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Discussion Starter · #241 ·
The leather swatch question remains open. I'll need to dig a little further through my workshop, but I haven't been able to find any scraps on my end yet. But I have other updates.

Time has passed since I started the build, and technology has advanced a bit. So I'll be revising my signal path a bit.

Head Unit - remains as the Xtrons unit for now, however, if I can hear problems in the sound quality even after tuning with the DSP, I will try this Joying unit and use one of the digital outputs. A little bummed at the oversized screen, but I guess it's not too garish and still hints at an OEM look, but adds both a coaxial and toslink digital output:


Amplifiers & DSP - arriving soon. I sold off my trio of Kenwood Excelons, am working on selling off my Mosconi 6to8 with Bluetooth module, and have ordered the following:

Audison AP4.9 Bit Prima 4-Channel with integrated 9-channel DSP
Audison SR5.600 5-Channel

As you can see, I've reduced from 4 components to 2, which should hypothetically clean up the signal path, and will in turn make my amp rack and cable management much easier to conceal behind the OEM trunk carpet.

Somehow I ended up with an extra SR5.600 in my cart, which I will either resell or tuck away for a future project.

Summer tires are back on the car, working on burning up the old gas. Took it for a drive yesterday and fell in love with the sound of an old-school BMW inline 6 all over again. Since I've adopted a little Escort wagon as my daily driver at least through the end of the year (very random build log linked in signature), that project will still take precedence for a while, but I aim to have both mostly buttoned up by the end of summer. Who knows at this point, life is busy. Mostly just posting here to save the Joying head unit link for future reference if needed, and to provide an update on the car - it's still in the long-term fleet plan and back on my radar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #243 ·
Heads up, my itchy credit card finger was quicker than my scheming. I'll still be going with the Audison amps, but decided due to extreme space constraints here I need to go with an AP5.9 Bit Prima and a plain non-DSP AP4. That will allow me room to stack these, keep the wiring & controls accessible through the access panel and leave lots of airspace for ventilation behind the carpet.

So if any of y'all are looking for a good price on some Audison amps that have never been handled, or are willing to bail a brother out, head over HERE.

Will sell through my eBay account if no interest here, but it's great when we can both bypass the seller fees and ensuing higher prices.

Product Gadget Audio equipment Font Material property
 

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Discussion Starter · #244 ·
I want y'all know you made me do this.

Will end auction early for the right offer. Will not end auction within the last 24 hours.



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Discussion Starter · #246 ·
You can try here for fabric, leather, carpet.... They are very knowledgeable.

Here for repair compounds, dye, etc.
You may have been thinking of my Escort build... I already did a pretty extensive interior restoration on the Bimmer if you scroll back through this thread.

Edit - I see you were probably referencing this since I mentioned the wear on the Leatherique dye, and looking for a good topcoat. I'll look at that superior restoration link and see if they have a good product for that.


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Discussion Starter · #247 ·
Deferred maintenance has been piling up on this one. 15,000 miles in the past 3 years but I'd like to increase that a bit. The last straw was the air conditioner and a now-daily lean condition misfire. Stopped in at RRT again to talk through and prioritize issues and just thought you'd like to see their lineup of client cars. Roundels all around except for the out-of-place GMC (?), an MX-5, and an Audi Q7 on the other side of the lot (not pictured).

Bracing myself for the damage $$$$ but I don't want to miss an entire summer driving season. I've got to finish building out my workshop before I can take on any more DIY auto maintenance.




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Had a 2002 E46 (330i) dumped it @ 142k miles, as it was starting to burn oil and other repairs were adding up...
 

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Discussion Starter · #249 ·
Had a 2002 E46 (330i) dumped it @ 142k miles, as it was starting to burn oil and other repairs were adding up...
170k on the clock here. I bought it at 128k about 6 years ago. Oil consumption stands at 1 qt/6000 miles, but I'm convinced most of that is seepage. I'm having them do a full diagnosis on my known issues, as well as a compression and leakdown test so I can decide how much money I want to throw at this powerplant.

Recent misfire issue aside, which are almost certainly tied in to vacuum leaks due to age, it's been a reliable car for me - and very happy all the way to the top of the RPM range. It would be hard to put such a fun drivers car on the chopping block - I don't see anything comparably nimble and communicative being produced today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #250 ·
While the car is in the shop, and will be through early to mid August (cracked subframe being reinforced, along with other expensive midlife-crisis items (midlife for car, not me ... seriously guys), I did have a chance to drive it a few times this spring and spend time listening. I messed with the internal EQ to no end, and always ended up with something similar to this previous post. No matter what I did, the EQ didn't have the dynamic range to tame the brightness of those Morel tweeters and Peerless mids. I have a serious efficiency mismatch going on.

