PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budget

PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budget

Postby ShAgSTRO [OP] » September 22nd 2010, 6:05am

You heard it correctly folks! This is the easiest and the absolutely cheapest way to install a sub woofer and amp.

I know, and knew while and before installing, that people will be on my case about the two wires I used. Just read through and find out my results!

Other than the sub and the amp (which I didn't really pay for anyways...bartered a detail gig for amp...borrowing sub from dad until I get a new HU to support bigger subs) the install was COMPLETELY FREE!!! It might not be completely free for you though...I just happened to have ALL of the materials lying around in my house and my friends house...this was done over the summer right before school started up again.

Here's what I used:
One old and useless extension cord (had one end popped off and friend's dad was throwing it away)...this is my power cord
4-5 feet of Cat5 cable...this was used for my RCAs

I would make a tool list but the tools you use will vary based upon how your needs.

First step: Deal with your RCA cable
If you don't have an RCA cable then **** IT! Make one! My friend is in IT and has a spool of Cat5...why not go to him? We used some solder-on RCA connectors he had in one of his parts drawers. We soldered the ends onto the cable. The cable is roughly 4 feet long and it the perfect size to hook the amp up underneath the driver's seat. There are 8 smaller cables that make up the cat5. We used 2 smaller cables for each connection on each plug...2 for '+' 2 for '-' for each port, left and right.

Second step: Deal with your power cable
Now that you have your RCA cable, time to make your power cable worthy of using. Get as much as you need of it and punch/drill a hole through your firewall. I already had a hole in the firewall. I have NO idea who made the hole, but **** IT! I USED THAT *****!

81602
Disconnect your battery at this point.

Run the cable through your hole and keep it away from view. In the bay I ran it around the front of the battery, side then behind the battery. This was done to keep minimal slack within all of those moving parts! DO NOT FORGET YOUR GROMMET! This is VERY important. Otherwise you run the risk of vibrations and the tug and pull battle between your engine bay and cabin will tear your cable to shreds and send a nice "thank you" through the body and frame of your A/S. Avoid all of this with a grommet. Mine isn't installed in the picture but was definitely installed by the end of this whole thing.

81610
Since the power cable came out near the column I just slid it underneath the carpet, to the driver's kick panel and right down to the step on the driver's side.
81618

81626

Now you have to hide the power cable in the rest of the van. Since I ran it on the left side of the vehicle I popped off the molding to the step and ran it through the existing bunch of wires. Run it all the way through the molding to end up right behind the driver's seat.
81642

This is the cable starting to go through the cluster. To open the cluster, you have to push down and away on the top of the cluster, or kind of angle a flat head in towards you, pull towards you and tilt away…you’ll get it once you see it! DO NOT open the holder like a door (that ***** don’t got no hinges!), you HAVE to slide the cables into the cluster or else you risk breaking the holder. Then you'll have to deal with all those cables.

Third step:
Back to that RCA Cable
81634
I went ahead and plugged the RCAs into the head unit and ran it through the back of the head unit and down towards the driver’s pedals (shown in above picture). If you have problems with getting the cable through to where it’s shown in the pic, take the doghouse off. You’ll be able to simply reach in through the back of the stereo bracket and grab that **** wire.

81650

Same ****, different wire. Run the RCA cable down alongside the power cable and through the same cluster.

81658
This is where the cables come out, right behind the driver’s seat. The location is GREAT for installing the amp underneath the driver’s seat. By the way, I didn’t use a remote wire; I did something easier and more practical for my use. Find it below…

Forth step:
Go ahead now and plug your amp up, make sure your battery is still disconnected. Plug in the power, and the RCAs.

81666
This is for your ground. Trust me, it is THE BEST place to ground the amp if under your seat. I mean its RIGHT THERE! I tested for continuity between the dirty nut, and the driver’s doorjamb. Be sure the nut is free of dirt or oil…mine was COVERED in it. I used a wire brush and sand paper to polish up the contact side. Test for continuity one last time through the amp ground port and the doorjamb, if it passes…you’re good to go!

81674
I decided to install a switch on the amp. This way I can turn it on and off whenever I’d like to. Sometimes I don’t want to blast my eardrums…other times I do…

And yes… that is the switch to a ceiling fan. You thought I was lying about this all being free, huh? Plus I'm keeping in tune with the whole "I drive a 1986" attitude! hahaha

And for the end results...The sound is amazing! The sub sounds great and the power is nice. I really need to upgrade my head unit though. I bought this older model (new in box though) cassette player for $8 off of some lady from Craigslist. People always, and people will, complain to me about using Cat5 cables, but honestly...its only 4 feet of cable. If I were running 100 feet, then I would have a problem. The power cable too, people might say its a bad idea. There are three smaller cables within the power cord and I used two for the power and all three for the ground. I calculated the amount of current I will be drawing, and the power cable is more than capable of meeting my needs. And that's just considering using 2/3 of the cable! Don't even mention using the entire thing!

