Picture of Vespa ET4 iPod Speaker System
I got my first Vespa about a year ago and have loved tooling around New York on it. From day one though I wanted to be able to listen to my iPod as I zip around but the idea of riding with headphones on in all that trafiic seems crazy. When I read on a Vespa forum that there is a secret compartment behind the two knee pads that are above the glove box I saw the opportunity to do a really cool mod to my scooter.

Here is how I did it.

I have to preface this tutorial with the fact that I have access to a 3D printer for some of the parts I made. If you like I can provide 3D files but I cannot make more parts for your projects.

Step 1: What I got to Start

Picture of What I got to Start
I started with an iHome IH13 portable ipod speaker system and a Kensington mp3 car holder.

I took the IH13 totally apart to extract

speaker gaskets
speaker grills
5way controller board
5way controller rubber cover
2 controller boards
and the iPod connector

Then I took the Kensington car mount and removed the MP3 player clamp off of the bendable arm by removing one small screw.
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Love it!
Did you take any steps to waterproof the speakers or controls?
bone_chaos4 years ago
This is so bad a$$! I love it!
I'm too afraid to do this to my Vespa and ruin everything.
ihope7 years ago
wow, this is incredible, great great job.
hackmattr ihope4 years ago
My dad has a Goldwing and we have headset's built into the helmets and a cord connected to the bike. We use it to talk to each other on the highway through the CB radio and we listen to music with it.

It gives you an idea for listening to music without having to turn it down at stoplights.