While I will ultimately fix this via DSP, I'm thinking I should plan to fix this via L-Pad circuits in the time being.

Here's the type of circuit I'll build - the first one:
Rectangle Line Font Parallel Diagram


Now, initial listening impressions for the front stage:

HOLY MOLY MY EARS WERE BLEEDING. I tried MJ, I tried Dave Matthews, even Michael Bublé, and it was all bad. Especailly in reference to MJ, it was an all out sonic assault, and not in a good way. Bright, harsh, and sibilant do not even begin to describe it. What did I do wrong? Troubleshooting time.

Well, I started tweaking the head unit's EQ by ear to try to get it listenable, and here's what I ended up with.



Huh. Looks like some sort of a step filter. Well guess what, my ears were not playing tricks on me. Here's why:



OEM woofer was 2 ohms. OEM tweeters and mids were 8 ohms. Upon replacement, I went to 4 ohms across the board, and am still connected to the factory amplifier for the time being. So, assuming standard A/B circuitry and a linear power supply, my woofers are drawing roughly 50% of the amplifier's rated output, and my mids and tweeters are drawing four times that, or double the rated output. I should have thought of this, but it's no big deal.

Now, there's still a lot of room for improvement, but once I tamed the mids and tweeters it became very listenable after just a 10-15 minute tune. There's room to strengthen and tighten the midbass a little bit; I may need to do a sturdier baffle and replace all the door clips so everything fits together tightly. The tweeters are directly on-axis and are beaming a bit in the top octave or so, but overall with some time alignment and DSP I'm reasonably certain of a satisfactory outcome.

Oh yeah, and a subwoofer will help mellow and deepen things too.
I love math, but I love it even more when someone does the math for me and builds an online calculator. So I found this one. Rather than have the formulas dictate which resistors I ought to use, I used the "calculate attenuation of existing network" option and plugged readily available resistor sizes until I had the impedance and attenuation I want for each.

I'm also deciding I'll have to redo the door speaker install with a little more attention to detail. While the midbass is vastly improved over stock, there is still room for improvement. Most of these updates are a little ways down the road, I'm focussing on getting my Ford Escort (in signature) up to snuff for long-term daily driver status.

For the mids, 2 or 3 dB attenuation ought to be adequate. I'll keep the 4 ohm impedance, even though I know it's messing with the factory amplifier. This way I can elect to keep the attenuation network in place when I am running my aftermarket amplifiers and DSP, should I so elect.

Font Rectangle Number Parallel Screenshot

So I'm grabbing a couple of these:
Rectangle Font Metal Wood Dollar

And these:
Wood Rectangle Nickel Tin Metal


Similarly, I'll keep the 4 ohm load for the tweeters, but they need quite a bit more attenuation.
Font Rectangle Number Parallel Screenshot


I'll use the same type of resistors for these as well (wirewound chassis mount, impedance ± 1%).

I'll add some aluminum heat sinks and figure out a safe spot to mount these - not that I expect much heat, as the mid-basses and subwoofers draw much more current than mids and tweeters ever will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #251 ·
Oh, and an update on the car's mechanical condition, for any who may know or care how to interpret a compression & bleed-down test:

Compression results warm
Cyl 1) 215
Cyl 2) 217
Cyl 3) 215
Cyl 4) 217
Cyl 5) 220
Cyl 6) 220

Leak down on all cylinders less the 2%

(Not bad for a 170k mile engine IMHO. Good enough for me to commit to the subframe reinforcement and other high-dollar repair work.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #252 ·
Well, upon dropping my car from daily driver status to weekend toy status, I determined my battery - while wholly sufficient for daily use - is too weak to sit for a week unused. I found myself having to charge the car every Saturday before I could take it out of the garage. So, this battery must go.

Convenient. I was looking for an excuse to get an H8 battery (group 49) for a little extra capacity. I found this one at Walmart. 650 CCA lead-acid, please meet 850 CCA AGM. Your services won't be needed any longer.



It even comes with a vent hole. I cut a little piece of semi-rigid tubing and inserted it as an adapter to hook up to the cars vent tube.



