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Discussion Starter #1
I am glad to say that I have 90% of my A/V install done. I'll share with you my experiences with the equipment and the install.

Here is the equipment that I selected...

  • Alpine TCS-V430A
  • Concept DVD-168C (DVD/VCD/SVCD/MP3 Player)
  • Farenheit T7002HRS 7" 16x9 Monitor
  • Farenheit RF2CH (2 Channel Wireless Headphone)
  • Cheap A$$ B/W Camera from Target (Temporay for backup camera)
  • Jensen KVFM1 FM Modulator
  • Pioneer AVC-RGB1 (converter to connect composite video to the front display
Alpine TCS-V430A
I am very pleased with this unit. I wanted a unit that would be able to control which video input is selected for each monitor. I had seen several units that would do this but had wired control boxes. I didn't want those wires hanging out. This unit has three inputs and three outputs. A remote control can select which input is sent to each monitor. This unit also has a 125 channel television tuner. The tuner is one of the selection for what to show on the monitor. I wanted to be able to watch a DVD on the front monitor while the kids may be playing a video game on the back monitor. I originally looked at the Santeca ST-2000, but after a wait for backorder, I was told that Santeca is messed up and they won't be producing much of anything until after the end of the year. In a scramble to find something, I found this. If I had seen this unit earlier, I think I would have went with it right away.

Concept DVD-168C
There are many of these mobile DVD player that seem very similar. To differentiate, I looked for one that would play VCD/SVCD. (I want to put some of our tapes on VCD so that I can use them in the X) Also, I wanted one that would show the name of a MP3 file. After looking a the specs for this one, it looked this this had the best shot of meeting that criteria. This unit is about 3x6x8. (This is almost exactly the same size as the popular Blaupunkt unit -- the remote is, I think, the same too) I was happy to see that the unit allows you to drill down through menus on the mp3 cd and shows 8 characters of the folder/file name. Another feature that I didn't think about, but came in handy, was the fact that it supports multiple regions. Like other units the eject button on the remote is very handy.

T7000HRS
I am building a mount for this that can be easily attached and deattached to the center console lid. It fits in cupholders and with a built-in velcro strap that wraps around the bottom. I use the farenheit M2 mount integrated into this. I will be putting a walnut burl veneer on this to match the other trim. Two things that stand out in my opinion; 1) it has a single cable to hook up that carriers power and video, 2) it's controls are on the top -- the front looks very clean. BTW, I don't use it, but this unit has two video inputs that are selectable from the remote. This may be handy for anyone who isn't planning on using a separate controller. I can't say much for how well this works since I had to send it back because it didn't work right when I got it. I get the replacement Friday.

RF2CH
I don't have this unit yet (comes Friday) but I went with this unit because it is wireless and it has two channels. Can be used with separate output for each monitor.

Cheap A$$ Target Camera
This is a B/W camera that I got at Target a quite a while ago for $29. It works fine. It's not waterproof. I put a bunch of silicone on the seams, but still will probably fail in the not too distant future. I want to replace this with a weatherproof, mirror image camera -- I just haven't figured out which one yet. BTW, I am also thinking about some type of FLIR (forward looking infrared) camera for the front. Nothing too fancy, just something to do something similar to Caddilac DeVille. I have the b/u camera automatically switching on reverse on the gear selector. I wanted an override switch to turn it on when not in reverse, but have got that to work yet.

FM Modulator
Works pretty good. I had a little noise problem, but a Radio Shack ground loop isolator seem to take care of that. I don't have a problem with the volume. I was supprised that I get a very good surround effect with the DVDs.


I will write more about the install experience later. I want to thank everyone on this forum that helped me! I didn't all the install myself and was very nervous. I guess being cheap overcomes nerves.:D
 

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TC,

Sounds really good. Can't wait til you're done and put up some pictures.

I like your tuner better than the Santeca ST-1000 that I have because you get to control which input goes to which screen. Originally I just wanted something simple and didn't go for something like that, but now that I'm done, I wish I spent a little more money and had gone for that. This way I could potentially have a Barney DVD running in the back and I could use the PS2 to put Con Air in the front screen. Oh well...

As to the backup camera, here are two of them, one is a color one for $199 and another is black and white. I considered these before the Santeca:

Color:
http://www.spycameras.net/carrear.htm#Mirror Image Camera

B/W:

http://www.web-tronics.com/ccdbwboarcam.html

Didn't go for the flip-down? Actually, it does get in the way of the rear-view mirror. If I didn't live in NYC, I'd go for the screens mounted in the head rest (it would draw too much attraction for thieves). As a matter of fact Ron from Streeteffectz I think is offering 2 headrest mounted screens (you can send in the headrests) for $800 shipped. Not a bad deal.

Anyway, hope it all goes well. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A few more notes from the install...

I've spent quite a bit of time on this. I don't know for sure, but maybe 20 hours. If I look back at this, it was not a very productive 20 hours. I would take something apart a little bit, get nervous that I was going to break something, get up some more nerve, and move forward. As I have heard other people say, I could do this install again in much, much less time.

