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Discussion Starter #61
So I think I may have changed my mind about using an RCA pot for master volume control. What if I can provide volume control input into the HU steering wheel remote connector, here (see bottom right, 3.5mm jack cable):


using a rotary encoder and controller IC, here:



Anyone done this?

I don't want to retain my steering wheel controls. The volume control are buttons, I need a portable, rotary knob solution.
 

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I would put a bow around what you've first...
There is something to be learned... and then move on... (IMO)
 

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Discussion Starter #63
Found my cable, so I'll get on the prototype soon. Holiday stuff has things on hold. I'll post first thing with results.

259279
 

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Discussion Starter #65 (Edited)
Not letting this die on the vine. Busy with holiday stuff, as I'm sure we all are. PCB's from China arrived. Took long enough (not too bad, really, as far as boat times are concerned). I swear I should have just drawn them myself and had Oshpark print them. Next time. I have one RCA connector finished and I'll get the rest done and the whole thing put together on Sunday. Then, drum roll, the big test on my home AV receiver. Stay tuned...

Edit: Oshpark, not Oshkpark.

IMG_20200103_183428.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #66
Ok Holmz, I just kicked a cat and punched a baby. I'm about to throw everything about this stereo project into the garbage to save my sanity. I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, and I'm usually good at this kind of stuff, but building these RCA cables is kicking my ass for some reason and I'm just not sure I have the patience to go on with this. My soldering iron tip is new, clean, all that jazz, I think I have a good process down, but I have about 4 hours into these RCA cables and I did my first continuity check on what I thought was a solid cable end and heard beeping on +pos and-neg, UGH! I'm done for tonight. And maybe forever.

I guess I just need to figure out a better process. Any tips? I don't mind the tedious work and my eyes are 20/16, so I'm not sure why this is being such a pain in my ass...

This is my very first cable end:

IMG_20200112_202008.jpg
 

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You just want to control volume from the DSP with knobs right? Well the easy way?



Its just a small mini mixer with op amps built in. You can move the Pots with some wire, and make your custom set of 8 knobs I think you need.

For the Radio? They are just buttons on the head unit. So.. All you need is a atmatel, or raspberry micro pi. Your. choice. Get any knob and and go to the code library, and when you start your car stereo, you can program it so that the knob works just like the buttons...

You can also use the Bluetooth volume knobs. I think you may have to use a Convertor mouduel to work with your Steering wheel control wire,

They also have this on ebay that is made to do just what you want.



Bluetooth with knob.




This last one should do the volume control of you car radio via a Phone etc. But you can program the AMTEL or the RasPi to do that on your Factory steering controls.


You can also get a CHEAP plate from a donor like this

And mod it.

THe other option for High end volume control is the Audio COntrol unit.


They guys would be HAPPY to help you make the pots external so you could mount them with some 20 pair shielded cables, to the front, and just control the volume from the line driver. They actually help out with this kind of stuff.

Again, I would just get a steering wheel control knob, you really like, or a bluetooth one like the one that is on here, take that signal to a Microcotroler, and have it work with the colume control wires on your deck or 2.5MM jack. Whatever you got. You just have the microcontrol duplicate the singals on the anlog pins or digital pins, whatever yoru stereo wants to use, and you have volume control for the deck. Done. No opening up just boom. Done.


I hope I helped out. But please keep going. Learning is always fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #68
You just want to control volume from the DSP with knobs right? Well the easy way?
Stop blowing my mind.

Christ I need to look into some things.

You, my good sir, deserve a beer on me. Name your place and time! Wow, seriously though, THANK YOU for chiming in on this! I didn't want to kick anymore cats! (punching babies I'm ok with)
 

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Ok Holmz...
. Any tips? I don't mind the tedious work and my eyes are 20/16, so I'm not sure why this is being such a pain in my ass...

This is my very first cable end:

View attachment 260102
Well mine, in the past, were 20/12 and 20/13... (And a reminder that people should stop before they go blind.)

I dunno... usually the centre part gives me more issues that the shell...
Is the iron big enough? Looks like a lot of heat? And I like slow cooking, but wielding and solder like more temp and less heat... if you cotton on to what I am saying?
 

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Yea the solder of RCA's.. Boy did I not like doing that when I did.

Here are some tips that people don't know about these things.

First, Where you solder to on the RCA's, that part is treated with the same stuff on the front of the jack. So.. If you want to get it to stick? You have to do 3 things.