It fits, just. You can't see, but the vent tube is hooked up as well. I believe they used the H8 battery as part of a cold weather package in some parts of the world, so the battery tray is 100% compatible. Getting the battery to drop in did involve the gentle use of a pry bar (the bottom of the battery kept getting caught on the cross-bar support, and had to be pushed over a bit). I only slightly pulled one tricep in the process of wrestling this thing into place.



Now here's the most impressive part. That Bosch that I just barely replaced, and probably could have limped along for another year or more if the car were being driven daily? 12 years old. Probably only the second battery the car ever had (now on #3).



If I'd realized the Bosch unit were so durable, I'd have shopped around for another Bosch before replacing it with a Walmart battery. I'm not upset enough about it to pull it out and make an exchange, but a word to the wise: Pep Boys carries Bosch H8 batteries, if you have a German car this may be a good choice for you. Currently there is an online 25% off promotion, which would make the Bosch the same price as the Walmart battery. :eek:

Well, upon dropping my car from daily driver status to weekend toy status, I determined my battery - while wholly sufficient for daily use - is too weak to sit for a week unused. I found myself having to charge the car every Saturday before I could take it out of the garage. So, this battery must go.

Convenient. I was looking for an excuse to get an H8 battery (group 49) for a little extra capacity. I found this one at Walmart. 650 CCA lead-acid, please meet 850 CCA AGM:



It even comes with a vent hole. I cut a little piece of semi-rigid tubing and inserted it as an adapter to hook up to the cars vent tube.



It fits, just. I believe they used the H8 battery as part of a cold weather package in some parts of the world, so the battery tray is 100% compatible. Getting the battery to drop in did involve the gentle use of a pry bar (the bottom of the battery kept getting caught on the cross-bar support, and had to be pushed over a bit). I only slightly pulled one tricep in the process of wrestling this thing into place.



Now here's the most impressive part. That Bosch that I just barely replaced, and probably could have limped along for another year or more if the car were being driven daily? 12 years old. Probably only the second battery the car ever had (now on #3).



If I'd realized the Bosch unit were so durable, I'd have shopped around for another Bosch before replacing it with a Walmart battery. I'm not upset enough about it to pull it out and make an exchange, but a word to the wise: Pep Boys carries Bosch H8 batteries, if you have a German car (many of them can use this size) this may be a good choice for you. Currently there is an online 25% off promotion, which would make the Bosch the same price as the Walmart battery.

Recommended part reference:

https://www.pepboys.com/bosch-premium-battery/product/838838
Just received word from the shop - this battery is toast. Car has been dying when I let it sit for more than a week. I never even hooked up my amplifiers.

I think it's still covered under free replacement, so I'll give it another chance, but if it fails in under 3 years again, I'll be shopping for another Bosch unit.


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Discussion Starter · #253 ·
Thought some of you following along here would want to see this post as it applies to the e46 platform.

QUOTE="TJ Mobile Audio, post: 6052117, member: 24060"]Testing fitting the alternate Dayton tweeters (part name: Dayton Audio TD20F-4 3/4" Soft Dome Neodymium Tweeter 4 Ohm).

Note, if you plan to use my hack of repurposing BMW E46 midrange mounting rings and grilles for your own build, or if you own an e46: the smaller midrange trims from the second row seating position are really only appropriate for mids. In the case if tweeters, the tweeter is so far recessed that reflections will be a big problem.

The larger front midrange trims, while sub-optimally positioned in the e46 platform (aimed more or less at your hips), are actually nearly ideal in terms of teeter mounting. They allow you to move the tweeter very far forward for a wide dispersion range.

I had checked & double checked these Dayton tweeters, and was convinced they would be a direct fit. More or less, they are.



See the three little ridges that prevent the tweeter from dropping into position?


I shaved one down with a sharp pocket knife. Alternately, one could file or Dremel a small groove in the tweeter's mounting plate:


Once removed, the tweeter can now slide gently into position at the front of the trim. The leading edge of the silk dome is about 3/16" (5mm) behind the speaker grille, so a small accidental impact with the grille would not damage the tweeter itself.


For now, the tweeter can be easily removed by inserting a hook into one of screw holes from behind. In a permanent installation, I would need to trim down the four tabs (easily seen in the first and third photo of this post) so they are the correct depth to pop back into position and lock the tweeter into place. But I don't want to deal with this now, just wanted to validate that these are in fact as perfect a fit as possible - and they are.

