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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    So I finally finished up the other "other" Bantam Table Radio today.

    I had some issues with the smaller faceplate unit regarding noise. Man, these little preamp things can be fussy.

    I had originally built three of these radios, plan was that one would have the larger faceplate and the other two with the smaller size.

    Well, out of three smaller sized faceplates, only one of them could be used, the other two had noise issues that just couldn't seem to be resolved. I used all the tricks that you guys have taught me over the past few years and nothing worked.

    I ended up re-ordering another larger faceplate unit and cutting out a larger opening in the remaining radio and after some fiddling, all is well in Zarboland.

    Here's a pic in action in the corner of our family room:

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    It's funny, but the bass is so much stronger here than on the countertop in the kitchen., I swear I'm listening to our full size stereo if I'm in another room and can't notice the lack of stereo separation.
    I'm getting peaks of around 92-93 dB at 10 feet or so and strong output in the 50-60 Hz range, even plenty of push in the 40 Hz range in the corner on the spectrum analyzer.

    This large faceplate unit has a plastic panel as opposed to the other one with a metal panel. I think I like the metal one better, but this one seems fine too. It's just shiny and I tend to like the more matte finishes on stuff like this. I was wondering why this one was $3 less than the other ones, now I know!

    Anyway, it's nice to have another project wrapped up and in the "done" column.

    This really is a kick-butt little project, sounds good and loud like a real stereo system. Technology is great.

    TomZ

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Here are the dimensions for the Bantam Table Radio in case anyone wants to have a go.

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    Bantam Table Radio Dimensions.pdf
    The crossover is the same as the Bantam's speaker system at this point.
    I did take some measurements but given the random placement likely with a table radio, I saw no need to change anything.
    Here is a link to the crossover:
    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...94#post1304994

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    Also, I've included a PDF as that may print out better for more clarity on the finer print.

    There should be plenty of room for any faceplate you choose to use with this so I didn't include any details on that or the terminal cup/antenna setup as that will be based on your choice.
    PE has a faceplate preamp that would easily fit with room to spare.
    TomZ
    Attached Files
    Last edited by tomzarbo; 11-17-2019, 08:52 AM.

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Originally posted by randyohoh View Post
    What? A rectangular box? Kidding, the build is gorgeous! And it probably plays louder and cleaner than anything available
    Thanks man. I know, no curves right? But I wanted to make this easily buildable for anyone who wanted to give it a try.
    It really is easy to put together. At least I did a roundover on the sides!

    I'm considering bringing it to MWAF to enter in the open unlimited as funny as that sounds. I know it'll be outgunned by literally everything else in that category, but it'd be nice to give it a shot.

    TomZ

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Originally posted by howard View Post
    Tom, Very attractive piece! You did a wonderful job. Any one would be proud to have this.
    Thanks Howard, I try real hard. There are boo-boo's but it's mostly nice.

    A few more pics now that they are working again.

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    Now to finish the other two. I also need to take some measurements of this one to see if any minor crossover adjustments are needed before I send it away.

    TomZ

    Leave a comment:


  • randyohoh
    replied
    What? A rectangular box? Kidding, the build is gorgeous! And it probably plays louder and cleaner than anything available

    Leave a comment:


  • howard
    replied
    Tom, Very attractive piece! You did a wonderful job. Any one would be proud to have this.

    Leave a comment:


  • tomzarbo
    replied
    I finished this up yesterday.

    After beating on it for several hours and doing some temperature testing and subsequent modifications, everything now seems to be working as intended. I was having some issues with the switch not working correctly, but I suspect the click-in connector wasn't making full connection somehow.

    I'll elaborate on that a bit: I had originally intended to wire this up so that the switch on the top turned everything on and off... so when you press in and turn on the switch the light would turn on, and the amp and video player would both turn on. That would have been okay, but when the video player has it's power cut off, the volume level (for some stupid reason #%@!*%) reverts to 28 (out of 30) and each time you turn the unit on, you'd be basically at full volume... not an ideal scenario. So, I wired it so that the video player is always connected to the 24v input so it wouldn't revert to max volume, and I only switched the amplifier with the switch. That way, you have time to double-check the volume level before turning on the amp. In a perfect world, the switch would 'switch' both units on and off, but these are the bits I have to work with, and the video player really is a cool little device, so I'm dealing with it.

