Intro: Bird House Speakers
My family spends a lot of time in the yard watching movies, having parties, and enjoying the day. I found myself dragging radios and speakers outside a lot. Of course there is a better solution.
My goal was to have a permanent outdoor system, with flexibility to stream music and work with outdoor movie nights.
If you haven't looked into it yet, Chromcast Audio is by far the best way to stream music. It doesn't have the limited range of Bluetooth, and it is much better on your devices' battery than Bluetooth.
Step 1: Parts
$35 - Chromecast Audio
Free - I garbage picked a Pyle 30 watt amplifier from a local electronics recycling center.
$40 pair - 15 watt JBL 70v speakers
Free - Cat3 wire......no other use for this box of outdated stuff sitting in my garage. Pretty much any wire will work when using 70v
Free - Scrap 1/2 plywood
$75 investment for me.
Step 2: Speakers Base Plate
I pulled the speakers off the grill and threw the grill away.
The base plate for the bird house was cut to 6" x 5"
I measured the opening of the speaker for the hole.
Diagonal lines on the board revealed the middle, then measured and used a compass to draw the opening.
Drilled a hole on the edge of the hole, then cut the opening out on a scroll saw.
Placed the speaker over the hole and marked the mounting holes.
I used a staple gun to hold some leftover screen over the hole, then secured the speaker to the base plate.
Step 3: Building the Birdhouse
All the parts were cut on the table saw.
Each joint was glued and nailed.
The base plate was secured by pre-drilling and then securing with only two screws to allow for installation and maintenance. Missing from the photo was a 1/4 hole near the rear of the base plate for the wires to feed into.
Since the growth of the tree will by dynamic, two oversized holes were drilled on the top of the birdhouse to allow for flexibility.
Lastly, they were sent to the paint shop (my 5,6,8, and 10 year old girls).
Step 4: Wiring Speakers
The Cat3 is data wire with 4 pairs, or 8 wires. You only need one pair of wire for the speakers. However, I'm going to hang the wire 50' between trees, which will cause stress on the wire and has a chance of breaking. SO, as a redundancy, I'm using a pair of wires for each line. This way, if a wire breaks the other one will continue working. One day I might have to move to the other 4 wires, or just replace it. The wire is cheap, and so is my time. The correct method would be to use a guy wire, but who has time for doing things right?
The orange wires are connected to the 70v terminal and blues Common on the amplifier.
70v is needed because its about a 75' wire run. It runs through the basement, out the house, up the side, over to the first tree, then 50' to the next tree. Traditional speakers would not perform with that long of a wire. Check out http://speakerwiregauge.com/ for some really good info about speaker wiring.
The speakers have transformers, and have a wiring chart on it. I connected to the black speaker wire to the blues, and oranges to the orange for max output. The rest of the wires are not used.
The two speaker were connected in parallel.
Step 5: Plans for the Future
Add two more speakers in back of yard.
Add ESP8266 controlled relays to select speaker zones and turn amp on/off.
Add "Dinner Bell" to MIC input to get kids home.