"Cooler Tunes" for biking or anywhere!! - diyAudio
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Old 7th July 2011, 10:49 PM   #1
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Default "Cooler Tunes" for biking or anywhere!!

So for the past month, I have built a personal Igloo Cooler into a portable audio system that can mount over the rear wheel of a road bike and be carried around. I am excited to share this with the community! Please comment and make suggestions for better modifications/versions of it. This is my first post btw, so please be nice.

This system sounds amazing and when the lid is closed it has a good amount of bass. The EQ can be tuned with Treble and Bass knobs, and also has 6 preset EQ modes.

Reasons for this build.

- I ride with a drinking team that enjoys cycling.
- I am from Iowa, which is the home of RAGBRAI. It is a bike ride from the West border of the state to the East border that roughly 20,000+ people ride on during the last week of July each year. It is always a different route, but is usually around 500 miles.
- It is great to be creative and use up some old parts that are lying around for the past several years.
- It makes other riders jealous! Especially the ones that are hauling around an entire stereo on a bike trailer. My version is much lighter.
- I figured I would build these for a few bucks profit for my friends that also ride.
- I wanted to build another project since I had some free time.

Some of the parts I used...

- Igloo Summer Breeze 9 quart cooler. [$10.00]
- Polk Audio 5.25" Coaxial speakers. [Free] (If I were to have bought new speakers for this project, I would have bought 6.5" Marine speakers.) [$75.00]
- 12 Volt 18 Ah SLA battery. [$38.00]
- 2 On/Off switches. [$6.00]
- 12 Volt strobe light set. [$18.00]
- All in one 2x20watt (RMS) amplifier with SD Card Reader/FM Tuner/Aux input. [$37.00]
- Various wiring and terminals and electrical tape. [$20.00]
- 2 "L" brackets to keep the battery from sliding around. [$5.00]
- Delta Bike rack. [$40.00]
- 4 J-Hooks [$4.00]
- 4 Turnbuckles [$7.00]
- Misc. machine screws, washers, and lock-nuts. [$5.00]

Total - [$265.00] with buying speakers too.


Here is how I built it...

Cut one speaker into the cooler.
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Both speakers are cut into the sides.
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I was testing the speakers out for the hell of it with a car amplifier I had lying around because I hadn't ordered the new amplifier yet.
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Here is the strobe light kit out of the cooler. It has adjustable rate of flash and 6 different color covers for the elements.
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Strobe lights installed.
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Battery fits just right. About 7" wide.
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This shows the battery height.
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Switch installed for the lights.
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Switch installed for the amplifier.
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Basic wiring done.
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Another angle of it. Speaker wire stubs on and lid with the center ridge cut out to fit the amp.
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Here is the amp I chose and it fit perfectly in the lids indention.
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Amp mounted and antenna punched through the lid.
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Wiring done. All taped up. Battery secured from sliding around. Quick connectors installed for connecting from the amp to the battery charger. Amp works great and is super loud! SD card reader, USB port, FM radio, Aux input for MP3 player.
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Listening to the radio.
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Room for 5 12oz cans to boot!
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See!
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Remote only works with the lid open, unfortunately. Anyone think they can rig up an external sensor for the remote?
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Installed the Delta bike rack and attached the cooler with the hardware.
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Angle from the front. What do you all think?
Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by CoolerTunes; 7th July 2011 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 7th July 2011, 10:54 PM   #2
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That IS cool! Ready for the dry ice now.

(and thanks for making your photos of reasonable size)
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Old 7th July 2011, 11:30 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the comment. There is a place that sells dry ice 2 blocks from my house. I wonder if that would hurt anything? I might stick to a freeze pack instead. This will be tested this weekend for a ride.

I see that you are a Mod on here. I was also wondering if I put my thread in the correct area. If not, could you move it to a more appropriate location?

Also, for the pictures, I know that it does get annoying when some people do not know how to resize them and they attach 12 Megapixel photos to a post.
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Old 8th July 2011, 03:40 AM   #4
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A freeze pack will "sweat" in there. Dry ice is called that for a reason and can be put right against any of the equipment as well as being turned into chips that fill every nook and cranny instead of a single block. Of course, in these parts, you have to be old enough and give your name to buy dry ice in case any mailboxes should mysteriously explode.

As far as the remote goes, it is most likely infrared and should be simple enough to hard wire an external receiver on the box or bike frame.

edit - afterthought: I would consider bridging the inputs for a mono output due to the speaker mounting.

Last edited by boydon_lepasci; 8th July 2011 at 03:42 AM.
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Old 8th July 2011, 04:43 AM   #5
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That is very cool! You're getting my creative juices flowing.

