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Deck Stereo

This year I moved to a different house.  On the outside the house needed a music system for the deck.  Everything is exposed to the weather so I needed a system that would work in a hostile environment.  Further, I did not want to spend a lot of money.

The first thing to determine is the enclosure for the electronics.  I purchased a waterproof box intended to house an irrigation system controller. This box comes with a GFI outlet, a door with gasket and a locking mechanism.  You have to provide your own power cord for the outlet or hard-wire it into the house.  The internal cabinet partition sits about half way into the depth of the housing.  That leaves room behind the partition for wires and the power supply and it allows you to mount the amplifier with screws and nuts that don't protrude behind the cabinet.  In the picture above you can see the open cabinet with the bluetooth receiver on the left plugged into the outlet and the audio amplifier on the right.

For the amplifier I decided to purchase one of those very inexpensive amplifiers from China. The Lepy LP-2024A+ uses the Class-T Tripath TA2024 Audio Amplifier IC.  It is supposed to be 20 watts per channel into 4 ohms but I don't think you can get 20 watts without noticable distortion.  I want to keep my neighbors happy so I don't need big power.  I wanted Bass and Treble controls to be able to compensate for any deficiencies in the speakers.  This amplifier has them as well as a tone control bypass switch. The amplifier costs about $30.

For the speakers I also did not want to spend a lot of money.  I selected these Pyle PDWR50W 6.5-Inch Indoor/Outdoor Waterproof Speakers which cost about $60 for the pair.  They come with an adjustable mounting bracket.  This is a ported bass-reflex design.  I did not expect the sound to blow me away but these speakers do an adequate job.  It is always difficult to get deep, rich bass out of a small cabinet.  While the bass is not impressive the rest of the sound of these speakers is very nice.  It's interesting that they sound noticably better when you get further away from them.

I am using a standard AC-powered bluetooth receiver.  This one is called In-Charge, probably because it has a USB charging port.  There's a 3.5mm stereo jack on the receiver that connects to the amplifier.  The amplifier accepts a 3.5mm stereo plug or two RCA phono plugs.

The final touches required addition of switches and a jack on the bottom of the outdoor housing.  I want to be able to power the box on and off, press the bluetooth pairing button, provide an alternate hard-wired input with a 3.5mm jack and be able to switch the amplifier between the bluetooth receiver and the external input jack without opening the cabinet.

I added a toggle switch in series with the power line that goes to the cabinet's outlet.  I cracked open the bluetooth receiver case and soldered a pair of flexible wires to the bluetooth pairing switch's contacts.  I ran those wires to a small pushbutton switch.  Next, I mounted a 3.5mm jack and a small DPDT toggle switch.  I cut the cable that ran between the bluetooth receiver and the amplifier.  I soldered the cut ends to the DPDT switch and connected the 3.5mm jack to the switch.  Now the switch can switch the amplifier between the bluetooth receiver and the external input jack.

All the switches and the jack are mounted under the outdoor cabinet close to the back.  That way they are covered by the internal partition and can't be seen when you open the door.  You don't have to open the door to power on or off, pair the bluetooth, switch between bluetooth or external audio or plug in the external audio cable.  Volume is adjustable on the playback device.

In order to leave the power cord plugged in all the time I replaced the outside outlet cover.  The old one had flaps that covered the outlet connections.  The new one is a large box cover that allows the cord to be plugged in while the box closes around the whole outlet and the cord.  The cord exits through a slot in the bottom of the cover.

So that's it!  Convenience, flexibility, inexpensive and good sound.  The only thing it does not do is dispense a cold beer.