Although I had setup most of the equipment in a test hookup in the car, the first piece I officially installed was the FM modulator. I found and tapped into a switched power line on from the head unit. I connected the ground the large plate that surrounds the dash portion of the center console. I ran into some group loop issues and I think I should have used the ground from the head unit for everything. (I don't know for sure) After I got it all hooked up I notices some noise. I bought a power noise fileter and ground loop isolator from radio shack. I hooked up the ground loop isoloator and that seem to take care of the noise. I can still notice some hiss if the volume is up and there is a no-sound period in the movie/music. It's not really noticable unless you listen carefully. Someday I may look for a better solution, but I am satisfied for now. I follow one of the many directions for removing the head unit. I started at the top of the wood trim by the vents and worked my way around. I used a screw driver to give me a little more leverage. I wrapped the screwdriver in a towel to protect the dash from a slip. Guess what... It slipped and the towel didn't help. I put a scratch in my dash. I was really pissed off at myself. (Anyone have any good ideas for repairing this. I would think there is something to make it less noticable, at least) The Jensen FM modulator has a volume control in it. I set it so that the output from my A/V sources was pretty close the the stereo level.

I moved on to routing the diversity anttenae for the TV tuner. I mounted them in the same locations as MDXtrous had his. I carefully used a pocket knife to make a small rabbit in the C pillar so that it would not be strained when I put it back on. Since my A/V equipment is under the drivers seat, I routed the passenger side cable over the top of the headliner. As long as the C pillar and part of the lower back panel was off i snaked some cat5 cable to the back storage compartement for the camera. This took a while to snake through with a coat hanger since I didn't want to remove the D pillar.

As for the camera, I used some very helpful poron sensor routing pictures from the gallary that show the few gromets that I needed to get it to the rear bumper. I have the camera temporarily attached to my rear hitch. I will be revamping this when I get the permanent camera.

I have the AVC-RGB1 and my relays mounted with the nav computer under the passenger seat. The tv/controller and dvd player are under the drivers seat. When I get the replacement, the very small connector box for the rear monitor and the wireless headphones will go there too. I read some stories on this board about professional installers screwing the units down through the floor and hitting a cable. I didn't want this to happen so I decided to mount my equipment to a piece of 1/4 inch plywood. I havent done this yet, but my plan is to attach a small block of wood to the seat brackets with epoxy and attach the plywood to that with L brackets.

The DVD player is mounted so that it faces the front. There was not perfect solution for this. I move the seat all the way back and my wife, who is 5'4", moves it pretty far forward. It is fine when I am driving, but difficult to load a DVD when she is driving. I will point out one issue I have with the Alpine unit here too. The connection for one of the monitors is a mini-din. It comes with a mini-din to RCA jack connector. The problem is that mini-din doesn't seat in there very well. I have some electrical tape around it and then attached to the unit to hold it in better. Pretty crappy connector for a mobile unit that will be bouncing around.

There is a small bundle of cables running from the drivers seat to the dash via the center console. I have three switches, the the two IR remote receivers mounted to a wood plate where the useless coin tray was. I also mounted my gooseneck phone holder to that plate. The three switches are; 1) a switch to go between nav/entertainment, a switch to go between entertainment/backup camera, and 3) a switch to turn off the modulator. I had planned on veneering this with walnut burl, but there is so much of it covered with switches, IR and phone holder, plus it is pretty dark down there, so I just painted it black. It look fine to me.

I am finishing up the install of the replacements this weekend and am going to try to find some time to do my first zaino application. I will then be going on a road trip from Wisconsin to the Grand Canyon. If I can fit it in I will take a few pictures. If not, I will surely post some when I get back.

If anyone has any questions on the equipment or install, I would be glad to help out -- I've received, either directly or indirectly, much help from others on this forum.

more later...
 

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TC said:
1) a switch to go between nav/entertainment, a switch to go between entertainment/backup camera, and 3) a switch to turn off the modulator.
You could consider sending the camera signal to one of your TV inputs. This way you can control the switching with the remote also. Just a thought.

As for the sound, you could consider this:

http://www.crutchfield.com/S-lwAk08Nr4R0/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?i=158XA39II&s=0

It should take care of your hiss, since it feeds directly into the headunit, and plus it's probably not much more than the modulator.

Just a question, do you find the DVD volume to be loud enough at highway speeds? It seems like the DVD volume is especially low, not VCDs, not MP3s, or TV, just DVD...
 

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tc,
You don't need to pry the dash trim off with a screwdriver, take out the coin holder and cigarette lighter and accompanying hardware under the trim then you can out your fingers behind the trim and push it out with your fingers. There are a couple posts detailing the process much better than I have. YOu can do a search. The first time I did it your way I put a little scratch in the dash, my dash is black and I painted it with a permanent black marker, and I swear I can't even see it anymore, GOOD LUCK!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The volume on the DVD is fine. Acutally, one more feature on the Alpine Controller is a leveling adjustment for each input. This is controlled through the remote via an on-screen display. You can adjust each input up or down so that the volume is consistant as you switch between them.

