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Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       04-26-2012, 1:55 PM Reply   
This is a write up on how to make a LOUD portable radio for camping/houseboating etc...
My friend showed this to me last year and I borrowed his for all our camping trips and it worked out great so I figured I'd build my own this year. I wanted to make it as cheap as possible so I'm sure you could buy a better amp and better speakers and it would sound even better but price was the biggest factor for me so I went with cheap speakers and a cheap amp. If your wondering if this is better than the Dewalt portable radio, I own both and I can tell you its 10x louder, sounds better and lasts much longer. I'll include a list of parts that I used with links also. Here we go:

Old metal 5 Gallon gas can

6x9 car speakers(naxa nx-768) $25
http://www.amazon.com/NX-769-6-Way-S...5468626&sr=8-6

If you really want great sound you can go with these:
http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio--9-...5468737&sr=8-1

Amp: Boss 200w CE202 $38
http://www.amazon.com/BOSS-Channel-M...5468862&sr=8-1

Battery: 12v 18ah UB12180 $43
http://www.amazon.com/18Ah-Sealed-Le...5469224&sr=1-4

Fuse holder and fuses: $8
http://www.amazon.com/Scosche-EAFH-S...5468990&sr=1-1
http://www.amazon.com/Link-AGU30-amp...469055&sr=1-10

RCA to 3.5mm cable $10
http://www.amazon.com/Mediabridge-St...5469113&sr=1-3

Deltran Battery Tender Jr. $28
http://www.rvplus.com/deltran-batter..._campaign=bing

Any switch from radio shack $4

Can of spray on bedliner
http://www.amazon.com/Dupli-Color-TR...sr=1-2-catcorr



Total cost is around $150. I can't tell you how long the battery will last since I haven't ran it down yet but I will say that my buddy used a regular ATV battery(which isn't made to last very long) in his and it ran for about 10 hrs before dying so I'm guessing and 18ah battery will last a lot longer. Also after complete, the can weights about 30 lbs. We drilled a hole in the middle of the cap for the battery tender cord and 3.5mm jack to stick out.

Anyway, I hope I explained this well enough. I'll try to check this thread every once in a while to answer questions but if you need to contact me just email at snowboarder4_15@hotmail.com.

Have a good summer!!
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Old    John Page (JohnP)      Join Date: Mar 2012       04-26-2012, 2:40 PM Reply   
Thats a sweet idea. We used to make those out of old coolers in high school. Might have to do another one! Always handy to have one around instead of killing the truck battery
Old    Bill K (bill_airjunky)      Join Date: Apr 2002       04-26-2012, 3:03 PM Reply   
Too funny. I just recently found a website where these guys are dedicated to building systems in various beer coolers. I guess you can make a boom box out of just about anything.

http://www.motorboatyourself.com/
Old    Mark V (mark197)      Join Date: Dec 2009       05-03-2012, 1:02 PM Reply   
So how is the battery life? Does it have a tin sound because of the hollow steel can?
Old    TJ (Houstonshark)      Join Date: Jan 2011       05-03-2012, 2:29 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_airjunky View Post
Too funny. I just recently found a website where these guys are dedicated to building systems in various beer coolers. I guess you can make a boom box out of just about anything.

http://www.motorboatyourself.com/
There's a company in SE Texas that builds cooler stereos too:

http://www.partyinmycooler.com/

This is my 4th gen (and last!) cooler stereo:







I have another portable stereo that we use a lot, a Soundcast Outcast that a buddy airbrushed for me:







Sorry for the hijack! I'm diggin budget and simplicity of the gas can cooler! What battery are you using? I've done wheel chair batteries before and got pretty incredible play times, easily 12-14 hours at high volume. This last one has a Kinetik HC600 which works pretty well too.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-03-2012, 5:55 PM Reply   
I linked the battery in the original post. I'll try to figure out how long it will last when I go on the first camping trip over memorial day weekend.

TJ - Those two radios look sick but they look way to rich for my blood!
Old    Jason Henrichs (vette74)      Join Date: Jun 2008       05-04-2012, 5:54 AM Reply   
How do you charge the battery do you take the speaker out?
Old    Benjamin (bendow)      Join Date: Sep 2005       05-04-2012, 7:10 AM Reply   
Never thought about using a gas can...great idea!

