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post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2018 Thread Starter
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Ideas for turning car radio into portable stereo

So I recently purchased an Eonon GA9180A OEM-look, plug-and-play, DVD/Navigation Android 8.0 headunit with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of local storage. While the radio works really well, it wasn't quite up to par in terms of audio sound-quality that I was used to in the car. It's too late to return it, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with it. I could resell it for a loss, but that's no fun...

Then I remember seeing projects where people put old car radios into a wooden box, added some speakers and turned them into pretty nice portable stereos - would be great for a garage/shop radio! I already have a brand new set of Pioneer TS-D1730c component speakers sitting here collecting dust, which I think would be perfect for this.

I'm debating what type of power supply to use - PC power supply, little laptop-style brick power supply, etc. Any thoughts? I think I would want at least 6amps (I have a 5amp constant, 7amp surge bench power supply and it seems to supply plenty of power (I've even run the head-unit *and* a 45Wx4 RMP amp at the same time from that power supply!).

What about wood - any particular type of wood that would be best for this? I'm assuming I'd stuff some speaeker-type insulation in the box as well?

Also need to figure out the best way to secure the unit in the box.

Just looking for some general ideas from you guys. Anything I'm not thinking of here?

I think this can be a really fun and rewarding project. In the end, I'll have a really cool, pretty-good sounding portable stereo with TONS of features. Full wifi/bluetooth, touch-screen, good set of speakers, etc... Could use local media as well as Pandora, Spotify, PC-Radio, etc. Kinda cool to listen to radio stations from Pittsburgh (where I used to live - now live in Philly).

Unfortunately, I'm not an experienced woodworker, but it can't be too hard to build an empty box - can it?? :-)

EDIT: Would something as simple as this work for a power supply? Would be really nice since it's all external as well - very easy to replace if it goes bad. 12v, 10a!


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post #2 of (permalink) Old 12-07-2018 Thread Starter
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Actually, I just remembered that I had orderd a few 12v, 6a power bricks to have on-hand for wireless router power supplies that go bad (I have 5 or 6 wireless routes spread throughout my home) - so I took one and tested it and sure enough, it works great for powering the head-unit! I'll probably grab a 12v, 10a version like linked to above, just to have a little more headroom though. So that's how I'll power the radio (I'll mount a little 12v barrel connector on the back of the box that you can just plug into).

My biggest "unknown" right now is how to mount the radio in the box. If anyone has any idea on that, please let me know. I'd have to slide the unit in through the back of the front piece of wood and somehow support the "back" of the radio. I need the radio to be supported well in case the unit is turned upside down or on it's side, etc...

Regarding building a wooden box, what's the best method for joining the four sides of the wooden box? I know you can cut 45 degree angles and join them that way, or would I be better off just putting the whole board on "top" and "bottom" of the sides of the box, for example? Hope that makes sense...

Just looking for some tips and opinion. :-) I know I can get some of this info from other sites, but just getting your ideas!

I plan on getting this done since I have all of the pieces laying around (except for maybe the wood). Although, I can probably use partical board that I have laying around from old comptuer desks too. But I'd rather have a real nice looking real-wood box.

EDIT: VERY rough pic of what I'm going for...


Last edited by jtrosky; 12-07-2018 at 07:12 AM.
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Frame the box. You can frame it with 2x2's or 1x1's. I would not use insulation in the box if it were me, but rather just seal it up with wood glue or caulk the seams. The more dense the wood, the better the sound. Far as how to mount the radio, used to be able to buy brackets, sure there are still plenty of options. Sounds like you have your power supply already figured out.

My 6 year constantly asks why. What adults can learn from 5 and 6 year olds, to listen with your ears and mind open. Hard to learn when you don't listen ......
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that would be a pretty sweet setup. i'd probably go a little crazy and put an amp with it (which means you'd probably need a pc power supply.

i know my father in law does a lot of dovetail joints in his projects, i found this for reference: https://www.wwgoa.com/article/woodwo...hould-you-use/.

make sure you give yourself a good handle for easy carrying. what about using some of that perforated metal strips to mount the radio to then attach those to the wooden frame? might keep weight down yet support it. something like this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...0087/204325585.

remember to let the heat out as well, maybe a pc fan or two for ventilation. 80 mm or a 120 mm would work well i'm sure.
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It's funny - I thought about putting my Alpine KTP-445U (45Wx4 RMS) amp in there (it's small and power efficient enough), especially since it's just collecting dust right now. Just not sure if I really need it or not. But definitely something to consider.

My biggest concern is building a proper box. I'm just not that experienced with woodworking, but I guess it's just a box with a rectangle cutout and a few circle cutouts. How hard could it be (famous last words!). :-)

Right now, I have a cheap little boombox in the garage that I connect my phone to to listen to music while working in the garage - this thing would just be *so* much cooler...

Thanks for the tips guys - please keep them coming! Still just in the planning process....