So, you might not HAVE to do this the cheapest possible way, but...I do :P and just though I'd let you know how I did it. I'm very happy with the system. There is no feedback and people don't even know I cheaped out when they hear the quality.

Let me know what you think!!!

:feedback: :feedback: :feedback:

I needed a brewsky after this one... :cheers:
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby jeff's93astro » September 22nd 2010, 7:02am

I've used an extension cord for a power cord before for a friend of mines systemand he used it over a year like that never had any problems

P.S. Never thought of using a ceiling fan switch though :lol:
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby Big_kid » September 22nd 2010, 12:32pm

So long as the wire is of a suitable gauge it will be fine. I've done a few "budget installs" back in the day, they all worked fine(except that one that a buddy & I did when we were 12 and hadn't yet learned about current draw or suitable power sources).
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby astroturf » September 22nd 2010, 1:30pm

Nice ShAgSTRO

Thanks for sharing

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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby JaxSPL » September 22nd 2010, 6:03pm

I'll admit it, I too have used an extension cord for power. When you ain't got much money and have a few laying around, use them. Good for low wattage systems.

RCA cable, yuppers. The BEST rca cables are from cat5e cable. You can cut them to any exact length you want and they are easy to route and hide. Twisted pair (Cat5e) RCA cable is great and cheap.

So no, I am not one that is going to knock you about using those wires. I've used them, they work good. They're not the best, but for somebody one a budget, they work just fine. If you're not driving a multi thousand watt system, it'll work great.

I gotta go to radio shack now to get some right angled RCA terminals. Already got 500ft of cat5e cable.
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby icebrrg3rd » September 22nd 2010, 6:23pm

So is the pull chain switch just laying on the floor next to the amp, or did you mount it somewhere clever? I agree with you, I have a box of wires and switches that are left-over or recycled from dead things, and I'll use them if they can handle it. I'm all for cheap, too. Of course, my "cheap" means using the radio that was already installed, so I don't even have to spend my time! :lol:

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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby rev_les » September 22nd 2010, 10:45pm

Very creative, lol....I have only one complaint, and that's 'cause I like everything color coded.......wrap that extension cord for ground in black tape :mrgreen:
Seriously, if it works, if someone else doesn't like it, it's their problemo,not yours! lol
edit.......HEY, I'll swap ya that ceiling fan switch for a toggle, :lol:
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby ShAgSTRO [OP] » September 23rd 2010, 6:17pm

Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm glad you're not hating me for cheaping out! hahaha

and I said 4 feet of Cat5...I meant 12 feet haahha! I don't have a clue why I said 4 :P

And Rev! I like my switch and I'm keeping it! hahah

I have it just laying by the amp at the moment. I'm thinking about mouting it somewhere though...don't know where. You got me thinking, maybe I can hook my interior lights to a second cieling fan switch hahaha. But that's after the next project....what what, I didn't say anything about a supposed interior lighting project that is being put together and has been for the past month. what, no...that wasn't me...what? ****, what kind of lighting project can go on for that long anyways? shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit...
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby rev_les » September 23rd 2010, 9:50pm

ShAgSTRO wrote:Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm glad you're not hating me for cheaping out! hahaha

and I said 4 feet of Cat5...I meant 12 feet haahha! I don't have a clue why I said 4 :P

And Rev! I like my switch and I'm keeping it! hahah

I have it just laying by the amp at the moment. I'm thinking about mouting it somewhere though...don't know where. You got me thinking, maybe I can hook my interior lights to a second cieling fan switch hahaha. But that's after the next project....what what, I didn't say anything about a supposed interior lighting project that is being put together and has been for the past month. what, no...that wasn't me...what? ****, what kind of lighting project can go on for that long anyways? shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit...

Hehehehe, you just gave me an "out in left field" idea :mrgreen:
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby JaxSPL » September 24th 2010, 1:53am

I was going to sticky this topic due to it having some good information in it. Problem is, I can't find the sticky button.
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby rev_les » September 24th 2010, 2:04pm

You have to get a global mod to do that. Us lowly section mods don't get that button :)
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby tedanderson » September 24th 2010, 2:15pm

You win Ted's official "Scissors & Scotch Tape" award.

BTW, was that a picture of your foot? I dunno if working barefoot gets you more honor but none the less, good job! :thumbup:
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby justarandomgeek » September 26th 2010, 7:30pm

tedanderson wrote:You win Ted's official "Scissors & Scotch Tape" award.

BTW, was that a picture of your foot? I dunno if working barefoot gets you more honor but none the less, good job! :thumbup:


Actually, that's my foot! I'm the one that donated almost all of the cables for this project. Scissors and Scotch Tape is my kind of award!

