Cool project--How to build an ice chest boombox! - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Cool project--How to build an ice chest boombox!

My oldest son wanted a weatherproof outdoor sound system for tailgating, camping, and tubing on the river. He had heard of "ice chest boomboxes" or "boombox coolers" and asked for my help in building one. We started out with a 40 qt. Igloo cooler that sells at Academy Sports for about $35. It was my suggestion to get one with wheels to make it easier to move around:

Next I looked on for a suitable head unit and speakers. They have several kits from Pyle made for marine installations which looked perfect. The kits include head unit with weatherproof cover and weatherproof speakers. We chose the Pyle PLMRKIT102 which also included a remote and USB flash drive all for $70:

The kit came with 2 speakers but my son wanted 4 so he spent the extra $19 for another pair. Our original idea was to mount the head unit on one side between the speakers, but due to lack of space we decided to mount it in the lid. After he decided where everything would be mounted, he marked the cooler with a pencil and I cut out the holes with my jig saw:

We mounted the head unit onto the cover and then slid it into the lid and secured with screws. Even though the cover has a gasket, we went ahead and put a bead of silicone sealant between the cover and the lid:

Next, we mounted the speakers in the same way with a bead of silicone. The speakers came with metal clips which we slid onto the blue outer covering so the screws would have something to bite into:

Then I wired the speakers and connected all the wires to the radio's harness using "beetles" which are crimp connectors used by old telephone men and alarm installers:

I wired the power connections to the battery which is a 7a/hr 12V gel cell that I had lying around. I still need to
fashion a bracket to secure the battery. This picture shows the inside after everything was hooked up:

This is the head unit which does NOT have a disc player. Instead, it has a USB port and SD card slot for playing
music in MP3/WMA format:

The cover has a gasket that seals the head unit when it's snapped down:

Since the head unit has no motors or moving parts, it uses very little power. According to my measurements, it
should play for at least 6-7 hours on a charge at a very loud volume:

So we fired up the unit and it sounds great! It's plenty loud which makes it good for outdoor locations:

The handle and wheels make it easy to haul around.

This turned out to be an easy and fun project that didn't cost a lot. Other than the speakers, I probably have
enough stuff in the garage to make another one for myself!

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Last edited by JuneBug; 11-04-2011 at 12:51 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 04:30 PM
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Now that is downright slick! I bet your boy appreciates it. I'm amazed at the miniscule size of the battery.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 04:49 PM
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Modding a cooler! Now that's a cool idea! Oh, I like the color of the wheels also.

To The BlackMobile!!!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 05:28 AM
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If you slightly adjust it, quite a number of cans of beer fit in there perfectly as well.
Fire up the party!


Driving a BMW318i with LPG at the moment. Had a 2.0 RAV4.1 1997 3drs 4WD euro model w/ABS dual sunroof blue two tone previously.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2012, 10:26 AM
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Sorry to dig this up hehehe. Summer is near and I'm inspired to build my self one

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-13-2012, 11:56 AM
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Wow... Want one for camping and other outdoor gatherings!

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Driving Toyotas since 1978: 78 Celica GT -> 84 Tercel Base -> 93 Tercel DX -> 95 Tacoma Xtracab -> 03 Tundra TRD -> 11 RAV4 Ltd V6
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