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  • How to wire up my current system and what else do I need

    Hi everyone,

    Been reading these forums for a while but it's my very first time posting! (sure you have heard that before). I'm slowly gathering all the pieces I need for my car pc. I have an old classic mini. So far this is what I have:
    • Kenwood KAC-8104D Mono Amp - for the bass
    • 2 x Kenwood 12 inch subs - although I think I can only fit one in the mini
    • 4 Channel amp by Camtech - I don't know if they are any good it was free
    • 2 x Pioneer 6x9's
    • 2 x Pioneer Mids
    • Jetway Mini-itx PC with a 6 Channel onboard sound card

    Now the thing is, I'm not sure how to set all this up correctly or if there is anything else I need. Unfortunately here in South Africa lilliput displays are hard to come by and very expensive. So for now Im building myself a simple 20x4 LCD display and I will wire some buttons up to the serial port and write some software to communicate with probably itunes.

    I don't plan on using a HU.

    Would it be ok for me to take a line from the center/subwoofer on the soundcard and connect it to the kenwood mono amp for the amplifers.. and then take a line from the line out (green hole) and split it into 4 RCA plugs to go into the 4 channel amp which inturn will go to the 6x9s and the mids? I was thinking of having Front and Rear separate but im assuming thats going to cause trouble because most songs are sterio? So maybe its better to connect front and rear together. Is there anything else I need? Do I need something to convert the sound levels before they go into the subs amp?

    Anything im missing?

    Thanks guys!
    Ross.

  • #2
    Sounds like you have it all covered, nothing else needed. There are various other tricks you can do with the rear speakers, but what you propose is how a typical OEM radio is set up. If you wanted to create a matrix surround type of effect, maybe the soundcard drivers can do that.
    Last edited by durwood; 03-09-2011, 03:52 PM.
    System always under construction


    Comment


    • #3
      Cool. Do I not need a cross-over? Not sure what it is actually used for :S

      Comment


      • #4
        The only issue I see might be the electrical system of the Mini if you work those amps very hard. I'm guessing your alternator has an output of 65a or less and the one Kenwood amp is capable of drawing upwards of 40a all by itself plus you have a second amp plus the PC. If you don't crank the system for long periods of time, your likely OK. But if you want to have that Mini "bumpin" down the road, you may have to look at some electrical upgrades. When you get started putting it together be sure to start a worklog, we love worklogs here
        They are located here: http://www.mp3car.com/worklogs/
        My 2007 Ford F350 Work Log located HERE

        Comment


        • #5
          Ditto.

          I was going to suggest an upgrade to an alternator with an integral voltage regulator. (Forget old external regulators - even if electronic - they have too many issues.)

          You should find many from the 1980s & 1990s that are suitable. The electrics is nothing - usually (preferable) just an S = Sense wire to the battery +12V, and an L = chargeLamp wire to the dash's charge lamp. (That can also energise a relay to interconnect 2 or more batteries if you decide to add them for your systems...)

          It's the physicals that are the issue, but many have the same pivot radius and similar front-mount to center-of-belt offsets and similar "inter flange" mount distances - else can be shimmed etc.

          I had to offset my mounting radius (older 1960s Jap vehicles) but can now chose a selection of modernish 75A to >100A alternators instead of my standard 23A-35A mechanical regulated alternators.


          BTW - definitely upgrade your earth/ground wires as well as +ve distribution - see "The Big 3".
          I also recommend a voltmeter to monitor across the battery. I prefer a 3-digit digital - backlit LCD else LED. (Forget ammeters!)

          Comment


          • #6
            totally off topic but f-yeah! im looking forward to an old school install like tihs! can't wait to see a non touchscreen input.

            have you ever thought about using a 1x20 vfd display?
            New System in progress:
            M10k
            Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
            Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
            Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
            Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
            Transflective Xenarc

            My Car Pc Install
            My Boat Pc worklog

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks guys for the replies!

