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Old 28-12-2011, 12:05   #1
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Sailboat Ipod Stereo

As with most sailboats, battery power is at a premium. Looking at standard car stereos, they look like they would eat my battery quickly with hours of use, but the prices are good (less than $100 for one that will charge / play an ipod)

I simply want to be able to plug in a Ipod or Iphone, have it charge, and some small amplification for remote speakers throughout the boat. I will mount it inside the cabin, so being waterproof is no big deal (I hope!)

I have found the Iboat - Around $250-300
iBoat - Vertical Mount Docking station for iPodŽ | PolyPlanar Waterproof Marine Audio Systems

and the Left Coast Simple Stereo - About $180-200 The Left Coast Simple Stereo

Both would work, but the prices are way too high for what you're getting. Anyone have a better option? I am not against building my own if there is a kit out there.
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Old 28-12-2011, 12:20   #2
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Car stereos do not use a lot of power. 1amp is a typical figure for a car CD player. Car Mp3 players are a bit better again my Alpine ida-x200 consumes 0.6A from a USB stick or 0.7A powering an iPod.
A 15GB USB stick gives lots of music and the songs can be sorted and played, just like an I pod.
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Old 28-12-2011, 12:40   #3
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If I was doing this right now I'd probably install this or something similar:
http://www.defender.com/product.jsp?...613&id=1833850

I have a Boss system and it does fine. SC
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Old 28-12-2011, 12:48   #4
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Buy a marinized Car-type radio; they will last longer. I have one in my powerboat cockpit that is 12 years old and still working fine. Sony makes a nice marine unit.
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Old 28-12-2011, 12:59   #5
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Thanks for the input.

.6 to .7 amps for mp3 playback? I guess I may have been wrong if this is the case. Reading through the literature, I am seeing input amperages of 10amps, granted, this is worst case - full volume playing. I won't be working it that hard, just some background music while sailing or anchored.

I assume you confirmed this with an ammeter, correct?
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Old 28-12-2011, 13:28   #6
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibur5 View Post

I assume you confirmed this with an ammeter, correct?
Yes the figures are accurate and typical of most units. No car units will draw anything like an average of 10A unless you have extensive external amps etc

0.6-0.7A will get me quite loud volume with 1 set of speakers and I have reasonably inefficient speakers.

It helps to engage the dim lighting option on the display (about 0.1A less ) and consider if you want the memory function. On most sets it does not use much power, but on others the constant drain, over months, can be significant. (the memory function draws a very small amount of power even when the unit is off to retain station presets and time

You can wire most car units up to give normal or dim lighting and memory off or on.
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Old 28-12-2011, 13:45   #7
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

I just installed a Sony car stereo (model MEX-BT3900U) in the cabin of our Pearson. It is in the Xplod series and has three different "auxiliary" inputs. It has the standard 3.5mm jack on the front as well as a USB port for a flash drive. In addition to those, it also has bluetooth, which is what I use most of the time. I have NOT measured the current drain of this unit.

I have no reason to believe that a car stereo, in the dry cabin of a sailboat, wouldn't last as long a the same stereo installed in a car in any coastal city. If you are installing in a power boat, absolutely use a marine rated stereo.
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Old 28-12-2011, 13:48   #8
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

What a car stereo will draw depends on what power it has. Most car stereos are built with an amplifier optimized for quality or power or cost--not power efficiency since they are connected to "unlimited" alternator power.

A phone/mp3 dock designed for AC use may be built the same way. A boom box or other unit designed to run on batteries is more likely to sip power, and trade off loudness or price in order to do that.

Car stereos tend to be the best bang for the buck though, but if you're solo a bluetooth stereo headset can be great.

The paradigm for music collections HAS changed. LP, 8track, CD, are all dead whether they are still in use or not. One cell phone can hold 64GB of music, and that's easily 1000 albums at CD quality. One "ipod classic" with a 160gb hard drive in it an hold even more.

You put all your music on the one phone or mp3 player, it moves with you, it connects via bluetooth to everything--including the $100 car stereos that now stream from BT players. I wouldn't worry so much about docks, and power consumption is probably not worth researching, hard as it is to get numbers on it.

