…and then some

Latest

My Custom Subwoofer Box

A friend of mine gave me a great deal on a Kenwood XR900-5 eXcelon 5 channel car amplifier and I’m having it installed soon.  It’ll be wired to current door speakers but I’m lacking a subwoofer and a box to put it in, so I thought I’d rectify that.

Another friend of mine, and also roommate, used SketchUp to work out the dimensions and details of the box.  I didn’t need anything fancy, but the resulting diagram we printed out gave us a great visual of what to expect.

We also worked out exactly what cuts we would need to make out of a 4’x4′ sheet of MDF (medium density fiberboard).  This way when we were ready to cut the pieces it would be super simple and less prone to mistakes.

Unfortunately, Home Depot didn’t have any 4’x4′ sheets of MDF so I had to settle for two 2’x4′ sheets, which mean re-thinking the cuts anyway.  Oh well.

Originally I didn’t want to use a sub box because our little 2018 Kia Soul doesn’t have a ton of cargo space as it is and I didn’t want to take up any more of it.  There is a round section on the side wall that is designed to hold an 8″ subwoofer (some models of this Kia come with a nice sound system already built in, but ours did not), and I figured I could just put one there.

 

However, after doing a bit of research I discovered a post by someone who put a small subwoofer box in the storage tray area below the floor board.  I thought this was a great idea and decided to do the same.  After a lot of brainstorming I decided we didn’t even need to use the storage tray and I’ll have much more room if I just use the entire spare tire cavity under the floor board.

Putting a box in the storage tray would only give me about 5.5″ of vertical space and I think about 11″ width.  By removing the tray and setting the box in the spare tire cavity, I’d have 12″ of vertical space… and tons more horizontal space.

I didn’t like the bare metal and other visually unappealing surfaces of the cavity so I got some semi-thick felt and covered it all.

It’s not perfect, but it serves its purpose.

Anyway, back to the box.  I brought the two 2’x4′ sheets of MDF home and made the cuts.  Oh, and I’m using .75″ thick wood.  Despite not being able to follow the SketchUp, all cuts came out quite nicely.

I started assembling the box…

The tricky part was going to be the circular hole.  I didn’t have any suitable tools for the job.  I have a buddy who does woodworking and he said he would cut it for me, but it was a bit more of drive than I was thrilled about.

I ended up just getting a really good open-box deal on a jigsaw at Harbor Freight, so I attempted to cut the hole myself.  At this point I had already ordered a 10″ subwoofer, and though it had not yet arrived, the spec sheet told me the mounting hole should be 9.2″ in diameter, IIRC.  I drew this out with a compass, drilled a starting hole, and took the jigsaw to it.

It’s worth noting this is the first time I had ever used a jigsaw.  In fact, I had to look up online how to attach the blade properly.

I’d say the hole came out okay for a first time jigsaw cut.  It’s certainly not perfect, but it didn’t have to be.  It just had to hold the speaker securely.  With the speaker hole cut and the all sides attached, the box was structurally complete.  Oh, and I also lined the inside edges with hot glue.  You can probably notice that more in later photos.

Recently I built a small shelf (you can partially see it in a couple of the above photos) and my wife and I went to home depot to get black paint for it.  I decided to use some of the paint for my box.  Since the box would be out of view and out of reach most of the time I didn’t see any reason to line the outside with carpet.  A layer of black paint would be just fine…

Well, black paint is what we asked for.  Gray is what they gave us.  Sigh.  It’s fine.  I’ll keep it like this.  As I said, it’ll be out of view anyway.

The speaker finally arrived.  I say “finally” but it took less than 48 hours.  Thanks, Amazon.

I’m not super familiar with BOSS but this speaker had a lot of great reviews and it was only 30 bucks.  Anyway I set the speaker into the hole but it was just a tiny bit too snug.  Totally fine, though.  I purposely did it this way just in case.  I can always sand/grind it out a bit more, and that’s exactly what I did.

Nice.