I guess I ought to add some electrical details for all this:

  • The extension cord used was an outdoor 15A cord originally, so using 2 conductors from it makes that safe for (at least) 30A.
  • The cat5 RCAs are pretty simple, I just took each of the four twisted pairs, stripped them and twisted the pair together, then used the brown and orange pairs as shell/pin respectively to red RCA jacks, and green and blue pairs as shell/pin to black RCA jacks (color coding ftw!)
  • I offered other kinds of switches from my box of salvaged parts, but that one just seemed right.

As for the hush-hush lighting project, let's just say it involves about $20 worth of chips and a couple hundred LEDs! (so far, still drawing up schematics...)
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby ShAgSTRO [OP] » September 27th 2010, 8:37pm

JaxSPL wrote:I was going to sticky this topic due to it having some good information in it. Problem is, I can't find the sticky button.


It's the thought that counts. Thanks a lot!

tedanderson wrote:You win Ted's official "Scissors & Scotch Tape" award.

BTW, was that a picture of your foot? I dunno if working barefoot gets you more honor but none the less, good job! :thumbup:


lol, you got the reply you needed! haha it's justarandomgeek's...he's my techy friend. I consider myself pretty techy but nothing compared to this guy haha
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby ShAgSTRO [OP] » September 27th 2010, 8:39pm

justarandomgeek wrote:
tedanderson wrote:You win Ted's official "Scissors & Scotch Tape" award.

BTW, was that a picture of your foot? I dunno if working barefoot gets you more honor but none the less, good job! :thumbup:


Actually, that's my foot! I'm the one that donated almost all of the cables for this project. Scissors and Scotch Tape is my kind of award!

I guess I ought to add some electrical details for all this:

  • The extension cord used was an outdoor 15A cord originally, so using 2 conductors from it makes that safe for (at least) 30A.
  • The cat5 RCAs are pretty simple, I just took each of the four twisted pairs, stripped them and twisted the pair together, then used the brown and orange pairs as shell/pin respectively to red RCA jacks, and green and blue pairs as shell/pin to black RCA jacks (color coding ftw!)
  • I offered other kinds of switches from my box of salvaged parts, but that one just seemed right.

As for the hush-hush lighting project, let's just say it involves about $20 worth of chips and a couple hundred LEDs! (so far, still drawing up schematics...)


Welcome to astrosafari stranger!
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby astroturf » September 28th 2010, 12:20am

justarandomgeek wrote:Actually, that's my foot! I'm the one that donated almost all of the cables for this project. Scissors and Scotch Tape is my kind of award!

I guess I ought to add some electrical details for all this:

  • The extension cord used was an outdoor 15A cord originally, so using 2 conductors from it makes that safe for (at least) 30A.
  • The cat5 RCAs are pretty simple, I just took each of the four twisted pairs, stripped them and twisted the pair together, then used the brown and orange pairs as shell/pin respectively to red RCA jacks, and green and blue pairs as shell/pin to black RCA jacks (color coding ftw!)
  • I offered other kinds of switches from my box of salvaged parts, but that one just seemed right.

As for the hush-hush lighting project, let's just say it involves about $20 worth of chips and a couple hundred LEDs! (so far, still drawing up schematics...)


Yes, Like the ShAgSTRO says...

Welcome Aboard.

Jim

PS Great First Post.
My Cup is neither half empty nor half full... But has a hole in it. Holy Cup Holders Batman. LOLz, Jim
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby moboman » December 2nd 2010, 9:01pm

Good job. Very clean in hiding all the wires in the plastic molding. The light switch is a good idea, I just know that I'd forget to turn it off when I'd get out of the van. I had lighted switches in my dash to turn the amps off and still forgot to turn them off once. Good thing I had two batteries.

There's only one thing you left out. The speaker wire to the sub. It looks like awful nice wire. If you have any extension cord left, you could always use that. :).


Edit: realized this was already stickied.
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby miketoybox » December 14th 2011, 5:11am

Nice..I have one sugestion, in line fuse before the firewall.
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby Wilson » January 16th 2012, 4:38am

Why the switch? Does the radio have a remote wire?
...if you build it....they will run...
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Re: PICS! Installing GREAT sound with college student's budg

Postby Sailing_Faith » September 20th 2012, 1:29am

Nothing wrong with extension cord, looks like 16g, probably heavy enough.

The manual switch for the 'remote' wire on the amp is likely to be a problem some day.

If you forget to turn it off, you have a parasitic draw on the battery... sure an amp switched on without an input does not draw a lot of current... but it draws some. If you hooked it to a 'switched' source it would work...

OR, you could just use the 3rd wire in the cord to carry the 'switched' current from the radio.
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