Thursday, December 11, 2014

One tooth, Bluetooth, Aux tech!

I'd like to say it was the perfect storm, but it was all too ordinary in my world. Older tech meets new tech but it needs to engage in a ménage à trois to work. The partners in this salacious tryst are an older Kenwood stereo, a new Wet Sounds Bluetooth receiver and volume control, and a Scosche FM modulator. The Wet Sounds Bluetooth volume control is an interesting little device. Not only is it a Bluetooth receiver, but it controls the volume, you can stop it (in effect a mute control) and change tracks all in a very compact package.



Out of the box it can be mounted under a console with two screws or the into a console. I think for most boaters the through dash option is the cleanest install, and that's what I did. The compact size gives you a lot of placement options even with a busy console.

The install is a piece of cake. Drill a 7/8" hole where you want it to go. Remove the under console mounting part, add the gasket, and shove it into the hole.

The only issue I had with this part of the install is the mini ATC fuse holder is very close to the device. This is okay if you have good access, but in my case I could only get to it with one hand. The proverbial Brailer. My difficulty was in order to screw on the plastic locking nut the fuse has to be removed to get past it. Since I only had one hand available, trying to get that tiny little fuse back into it's holder was nigh on impossible.

With some mumbling I pulled the device out, severed the fuse holder, and replaced it with a butt connector. The fuse holder was then installed near the end of the wire where I could get at it. This wasn't a big deal but if I was dictator, the fuse holder would be at the end of the wire to provide a little more flexibility in mounting options, and potentially easier access for fuse replacement. 

The next hurdle is the audio cable connection. The device connection is a 1/8" stereo mini jack. My solution to manage this was a short cable splitter that has female RCA connectors. I picked up one at Radio Shack for about $6.00. There are online options to do this task for less cost if you plan ahead.

Where does the other end of the audio cable go? Good question. If the gods are kind your stereo has an AUX input you can plug them into. Or you can connect it to an amplifier if one is installed, and the inputs aren't being used, but this is unlikely. Or you can add a FM modulator which always works, and what I did. The last part of the install is to connect the power and ground wires, and you're done.

Here is the finished install. It's nestled under some gauges and above the radio's remote control. Now to make it do something.

By pressing down on the button and holding it for a few seconds you will see a second red LED light up on the other side and they will both blink. You have now entered the "Paired Zone."

Go to "settings" on your mobile device and find Bluetooth receiver WW-BT-VC. Do the pairing thingy and then play some tunes.

Tapping the knob down pauses or starts the music. One quick turn clockwise advances to the next track, and in the other direction backs up one track. Turn and hold the knob clockwise and the volume increases, and it decreases in the other direction. All of this is done without ever touching the phone or tablet.

How does it sound? Great, but in my case there was some nuance to be considered. You can overdrive the output. What's happening is I'm feeding a second device with the Wet Sounds unit, my FM Modulator. If it was just plugged directly into a stereo AUX input or an amp this likely wouldn't happen. In my case I turned the mobile device's volume down a fair bit. Then I set the radio to a little more than half of the volume I wanted. The Bluetooth receiver is used to make any further up or down volume adjustments.

It's a good device and I would buy another one. It costs about $99 online. This does much more than a basic Bluetooth receiver. It's built for the marine environment, the antenna is out in the open instead of being buried inside the console, it's easy for the DIY'er to install. and you can secure your phone so it's safe on those bouncy days. Good job Wet Sounds.

Like all things I talk about, this piece was unsolicited, based on my personal installation experience and no compensation was received or asked for.

1 comment:

  1. Liztek's Bluetooth Receiver is really best because it's features include simple to use Power & Pairing button, Blue and Red LED indicator lights, 3.5mm female jack for headphones, 3.5mm male to male connector for home and car stereos.

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