Ok, here's the deal. Jim, would you mind adding this detail to seahorses' pics in the tech section? I pretty much followed what he did and my installation looks identical but that crummy digital camera I have doesn't make very good pics, so I thought it would be nice to add this detail (and the detail from seahorses' post back on 4/2/01).
Anyway, so I got the pkg which consists of:
- 1 LCD 6.8" flipdown w/ 2.4 ghz reciever built-in & 2 speakers (stereo), brightness control, color control (saturation), on/off switch, volume & channel (1-4) and infrared 'window' for headphones
- 1 power wire harness (plug-in to ac outlet) that contains power wire for transmitter and open 'female' end to piggy-back onto it (in my case, I plugged in a 350 watt power inverter)
- 2 infrared headphones (use 2 AA batteries) which automatically turn 'off' when you remove them from your head and have 'on/off' button as well as volume controls
- 1 monitor mount w/ red 'power' cable (driver side)
- 1 monitor mount w/ black ground (circular type connector on end suitable for use w/ body frame screw on vehicle)
- 2 split 't' anchors to mount under headliner
- 2 clear cinch washers (to lock 't's)
- 2 'coin-screw' cylinder nuts for mounts above
- troubleshooting guide
- paper 'template' which doubles as installation instructions (think PAAS easter egg package ;-) )
That's it. The instructions said it also comes w/ a quick connector ('scotch-lock'?) wire connector but I didn't find it (or I lost it) so I just used one from a package I bought at Home Depot for $1. If you need to get some, they're in electrical and get the ones for 18 gauge wire (they're blue) which is what this uses and what is in the dome light areas.
Ok, total installation time; about 2 hours. Again, like Seahorse, I spent the better part of one hour (if not more) measuring and remeasuring to find the exact center of the vehicle, insuring I was perpendicular and finding the perfect 'spot' for installation. I too settled on the middle of the 'B' pillars of the vehicle (in line w/ the AC controls). Its just a natural spot and it puts the monitor up far enough that no one is straining their necks on either the middle or rear seats. Plus as an added bonus, if I'm stopped or just sitting in the car, I can just put my head back & see whats on the screen. This is useful as I was helping my 4 year old navigate the PS2 GT2 menu to get the game started (more on this later).
Tools you need:
- masking tape
- phillips head
- regular screwdriver
- exacto knife (use a new blade!)
- measuring tape
- straightened coathanger w/ twisty ends cut off
Step 1 Get the darn masking tape down correctly. I spend a long time trying to measure (I got 28" from inside each pillar) but I found that I actually marked the center on the tape w/ a pencil wrong twice before getting it right! (To be sure I measured about 18 times after that LOL). This is absolutely the toughest part of the whole process. You need to make sure you do this right before you cut or anything else.
Step 2 Tape paper template to headliner. Make SURE you pull it tight with tape. When you cut the holes (you make 2 3/4" holes) you dont want any sag because that means the holes are not far enough apart. My template actually was wrinkled in the box so I put it under some HEAVY books for about a week before I started to press it completely flat.
Step 3 Cut your headliner w/ the exacto
Cut firmly and deeply and you'll get a nice easy removeable plug. I did NOT go deeply enough on the first one and ended up having to 'dig' out part of the headliner when it separated. To clarify the headliner strata, you have about 1/16" of headliner cloth followed by an inch or so of styrephone and finally cotton (which did not come off w/ the plug) against the inside of the roof. At any rate, this easy to do but tough mentally to cut 2 holes in a 30k van.
Step 4 Pop your dome light covers off (this is easy; refer to the Ody manual) and unscrew the frame screws from both. Next, pop out the light housing itself; you can put a flathead screwdriver into the small indention on the outside-facing part of the housing and pull inward slightly to remove) You will need to run wires and tap into power & ground.
Step 5 Run the power (driver's side) wire from the left (driver-side) hole out to where you removed the housing. This is easy, just tape the red wire from the mount to the end of the coat hanger & push it through the hole and feel around until you see it coming out behind the dome light. After pulling the wire through, connect it to the black wire with blue squares with the scotchlock. This wire is hot when the 'dome light' button on the dash is in the 'OFF' or 'middle' position. One odd thing; this wire is not hot for those few seconds getting in or out when the lights come on (opening a door). This isn't a big deal but just be aware if you want to test your monitor with your van doors open or the dash switch in the 'top' or 'always on' position that it won't work. I like this wire because it allows me to turn 'off' all interior lights to use the monitor thereby helping to ensure that I don't run the battery down from the dome lights too. Ok, now replace the housing, screw & snap your light cover back on.
Step 6 Repeat same procedure for other dome light; run wire from RIGHT (passenger) hole to the passenger side dome light and connect ground to frame screw on this side. I actually had a little trouble doing this; the screw has a metal washer which will not come off (I didn't try too hard) so I actually ran in between the housing & frame. I might consider another washer later to 'sandwich' it but for now this seemed to work just fine. Replace housing & light cover.
Step 7 Insert your split 't's. There are actually 4; each t has 2 parts, male & female which fit together like 2 pieces of a model to form a plastic 'screw'. You have to put them in one at a time and ensure that one half it facing foward & the other half facing rear (it doesn't matter which). Once you've got them worked in (the 2nd half of the t is harder than the first since you've got the hole mostly filled up already) you pull them together to make screw threads and pull them down a little (not too hard) so you can slip tha clear plastic washer (its like a 'C') up on the threads as high as possible. This clamps the thread together & allows you to slip the mount on & screw in the plastic cyliner nuts (which look a bit like tootsie rolls). I pushed up the wire into the headliner as much as possible (very easy!) before attaching the mount. Repeat with other hole.