Most speaker boxes are not designed to be opened.  Generally you use the speaker hole to do whatever you need to do inside and then attach the speaker.  This wasn’t really going to work for me so I designed the top to be easily removable.  I used metallic insert nuts so that the top screws can be repeatedly screwed on/off without excess wear and tear on MDF.

The removable top gives me easy access to everything inside the box, which will come in quite handy.  Also you may notice a small hole in the center of the bottom of the box.  I’ll explain that later.  First, let’s wire it all up.

I cut out a small hole on the back so I can use a wire terminal.  For some reason I had a lot of trouble cutting this hole, but I managed it.

This is a dual voice coil subwoofer so I had the choice of connecting the wiring in parallel for 2Ω or in series for 8Ω.  If you don’t know the difference, don’t feel bad.  I didn’t either.  I still don’t totally understand it, but I did know that I wanted to go parallel, and the handy dandy manual shows how to do that.

So it’s all wired up inside now.

Now I’ll explain the little hole on the bottom.

As I mentioned, the box is going into the spare tire cavity in the car.  This cavity is shaped to fit a tire and in the center is a threaded “hold down clamp bolt thing” that secures the tire in place.  I decided it would work quite nicely to also hold my box in place.

While this clamp does a great job holding the box in place, unlike a tire, the bottom of the box is perfectly flat, and because the center of the cavity rises up a bit, this means the box sorta “teeters” on the center.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, to provide a wider area of support, I got a foam pad and cut out the center so the box can rest on it.

The clamp will hold the box in place and the foam pad will prevent it from wobbling around.

Anyway, at this point I discovered something that triggered my OCD quite a bit.  Turns out that the spare tire clamp hole isn’t exactly centered between the left and right sides of the vehicle, which means that when I clamp the box down, it’s not centered…

It’s actually about an inch to the left.  This bothers me quite a bit more than it should, but seeing as it has absolutely no effect on the performance of the speaker or the box and is going to be hidden under the floor board most of the time anyway, I’m going to have to just let it go…. for now.  Maybe someday I’ll go back and patch up the hole in the bottom of the box and drill a new one about an inch over.

Anyway, I tossed a few handfuls of polyfill into the box to help scatter the sound waves inside the box a bit.

 

Now to put the top back on…

I had some felt left over so I just laid it over the top of the box so that I wouldn’t have the wood of the box directly up against the plastic of the underside of the floor board…

And finally, this is all you see when you look in the back…

I still need to make a few adjustments.  You can’t tell in the above photo but the box is actually a tiny bit too high.  The clamp can push it down a bit more (I didn’t tighten it very much), but I think I *might* have to make a new box top out of .50″ MDF instead of the .75″ that I’m using now.

Anyway, the sub is all ready and now I just have to wait about a week for the amp to be installed.  And yes, I know I need to take the proper steps to break in the subwoofer before amping it up too high.  Don’t worry.  I got this. 👍

Quick Note

I appreciate the responses I’ve received to my blog posts so far.  They are encouraging and uplifting, and really mean a lot to me.  Thank you.

I know these entries have been real downers.  It’s not my intention for this entire blog to be garbage dump of negativity.  However, lately I’ve been dealing with more internal negativity than usual and I’m finding that this is becoming a very helpful and healthy outlet.  Thank you for taking time to read.

Invisible Demon

I have anxiety.  It isn’t rational.  It can’t always be explained.  It is real.

Yesterday my family met up with my aunt/uncle and cousins at a nice restaurant to celebrate some birthdays (mine included).  I sat there, mostly quiet, for what felt like hours, although it had only been a short time.  I should have been hungry, but I wasn’t.  I was under too much pressure to feel the need to eat.  Pressure from what?  I don’t know.  I just felt some kind of “social claustrophobia” and eventually I had to get out.  So that’s what I did.  I got up and went outside.  It was the only thing I knew to do.  Unfortunately, once I was away from the table the emotional stress only evolved into guilt for walking out.  I stayed outside until my wife eventually joined me and we left.

