In-Ceiling Speakers – Taking a different route(r)

I am out in NY at a project that is still in the construction stage. All wire is pulled but it isn’t time for trim yet. I came out to get the lighting system fired up. When i got here i found all of our porch/deck speaker wires coming out of tiny holes instead of their brackets.

The ceiling for the covered outdoor areas are wood. Plywood then tongue and groove slats. 1-1/4″ depth with tons of nails. About half of the speaker locations had a hole large enough for me to get my hand inside so it was easy to figure out where the joists were. The other half were 1/2″ holes and took 3 times as long because i had to break out my old school tools/techniques to find the center of the stud. Ok i pretty much just used a solid piece of wire and spun it around until it hit something :). It did take 3 times as long because i wanted to be careful and of course the electrician mounted the lights and the fans up against a joist making it impossible to center speakers in some areas.

My first instinct was to break out the sawzall with a thin blade. Since the ceilings were painted and done this idea got thrown out. Second idea was a jigsaw. After counting the number of speakers (20) i decided that manuevering a jigsaw upside down was probably a bad idea. Third idea was to use a Labor Saving Device hole saw. I posted at Remote Central about it. A few people voted for the LSD product. A few for one from another company and one guy brought up the rotozip with a circle cutter. I have some experience with cutting speakers out with a rotozip. It works fine but the bit kept snapping and it was hard to keep the line straight after my arms got tired. The circle cutter might have made it easier. I didn’t think it would be a good fit for wood but it gave me an idea. A router!

I got a piece of furniture grade wood from the cabinet guys. Then i picked up an expensive hole saw and cut a template. I used a countersink bit to drill 4 holes in the template about 1/8″ from the circle cut out so that i could mount it to the ceiling. The speaker bezel/grille covers these holes. The router worked very well. I was able to cut most speakers out with 1 quick pass using a 1-1/4″ bit. The shank on 2 bits broke off when they hit nails. They were $25 each… ouch. Photos below.


Holy Hole Saw, Batman!

Had to cut in 7 pairs of Sonance Visual Performance VP65R XT in-ceiling speakers today. For an outdoor exposed porch over hang. Apx 1-1/4″ of wood. Plywood with bead board on top. it was already painted so i had to be super careful. I decided to use a router to cut the holes. The problem was creating a template for the router. I am out of town with a limited set of tools. I wasn’t getting any love from the other trades so i had to make my own jig. Found a real hardware store that had a giant Starrett 8-1/4″, $145 (ouch) hole saw in stock. Exactly the size i needed. They also had Veto Pro pac tool bags in stock. First time i have seen them for sale at any hardware store. When i saw them in the window i knew i found a serious hardware store.

Creating the template in 3/4″ plywood went well. Managing a hole saw that big is no joke if it gets away from you. At one point i had the idea to cut the speakers out with it but theres no way i could have done it. I attached my template to the ceiling and ran the router around cutting perfect circles for every speaker. The sonance speakers went in effortlessly. Sonance has always had their act together in terms of getting them installed but these Visual Performance speakers are crazy. The cover is magnetic and snaps right in place. One pain with previous models was that if you over tightened the screws your bezel would be distorted making it difficult to get the grill in. That problem has been officially resolved.

There is one last thing i would like them to address (and finally reach in-celing/in-wall speaker nirvana) and thats the spring loaded speaker cable terminals. I wish they would design them so you get a little pig tail that you connect to your speaker wire that then plugs firmly into the speaker as your putting it in the ceiling. The spring loaded terminals are fine but i hate trying to hold the speaker and push them in 1 by 1. It would be nice to have an easy “jack” to connect.

Back on topic :)… The crazy awesome giant hole saw…


Temporary Audio Wiring – Using what i have :)

I have been planning a full on custom build out of my trunk but it wont happen for a while. I decided to temporarily hook up an old amp & pair of subwoofers yesterday. I was going to go buy an “amp wiring kit” when i decided to look around in my garage and see what i could come up with. I used liberty 14/4 for power/ground/trigger. Liberty 16/4 for speaker level to the subwoofers. And finally… a decade old pair of straightwire interconnects for line level from the head unit. It took me about 30 minutes, didnt cost a penny.

This should hold me over until i get ready to finish the trunk. I promise that this is “temporary” wiring as in… “i will actually wire it properly SOON” -vs- “this is how it will be for ten years” :).


Paint is done! Finally!

Paint is called Super Black and it has a matte finish clear coat on top. Car looks amazing. Big time head turner. Every time i take it for a ride someone asks me about it. No one can believe i got this car for $2800 and i only have $2200 invested ($5000 total) to get it where it is right now.

I found some great wheels. They are FESLER DESIGNS – FS903 wheels. I love them in black. The mercury they are on is sexy as hell. Next time i paint the Mark III im shaving the doors, losing most of the trim and going all black. I love that look. The only problem with the fesler wheels is that they are apx $1000 per wheel. This wiremunky cant swing that right now :). Hopefully i can find a set of knock off wheels for 1/4 of the price.


