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  #1  
Old 02-11-2021, 02:35 AM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

Hey all,
I've been gone for a couple years. But the other day, my cassette player started clicking on and off, and wouldn't shut up, so I decided to remove it. Turns out it was really very easy to do.



I never actually listen to music while I drive. Probably the only one in the world who doesn't, LOL. I find it distracting. So rather than trying to replace it, I've decided to make a custom panel with things I'll find more fun or useful.

Here's a vague design I have in mind. No idea if it will work until I try it:


The plug that goes to the radio has lots of options to choose from. Once I finally figured out which wire does what.


The sticky threads here were very helpful. And conveniently, the pin numbers are actually printed on the back of the plug.


So I've got a direct wire to the battery, a couple of ignition switched lines, several ground wires, and also all the speaker wires.

Assuming they all work ok. I haven't actually found the fault yet. I suspected the connection was corroded from condensation. But it looks to be in perfect condition. I'll test the radio/cassette player next to see if the fault is internal.
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT
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  #2  
Old 02-11-2021, 07:32 PM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

I checked out the player, and it seems fine. Soldered some tap wires on the circuit board, and hooked up some power and speakers.




I had no issues with the tape player clicking on and off like it did in the truck. Since I'm not putting it back in, I went and got the plug from inside the dashboard and made a more permanent set of connections.



I even played a tape, and it worked perfect. Uses about 2A with an old pair of 4 Ohm computer speakers hooked up. I think care speakers have more Ohms though, and may need more power. I don't know much about speaker wiring, except the Ohms have to match.


I guess I'll test the power and ground wires in the truck next. The battery wire and back-light wire should be fine, as there were no memory issues or flickering lights. There are two ignition switched power wires though, and three ground wires.
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT
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  #3  
Old 02-12-2021, 05:09 AM
Logan03CO Logan03CO is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

Looks like an interesting project. I'm. Certain its due to the stressed financial situation with many of our members due to the whole virus mess. But it's refreshing to hear about someone modifying/upgrading their truck. Instead of all the problems most people complain or ask about

I can barely remember the last completed thread about customizing something
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  #4  
Old 02-15-2021, 01:55 AM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

Thanks!

Since the stereo works, my wife asked if she could have it for music at work. So I set it up in our home office. I got a 12V power supply, and made speaker wires out of old Christmas tree light wires. Added a power switch, so the clock is always plugged in, but the rest can be turned off. I even got the radio working. Just needed a wire sticking out the antenna hole, and it receives FM signals no problem. Made a shelf, and hid most of the wiring mess behind the unit.


I'm snowed in at the moment, so the truck wiring diagnostics, and new panel will have to wait. I suppose I can shop for gauges in the meantime. I have a small amplifier/volume control that might be strong enough to run the phone audio through the speakers. I also have to figure out how exactly I want to mount the phone. Maybe something with magnets...
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT
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  #5  
Old 02-24-2021, 01:01 AM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

The snow is gone, and my wife is enjoying her new office stereo.

I was able to get out and remove the bezel today, and make a cardboard template for the new panel.


I've also collected some parts I have laying around that may work for the project.


I have a small amplifier which may or may not be powerful enough. A few green LEDs for a bit of low lighting at night. A 2 amp switch for the reverse camera that I haven't installed yet. And a bit of plastic which may be the back of the cell phone mount.

I still have to test the truck's wiring to make sure it's not faulty. And I'm still shopping for what gauges I may want to install. It's actually going to be a tighter fit than I first thought, but I'll get it figured out.
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT
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Old 03-05-2021, 06:25 PM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

Some parts came in!

A USB charger with a built-in voltmeter, and a dual temperature gauge with sensors. I think I'll put one on the transmission, and use the other one for... something else. Haven't decided yet. Exterior temp or cab temp probably.


Added my little amplifier and a power switch for the reverse camera. I didn't think I'd miss the clock, but I actually do. I'll shop around for one.

There will still be room for a couple more accessory switches in the future. Maybe an LED light for the canopy? I don't know.

Also, I got out to the truck today with a multimeter and a cheat-sheet. The ones I've seen online are pretty low rez, so I made my own.


I think I found the culprit as far as the cassette/radio doing it's clicking thing. I found that wire #3, fused ignition, only had 3.8V on it. I don't know why, but I'm pretty sure it should be 12V just like all the other power inputs. The grounds were also good. I suppose for now I'll just leave wire 3 out of service.
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT

Last edited by RebelRiderMike; 03-05-2021 at 06:43 PM.
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  #7  
Old 03-20-2021, 01:34 AM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

The clock finally showed up. I had to move the switch in order to accommodate it.


I have some really thin plywood, almost veneer, that I'll use for the real panel material. I have an idea on some accent lighting, and the phone holder still needs work. Making progress though.
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT
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  #8  
Old 04-15-2021, 09:10 PM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

Well, I found out my little amplifier is not powerful enough to run the truck's speakers. I ordered a more powerful one that I hope will do the trick. This one actually has a Watt rating, unlike the first one. So we'll see if 120W per speaker is enough to get good sound that doesn't break up.

Consequently, I'll have to rearrange all the stuff on the panel. But this new board also uses Bluetooth, so I don't need a cable. I only need the pairing button accessible.
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT
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  #9  
Old 06-03-2021, 10:52 PM
RebelRiderMike RebelRiderMike is offline
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Default Re: Radio/cassette player replaced with custom panel.

It's been quite a while. Partly because some of the front wheels and steering stuff went bad, and cost a LOT of money to have fixed. And I've been fixing up an old riding lawn mower I got for super cheap.

Anyway, I installed the 120W amplifier today, and it seems to be plenty powerful to run the front speakers. I may need a volume control even. I still have to drive it around and listen to it with with all the driving noise, but being too quiet won't be an issue. Also the blue tooth connection to my phone works perfect.

Not sure how I'll mount it yet, but it will be behind the panel instead of protruding out of it. I'd like to find a way to extend the pairing button through the panel though, so It won't have to be taken apart with every new pairing. Maybe not such a big deal though, as my phone does pretty much everything I would need, and I don't change phones that often.

Other things I need to do with the truck is repair the tailgate latches. They bend backward just far enough that they won't latch. Unless I close the gate with the handle up. Not sure how to fix that. Also, I want to add a reverse camera, because in the winter I can't see out the back window, and through the canopy windows. I have the camera, I just need to install it.

But hopefully I'll start making more progress with this custom dash panel now.
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1999 Ford Ranger XLT
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