Jul 28, 2011
I made this cooler stereo about a year ago but it wasn’t really Solar Burrito Blog related until it got the solar panel recently. So here’s a quick run down on this fun project as requested. I wanted tunes on my little boat but I knew it had to be tough and take a few splashes while protecting my expensive ipod or iPhone.
I looked around for battery powered iPod stereos but most were:
- Not loud enough
- Not water resistant or water proof
- Used expensive batteries that had a short life (D rechargeables)
- Didn’t protect my ipod or iphone from moisture
- Cost too much
So I thought I could make my own out of plentiful car stereo components. Amps and speakers are all over Craigslist and the internet. I found an JBL amp for $20 on Craigslist to put in my boat the other day.
I made it to be a water resistant portable ipod stereo that was durable and really loud on my 12′ aluminum boat. But with the solar panel it also works great in an off grid or remote camping situations. When we go camping on islands in the San Juans and other boat it only sites with no power. The solar panel allows it to be used indefinitely as long as it gets enough sun and charge time. I set the cooler out on the beach or on another place to catch some good morning sun before I go to bed and as I sleep in the sun rises and gives the cooler some charge during the morning. Around noon I turn it on and try to keep it in the sun as best as possible to extend the battery. It lasts 4-6 hours, depending on how loud it’s turned up and how sunny it is.
It could use a bigger solar panel but this one was free and fits nicely on the handle.
Parts you’ll need to build a cooler stereo / How to build a cooler stereo
– Cooler big or small depending on your goals. Want drinks in it too?
– 18 Amp Hour Battery 12 volt sealed gel cell
– Car Stereo amplifier 2-channel (mine was a Rockford Fosgate Punch 40)
– Mini-mic to RCA cable to connect ipod to amp
– Waterproof box – (snapware from Target)
This system is a complete marine stereo system including 4 speakers and amp for under $100. If this was available then I would have bought this complete system.