              My knowledge of car mechanicals is VERY limited so half of what you said OldSpark flew right over my head but some of it sunk in I bought the car from someone else a few years back and im pretty sure the alternator is not original as it looks very new. Im wondering if I could look for specs written on it for its amps output. Ill see in the morning. We have replaced and redone ALL the wiring in the car so im hoping it will be ok, I guess I will have to install it before these bugs appear. Since I have no remote lines from a head unit im going to be using a PIC and write some code to sense the ignition and turn on the amps followed by the pc to avoid this horrid thump everyone talks about

              I bought a a barebone mini itx pc. It came in a very sturdy small black case, non-branded. Its got a separate power supply to provide the 12v it needs to operate similar to a laptop power brick. At first I thought I could bypass the adapter and wire 12 volts straight into the pc, but the mini has no sort of regulator so its basically coming straight off the battery which is more likely 14v so now im afraid this wont work. The power supply inside looks very similiar to the ones sold in the store for Car PCs. I just can't be sure. Maybe I can buy a universal car laptop charger and set it to 12v to power the pc..

              I've never considered it Scott, what would be the advantages over a standard LCD with a HD44780? I like the HD44780 since its so easy to interface!

              Comment


              • #8
                you might need to connect all the amps to the front(green) output. with only a 2 channel audio source, many boards will not output a signal on the rear, or center/sub jacks.

                in this case, you would need to use a external crossover, or the crossovers on the amps to control the sound.

                there are certain boards that are configurable, so in any case, check your board, and make sure of which direction you'll need to go
                My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                next project? subaru brz
                carpc undecided

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by ross135 View Post
                  ...the alternator is not original as it looks very new. Im wondering if I could look for specs written on it for its amps output.
                  FYI - Keep in mind that more Amps is ok. You can't "push" Amps into a system as long as the voltage is compatible. (Like a huge lake/reservoir cannot overflow a tube-connected glass if the glass top is above the lake's water level.)
                  IE - for 12V vehicles, it doesn't matter if it's a 20A or 1,000A output alternator - it will regulate up to 14.4V (long-term; typically 14.0-14.2V; it used to be 13.8V) and the currents look after themselves.

                  Mind you, there might be issues with re-wound and super-huge alternators, but "standard" alternators designed for their outputs (whether 20A or 500A) should be fine.


                  Otherwise as long as your voltage regulator is built into the alternator rather than older vehicles that have the regulator separate to the alternator. (And provided it isn't a Lucas! Though Lucas were probably the first with integral regulators in the late 1970s. And not that I like Bosch either.)


                  Hopefully your rewiring will include blade fuses and plastic flinks (fuse-links) instead of the older glass or (perish the thought..) ceramic/Bosch fuses. And circuit breakers for headlights....
                  (Yes, there have been some wiring improvements except - in some cases - for the addition of flinks between the alternator and battery!)



                  PS...
                  Originally posted by OldSpark View Post
                  FYI - Keep in mind that more Amps is ok. You can't "push" Amps into a system as long as the voltage is compatible.
                  How obvious! We add bigger or more batteries and don't blow our equipment. Why would bigger alternators be different? (It's all about volts.)
                  I was preempting possible concerns...
                  I also have bad memories of multi PM exchanges involving thousands of words trying to convince someone of the same. (Another Aussie idiot who - after 4-5 pages of public forum exchanges - found that the first reply (mine!) was correct!. His car almost burnt in the process.)

                  Remember - our charging systems are constant voltage systems based on battery (voltage) requirements. The Amperes look after themselves (else the voltage drops).
                  Last edited by OldSpark; 03-10-2011, 12:27 PM. Reason: PS... (13 hours later)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ross135 View Post
                    Cool. Do I not need a cross-over? Not sure what it is actually used for :S
                    a crossover is used to split up, or block certain audio frequencies from going to certain speakers.

                    a good example of this are these little tweeters:
                    http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=264-804

                    these are only designed for high frequencies, so they wouldn't be able to reproduce the very low rattle-your-trunk noise subwoofers are used for.

                    so you would use a crossover to block all the low frequencies that the speaker can't correctly reproduce.
                    My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                    "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                    next project? subaru brz
                    carpc undecided

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Alright im getting this soundman I'm setting everything up for a test run hopefully today so I will be able to test the board. If the soundcard doesn't do what I want it to do, can I use a single external crossover to split the sound coming out the stereo (green) into low levels for my subs and mid levels for my other speakers? or do you need a crossover for the mids and another for the subs? Sorry pretty new to me.

