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Yes, but like most things in life, some care should be used. There are 2 minimum requirements for safe online shopping.

  1. Make sure the business is a legitimate one.

    • Is it a corporation or LLC that must be registered with the state and can be easily looked up on the state website?
    • DO they have a telephone number that you can call? If it is an 800 number, do they also provide their local landline number?
    • Do they provide their address? If it is a PO BOX, do they also provide their actual physical address?
  2. Make sure you are on a Secure web page (HTTPS: in the address bar) when you enter any type of personal information or Credit Card. The most advanced Security on the web today is SSL/EV (Secure Socket Layer/Extended Validation. How do you know?  Look for the address bar to Turn Green.

    • Does the address in the browser start with HTTPS:?  Note: For pages that ask you to enter personal information.
    • Does the Address Bar Turn Green? Note: For pages that ask you to enter personal information.
  3. PayPal Checkout: Ok, here is a 3d one, but, it is certainly worth a mention. RoadTrucker® Recommends Signing up and using PayPal. PayPal keeps your Credit Card Information Secure and you do not have to expose it to every store you purchase from. It's a 1 Click Checkout, greatly reducing your risk of online theft, as well as errors. Just look for the Yellow PayPal Logo when you shop. Once in the Shopping Cart, you will only need to click on the PayPal Checkout button, signon to your own PayPal account and continue to complete your order. What could be easier?

Note: Many websites will ONLY display a lock at checkout. This is OK, but it is NOT the best Security or Validation of the business and the website. The businesses that go through the Extended Validation process must be legal Corporations or LLCs. You can look them up on the State website that they are Registered in; and the address bar will Turn Green when personal information is requested. See Our Security Statement and More Tips for Your Security Online and Your Computer

There are other things that can also be helpful (ex. download the Google Toolbar and only shop at websites that have a PR (Google Page Rank) of 1 or more on their home page. 99% of the thieves' website have "0 PR". Thank you Google. Keep an eye out for our Free eBook coming out that will give you more tips on keeping your credit card and personal info safe.

Here are a couple DO NOTs.

  • Absolutely NEVER click on a link sent to you in an email. Spammers are thieves; and some of them are very tricky. They can show you a legitimate business email and still send you to a bogus website in Russia or anywhere else, where you are absolutely sure to get your information stolen.

  • DO NOT ever open an attachment in an email, unless you are expecting it from a friend who told you they were sending it. This is the number 1 way hackers compromise your system.

  • Do NOT get lured into a false sense of security because of Logos from BBB, Hacker Safe and others. These are all very good and trusted organizations, but the thieves know that and they will not hesitate to show you those Logos, even though they are not legitimate. To check the legitimacy of these Logos, double click them. If they are legitimate, a window from the sponsor's website will open telling you that the website your checking has their approval.  They are NOT legitimate if any of the following happens:
    • No Window pops up. (Graphic is NOT a link)
    • A Window pops up with the same websites address. (Means they are tricking you)
    • A window from the organizations website pops up, but does NOT validate the website displaying the Logo. (Also means they are tricking you).
    • Also be careful of names that are close to legitimate organizations, especially concerning security. For example, if you search on "hacker secure", using the quotes, 10s of thousands of website will come up, but if you do the same for a fake close name, it is highly unlikely that even a thousand sites will come up. Don't; forget the quotes.

So is your data safe on RoadTrucker®. Yes, if you use the secure shopping cart because we do not store any credit card information, except when it is given to us over the phone. We pay a professional organization each month to secure our shopping cart and we check to make sure they stay PCI compliant. Look for the address bar to Turn Green.

It is always best to use a little Caution whenever Finances are involved.

See Our Security Statement and More Tips for Your Security Online and Your Computer

Please Note Important TV Issue: Many 12-Volt Memorex, Supersonic and NAXA TV/DVDs being sold today do not have the New ATSC Digital Tuner. They use Analog. There are a lot of the older model Skyworth TV/DVDs being sold that are also Analog and many are not 12-Volt. Caution should be used. RoadTrucker® only sells 12-Volt TV/DVDs with both the new ATSC Digital Tuner and the Analog Tuner. We have stopped selling the SLC-1551 and the SLC-1551W as a result of this decision. Skyworth uses an "A" to indicate the TV has a Digital tuner.