Gosh it's hot outside right now. Let me see about setting up some crossovers and test wires indoors.


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Discussion Starter · #254 ·
Car is back from shop, but my Everstart AGM turned into a Neverstart already. I'm hoping I didn't screw up my voltage regulator when the battery died.

Time for some weight savings. 92Ah AGM @ 850 CCA, meet 80 Ah LiFePo4 @ 2000 CCA. (And yes, an H8 battery fits nicely in the OEM location with OEM tie downs - I believe the original was an H6 or H7.)

This should work wonders to maintain voltage when the stereo demands more than the alternator can supply.





Assuming roughly a 190-200 HP car and 3200-3300 lb curb weight, a 35 lb weight loss is like adding 2 HP. Now I just need a few +5 HP stickers as well and I'll be gapping M cars in no time .

I still have one or two weight saving measures to go, I think I can fully offset the added weight from the stereo & deadening, similar to my goal in the Escort build.

Waiting for temps to come down and then I'll throw this in the trunk.


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Discussion Starter · #255 ·
Guys, I've had the car back on daily driver status for 3 days now, and this antigravity battery is impressive. I've never heard an inline 6 crank and start so fast. I'm excited to see what a stable 13+ V power supply can do with 2000 amps on tap. Voltage drop? What voltage drop?


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Car is back from shop, but my Everstart AGM turned into a Neverstart already. I'm hoping I didn't screw up my voltage regulator when the battery died.

Time for some weight savings. 92Ah AGM @ 850 CCA, meet 80 Ah LiFePo4 @ 2000 CCA. (And yes, an H8 battery fits nicely in the OEM location with OEM tie downs - I believe the original was an H6 or H7.)

This should work wonders to maintain voltage when the stereo demands more than the alternator can supply.



Assuming roughly a 190-200 HP car and 3200-3300 lb curb weight, a 35 lb weight loss is like adding 2 HP. Now I just need a few +5 HP stickers as well and I'll be gapping M cars in no time .

I still have one or two weight saving measures to go, I think I can fully offset the added weight from the stereo & deadening, similar to my goal in the Escort build.

Waiting for temps to come down and then I'll throw this in the trunk.
Guys, I've had the car back on daily driver status for 3 days now, and this antigravity battery is impressive. I've never heard an inline 6 crank and start so fast. I'm excited to see what a stable 13+ V power supply can do with 2000 amps on tap. Voltage drop? What voltage drop?
Was the OE battery AGM? Or did you replace the standard OE FLA/SLA battery with an AGM type?

Each type of battery requires a different charging voltage and charging scheme to maintain its health properly. The charging voltage, charging rates, and charging process for AGM is different from FLA or SLA batteries, and the ECM and/or voltage regulator circuit in the vehicle will be designed or programmed for the specific type of battery that was supplied with the vehicle when new. The temperature of the battery during the charging process is also more important with an AGM type.

This may be a contributing factor in why your AGM battery did not last.

Obviously, any type of battery will degrade more quickly in vehicles that sit for long periods of time without driving them, as there is almost a guarantee that there is some type of connected device in the vehicle that requires power, even if it's just milliamps, such as an OEM keyless entry system and/or alarm system, as well as the clock and memory presets in the OEM head unit, or the HVAC system temperature control presets, etc.

A double-wammy for any battery is when the car sits for long periods, AND when it is actually driven, it's only for short distances and periods such as a local supermarket run or weekend restaurant visits.

In this situation, it takes a considerable current draw to start the vehicle when going to and coming back from the destination, but the car never runs long enough to fully charge the battery, so the depletion cycle repeats over and over until the battery is well below its low voltage minimum and either the lead plates sulfate and deteriorate, and/or the battery outgasses and loses its ideal pH balance to maintain the necessary chemical reaction.

Lithium based batteries require a vastly different charging voltage and overall charging scheme compared to either SLA or AGM. And strict temperature management is essential, whereas Lead Acid batteries are much more tolerant in this regard.

Did you see and read that WARNING LABEL just above the Positive (+) battery post of your new Lithium-based Antigravity battery??? It wasn't put there by accident. ;)

You should look into a DC-DC Charge Controller for your new battery if you want it to last, and also for it to remain safe to operate. The battery manufacturer will often have recommendations for a proper charge controller. If they don't, I would be a bit scared, LOL.

