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Stereo Installation... No previous stereo or speakers.
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TyGuy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:07 pm    Post subject: Stereo Installation... No previous stereo or speakers. Reply with quote

Hi all. This is my first post, but I am a long time site watcher. I purchased
my '81 Vanagon L in late August and I am in love. I should be thankful that I am only the second owner of this vehicle ( the lady couldn't drive it due to arthritis, so it sat in a garage for 12 years) which is great because no one has messed around with the wiring or anything. However it has never had a stereo installed. No Speakers, no wires, not a thing. I was wondering how to go about wiring the receiver. I think i can just wire it straight to the fuse box, but i tried with no success. Do I need a seperate fuse for the receiver or can I use a relay from another fuse? i.e. accessories. I've used the search but only found responses about replacing a stock stereo, not installing one from scratch. I'll try and post some pics soon, so I can show off Wilber to all you kind folks Very Happy
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airkooledchris
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You just need power. Id run a new wire direct from the battery up front, so you can access it anytime you need power for new accessories, but also so you don't have to worry about messing up the stock wires/etc.

Go to your local car audio shop and ask for a length of power wire with an inline fuse. Run a ground wire and your all set.

As for speakers, dont make the mistake of mounting them lower on the doors. While there is better space down there, it sounds HORRIBE.

Even though you have manual windows, there are tricks to installing the speakers higher up in the doors so you can actually hear them. that you should definately find help with in the archives.
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TyGuy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I run a wire directly to the battery won't the stereo always be on? As opposed to being triggered by the ignition. I know i can just push the off button everytime I shut the van off, but that seems kind of a hassle for me.
( I am quite forgetfull)
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wbx
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

airkooledchris wrote:

As for speakers, dont make the mistake of mounting them lower on the doors. While there is better space down there, it sounds HORRIBE.


Interesting... that is counter to conventional car audio wisdom, i believe. Our ears are good at telling where things are front to back and left to right, but not up/down. By moving speaker further down, you effectively center yourself between them. This is why a lot of aftermarket speakers are put in the kick panels down by your feet.... I'm thinking of maybe doing that someday. Skip the door panels altogether and go down by the feet.

As for wiring, you need a switched power (one that comes on with the ignition), a constant hot (straight from the battery), and of course, a ground. You might also want an antenna for the radio, too Wink .

-Damon
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TyGuy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the switched power is what is giving me trouble. Im not sure how to hook up the wiring to be triggered by the ignition.
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airkooledchris
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You would run the hot power direct from the battery, and if you really wanted to be sure you couldn't turn on the radio without the key in the ON position (you sure you wouldnt want to be able to turn it on without the key, like when camping/etc?) - then yes, you need a 'switched' power source as well.

Find something on the fuse panel (check the little glovebox manual) that also turns on only when key is in the ON position and splice into that for your switched source of power.


As for the location of the speakers, yes, in a regular passenger vehicle you could usually put the speakers in the lower door location and have it sound ok.

Unfortunately in these vans you have too much road noise to overcome, which means you CAN install them 4.5 feet away from your ears and still hear them, but you typically have to turn them up so loud that you lose a lot of sound quality.

The distance is so far apart also that it throws the phasing way off it seems. With the speakers higher up in the doors, less distance to reach your ears = better phasing, and at a lower volume (which should reduce distortion.)
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wbx
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

airkooledchris wrote:

The distance is so far apart also that it throws the phasing way off it seems. With the speakers higher up in the doors, less distance to reach your ears = better phasing, and at a lower volume (which should reduce distortion.)


I'm no audio expert but from what i understand about the phasing issue, it isn't distance from the ears - it is relative distance from the ears. If left speaker is a lot farther away from your ear than the right speaker, that is worse than if they are both far away. Ideally, you want all 4 speakers (front and rear) to be equally far away from your head. How far is, again, less important. That is where the kick panel thing comes in - tries to equalize all the speaker distances. Especially the L/R of the fronts which is the worst phasing issue.

Road noise and sound quality of turning up speakers is an interesting point, though... I'm hoping sound deadening material and good speakers would take care of that.

-Damon
_________________
'84 Westy (first owner).......but my daily driver has pedals
My "perspective" mantra:
A Volkswagen Vanagon is just a material thing,
As such, it is of the earth,
And if i need to, I can let my Van go.
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TELEK27
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 8:52 pm    Post subject: raidio Reply with quote

I used dynamat through out my westy and it works great for sound deading as far as speakers go mine are mounted low on the door and they sound fine but Ialso have a 300 watt amp driving them.as far as wireing you should have a constant power a ground and aswithed power so don't have to remember to turn the raido off all the time
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scottcollins72
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure how the PO did it on ours but when you place the key in the ignition our stereo comes on. Pull the key and it's off. One of these days I'll get around to investigating how and why that works. My speakers are also in the lower portion of my doors. I've got a set of newer Blaupunkt speakers in there and it sounds just fine to me. Hardly listen to the radio when I'm driving though. Love the sound of that aircooled engine back there! Laughing
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 1:33 pm    Post subject: Don't Forget... Reply with quote

To put in a fuse as close to the battery as possible on your live wires when you do your new wiring. If you get a short--and it could happen--you want the wire cut off as quickly as possible so that we don't all again have to mourn a Van-be-cue.