  • Sandpaper the Solder point with some 40 to 80 grit sandpaper. 100-200 grit sandpaper works but takes more time.
  • Sounds dumb but clean it with alcohol..
  • The surface should look different from the rest of the metal.
  • Get some Helpful hands. Harbor Freight or hazard fright has some or amazon.
  • have the RCA tipped down so where the contact points face the ground or gravity.
  • Heat up the RCA with a solder gun, or air.
  • get some Aluminum FLux liquid. DO NOT LET IT GET UP THE RCA COLLAR!
  • let it burn off.
  • Add dap more, let it sit for a second.
  • Get some shrink wrap. Double up on it. Great time to put a logo on it if you can, or print one.
  • get some regular copper flux dip the wire you are going to use in it.
  • Get your wires, and tin them so they go inside the loop, as one strand with fraying. Just a TINY bit. NO GLOBS
  • Now set your iron to high.
  • Put the wire in your helping hands and the RCA in the alligator clips.
  • Position them so they are just how you want to solder them.
  • THe RCA collar connection one should fan out. Make sure you put it where you treated and sanded.
  • apply the tiny dab of aluminum flux on the collar you sanded and plan to solder the wire too.
  • Use the VERY TINY GAUGE FLUX SOLDER. The smaller the better. Make sure your tip has a small bit on it.
  • Use a large TIP on your solder iron if you have not put it on yet.
  • With your iron HOT. Put it on the Collar. Its going to take about 15 seconds to heat up.
  • apply the solder on the collar. Attach the wires flat in a fan fashion. Just enough so it looks neat.
  • Spray the front with alcohol. before you do the center pin. This is to make sure it does not melt.
  • Make sure its fine. Shine a light. Make sure you don't see any light on the other side if needed.
  • Now do the same for the center pin. You want to work QUICK HERE.
  • It should attach easy. Test the connection with a Ohm Meter etc.
  • If it looks great? CLean it with alcohol. CLEAN THE FLUX out of it.
  • If rubber boot, then seal with hot glue. You can also just use epoxy 2 part, and squirt it in.
  • But on the collar to the RCA if its a screw type.
  • Make sure to attach the Wire to the metal clamp if it has that option to crimp it. some do, some don't.
  • Now heat shrink the end.
  • Test the cable again. Just do it..
  • Now you can do the other side if you want.
  • Also, Craigs contact gold on the pin or electric grease on the rca spariligy.
YOU SHOULD have Audiophile grade connectors.
Here is dude using Fancy wire.. Shit. Just use CAt 6a wire or cat7 is all shielded, balanced etc. .



OR......

COAX. Just steel some from the cable guy. He has tons.
COax TOOLs from anywhere.
Get some Coax to RCA connectors at lowes, Home depot etc.
Follow the quick instructions, and bam. You got Custom Shielded RCA's

A dude can make you some Coax cables and just the COAX to RCA adaptor too.

A thread on this.



I used RCA adaptors on an install once. Dude had tons of Coax cables around at the same lengths, so we just attached those to the F screw in connector, and ran the wires. Done. They are already rated for outdoor. So or a car it was a no brainer. Harder to work with, but works. And according to audio snobs? The best kind of cables you can make as they RG-48 I think is shielded. Or maybe RG 68? I don't deal with coax much at all.

So.. That should take care of the RCA's if you want to make custom ones. And lengths. I just use Cat5 or cat6 for my car audio installs. One cable, 8 conductors, and it all works. You can use the shielded stuff as 9 conditions for a ground if you want or ground the shield like some people like to do.

I even use it for speaker wire since when you add it up? that's like 16AWG. after you twist 4 of the 8 pairs into 2 wires.
Works great for TUrn on wire, and VIdeo installs in cars and back up cameras.

Just don't use it for 120V extension cords like I do for Christmas lights like I don't. And I would NEVER DO THAT since it is BAD.. And its only rated for 48VDC.... :)


ALso, one last tip, when you do your pots? MAKE SURE TO GROUND THE CASE and the Knobs to the case. That will stop them from getting any RF from the car. You can use some Capacitors to make a grounding/Faraday filter or shield. That should make it immune to EMI from the Ignition system or Stray RF signals. That should keep all the audio signlas clean so they don't act like Mini antennas and limit crosstalk between the pots. Its overkill, but chances are the box you build is going to be one of a kind. Might as well go all out. Labor is why a Krell or Bryston amp goes for 10,000. And Love of what you do goes for the other $10,000.

You never know.. You might be selling these boxes to Hifi Heads. THey have not made one for car audio use in a LONG time for analogue use in a while.

And I will take you up on the beer oneday. Be cool bro!
 

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The Mrs said this evening, "look at that sunset".
I thought, "I am not some wanker that is going to stare at the sun."

Sunsets and dough rises don't mix though.
 

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Discussion Starter #77
They also have this on ebay that is made to do just what you want.
This one looks like any other cheap level controller, but in the description states a frequency range of 150hz to 40hz? Does this sound right?

I'm really interested in the other ebay knob you referenced. I had not thought of using a bluetooth controller and tapping into the steering wheel control wire on the head unit's wiring harness! I didn't know those were sold. I was looking into a rotary encoder and IC chip to tie into the steering wheel line. Thanks for that heads up! I think that's the way to go for HU volume.

As far as controlling the rear-fill amp, I'm ok with using my pots and original idea, I just have to sit down, take some time and get the RCA's soldered. I have done plenty of soldering with small electronics (Arduino, Adafruit, other devboards) and even SMA stuff (like, 1608 sized resistors) so I'm pretty sure I was just rushing it and a little pissy to start off.