That metal framing is a great idea - I think I'll explore that option - like you said, lightweight and will be plenty sturdy....
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next you need some 6x9's and ports lol. give a little bass to your system haha. you'll probably want some rubber feet to keep it from rattling on the bench you put it on.maybe cover the the box in a short length carpet to give it a decent look (like the sub boxes in trunks you always see).

as for the box, something as small as you're talking would probably be ok with the 2x2 or 1x1 frame with 1/4 inch plywood (to keep the weight down yet tie it together decently. a single half sheet would probably cover the whole thing. if you recess the radio/speakers into the box an inch or so it would possibly save the components in the even the thing falls or tips over.
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Personally if not using real wood I would probably use mdf for the box. Guess I assumed you were going with an appearance grade wood that you could finish. You can also get cabinet grade mdf with a veneer face.

Really depends on how heavy, big, or mobile you want your creation to be. Could always go all out and drop some subs in it and put it on wheels. lol.

If you did go with a lighter weight plywood, you could use foam insulation in your box to help, but it would not sound as good in my opinion as a dense wood enclosure would.
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My 6 year constantly asks why. What adults can learn from 5 and 6 year olds, to listen with your ears and mind open. Hard to learn when you don't listen ......
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A few years ago, I built a sub-woofer enclosure for a guy, and he gave me an old, after-market head unit as part of the deal. But I didn't have a dash to put it in, so I made one for it - this dressing stand for my youngest daughter.

This won't meet Jim's request for "portable", but it might give him some ideas

The mirror was cut in the shape of a windshield. I got the rear-view mirror at the junk yard. The fender antenna at far right brings in the signals.

The audio jack above right of the head unit is aux-in for connecting iPods, etc.

The instrument cluster came from a buddy's old BMW. The circuit board in the bottom pic drives the tach and speedo as left and right VU meters.

The key above it turns the whole thing off and on.

I'll post a couple more pics later including one of the power supply.

Doug

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Last edited by plano-doug; 12-07-2018 at 08:36 PM.
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Doug, that was neat. Kudos on the ingenuity.

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That is awesome, Doug! :-) Very cool!

I never really thought about it, but car radios pack a hell of lot of functionality into a small package. Especially when you are talking about a 2DIN like this Eonon. Touch-screen interface, CD/DVD player, Aux-in port, AM/FM radio, MP3/FLAC player, video player, any Android app, bluetooth, wi-fi, GPS, line-out, SD readers, USB ports and an amplifier to boot (and I'm probably forgetting some stuff!). You can make one VERY versatile "media box" in a small package...

I just wish I had real wood-working equipment. My options are kind of limited in terms of producing a high-quality box since I don't have real equipment. I have a cheap jigsaw and a sander. :-) I really do want to use high-quality wood, if possible. I kind of wish I could just buy the box already made (unfinsihed). May still look into that.
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Wonder if the local cabinet maker near you could do something on the side for you if you had a set of plans lol

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Yeah - or - I live by Amish people that make custom wood furniture. I have a feeling that I could get them to build me a really nice box. :-) It may cost me a little, but it will be done right. Then I can cut the holes in it and finish it...
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The Dash, continuted

The head unit sits on some wood blocks which maintain its position. The fan at right draws air left-to-right to ensure the head unit stays cool. The air ducts are at the bottom and are fed by the half-round sections made from a split paper-roll core. A relay switches the AC power off and on, and is controlled by the switch next to the instrument cluster.

The 10-amp power supply has its own cooling fan. A wrap of gray foam (not shown) goes around the power supply. This forces the supply's fan to draw air in from the front. It is then exhausted out the bottom rear.

In the next pic are some fuzzy dice. You gotta have those on your rear view mirror in Texas

Below that is a shot of the instrument cluster with its dash lights on.

The head unit has four channels, so I built the green enclosures for some old Sanyo "bi-amp" speakers I had in my F-100 back in the 70's

It was a fun project. I hope I didn't spoil my daughter

Doug

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Is it really April 1st already?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjayl View Post
Is it really April 1st already?
You don't like this idea? I am NOT kidding - very serious about this (it *will* be done!). I was actually surprised how many people have done this - with everything from a toolbox to a cooler! Since I have all of the electronic parts laying around, it just makes sense to put them to use for something that will actually be useful (I would use this device quite often).


Quote:
Originally Posted by 12 lt View Post
If you did go with a lighter weight plywood, you could use foam insulation in your box to help, but it would not sound as good in my opinion as a dense wood enclosure would.
The whole reason that I was thinking of using some sort of insulation was that it's basically going to be a speaker cabinet. Don't most speaker cabinets have some sort of insulation in the them to help avoid certain types of "reverb" sounds? I just seem to remember seeing that in home speaker cabinets. Maybe it's not a good idea - was just thinking out loud.

Anyone else have any thoughts on that? Am I overthinking the insulation thing since this is not going to be an audiophile-quality speaker system? :-) What about a "bass port"?

I actually just sent an inquiry to a local "cabinet maker" (he makes all sorts of wooden "stuff" though) - we'll see what they come back with. Real small place (it's out of his home, I think). I'm just a little worried about the cost... We'll see. But I want this thing to look *nice* (I love nice, real wood "stuff").
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