Ever since R2 became operational, the sound system was something I wanted to re-visit.
Previously I was using USB-powered, 1.5 watt external speakers. And while they could not go very loud without distortion, for most one-on-one type interactions, they sufficed.
However as time went on, all those beeps and chirps were taking their tool. Volume was limited to a lower level until it was obvious the speakers were failing.
I thought I had a solution that would work with different, un-powered speakers. While they worked on my laptop, they didnt on the netbook since it doesnt push as much voltage out the audio out port.
I searched for solutions and some suggestions were made...however due to a very limited budget, I had to backburner those ideas.
Then...I ran across a deal that I couldn't pass up. At my local WalMart, I spotted a 300-watt car amplifier on sale for $50! I had given up on finding anything lower than 800-watt locally. Making it harder to walk away was it was the only one on the shelf. Ugh! So I picked that up off the shelf and figured out how it would fit in R2 and work. I picked up a Pioneer 140 watt speaker set for $34. The last piece of the puzzle was the cable that goes from the netbook audio/headphone jack to the amplifier's RCA input plugs. That was easy to find for under $5.
Not a bad haul for trip to WalMart for automotive fuel line cleaner!
So here's the pile of pieces all setup for testing with my old MP3 player...
I knew the amplifier would fit inside the frame ok, it just needed a hole or two to be drilled and screwed into place. The speakers would be the bigger challenge.
After removing the back plate behind R2's utility arms, it was pretty clear I only had room for one speaker. Being a curved surface added to the complexity but I used some 10-24 thread screws and female-female couplers to attach it into position.
Mounting this into R2 wasn't too bad. The giant magnet kept grabbing the screwdriver, so at times I felt like I was battling the Force or something!
I had to get creative with one part of the wiring...the amplifier has a REM jack where it would expect to get the "on" signal from a stereo. After a lot of searching, plugging that lead to a positive power lead would suffice.
With it all setup, I did some testing...and wow, what a world of difference!