I built a cooler stereo/ghetto blaster with 3 JL 5x7" coaxials and 2 kicker 5.5" coaxials. The speakers are powered by a cheap 200w Dual amp and Dual head unit. I have a group 24 deep cycle battery inside the cooler. It's actually quite loud and will play full tilt for 8 hours before the voltage gets low. I charge the battery with a cheap 12 amp charger.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-04-2012, 12:22 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by vette74 View Post
How do you charge the battery do you take the speaker out?
The battery tender has a 2 foot cable that you can bolt to the battery and then has a connector on the other end. You can see it in picture 2 sticking out the top. At the time I took these pictures I didn't have a drill bit big enough to fit that connector through the cap. So actually both the 3.5mm jack and the battery tender cable should stick out the cap.
Old    Bu Coo (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       05-04-2012, 7:16 PM Reply   
That is so cool!

If there is one area of boating I fully admit I don't understand is stereos, amps, and stuff. Ryan, can you explain in a little more detail for a stereo idiot how you charge the battery, and with what you charge the battery?
Old     (pprior)      Join Date: Jan 2012       05-05-2012, 6:15 AM Reply   
Love stuff like this - creative
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-05-2012, 11:11 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by brett564 View Post
That is so cool!

If there is one area of boating I fully admit I don't understand is stereos, amps, and stuff. Ryan, can you explain in a little more detail for a stereo idiot how you charge the battery, and with what you charge the battery?
The battery tender is what you use to charge the battery. Basically on one end it has a regular household electric 110v plug and on the other it has connectors to either bolt on the battery terminals(for more permanent application) or it comes with clamps(temporary). In the middle there is a break in the line so you can freely connect the plug to the permanent bolt on terminals without having to access the battery. You can see it sticking out of the top of the can in my 2nd picture. Here is what the battery tender looks like. When the battery is dead all I have to do is plug it in to a regular household socket with the connector that sticks out the top. Hopefully that makes more sense.
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Old    Bu Coo (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       05-06-2012, 9:39 AM Reply   
That's amazing. I really like this. What did you use to mount everything to the interior of the gas can so the battery and amp don't bounce around? I don't see any screws going through the can.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-06-2012, 3:20 PM Reply   
There is 4 bolts for the amp that you can see in the picture of the back. I also used 2 more bolts for the fuse that's mounted to the side of the can. For the battery my first intention was to use some industrial velcro on the bottom and the back but the tape on the velcro didn't stick that good to the spray on bedliner that I covered the can in so I actually just left it. The battery sits tight between the magnet of the speaker and the back of the can so unless someone picks it up and tries to shake it vigorously it wont be going anywhere.
Old    Raf (Raf1985)      Join Date: Mar 2012       05-06-2012, 3:24 PM Reply   
Any heat issues with an amp enclosed in a black metal case? I have the feeling the AZ sun would fry that amp pretty quick
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-06-2012, 5:57 PM Reply   
Ya know I've though about that also but my friend has had one for a few years and he hasn't had any issues.
Old    Bu Coo (brett564)      Join Date: Jul 2006       05-06-2012, 8:39 PM Reply   
So I guess my final question to you Ryan is, how much to make one and ship it to me?!?!?!?!
Old    Joe (ilikebeaverandboats)      Join Date: Jul 2007       05-06-2012, 8:57 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raf1985 View Post
Any heat issues with an amp enclosed in a black metal case? I have the feeling the AZ sun would fry that amp pretty quick
I got a buddy who's got one in a cooler. He always brings that sucker to parties its classic! He has some issues with it heating up but if you crack the lid a bit its fine. Says it does just fine when he floats it on the salt river.

I may try and make one of these guys this summer. What kinda batteries do you guys normally use? ATV or waterski batteries might be a little too small?
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-07-2012, 7:46 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by brett564 View Post
So I guess my final question to you Ryan is, how much to make one and ship it to me?!?!?!?!
Haha well I'm sure it would cost me an arm and leg to ship it too you so I'm guessing it probably wouldn't be worth it after you pay for shipping.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-07-2012, 7:52 AM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikebeaverandboats View Post
I may try and make one of these guys this summer. What kinda batteries do you guys normally use? ATV or waterski batteries might be a little too small?

