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View Full Version : Amp rack: ideas, materials to make, and any other advice?



Cigars n scotch
04-15-2012, 10:05 PM
So next weekend I am going to attempt to install my new amp, tower speakers, run the wires, and add a second battery to power the tower. Should be interesting. My father is going to help (he's good with electrical and building stuff as well as thinking outside the box). I don't have any experience installing stereo equipment but we're going to give it a try. Everyone on the board has told me I can do it.

Anyways, I wanted to think ahead a little and ask about amp racks to see if you audio gurus had ideas or could share what you did or built (pics definitely welcome). My boat is a 2008 Supra 21V. The amp that I have (factory Kicker) that powers the in-boats sits in the compartment behind the observer's seat (like most I imagine) and is attached (screwed I believe) into the fiberglass side on the right (never really looked in detail at how it was mounted but that's what I think). I believe that I'm going to need to build an amp rack for the new amp and want to get your expertise on build ideas and mounting ideas as well as a list of materials you suggest I build it with. I've read other topics on this that said people used MDF and carpeted it. I don't see this compartment getting wet so I'm assuming I dont need treated wood? I've seen a post on another forum where someone cut four pieces of 2x4 about 3 inches wide and tall, cut out 4 like-size shapes in the carpet in his compartment on the left side (hull side) and I think glued the wood to the hull, let it dry, the screwed the MDF amp rack to those four pieces.

Also, when I run the speaker wire, what do you guys all use to secure the wire clamp-wise? Anything in particular I can pick up at HD or Lowes?

Are there things that I need to consider or remember when building and/or installing this amp and rack?

I obviously don't know what I don't know.

Thanks for any help you provide. I'd like to pick up the materials this week so I am prepared for this weekend, maybe even get around to building the rack and carpeting it.

Justin

Dubwake21
04-16-2012, 09:55 AM
If your boat has what I assume is some sort of vent between the bow and the windshield, that is the only spot that I have seen allow water into that compartment. So I just stuff it with a towel when washing down the boat. But because I have had that compartment get moisture sometimes, I went with plexiglass for my amp rack and about a 1/2 inch spacer at each corner. My thoughts were that the spacers would allow for the wet carpet to dry without contacting the amps, but the humidity that is created might still do the same harm. As far as wire tips, go to a local stereo shop, or maybe even a Radio Shack, etc. and pick up a distribution block to match how many amps you will have. This allows you to essentially connect one main power wire to all of the amps with shorters connections without running a ton of extra wire and it looks cleaner. I just used screw down zipties to snake the rest of the wire where I wanted it to go, but a lot more handy guys on this board probably have a better suggestion. My best tip: Turn it on and test it before you tighten all your screws. :cool: Good luck, and have fun!

wolfeman131
04-16-2012, 10:12 AM
I am FAR from an expert on this subject, but can tell you from reading others experiences and knowing the properties of MDF, I would suggest you look at a different material. Some on here have used plexiglass/lexan that you can buy from HD or Lowes, some have used Plastic cutting boards and others have used the starboard. Check out the stereo section of the forum for more ideas.

wolfeman131
04-16-2012, 10:20 AM
This thread had some ideas

http://www.moomba.com/msgboard/showthread.php?10243-Amp-Mounting-Pics

Razzman
04-16-2012, 12:13 PM
As others have said, stay away from mdf for an amp rack. Besides the obvious issue of water there's weight as well. In order to have a rigid rack you'd have to use at least 1/2" thick. Better choice would be Starboard, plexi/lexan sheet, aluminum or even birch plywood resin coated. Go one of those routes and save yourself some headaches down the road.

mcdye
04-16-2012, 12:58 PM
I have used a cutting board from Wally for the amp mounting board in the past. You can find some in hard thick plastic.

bergermaister
04-16-2012, 02:05 PM
I went the no-no MDF route but treated the bottom edge 6-8" up with water sealer and the marine carpet I used has a rubber backing, wrapped it around all edges and a few inches over on the backside. Going on year 4 and no troubles with the MDF so far. Knock on , uh, wood.

MLA
04-16-2012, 02:50 PM
HDPE (Starboard), Marine Plywood (coated with 2-part resin if you like), void-free hardwood plywood coated with 2-part resin.

Marine carpet, as a cosmetic covering, will last far longer then your traditional trunk lining material you find on store bought sub boxes. Elevating off the floor just a little will help to by allow any trapped moisture to dry. A bed-liner type coating will also work well for a cosmetic covering. Marine vinyl, but its a little harder to work with on an amp rack to make it look good around edges and wire pass-throughs.

For securing wires, use cable clamps or zip-ties with the anchoring hole at the top.