                      Blade fuses OldSpark Had glass ones.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ross135 View Post
                        Alright im getting this soundman I'm setting everything up for a test run hopefully today so I will be able to test the board. If the soundcard doesn't do what I want it to do, can I use a single external crossover to split the sound coming out the stereo (green) into low levels for my subs and mid levels for my other speakers? or do you need a crossover for the mids and another for the subs? Sorry pretty new to me.

                        Blade fuses OldSpark Had glass ones.
                        in such a small car i probably wouldn't even bother with rear speakers. if i were you id spend the money on a nicer set of component speakers for the front and then your one 12 in the trunk. (actually a single 10 in that car would kick hard)
                        New System in progress:
                        M10k
                        Phaze TD1500 ~> Dynaudio MD130
                        Phaze TD1500 ~> Seas g18rnx/p
                        Zapco Ref 500.1 ~ 12" tc-9
                        Behringer DCX2496 ~ Envision Electronics psu
                        Transflective Xenarc

                        My Car Pc Install
                        My Boat Pc worklog

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ross135 View Post
                          Alright im getting this soundman I'm setting everything up for a test run hopefully today so I will be able to test the board. If the soundcard doesn't do what I want it to do, can I use a single external crossover to split the sound coming out the stereo (green) into low levels for my subs and mid levels for my other speakers? or do you need a crossover for the mids and another for the subs? Sorry pretty new to me.
                          i need to quit hitting backspace-- i had a whole post written up that nicely explained everything..

                          i need to cut this one a little shorter..

                          somethings to keep in mind:

                          in general, many documents say that humans can hear sounds from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. also, many documents say that humans cannot tell the direction of sounds below 100Hz.

                          in a car, these 'rules' can get heavily bent. there are many sharp/flat objects, and just as many hard, and soft objects-- all of which affect how the sound travels, and reflects in the car. so in many cases, you can 'hear' certain tones below 100Hz. technically, you are hearing reflections, or reverberations of those low frequency sounds, but the reflections still make the subs sound worse..


                          so with that in mind:

                          with your sub amp-- these are the settings i recommend to stick around:

                          from left to right,

                          the first being Bass boost: i recommend to leave this at 0. as the name implies, it boosts certain parts of the sub signal-- which can create the allusion that the subs sound better at certain points then they really are-- if set too high, this can damage your equipment.

                          LPF: this is the control that blocks certain frequencies. i recommend that you set this somewhere between "70-100" there is no perfect setting, and you will need to play with this in the car. the goal is to get the subs to become 'invisible' meaning that you can hear the subs, but can't tell where their located..

                          gain: this needs to be set as any gain control. i am not going to go over this in extreme detail, because there are plenty of how-to's online for this.

                          and the switch-- ISF:

                          this stands for InfraSonic Filter. this blocks the really low frequencies that many subs cannot play. i recommend at least 15Hz, but 25Hz is probably a better setting.



                          for the 4ch amp, you will need to set the filter to HP-- to block all the low stuff the subs reproduce. and for the approximate settings, set it to the same Hz setting as the subs-- so where the subs leave off, the main speakers pick up the rest of the audio signal..

                          Originally posted by scott_fx View Post
                          in such a small car i probably wouldn't even bother with rear speakers. if i were you id spend the money on a nicer set of component speakers for the front and then your one 12 in the trunk. (actually a single 10 in that car would kick hard)
                          +1. my current setup only has a component front+subs, and will much more realistic then a 4 speaker+sub setup. i suggest you try it this way before going with rear speakers-- you might be surprised!!
                          My OLD 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT:
                          "The Project That Never Ended, until it did"


                          next project? subaru brz
                          carpc undecided

                          Comment

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