Earlier today I had lunch with my immediate family to celebrate my sister’s birthday.  During the meal, I thought I would do the mature thing and own up to abandoning everyone at the restaurant.  So, I apologized.  I said “I’m sorry about yesterday”.  I don’t know what I expected in response to this, but what I didn’t expect was completely silence.  Well, that’s what I got.  Not a word back.  Not so much as an acknowledgement that I’d said anything at all.  Nobody even looked at me.  I don’t know what anybody was thinking, but even though no words were uttered aloud I can tell you what I heard.  I heard stuff like “You embarrassed us all” and “we’re too ashamed of you to even think about it” and “we can’t believe you did such a thing”.  You see, this is the kind of thing anxiety does to a person to tear them apart from the inside.  Even though logically and reasonably I know my family wouldn’t say things like that about me, it’s how I felt, and once again, the stress and pressure started setting in.

To be honest I hesitated quite a bit while writing that last sentence.  Even as I sit here now, having had time to “sort it out” in my brain, I still don’t feel 100% convinced that my family wasn’t thinking some of those things.  Notice that I used the phrase “wouldn’t *say* things like that”.  I do believe they wouldn’t say those things… out loud.  I can’t be sure they wouldn’t think them.  I’m not sure how to handle that.

The ways in which anxiety plays tricks on the mind is compounded by the lack of understanding by others.  Anxiety is one of those things that can’t easily be explained to or understood by someone who hasn’t experienced it.  I’m so grateful that I have a wife who understands, and because of this at the very least I don’t feel completely alone.

After dinner I told my mom that I haven’t been doing well…. that I’ve been feeling anxious and depressed and angry.  Her one word reply “Why” told me right away there was no point in trying to explain.  Anxiety has no answer for “Why”.  It just is.

I have an amazing family that loves me and I’m incredibly blessed to have them, but all the love in the world isn’t going to help them understand what I’m going through.  I’m just going to have to hope they take me seriously and at least pray about it or something.

Also, yes.  I have been taking medication for this for a long time… and, for a long time, I’ve been doing just fine.  However the last couple of weeks have been pretty bad, and I’m not sure what’s changed.

Well, I think I got out what I wanted to get out.

Boiler

I have a lot of pent-up anger inside of me.  Years of exasperation and indignation just pooling up.  I’m pretty good at holding it back… sealing it in to protect those around me from it.  However once in a while some of it leaks out, and I often feel that if I don’t let some of it out little bits at a time, like trying to open a shaken bottle of soda without making a huge mess, I might just explode.

 

Bad Mood

I’m in a pretty bad mood right now.  Not sure why, either.  It’s probably just a series of several small things adding up.

You know, I seem to have close friends who lean on me with their burdens and emotional baggage, but when I need support, I have nobody.  Somehow I’m just not surprised.

Few things surprise me any more.

How do I choose the right title?

So it looks like my last post was over a year and a half ago.  Yeah I’m probably not going to do some ‘episodic’ series of technical troubles, although those things really do seem to follow me around like… I dunno.  Mosquitoes, I suppose?  Yeah, mosquitoes… and as if I was bathed it sugar water.  Sounds about right.

I really do want to start blogging again, and for some reason, no matter how many times I say I’m going to… I just don’t.  I wonder why that is.  Maybe it’s laziness, or maybe it’s forgetfulness…  Perhaps it all boils down to an underlying lack of caring.

I’d like to make a good effort this time, though.  It would help if I got some type of feedback from my friends, too.  Doesn’t have to even be an actual comment or response.  Just some acknowledgement that the entry was read.  A “like” on Facebook would suffice, assuming these get posted there (they should).

That’s really all I have for right now, though. I’ll bring more later.