Thanks,

Dan
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Old 8th July 2011, 05:08 AM   #6
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Creativity is what diy is all about! This is version 3 of this style of stereo that I have been involved in. The first 2 versions were built with plastic mailboxes and had a solar panel and regulator in them. They worked, but the solar panel wasn't all that powerful so it only added a couple hours of play time to the battery. In this case, I upgraded the battery from a 12v 12 Ah battery to a 12v 18 Ah battery. Battery weighs a bit more but cut the weight of the solar panel and regulator so it evens out. I bought a motorcycle battery charger with automatic shut off/float mode to be able to recharge it. Battery says it is supposed to be good for ~400 charges. I've got it to discharge from the factory charge so far. It played for more than 24 hours if my estimate is accurate. This should last for a few years. :-)
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Old 8th July 2011, 06:58 AM   #7
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Really dig the project. Very well executed. Mine bike system is just an old active speaker that I've modded and put into a handlebar bag (the type that sits on the stem, not hangs in front). It's just a few watts mono but it works great and gets attention and compliments. I have a spare cooler, a rack, and most of the other parts already. This is a project to keep in mind. The marine speakers might be a good idea. Where'd you source the battery? And what did you use to make the speaker cutouts? A friendly note... it looks like a blue and red strobe in the one picture (#16). I would make sure the lighting is legal wherever you'll be on the road enjoying the tunes (Anyone, not just the OP). I don't think the red/blue is legal where I live.
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Old 8th July 2011, 04:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoolerTunes View Post
Creativity is what diy is all about! This is version 3 of this style of stereo that I have been involved in. The first 2 versions were built with plastic mailboxes and had a solar panel and regulator in them. They worked, but the solar panel wasn't all that powerful so it only added a couple hours of play time to the battery. In this case, I upgraded the battery from a 12v 12 Ah battery to a 12v 18 Ah battery. Battery weighs a bit more but cut the weight of the solar panel and regulator so it evens out. I bought a motorcycle battery charger with automatic shut off/float mode to be able to recharge it. Battery says it is supposed to be good for ~400 charges. I've got it to discharge from the factory charge so far. It played for more than 24 hours if my estimate is accurate. This should last for a few years. :-)
Looks like a nice package !

A few thoughts:

The cooler can keep heat out, but keeps heat in.
Heat is the enemy of electronics.

Porting the cabinet would give you 3 dB or more output level in the low bass range (which uses the most power in music), which means your battery consumption will be less for a given sound level, less heat will be in the box, and the port will allow some of the heat to escape.

You could make the port from a plumbing "P trap", so the cooler would still be water proof.

The extra level gained by porting may be enough that a small solar panel could keep up with the amp's power usage, I have run radios off my ten watt panel and the battery actually gained voltage during the day, giving plenty of power to play late into the night with a good rate of charge left.

Your battery will last far longer (maybe close to the 400 rated charges LOL) if you do not discharge it below 50 %.
Most people don't realize a "12 volt" battery has only 40% charge left at about 12 volts.

The state of charge is best measured about 1/2 hour after use, the battery will read lower when in use, and takes a while to "recover". The more amperage being pulled, the longer the recovery period.

Have fun riding!

Art Welter
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Old 8th July 2011, 04:40 PM   #9
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Damn! I thought I had finished with the small boxes and you go and put an idea like that into my head. Nice job there CT.
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Old 8th July 2011, 04:49 PM   #10
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On a Stereo Amp, how would the speakers be wired to make it bridged? I know on my old car stereo amp, it is bridged when you go to the Left channel neg and the Right channel Positive. But you don't hook anything else up to the other channel when doing that. Anyhow, that was kinda puzzling me.

I haven't taken the amplifier apart to find out where the RF sensor is for the remote, but I assume it is behind the dark plastic LCD screen on the front. To extend the remotes sensor, I assume it would just be 2 wires I would need to solder from the sensor to the external placement of choice? 24 gauge should do the trick I assume? Oh and some heat shrink tubing..

The battery that I am using is a 12V-18AH-F2 Seal Lead Acid Battery from BatterySharks.com I ordered it on the 8th of June. They had very good pricing and shipped from the Maspeth, NY on the 9th of June and I received it on the 14th. They offered a 2% discount if I would have ordered 4 batteries, but I didn't need that many. They have other options if you want it to be lighter or last longer. My battery is 12.6 lbs, so it is a bit cumbersome. My overall cooler's weight is around 15 lbs. My bike rack says it supports up to 66lbs.

As for the lights I have, they have different silicone rubber covers that slide over the elements. I believe I will have just red ones on when going out on rides. But I do have green, purple, white, blue, and red to choose from for when I just take it along to a party, etc.

One other thing I wanted to mention about this particular cooler is that the bottom is raised to allow for a small gap between the bike rack and the machine screw heads/washers that I installed to for the battery hold down. This also allows for the cooler to still sit on level surfaces without it being wobbly. Igloo's original design for that was to keep the cooler from sitting directly on hot surfaces which would keep your contents cooler longer.

I'll post some more pictures later today to show a few more features of it. Anything particular that you would like to see?
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