How to connect TV to 12 V battery.

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 17:11
ThreadID: 57041 Views:14927 Replies:10 FollowUps:5
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Afternoon all. It's great to get some sunshine here in Newcastle to day after so much rain last week.
Anyway, we are about to start looking around for a telly that can run off both 12 & 240 V & that can fit in the place we want it to go in our van.
Our van is fitted with a sealed 95 amp hour battery which runs lights, water pump & an exhaust fan. We have no provision for charging the battery other than if we are on a site with 240 power.
So, assuming we can find a telly that fits in the spot & has a big enough screen to satisfy SWMBI what do I need to do/buy to connect it up to the 12v supply?
Also what can you buy that you can check how much power is left in the battery.
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Reply By: Member - Axle - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 17:33

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 17:33
Hi Barry , Glad you put this up, sorry i can't help, but i'm in the same situation, so will watch with interest. Been thinking about going the other way 12v- 240 with a inverter, But not sure,i am a electrical moron

Cheers Axle.
AnswerID: 300781

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 17:43

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 17:43
Yeah, I know what you mean, I am not bad at the practical stuff, but the technicalities are a bit of a worry!!
Mind you, SWMBI is worse, She is of the opinion that if the vehicle temperature gauge is on the "half way " mark then that is an indication that the radiator is only half full!! It took a long time to convince her otherwise.
The biggest worry is that you continue to hear about blokes still wanting & actually marrying them. Its sad isn't it. Cheers & LOL
FollowupID: 566907

Reply By: Member - Tony W (VIC) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:20

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:20
Look for a LCD Television that has an external plug pack / adapter. Make sure it is powered by 12v DC or lower. It will have + and - marked somewhere to indicate DC. You can usually check this on the power pack or on the TV or in the specs. Also check the current rating ( probably 2 - 3 A)

Then go to Jaycar / Dick Smith etc and get a 12v regualtor from 13.8V with the same or higher current rating. Don't try to power a LCD from the car "12 volts" unless it specifically states it is for car use. It can blow the TV if it gets too high.

Also make sure you have the polarity right. Usually the + is the middle part of the power plug.

AnswerID: 300788

Reply By: Notso - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:24

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:24
I've got a 17inch widescreen Telly that runs off 12/240. It uses a power supply somewhat like a laptop computer. It cost about $500 about three 7ears ago.

All I did was to make up a lead with a plug from Dick Smith and a cigaratte light plug and socket.

Fitted the Lighter socket into the fridge cavity.

You can also buy a fairly cheap volt meter from jaycar or probably Dick Smith. This will give you a reasonable idea of where your battery is at.

You will need to understand a bit about battery voltages

You might be better to talk to a good auto electrician or 12 volt shop
AnswerID: 300790

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:27

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:27
Thanks fellows for that info. Much appreciated. Cheers.
FollowupID: 566910

Reply By: Member - The Parts Guy (SA) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:25

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:25
Hi Barry, JB Hi Fi sell one that has a DVd player built in. It is an LCD, mate of mine bought one just before Christmas for his van. 19" screen from memory, runs on 240v AC or 12v DC.I will try and find out brand etc if JB can't help you.

Regards Mark Mc
AnswerID: 300791

Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:33

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:33
Thanks for that, we are a bit restricted in the height, it will need to sit on top of a cupboard which is directly under the micro wave & the gap is only about 315 mm. A screen size of about 15 inches looks to be about what we need.
FollowupID: 566912

Reply By: bbowie - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:49

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:49
Barry, we bought a TEAC 19" LCD tv/dvd combo, it runs on 12volt or 240 volt. the 240 volts goes through a transformer same as a computer and goes into the tv as 12volts.
good luck.
AnswerID: 300799

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:59

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 18:59
There is a TELEFUNKEN adapter That you can plug into a cig socket and it gives regulated 12 volts for a TV I got mine on EBAY and use it with a CENTREX 15' LCD Runs off the cig sockett on the Wineguard socket
Just make sure the TV can be mounted on a back mount so you can put it on a swivel mount if you want to.
The one I bought the shop assured me it could be done and would sell me the mount. After I got it home I found out it couldnt be done. In the end took the back off and trimmed a 3mm sheet of steel to shape and bolted thru that to hold the mount.
Works fine but always take it off to travel. This adapter has two outlets so you could probaly run a CD player or similar as well.
FollowupID: 566916

Follow Up By: Phillipn - Sunday, May 04, 2008 at 09:58

Sunday, May 04, 2008 at 09:58
I Ordered a TELEFUNKEN adaptor from for $ 29.70 delivered by post. are in Sydney, the postage cost will depend where you live. The unit price is $16.95.
FollowupID: 568029

Reply By: Member - Jim - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 19:02

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 19:02

I recently bought one of the 19" Soniq with analogue tuner and DVD from JB HiFi for $399.
This has a 240v to 12v plugpack which means you can connect directly to the 12v in your van.
I have a 12v Digitial STB (same power arrangement) so this looks after the digital TV, the Soniq for those places still on analogue.

Picture is good, no complaints.

AnswerID: 300802

Reply By: Scrubcat - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 20:12

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 20:12
I recently bought a LCD 15" TV/DVD from Coles Supermarket for $295.00 (China made ) that will run on either 12 or 240 volts.
There was a thread on this subject a couple of weeks ago with lots of info, try a search.
cheers ,
AnswerID: 300817

Reply By: Affordable Batteries & Radiators - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 20:56

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 20:56
Hi Barry

Good advice from all above.

There also some well priced solar regulators that will give you battery voltage, state of charge and amps used. This could be a good addition to your van and you can always add a panel later.

Power wise a 15 inch TV is the best on power use and a good size for a van.

My daughter uses the laptop when watching DVDs and this leaves the TV for me to watch the news.



AnswerID: 300828

Reply By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 22:07

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 22:07
Hi Barry
I suggest you follow Tony's advice & get a voltage reducer unless your tv comes with a cigarette lighter plug.[means it is designed for vehicle use]
It would be safe to use your tv @ night off the battery AS long you are not charging batteries.
When charging battery,either by solar or genny, volts could rise to 14.5v/15v [25% OVER VOLTAGE] IF IT IS NOT DESIGNEDTO COPE WITH THIS HIGHER VOLTAGE YOU COULD DO PERMANENT DAMAGE TO IT.
12v means just that12v ,some may have a voltage range marked ie 12/14v these would be ok.
It is true many work with no trouble,up to you if you take the risk.
AnswerID: 300844

Reply By: neil&brenda - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 23:21

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 23:21
Baz, Recent research has discovered that most(if not all) small LCD tvs are powered by 12 volts dc with a converter from 240volts built in to the lead. If you have a 12 volt lead with the correct polarity connections, there is no reason you cannot run it from a normal cigarette socket. Most I have seen are about 5 dc amps rating. So take into consideration your battery life vs load by the telly. This is NOT a hard exercise. FYI i am an electrician
AnswerID: 300857

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