Intro: DIY Bike Stereo
Want to listen to music while on a bike outing but without the worry of buying an expensive radio set and biffing it breaking your investment? Well this is the solution! Its very easy to make your yourself using parts around your house. Mostly everyone has things at home they can turn into something else. It just takes thinking out of the box. I came up with this Idea when my brother and I were scraping an old computer monitor for its CFL light tubes to install into another one. After having got out the light tubes, we looked through the rest of the case to see if there was anything to use. Other than some small components there was these two little speakers in their own boxes. How cool is that! So I pulled them out and figured I could use them somewhere I don't have music... thus I eventually came to the idea to put them on the bike and I suddenly had a awesome product for FREE!
Step 1: Take a Gander Around Your Place
To recycle/upcycle/rebuild something into something else, you gotta figure out what you want to build. For instance if you got old sock while a hole in it laying around, don't throw it away! Reuse it! But where? Well you can cut it at the hole and now you can use it as this:
-Sunglasses protective holder
-Slide it over a rusty pole
-Slide it over your bike handle bars if they are real hot from the sun or hot gear shift in the car
-Or install it on your orbital sander to be a dust catcher (this one is in my other instructable)
You see its not that hard, just gotta think outside the box of its intended use. Now for the speakers I used, I pulled out of an old computer monitor. Other places you might find speakers: Kids toys, old small radios, Greeting cards, Cell phones, Land line phones, Tv's, broken laptops or portable dvd players, really anything that has small speakers or makes music or sound. They all work with the same theory, which has two wires connected to them. The white monitor in the picture is the same monitor I got the speakers out of, this one is a spare but the exact same one.
Step 2: You Need a Plug to Use It
Now that you have your speakers out, how are you going to connect them to your music device? The stock connections used in the computer will not work on your Ipod or for some of us, a Walkman! So what you gotta do now is find some old headphones laying around you don't use or something that has a headphone jack... Microphone or headset. Now that you have it. Cut it! Give it about two or three inches from the base and give it the old snip snip. you will need some space for when you strip the rubber off it. Do the same with the speakers if its got anything but bare wires danglin' there. First:
-Strip off the rubber on both wires to expose the copper, inside the headphone jack there should be one wire without a rubber caseing
-Separate the wires so they are spaced.
-The headphone jack should have 3 wires inside it if its a stereo jack , and two if its a mono jack
-The speakers should just have 2 wires each, if like mine, both have one color in common
With all wires stripped, you can begin the fun part of testing it. Connect the headphone jack to a music device and with it playing, take one of the speakers and with its wires twist one side onto one of the phone jacks wires, take the other and twist it with one of the jack's wires that has no caseing. You should hear sound at the point, if not reverse the wires, polarity sometimes effects speakers. With one speaker playing sound take the other speaker and repeat the same process only this time connect one of the speaker wires with the unused wire inside the headphone jack, and the final wire should be twisted onto the same un-cased wire as the other speaker of the same color as they are matching. This wire is what is known as the "common" wire or Negative side. If you hear perfect sound and it doesn't sound like its in a hollow cave off in a distance, then you did great!!! if it does sound like a hollow cave then go back and switch the wires until both speakers have clear sound.
With it pumping some tunes, you may now disconnect it from the music player and progress with some cosmetics seeing how the hard part is done! You can do many things at this point, if you choose to you can extent the wires if they are not long enough to reach or if they are then you can simply make the connections permanent but either soldering or using tape. I went with the tape because its easier and just as effective. I didn't try to hard to make mine look sleek and thin. To tape or to solder you must first take each wire and individually solder or connect it. After each of the wires are permanent, you must make sure they do not touch!!! if they do no sound will come out. So then you tape each one well until no copper is exposed. At this point you may simply bundle them together because they are sealed and just roll the tape on until its fully sealed, secure and practically waterproof. Hey! You now have a small stereo!!!
Step 3: Hardware Time!
With your new fancy stereo complete, its time to find some hardware to mount it to your bike. For this its best to go to your junk drawer or the place where you keep all your screws and things that you don't know what they go to. I used a curtain rod wall mount for mine. It was perfect because it fit right around the handle bars and had two holes already drilled into it (one for the handle bar and one for the speakers). If you don't have one of those time to think outside the box! Look around to see what you have that will hold the speakers up and at the same time will mount to the bike at the location of your choosing. SO for this set up you will need the following to install it:
-Drill and drill bits (size 5/32 does the job)
-One small screw, preferably a machine screw but wood works great too if thats all you got
-One small screw with a nut attached, if not then another wood screw will do
-Of course the curtain rod holder or thing you chose (the picture of the rod holder shown is similiar to the one I used)
You will want to attach the two speakers side by side and my speakers already had tabs with holes in them from where they were previously mounted. I just took the drill and widened the holes to fit my screw with the nut. With the holes widened take to speakers and put the screw through your holes and through the hole you have on the curtain rod holder and simply put the nut on and tighten it. It should be now nice and solid. That just leaves you one more mount to do which is the handle bars. Position it at the angle that works best and that is most safe incase you have a crash. You don't want speakers all in your face or chest if you biff it over the handle bars. I mounted mine so that that will bend under pressure and won't impale you. After you got it in the perfect position, its time to drill again. The rod holder already had a hole on the curve so I just had to mark through that hole to the handle bars where to drill. So you drill out the hold and now just take your remaining second screw and put it in and tighten it. The whole rig should be nice and tight ready to go where ever you need!
Step 4: Time for a Test Drive!
With your newly mounted stereo all ready to go, its time to go for a ride. But wait, you now have one issue, where to mount your Ipod or like device?? Well thats just up to you to engineer. I just let mine dangle there seeing how its a small Ipod nano. But either way It has passed everything I can throw at it including wet weather, they got soaked and were unprotected, yet they still work good as ever. So its time to go make your friends, family, and neighbors jelous and you ride about the neighborhood rocking to your new, yet totally free bike stereo!