We love to listen to music, and we have found different three ways to do this in Molly.

  • The front cab comes with a factory radio from Clarion with speakers for driving. If we want to play music from our collection while driving, then we play music on our Garmin Overlander which is paired via Bluetooth with the Clarion radio.
  • The house has four speakers located in the ceiling powered by a Kenwood amplifier. The music source is typically our iPhones/iPads for music, but also our computer for when we are watching movies.
  • We also have two Sonos Roam speakers acting as a stereo pair, which are cable free and allow us to take the music outside (we also use them inside as they sound better than the ceiling speakers). Like the Kenwood amplifier, the music source is our iPhones/iPads but this time they are connected via wifi instead of Bluetooth,, giving us a good range away from the truck. The iPhone/iPad can of course be paired directly via Bluetooth, but not as a stereo pair.

Molly has a NAS which is where we store our music collection. See the Mobile “off-grid” Data Center page for more information on the NAS. The music collection is available via a Plex server, and we have clients on the iPhones, iPad, Computer and Garmin Overlander.

Kenwood Amplifier

We when got Molly from the factory, the Clarion radio was connected to the speakers in the from cab as well as the four ceiling speakers in the house. So, the Clarion radio had to be on to listen to music, which was by Bluetooth from our iPhones/iPad. This was actually a little inconvenient, as we often had to crawl through to the cab to get music started. And this is a level of inconvenience we do not enjoy. So, the Kenwood Amplifier project was born, with the intent to make it easy to play music in the house.

The Kenwood amplifier works quite well. There is a slight buzzing sound that can be heard between songs, and we have failed to remove it.

The following picture shows how we wired it up. Essentially the four ceiling speakers are connected to the 4 channel amplifier, and the amplifier is connected to bluetooth sources. The source can be selected on the control unit mounted on the control panel, and the volume can be adjusted. The sound system has its own circuit breaker on the control panel, so it is super easy to turn on and off. And no more crawling through into the front cab to turn the radio on and off.

The ultimate goal is to connect the ham radio to the amplifier, but have not found a good way to do that yet as the ham radio has speaker level output and not line level output. There is a bluetooth adaptor for the HAM radio, that might do the trick. The Clarion radio in the front cab has a line out, and one-day we plan to connect this to the Kenwood amplifier, but that requires the Clarion to be removed to be wired up, and that is a bit of effort. The we will be able to listen to the radio located in the cab in the house.

Click on image to get a bigger version.
Sonos Roam

We added two Sonos Roam speakers. And these are great. The sounds is amazing and the sound can be moved around as they have an in-built battery.

The Sonos speakers are configured to use the Wi-Fi network allowing them to be used as a stereo pair. As they are smart speakers, they like to be connected to the Internet. And while they work without the Internet, they still like to be on the Internet. And they like to download upgrades on a very regular basis.

Making the connections to the speaker wire
installing the speaker wire.
Testing the amplifier.
The head unit installed on the control panel