Rube Goldberg Stereo
as realized by

Forget Heathkits, high school science fairs, toys with “some assembly required”, and Ikea furniture. What can you do with a dead Bose radio, a surplus power supply, and a Sony stereo receiver salvaged from a car? Imagine them in the hands of a retired software engineer.

Here are the parts ...

  1. Sony stereo receiver and wiring harness, salvaged from my former car. Model CDX-GT420U can play audio CDs and MP3 disks. It has an Auxiliary jack for an iPod and a USB jack for music on a thumb drive. And yes, it has a remote control.
  2. Condor model TD-60W 12-volt power supply (but ... see below).
  3. Metal sleeve that came with the Sony receiver.
  4. Speaker connector from Radio Shack.
  5. Electrical power jack and wall plate.
  6. Audio cable jack and wall plate, from JerryCo.
  7. TV antenna jack of unknown origin.
  8. [inside the pill bottle] Chip of wood to close the slot where the power cord with its strain relief goes through the box.
  9. Rabbit ears from an old TV (good enough for city reception).
  10. Dead Bose radio, from which I removed everything but the genuine Bose waveguide speakers.
  11. Custom-made box of scrap plywood, with holes cut for the various connectors.
  12. Toggle on-off switch, from JerryCo.
  13. Grounded power cord from a discarded appliance, with a built-in strain relief.
  14. Subaru antenna adaptor from my former car.
  15. Plastic face plate moulding that came with the Sony receiver.

Now, audiophiles, let’s put all this stuff together.

Buzzsaw ... jigsaw ... hacksaw ... hole saw ... drill ... rasp ... sandpaper ... glue ... clamps ... paint ... solder ... electrical tape ... voltage tester ... circuit tester ... nuts, screws, washers and bolts. Instructions? Why, you get to invent the instructions as you go along.

Search Google for “110VAC power supply car stereo”.

Hit a snag!

From: Ted Tenny
Date: October 4, 2011 4:58:17 PM GMT-07:00
To: Arturo Fonda
Subject: power supply woes



What I’m trying to do:
  Operate a car stereo, Sony model CDX-GT420U, indoors using a surplus
power supply, Condor model TD-60W.

What’s happening:
  The car stereo is receiving power. When the stereo is turned off
(nothing playing) it seems to be O.K., displaying the time and incrementing
the time every minute.
  When I push the Source button on the car stereo, to select the tuner
for example, it seems to start working. But then, before any sound comes
out of the speakers, the display on the car stereo goes dark. Then it comes
on again, goes dark again, comes on again, goes dark again, etc. every
second or so. Turning it off, during the brief instant it is on, takes it
back to displaying the time, which seems to be O.K.
  My DC voltmeter reads 15½ volts going into the car stereo when
it is turned off (I know it’s supposed to be 12 volts).
  When I push the Source button on the car stereo, the voltmeter reads
15½ volts at first, then it dips down by various amounts every second
or so before bouncing back to 15½.

What should I do now?


Arturo to the rescue!

Arturo had me test the stereo using power from my car battery. Everything worked. We concluded that a Condor TD-60W power supply just doesn’t have enough juice to run the car stereo. Then I read him the power specs from the instructions that came with the receiver, and he found the right power supply: DVE AC/DC Adaptor, model DSA-0701-12A.

Many thanks to Arturo!

Arturo’s radio lab and the right power supply.

Lessons Learned:
•  If it’s high-quality and is usable or has usable parts, keep it. Down, Junkyard Dog!
Scrap plywood is seldom straight or flat.
A laser-guided buzzsaw, my Sears Craftsman model 10870, can make a straight cut.
It works better than clamping a 2x4 to the plywood to guide an ordinary buzzsaw.
Don’t trust the laser guide on a Neiko 10687A jigsaw. Instead, watch the blade as you are cutting.
Polyurethane glue is nasty. But it expands when it dries, filling the cracks and leaving blobs on the edges to file away. When you stick pieces of wood together with polyurethane, they stay stuck.
No rush. It takes a long time for glue and paint to dry. Go do something else.
Repeat the system test before you finish the final assembly.
Install the power supply so it can be removed without too much trouble.
Ground the metal case of the receiver, to eliminate 60hz hum.

Bose, Sony, Ted, and KBAQ-FM.
If only Rube Goldberg were here, and listening!
Audio Performance:
 It works!   The sound of Bose® speakers can be heard again, and this system has more audio inputs.

 updated December 6, 2016 Mile 204 Ted