I wish I could use the Behringer unit as that would be a one-component solution but I'm not sure how it would work with only one RCA output? I didn't understand what you meant by extending the pots to 8 knobs. Probably because I'm a bit of a knob myself sometimes.
 

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I didn't understand what you meant by extending the pots to 8 knobs.
On the Audio control unit, the analog line driver has 8 channels if my memory serves me right on that line driver. Audio control years ago helped a guy in his setup from what I read in a Defunct car stereo review article where the controls of the audio control units were taken from their installed location next to the amps for sound quality to use shorter RCA's and then took the wires via the pot soldered leads and moved them to another location in the car where all the other controls are.

So the physical boxes were mounted in one location, but the control knobs were now moved & mounted on a custom plate where they could adjust them on the fly from an easy accessible location.

Back in the day they just used Pro sound stuff in cars. So I'm thinking they just used a Snake cable with Multi conductors from the pots on the board to pots that would match the ones on the board to the new panell mount that was remotely mounted.

You can do the same if you match the Ohms of the pots with just Cat 6 STP (shielded twisted Pair) or Cat-7 with more noise rejection as each pair of cables is Shielded. For such a short run, Cat-6 STP would work just fine. Just match the pot ohms to the new pots that you have and you should be able to remote mount anything with a knob.


Me? I would not even bother with the RCA's. Just a 8 pin Molex and solder directly the PCB on one side and the other.

Leviton makes something like this that I have used in Home installs and Commercial settings.



Also after doing some digging, they actually make remote volume control electronic knobs too. Kind of cool. Not for your use really, but I thought that was kind of cool while I was looking up Leviton stuff that would work for remote volume knobs as I use in High Voltage 70v audio. Both those are based on line level. Not preamp low level signals.


About ebay listings? I would take them with a grain of salt. Make sure they have a return policy, ebay for me lets me return stuff no problem.

May I ask for photos of your set up right now, It would help.

I tried looking for anything that was like this device here that I have used in the past to give a signal into a conference room.
Here is the link to the Owners manual to see how this works. But its powered.. so no use in car audio really. And way to big for what it does as it is made to be rack mounted.


But so far? I have not seen anything that can be remote controlled from say a dash and have the unit mounted where the amps are. The only solution in the analogue space is Build your own if you want something that works passively AND is High end.

Leviton I KNOW has a Remote Preamp control, but it uses an active box and I think some old skool home automation protocol that allow you to control the volume remotely.

Again, I'm not sure exactly where you equipment is mounted and where. But that would help.

Seriously, it gets me thinking about amp design and maybe a new way to set up your system. Totaly of the topic.. But..

We already have Bluetooth Amps now after My DIY build years ago. How much harder would it be to move all those amp controls to digital? I mean instead of pots, A small Op amp and a driver IC like they use in a radio to control the levels would be easy to do since all the stuff is right there. So no more physical controls on an amp. Even just all digital in and out. All controlled from any app on a phone.

Just use ethernet jacks on each amp for up to 8 channels per amp, and control the amps wirelessly. That would also give you things like Power meters etc that you could all just see via a bluetooth app. Even amp health if you manufacture wanted that. But that is getting way off topic.

Its just kind of sad that way back in 1995, we had decks and gear that were all digital from the Deck, to the amp. Even DSP that were digital input as well. But today, we are still using all this wire for what?

Just a thought.. Anyways, good luck man. Love to see the final install. Cheers!





Hell no more RCA cables. You could do it all over Wifi or simple ethernet or even USB cables.
 

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Discussion Starter #80
Hell no more RCA cables. You could do it all over Wifi or simple ethernet or even USB cables.

Oh, I'm with you on that. Car audio, at least aftermarket stuff, is behind the tech curve as far as I'm concerned. Thanks again for all that info. You're giving me so many options and ideas that I'll need a minute or two to wrap my head around them!

At the present, there is no system. Just a bunch of components in boxes waiting to be installed. Two of the three amps were pre-ordered and I don't even have yet. They will ship out the end of this month (or so they say). I'm working on the design and biding my time with research and development. I did however, receive the Audio Dynamics 6to8 DSP last week as promised by them. Looks like a nice unit and has BT, optical, a remote, all the bells and whistles. I put the DSP software on my lappy and played with it a bit. I think I'm going to like it.

Things will really start to come together in a few weeks when I have everything. I'm doing a bunch of interior work as well, new carpet, sound deadening, cleaning (haven't cleaned the inside of my car since I started driving it in Feb) and other interior stuff. I need to get on with the rear glass tint adhesive removal and get serious about tint. If I'm going to lose my back seat and have equipment showing, I need to brick up the rear 3 windows with tint. Just stuff I've been lazy about, really, but have the time to procrastinate a bit. Once all the components arrive, then I kick into gear and it all goes in pretty quick. Months to plan and acquire, a few weeks to get it all in.
 
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