All TV stations Must Broadcast a Digital Signal, which basically means None of Your TVs with Analog Turners will work over Air. Please Note: They will work with your analog (out) cable or satellite box, as well as an external DVD or VCR, so we recommend your TV comes with BOTH Tuners. ALL TVs sold on RoadTrucker have both tuners.

You Will Have to Buy Converters for all of your TVs without the new ATSC Digital Tuner.

Please also note, that the 1st models of 13" TVs with the new ATSC tuners have a faulty power supply. The following models should be avoided.

Memorex:MVD1301 X,MVD1304 X 
Supersonic:FC2035 X,FC2245 X,FC2285 X
NAXA:NX524 X,NX539 X 
Skyworth:SLC-1551 X,SLC-1551W X 

Please Note: You should also make sure that your new TV has an old Analog Tuner in addition to the New ATSC Digital Tuner. The reason is that most of the Cable receivers and Satellite receivers still have an Analog output. If your TV does not include the Analog Tuner, it will NOT work with these receivers. You will also need an Analog tuner for your external DVDs and VCRs, which probably have an analog output.

Many of us think of the term "Stainless Steel" to mean Quality and Rust Resistance. But, Stainless Steel is available in many Different Quality Grades, and they are ALL called "Stainless Steel". It's important to realize that Only the Highest Grades of Stainless Steel Exhibit True Rust-Proof Behavior. And Only the Highest Quality Steels have a Brilliant "Mirror Finish", which is an Indication of the Quality of the Surface Polish and Ability to Reflect Light. 304-Grade Stainless Steel has the Highest Nickel and Chromium Content, which makes it one of the few True “Stainless” Steel varieties. True 304-grade Stainless Steel will NEVER RUST. Our photos do not do these Stainless products justice, as they are quite beautiful.

Many of us think the amount of Chrome on a Stack is what gives the Stack it's luster or Mirror like finish. The truth is, it is the Nickel that really counts. For example, the racks in your oven that we call Chrome, have no chrome on them. They are plated with Nickel. Chrome or Chromium is almost useless as a solid, so it is used as a very thin layer over the Nickel, hence the term Nickel-Chrome Plating.

The Nickel, which has a yellowish hue to it, provides the corrosion resistance for the stack. The Nickel also provides the majority of the reflectiveness and the smoothness. The Chrome layer protects the Nickel from tarnishing. adds a slight bluish hue, minimizes scratches and helps the Nickel resist corrosion.

Chrome Plating Requires at the very least 1 Layers of Nickel and 1 layer of Chrome. Some will call this Double Chrome Plating, but it is NOT an accurate description as there is only 1 layer of Chrome. 1 layer of Nickel, covered by 1 layer of Chrome will NOT protect your stack from severe exposure.

High Quality Chrome Plating that will stand up to the harsh outdoor environment that Trucks are exposed to, Must Have at least 2 layers of Nickel. 1 layer of semi-bright under a 2nd layer of bright Nickel before a layer of Chrome. OEM's require a tight control on this via S.T.E.P. Testing. The thickness of Nickel is also important. The  standard specifies 4 thicknesses according to severity of use. The standard for Severe, moderate outdoors requires at least 30 microns of Nickel plus the Chrome.

American Chrome stacks are plated to ASTM SC4 standards, which means they will resist corrosion in standard tests for up to 96 straight hours. American Chrome stacks have 25-30 microns of Nickel (in 3 layers), followed by a chrome finish. American Chrome is the supplier for several "tier 1" exhaust product vendors in the industry, including 4 (Volvo, Mack, Freightliner, and International) of the 5 major Truck OEMs who have negotiated exclusively with American Chrome.

The quick answer here is, I don't know, but maybe I can give you some information to help you get an approximation. The answer depends on many variables, but the 3 most significant are:

  1. The Amperage of the 12-Volt Appliance you are using
  2. The Quality, Amperage and Age of your battery
  3. The Ambient Temperature.

