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CycloSound V4.0

200W of Sound on a Bike

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After being pulled over (but not ticketed) by local police for riding with headphones on nearly 4 years ago, this is the fourth version of putting a speaker system on my bike and, by far, the most powerful yet.

Edit: Pictures of the inside coming soon!
Edit 2: Shown on Adafruit's Weekly Show-and-Tell!
Edit 3: The stereo hit the HackADay blog!

A little over four years ago, I was pulled over by the police on my old college campus for riding my bike with headphones on. I wasn't ticketed, but I WAS inspired to create stereo system for my bike. Several years and revisions later (most of them being caused by having been hit by a heavy, four-wheeled vehicle) I'm on version 4.0; my most powerful version to date!

This beast weighs in at around 25lbs and packs 200 Watts of speaker power (compared to the 50w of V3). The total cost of parts comes in at around $140 for everything, but you could easily make it for cheaper if you wanted to make it out of PC speakers (which I did for V1 and V2) or stuff you had around the house and parts you pulled from your sister's car without asking first but replaced with cheap crap later, telling her you upgraded it for her (V3).

  • 1 × BOSS R1002 200W Amplifier
  • 1 × Pyle PL63BL 360W Speakers
  • 2 × Vaultz® Locking File Tote, Item # 924392
  • 2 × 6v 10ah Sealed Lead Acid Battery
  • 1 × Key Switch

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  • 1
    Step 1

    Okay, so rather than give a step by step for MY build, since you all will have radically different budgets and parts, I'm gonna give suuuper general instructions operating on the reasonable assumption that you'll be working with a system that is a collection of separate parts rather than a pre-existing whole you need to take apart and that you have the parts you want to use already.

    I'm also going to assume that you have the skills and knowledge for me to skip over stuff like "Hey, don't wire the power backwards!" or "Don't just cut wildly like a jackass!" and that you either have or know how to get wire and other stuff to hook all this business up.

    Okay, ready?

    Step 1: Parts.

    Get all your parts out in front of you. Seriously. I'm not kidding. Your bike included. Pick up everything one at a time and really get a feel for the complexities of their size, shape, and weight. Look at where you're expected to put mounting screws.

    If your speaker has a grille you can use, figure out how that mounts to the speaker. Does it just clip onto the speaker? Do the speaker mounting screws go THROUGH the grille first? Do you have to remove part of the grille before you can mount it or access mounting screw holes?

    How does your amplifier mount? Screws? Can you get away with using something else, like wire ties, if you have to? Will velcro work? Does your amp have any fans or vents that need to keep unblocked? What about connecting terminals? Where are they located? Read the manual for your amp.

    Pick up whatever battery you're going to be using and try holding it in your hands for a minute. An actual minute. Turn it over a few times and really feel where the weight of it lies. Is there any orientation where it feels happier sitting? How heavy is it, really? Where are the terminals? Picture how you would connect to them; what direction will the wires go from the battery?

    How thick are the walls of what you're mounting all this stuff to? Does it flex a lot? Is it going to be hanging off of your bike or sitting on top of it? Will it be able to support the weight of all this stuff or will you need to add extra support? Do you live in a place where weather is an issue? Does one side seem more weather resistant than another? Think about how water might flow onto and off of it. Where would you run any cables in and out of it? Take the lid off and look at how the lid interacts with the interior of the container. Any latching mechanisms, rivets, or supports you need to be careful of? How much do you think you could reasonably cut away before the container starts becoming structurally unsound?

    Now try physically positioning stuff against other stuff. Pretend you're working with cut out pictures of your parts and look at it to check fits. Put your speaker(s) on your container(s) and get a good look at where they naturally fit together. Now add your battery and see where that could go. Now your amp. Now turn your view around and see how they would fit depth wise into the container. Make sure you know exactly where everything ought to go.

    Now take that mental image and think about where it'll go on your bike. How would you secure it? Would it bump into anything that moves? How much does all that stuff weigh and how much weight can your bike actually support? How would it affect the balance of your bike? Can you carry that much more weight and still comfortably bike?

    This is all really important stuff we often forget to figure out ahead of time and then have to MacGyver solutions to mid-build. It's better to know NOW than have to learn later and possibly replace parts as a result.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Step 2: Measure Twice, Cut Once.

    Look at this picture.

    That bit of paper has a hole that is cut out to be the size and shape of the part of the speaker that sinks into whatever will be holding it and shows the mounting holes for the speaker. If you bought car speakers like I did something similar will be included. If not, measure the diameter of that part of the speaker and make your own template. Use this to mark out your holes.

    Now take away the template and look at what you marked out. Does that look like it's right? Measure what you marked out and verify that against the actual speaker.

    Check, check, check and check again. You fuck this up in the wrong way and you're gonna have to buy a new enclosure.

    If you are sure you've got it right, check again, then go ahead and cut it out.

    Now try putting the speaker in. It should sink in but not fall in. You want it sitting pretty, not hanging on for dear life.

    Repeat this process for any other surface mounted parts (switches, connectors, buttons, knobs, etc...) and make holes for any cabling you might have coming out of it, measuring the fattest part of the cable (probably the connector) against the middle of whatever other cables you'll have coming out.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Step 3: Mount and Stuff

    Now, start mounting. Really screw as hard as you can. Give it all you got.

    Hang on. Sorry, I was giving instructions for something COMPLETELY different.

    Ah, here we are.

    Now, start mounting your components. Make sure whatever screws or fasteners you're using are as tight as they can be. If you're using nuts and bolts, put lock or spring washers in and really give it all you got when tightening.

    Once you're done mounting, unmount everything and do it again, this time connecting the parts as needed.

    Once you're done mounting it again, pick it up and shake it for all you've got. Do jumping jacks while holding it. Make sure everything is totally secure.

    Now do it again, but with the power on and music playing. If the music stops or crackles, figure out why and fix it so it doesn't happen again. Keep doing this until it's as solid as a steel pipe.

    If all this seems overboard, remember that when you're riding your bike, your legs and butt absorb the bulk of the vibrations. This thing needs to be able to take every bump, crack, jolt, and hit your bike takes when riding on those disgusting craggly roads and sidewalks you forgot are so bad.

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