The Rolling Cooler Cooler Speaker System
These coolers weren't meant to sit in your garage, so we thought it made a ton of sense to offer one with wheels. It features decent cooler capacity, affordable components and is easy to take with you. It plays for about 16 hours on a single charge of a standard lawn mower battery.
- Coleman 56-Quart Wheeled Cooler
- Pyle PLMR605B 6 1/2-Inch Dual Cone Marine Speakers
- Pyle PLMRMP1A 2-Channel Waterproof Amplifier (Silver) or a Pyle PLMRMP1B (Black)
- Dry bag, 20L
- Power switch
- NRS 1in Heavy-Duty Tie-Down Strap (2')
- Heat shrink butt connectors (6) - here are some with solder in the center that are very handy
- Female heat shrink quick disconnects (2 large/yellow, 1 medium/blue) - or buy a small package at an auto supply store
- Heat shrink ring connectors for battery cable (2 large/yellow)
- Speaker wire (3')
- Assorted zip ties (~6)
- 1/4" wire loom (< 3')
- #8, 1/2" stainless steel screws (14)
- Wireless Bluetooth Receiver
- NOCO Genius G750 Charger/Tender - this will maintain and charge your battery. Super handy.
- Power drill-driver w/ phillips bit
- Wire clippers
- Heat gun
- Half round file
- 1" hole saw or standard bit, 5 1/4" hole saw and an arbor. Alternatively, you can use a 1" bit and a Sawzall to cut the speaker holes, just know that this won't look as good.
- Drill bits: pilot bits, then final size is a 3/4" bit
- Knife and a box cutter are very handy
- Aluminum foil to protect components during the use of the heat gun
The first step is one you really, really don't want to skip. As soon as you get the amp, take it out and connect it to power to see if the amp has an internal short. To test this, connect the red and blue wires to the battery's positive terminal and the black wire to the battery's negative terminal, then check the fuse. If the fuse has blown, then you will need to exchange the amp for a new one. About 25% of the amps I've received come with an internal short. Of those that didn't, they have all performed well.
Now that we have tested our amp, it's time to start cutting.
Start by measuring, marking and drilling pilot holes for the speakers. On the underside of the lid, mark 3" in from left and right, then 3 7/8" in from top and bottom (center).
Once the pilot holes are drilled, graduate up bit sizes until you have a 1/8" hole.
Use 5 1/4" hole saw to cleanly cut out speaker holes completely through the lid.
Use the file to smooth out the cuts. This is purely cosmetic, but can't be done once the speakers are installed.
Now you need to drill the holes for the power switch and volume control (which comes with the Pyle amp). Note that both of these can be omitted if you don't want the external volume control and/or want to power down the system by disconnecting the battery. They are neat features, but not necessary.
- Drill small pilot hole for the volume control. Center point is 1 1/2" Left of close edge wall of center groove and 7/8" up from close edge of lower groove.
- Graduate up to a 1/4" bit, then use the 1" hole saw to cut the 1" hole through the lid.
- Drill pilot hole for on/off switch. Center point is 5/8" right and down from the "T" groove intersection at the top.
- Gr aduate up to a 1/4" bit, then use the 3/4" bit to drill the hole.
- Pyle PLMR605 speakers:
- Attach thin gasket to Pyle speaker with adhesive facing the speaker.
- Insert (4) #8, 1/2" stainless steel screws into speaker and puncture through the gasket.
- Remove adhesive on thicker gasket and pre-mount on the speaker with adhesive facing away from the speaker, using the screws to hold in place.
- Align speaker in hole and drive screws in to mount.
- Install amp on underside with (4) #8, 1/2" stainless steel screws. Orient with power cables toward back of cooler, and input cables near front of cooler.
- Volume control:
- Install switch by pushing through cooler top.
- Plug together, electrical tape, then feed excess wiring into speaker lid to hide.
- Wrap excess cable, zip tie, and leave inside cooler lid, unexposed.
- Remove adhesive cover, mount and install screws.
- Install 14" (point to point) NRS strap on right inside of cooler using (2) #8, 1/2" stainless steel screws. This keeps the hinges on the lid from breaking from the weight of the speakers and amp.
The Pyle amp comes with extra wire. The connectors are weak, so I suggest cutting them off and using butt connectors to attach them. On the extra wire, cut them down as follows:
- Left side (white): Cut down to 5"
- Right side (gray): Cut down to 4"
Match up the +/- wires from the amp's 2 channels and connect with female quick disconnects. Soldering these connectors will help hold them in place, but since you have easy access to them, it is not necessary.
The wires with the black stripes are negative. Here is the orientation:
- White is Left
- Gray is Right
As pictured below, you see the following wires:
- Left is the ground, so it contains the battery's negative wire and the amp's negative wire. They are attached with a yellow quick disconnect, but a blue will also likely work.
- The center is where the power will come out of the switch when it is activated. Therefore, we connect the red and blue wires from the amp. A yellow or blue disconnect will work.
- The right connection is where the power comes into the switch, so it is only the positive wire from the battery. It is attached with a blue quick disconnect.
Once each of these are connected and tested, I suggest you use solder to hold the disconnects to the switch. When doing this, be careful not to bridge the connectors with the solder or you will short the system and blow the fuse. If you do not want to solder the connections, crimp the hell out of them, as they like to work their way off over time.
You're now ready to crimp the ring connectors on to the power wires going to the battery. I suggest you put some red electrical tape around the base of the positive ring connector and black on the negative. If you accidentally reverse them, and flip the switch, you'll blow the fuse. It really sucks to be at the campground without a back-up fuse and pull a bonehead move like that.
Place the connected battery in the Coleman dry bag and roll the wire up as you seal the dry bag. This will keep the water and melted ice away from the battery.
Once all connections are made, organize them so that they are as slim as possible and zip tie them together. Then use some wire loom to cover up the loose wires. This will help the cooler's appearance and protect the wiring.