Yes, Lithium-based batteries are impressive because they have very low internal resistance which allows them to discharge and charge quickly as well as maintain their voltage until they just go completely flat and stop providing current at all.

Here are a few reference articles regarding these different battery technologies and their charging requirements or differences. Check # 7 in the list below the "9 Battery FAQs" section, as well as the "Closing Thoughts".


 

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Discussion Starter · #257 ·
This is all good info. Yes I replaced the SLA with an AGM - my reading at the time indicated this was standard practice and a good option for cars that sometimes need to sit. Rarely if ever did I come back to a dead battery, even after 3-4 months, until it abruptly failed one day.

I do have a lithium ion specific charger, the one recommended by Antigravity. I read a lot about this one (including the user manual) before taking the plunge.

But I think you are right that my use profile is a big part of what killed that AGM. I did always take the car out for long drives before using it around town, mostly so I could be sure to burn through the old gas, but it did sometimes sat for a few months at a time. I won't be letting it sit so much anymore, and if I do (in the winter), I'll disconnect the battery as recommended by the manufacturer. Really, I was just procrastinating the subframe repair, oil leaks, and intake rebuild. I finally ripped the bandaid off and let someone else do it so I can go back to using the car.

Both Antigravity and PowerTex (the one I just put in my old Escort) were insistent that their batteries are appropriate to use with the OEM charging systems in normal cars. But I will look into some kind of rectifier if either manufacture has one to recommend. My assumption based on their recommendations was that the BMS is sophisticated enough to deal with the incoming voltage of a standard alternator, but I'll double check. At this price I'd obviously like these to last quite a bit longer than a standard automotive battery.

Was the OE battery AGM? Or did you replace the standard OE FLA/SLA battery with an AGM type?

Each type of battery requires a different charging voltage and charging scheme to maintain its health properly. The charging voltage, charging rates, and charging process for AGM is different from FLA or SLA batteries, and the ECM and/or voltage regulator circuit in the vehicle will be designed or programmed for the specific type of battery that was supplied with the vehicle when new. The temperature of the battery during the charging process is also more important with an AGM type.

This may be a contributing factor in why your AGM battery did not last.

Obviously, any type of battery will degrade more quickly in vehicles that sit for long periods of time without driving them, as there is almost a guarantee that there is some type of connected device in the vehicle that requires power, even if it's just milliamps, such as an OEM keyless entry system and/or alarm system, as well as the clock and memory presets in the OEM head unit, or the HVAC system temperature control presets, etc.

A double-wammy for any battery is when the car sits for long periods, AND when it is actually driven, it's only for short distances and periods such as a local supermarket run or weekend restaurant visits.

In this situation, it takes a considerable current draw to start the vehicle when going to and coming back from the destination, but the car never runs long enough to fully charge the battery, so the depletion cycle repeats over and over until the battery is well below its low voltage minimum and either the lead plates sulfate and deteriorate, and/or the battery outgasses and loses its ideal pH balance to maintain the necessary chemical reaction.

Lithium based batteries require a vastly different charging voltage and overall charging scheme compared to either SLA or AGM. And strict temperature management is essential, whereas Lead Acid batteries are much more tolerant in this regard.

Did you see and read that WARNING LABEL just above the Positive (+) battery post of your new Lithium-based Antigravity battery??? It wasn't put there by accident. ;)

You should look into a DC-DC Charge Controller for your new battery if you want it to last, and also for it to remain safe to operate. The battery manufacturer will often have recommendations for a proper charge controller. If they don't, I would be a bit scared, LOL.

Yes, Lithium-based batteries are impressive because they have very low internal resistance which allows them to discharge and charge quickly as well as maintain their voltage until they just go completely flat and stop providing current at all.

Here are a few reference articles regarding these different battery technologies and their charging requirements or differences. Check # 7 in the list below the "9 Battery FAQs" section, as well as the "Closing Thoughts".


 

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Discussion Starter · #258 · (Edited)
@bbfoto

I think what you are saying re: needing a separate DC-DC converter might only be applicable if you are using a separate lithium ion deep cycle, or some other type of dual battery system, or using "raw" lithium ion cell batteries (edit - I just mean with no BMS).

Other than the admonition to check your state of charge before driving if you've let the car sit for too long, nothing I could find from either manufacturer suggested a need for an isolated DC-DC charge regulator or anything similar.

I will however check my alternator voltage at various RPMs to make sure it the regulator keeps it between the recommended charging voltages.
 
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