NAPA sells various sorts of inline fuse holders.

Best!
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lovedavdubs
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 4:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wbx wrote:
airkooledchris wrote:

The distance is so far apart also that it throws the phasing way off it seems. With the speakers higher up in the doors, less distance to reach your ears = better phasing, and at a lower volume (which should reduce distortion.)


I'm no audio expert but from what i understand about the phasing issue, it isn't distance from the ears - it is relative distance from the ears. If left speaker is a lot farther away from your ear than the right speaker, that is worse than if they are both far away. Ideally, you want all 4 speakers (front and rear) to be equally far away from your head. How far is, again, less important. That is where the kick panel thing comes in - tries to equalize all the speaker distances. Especially the L/R of the fronts which is the worst phasing issue.

Road noise and sound quality of turning up speakers is an interesting point, though... I'm hoping sound deadening material and good speakers would take care of that.

-Damon


If you use a foil backed sound deadening material just watch that you protect your speaker wires. This didn't occur to me when I first installed in my new speakers. My speakers were located up high in the stock position and so when I closed the door, the dash board pressed on them just enough to short the wires in the back on my sound deadening. Doors opened-speakers worked. Doors closed-no sound. Think...Ah ha Idea

Duh Rolling Eyes
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mysticalclimber
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scottcollins72 wrote:
I'm not sure how the PO did it on ours but when you place the key in the ignition our stereo comes on. Pull the key and it's off. One of these days I'll get around to investigating how and why that works. My speakers are also in the lower portion of my doors. I've got a set of newer Blaupunkt speakers in there and it sounds just fine to me. Hardly listen to the radio when I'm driving though. Love the sound of that aircooled engine back there! Laughing


That's how mine is. I had two direct power wires- one of the bus, and one for memory (to save time, settings etc), an accessory power (to power the stereo on with the key), and a power for lights (which I wired in with the cig lighter light). If you don't have a schematic for your stereo wiring you might want to find one online. I think most modern stereos wire like this and so if your stereo is staying on when you remove the key then something is wired wrong.
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GWTWTLW
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are a couple of topics for wiring relays to the key in (not on) circuit. You can trigger a relay against the door chime pretty easily and have that power on your stereo when the key is in the ignition.
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hiram6
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(1) speaker placement - the problem with putting speakers down low is you will lose high frequencies. High frequency sounds (treble) are highly directional and easily absorbed. So if you are aiming these at your ankles, they are going to be absorbed by the carpeting, the upholstery, your feet, etc. Ideal would be a component system with your bass drivers down low, and a tweeter mounted up high on the door or on the dash. Drawback with a component system is complexity, and you really need an amp to drive them. Shallow door speakers up high are the compromise I went with.

(2) Power wiring. You need two power connections, a switched and a non-switched. Wire ran from the battery will give you a clean non-switched. Wire tapped into the key-in-ignition circuit will give you the best compromise for a non-switched. Radio will stay on until you remove the key. Better than a pure key-off connection because it gives you the option of radio with engine off when camping, sittinging the parking lot tailgating, whatever.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you are intending run a mammoth amplifier I wouldn't run a separate wire from the battery forward. The loads on a typical in dash stereo are pretty small and can be easily handled by the original wiring. In fact there is probably a wire running to the stereo slot just for the purpose of wiring a unit in. If you stereo is programed so it can be powered with both its power wires hot all the time then this wire is all you need. A lot of units have a special way to turn them off if both power wires are wired in together and hot the whole time, read the installation and operating manual for your unit to find out how to do this. Both wires on mine are always hot and I just have to hold the off button for two or three seconds to turn off.
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GWTWTLW
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hiram6 wrote:
(1) speaker placement - the problem with putting speakers down low is you will lose high frequencies. High frequency sounds (treble) are highly directional and easily absorbed. So if you are aiming these at your ankles, they are going to be absorbed by the carpeting, the upholstery, your feet, etc. Ideal would be a component system with your bass drivers down low, and a tweeter mounted up high on the door or on the dash. Drawback with a component system is complexity, and you really need an amp to drive them. Shallow door speakers up high are the compromise I went with.



I've always found that a set of 4 inchers up top in the factory slots work well if you have a sub in the mix. Our previous van had a set of polk components with the tweeters right next to the drivers in the factory holes. I just installed a set of the Polk DB401s (non components) in our new van. I couldn't find any 4 inch components. With a sub under the back seat, they sound great. I may add a seperate set of tweeters at some point but they sound good as is. The PO's had installed 6X9's in the bottom of the door but they sounded like crap IMO. They sounded very muffled.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GWTWTLW wrote:
The PO's had installed 6X9's in the bottom of the door but they sounded like crap IMO. They sounded very muffled.


If your ears were on your ankles, they would have sounded great!! The muffled sound was result of all the highs being soaked up.

As for the need to run a seperate wire from the battery, I did it not because of the power demands of the stereo, modern head units draw very little juice. I did it more to avoid incidental electrical noises from other components. This way I know what is sharing my power circuit (nothing) as ooposed to finding out the previous owner wired the blower fan to the radio circuit in a botched repair. My van has had multiple previous owners, and I'll bet they weren't all electrical engineers. d'oh!
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