BTW, the instructions talk about the little plastic 'helpers' that are attached to the ts to help guide you. Well, 3 of mine were already broken off & the other fell off when I picked up the t but I can't see, considering how frail they were connected, how they could have been any use at all. My advice? Break 'em off before you start, they just get in the way.
Step 8 Open the release levers on each mount (hold breath) and slide LCD onto mounts. The power & ground come out of each end of the LCD housing so no connecting is necessary. The act of putting the LCD onto the mounts connects the power. Et voila! You should have a red LED glowing if your dash switch is in the 'off' position or the dome lights are not on. Flip on/off to on, LED should now glow green. Now breathe sigh of relief.
That's pretty much it! You're done w/ anything that requires cutting or screwing. Now all you have to do is hook up something to play on it.
So time to head down to ToysRUs & get te PS2/GT3 package for $329. Did I mention ToyRUs gives you 3 months to return anyting no questions asked? That will be...oh, Dec 15..plenty of time for the xbox to be out & for me to make a decision on what I want to do.
So Jakey (my 4 year old) and I hoped in the van & cruised down to TRU & picked up a PS2. When I told the clerk what I was doing, he was fascinated & said he wanted to come out & see.
So I plugged in the AC harness to the front accessories adapter (below center bin) and ran wire under weathertechs & Honda floor mats (yes, I got my Honda mats under my weathertechs) and behind NAVI computer. I then connected transmitter there along w/ power inverter (2 plugs, Sam's Club $25). I then put the PS2 behind the driver's seat & ran wires under 2nd row Honda mats & weathertechs. Perfect! Everything is quite well hidden, although if I keep this configuration I'm going to buy one of those rubber hollow floor thingies to run the wires in then put that under the carpet.
So there I am in the dark parking lot; green & blue glow coming 'mysteriously' from under the driver's seat and Jakey sitting in the middle seat of 3rd row w/ controller in his hand from PS2 playing GT3. Total time to install; about 4 1/2 minutes. Sales dude comes out about that time and can't take his eyes off (a) the movie screen & (b) the NAVI.
Assessment? This thing is totally cool. The 'black' cloth actually complements my SS Ody quite well as it matches the dash, CD-holder on visor & just looks really high-tech in general. It flips closed like a visor and holds itself in any position from 90 degrees (flat) down to 290 degrees or so)
I have intermittent problems w/ 'scratchy signal (lasts about 1/2 sec occurs every 3-5 minutes) but I have 4 channels to play with and lots of different places to try placing the transmitter.
I give this system about an 8 out of 10. I do think it looks VERY well integrated. I hope to have some pictures to go with this soon. The wireless headphones are 'ok'. I wish they had used the 2.4 ghz transmitter for them as well instead of line-of-sight infrared but they sound fine. Just didn't blow me away. I have one 'bad' pixel that stays green which I'm going to call TMI about and see how many pixels must be 'bad' before I can get a replacement so I'll keep you posted on that. The speakers on the monitor sound ok as well, a bit tinny but hey, what do you expect from 2" speakers?
Overall, I'm very pleased though and I'll certainly keep everyone the loop as it goes as I come across problems, etc. So far I can't get GT3 away from my 4 year old! He LOVES it. I put in Bug's Life to check out the DVD and it looked good (I opted for 'standard' mode) so I haven't tried a 'letterbox' DVD yet to see how much I lose on the switch to 16:9.
That was the only thing I didn't forsee, the 6.8 being 4:3 and the 7" being 16:9. This seems odd for the iVES as well; since it *comes* with a VCP. Weird. At least the traveltheater was originally designed to come w/ a VCP so the 6.8 is understandable. Honda screwed up, IMO. If they were going to ship a 7" LCD that is 16:9, they certainly should have bundled it w/ a DVD player.
Ok, dear LORD this is long. The skinny is that you shouldn't feel overwhelmed by the 'steps' above. Its really easy, I'm just very detailed and went through everything in painstaking detail.
I was just following seahorses' example of getting ground from one domelight and power from the other. I assumed he did this from separate domelights to minimize the potential for interference by running power & ground from the same area. I suppose it really doesn't matter; you *could* ground your unit from the same domelight you get power from. Anyway, its probably easier to do it the way I did; each domelight that is closest to the hole is used.
As for the PS2; its simply video (yellow) and stereo (red, white) RCA output. The transmitter has all 3 inputs. Oh, and I should mention the transmitter also has a DC out on it. Not sure what that is for.
Just talked to TMI. First they said if there's a bad pixel or anything else to just send that component back to them and they would replace it.
Second, regarding that 'power out' plug on the transmitter; apparently its for the VCP (if you purchased that piece which I didn't) so that you don't have to use the AC harness. I hadn't thought about that. This way your AC adapter remains 'open' to hook up a travel fridge (yipe yipe yipe! Don't get any ideas, nyvram!) or something else.
I'm still quite happy w/ the traveltheater. I understand the new version is slightly different than the old version (mounting, etc.) but I would steer clear of the "Sams Club" special as it is missing some of the pieces (only one speaker, etc.)
All in all its been great. Once I got the antenna positioned well (under front passenger seat) I hardly ever get a 'hiccup'.
But if I were you, I'd check out the larger units that are out now; this tech is at least a year or 2 old & there are probably bigger screens, etc. for a similar price...or the traveltheater may be much cheaper now. The only regret is that I didn't get a 7" screen (they didn't make them) and since most DVDs run at 16:9, I get black bands instead of full screen.