Mysterious Tech Troubles: S01E00: Pilot

Some of my friends already know this about me already.  I am afflicted by a strange curse.  This curse causes technology that I use to exhibit unusual, inexplicable, and nonsensical problems.  I’m just not talking about the typical problems people have such as low performance, limited storage capacities, or even virus issues.  I’m mostly talking about problems that really make no sense at all and show themselves spontaneously without any particular trigger or provocation.  I know what you’re probably thinking.  You’re probably thinking there’s obviously got to be some kind of logical cause and explanation for each problem that I encounter, and the practical, objective side of my brain would agree with you.  However, until someone can actually find those causes or explanations and share them with me, I’m calling it a curse.

I have finally decided to start logging each of these issues as they occur, or in this case, I’ll be blogging.

Even though this is just the pilot episode meant to introduce you to some of the details of this curse, I’ll tell you about a problem that happened to me only moments ago…

It was about 3:20am and I was diligently working my job. I had several windows open and was focused on a thought when I decided to unplug the cable from my mouse.  I have a Logitech G700s gaming mouse the functions both with or without the wire.  I plug it in to charge it.  It doesn’t really hold a charge as long as my previous mouse, so I tend to just leave it plugged in even when it isn’t necessary.  Tonight, however, I wanted to reduce the extra ‘drag’ caused by the wire and unplugged it.  Normally when I do this the mouse might stop for a second, but then it would go back to normal and it’d be like nothing happened.  Such wasn’t the case this time.

I unplugged the mouse from the cable, and as expected, it stopped moving for a brief moment and then I could move it again, but then something unexpected happened… I was no longer able to click on anything other than the application I was focused on when I unplugged the mouse.  No matter where I clicked or moved the mouse on the screen, there was no response or feedback whatsoever.  Couldn’t click anything.  Couldn’t even get apps to recognize the mouse at all… except just the one I was focused on previously.

I plugged the mouse back in.  Figured maybe if I just go back to the way it was a few minutes ago, I can continue my work.  Nope.  The problem persisted.  Already having completely lost my train of thought and now thoroughly frustrated with this ridiculous interruption, I decided to go grab Lisa’s much less fancy wireless mouse and use that for now.  I got the mouse, plugged in the receiver and… hmmm… why isn’t this working…. wait, the USB hub I plugged the receiver to isn’t working.  Why not?  Is it not plugged in?  Yeah, it’s plugged in.  I guess I’ll unplug it and plug it back in.  Okay now it’s working… now let’s plug the receiver in and use Lisa’s mouse so I can continue my work.

Nope.

The problem persisted… even with a completely different mouse.  I realize that it’s not the physical mouse with the problem but rather something with the drivers/software that operates the mouse.  I guess I thought that using a different mouse would use a different generic mouse driver or something.  Maybe not, though.  Either way, I didn’t see any way to fix the problem… except to reboot the PC.

Rebooting the PC is quite a hassle… especially when it interrupts my work.  As mentioned before, I’ve got several windows open and I’m looking at certain lines of code within specific files and it’s just extra trouble to have to get it all back up again.  Plus, for some unknown reason, my Windows takes an incredibly long time to start up (which, by the way, is another mystery that I might talk about at some point).

Anyway, after the PC booted up again, the mouse worked normally again.  My displays, however… well, perhaps I’ll talk about that in another episode.

The Social Disconnect

I’ve been wanting to write about this for days, but I feel a bit intimidated by the amount of words I would have to type.  I decided I’ll just say what I want to say now and if we need a part 2 then we’ll do that.

Technology.  Technology and I have a truly hate/love relationship. I love how easy it makes some things and how much joy it brings me when it cooperates.  However, sometimes it does not cooperate and it brings only grief and madness.  Still, I keep it around and embrace it like little brother or something.  I know, it’s weird.

Technology is a jealous, conniving little beast, though.  It wants everybody for itself and doesn’t want to share.  I know this because technology is drawing everybody into itself and away from their friends and families.  These devices and networks that were initially designed to connect people is doing just the opposite.