If you know the wattage of your 12-Volt Appliance, just divide by 12 to get the Amperage Drawn. The higher the Amps needed by your 12-Volt Appliance, the less time a battery can provide juice to run it. A rule of thumb you can use, if you know the Amp/Hour of the battery, is to divide the Battery's Amp/Hour by 2 times the Amps of your 12-Volt appliance. Assume the answer to be the very best you can hope for when all variables are optimal.

Example: I have 70 Watt 12-Volt blanket and plan to run it from a new 100 Amp/Hour battery.  The Ambient temperature is 75 degree. 70 Watts/12-Volts = 5.83 Amps. 2 x 5.83 = 11.66.  100/11.66 = 8.58 Hours.

Obviously a higher quality battery will work better than a lower quality battery and usually a newer battery will also work better.  Batteries fatigue just like anything else. The higher the Amperage of the battery, the longer it will be able to run your 12-Volt Appliance.

Temperature is important, as anyone living in a colder climate can attest too. Batteries loose more and more of their charge as the Ambient temperature gets colder and colder.  The lower the temperature, the shorter the time a battery will provide current for your 12-Volt Product.

The Very Best Way to Determine the Answer for Your Particular situation is to TEST!.  Hook it up and test it before you count on it.

As far as alternators go, most of the modern alternators can run all of our 12-Volt Items, so I would not expect any problems while the vehicle is running. There are at least 7 people out there who are using a microwave in their car. And that's a 45 Amp draw, our heaviest usage Appliance.

Again, the quick answer here is, I don't know, but we get a lot of questions like, "will it work in place of my bad heater core?". We are not talking about a $200 Heaters here. The largest 12-Volt Heater we carry is 600 Watts. That's less than just about any hair dryer, so the answer is no, if you have a raggedy old car with doors floppin' in the breeze up in Alaska, you're probably going to freeze your butt off, so break down and replace that heater core.

Our heaters are designed for Truckers who use them to supplement the heat for their bunk, which is a relatively small area.

Obviously they will work reasonably well in many other applications, but it is really up to you to determine that. The heater is relatively inexpensive, and in most cases is probably worth the money to test it in your application. You should consider 2 primary variables.

  1. The Ambient Temperature
  2. The Size of the Area Needing Heat

If the temperature isn't too cold and the area you are trying to heat isn't too large, the heater will probably work, at least to some degree. The best way to find out if the heater will work in your particular application to test it yourself. We can't guarantee it will work in every application, but the cost for you to find out is minimal.

One last bit of information that might help you with your decision. 1 Watt is equivalent to 3.41 BTUs/Hr.  300 Watts (the RoadPro heater) is equivalent to 1,023 BTUs/Hr.; and 600 Watts (the Power Hunt heater) is equivalent to 2,046 BTUs/Hr.;

