Saturday, December 17, 2011

Outside Sirius Radio Addition

This modification - like all mine - apply to a 2009 Damon Outlaw.  It could probably work with others with necessary changes for your specific unit.


I admit it, I like having my outside radio.  But I did not like the fact that I couldn't use my Sirius add on without going inside and cranking up the volume to unacceptable levels.  I decided to find a solution so here's how I handled it.

I identified several steps that had to be done:
a) Remove and replace the original radio control on the outside wall
b) Remove and replace the weather cover that was done under another modification
c) Disassemble the corner cabinet TV mount in the Toy Area to access wiring
d) Mount a Sirius Antenna (and run wiring) to the roof
e) Run an auxiliary cable to the inside radio input, and audio lines to the amplifier
f) Drill through outside wall for access and mounting of new docking station
g) Run power to docking station
h) Anything else that came up during the process - I admit, I can't think of everything

My Sirius (SP5TK1) is an older model that can be used with a docking station in different locations.  I had to obtain an additional docking station (available on line or Best Buy) set up.  I also knew that it would have to be weatherproof while traveling.

I had to dismount my original AM/FM head unit (and cover) from a previous modification to make room for this add on, and essentially, start over.  OK, no worries.

After dismounting the Pioneer head unit and cleaning the wall of all remaining sealant, I pulled the associated cables / audio lines and taped them off.

The next step was to dismantle the corner TV cabinet and access the cabling inside, plus pull the drawers from under the step leading to the loft to access behind the mounting location, the amplifier, and audio lines.  The first photo is of the area under the steps where the wiring bundle and amplifier is located.

At the same time, I removed the TV and opened the access panel behind it to access the rear of the radio and wiring bundle located there.  As you can see in this photo, it was an absolute mess in there.  frankly, it looked like whoever installed this stuff simply stuffed everything they could fit inside without any thought.

After pulling the cabinet, I realised that the stock AM/FM radio had nothing but a piece of 16 gage wire stuck into the antenna slot - no wonder I was never able to use the AM side of the radio.  But I knew then I would have to purchase and add a standard car antenna during the installation of the Sirius antenna on the roof.  (grrrrrrrrrr)

I sorted through all the wiring bundle and tried to organise what was already in place before proceeding.  It actually went pretty quickly.

The next step was running the antenna cable from the roof, down through an existing access panel for the satellite, over to the TV cabinet, then through the wall space behind the anticipated location of the docking station.  I used a standard Sirius House Antenna rather than a car style antenna because of the durability of the antenna.

Although I did not take any photo's of it, I also took the time to mount a standard car antenna (which is that lower cable seen in the photo) nearby to hook into the stock head unit.

After running the new antenna lines down through the rood, across the interior wall (using cable tubing) I tapped into the area behind the stairwell for access to the amplifier and audio cable lines.

I used a standard audio cable line from radio shack to add the audio "in" connector from the Sirius to head unit.  At the same time, I ran electric cable from the interior of the TV cabinet to a new electric box I installed under the stairwell to power the Sirius head unit.  I simply mounted the new box to the existing brace.

I wanted to complete all of these steps before I breeched the exterior wall.  Frankly, I was a little concerned about drilling a 1 inch hole through the wall and was leaving it to last.

I used the existing hole from the stock AM/FM as a guide, and measured an area about 7 inches to the left of that as the potential mounting location.  Yes, I measured more then once, and can't tell you how many times I went in and out of the Outlaw to make sure I wasn't drilling into an existing support on the inside wall. The first photo is the "plug" after drilling, it was about 1 7/8 inch thick.   Regardless, once drilled, I simply ran the new wiring (antenna and power cables to the outside. 

Mounting the weather guard (see previous post about the weather box for the outside radio) over both of the holes was the next step (after dry fitting and checking the power and antenna to make sure everything worked). I wasn't too concerned about the stock radio since it was simply being remounted.  But, these boxes are a little bigger then the previous one so getting them lined up was the most time consuming.  In the first photo the stock is already mounted and finished, the second box (Sirius) is still being finished. After mounting the basic box with clear silicone they were both sealed with a bead around both the inside and outside of the two boxes - they were left overnight without any weight in them so they could "set-up" and become secure before I started adding the control heads and covers.

After completion they line up side by side and look like this with the covers open:

And like this when closed:

To use the radio, I mount it in the docking station, use the "audio out" cable from the docking station that I ran into the TV cabinet and plug it into the "aux in" plug on the standard head unit for the AM/FM radio.  Switching the setting to "AUX 1" allows the Sirius to playback through the stereo system through the outside speakers.  If I want to use the standard radio, I simply unplug the cable inside.

This project took about 6 man hours (primarily because I was being overly cautious about the electrical and cutting through the wall) and the cost (primarily in the docking station) was around $100 total.

Having said that, any labor and cost has been worth while now that I can use the Sirius outside the unit when ever I want.

I hope this helps anyone who may be thinking about doing this modification.

No comments:

Post a Comment