I got my first Vespa about a year ago and have loved tooling around New York on it. From day one though I wanted to be able to listen to my iPod as I zip around but the idea of riding with headphones on in all that trafiic seems crazy. When I read on a Vespa forum that there is a secret compartment behind the two knee pads that are above the glove box I saw the opportunity to do a really cool mod to my scooter.
Here is how I did it.
I have to preface this tutorial with the fact that I have access to a 3D printer for some of the parts I made. If you like I can provide 3D files but I cannot make more parts for your projects.
Step 1: What I Got to Start
I started with an iHome IH13 portable ipod speaker system and a Kensington mp3 car holder.
I took the IH13 totally apart to extract
5way controller board
5way controller rubber cover
2 controller boards
and the iPod connector
Then I took the Kensington car mount and removed the MP3 player clamp off of the bendable arm by removing one small screw.
Step 2: Design the Power Regulator
Now the IH13 takes 7.5V DC to power it so I needed to build a small regulator board to convert the 12V of the battery down to 7.5V. This hand drawn diagram shows the circuit.
I had originally wanted to have a lighter adapter for a GPS unit also but decided against it in the end (I am hoping the new iPhone will have GPS ).
Most parts were obtained at Radioshack. The LM350 variable regulator was purchased from www.digikey.com because I needed a regulator that would supply 2A or more.
Step 3: Design the Custom Parts
With the electronics ready I moved on the creating the speaker, 5way controller, controller board enclosure and iPod mirror mounting. Below are exploded views of the assemblies I created.
STL files are available here: VespaSpeakerSLT.zip
Step 4: Mod the Left Knee Pad
After printing these parts (2 sets of the speaker mount) I began cutting holes into the the two knee pads (which are each easily removed by a single screw that is covered by the glove box door). There is alot more room behind the right knee pad so I opted to put a speaker and the 5way controller on the right and a single speaker on the left.
Using a dremel tool I cut and sanded a hole only slightly bigger than the cylindrical part of the speaker mount assembly. With a two-part epoxy I then attached the speaker mount. After that firmed up I sanded the cylindrical part flush with the front of the knee pad a filled any cracks with bondo. After sanding the bondo, some primer, black spray paint and a lacquer spray finish I had this to show for myself...
Step 5: Mod the Right Knee Pad
I repeated the same steps for the right speaker. Now the 5way controller also lives on the right pad but the geometry is a bit more complicated. I wanted the circular part of the control to end up at the small end of the feature that bulges out for the ignition. This compound shape required me to cut a small hole and sand material away slowly to get the opening right for my mounting parts. Again after 2 part epoxy, bondo, sanding and painting this is what I ended up with.
Step 6: Extended Cables (and Another View of Both Knee Pads)
The last thing before installing all of this is to extend the speaker, 5way controller and iPod connector wires. I made most of the extensions about 3 feet long and I had extra length in most cases. For each I used a different type of wire to splice.
Speaker - I used USB cable - two wires and shield ground
5way controller - I used ribbon cable (you need 6 conductors)
iPod connector - I used a VGA video cable which is shielded and has enough conductors (9) to trasmit the audio, power and control signals.
Below is another view of both knee pads.
Step 7: Remove the Vespa Glovebox
Finally we are ready to start assembling this together.
First you need access to the area behind the glove compartment. Other projects have show this before so I will go quickly through it.
1. Carefully pop off the Piaggio emblem off the front of the horn cover (I actually broke mine so I suggest you do it very carefully).
2. Remove the screw holding on the Horn cover and then remove the horn cover.
3. Remove the two screws behind the horn cover. Then open the glove box and remove three screws inside.
4. Now carefully remove the glove box panel. You will have to hold the latch down to get it past the ignition mechanism.
5. Now there is a fuse box that lives in the space behind the left knee pad. I popped that off it's mount and fed it through the opening to free the glove box panel from the rest of the scooter.
Step 8: Ground and Power
Now to begin wiring it together...
First I screwed the ground wire to the frame of the scooter. It is a bit hard to see but the black wire is screwed in behind that white box.
Then I spliced the power line together with one of the orange wire going to the fusebox mentioned earlier. The 12V lighter kit I got but didn't use had a 10A fuse inline. I would suggest you place a fuse on this line.
Step 9: Install Modified Knee Pads
I then installed the two knee pad panels and fed the wire through the available openings.
Step 10: Mount the Electronics
Next I placed the electronics box on the ledge that forms the top of the rigt side of the glove box with some velcro tabs.
Step 11: IPod Mount
Then I screwed on the iPod mount, assembled the Kensington clamp and cut off the excess screw.
Step 12: IPod Connector/wire
Then I fished the iPod connector under the rubber mirror gasket and into the handle bar cowling. From underneath the handlebars I was able to continue fishing it down and out the center of the steering shaft.
Step 13: Wire It All Up and Test
Now connect all the wires together, close up the electronics, pray, then test it out to make sure it is all wired up correctly.
I realized that I wasn't going to be able to put everything back together because the top corner of the electronics box was going to hit the front panel. So I cut of the corner with my dremel cutter. I also covered over all openings in the box with electrical tape to keep out the dirt and grime that will probably get inside. (Sorry no pictures of the corner cut or the tape).
I also moved the fuse box and inline fuse for my speaker system near the horn so that I could have (relatively) easy access to the fuses if I needed.
Step 14: Reassamble the Vespa... and Viola!!!
Finally I put the glove box panel back into place basically by reversing the disassembly process. Enjoy the pics of the completed project.
The funny thing is that to hear it above the engine sound you need to crank it up pretty good. Then when you stop at a red light it sounds extra loud. I thought about adding a circuit to attenuate the volume as the speed decreases... maybe the next project.
Hope you enjoyed this project. Please post replies, I would love to hear your opinions!!!