  • Standard Coolers - Insulated boxes in both soft-sided and hard-shell cases. They help keep food cold using ice or pre-chilling. The temperature will slowly continue to raise to ambient once the lid is closed and although some of the better units can maintain ice for several days, they will rapidly loose their cooling ability once the lid is open , unless you keep adding ice, which can get a bit messy. The hard-shell units have better cooling efficiency, especially those with high density foam and insulated lids that have a tight seal. Most of us are familiar with these units.
  • Thermo-Electric Coolers - In general, these coolers have the same cooling properties as the standard coolers, but go one step further by providing a simple cooling system using a thermoelectric cooler. Direct current (usually a 12-Volt Battery) is applied to a set of plates which makes one plate hot, and the other cold (which is known as the Peltier effect). They can heat or cool (unless permanently wired). The ability to cool is directly affected by the ambient temperature. Most 12-Volt coolers, including our RoadPro line only cool to 30 - 35 degree below the ambient. Koolatron 12-Volt Coolers cool to 40 - 45 degree below the ambient. Standard 12 Volt Coolers are somewhat inefficient because they run all the time and use about 3 to 4 amps. They also tend to frost up in temperatures under 74 degrees.
  • Temperature Controlled Digital Precision Coolers - These are very similar to an extremely high quality Thermo-Electric Cooler with the added bonus of having a temperature controlled thermostat to maintain a constant temperature anywhere within 45 - 50 degrees below the ambient. They are specially made by Koolatron for medical applications, but work very well for the long haul trucker.  We refer to these as the poor man's refrigerator because as long as the ambient doesn't get over about 90 degrees, they can maintain a 40 degree temperature which is like a real refrigerator.  Because of the Temperature controller, these will work well without frosting up.
  • Reciprocating Compressors - Most of the Reciprocating Compressor Refrigerators are manufactured by the one company in Germany using a Danfoss compressor systems. They work well in households, but are not as well suited for vehicle use. Some of the drawbacks include:
    • In General, they cannot take the shock and vibrations that occur in Trucks or other heavy vehicles, so most will not hold up well.
    • The have many moving parts and tend to be expensive to repair.
    • Their initial startup surge is considerably high and normally require your vehicle's electrical system to be re-wired to overcome the high startup Amperage, which is costly. Remember when the lights use to dim when your old refrigerator started up? That was caused by the initial surge.
    • They cannot tolerate a voltage drop in DC current which can happen with a bad alternator or battery.
    • They tend make a lot of electronic noise on ham, marine and shortwave radios. This can be very difficult to suppress.

Because of the above reasons, RoadTrucker® chose not to sell a 12-Volt refrigerator Freezer for almost a year, after Koolatron stopped making their unit. However we kept looking until we found a superior product that basically overcame every one of the pitfalls of a standard reciprocating compressor refrigerator. We found the Engel. Well actually a friend in Australia told us that the Engel was the dominant manufacture of 12-Volt/24 Volt/120 Volt Refrigerator Freezers in Africa and Australia, argumentatively two of the harshest continents on the globe. It was the 3 Year Warranty that got our serious attention. We feel the Engel is in a class by itself. Please Note that the USA Engel's warranty is 2 Years (1 year on the small 14 Quart Models)

  • Engel Swing Compressor - The Engel Fridge Freezers are built around one maintenance free moving part, which is self lubricated. The patented Swing Motor compressor design achieves a very high power output, and allows the Engel to be a compact, light weight and highly efficient unit with low friction losses and minimum power consumption. Other benefits of the Engel include:
    • Extremely high vibration tolerance, making the Engel compressor much more suitable for Trucking, Boating, 4X4, or similar activities where shock and vibration exist. Engel units are built to tolerate high vibration environments while running.
    • The Engel Compressor has 1 moving part.
    • Initial startup surge is much less than the standard reciprocating compressors.
    • Engel can tolerate voltage drops in DC current.
    • Prices start at under $589.
    • Engel Freezers can freeze to 0 degrees F. (Most Refrigerators freeze to 18 degrees).
    • Engels measures their cooling temperatures in the middle of the refrigerator and not on the lowest temperature on the cold plate surface as some manufacturers do.
    • Over 3.6 million units sold to date. See a short Video

Before purchasing a Trucker GPS, or any GPS for that matter, you should consider the following issues.

No GPS is perfect, but they are dynamic, which means they will continue to get better with each update that the manufacture releases. The GPS does not think and certainly does not remove the ultimate responsibility for safe driving from you, the professional driver. It is only a tool, albeit, the best tool available for drivers today. It is your responsibility to report any issues you find, so that they can be fixed. The GPS s your tool, so make it the best possible. Do not just ignore an issue. Report it!

Most of the data in a GPS is accurate, but like all data stores, there will always be a small percentage that is incorrect. After all, people collect the data and people are prone to error, not to mention that the data is constantly changing and being updated. So please use caution, especially when driving under bridges. The bridge database is fairly accurate and I have not heard of a verified error in bridge heights, yet, but there is always a first. RoadTrucker recommends that you use extra caution when driving under those old black steel railroad bridges. They tend to be low and have been in their location for a very long time. Streets have been repaved and although the bridge height should have been adjusted for the new pavement, you just never know for sure. So please, use extra caution.

