Installing a new stereo is actually a fairly straightforward DIY project well within the wheelhouse of the average backyard caravan mechanic.
All you’ll need is an electric drill, jigsaw (or hole saw), 12V cabling, and the new stereo.
The caravan this unit was installed into was a vintage van which runs solely on 240V mains power, so we had to install a separate 40A DC power supply for this one. However, this isn’t necessary if your van uses 12V battery power, which most modern vans do.
It’s also important to note that if you’re working with 240V electricity, you’ll need a licensed electrician to perform or sign off on any electrical work.
1. MEASURE OUT A SPOT FOR THE STEREO
Find the right spot for the stereo and measure for the hole according to the unit’s dimensions. Be as accurate as possible, while allowing a small amount of space around the stereo as a margin for error.
2. DRILL HOLE IN THE CORNERS
Once measured, drill a hole in each corner of the clearly marked space. This is to make it easier to see exactly where to begin and end cutting.
3. CUT OUT THE SPACE FOR THE STEREO
Using the jigsaw, cut the space from (drilled) hole to hole. Make sure all corners are square and the stereo fits the space.
4. MARK AND DRILL THE HOLES FOR THE SCREWS
Drill holes in the wall according to the size of the screws supplied with the stereo unit. Make the holes slightly larger than the screws to make sure they can move (if necessary) to line up. Before drilling, a good tip is to mark the holes and remove the stereo to ensure accuracy (inset).
5. SCREW THE STEREO INTO THE WALL
Drill screws in to secure stereo, making sure the screws have back plates on the other side of the wall. (You may need another person to hold the back plates in place.)
6. POSITION AND SECURE YOUR POWER SUPPLY
Position and secure the power supply/inverter. This can be anywhere around the stereo, as long as it has at least a small amount of air flow and is close to a powerpoint. If a new powerpoint has to be installed, get a licensed electrician in for the job.
7. CONNECT THE POWER SUPPLY TO THE STEREO
Using a 12V cable, connect the power supply to the back of the stereo. If possible, it is a good idea to blank off any wires that aren’t being used so they don’t short out (right).
8. FIND A SPOT FOR THE SPEAKERS
Find a spot and measure holes for the speakers before cutting the space with a hole saw (or jigsaw).
9. WIRE UP THE SPEAKERS
Run wiring from the speakers back to the stereo, making sure you are following the correct polarity (negative to negative; positive to positive). Consult speaker instruction if you are not sure. Try to keep all leads unobtrusive and out of the way.
10. MOUNT THE SPEAKERS
Fit and screw the speakers in place. Determine where the aerial needs to go and drill a small hole from the inside of the van (turn off power and be aware of wiring). Using the small hole as a guide, drill large hole from outside and run the cabling through.
11. MOUNT THE AERIAL
Screw base to cladding and seal with silicone, then screw the aerial to the base and connect wiring to the stereo on the inside. (Use stainless steel screws rather than those provided with the aerial.)
12. PLUG IN THE POWER AND TIDY UP LOOSE CABLES
Plug power supply to the powerpoint and tidy up any loose wiring and cables behind the unit.