So, if you were wondering why I’ve been working to darn hard to put up my curtain track, this is why. I’ve had this vision for a long time, and while video can easily be displayed on a laptop screen, or on a small 19” TV, something about rigging up a projector in a van just seemed so … cool. I had to do it.
I mean, even my mom thinks it’s cool, and she’s a difficult one to impress (understatement of the year). “How did you figure out how to do all of this?” she asked incredulously. Then told me that I should be proud of myself for figuring out how to put it all together. A kid can’t ask for much more than that. I’m putting this in my blog so that I don’t forget this moment.
The projector is an Aaxa P300. I chose that specific projector because it runs on only 25 watts, and it has a throw ratio of 1.38, which makes the size of the picture fit perfectly inside the van. It also has a headphone jack, and an HDMI in, which not all projectors have. Aaxa makes a variety of pocket, micro, and mini projectors, so if you’re thinking about doing the same thing in your tiny dwelling, be sure to check out their product line.
The speaker is a UE Mini Boom, and let me tell you, it’s got some serious power packed into its petite size. I use a 3.5 mm cable to connect the speaker to the projector (just plug it into the headphone jack), but the speaker does have Bluetooth, so you can use it wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled devices, or with a Bluetooth receiver. If I wanted, I could buy a second UE Mini Boom, and then set them up as stereo speakers (left and right), but honestly that just sounds like more trouble than it’s worth (heh, that’s kind of an ironic statement after having come this far).
To access Netflix, I use a Chromecast, and I plug it directly into the projector’s HDMI port. To control the Chromecast, I use my Android phone. I’d recommend having access to plentiful WiFi before hooking all of this up.
My big hack: The projector came with a wall wart that converts 120 volts AC to 12 volts DC. Since my van’s electrical system is a 12 volt system, I simply cut off the wall wart, and wired the power cord directly into my 12 volt system. Now, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone else try this with expensive electronics. “12 volt” systems rarely run exactly at 12 volts, and the variation could possibly fry your electronics, or even start a fire. I did it because, well, I was too dumb not to.
So there you have it. A “home theater” system in a van. I’m still reeling from the fact that this all worked, and that it worked from the very first time I plugged it all in. Isn’t that amazing? That never happens with regular cable or TiVo.
Got questions? Ask them in the comment section!