The main purpose of a Truck GPS is not necessarily to find you the best route. It really can't because the best routes needs to use all the roads and you as a trucker are not allowed on many of them. You also do not want to be heading down a road with a bridge that has a lower clearance then your truck height. So the major purpose is to provide you with a tool that will enhance your skills as a professional driver by helping you avoid hitting a low bridge, avoid restricted streets that will get you a very expensive ticket and helping you find your way to your destination. In order to do that it must do a tremendous amount of data crunching that a regular GPS does not have to do. It must check every single street for both the bridges and restrictions. And they have to do that programmatically because, they do not think. When you consider this, they do an amazing job of routing.

Most of the issues that I have seen, that are associated with the trucking GPS come from having them set wrong and/or a lack of understanding of how they work. As I said, they do not think, and they can not replace your skill as a professional driver.  So you must use good judgment. Unlike an Auto GPS you will need to set them up with your truck data and carefully select route types, etc.

In my opinion, the GPS has a common inherent problem with routing. The 2 types of main routes are "Fastest" and "Shortest". If you set it for "Fastest", it will keep you on main routes and you might miss shortcuts that are worth taking, especially at the start and end of your trip. i.e. The part that is not on the major highways. If you set it for "Shortest", it will tend to take short-cuts that may not be worth taking. For example, most will take you off a freeway, just to take you back on when the freeway makes a curve and going off will actually be shorter. Basically the "Fastest" Route tends to be better for long routes and the "Shortest" tends to be best for rural areas. I generally will do a sanity check before each trip and check the maps; especially from my start to the nearest main highway and also at the end of the trip. I like using the "Fastest" route, but will ignore the GPS when I know of a better way, or I prefer an alternate way. The GPS will squawk about "recalculating" a few times, then catch on to where I am going. Despite this shortcoming, the GPS is argumentatively the best tool available for the professional driver. They will save you time and money, especially if you use good judgment while using them.

There are 5 companies that make a Truck GPS and we have found that about 95% of those purchasing each are happy with their purchase. There doesn't seem to be a clear winner as far as customer satisfaction. We have been told that each is the worst by at least by 1 customer. I do think that buyers remorse plays a role here, as the few very worst complaints are very general statements that cannot be replicated. (Note: Addendum. Since writing this, the Rand McNally TND730 GPS for Truckers has leaped ahead of all other Truck GPS and is beyond a doubt, the clear leader.).

The top complaint about the Truck GPS was, that they could not be heard. I don't hear this much any more, but I think it was because of the speaker being in the back and the early models used a 1 watt speaker. Models like the Rand McNally and Cobra have improved greatly on the volume. Another issue we have heard about all of them, is that they freeze up every now and then. I have found this to happen on basically all computers, especially when you use the resources heavily. i.e. Move the MAP around with your finger, or click the buttons too quickly ahead of where you are. All of them have a reset button which quickly fixes the problem. I should mention that many of these smaller devices are a bit sluggish when responding and many times the so called Freeze up is really just the device behind in reading data. Some of us will get impatient when this happens and start clicking the buttons again. The GPS will try and respond to all of the clicks, so the so called Freeze-up will seem longer. Give it a chance to respond. It is usually only a couple of seconds, but I have seen it as high as 8 to 10 seconds on data intensive operations.

So should you purchase a Truck GPS?  If the Trucker GPS only prevented you from getting one ticket or hitting a low bridge, it would be worth every penny of the cost. Sooner or later, it will pay for itself. So yes.. Every professional driver should have one, unless they have a standard route that does not change; but any long Hauler would be remiss at best, if they failed to use this valuable tool. If you ever missed the right exit on one of those multi-highway exit freeway sections. You know the ones I am talking about. They don't really exit, locally, they take you onto another major route. It drives me crazy when that happens, as you usually have to drive 10, 20 or even 30 miles to get back on the right route. Well , you will love the way the TND700/710/720 changes screens to show all the lanes with an arrow traveling the correct path for you to take. Just outstanding. (Other Truck GPS do this, but the TND720 has a 7" High Definition screen, so you can see it very clearly, without taking your eyes off the road while you try to adjust your focus to see it)

I will add one more consideration. If you are a critical person who is looking for perfection in a Truck GPS, please do not make this purchase, as there is normally no returns on open electronics. However, we will wave that and allow a return for a Limited period within 14 Days of purchase or 5 days after delivery with a 15% restocking Fee.