This paragraph was initially going to be about Facebook (and social networking in general), but I’m going to save that for another day.  Instead, this paragraph will be about smartphones, and I might only touch the surface, but I wanted to at least do that.  Phones are devices that are meant to connect people.  People can communicate to each other over long distances instantly.  It’s an amazing technology.  However, phones are disconnecting people in a profound way.  Years ago, friends would gather together to enjoy each others’ company.  They’d watch movies, play games, or just sit around and chat.  This formula seems to have changed with the introduction of smartphones.  People still gather together, but rather than enjoying each other, they plant their faces in their phones, doing… who knows?  I couldn’t tell you how many times my personal social interaction with another person has been hijacked by a phone, or how many times I’ve been in a quiet room full of people playing with their wireless devices rather than enjoying each others’ company.

Well, that’s all I really have the energy for today.  Trust me, though, I have plenty more to say on the topic.

Thought Bucket

I have many thoughts and topics that I’d kinda like to write about in my blog.  I’m just not quite sure where to begin.  Among others, certain topics such as the pain in my hip, my thoughts on black Friday, getting sick and recovering, and why I think Facebook is an anti-social network… are all things I’d like to talk about in my blogs.  I’m just not sure if now’s the time for those.

One thing I suppose I’ll touch on is blogging itself.  Personal blogs are very difficult to get an audience for, especially compared to blogs that cover popular trends and news.  You see, personal blogs don’t really have much to offer the reader.  There isn’t really much the audience can take from a personal blog to apply somewhere else.  Personal blogs are primarily just for the author’s benefit… a way for someone to talk about stuff that interests them first and foremost.  So… what can be done about this?  Is there a way to maintain a personal blog while still be appealing (or even entertaining) to the reader?  Perhaps if we’re clever about the way we write things… or maybe we can throw in funny bits here and there.   I dunno.

I’m going to sign off in a few minutes and get ready for bed, and while I’m doing so, I’ll be unable to help but wonder in the back of my mind if anybody is going to read this post… and if so, who?  What will he/she think about it?

[this is the part where I simply shrug and click the “Publish” button]

Diet Pepsi is a Real Blast

I was sleeping.  I heard a noise.  It was one of those noises you can tell came from the real world and not the dream world.  It came from somewhere in the house, and it was loud enough to wake me up.

Before I continue I should let you know that I already have troubles with apprehensions of loud noises occurring at night.  I suppose being a homeowner with no children and an incredibly docile cat that usually sleeps with us at night gives me the notion that any sound coming from somewhere else inside the house can’t be a good thing.

Anyway, I definitely heard something, and the cat was indeed with us so it wasn’t her.  I slipped out of bed and peeked out of the bedroom door.  I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, nor did I hear any more sounds.  I grabbed the flashlight and slowly began walking around the house.  When I got to the kitchen I smelled something suspicious… something that didn’t belong… but I didn’t see anything of any consequence.  I went through the hall to the computer room and then to the living room and found nothing of concern.  I returned to the kitchen, again smelling the strange scent.  Then I saw it.  The freezer door was partially open.

When the light from my flashlight hit the freezer I immediately knew what had happened.  I saw a few Diet Pepsi cans haphazardly lodged between the freezer door and the freezer itself.  You see, I had friends over a while earlier and before they arrived I placed a few cans of soda in the freezer door to chill them quickly, foolishly telling myself “Eh, I won’t forget”.  Well, I forgot.

After turning on the kitchen light and getting a closer look without opening the freezer door more, I could see most of the damage.  At least one of the cans had split in half  and literally exploded all over the inside of the freezer.  This apparently happened with enough force to knock the door storage railing off of its ‘hook’ (you can see this railing in the photo, but I put it back together before taking the picture) and force the entire freezer door open enough for the cans to fall just enough to prevent the door from closing but not fall out onto the floor.

I’ve never actually experienced the effects of a can of soda literally exploding in a freezer.  In fact, I often thought of it as no more than an urban legend.  Guess I have my proof now.  Even still, I never would have expected it to burst with such force.

 

IMG_20140521_103223_598

 

IMG_20140521_094714_631