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Wanting to take my granddaughter to a new drive in movie theater that has opened this summer in my area. I'm hoping she'll get a kick out of it. Wife wants to put a blowup mattress in the bed of the truck for us to lounge on while watching the movie. The drive-in broadcasts the sound track through your car's stereo, my truck has a solid back window. So decided to build a self contained ammo can radio that we can haul around and run off car battery also if needed.

Had most of what was needed on hand, I did find a cool car stereo that has built in speakers on the radio's face plate on Amazon. Had a small solar panel used for charging trail cameras (clearance Item) and a solar charger controller (clearance item). Have I mentioned I really like rummaging through CLEARANCE ITEM bins??

Got everything laid out, wired up and test fitted. I still need a battery disconnect switch (one I had was inoperable). Also need to mount the solar panel. Wired it so the battery can be charged by the solar panel or a trickle charger.

Thinking about having a three way switch so I can bypass the internal battery and just plug it up to the vehicles cigarette lighter power plug with an extension cord (???).

The radio's small speakers actually sounds good and fairly loud. The small flip up antennae was on Amazon also, the ammo can's lid closes down and seals tight.

Can also charge phone and other electronics from the USB ports on the solar charger and the radio.

Here's some pics of what I got done today.

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks guys!

Not an original idea of mine, seen these radios online...priced at $350 plus. I like the Family Radio Service (FRS) base station set up made out of an ammo can. Makes a nice mobile radio communications set up.

Stopped by the auto parts store today for a new ON/OFF toggle switch for main power, thought about adding a power ON indicator LED but figured the radio's function keys illumination will do the same job well enough. Memory back up will be maintained by the secondary power wire (memory) straight to the battery.

Currently the Ammo can radio is mocked up and still in the design / layout phase. I'll post more pics when I get time to finish the project.

If anyone is interested in a parts list / wiring diagram, let me know and I'll try to get it posted for you. The hardest part of the project is cutting the holes in the metal face plate. I used scrap sheet metal from an old A/C unit's access panel to make the face plate. A thick sheet of Plexiglass or plastic can be used instead of metal, the softer material is easier to cut / shape. I'd like to make the face plate into a cartridge type assembly were the battery and face plate come out together (face plate, 4 long stand off bolts and a bottom tray). No penetrations of the outer sell of the ammo can are made inorder to keep the ammo can water tight.

Note: Radio has been energized (drawing off battery) mainly on sleep mode since the night of 21st of July. Started out at 12.7 volts when first plugged up, currently at 12.5 volts. Sleep mode is drawing very little current.


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I like it!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Took the canned radio, my wife and Granddaughter to the drive in movie tonight to watch the new Lion King. Good movie by the way, Emily had a great time and enjoyed it also.

Radio worked out perfectly, battery went from 12.2 to 12.1 volts after playing for 2hrs. Sound was good and plenty loud.

I still have a couple things I want to tweek but over all I'm happy with it.

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