If you are not willing to be responsible for your decision to make the purchase, (i.e. Honor the Return Policy), we do NOT want your business. If you find an issue with the Truck GPS, the right thing to do is to carefully document it, so that the manufacturer can take care of it, not only for you, but for other drivers as well. Don't complain about trivial issues. This is your (Truckers) GPS, so be responsible and send the data back to Rand McNally with enough details so they can correct any deviations. It makes no sense for you to complain about the wrong route, then NOT give enough information so that it can be duplicated and Verified. It is actually a bit dishonest to do that. We have had 1 user cry over the speed limit being incorrect. You have to be nuts, not to use the posted signs as your primary source of speed limit information. The speed limit is an extra and certainly not meant to replace the posted signs. What a responsible user would do is send that information back to Rand McNally via the GPS itself (Tell Rand Feature), which is very easy to do. It's not rocket science. It's the right thing to do.

Note: Scratch or damage the GPS in any way and you bought it. There is a $100 manufacturer's fee for returning a GPS that is anything other than pristine new condition.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system made up of a network of 24 satellites placed into orbit by the U.S. Department of Defense. GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s, the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in any weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. There are no subscription fees or setup charges to use GPS.

The 24 GPS satellites circle the earth twice a day in a very precise orbit and transmit signal information to earth. GPS receivers take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user's exact location. Essentially, the GPS receiver compares the time a signal was transmitted by a satellite with the time it was received. The time difference tells the GPS receiver how far away the satellite is. Now, with distance measurements from a few more satellites, the receiver can determine the user's position and display it on the unit's electronic map.

A GPS receiver must be locked on to the signal of at least three satellites to calculate a 2D position (latitude and longitude) and track movement. With four or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine the user's 3D position (latitude, longitude and altitude). Once the user's position has been determined, the GPS unit can calculate other information, such as speed, bearing, track, trip distance, distance to destination, sunrise and sunset time and more. Note: The above was taken from Garmin's website. They also have a nice write-up on "What is WAAS".

Please Note: Now that there are now several GPS with Truck Routing, RoadTrucker® Recommends all our Long Haulers Consider one

It's Here!  A Real GPS for RVs

The main reason why the 12 Volt Coffee Maker takes longer to brew is due to the limitations on the 12 Volt Lighter Plug in most vehicles. Since it can only handle a limited amount of power, the manufacturer must reduce the power draw needed to allow you to use their product via your 12 Volt plug. Basically they are limited to a certain amount of resistance in the product, so that the amps drawn at 12 volts do not exceed the vehicles 12 volt plug's capability. This is why hooking your 12 volt appliance directly to the battery will not make it work any better. The appliance must be designed to draw more power to do a better job of heating.

So do not expect instant coffee from your 12 Volt Coffee Maker. They generally take at least 20 minutes for a cup and at least 40 minutes for 10 cups. If you are like I am, get your self a 12 Volt Microwave and hook it directly to the battery. Better yet, See Power Hunts new line of High Performance Appliances , which includes a 12 Volt 3 minute personal coffee maker and a 12 Volt 10 cup coffee maker.

The short answer is "Yes", but it probably will not hurt the TV. I asked this of Skyworth's President, Jason Chen. Here is his answer.

"Most LCDs can be stored down to -40F or up to 115F before damage occurs, but will only operate properly in a more comfortable 50F to 90F range.  Our Skyworth LCD TV can work well from 0 degree C to 40C degree C (32 to 104 F) .  Storage -20C to 50C (-4 to 122 F) is safe."