This is an example of the headsets that are installed in our helmets
qdogg7 years ago
I have something like this on my all electric Panther Retro scooter (no longer sold). I put two 5'speakers up front and wired a car stereo w/tape deck & input jack under the seat. A motorcycle battery & power booster is also under the seat. I made a servo from a broken toy firetruck that is hooked to a fender mounted spdt switch. I also put a cd player & flash player under the seat (there's a lot of room there even after all this!) I have a remote for the CD player & the flash player can be remote via a cord. It gets pretty loud & always turns a few heads as I drive by. It's nice to find others who independently come up with what my wife calls "weird ideas". BTW this scooter only has 1 hp but can carry 2 adults @ 25mph for almost 25 miles.
cas6767 qdogg7 years ago
you would be surprised how powerful 1 horse is
It is approximately as powerful as a horse :P
I would love to learn more about how you did your sound system. I just bought a new Vespa GTS250ie and want music on it bad !
avik (author)  qdogg7 years ago
That is awesome!!! I am curious to learn a bit more about the firetruck speedometer you rigged up.
qdogg avik7 years ago
No, it's not a speedometer, it's a servo. I just used one of the gearboxes in the firetruck to turn the volume/off-on knob. I hot glued the unit to the stereo so one of the reduction gears touched the knob. I attached a rubber band to it to keep it taut against the knob. The motor was connected via wires to a 6v lithium battery and a spdt switch so polarity of the motor could be reversed. The switch can be pushed forward to turn on & increase volume or backward to decrease volume or turn off. It has a neutral center position when I get to where I want to leave it(turns off the servo). It's really handy because I can work it on the fly with one hand. However, w/ an IPOD you can do all this stuff easier.
isacco6 years ago
I am a Vespa 125 PX (year 1983!) owner. My scooter is not equipped with a sound system, but your idea was already home-made implemented on Vespa scooters since the '80s, using car stereo parts. Your work is a very well realized upgrade for digital sound in the podcast era! I have rated 4/5. Congratulations! However, the last step title "Reassemble the Vespa... and viola!!!" is strange. Why "viola"?. In italian "Viola" means "purple" or "purple flower". Maybe you meant "vola", which means "fly"?
Briguy9 isacco6 years ago
or maybe he meant voilà, which is "That's It!" in french. Maybe he just spelled voilà wrong, as Viola.
matbh Briguy96 years ago
hahhahahaha "viola" hehahha in portuguese viola means "acoustic guitar" (with 10 or 12 strings)
I just inherited an old vespa scooter that hasn't been registered (or touched) on more than two decades, and this'll put a nice spin on it to make it truly custom. Thing is, it's my only transportation, so is there any way to make it semi vandal-proof?
=SMART=7 years ago
Vespa's are awesome Music is awesome This is awesome You are awesome So yea i like this very much :P 5*
avik (author)  =SMART=7 years ago
*Blush* Awe shucks... it was nothing really.
=SMART= avik7 years ago
Haha modest, really this is very cool, i can imagine riding along with your favorite music blasting out, that would be sooo cool I cant wait till im old enough to get a vespa :P (only 1 year i think)
zjharva7 years ago
So, how are vespa? In a couple years I'll be able to drive, and a vespa would be fun! Or maybe a piaggio one.
avik (author)  zjharva7 years ago
Vespa scooters are a great and stylin' way to get around, especially in urban areas. The gas mileage is great (I haven't measured it but should). Mine is a 150cc and max's out at about 55mph so if you need to go faster you will need to go up to the 250cc models which will hit 75mph. I took a motorcycle safety class (which you will take on a regular motorcycle) and I highly recommend it for anyone planning on using two-wheeled motorized transportation. Good luck.
80211mdr avik7 years ago
I ride a kawasaki ninja 250cc. I hit 110mph the other day ;-) The gas mileage is great, i average 60-70mpg
People who ride motorcycles this fast on the streets are CRAZY! You will be the ones who make it so we have to have a mandatory helmet law! I wish every rider would be required to take a safety course. NOT wearing a helmet is ONE of the few things we as AMERICANS still have a right to choose. BE SAFE- RIDE SAFE-
After years of working the ER I will just let you know that we have had 100s of cases come in from motorists not wearing helmets who were NOT speeding. To BE SAFE & RIDE SAFE, all riders should wear a helmet. You cannot control how other motorists drive on the road.
Motorcyclists on the road are not seen by other drivers. If motorcyclists were to take a safety course, that is the No. 1 problem with riding a cycle. I am just saying it should be a CHOICE not mandatory. This is still a FREE country I think? I think the law could take measures in other directions than to pass a helmet law.
You are definitely right about the safety course versus the requirement to wear a helmet.
I like those, would those be a good beginner motorcycle?
All bikes are dangerous, but the Ninja 250 is one of the most forgiving bikes I've ever ridden. It's best to learn how to work the gears and brakes on a beat-up dirt bike or something. But once you get used to the clutch and shifting positions on a bike, these little Kawasakis just about drive themselves. My son bought his last week and I hopped on and rode it 65 miles (to get it home for him). It wasn't a bad ride, even at 70mph, which I thought was unusual for such a small bike.
Probably the best beginner motorcycle out there. Enough power to beat a mustang off the line without being intimidating for a new rider. I bought my '06 250 for just under $1000 used. Insurance is about $400/year on my own policy which is a steal considering i'm 18yo and the title is in my name. Remember if you can afford the bike you can afford the safety gear!
How did it handle at 110? My kid has one and I want to wind it out when he lets me borrow it. I've done 130 on my old Katana, but I worry about blowouts at that speed.
at 110 its on the rev limiter, but it still handles fine. Don't forget that the ninja speedo lies :) it's 8% fast if the bike is stock.
zjharva avik7 years ago
My mom said no motorcycles till you're out of the house (like a sportbike) but I think she would let me get a vespa or something like that. First I have to get a job (still have to wait a couple of years for that).
avik (author)  zjharva7 years ago
I would say that although the Vespa is cute, it is pretty much the same as riding a motorcycle. You can get road rash at 30mph either way. You don't need to tell her that... wink wink. But you should always drive smart.
h3idi7 years ago
I have a helmet with speakers for rollerblading which i love, so thought i'd post an alternative here for scooter drivers, too. The great thing with these things is that it lets you hear traffic noises, while still enjoying your music. Of course there are more $$ bluetooth helmets out there, but this is a pretty good deal, still giving you some hearing for safety purposes. In Vancouver we just had some poor guy get killed by a helecopter landing on him in the street, because his headphones didn't let him hear anything. Safe riding.
Mitchgebb7 years ago
Hi i must say iv been browsing Instructables for some time, and i love looking at various posts n tutorials but this one caught my eye i was very impressed by your 3D cad modeling and the planning that went into your project well done indeed although im a car driver i an imagine driving without any music and its a bit of a bore, good idea to overcome that! Mitch
avik (author)  Mitchgebb7 years ago
Thanks for the comment. Once I get my hands on the 3G iPhone with GPS - it will serve dual purpose as a GPS nav unit too!
MadScott7 years ago
Well done! Good design incorporation. Re: The volume problem -- you might consider angling the speakers upwards so that your ears (rather than your knees) get to listen to the best parts of the music. Also, you might mechanically link a volume pot. to the throttle linkage; throttle = noise, right?
avik (author)  MadScott7 years ago
Thanks for the ideas.

Although throttle does = engine noise you get a lot of noise from wind resistance too. You can get up to a cruising speed then let off the throttle a bit and still have quite a bit of noise. A wind screen would help that a lot though.
MadScott avik7 years ago
If you *really* wanted to work at it, the speedometer operates by inducing a counter magnetic field in the speedo indicator via a rotating small magnet at the end of the speedo cable. If you put an FET sensor near that and then ran those pulses through a PIC such as an Arduino, you could output a control voltage for the volume control (or drive a servo on a pot. etc. etc.).

Plan B is to just leave it turned way up like most motorcycles.
skunkbait7 years ago
Where can you get a Vespa in the U.S.? I used to see them a lot when I travelled, but I never see them around here.
avik (author)  skunkbait7 years ago
I am not sure where you live but you can check Vespa USA. I bought mine used of off Craigslist, and you can find em on eBay too. They are getting very popular in New York...
bofarr avik7 years ago
Craigslist is a great place to buy many things but always be careful buying scooters from there. In the Bay Area we've had problems with people importing old Vespas for pennies on the dollar from Indonesia or Vietnam that have been run into the ground or severely damaged , wrecked, etc.. They are "reconditioned", i.e. given a cheap paint job, made just viable enough to run and then sold as vintage. They very dangerous bikes as just about everything on them is ready to fly apart. Try to buy from a legit shop or dealer if you can.
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