Well I did a little research and learned that car and atv batteries are only made to give a burst of power and then sit on the charger. Fully discharging them seriously kills the life of the battery so you want to go with something with a high ah rating.
I linked the battery I used in the original post.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       05-28-2012, 6:51 PM Reply   
Alright I finally went camping this weekend and got a chance to see how long this thing will last. We camped from Thursday evening to Monday afternoon and we played it all day when we weren't out on the boat and it never died the whole weekend. I tried to time how many hours we were actually playing it and my guess would be around 35 hours.
Old    Ben Holloway (BenHolloway)      Join Date: Aug 2012       12-15-2012, 8:41 PM Reply   
Motorboatyourself.com enough said
Old    Mike (zimme)      Join Date: Feb 2013       05-07-2013, 7:25 AM Reply   
You could easily wire up a 12v fan and cut another hole or two to get an intake and exhaust fan and keep air moving through that. Wouldn't take much power either. Sorry... I know this is an old thread, just an idea I had.
Old    Surf Addict (Desi) (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       08-20-2013, 2:28 PM Reply   
Couldn't you also do this same setup, but use a deck instead of an amp, that way you would have AM/FM on it, possibly CD (who uses those anyway, coasters and frisbee are better uses) and aux, usb/ipod in?
Is there any reason you wanted to use an amp instead of a deck? Is it just because of the cost, or the power the amp delivers, or perhaps a deck takes more power than the amp?
I'm just wondering because this looks like a cool project I might undertake some day. I already have a battery like the one you have and a few containers I could make use of. A harbor freight battery tender is under $10 and that would leave just speakers and deck/amp to finish my build of one.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       08-21-2013, 10:17 AM Reply   
Yes you could use a deck instead but using an amp will give you much better sound out of the speakers. To be honest I don't even think a deck would fit anywhere in the can with the speakers and battery. Also I don't listen to the radio....ever. I play music saved on my phone 95% of the time and the other 5% I use my phone to stream pandora or spotify.
Old    Surf Addict (Desi) (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       08-21-2013, 10:22 AM Reply   
Ya, I hear ya. Normally I just ran Pandora constantly. I was originally thinking so your phone or ipod wouldn't go dead while playing, but then again you can always add a 12v cigarette lighter plug in or usb charging port to the case to avoid that.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       08-21-2013, 10:32 AM Reply   
yea the phone going dead could be a problem. I have a car battery jumper with a usb port on it that is typically sitting right next to the can on camping trips so I can charge phones also. I've been looking for some type of USB that I can just connect to the battery and mount on the surface of the can for charging but a cigarette lighter is all I've come up with so far.

Last edited by ryanw209; 08-21-2013 at 10:36 AM.
Old    Surf Addict (Desi) (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       08-21-2013, 10:49 AM Reply   
You could do the cigarette lighter and use something like this
http://www.ebay.com/itm/USA-Black-Mi...item23201e9346
It's really small and sits flush in the cigarette lighter plug. All you do is add whatever USB cables.
There's also something like this, you could mount in there, just a hard wired USB plug
http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-Power-Po...item3cc9343ba0
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       08-28-2013, 8:24 AM Reply   
I put the dual usb cigarette lighter one in yesterday. Charges my phone easily and shouldn't use up too much battery. Sorry for the sideways picture. For some reason that's the way my phone wanted to put it in. Thanks for the suggestions phantom
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Old    Surf Addict (Desi) (phathom)      Join Date: Jun 2013       08-28-2013, 9:55 AM Reply   
Looking good. I like those slimline ones because if you have a cap for it, like in the picture, you can just close it without having to take the charger out.

BTW: Phathom like a Fathom aka water depth of 6', not Phantom like the Opera.

I still haven't got to start a build on one yet, got a lot of projects on my plate so far. Got some shelves to build for my wife's computer/sewing area and then building a new swim platform to try to clean up the surf wake. I might make a write up on the platform while I'm doing it, but need to clean up my work bench because I'd be embarrassed to show the pictures of the build otherwise.
Old    Jut (robertsjut)      Join Date: Jul 2009       08-28-2013, 12:18 PM Reply   
Where do you connect the remote wire for the amp?

What turns the amp on and off?
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       08-28-2013, 12:38 PM Reply   
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertsjut View Post
Where do you connect the remote wire for the amp?

What turns the amp on and off?
I ran a power wire from the battery to the switch on top and then from the switch to the remote on the amp.
Old    Ryan (ryanw209)      Join Date: Jan 2010       08-28-2013, 12:44 PM Reply   
here is the link to the dual USB plug for charging:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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