Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Subwoofer Experiment

What do you do if your home theatre system burns? Put the subwoofer in the car of course! That's what happened to my Philips MCD139B Home Theatre System, which one day decided to burn its electronics. Repairing it would be expensive, so I chucked away the electronics and put the subwoofer into the car.


Philips MCD139B Home Theatre System. The subwoofer has a 6ohm 5.5inch speaker with power handling of 50W RMS. The burned electronics are inside the left speaker. Fortunately the speakers are still functioning. Unfortunately the CD player is unusable without the electronics.



The headunit has a pair of RCA preouts (for left and right channels) which are both connected to the right channel of the amplifier. This is so that the bass from both the headunit's left and right channels are amplified. The 100W max (50W+50W) amplifier is connected to the subwoofer. 12V power is taken from the cigarette lighter socket. This setup is temporary as I wanted to test the sound quality. Don't be fooled by the small wires! You don't really need thick wires to handle 100W, despite what the car audio installer tells you. Seriously!

Well, after listening to a bunch of tracks full of bass, I can say this subwoofer setup is going to be permanent in the car. The bass is punchy, deep and strong without any noticeable distortion. This sound quality is with the headunit bass/mid/treble equaliser settings set flat. Wonderful! Switching on the "Loud" button on the headunit produces an ear-deafening and chest-pounding thump! Well, the subwoofer was designed for home theater and is supposed to produce earth-shaking bass, and it definitely shook the car.


Warning Notice:

Warning! Do not connect a high power amplifier into the cigar lighter. A high power amplifier can burn the cigar lighter wiring. For example, the Pioneer amplifier above has a 50 amp fuse on it, which means it should be connected directly to the battery.




The cigar lighter plug is not practical as a permanent power supply for the amplifier, so it needs to be replaced.

An ordinary household 3-wire power cable was used to power the amplifier. This is more than sufficient as the cable can easily handle up to 1000W of power. Household power cable is also fireproof which is a good thing for automotive use. The power is tapped from the headunit's wiring loom. Green goes to ground, brown goes to 12V and blue goes to remote.

Cable ties help to keep the wires together and look pretty.

The amplifier sits inside the passenger seat secret compartment. Yes Peugeot 206s have a secret compartment which is not very secret at all, now that you know where it is.

The power cable and interconnects are long enough to sneak under the centre console and slide together with the passenger seat (there are people who get a kick out of sliding car seats).

I have tried putting the subwoofer in the boot, but the boot kills the bass. So it sits in the rear middle seat instead, secured by the centre seatbelt. I seldom drive passengers, so it is okay to have the subwoofer use up the centre seat. The subwoofer is positioned to fire bass sounds to the front. The sound level is adjusted at the amplifier. The wires go under the seat, floor carpets and into the not-so-secret passenger seat compartment.

The set up now sounds really good. Bass is so much stronger, that I get a headache after listening to it. Now my music is so much enjoyable.