Introduction: How to Make a Camping Radio

Picture of How to Make a Camping Radio
     This  is a  homemade camping radio that I made from a piece of wood , A car stereo ,speakers and a power converter .The sound is incredible.It is a car  stereo, cd player, with a jack to play music from your ipod .In my younger years i bought my first mechanics tool box and decided i wanted to put a car stereo in it .So i bought a stereo, a set of speakers and a 12 volt converter .  As the years went by the novelty kinda wore off.
            So i decided to make use of the 12 volt converter since i already owned it. All i needed was a piece of wood  and a upgraded car stereo and speakers, we needed a new radio for our patio anyways because the one we have doesn't work very well. So this is what i came up with.

Step 1: Making the Stereo Box

Picture of Making the Stereo Box

The wood that i used  for the box to fit the stereo , cd , ipod player into  is a pine board 1x12x8 pine board.I cut the wood so it would be deep enough to carry good sound for listening to music. I  cut 2 pieces 27inches long and then ripped them two 10 1/2 inches wide .I  then used a router and a 1/2 inch round over bit  to router all the edges.
      The next step was to  cut the board for the face of the radio, which was cut  24inches long by 9 inches wide.
    The 3rd step was to cut 2 side boards  which were cut  9 inches long by 9 inches wide.
     The  4th step  was to  start assembling the box. l put a light coat of glue on all  the  mating surfaces and  used some small finishing nails to hold it together so the glue could dry.

Step 2: Cutting Holes for the Stereo and Speakers

Picture of Cutting Holes for the Stereo and Speakers

I decided to put the stereo in the center of the wood face board 2 inches down from the top. the speakers I moved in on each side edge 2 inches and  cut the 5 inch holes.

Step 3: Staining and Polyurethane

Picture of Staining and Polyurethane

I decided on a darker color stain so I went with minwax  provincial shade.
 I like to use minwax water based polycrylic  fora protective coat and sealer because it doesnt have a odor and it will dry clear.

Step 4: The Heart of the Matter!

Picture of The Heart of the Matter!

1st pic  shows the stereo and speaker set I bought from walmart. Its not a expensive one . Its not needed for the size of the box and how it is going to be used. besides if I know me I would be getting yelled at by the wife because its to loud so I went conservative which is not like me....... I did though decide to put 4 speakers in it instead of only 2.

2nd  pic shows the  orginal  12 volt power converter I purchased over25 years ago when I put a stereo in my very first  tool box I every owned .

3rd pic shows all the components I had to purchase for the antenna since I never had one to fit into the new  car stereo.

Step 5: Istalling the Stereo and Speakers

Picture of Istalling the Stereo and Speakers

I installed the speakers first with number 6 screws. The I siliconed  the  stereo faceplate where it was going to be touching the wood for a good seal.

Step 6: Securing the Components

Picture of Securing the Components

1st pic shows the power converter mounted under the stereo with a thick bead of silicone for support.

2nd pic hows the  T bracket  i made from a 3/4 x 3/4 piece of angle iron to support the back of the stereo.

3rd pic shows the t bracket mounted

Step 7: Wire Harness

Picture of Wire Harness

1pic shows the two wiring harnesses installed. the top plug is for the speakers. the bottom harness is for the power.

2nd and  3rd pic shows how to wire the stereo to the power and speakers. The red and yellow wires go to the power side of the converter. the black wire goes to the ground side of the converter.
The purple and purple with black stripe go to the right rear speaker
The aqua and aqua and black stripe goes to the left rear speaker..
The grey and grey with black stripe goes to the right front speaker
The white with white and black goes to the left front speaker

Step 8: Installing the Antenna

Picture of Installing the Antenna

1st i had to drill a 3/8s hole in the top of the radio box to fit the motorola  3/8s connector
2nd  i installed the antenna adapter into the back of the stereo.
3rd i plugged the two ends of the antenna cable to the stereo and the antenna.

Step 9: Handle

Picture of Handle

I then bought a handle which i think is for a barn door but i wanted a black one and this is what i could find.

Step 10: Finished

Picture of Finished

Step 11: Sounds Great

Comments

DanielK39 made it! (author)2017-02-06

From Toolbox to Boombox :) Thanks to you coolbeansbaby68

very awesome !!

MartijnD (author)2013-05-21

Nice looks, since you got a lot of extra room, you could add a lead-acid or NiMH battery(pack), use a relay: when connected to mains: charge battery, when disconnected: normal state battery power. Also nice gadget: bluetooth audio receiver, play music from your phone or laptop wireless within a range of 10 meters(without obstacles)

Chase91 (author)MartijnD2016-04-14

How would you set it up to charge batteries when plugged up and to run off batteries when unplugged. What type of switch?

kc9eci (author)Chase912016-09-23

In the one I made I use a solar charge controller and I'm able to switch between the power supply or a solar panel.

MartijnD (author)Chase912016-04-14

If weight doesn't matter use a Lead-acid battery, cheap in Amp/Hours, simple but heavy, connect a standard lead-acid charger and in between the charger and battery a big diode to prevent leakage current back to the charger.