First coat of primer – Done!

Body work is done and the first coat of primer is on. Now that i have it all flat black i have found a couple of spots that need some sandpaper action. It was difficult to see when the car was the original cream color. After i fix the remaining spots and wet sand the whole car i am going to give it a second coat of flat black primer.

You may have noticed that some of the chrome and stainless are still on the car. This is because i don’t have the money to get it all polished/re-chromed so for now its going to stay put and im painting around it. I don’t want to start digging into it and end up with an unfinished car that i can’t drive. I would also like to get the top taken off because their are some rust bubbles under it. The top is in great shape so im holding off on that until next time also. In a couple of years i will have the car completely stripped and have all the metal refurbished but for now its fine.

Lincoln Mark III Paint

First Coat Of Primer

I am making a couple of changes to the car. #1. The C O N T I N E N T A L script across the round trunk deck has been removed. There was quite a bit of paint chipping and rust there so i scraped the letters off and repaired it. I plan to leave them off. I might put them back on when i repaint the car in a couple of years. #2. I removed the cursive continental script from the side of the car near the back bumper and filled in the holes. I am replacing them with much larger (1/3 bigger) continental script from a 63 lincoln. The larger script looks more masculine and i want the car to look like a hot rod not a luxury car. I have all of the old scripts cleaned and bagged for the next guy/gal that owns the car. If he/she wants to go back to stock he will have what he needs.

Continental Scripts

This is the new script installed. I drilled the holes out after priming the car.

Last time i posted i had a pic of a foose rim that i can’t afford :). I have found a less expensive look a like . The pic below shows the BOSS wheel on the left and the more expensive (more awesome) FOOSE wheel on the right. Update…i got super lucky and found the BOSS wheels at craigslist for $600. They have a little road rash but for $600 with good tires i cant complain.


Last expense/work will be the audio system. I want to use Focal or JL Audio gear because i use and trust their products. My trunk liner was rotted and has been removed. The trunk has been painted out and dynamat is going down after paint. I have been googling “custom audio trunk” pics to see what other people are doing with their cars. The trunk is huge and i want to keep it that way so i am looking for a stealthy design. I want to showcase the gear but i want it low profile… sort of like what i do for my clients. I am going to make it easy to remove so i can get at light bulbs and the spare tire etc. It would be nice to finish it with leather to match the interior but im find with fabric/carpet also. These are a few that i like. They all look pretty clean.



JL Audio Fathom Subwoofer X 4!

I am in Phoenix doing some upgrades. I got a pic of one of the 4 fathoms that are installed in our clients family room. These subs are beautiful and sound incredible. We have Focal surround speakers and Ariel LCR speakers that the client already owned. Sim2 C3X and a 63″ Pioneer plasma. For control we have a Crestron TPMC-8X, Crestron e-control Xpanel on his and her laptops a URC MX-900 and now we have an iPad. I think they are covered on the control front :). There are 10 Crestron wi-fi touchpanels here plus the iPad. All of them can roam using 2 Ruckus access points that share the same SSID.

I would love to stick 2 of these fathoms in the trunk of my Lincoln :). The iPad was sitting on top of it so i kept it in the pic with the Crestron Mobile app running our GUI.

JL Audio Fathom - Apple iPad Running Crestron Mobile


New Arm Rest & Switches Installed

I finally got around to taking pics of the interior work i had done. The top pic shows what it looked like when i got the car. The bottom shows the finished product. All of the parts for the arm rest had to be sourced from various places. I ordered the lower metal piece from one place and when it showed up it was about a foot longer than it should be. Turns out that they made the arm rest longer in later years to accommodate a different speaker. I got it on ebay for $20 so it wasn’t too much of a hit.

Before & After Arm Rest

The entire interior is complete now except for the radio and the dash piece that it mounts to. Whoever had the car before me cut it out and installed an aftermarket radio. Right now this isn’t a huge priority for me but i want to get it for when/if i ever sell the car. The leather, the head liner and the carpet are in incredible shape. All black with no cracks or tears. It even has special stitching detail in the back seat that doesn’t show up on later models.

I had some misc work done under the hood. Suspension and brakes are in decent shape. I still have an oil leak but not bad enough to worry about yet. The mechanic said he couldn’t find it easily and recommended that i wait until im ready to clean it up. Eventually i want to pull it, totally refurbish & paint it and put it back in. I want to replace the brake system and suspension also so i will do it all at once. For right now i can focus on getting it painted and customizing the trunk. The trunk carpet was rotted so i scraped it all out. I cleaned it up, gave it a couple of coats of rustoleum rust reformer and then a couple of coats of black primer and finally 2 coats of flat black engine paint. Looks very nice now. Im going to dynamat the whole thing and start building trim pieces that i will carpet or wrap with vinyl. I want to keep as much trunk space as possible and make the panels so i can easily get at light bulbs, spare & jack etc. The trunk is huge. Im hoping to get a 13″ JLAudio sub in there and still have room for luggage, groceries, tools etc. Would be nice to drive when i go on service calls. Im also going to swap out the existing speakers for JLAudio speakers and i want to upgrade the audiovox head unit with something modern so i can dock my phone, bluetooth etc.

