20MM Ammo can Console/Boom Box/12V power center

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Smittybo

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Having acquired two M151 ¼ ton military “jeeps”, I set out to “accessorize” them in proper fashion. My M151s in the military both had 20MM ammo cans mounted between the driver and passenger seat as a securable container/console/armrest. I happened to have a 20MM ammo can, as well as a few other accessories on hand, which could make for a pretty swell center console, securable compartment and a host of other great functions.
I had been working on restoring a 1969 Subaru 360 microvan, and I had acquired a few tech goodies along the way, planning to install them in the microvan. A simple in-dash Blaupunkt FM receiver with SD card, USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth (with phone functions), a set of Blaupunkt 5x7” 4-way speakers, a few cigarette lighter plugs and a few dual USB plug outlets. All of these are 12V (as are most US car audio and accessory outlets), but my M151s are still original 24V systems. So the only thing I had to overcome was the 24V to 12V step-down, so I could use all of these parts in the M151. Easy enough – I got a 24V->12V step-down converter (40W) from Amazon on the cheap, and began my project.
My plan: install the 24V->12V step-down convertor in the battery box (under the front passenger seat) and run a lead out to the 20MM ammo can/12V power center. This required a simple and interchangeable solution – an SAE quick-disconnect cable, and for the ammo can, a female receptacle of the same type (this would make the ammo can power center/boom box interchangeable between the two jeeps, as well as offer a standalone option, because the 12V Powerall Jumpstarter I have for my motorcycle is also a powerbank, and I’ve already wired a pigtail for it with an SAE quick-disconnect plug, as that is what my BatteryTender maintainer/charger uses). I like having interchangeable capabilities with as much of my equipment as possible 😉
I began the ammo can project by first laying out all of the things I had on-hand, and determining where and how they would best fit. The first part was easy – 12V cigarette lighter plugs and dual USB ports on the front and back (I had two of each), so I used a step-drill bit and made the appropriate sized holes in the lower portions of the front and back of the ammo can to mount them. Easy enough. Now, for the speakers and the in-dash head unit. The speakers should be on the left and right sides up front of the ammo can, and the head unit can go inside, against the front wall. All easy, until I realized that the 4-way speakers had exterior grilles that stuck out too far for the clearance between the front seats… and that the exterior grilles accommodated the centers of the speakers (3 of the 4-way speakers)… so I re-calculated and looked at what else I had handy which would allow for flush-mounting of the speakers.
Solution: Cut holes for the speakers to project out, but mount them recessed enough for the stand-out centers… but they need to be protected in some way… I happen to have a strip of aluminum perforated grill. I can mount that inside the ammo can between the speaker and sidewall of the can. Only problem there, is the centers of the speakers still protrude, so I had to take a trip to the Home Depot and find a reasonable (and cheap) solution for standoffs. 7/8” long nuts for screen doors/gates. $1.68 for 3… I need 8, so I bought 3 packages. Easy enough!
So I cut the speaker holes (had to cut them in accordance with the diagonal, and opposite direction reinforcement strips on the sides of the ammo can, so one is higher and one is lower, but that is perfectly fine). Even though the holes I cut (rectangles, approx. 4”x6”) were somewhat clean (somewhat), and I’d smoothed them as much as possible with the grinder/cut-off wheel), they still gave a rather rough appearance, so I used some thin metal edge moulding I had to line them. Good enough for gub’ment work.
I cut a few pieces of the aluminum screen to fit the inside, ran a bead of silicone around the edges to help with any vibration that may come about from the screen, and mounted the screens inside and covering the speaker holes.
Using the stand-offs I got at Home Depot, I mounted the speakers inside, with the aluminum screens protecting them from the outside.
I mounted the head unit with simple “L” brackets to hold it in place, using closed-cell foam to snug it up. The head unit sits all the way towards the front of the can on the interior. Easy.
To run power to the stereo, the outlets and the USB ports, I had a 10-position fused powerblock and a grounding strip. I mounted the fused power block to the floor of the can and the grounding strip next to it. The SAE quick disconnect female receptacle leads to that (and the SAE quick disconnect pigtail coming from the step-down converter in the battery box plugs right into the receptacle).

Using on-hand closed-cell (kaizen) foam, I isolated the speakers and head unit, as well as the floor-mounted power cables to offer a nice “stuff” area where I can toss whatever…vehicle registration/insurance, gloves, whatever).
Mounting the box to the floor of the jeep…. I want to be able to easily dismount it and/or move it to the other jeep (until I build a box of the same type for that jeep as well). A search on Amazon revealed a perfect solution – a furniture leg repair/mounting plate. This allows two mount points in each vehicle to switch the box between them both, using an easy star bolt tightening nut for them.

After building this box, I am definitely going to build a separate box for the other M151, as I am very satisfied with this one. The only change for the second box will probably be not adding USB ports to the rear of the box (I already had these onhand, so I installed them). The front and rear cigarette ligher ports are good, because the front one can handle the GPS, and the rear one can handle the spotlight (GoLight – remote controlled searchlight – always handy), but rear USB ports can probably be skipped on the second box.
All in all -the stereo portion of the box is very reasonable – I checked the Walmart website - the head unit I have is now only $24 and the speakers are under $10 for the set! This thing has BLUETOOTH and PHONE capability in addition to SD card, USB and Aux 3.5mm input! (and a little remote control, if you are so inclined to use it)… You are looking at $34 for a Blaupunkt stereo that is more than enough for a 20MM ammo can boombox center console! I can recall a time in the 80’s when a Blaupunkt ANYTHING would cost an arm and a leg!! Ahhhh technology advances and lower prices!!

Look around at what all you have onhand, and see how cheaply you can build a sweet boombox/console! I’m adding a pad as well as a drink holder to the top of my box. I’ll grab a chunk of padding and canvas for the pad, and Amazon will have the drink holder options handy!

When I have enough posts to be able to post pics, I will :)
 

tobyS

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Add pics...will make it easier to follow. Thanks
 
Last edited:

Smittybo

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I am uploading the pics to Shutterfly and will edit my post with links to them them as soon as they finish uploading! Hopefully the forum will allow that (as I only have two posts so far). The project is going extremely well IMO!!
 

patracy

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Please upload pics directly to the forum. Any remotely hosted images will only display as links.
 

Smittybo

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Sorry for the delay. I ended up taking a few “detours” from the original plan (who does THAT?) when I found better options as I was going along. First, the Blaupunkt head unit turned out to be way underpowered for the BOOM I want out of this box, so I went with the exact same stereo I have in my Xterra, as it has served me wonderfully for several years. Only $120 on Amazon, and even though it’s not a Pioneer or Kenwood, it worries amazingly well. It’s double DIN, and features a touchscreen, am/fm/sd card/CD/DVD (not that I need that in this application... at least I can watch Stipes if I get stranded in the boonies)/Bluetooth and...navigation. It turned out great! Here are pics from the process and the almost final result (I say almost because I keep thinking of little details to improve or add). Another diversion from the plan was instead of using L brackets for the stereo, I secured it very snugly and securely with aluminum “C” rail, and also used that to mount the floor of the little lock compartment (also went with sheet aluminum for the floor and front wall of that little compartment to isolate it from the “innards” of electronic connections, etc).
Here is a link to the info doc and several pics. https://www.dropbox.com/s/y7sc41l0f1rcpsw/BoomBox Console-Info.pdf?dl=0. It’s a fairly small sized pdf. I don’t have enough stats/horsepower to post photos yet.
 

simp5782

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Member Profo. makes what you are describing even a super sound woofer type in 30cal cans, 20mm and 40mm. As well as some other types
 
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