If weight is important, Li-Ion is the way to go nowadays, on ebay or aliexpress.com you can find cheap battery protection, search for BMS 4S (serial) and 18650 cells, 4 in series, multiple in parallel for more Amp/hours, the BMS switches and regulates the charge and discharge process, BMS will be around $15-20, cells don't buy the >3 amp/hour as these are not intended for large currents as the radio could use 10 amps. If possible, use Samsung, LG, or Panasonic as these are the best. Or salvage from powertool or laptop batteries....

coolbeansbaby68 (author)MartijnD2013-05-23

Yes this is going to be my next step

coolbeansbaby68 (author)MartijnD2013-05-23

Yes this is going to be my next step

Skisocks (author)2015-07-26

Thinking about building this, just wondering what thickness of wood you used?

rhino (author)2015-06-16

Cool and there is still room there for two 12 volt gel cell batteries to make it truly portable. Great job!

coolbeansbaby68 (author)rhino2015-06-18

thank you

Malhecho (author)2014-09-14

reminds me of "ghost dog" he has one just like this when hes putting together his weapons

Yard Sale Dale (author)2013-06-25

Cool. I made a little one in a milk crate, with a cheap Walmart FM/AM car stereo, an old CB radio antenna, and a hobby battery. It has a CB radio and a cigarette plug. It can listen to CB for hours but eats the battery up to transmit.

Very nice you should put it on this site

The milk crate was handy in a yard hostler truck, but offers no protection from the elements (dew, rain, dust). I am thinking of rebuilding the radio in some small plastic lunch cooler or something, and leaving the satellite radio out of it (too many antennae, no subscription anymore). It was fun jamming people's FM radios with it though. I played my guitar into my car's 6 speaker stereo with it. hahhaha. I made a hugely powerful AM antenna with a long, cheap FM whip (minus the ball tip), a butte connector, some primary automotive wire, and a ring terminal for the mounting screw holding the antenna. The wire was tightly wrapped all the way down the antenna and shrink wrapped. Worked great as a CB antenna also.

Thanks. I might, sometime. You can find many like it by googling for "slipseat radio" or "slipseat case". There are even suitcases manufactured for this purpose (heavy duty portable radio, using automotive radio and speakers).

Very nice you should put it on this site

xeroman (author)2013-05-25

I had to go sign up to comment. All of you are right- this is a great project. I remember my Dad building stereo's like this from car radios when I was a kid. I think some one mentioned making it primarily battery, but charges when plugged in. Using 2 12V sealed lead acid batt's (like used for ice fishing fish finders = about $25.00 each) in parrallel would be best for size & economy. Adding a 12V power socket or 2, USB charger & a small 110V AC inverter would also be a good idea.Some sort of LED positionable light would nice too. Make sure all of the stuff is fused or best = circuit breakers. I'm sure there's a bunch more extras that could be added for convevience. There is a white PVC type of board that Menards has called "AZTEC" that would be a good candidate for building it from. It cuts & shapes about the same as pine, but won't need finishing & glues together like PVC. I have used it for a dashboard on my boat.
Good job & good luck!

coolbeansbaby68 (author)xeroman2013-05-25

Thank you very much for your comments and advice you have great ideas

MegaThunderbird101 (author)2013-05-21

Awesome project! I was building a boombox but I am switching direction now. Could I please know the specs of the power supply you are using?

It's always my luck to get the camp spot right next to the guy with the loud boom box! That said, though, nicely done. I'm sure you're courteous to your fellow campers.

infernisdiem (author)2013-05-21

I suggest instead of putting the converter in there, just run extra wire out from the back of the box and attach one of those universal car cigarette lighter charger things, and buy a converter that you can pop the car charger into, and then plug into the wall, I have used it multiple times on CB's that I am tinkering with :D

LQOTW (author)2013-05-21

coolbeansbaby68,

This is so awesomely Gilligan!!! I don't suppose you know how to restore radio batteries using salt water and some coconut cups, too, do you?

coolbeansbaby68 (author)LQOTW2013-05-21

Ha. Well if i was on that. Habitat i would try and find a way lol

iceng (author)2013-05-20

Will done,
Car radios are Superior in signal gathering ability 
especially in low signal strength areas where standard
store bought radios waver.

I have been wanting to do this for some time but my wife didn't want a bare car radio in the house.
Now thanks to your good looking Ible, I will hopefully convince her to let me build it.

A

coolbeansbaby68 (author)iceng2013-05-21

I hope i did a good enough job to convince her ti change her mind. Keep me updated!

iceng (author)coolbeansbaby682013-05-21

She does not care for pine which I can Oak Veneer and
hide the Boombox speakers behind speaker cloth which she will pick out..

This is finally acceptable to her !!

coolbeansbaby68 (author)iceng2013-05-21

excellent good for you . i just bought a 6 foot 1x8 piece of oak for my next ilible and it was 45.00 yikes that hurt....

iceng (author)iceng2013-05-20

PS ... I Favorited and voted you...

coolbeansbaby68 (author)iceng2013-05-21

I hope it gets featured i always wonder if i put it in the right category lol

coolbeansbaby68 (author)iceng2013-05-21

Thank you very much..

technovative (author)2013-05-20

Nice work! I have that same model Radio Shack/Micronta 12V power supply that I bought about 15 years ago to power a base station CB setup. ZZ Top, excellent choice for a demonstration, sounds good.

Thank you very much

Phil B (author)2013-05-20

It would also be a good radio for a construction site. You could also use a radio or stereo you removed from a vehicle in order to make an upgrade. Next you will have to make an auxiliary battery power pack to use as an alternate power source you plug into the back and it bypasses the AC power supply.

It looks like a good rugged unit. Very good.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)Phil B2013-05-20

Thanks phil

tsa'ad (author)2013-05-20

I love it, i use to give my old radios away. Now i know exactly what to do with my next "old" radio. You got a vote ;-)

coolbeansbaby68 (author)tsa'ad2013-05-20

Thank you very much

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Bio: Just a normal guy trying to make it in life .Good paying job but mindless sometimes .I enjoy making things in my garage to keep ... More »
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