After paint and the trunk im going wheel shopping. Every forum i read has people complaining about aftermarket wheels. “Why don’t you put the stock wheels on it! You ruined that car” is the typical response. Well… This car is 42 years old! The stock wheels are black hubs with stainless caps. They don’t exist! IF and i mean IF you find a new set they will cost you a couple grand and the first time you hit a pothole a cap will go rolling down the highway and you wont know it until you get home. My budget for wheels is $2000 and that includes the rubber. I don’t care for the spokes or giant diamonds. I want something that looks like it belongs on a muscle car. Im hoping to find a less expensive look alike to these foose wheels.

I would also like to put in an air ride system but i will probably wait until i recondition the engine. Now that i have a plan i have to squeeze enough pennies to make it happen :).


Kaner – Pit Bull Extraordinaire

Family Member Bullies…

Kaner is a name my niece and nephew chose. I have no idea where the name came from and it’s too late to change it :). Kaners mother is my cousins dog. My sister picked up Kaner at Christmas (2010). He lived with her until she moved into a “no pets” building. Now he lives with me. He is a blue nose American Pitbull Terrior. He started out really gray and now hes sort of a gray brown. he has a small white patch on his chest. I haven’t had a pet since i was 12 because i am allergic to cats, dogs, horses you name it. I probably shouldn’t have taken him but its impossible not to fall in love. This first pic was just after new years. We walked out in the driveway and he sat down and stayed in place looking at me long enough for me to get my phone out and take a pic.

Blue Nose Pit Bull

Posing for the camera

Hes quite a bit bigger now.

Just finished eating some dirt.

He is a huge baby and craves attention 24/7. He recently learned that he likes to dig. Great fun for him and a muddy nightmare for me. Check out this video here : Kaner Digging & Eating The Mud.

Another thing he likes to do is Army crawl all around the yard on his belly. I don’t know if hes too lazy to get up and walk or if he just likes how it feels. He pulls himself with his front paws allover the place. I caught a few seconds of it here : Kaner Army Crawl

Kaner is my new best friend. I wish i could travel with him.



Universal Remote MX-980 & MRF-260 Installation

Finally got back to a project where i used 4 MX-980’s and 4 MRF-260’s. The project was mentioned in a July Newsletter from URC. Client called about his printer not working so i decided to take a couple of pics while i was there. This is the kitchen TV. The Chicago lake front is outside of those windows on the right so it was difficult to get a good pic.

Universal Remote MX-980 and MRF-260

Universal Remote MX-980 and MRF-260

We have zektor baluns routing audio and video to 3 of the TV’s and we are using a Digital Logger ethernet (controlled) power switch so that we can remotely power cycle the cable boxes, modem, router and access points.

Today’s service call was solved by canceling print jobs that were stuck for some reason. I installed logmein on the clients new computer so that i could remotely correct things like that in the future.


Clear Wireless Internet

In today’s world of constant reliance on the Internet, we are all generally expected to be connected at all times, or at least to have quick access to the Internet so as to be able to answer emails and find information quickly. Many people have experienced the inconvenience and potential consequences of limited Internet access on more than one occasion; in fact, in some instances, there are few things more frustrating than needing to access the Internet and not being able to. This is why the spread of wireless Internet technologies is such a fantastic development for so many people. Visit to read about the specific ways in which wireless Internet can be available and helpful to you and whatever situation you are in.

One example of a certain type of person that can benefit enormously from access to a wireless Internet network is workmen or servicemen. These workers, who have to do all of their work at different sites (rather than in one unchanging office or home), can often find themselves in areas in which it would be inconvenient or even impossible to connect to the Internet with a cable. However, if a serviceman working in a remote or unfamiliar location needs to contact his client or boss, or needs to look up a job-related inquiry online, he will require efficient and reliable Internet service. This, of course, is where wireless Internet technology comes into play.

Imagine that you are a worker who has been given a specific task to complete at a remote site, but you forget a detail of your assignment… Rather than having to borrow an Internet connection from somebody else, or call your boss or office for a reminder, imagine being able to simply pull out your smart phone or other wireless capable device and check your email or office website. This is just one example of the conveniences offered to servicemen by wireless devices.

Unfortunately, there are some technological advances that are so useful and widespread that those who do not jump on board get left behind. This is true of wireless Internet in many ways; whether you use the Internet for entertainment, interaction, school, or work, you will almost certainly find yourself falling behind your peers in terms of speed and interaction. So, if you have not yet gotten connected, or if you wish to switch your wireless provider, do yourself a favor and research wireless providers to find out which type of service is best for you. You will soon be enjoying a level of convenience that spreads to many aspects of your life.