I'd go for a $100-125 car stereo that can stream from BT sources and has an input jack and CD player built into it, as a reasonable compromise that won't hurt to replace down the line if you want or need to. And will fit into a standard "single DIN" panel cutout for installation, and power four standard spearkers. Just use two, and your power consumption will be cut nearly in half. Get efficient speakers, invest more money on speaker quality and efficiency, and that should pay off more.
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Old 28-12-2011, 17:28   #9
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

in the cabin of a sailboat you really dont need a marinized unit. If the water gets as high as your chart table or wherever it is you have it installed then you have problems a bit more important than replacing a $150 stereo. I would get a unit with an AUX jack on the front to take the ipod feed. It is what I did after going to the car stereo store and checking out all of the ipod control systems they have. It turns out that the best way to control an ipod is to use the ipod - anything else is less intuitive and prone to malfunction. Charge the ipod with a 12V plug or a wall charger if you have an inverter turned on. Works great.
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Old 28-12-2011, 17:49   #10
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Why use a car stereo at all, just get a small amp as you intended and plug your ipod directly into it using the headphone socket with a 3.5mm jack to twin phono output, the I pod will control the volume etc.
Put a switch on the supply to your amp and maybe an LED indicator light, and switch off when not in use.

The great thing about this system is you don't need to find an accessible spot for the head unit either.

I've used this set up in a few cars, as I can't be bothered to mess around with the head unit and rarely listen to the radio.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:11   #11
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Quote:
Originally Posted by speciald@ocens. View Post
Buy a marinized Car-type radio; they will last longer. I have one in my powerboat cockpit that is 12 years old and still working fine. Sony makes a nice marine unit.
+1

Unmarinized car stereos don't last long in the marine environment.

I have an Alpine IDA something marine stereo with no built-in CD player. It is made especially for use with an IPod or MP3 player. It has astonishingly good sound and is ruggedly built.
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Old 28-12-2011, 19:18   #12
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Well, I figured out a solution. I bought the parts to make myself a homemade version of a "Left Coast" Stereo.

Parts Express had everything I was looking for. Total to do everything the "Left Coast" unit does, plus add a pair of marine grade cigarette lighter sockets, was $56 before shipping. (not including a couple feet of patch wire and about an hour to assemble it when it gets here)

Class D 2X25W amplifier board, utility case, switches, belken charging kit, etc.

If anyone wants the exact parts list, let me know.

Nice thing is it will be enclosed in a Plastic utility case I will seal with silicone when I install it. Should be nearly watertight, so corrosion from salt air shouldn't be an issue. I can then hide the amp somewhere out of the way, and just plug in my Ipod to it. Done!
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Old 29-12-2011, 02:58   #13
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Excalibur5 View Post

Nice thing is it will be enclosed in a Plastic utility case I will seal with silicone when I install it. Should be nearly watertight, so corrosion from salt air shouldn't be an issue.
Make sure the cooling is OK.
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Old 29-12-2011, 12:37   #14
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

"Make sure the cooling is OK."

Noelex 77-

Thanks and very good point. The first thing I checked was its requirements for a heat sink. Apparrently this little amp is efficient enough it does not even need a heat sink. It does also have built-in overheat protection, so it will shut itsself off if it ever gets hot, before it releases the "magic smoke". I'll run it in for a while with the case open, to verify it isn't getting too hot.

If you're wondering, here is the page for the amp.

2x25W @ 4 Ohm TPA3123 Class-D Audio Amplifier Board 320-304
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Old 29-12-2011, 13:13   #15
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Re: Sailboat Ipod Stereo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artif View Post
Why use a car stereo at all, just get a small amp as you intended and plug your ipod directly into it using the headphone socket with a 3.5mm jack to twin phono output, the I pod will control the volume etc.
Put a switch on the supply to your amp and maybe an LED indicator light, and switch off when not in use.

The great thing about this system is you don't need to find an accessible spot for the head unit either.

I've used this set up in a few cars, as I can't be bothered to mess around with the head unit and rarely listen to the radio.
I agree 100%. The radio portion or 'deck' as it was called in the old days is not needed anymore. Just get the mini plug into RCA jacks that would interface with a nice small amp and run directly from your i-pod or even your phone! Put several plugs around and you can just move your phone or i-pod to that area and plug it in, like the bedroom or on deck, or the galley or whatever. Cheapest way to go with the least hassle.
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