of the bedroom’s flat screen TV to the old tube type TV cabinet, attached to a new door. Lots of nice room behind the TV for storage. I do have some finish work to do so it’ll look a bit better but I’m happy with the results so far. I will eventually stain the door to match the cabinetry. It did take me much more time than I expected, but that’s something I have an excess of these days…time.

2 Responses to Entertainment Center – Bedroom

  1. Quincy Carnley says:

    Jim as you know I have a Journey just like yours including the no tv in the bedroom.
    I wondered how to install one because I have not found one to fit inside the hole with a screen I can see. Never thought about mounting outside, and now I know. Thanks you’re one in a million.

    Just so you know, the dimensions of the TV I used are 22″ wide, and 14 & 1/4″ high, with 23 & 1/2″ diagonal screen size (though Vizio calls it 24″).

    I am really happy about how this installation turned out. The wood was only $20, the hinge $13. All the other supplies I had on hand. I have some stain somewhere too.

    What I’m not happy about is the appearance of the two blocks holding the bottom of the TV. I’m going to improve that, including screws from the back instead of from the front. Don’t know what I was thinking there with the originals, but it wasn’t a good thought, I was in a hurry. Than I’m going to get the door stained and varathaned up nice and pretty too.

    Thanks for the compliment!

  2. Hafcanadian says:

    Looks good. Jim Sizemore in Bend redid both our TV setups last year as I wouldn’t mess with our Beaver woodwork – my carpentry skills are okay, but not up to that level. I was fed up with the analog/converter box bull****, and the bonus now besides being bigger sets is that the new ones are SmartTV’s. No more hooking iPads up to watch certain Internet things on TV. Still have to watch RV park WiFi limitations on streaming, etc., but the general result of the new setup is far superior.

    Jim does the initial and final engineering and procuring, and his pal “next door”, Greg Fulton, builds the new adaptive framing. For most coaches, they already have the patterns and jigs because they’ve done so many; that cuts down a bit on labor costs.

    Rather than mounting on a solid panel, they install the TV in a surround frame, and in the bedroom instance like yours, they put a piano hinge in place and latch to access the huge space behind, adding a carpeted shelf. Greg included narrow-triangular sides to enable the slight downward tilt as the original had. The new natural but polyurethaned cherry is very light, which initially concerned us; but as Greg advised, a year’s aging is bringing it slowly closer to match the existing woodwork. The open back helps the TV vent and run cooler, and easy access to cable and wire ports. You might consider that.

    The only reason I do most of these DIY things myself is because I enjoy it so much. The brain work, the materials acquisition, the design phase to physical reality phase, the construction, the finished project. Just trilling to me. So even though I sometimes have hired professionals to do things for me, I just can’t pass up doing these small projects myself.

    No, wait, I don’t do it for the thrill, I do it for my readers. Yeah, that’s it. Not selfish at all, really. 😉

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