Sunday, October 20, 2013

Problem Solved

Motivator’s PO (previous owner) installed the above LCD television and a surround sound system with a VHS tape/DVD player.  As a friend said, the only VHS tape we have left is our wedding video.  Besides being dated, the LCD TV and 110 volt Panasonic entertainment system was an ASD (amp sucking dog).

The first thing to go was the LCD TV in favor of a Samsung LED TV.  Power consumption of LED TV’s is much less, and they do not produce the heat that LCD’s produce.

Finding a replacement for the Panasonic entertaiment system was more of a challenge because the PO had cut a hole in the cabintry for the install.  We finally decided on a Pioneer DVD receiver that are normally used in vans to entertain the rug rats in the rear seats.  While the receiver has a small touch screen, we mainly were interested in the available component connections on the back and that it is a 12 volt system.  Unfortunately, the superior HDMI connections are not availible on vehicle units yet, so the connection to the TV was via AV cables.

The DVD/receiver was connected to the PO’s interior speakers that were still in good shape unlike the non-marine grade speakers that were used on the rear deck.

New marine grade speakers were added on the rear deck and connected via a 12 volt pre amp to the DVD/receiver.  The old system could drive the deck speakers without a pre amp, but we found it cumbersome to operate and occasionally found that we were letting the rest of the marina listen to the sound track to Lethal Weapon II.

Because we were adding more 12 volt components a dedicated fuse box was added for the entertainment system.  This allowed for the correct amperage fuse to protect each component.

One piece of entertainment kit that we have really enjoyed is a Western Digital Live TV Hub with a 1 TB hard drive.  The Hub allows us to load our favorite movies, song and pictures to the drive for playback.  Because it also connects to the Internet it allows streaming of venues like YouTube.  We watched the Presidential debates and some of the America’s Cup via live streaming.

The Hub is connected to the TV via a HDMI, however we are now getting more HDMI components than available inputs on the TV, so a HDMI selector was added to the system.  The Hub initially was a 110 volt component, but like many items it can be converted to 12 volts by simply cutting off the transformer on the power cord and connecting to a 12 volt supply.

A Blu-ray disk player was added to the system because occasionally we can only find certain movies in Blu-ray format, and the vehicle receivers do not support Blu-ray, yet.  Plus, because of the hole cut by the PO in the cabinetry, we have room to fill.

We now have three 110 volt components that need to be powered.  This is not a problem when we are on shore power or have a generator running, but we want it to be efficient when we are quietly sitting at anchor.

Motivator’s 2500 watt inverter/charger can easily handle the entertainment components, but not as efficient as a smaller dedicated inverter.  But, if the 110 volt power strip is connected directly to the dedicated inverter, the system will be drawing on the batteries needlessly when on shore power or one of the generators is running.

An AC/DC transfer switch solves this problem.  The one we used is from KISAE Technology.  Besides automatically selecting the power source it transfers rapidly enough that we barely get a blink when switching from generator to batteries.  Previously we had to shutdown the Hub or DVD player prior to switching over.

Because we want the system to be networked, an Ethernet hub was added and connected to Motivator’s LAN.

(Note: not shown are satellite TV and iPod connections)

One more component can’t hurt, so a 1 TB Network Accessible Storage (NAS) was also added for additional storage and computer backup.

The original hole cut by the PO for the Panasonic system was trimmed out and a flip up black Plexiglas door was fabricated to cover the components and switches.

On the back side, inside the cabinet, a facing was added to hide all of the cabling sins while providing access to components that occasionally need attention.  A switch with a LED light for the rear deck speaker’s pre amp gives us visual assurance that we are not sharing Lethal Weapon II with the rest of the marina. 

But, what’s the”Parking Brake?”  Pioneer and all manufactures of vehicle video devices want to ensure that the driver is not watching a movie while driving.  So, the unit is designed to be connected to the parking brake switch so that video is only available when the parking brake is engaged.  I contacted Pioneer and explained that my parking brake is called an anchor, but they advised that there was no way around this “safety feature.”