One of our customer's sent us the following:

Online i got for the naxa an operating temperature of 41 deg to 140 deg and was told in lower temperatures that starting it up at temperatures below that it will be sluggish until the internal parts warm up then it will be fine...... i started my naxa  up at 20 degrees when left outside in the trailer for two days and it worked fine. Joe Zuppa

And finally from, in answer to an LCD TV freeze if left in an unheated space?"

Absolutely! As the name "liquid crystal display" (LCD) implies, the display technology uses a substance that shares the same properties as liquids. It therefore can freeze if left in cold enough temperatures. In most cases however, it will also defrost without damage once returned to room temperature. Check the specifications for your LCD device and you'll find two temperature ranges given -- one for storage and one for use. LCDs will only work properly in a certain temperature range, and can usually be stored in a larger range with colder and warmer temperatures. Most LCDs can be stored down to -40F or up to 115F before damage occurs, but will only operate properly in a more comfortable 50F to 90F range. This varies by screen, so you'll want to check the specifications in your TV's manual. If your LCD is left out in the cold, make sure to allow it to rise to room temperature before attempting to power it on, and it should be just fine."

At one time we would have said that the Jensen was the better TV, but we have since changed our mind and for good reasons. Jensen TVs used to be quite expensive, but have since come down in price significantly. We suspect Jensen sacrificed quality to get the price down. We used to sell the Jensen TV line, but were very disappointed, not only with the product quality, but also with the company itself.

The first thing we noticed was that there was about an 8% plus return rate, which was almost 3 times what the less expensive TVs had. And "Yes", we track all of our returns for all products. We do not like to see a return rate over 3%. 4, at the absolute highest. Think about it. That is 1 in 25 TVs with a problem. With Jensen, it was 1 in 8 to 12 TVs coming back with problems. We felt Jensen was being disingenuous with us, since we were told by Joe Camacho, our Rep at the time, that Jensen's Return Rate was none existent, or less then 1/2%. (less than 1 in 200). Not even close.

Naturally we complained to Jensen and asked for an explanation and to correct the problem, but Jensen personnel ignored us, saying that none of their other distributors are having this issue. We basically put up with the problems until one of our customers sent us an email with pictures and let us know that he received a TV that was clearly a Return. It had a bad pixel, someone already scanned in channels and finger prints were on the screen. We had him send it back and Jensen actually sent him the same TV with the same bad pixel. Jensen said the customer was wrong, but the customer actually sent us pictures. The customer was NOT wrong. Jensen was WRONG!

Then we went back over our Sales and Returns for Jensen and found billing made a mistake about 1 in 3 sales. We had 2 Returns that they refused to credit us for, even though we refunded the customer. Returns were sky high and Jensen personnel chose to bury their heads in the sand. We complained and kept complaining that this was dishonest to our customers and Jensen absolutely had to address this issue, or we would have no choice but to stop selling their products. Jensen did nothing. I mean nothing positive. Finally they told us that we complained too much and said they no longer wanted us to sell their Products, which of course, we agreed. On the good side, their were a couple of Jensen employees who tried to help, but the feeling we got was that Jensen's management created an atmosphere where employees were afraid to point out any problems. We sent a registered letter to ASA Electronics' CEO, Tom Irions. He never bothered to answer us. He just sent the letter to the very people who created the problems. Shame on you Tom Irions.

In the remaining category, we sell the Skyworth, NAXA and the RCA. Which of these TVs is best? We get this question asked a lot and to be honest, the answer is somewhat argumentative. Who is to say which transistor is better, or what circuit is superior. Before the LED models, the Skyworth was the clear superior TV, but when the LED models were released, the other 2 added 1 year warranty on parts, just like the Skyworth and their Return Rate dropped to closely match the Skyworth also. So all 3 are about the same. the benefit of the Naxa is that it has a very good priced 24" 12 Volt TV. The RCA and the Naxa have done much better then the Jensen 12 Volt line and as far as the Skyworth, we still feel it edges out the others, by a small amount, for the following reasons.