    Anyway, what I was finding was that every once in awhile when I would switch the switch off (which should kill the light and turn off the amp) it would actually stay lit and the amp would stay powered on. My mind raced to previous Amp/preamp projects where 12v was getting to the faceplate from the amp through the L/R/Ground input line even when the 12v positive power line was not connected -- believe it or not. Electrons are not my friends I guess. But, after taking the guts out of the radio to drill a hole for the rear vent and reinstalling all the connectors, I'm not able to repeat the problem, so I think a poor connection may have been the issue. I have several of these switches and I tried another one but was not able to repeat the issue with either switch.

    This 'large video player' radio has some slightly different characteristics than the small video player unit. The small player exhibits a positive DC offset when the video player is turned on, the big player does not do that. Since I'm trying to finish this large video player unit first for my friend's mom, I'm trying to get this one buttoned down, tested for a bit, and on down the road... then I'll address the issues with the two small video player units in a few weeks.

    Back to temperature testing... After running the unit for several hours at almost full volume with some bassy songs, I noticed the top of the enclosure in the middle section getting warmer than the sides. I have the amp mounted with brass standoffs to the inside top of the enclosure to keep things tidy... but that makes a little pocked up there where heat can build up and not really escape. The bottom of the center electronics area is open for air to come in, but I hadn't allowed a way for it to escape. So I bought a bag of these "Soffit Vents" from Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    They need a 1 3/8" hole with the corner sanded round a bit to sit flush, but they look really cool installed and the lip covers up where I drilled for a clean look. I like the fact that you can see the shiny heat sink on the amp through the vent.

    It didn't really lower the temp on the heatsink that I can tell, but over time having a way for heat to evacuate will just be better. I could feel some 'warmth' emanating from the vent after a good half-hour of pushing it pretty hard.

    I tried to post some pics of the soffit vent installed, but the forum software says my pics are corrupted or something, I'll get them put up when PE gets that fixed up.

    I'm wondering if anyone would be interested in repeating this project or not. I have box dimensions jotted down as I built these, and could publish the cabinet dimensions and such if there was any interest.

    I realize that this project is kind of pricy for the size of it. PE has some blast boxes that probably have a bit more 'boom' for about the same or even less money, but this setup sounds really nice, and is very compact. I had it running some 'bass-happy' Waymond Tisdale tracks on it as I went to get the mail yesterday... I could hear music from the outside fairly loudly... sounded like my big stereo minus the low bass. And the kid in me is just amazed that you can have a boom box radio with a video player on it and watch music videos in addition to just listening to the music. These players are under $30 shipped and are really worth every penny. I found myself watching a 'Fourplay' concert with Bob James on the piano for an hour on this little thing and thinking 'this is so cool' the entire time.

    Anyway, I guess that's if for now on this project. I'll post pics of the other two 'small video player units' as I finish them up and report any 'issues' with their completion as well.

    I apologize for the long-windedness of this post, but I thought a concise 'recap' may help since this has been going on for a little while.

    Happy building everyone,
    TomZ

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Pretty much there...

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    It works, and the audio is pretty much dead-quiet... that's a relief. I've had issues with noise in the past, but decided to take a preemptive strike with the use of an isolated DC/DC converter to the head unit to get ahead of such problems. Sounds pretty good as well; it's got a nice little punch to it.

    I do have an issue with the switch, and/or power going to the head unit or amp. Electrons are flowing in a way I don't want, it's intermittent, but needs to be addressed before I send this 4-5 states away.
    It'll probably be next weekend before I can really go over this thing to get the bumps worked out, but so far, I'm encouraged.

    TomZ

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Originally posted by anunnaki View Post
    Very cool project(s) Tom! Love the veneer choices and the finish.

    What is the verdict on how they sound?
    Anunnaki,
    I still have to solder up all the crossover bits and get the PR's installed.

    I had the same basic setup (Bantams alongside a cardboard box) powered by the same amp and it sounded pretty good and more than loud enough for a table radio, and that was with the 16v power supply, I'm using a 24v with this setup.

    I think this would even work fairly well for a small outdoor situation like a deck -- where there is household power to run it from. This will have the advantage of having the passive radiators directly opposed to cancel out vibrations, which are substantial.

    Let you know this weekend hopefully! The wife's away to a 'Ladies Retreat' at church so me and 'Benson the cat' are bachelor's this weekend.

    TomZ

    Thanks by the way.

    Leave a comment:


  • anunnaki
    replied
    Very cool project(s) Tom! Love the veneer choices and the finish.

    What is the verdict on how they sound?

