Malaguti Spidermax - I want a Radio

ways to listen to music on the bike
2012-03-24 this time I try a car power plug MP3 player with a steering wheel remote

It is nice to ride around with a little MP3 player and some ear buds, but I want a big bike stereo!
Sadly the Malaguti engineers forgot about that option. We have a couple speaker grill lookalikes, but there is no room behind to install  speakers.

Fiddling around with some sound equipment I came to the conclusion that I wanted external speakers. I wanted something what could be easy weather proofed in case of rain also I wanted a normal car radio because this is the compactest way to have everything in one place.
It should have an easy access for line in (3.5 mm if possible), a build in SD card reader and a USB port. I did not care for CD since this makes no more sense when you can put so much more on a SD card and have no moving parts.
My camera store had a MIYOTA Radio what fit the bill exactly. It was also shorter than the standard car stereo and for 45 Euro with 4 speaker outputs and 240 watt I took it.

I decided for a cheap radio since I do not know how well my weather protection will work, also I did want only buttons and no dials since there will be a sturdy plastic foil covering the front face of the radio and it has to be fully functional.

Our local Cash Converter (second hand electronics and tools) had 5 nice looking Hercules speakers for 12 Euro what not only looked good but also were kind of heavy. This is important, because you need a good size magnet to produce a good amount of volume. The speakers were also on a tilt mount so the angle could be easy adjusted.

After taking the speakers apart and moving the front face plastic from pointing down to pointing up I was able to tilt the speakers down enough to have an emergency rain cover.

Testing with a little mp3 player connected to the line in I decided that I wanted the radio in easy access.

I took an old license plate and bend a mounting bracket,

I needed to get 12 volt from the battery and the ground from the handlebar holder screws.

The soft metal is easy to bend to hug the curves from the handlebar plastic cover. 

A 10 mm hole was all I needed to get all the cables through.

Now I was working to make it look nicer. I remembered a few years ago on a trip to Las Vegas some girl handbags and purses made out of license plates. So I mutilated another license plate.

To cover the front a 3rd plate had to be bend. 

I am quite pleased with the look

Sure If I could have brought a ready made radio holder it might have look better but such a thing does not exist for the Spidermax.

The cables got wrapped in black duct tape and you can see that the speaker can be tilt easy to face down.

The sound is good up to 60 km/h, above 80 km/h the wind and engine noise take over.
The stereo has a connection for aux out, so now I have to find a small subwoofer and a place to put it.

To protect the thin rear speaker wires from mechanical failure and heat I used an old gas hose to cover them.

To keep the rear speakers from involuntarily moving I used a sturdy thin easy to bend metal band. The next time you exchange your windshield wipers, take the 2 thin metal bands out which keep them flexible. These bands are very useful to have around.

And this is how the unexpected rain setting works

For normal wet weather proofing there will be some zip-lock bags to cover the speakers. But since we have not more than 20 something rainy days a year in my part of the world that is not a big deal.

The last winter was much wetter than usual so I often had to cover the speakers and the radio.
Sometimes I just flipped the speakers down and pulled the main connector from the radio to cut all power from it.

To wash the bike was also a bit more challenging with the mounted speakers and radio.
I found a little sub woofer what worked with 12 Volt but gave up after I could nor find a way where to mount it.

A couple days I found a pair of heavy Sony speakers who covered the deep frequencies quite nicely.
I planned to mount them on the side of the top-box but that proved futile.
After some, hold there and the listen to the sound - now try a different position, I decided to mount them in front and put the Hercules speakers on top of the Sony speakers.

The rain and washing problem in mind, I wanted a mounting system what can disconnect the speakers within a second.
A cupboard hinge just did the trick for easy and secure locking the speakers in place and have them removed instantly
After the test I needed to make some modifications.
I had the Sony speakers mounted flush with Spidermax and the Hercules speakers mounted in line with the Sony speakers.
As a result the Hercules speakers pointed a bit outward and since the projected sound is quite on a narrow beam I lost a lot of it.
The Sony speakers did not produce the low sound frequencies I heard during the test in the shop.
So I realigned the Hercules speakers that they were pointing directly toward my ears, bridged the capacitor in the Sony speakers to remove the low frequency cutoff and blocked the outside bass reflex opening so that the bass is directed towards the center of the Spidermax via the inside opening.
The second test was much more ear pleasing and was booked as a full success.

To keep the speakers from sliding just out of their mount a simple screw (red circle) is sitting in front of the Sony speaker foot. To dismount, just lift and pull. The hinge holds the speakers enough secure so that vibrations or a bump will not lift the speaker foot over the screw.

With the new speaker configuration I could listen to Ennio Morricone at 130 km/h, normal soundtracks without that much high frequencies were usable up to 100 km/h.
The overall acoustics with this setup is like a kind of surround sound, you feel engulfed in music and that even with a ear covering helmet.
The 12 Euro investment and the few hours work (had to dismantle a bit since I did not use wooden screws but nuts and bolts) sure made for a nice audio and handling improvement.

My radio works still well but I wanted more power and a nicer look and a better handling.
So I finally found a solution to my wishes.
A nice amplifier - Since the normal car amplifier is a bit too big I looked around until I found something smaller.

The 100W amplifier fits just behind the dashboard

The SPCinternet 8244s1 MP3 Player has everything I want in big and easy to touch handling.
Up and down for volume, left and right for fast forward or next track (depends on how long you press).
Center play/pause and turn on. An On/Off and Normal/Random switch combined with 8 hours of playtime, a fast USB charge and 4GB internal storage makes this the right companion for the amplifier.

no need to move the hand at all to access all functions

the audio cable finds a resting place when the player is away in the mounting bracket

this time I try a car power plug MP3 player with a fancy steering wheel remote
My little MP3 player worked quite well but sometimes the button press did go wrong and the player start delay form several seconds was always a bit annoying.

Since some time I wanted to try a car MP3 player you just plug into the cigarette lighter outlet because it had an awesome steering wheel remote.
I got it yesterday for 24.50 Euro and gave it a try. It worked quite well except the volume and the next/previous track button were the same (push longer to change volume). As you can imagine that did not work to well while concentrating on the road.
Sadly the transmitter is a normal TV remote infra red type there is trouble in sunshine.
Since the steering wheel remote control had to be next to the other switches for easy access the MP3 player had to be directly below.
There is a way of removing one of the transmitter diodes and put it with a cable directly into the MP3 player receiver - but that is a job for later when this player proves to be the optimal setup.
For now I go with the quick and dirty version.
This MP3 car player connects via a radio frequency and also via line out - what I needed to connect it to the 100W amplifier.

since the d-pad got pressed while securing the player under the remote I had to flip the d-pad to keep this from happening

1 comment:

If you want to talk to me, use the comments box at the end of the post. No need to register or log in. If you use a name it is easier to answer to you.