On the subject of the scratch. I found a kit that vinyl magic that come with some kind of material to fill a scratch along with color tints, a small flat tipped sodering iron, and a grain matching kit. I was thinking of giving this a try. I wanted to to call them first to see if this was an appropriate use.
 

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VCD IS THIS THE RIGHT ONE.

Tc, I saw you post quoted here. How is it possible to copy video tapes to a cd. I found a player that plays vcd is that the same (right) one to buy that will do such a job

Concept DVD-168C
There are many of these mobile DVD player that seem very similar. To differentiate, I looked for one that would play VCD/SVCD. (I want to put some of our tapes on VCD so that I can use them in the X) Also, I wanted one that would show the name of a MP3 file. After looking a the specs for this one, it looked this this had the best shot of meeting that criteria. This unit is about 3x6x8. (This is almost exactly the same size as the popular Blaupunkt unit -- the remote is, I think, the same too) I was happy to see that the unit allows you to drill down through menus on the mp3 cd and shows 8 characters of the folder/file name. Another feature that I didn't think about, but came in handy, was the fact that it supports multiple regions. Like other units the eject button on the remote is very handy.
 

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Re: VCD IS THIS THE RIGHT ONE.

TONELOC said:
Tc, I saw you post quoted here. How is it possible to copy video tapes to a cd. I found a player that plays vcd is that the same (right) one to buy that will do such a job

Concept DVD-168C
There are many of these mobile DVD player that seem very similar. To differentiate, I looked for one that would play VCD/SVCD. (I want to put some of our tapes on VCD so that I can use them in the X) Also, I wanted one that would show the name of a MP3 file. After looking a the specs for this one, it looked this this had the best shot of meeting that criteria. This unit is about 3x6x8. (This is almost exactly the same size as the popular Blaupunkt unit -- the remote is, I think, the same too) I was happy to see that the unit allows you to drill down through menus on the mp3 cd and shows 8 characters of the folder/file name. Another feature that I didn't think about, but came in handy, was the fact that it supports multiple regions. Like other units the eject button on the remote is very handy.
TONELOC,

One member said that the Blaupunkt, for example, only outputs at 320 x 240 when playing VCDs. Just make sure your player has capabilities beyond that. That's just not very good resolution.
 

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MDXtrous,

I couldn't find the post for the headrest monitors from Streeteffectz (can you help if possible)? The commute to NY from Arizona is a little extreme, so having Ron do the DVD install work is out of the question (I would prefer the 7" or 9" dropdown monitor). The headrest monitors seem to be a good compromise for the DVD system, leaving me to find a trusted A/V installer to complete the hookup and head unit in this area. I believe I have read most of your other posts pertaining to DVD install discussions and appreciate the amount of information you and other members have posted.
 

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aktars said:
MDXtrous,

I couldn't find the post for the headrest monitors from Streeteffectz (can you help if possible)? The commute to NY from Arizona is a little extreme, so having Ron do the DVD install work is out of the question (I would prefer the 7" or 9" dropdown monitor). The headrest monitors seem to be a good compromise for the DVD system, leaving me to find a trusted A/V installer to complete the hookup and head unit in this area. I believe I have read most of your other posts pertaining to DVD install discussions and appreciate the amount of information you and other members have posted.
Really don't mean to steal TC's thread, but the quick answer is you can mail your headrests, and Ron can send them back to you. He posted his special on the acura-tl.com forum. You can try e-mailing him directly at [email protected] . Please feel free to PM me and I'll be more than willing to answer all your questions. I'm here to help;)

Sorry TC...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I haven't yet created any VCDs. I've seen software for taking your video tapes and putting them on DVD. One of them I've seen is DVD Wizard Pro. I cannot speak to how well this works, but thats my plan. I had hoped to put a few of the kid's tapes on VCD before I leave for our Grand Canyon trip Friday, but it's looking less likely that I'll get it done.

As for the resolution of VCD, it is about the same as VHS. It is 352x240. I don't think that this is particular to the Blaupunkt unit as it is to the VCD standard. There is another standard, SVCD, that is higher resolution, but can only store about 30 minutes on a CD as opposed to about 70 minutes of VCD. If you had a DVD burner and a player capable of reading them, you could probably burn MPEG2, mimicing DVD quality. There is a site, VCD Help that has a lot of information if you're interested.

BTW, The Auto Accessories also has a service where you can mail in your headrests to have monitors installed. I was considering that.
 

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POWER INVERTER where to buy

Can someone point me in the right direction where I can get a fairly inexpensive power inverter. I need this so when my 7" lcd screen and dvd player arrive from five-star , I will be able to connect not just the dvd, but also a ps2 or a vcr at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I just got mine a wal-mart. (~$24) 70 Watt. Just fine for video game systems that only take about 20 Watts. Almost any local department store will sell them. What are you planning to do for sound?
 
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