Garage Tunes  1            11-2012

When I started building my 33 Coupe back in 2003, I bought a new radio/CD player to play tunes on while I was in the garage. The unit had AM, FM, CD and played MP3 CD's too. It worked really well for a few years and slowly the five-disc CD changer started to fail one by one but luckily for me the MP3 player died last.

Without the CD player working anymore I had only one choice and that was listening to the FM radio. That was fine for awhile but then the CD changer started to make some funny sounds. This new noise was the changer trying to open one of the doors and a second later it would move to the next door and try to open that one, etc. This went on and on the whole time the unit had power going to it which got old pretty fast. The only way I could make the changer stop this awful noise was to unplug the unit from the wall.



As time went on I found myself getting tired of listening to commercials on FM and just wanted to hear some music while I worked in the garage so it was time to look for a new music source. After a couple of trips to some big box stores, I couldn't find anything I really liked. What I mean is most of the new systems out there still have AM and FM but not very many play CD's anymore. What has taken the place of CD's? iPod's or iPhone's have taken their place. These new smaller MP3 players can be docked into these new sound systems which most of them have now.

But there's only one problem with the new iPod's and iPhone' least for me that is. I don't own one and I don't care to either. That leaves me with a problem because almost every boom-box or shelf system out there has iPod or iPhone capabilities leaving the CD and MP3-CD out of the equation.

So what does a guy do at this point? Well it turns out all isn't lost here because after a little more research I found that systems for cars happen to have everything I could want in a unit that plays music. That's when it hit me, why not make a new sound system for the garage using a car stereo head unit? All I would need is an enclosure to hold everything and 12 volts to power it. So that's exactly what I'm going to do (can you tell I'm a little bored here)???


What you see below is a 12 volt power supply that should work well for my new project. As you can see it has a fan to help it keep cool which only comes on when the unit gets to hot. This unit measures 3 1/2" X 7 1/2" X 1 1/2" which will determine how deep my enclosure will be.



This power supply didn't come with any instructions or paperwork of any kind but it's pretty straight forward how everything gets wired. On the left is where it gets 110 AC volts to power the unit with. The L is for 'line', the N is for 'neutral' and the one next to that is for 'ground'. If you were to put colors to these wires they would normally be: L = black, N = white, ground = green.

To the right of those are where the 12 volt DC magic happens. The COM is for 'neutral' and +V is for 12 volts. As you can see there are two of each on the 12 volt DC side and I plan to take advantage of those later on.



Another nice feature of this power supply is that you can use 110 or 220 volts AC for powering the unit with. I had to move the switch over to the 110 side and I was good to go. If you lived in a place where you had 220 volts in your house, then you would have that option as well.



Here is the heart of the new sound system which is made by Kenwood. This is a lower end unit because I didn't need a lot of the things that the higher end units had to offer, like Bluetooth or satellite radio. However one new feature that this new unit has is a front-mounted USB port. All you need is a USB flash drive and you can play music directly from it which is a really cool feature. It also has an auxiliary port right below that where you can plug in an iPod or iPhone into.

This unit puts out 25 watts of power to each of it's four channels but I'll only be using two of them. And it turns out that I have some speakers that I'm not using anymore which should work out pretty good for this new system.



The speakers that I'll be using are made by Polk Audio. I've had them collecting dust for awhile now because I replaced these with some ceiling mounted units. These speakers went to my 5.1 surround system (rear) and worked really well for many years but I thought I'd upgrade to some other Polk Audio ceiling style speakers in place of these. I didn't want to throw them away because I figured that I might have a use for them someday. Well that day is here so let's take a closer look at them.


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