Music, Music, Music on a scooter.
by Ron Goldwyn
(Milford, CT USA)
Well by now you realize that I like my creature comforts while riding my scooter. Today I added a cigarette lighter outlet found in my nautical junk box. This outlet was stainless steel and has a waterproof plug to seal it off. Now I can plug in my small 12v tire pump, or I can recharge my MP3 player when its battery runs low. It was located within 16" of the battery compartment and it had its own fused circuit.
Next project is mounting a cup or can holder (Soda, not beer.)
The main purpose of this posting is to describe my audio system number 2 that I installed yesterday after removing the prior one. First you may be a lucky one with a built in radio/ audio system. You few can stop reading at this point, but for the majority of you who are not so fortunate, read on.
First decide what you want your system to do...
- Play FM radio?
- Play SD Memory cards?
- Play both
- Buy strictly an amplifier that plays from a MP3 or MP4 player?
One thing that I don't recommend is using earphones inside a helmet as that can be dangerous with your ability to hear outside noises.
All the above systems can be obtained on Ebay Motors, (not the regular Ebay), by searching for Scooter Audio systems, Motorcycle Audio systems, 12v Amplifiers, Waterproof Speakers. And similar subjects.Caveat Emptor – Let the buyer beware.
It is easy to spend $500 for a system, the hard part is to create a similar system for under $100 and be able to install it yourself. To accomplish this we must buy the units from China and they have many at "Buy it Now" prices.
But each merchant sell many of the same thing at different prices, so to buy their lowest priced item you must visit their store and select the one selling for the lowest price. Then visit other merchants and do the same. Finally, select the best deal.
One of the things these merchants do is offer an amplifier for $25 plus $5 shipping while also offering the same product for $5 with $25 shipping.. You still pay $30, but if the shipping cost is only $5 then you are being overcharged $20 in shipping costs.
Another trick they pull is for you to make an offer, which they refuse and counter with a price that is more than they are selling it for in their store. Don't make an offer until you know their lowest selling price.
If you are going to by a Radio / Amp make sure the radio has the ability to have preset stations as while riding your scooter is no time to look at the station dial.
Many merchants offer 3" speakers, but that is the extreme measurement of the enclosure, while the actual speaker is only 2" in diameter. A waterproof speaker means that the cone is made of plastic
and that it will suffer no ill effect if placed in a swimming pool for a period of time.
Let's talk about speakers first, because every system needs them. Unless you plan to cut holes into your scooters body panels it is most likely that you will buy handlebar mounted speakers. I mounted my system to my windshield instead as it is much cheaper to replace my windshield than the body panels.
If you go on You Tube, you can see videos that fill the under seat box with some very fancy systems that give full bass that is distortion free music. The best speakers that can fit on the handlebars are 4" speakers that sell for about $100 apiece in chrome or black.
To me that would make my Scooter look like it had two big eyes. I bought speakers that are waterproof heavy duty 50 watt 2" tweeters that go for about $15 each and while the bass response is poor the highs are fine.
Some power amplifiers are rated 750 watts (the normal listening output is only 2 watts), so that the amp produces very little distortion, but could blow out small speakers if the volume were turned up to maximum.
Many guys buy just an amp and speakers and use their iPod or other MP3 player for the input source. My MP4 player has a built-in FM radio with the ability to pre-select the stations by just hitting one button. It also has a memory of 4GB and I can plug in miniSD cards of an additional 2GB. The amplifier can be hidden away with just the input cable visible to plug in your MP3 player.
My player is in a soft plastic case so that I can push all the buttons while keeping the unit water resistant.
For under $40, you can purchase an amp that plays only full size SD Cards that I make on my home computer and comes with a fine set of 2" speakers, but it cannot play from any other input source. It also has a wired remote control so that you can change the track and the volume setting.
One 2GB card can store between 1000 and 1500 songs so that you will be listening for quite a while before hearing the first track again.
The unit I installed is mounted to the base of my windshield and can play FM radio and SD cards and when in the off position is a digital clock. It also has a wireless remote control that I velcroed to a spot on my handlebars within reach of my LEFT thumb. I say LEFT because your right hand is used to maintain the accelerator while traveling.
Finally, none of these units are waterproof, so that it is necessary to mount them in a compartment or install them in a water resistant case.
Now let your fingers do the walking while surfing the Internet and Ebay Automotive. In particular.
A battery tender like the Battery Tender Jr. can make all the difference in whether your scooter will start right up each spring, after being stored for months.
Just about every scooter owner needs to have a battery tender, sometimes called a trickle charger. Unless you are lucky enough to live in a climate where you can ride all year long, chances are your scooter will be put on ice, figuratively-speaking, for at least a couple months every winter.
One of the key steps in winterizing a scooter is to protect your battery from draining during its "rest" period. This can – and will – happen if you leave your battery sitting untended in your cold scooter over the winter, even if it's in a garage or shed.