    Leave a comment:


  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Joe,
    they both work pretty much the same. Can't say for sure on 100% of the features, but very similar.
    Just be careful on choosing voltage on the big one, the 12v version is the same as the 5v, but comes with an additional board to mount on the back of your enclosure that includes necessary jacks and a voltage regulator.
    The small one is good because it works with 8 to 24v which is nice for little amps.
    They both play clean, no noise to speak of.
    hey, if you use one, please post up the details. I'd love it if PE carried these.
    TomZ

    Leave a comment:


  • JoeCaWWW
    replied
    Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
    These are the head units I'm planning on using. I've tested both of them in several versions and they are solid units with consistent build quality. It would be great to see PE carry them, especially the smaller one as it would fit in almost as small of a space as their other Bluetooth faceplate preamp unit... https://www.parts-express.com/12-vdc...remot--320-348 I have not had good luck with that one, personally.

    Here is the bigger one:

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    It has a 4.3" screen and It comes in two versions, a 5 volt version without the rear plug panel, and a 12 volt version with the rear panel. The rear panel includes hook ups for video output audio in and out, plus power input. It has a voltage regulator on the board which accepts 8-12 volts and sends it to the player as 5 volts. I would be using the 5 volt version as it's just a bit cheaper and I don't need the plugs on the back. This player is all over AliExpress and you can get one shipped to your house for under $30.
    You'd have to search for 'Lossless video Bluetooth player' or something similar to that. The AliExpress search engine is not the best to find these.

    Here is the smaller one:

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    It has a 3" screen and comes in black and raw silver aluminum. I've only seen it in the 8-24V input version so far. It isn't very deep so I think it would be an upgrade to the PE bluetooth faceplate preamp unit linked to above. The big player needs a few more inches of depth as it has one of the daughter boards arranged so it needs more space behind the player. This one is around $30 shipped as well.

    They both use the same remote and work basically the same way.

    They will play all types of music files, video files, and pictures. They both have FM radio tuners as well, although only the larger unit has a place to connect to an antenna.
    At least on the larger one I was able to play music files on it while displaying pictures like a digital picture frame, that was nice. It's not touch screen, but the interface is well done and logical, the remote works well and takes two AAA batteries and has decent feel, not like the thin card remotes, I really dislike those for some reason.

    I believe they use the same internal chipset to operate as the screens are basically the same and they both operate the same way. The video screens are high enough quality for their size, not HD or anything, but you're not going to be staring at these things or watching a movie on them, just accessing features or maybe playing a video while you do other things... for that they are great. The screen can be easily changed to English too. They both seem to be low-noise and of decent quality. Bluetooth seems to work well, though the antenna is just internal on both of these. The USB and SD card inputs are handy if you're not a bluetooth person.

    There is another version of the larger player that comes raw without the mounting plate. Don't be tempted by saving a few bucks, I have one of those, but there just isn't a good way to mount it. That's how it was first available, it took a year or so for them to get the faceplate version up and going. I really like the look and feel of the smaller player, it's buttons are aluminum and really feel pretty good to press for something this inexpensive.

    One of the things I want to do with both of these preamp boards is find a switched voltage source so that I can connect a relay or something so that turning on the video player via remote will turn on the amp as well, that would really tidy up things a lot. My other 'Toni Table Radio' had a power button on top that needed to be switched on and off before using the unit which wasn't as nice. Once switched on, the amp would always be powered up even if you turned off the preamp faceplate player.

    I may end up ordering one of those amps Mike. Beings that this will be controlled by a head unit, I was just looking for a basic amp without all the knobs and Bluetooth, but I guess some adjustability wouldn't be bad. The other sub amp I was considering using had pots for the volume and lowpass frequency as well. Maybe put the knobs out the back so they can be adjusted, but not easily.

    TomZ
    Hey, thanks for sharing, if I got you right, they are pretty much the same and I can order one which fits best in size

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  • tomzarbo
    replied
    I didn't get the crossovers finished up, but I did get the components attached to the Passive Radiator frames. Ran out of steam I guess.

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    Hopefully I can get it buttoned down this week and run it for several hours. It's going to Georgia, so I want to make sure nothing is amiss.

    TomZ

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  • Kevin K.
    replied
    Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post

    Hey, you changed your avatar! Finally retired the Archers huh?

    TomZ
    Yea, just playing around with a different look. Will probably update it again after finishing the next set of speakers I'm working on.

    Leave a comment:


  • tomzarbo
    replied
    Thanks Kevin,
    I'm not planning on changing the crossover for this one. I'll take a measurement on it before I send it out the door to see if I need to adjust anything on the other two. Probably minor if anything.

    Hey, you changed your avatar! Finally retired the Archers huh?

    TomZ

    Leave a comment:

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