Thursday, September 6, 2012

Home Made Speaker Boxes For The Pontoon Boat

Well, the back speakers in our pontoon boat stopped working.  Ordinarily this would be no big deal because you would simply follow the wire from the stereo to the speaker, checking for problems.  If it was cut, you could simply splice it back together or it wouldn't be too much trouble to run a new speaker wire to the speaker.

This is no ordinary pontoon boat.  There is aluminum plating on the bottom of the deck, designed to keep water from splashing up against the framework of the boat and slowing you down.  The factory ran the speaker wires between the floor of the pontoon and this aluminum plating.  It was going to be somewhat of a problem to get to the speaker wires and no one wanted to do this.  Might there be some other way of enjoying music at the back of the boat?

There might be.

And there was.

I decided to build a speaker box system that would fit across the top of the dash of the boat, positioning two speakers pointing at the driver and those behind him.  It would look just like an extension of the console, rising up a foot or so above the steering wheel but not really blocking any ones view.

This was a wonderful idea and it should have worked out beautifully.

Except that it didn't.  There were too many obstructions in the way of placing a box system across the dash.  There was an antenna sticking up that would have to be dealt with.  On the opposite side there was a fish finder in the way.  And there are also three or four switches on that side to be taken into consideration.  And the top of the dash had a curved hump in it that would require careful trimming of the speaker box system for it to fit well.  This just wasn't going to work.

Something else would have to be done.  Some other way of listening to tunes would have to be devised.

Perhaps we could build a separate speaker box for each side of the console?  Yes indeed, we could.  But there was limited room for two free standing speakers.  They were going to have to be small, smaller than I wanted and since there was little space to put them, this needed to be mostly a vertical build.  And we keep our pontoon boat at the lake. I was just guessing at the measurements so I decided to go with a pair of 5 1/4 inch speakers.  Any smaller and it just wouldn't be worth it, any larger and they probably wouldn't fit.

This is how it went.



We got a board, 1 inch by 4 inches, 8 feet long and we began cutting.  My 10 year old nephew actually did the cutting and he did a good job.  Then we used gorilla wood glue to stick the pieces of the frame together, at least temporarily.  Later on holes were drilled and they were screwed solidly together.



Then I had him to cut out pieces of plywood for the front and the rear of the speaker box.  After they were trimmed and screwed on, a little bit of grinding and sanding ocurred and then they looked like this.  These wooden boxes will not be falling apart.



And this.  Also, cracks were filled up with caulk.



A side view.



Here they are after about six coats of spray paint.  If I was doing it again, I wouldn't use plywood.  It wasn't very smooth and doesn't really look all that great but no one felt like doing all of the sanding to make it smooth.



And here they are with the speakers all mounted.  I didn't know that the speaker covers were going to stick out that far and they protrude over the sides a little bit.  Oh well.  The brand name of the speakers is Boss and they came from Walmart.  I got them because they have a plastic looking material that the cones are made of and it should be more waterproof than some others I've looked at.  I didn't want to splurge for actual marine speakers without knowing what size I needed and these will work, at least for awhile.

One of them sits on the left side of the console just behind the stereo antenna and the other one sits next to the fish finder on the other side, with the hump in the middle.
It was a good thing I decided on this size of speaker instead of the larger ones because they just barely fit.  One of them actually needs to be half an inch narrower for it to stand up properly but we're going to call it all well and done.

Happy tunes are on the way.

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