For a cleaner install, secure the rack to some stand-offs bonded to the hull. This creates a space for the wires to hide behind the amp rack and then pass through to the amps, etc.

WaterBullDawg1980
04-16-2012, 02:53 PM
This may be a dumb question, but those that have made custom amp racks, what are you screwing these racks into in the inside wall? How can you be sure not to drill straight through the gel coat?

bkearney
04-16-2012, 03:02 PM
I went cheap and used some old pressure treated plywood around.

http://kearneyville.com/2012/04/10/2012-stereo-build/

Cigars n scotch
04-16-2012, 03:17 PM
This is exactly why I posted this, glad I did. Thanks for all of the info. I'll have to research where I can pick up starboard unless you're saying I can get it at hd or lowes. Man, way too much to think about!!

What size and thickness should I be looking at?

jmvotto
04-16-2012, 03:36 PM
This may be a dumb question, but those that have made custom amp racks, what are you screwing these racks into in the inside wall? How can you be sure not to drill straight through the gel coat?

You have to find the extra thick joints where the top and bottom of the boat get fused( technical term) DO NOT SCREW DIRECTLY INTO THE SIDE WALL(AKA HULL)

FWIW I used 1/2 plywood treated 3 to 4 times with clear thompsons watersealer and carpeted with regular sub carpet.
shim amp board up 1/2" with scrap piece and screw into weld.

Cigars n scotch
04-16-2012, 03:49 PM
Wow starboard isn't cheap. Found a somewhat local west marine has 12"x27"x1/2" for $37.99 and 24"x27"x1/2" for $96.99.

Maybe I'll look at a large cutting board? I assume the plastic kind?

jmvotto
04-16-2012, 04:27 PM
try two of these Measures: 15" x 20" x 1/2"


http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=126035&searchTerm=commercial cutting boards&_requestid=120348

pricey is right that why i went plywood. then i went strolling through sams after the fact and found these.

MLA
04-16-2012, 05:52 PM
This may be a dumb question, but those that have made custom amp racks, what are you screwing these racks into in the inside wall? How can you be sure not to drill straight through the gel coat?

Some manufacturers glass in a couple pieces of composite material just for the purpose of securing the amp rack to. In a lot of cases, they will be under the carpet and not readily seen. For boats with out this, or when the OEM placement doesnt fit our custom design, we use a polyurethane adhesive to bond a block or stand-off, to the inside of the hull where we need it, in order to secure the amp rack to.

Cigars n scotch
04-16-2012, 10:28 PM
try two of these Measures: 15" x 20" x 1/2"


http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=126035&searchTerm=commercial cutting boards&_requestid=120348

pricey is right that why i went plywood. then i went strolling through sams after the fact and found these.

Your link doesn't work for me, says no item found on blank white page????

jmvotto
04-16-2012, 10:40 PM
It works for me,

Here is the item #
Model: 3850-12N
Item #:734240

For SAMs club online.


Try amazon as well
http://www.amazon.com/Bakers-Chefs-Commercial-Cutting-Board/dp/B0042H035E/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1334630594&sr=8-3-fkmr0

Cigars n scotch
04-18-2012, 12:29 PM
I found this at walmart $13. Picked up two to bond together. Should work right? What can I use to bond them together (without having to screw)

They have a juice well (rim) around the edge so I figured i would just flip one over and bond together. Thoughts?

Cigars n scotch
04-18-2012, 12:58 PM
Nvmd, bought some contact cement to bond it. Now all I need is the carpet.

Cigars n scotch
04-18-2012, 02:35 PM
13916picture would have helped

Razzman
04-18-2012, 03:03 PM
I pulled back the carpet, bonded 2x2 strips of Poplar to the bare hull with Liquid Nails, cutout carpet for strips and re-glued and screwed the amp racks to the strips. Over a year now and solid as a rock. Gives you more flexibility on mounting as well. I'd show pictures but the thread that I originally posted on is void of pics now ... go figure huh.

Cigars n scotch
04-18-2012, 03:42 PM
Razz that is what I saw in another thread. May go the same route, just have to look this weekend at my options.

Cigars n scotch
04-21-2012, 03:53 PM
Having trouble running the speaker wires through the rad a cage tower. Trying string and vacuum now, what a pita.

MLA
04-21-2012, 04:36 PM
Ive tried all the tricks. I have found the best method is an electricians fish-tape. Get the narrowest one you can find and with the smallest end on it.

wolfeman131
04-21-2012, 05:17 PM
the nylon string for lawn trimmers has also been used.

Cigars n scotch
04-21-2012, 08:15 PM
We ended up getting it. The starboard side that had the nav wires running up the tower already made it a little more difficult than the port side but we got it.

Now I need to figure out how to connect all the components.