  1. Skyworth had the least percentage of Returns between itself, the NAXA and the RCA. However, when the NAXA and RCA LED models came out, they improved significantly and their return rate dropped to just about where the Skyworth rate is. Just under 3%.
  2. Skyworth has a 1 year warranty on parts. The NAXA and RCA have followed suit and now also offer a 1 year warranty on parts.
  3. Skyworth has Special surge protection circuitry. (Protects the TV should you start or stop the vehicle with the TV on). We suspect that the others have followed suit on this, because of the noticeable drop in return rate.
  4. Skyworth has Special low voltage operation circuitry. (It will run on 15% lower voltage. i.e. As low as 10.2 volts)
  5. Skyworth has much louder speakers at 5 watts each. Both NAXA and RCA have followed suite here also.
  6. Skyworth has a local US presence.
    1. You can actually get a remote or cord, if you should loose yours. (It looks like both RCA and Naxa now provide this service)
    2. You can get them repaired. (Try this with another brand)
    3. You can get them repaired when out of warranty. (Skyworth charges a flat rate of only $55 to $65)
  7. We own 3 Skyworth TVs, including a 26" (120 Volt AC).
  8. Skyworth is boxed much better than others. The box is much stronger. NAXA has improved their box since. RCA said they were planning on improving their box.
  9. We know and Trust Jason, Skyworth's North American president; Cindy, Skyworth's US Office manger; Bill, Skyworth's Sales Manager & Davis, Skyworth's US Engineer. Marissa and I have met them several times at shows and have also stopped at their California office to visit the Skyworth US team.

That's our opinion, but we are not alone. Here is a RoadTrucker customer's review on comparing the Skyworth with the Naxa. He purchased both TVs from RoadTrucker, so we know he is talking from experience.

UPDATE Note:  The new NAXA are significantly better then the older models.  They now have a 1 Year Warranty on parts (90 days on labor) too. In addition, they all have LED backlighting which makes them lighter and use less power. The box has also been improved, so they ship much better now. Great picture and the sound (now 5 watts for each of the 2 speakers, so sound is very good also.

Got the Skyworth in in good shape. I’ve been running it and the Naxa side by side with DVDs and here are my observations.

  1. Picture quality...both are quite good, Skyworth gets the nod here by just a bit.
  2. Viewing angle...Skyworth definitely wider  in both axis. The led backlight in the Skyworth seems to prevent the contrast blotches that the Naxa produces when it nears it’s maximum viewing angle. Skyworth definitely better in this feature, probably due to the LED backlight.
  3. Remotes...Naxa Remote is smaller and easier to use...more intuitive  and easier to read in low light. Skyworth loses out here.
  4. Overall size...Skyworth is a bit taller, but a bit lighter in weight. Screen size is almost identical.
  5. Sound quality...Maybe the Skyworth is a little better, but not a dramatic difference...both sound “tinny” to me. I run the audio of both to an external Tivoli system and that does the trick for me.
  6. Power supply for 12v power...I prefer the Naxa normal 12v input plug over the DIN plug the Skyworth uses, but if it helps protect it from voltage spikes, then I guess it’s a good choice.
  7. Build quality...hard to say. The Naxa is a bit heavier and has a more solid feel to it, but lighter weight is always a + and the Skyworth has that. Time will tell and I do like the better Skyworth warranty.

The Skyworth does have a better off-air tuner in it than our NX550. Opinion offered after using now in place with the same powered antenna we used with the NAXA. More stations with less digital drop easily noticeable difference.

Rob Hoffman
Deep Creek Design, Inc.
Nashville, Tennessee

Here is another short and to the point customer review on the Skyworth.

Yep! I like it- Good sensitive tuner- nice picture- nice audio- good bang for buck, Thanks'  Al...
Al Stefanini
Mahopac, New York

Composite is what people usually use. Normally they are color coded as White (Left Audio); Red (Right Audio); Yellow (Video). All the video signals at mixed in the one Yellow cable, so the picture cannot handle HD.

Component has the 3 video signals separated on 3 wires and has a much higher quality signal. For Audio you need 2 extra cables for a total of 5.

Component Versus Composite

TV is working great playing DVD's now- I apparently had some confusion on A/V vs. component. Thanks again for your patience in getting me straightened out.

Leo Yee,
Indianapolis, Indiana

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