Displaying the laptop TV (S-Video) output to an unused input of the Sony VCB-MHD1 camera monitor
May, 2010 update:
While this project was completely fun to play with, the resolution of the Sony monitor wasn't nearly good enough to be practical, so I quickly abandoned the idea of trying to use the monitor for anything except camera video.
We bought our coach before side-view cams were even an option on any Winnebago Industries product. Since we did however have an "A-B-C" switch on the Sony monitor, I thought we should use inputs "B" and "C" for something. Input "B" is our starboard side cam and input "C" is now our laptop display.
If you want to play around with doing the same thing, you will need to buy the composite video to Sony monitor cable adapter from Tim at RV Cams. The adapter is in the $20 range. You might also need an S-Video to composite adapter for the laptop. (Composite video uses the "RCA" type of connector - one center conductor and a round shell. S-Video is a bunch of little pins - here is a reference. Scroll down the page for pictures of the plugs.)
Plug in the Sony adapter to either input "B" or "C", plug in the S-Video adapter in the laptop and connect the two with a small diameter video cable (small diameter for ease of snaking it out of the dash area.)
You might find the most difficult part of the entire effort is getting your laptop video card to actually use the TV (or S-Video) port. Read your laptop's manual (I know - that's like admitting defeat - real men don't read no stinkin' manuals) for instructions on how to turn on the output. One trick that I found is to plug everything together, go to the graphics adapter menu and turn on the TV output. Your laptop will probably shift the resolution down (everything is now in larger print and graphics) which is a good thing due to the low resolution of the Sony monitor.
Here is the end result - my favorite navigation program (CoPilot) displayed on input "C" of the monitor. Can you guess where we are located? Did you say Rally Grounds in Forest City? You have a case of eBeer coming your way!
Here is the little widget that makes this all possible - the adapter for the Sony monitor input. The yellow is the video connection, white is for sound
One more adapter - this is an S-Video to composite adapter for the laptop TV output (the blue thingy) that I bought at Best Buy. Rat Shack most likely has them as well
That's it - not too complicated but fun and relatively inexpensive. Do not stare at your backup monitor while driving trying to figure out what the fuzzy words mean - you will crash and die and other bad things might happen as well