This is how the HiFi installation works

Hardy Mutschler
Workshop tip
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D amals in the Ruhr area: road closure, diversion, complete confusion. Late for work. Complaints received. GPS bought. Back then in France: passionately chosen destinations. Old road map used and far better roads than ideal found through procedures. Then yesterday on the expressway: no radio, no music. Boredom.

What is the best radio?

So: which is better? Old car, new technology? Or would it be better to keep the tried and tested? And what if there is nothing old or loved? A question that is a hot topic of conversation at every classic car or classic car get-together. My personal opinion: what the driver likes is fun. Since our demonstration model, a Bundeswehr Beetle from 1984, had no radio at all, you can't go wrong.

The previous owner has already done that - with the Flex into the untouched sheet metal, which is a shame . But now there is a shaft in it and the need for music is there. It is therefore important to create a decent current flow that supplies the music device and protects it at the same time.

When it comes to cabling, there is still the option of connecting to the ignition or directly to a positive pole - which means that the device can also be used when the ignition is switched off and unplugged Ignition key works. This has the disadvantage that you have to switch it off again separately when the box is parked. In return, for example, there is a decent sound in the drive-in theater without the ignition switched on.

You should be able to use a multimeter

Ideally, if you are looking for good electricity, you should have a multimeter ready with which the optional fuse points can be checked for 12 volts and more. Then a cable is neatly laid from the fuse box to the cockpit in the direction of the radio installation slot. When things have to go fast, I also like to tap from the cigarette lighter cable that is usually nearby in a youthful hurry.

It also works very well - you should only consider that the fuse is not 'radio' in the event of a possible failure. it means 'Zig-Lighter'. And of course the whole thing doesn't seem that professional either. But necessity makes inventive.

A free space on the fuse box, including voltage, is quickly found on the Beetle (12-volt battery), but it makes sense to also have a fuseto be installed - even in the event that something goes wrong during installation. Besides power and ground and the decision for or against the ignition, there is not much to consider. Or is it?

10 or 2,000 euros?

Which radio should go into the shabby carved shaft ? A new inexpensive CD radio with USB and jack connection? A huge selection and hits from the youth via iPhone? Or would you prefer the low-budget variant for 10 euros from the flea market with a cassette? Or even the deluxe option? For example the Becker Mexico with a pinstripe look?

The all-rounder with USB, with a hands-free system, with a jack and everything your heart desires. Produced in Germany and therefore expensive, I would like it very much. No plug on the phone, no cigarette lighter retrofitting and, last but not least, the beautiful look. However, the price difference between “okay” and “really nice” is almost 2000 euros. A budget that is unrealistic given the low vehicle price.

ISO-DIN connection since the mid-80s standard

Next topic: There is a massive need for information in the car on the subject of traffic and world affairs - this requires good radio reception and therefore a decent antenna. In the case of our Beetle, the previous owner has also taken precautions and doweled an antenna into the previously untouched sheet metal. For those who do not want that, there are window antennas. If these do not match the style of the car, there is, for example, an alternative from the company Retro Sound that guarantees decent reception by placing it on the dashboard.

What to do with the sound?

Finally the question remains: what to do with the speakers? It's a difficult thing with the Beetle. Actually, a copy belongs behind the dashboard, in the middle of the tangled cables. It's out of the question. The side panels also only offer limited scope. It's tight, and I think cutting the paneling is just as useful as smashing your own window to get more fresh air.

So in the case of my Beetle, only an eternal temporary solution in the form of a suitcase on the back seat helps which admittedly limits the transport capacity a little. When the case is closed, it serves as a contemporary decoration, when opened it functions as a beatbox. Sounds pretty decent, I tried that in advance to be on the safe side so that nobody complains or I do afterwardsPhoto production must determine otherwise.

Potato sack as cover material

A thin wooden plate is used as the base material in the transport container ( 1.80 euros in the hardware store) and two wooden feet (approx. 80 cents) are used. That looks pretty pretty; To match the interior, I covered the Geraffel with a potato sack. The loudspeakers themselves were in the attic, otherwise a fee of 40 euros would have been incurred.

Normal ISO-DIN plugs have outputs for four loudspeakers, in this case only two are used. But it is enough to fill the interior with sound. And if that's not enough, the 15-liter case still has capacity for the power amplifier and tweeter. However, I have to organize the navigation device and hands-free system separately - although telephoning in the powerful Beetle outside of a traffic jam would certainly be doomed to failure, as would the acoustic street layout from a small box. In return, I can use my parents' old cassettes to bring back a bit of youth - in a VW Beetle that is a year younger than me.

A matter of taste - what's in it is in

For many of us, a modern radio with a clutter in the classic is an absolute no-go. But there is also the other party that likes to listen to good quality music or moves the oldie in everyday life and wants to enjoy modern equipment accordingly. There is only one agreement: live and let live.

Anyone who drives the car on well-known routes with an equally experienced card reader in the passenger seat at the weekend has an easier game than those without.


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