I apologize… this is not a detailed step by step instructable. Instead, it is an attempt at passing an idea around. To date, I have built several outdoor stereo cooler type gizmos (carbon fiber draft beer dispensing stereo cooler is posted on site). This build is a run of the mill cooler stereo with exception of utilizing wakeboard cans instead of flush mounted marine speakers.
Having built a couple ground up models I prefer the sound quality when individual speakers are enclosed (reduction of vibration, echo, and increased sound projection). So with this in mind, I wanted to see if I could slap together a fast, compact, expendable, long playing, and hard hitting unit utilizing wakeboard tower speakers and over the counter parts.
Project Year End Review
In short, I am very pleased and have decided that it was worth the time and effort to share the idea. I never meant to make an instructable out of the build- hence the absence of actual construction photos. To date, the build has survived two floats down the river (6+ plus heavy playing hours in hot sun) and a few outings. The sound projection is excellent and you could say it is a real hair splitter- small package with a big punch.
Things To Note
- The unit is heavy.
- The cooler handles have broken twice and are now replaced with a heavier handles salvaged from a bigger cooler and are bolted instead of utilizing factory machine screws.
- Harbor Freight 12V battery charger has crapped out.
- The PA Option of the Infinity Amp works very very well. Remember- Friends don't let drunk friends use the PA system.
- Ventilation seems adequate.
If you want additional information feel free to ask since the steps are going to be vague and brief.
Project Construction Time
6hrs (Had to make beer run)
Generic Part List:
- (1) Pair 8" x 2.5" 150 watt RMS Wakeboard Can Speakers ($90 factory return from Ebay)
- (1) Old Dual USB/SD Marine Stereo ($60 when it was new)
- (1) Infinity 125 watts RMS x 2 at 4 ohms 6100m amplifier with PA pass through ($100 used from Ebay)
- (2) 2.5" 12V Case Fans (Surplus Project Materials)
- (2) Weather Resistant Switches (Pulled from broken shop lights)
- (5) Thru-Wall Spa Jet Fittings w/ retaining nuts for air intake vents (Had laying around shop. Each fitting has inner 1" npt threads and can be closed off with 1" PVC plug if the ship goes down)
- (1) Battery- wet, reserve 175 min., weight 53 lbs, 9-3/8" x 12.5" x 6-3/4", weight, 53 lbs (Napa 8301 $110.00)
- (1) 12V Charger (Harbor Freight $22)
- (1) Igloo 54 qt. Marine Cooler (Academy $40)
- (1) Battery Tray (Academy $10 BH-27P-DP)
- (1)Stereo Splash Cover (Ebay $15)
- Misc wiring etc. (Had laying around shop)
- Marine sealant
Step 1: 8" Woofer W/ 2.5" Tweeter Wakeboard Speakers- 150 Watt RMS
Working with limited space and hit-miss parts, layout is important. Measure everything prior to construction and don't forget to take into account the inner dimensions / shape of cooler.
- Dry fit battery holder, battery, charger, and amp to determine approximate space / placement of stereo, ports, and speakers. (I cut mounting tabs off battery tray to allow for contour of cooler inner walls)
- After calculating tolerance, disassemble wakeboard speakers and cut cans down to size.
- Using the empty can as a template, trace out holes.
- Make cutout for stereo placement.
- Use jigzaw to cut holes for speaker cans and stereo.
- Add supporting hardware to support speaker cans. (I used long skinny bolts running horizontally to anchor each can to front, back, and rear of cooler lid. In addition, I passed a bolt horizontally between each speaker can locking them together)
- Install switches and vent ports.
- Install stereo cover, stereo and ventilation fans.
- Run wiring.
- Connect battery and test.
- Seal radio cover, vent ports, exposed hardware, and speakers with waterproof silicone.
Note: Cut outs in back of cooler housing had to be added to allow space for speaker cans when closed (yep... little miscalculation).
Step 2: Battery, Amp, and Float Charger
A closer picture of battery, amp, and float charger.
Note: You can see PA mic in background. The Infinity amp comes with a thru-wall fitting and hardware to mount externally. In addition, Mic has controls for volume and by-pass. It would be a great function for many... but for me it is a sure fire way to get you in trouble. Given such, it will never be mounted externally :)
Step 3: Back View
Back view shows two long bolts which help secure speaker cans and vent hole (Vent port identical to those on the top was later installed)
Step 4: Side View
Side view shows bolt securing speaker can, vent port, and factory original factory handles.
Step 5: Top View
Picture show closer look at top vent ports (12V fans mounted under), grey fan switch (wired independent of stereo so fans can run after unit is shut down), red stereo power switch, speakers, and radio.