diy-electronics-12_volt_tv-largeAs Graham Toms at Payne's Marine Group points out, more and more boats are being used as cottages and the owners expect all the comforts of home including, of course, television shows.

Sea-faring TVs have become very popular in recent years because the new flat screen technologies enable people to install a television where previously the depth and sometimes the weight, simply could not be accommodated.

Then, there is the issue of electrical power. Unless your boat is large enough to have an onboard generator that you want to have running while you are watching TV, or you have an inverter system to step up your 12-volt DC system to 110-volt AC, normal household TVs cannot be used.

If using a household TV, there's a good chance that the components themselves are not designed to withstand "dirty power" or voltage fluctuations. Almost all North American homes have very "clean" 110-volt AC electrical power coming into the home. By "clean" power, we mean 60 Hz electrical power that runs on a true sine wave – nice, steady power delivery.

Typically, inverters don't produce such clean power unless they are the higher end units. Inverters from companies like Canadian producer Xantrex do produce a true sine wave, but you do pay for this quality.

Also, the power on the docks is sometimes poor quality. Rural power systems with old cables, old connections and wide fluctuations in power demand within the marina itself can result in a fluctuating 110-volt AC power supply that's very hard on a conventional television. Compounding the issue, your household television warranty may be voided if the TV is not actually used in a home.

The solution for your boat? Payne's Marine Group is now bringing the Australian-made Majestic line of 12-volt DC televisions and DVD players into Canada. Majestic was launched as a business just a few years ago when Tony Munro discovered the market demand for a true marine or RV-type TV that was specifically designed to run on 12-volt DC power. Since their introduction, these units have been so successful that they are now standard on many new boats and Majestic covers them by a full three-year warranty.

This is good news for any boat owner and especially for those with trailerable express cruisers and smaller keel boats where 12-volt DC is all you have and where total power is limited. 110-volt AC power from an inverter for a flat screen TV draws 8-10 amps compared to the Majestic 12-volt DC which draws as little as 2 amps, or 4 amps if you include the power consumption of the DVD player. In addition, these units can tolerate a voltage range of 9-26 volts DC.

Majestic is now making widescreen 15, 19 and 22 inch TVs. The 19 and 22 inch models include an internal DVD player. All models are high definition with 16:9 aspect ratio screens and include ATSC HD Digital and an analog tuner. Auxiliary inputs include Composite Video, HDMI, S-Video, Component, VGA, and PC audio, making them potentially useful for displaying many of your electronic devices.

The sets come with a remote control 12-volt DC power cord, and 110-volt AC adapter. The weight of these super light TVs is not much more than half of some competitors, 5.3 kg including the stand for the 22 inch model.

The most popular mount for the television is the ARM2502 model that has an adjustable swing arm which includes an internal cable track. It's beautifully made of cast aluminum with enough strength to manage the 22-inch model mountable on a bulkhead, side panel, or almost anywhere in your boat.

Majestic offers two antennas – one for power boats and one for sailboats. These 28 dB gain antennas have the amplifier in the antenna rather than at the television, thereby reducing the potential for interference picked up through the cable. This produces a very clean signal.

Majestic also offers its DVD 5700 which is a multi-function stereo system featuring DVD/CD/ MP3/MP4/VCD/Divix playback, AM/FM radio, full fader/balance control, and includes infra red remote control. Again, this unit supports a wide range of inputs.

Outputs include two video, one audio and 4x45 watts of output power. It can also be used in conjunction with any television for DVD playback and home theatre sound.

Majestic provides a range of low profile speakers that are more easily mounted too.

Although originally founded in Australia and with customers on five continents, Majestic is now based in Florida to meet the growing demands of the North American market.

The suggested retail prices are $420 Canadian for the 15-inch model, $599 for the newly introduced 19-inch model and $699 for the 22-inch model. Graham claims they all deliver outstanding picture quality.

Payne's Marine Group is a national distributor of a wide range of products sold through independent retailers and marinas across the country.

www.paynesmarine.com

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ChicagoBy Mark Stevens

Photos by Sharon Matthews-Stevens


From my perspective on the observation deck of 360 Chicago in the John Hancock Building, I have an eagle’s-eye view of this Lake Michigan metropolis.

The city stretched out before us is a forest of concrete. Toward the lake – right below us – there’s a beach volleyball game in progress. White triangles crisscross Caribbean-blue waters in the distance. Sunday morning must be race day – just like home.

 

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