Stealth Bluetooth Stereo: It’s A Jeep Thing


[Feueru] wanted to update the sound system in his 1998 Jeep Wrangler. The problem is that soft top Jeeps are notorious for radio theft. His solution was to build his own stealth bluetooth stereo. The music comes from his Nexus 5 via bluetooth. A Fusion MS-BT 100 waterproof bluetooth receiver picks up the tunes. From there the signal is passed through the one external control, a line level volume knob. A “BMWx-43 300 Watt” amplifier provides the power to drive the Jeep’s speakers. We’re a bit dubious about the 300 Watt rating, as well as the “Only from the mind of a German” catch phrase. Hey, at least the real BMW didn’t have the amplifiers destroyed at the US port due to trademark issues. 

[Feueru] used a standard DIN radio install kit for his Jeep. In place of a headunit, he glued an ABS plastic sheet. The ABS provided a good place to mount his volume control. That volume knob was a bit lonely, so [Feueru] added “Plan B”, his winch controls. The final result looks… well, it looks like a single knob, which is exactly what [Feueru] was going for. Any would-be car radio thief would pass this right by. The only thing missing is an actual FM receiver. Sure, there is a bit of loss when using a bluetooth audio path. However, this is a soft top Jeep with stock speakers, so it’s really not noticeable to [Feueru].

[via reddit]

17 thoughts on “Stealth Bluetooth Stereo: It’s A Jeep Thing

  1. Oh neat!, I actually did something very similar recently when I noticed some Belkin bluetooth audio receivers going on the cheap. Found an after-market AUX cable for my head unit and a setting to go from CD changer mode to actual AUX input. Wired a 12v to 5v cigarette adapter into ignition sense and powered it that way, no battery drain when off, and it pulls such little current it shouldn’t cause issues.

    1. I also did a similar thing with my car. Got an aux cable, and got a kinivo BTC-450 (it’s $40) because it auto-connects to your phone when you power it on (reviews said the belkin doesn’t, and the belkin was like $100). Turns out my car has a power jack that’s always on, so powering the bt adapter from that it would never auto-connect, it would drain my battery, and my music wouldn’t stop when I shut off the car. I ended up wiring up a second power jack to the car, making that one only powered when the car is on. I hid the power jack, aux jack, and the bt adapter in one of the storage compartments so it’s completely hidden. I can flip open the cover to get to the bluetooth controls (though I usually use my pebble) and so the mic can hear me for talking on the phone. It works surprisingly well, probably better than my other car that has built in bluetooth (but phone only) and an aux jack.
      The only downside is now I’m blowing through a ton of data on my phone, over 2GB in the past 9 days; luckily I still have unlimited data.

  2. That’s got to be one of those stupid PMPO wattage ratings that were busy confusing the crap out of speaker buyers at the turn of the century… A conventional 300w rating is waaaay beyond suspect from that unit.

    Most excellent project though! I’d be tempted to base it off of a similar TDA20xx amp, the famous-ish DTA-1 “Class D” amp from our friends at PartsExpress. They also sell a bareboard edition (DTA-2) for much less than the complete version, usually about 2/3 less I think, and either one would be well equipped (either solo or with multiple units feeding various pairs of speakers, perhaps utilizing a cross-over) for this kind of project!

    Always glad to see Audio projects here on HAD!

  3. Installing a car radio is now a hack? HaD seems to be desperate for content yet again. And this does nothing to deter someone from cutting open the soft top, because there is still obviously a radio present, in the last two pictures you can see a CB mic/speaker, and considering this is a wrangler the owner probably has a obnoxiously large antenna on the outside.

    1. Nowhere in the post is a car radio. Taking something and using it for something other than it’s intended use is a hack. Get over yourself.

      And why exactly does a large antenna on the outside of someone else’s vehicle bother you?

      And to Feueru – great idea – I have a tuneless ’80 CJ5 with no roof at all – perhaps soon I will be implement something similar.

      1. Go to the actual project page and look at the last 2 photos, a CB radio is present.

        And how is this using something for something other than its intended use? It is a car audio amp and a bluetooth audio receiver; this is its intended use.

        But stay mad that this isnt a hack at all.

      2. And to address the antenna, because it points out to thieves that you obviously have very stealable radio equipment inside. The entire purpose of this hack was to deter thieves by making them think there isnt radio equipment inside. Are you really so dense, that you couldnt figure that out?

      1. OP here (from reddit) i have no idea who the guy is who wrote this shit here but none of that was in the original post. hop over to the source on reddit and you wont get that shit.

  4. Why not find a stock Jeep radio and simply mod the cassette section to use the Bluetooth? it would look a lot cleaner and be theft proof (as in nobody wants a stock cassette radio) and have a much better sound than that amplifier.

    Plus you have the option of FM radio in case you miss listening to 2 hours of commercials and 5 minutes of music.

    Remember, the crack heads will steal anything, so dont leave ANYTHING that looks like it has any value at all in the jeep. I have seen a car window smashed for the 35 cents in the center console.

  5. I don’t mind the car stereo bluetooth hacks. But for the love of God please stop trying to relate the sparkfun story into everything. We get it. You are the white-knight HAD. Do you have an impressions contract with them? Get back to being a hack source and not a tech-CNN.

  6. OP here (from reddt) just figured out some idiot tried to do a right up on my install here. first, jeep isnt a soft top. second, yes these amps are shit but so is the factory stareo if you care about quality id use a different amp. also, this was a multipurpose build, meant for ease of use/ theft pervention/ and i just hate the way most other stareos look. the dash in a TJ is already clutered i did this partly to make more room for my winch switch and im gonna put a phone dock for nexus 5 for the blank space in the center blank spot of the faceplate. so basicall the guy who tried to steal my right up and faild. (also that copyright thing is probably BS)

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