Track 2- Getting the music right

Those that are familiar with our journey will know that music is important to us. One of the first things we did when we got both of our boats was install new stereo systems with Bluetooth, to access music on phones, and a remote control to allow us to control the stereo from anywhere on the boat. Having installed the same head unit, a Sony, on both boats we have been happy with what we have – Music.

So it was disappointing to find that after four years intermittent use, the stereo was resetting itself every five minutes or so.

That has to be sorted. So off to Halfords and look at the stereos…. we’re looking for one with Bluetooth and a remote control, preferably a Sony, a good name and the same as we had. “Nah, none of those sony’s come with a remote control”. Ah, back to the drawing board.

Maria and I go back to the internet, what stereos come with a remote control and the answer is……none of the quality makes but a number of random makes you have never heard of have them.  There has to be a reason. And there is. You don’t need a remote anymore because remotes are so last year, this year is the year of the app. Sony, and other manufacturers, do an app that controls the stereo. Now in a car setting that sounds even worse, i can imagine the random passenger in the back that now has complete control of my stereo, including the volume, without my knowledge! Can you imagine the horror of Amanda Jane Furber having access to this technology!!! Dancing Queen from ABBA at top volume, and nothing you can do! 🙂 obviously one thing you can do, “I’m sorry officer, I had to drive off the cliff to stop the music…..thank you for saving me.” And you know, the stereo would have moved on to Waterloo!

Anyway, having established that a remote is no longer required, we return to Halfords to choose a suitable stereo. Stereo selected, a Sony MEX-N6002BD Stereo, we are off home and my job is to fit it.

That is a five minute job…….

Of course the first task is to remove the old stereo which is obviously made very easy by the two metal keys that are apparentlyinserted in either side to pull the old one out. Simple. Remove the plastic surround by pulling hard, with. Little inward pressure and the access slots are revealed. Insert one of the keys and then the other, pull them out together and hey presto.

You have two keys in your hands and a stereo looking at you saying “what?”.

Ok, carefully ease the left key in, hear a click. Same with the right. Ah, now I know what I did wrong. Most importantly pull very gently and together. Easy…. Easy….. you have two keys in your hands and a stereo sit sat in place looking at you saying “what?”. Repeat for at least twenty minutes.

My new stereo is not even out of the box yet, I’m not having that! In these situations the internet is your friend. So let’s spend half an hour watching random videos of Eastern Europeans with broken English, explaining how you can also do this using two large chopping knives before you lose patience.

The problem is that the chassis that holds the stereo, has some side panels that spring in and hold the stereo in place by catching it. This stops it coming out in normal use. So let’s get in there with a flat had screwdriver and lever the smug {expletive deleted} out! That works perfectly 🙂 time for a victory dance!

Then we can pull out the aerial plug and the plug for the power and speakers so we can get the old one out. Get the new one, plug in and job’s a goodun! The aerial connection is fine but even though the functions of power and speakers are exactly the same from the same manufacturer, it’s a different plug! Thank you, sony.

Now the plug has two sets of cables with big black plugs on the end, one for the power and one for the speaker system. I imagine, in a car, these plug into the stereo harness – if you are lucky. On a boat, no chance. However, the advantage of buying the same manufacturer is surely they haven’t changed the colours of the speaker cables over time……. Writing this has made me realise that I haven’t checked that the speakers are connected to the right cables, but surely not..please….. that may be a later blog!

I recall that when we fitted this stereo, we had the same problem and removed the blocks and replaced them with spade connectors for each wire ensuring that there was a good connection with each cable. So I need to do the same for the new setup. Cue 24 hour delay as I go to my toolbox and find all I appear to have left are the female end of these connectors!

The next day, I have acquired more than enough spade connectors, I have been here before. I have my useless crimping tool from the toolbox and I get to work. Firstly, the wire stripper on my tool doesn’t work so I will be doing this the old fashioned away. Fourteen wires later, I have a harness with spade connectors and I’m ready to go.

I decide to swap the harnesses one wire at a time by disconnecting one wire from the old and plugging the same colour in from the new.  This looks like spaghetti junction in no time and I am sure I inadvertently do it the wrong way round a couple of times as I get confused. But it is all done soon enough and the old harness drops to the chart table as I disconnect the last wire. What could be simpler, plug it all in, leave the stereo half in the hole just in case and off we go! So plug it all in, power on – excellent, tune the radio and I have stations so the aerial is working ok – excellent :). I also have sound, excellent 🙂 🙂 …..from one speaker, not so excellent! 😦 pull everything out and disconnect. One of the speaker wires has come out of its spade connector. Surely that wouldn’t cause such a big problem but repaired I try again – no difference. Take another look, push in the spade connectors a bit more, put it together again and……nothing at all. Not even power. The power lead has come out of the connector but pushing it back in solves that problem, but still sound is an issue.

At this stage, your mind plays tricks on you. Clearly there could be nothing wrong with my work so maybe as I have pulled the wires to connect them, I have pulled something out further behind the stereo. Better check the old one stick works. Go through the one wire at a time swap to the old harness and plug in the old stereo. Of course the sound is crystal clear on all speakers! Guilty as charged 😦 So let’s take a look at my harness. I decide that I haven’t stripped back the wires enough and so redo them all with new spade connectors. I am particularly careful to make sure that none of these puppies are getting disconnected!  The painstaking swap of the harnesses is working fine and we have a successful retest 🙂

Now we all know what happens next. You put the stereo back in the hole properly, fit the fascia surround, switch on the stereo and nothing!

But not today.

11F187A6-2891-4223-8AD7-82E20754EB3CThis stereo has dual Bluetooth connections which allows you to have one as a source for music and another as a remote control using the songpal, or Sony music centre, app.  Installing this and you have full control of the stereo from anywhere on the boat, and off it. Absolutely perfect for a marine setting. Now to get somewhere where we can play our music loud!

A final thought, there are people out there who wonder why I don’t do everything myself! When something this simple takes this long, maybe there is justification…. nah, I enjoyed it and every day is a school day, I have learned some useful things through the experience.

2 thoughts on “Track 2- Getting the music right”

    1. John hi
      With you there SY Mariadz really does like new shiny things and one of many new sustems has been replaced or had some TLC
      Roll on actually getting off meeting you on the ocean waves

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