Building the Electronics Panel

This page features the physical attributes of my electronics panel. Visit specific pages for the 12-volt distribution, ham radio, or subwoofer projects to learn more about those systems. This page is about the panel itself.

The box itself is unique, mostly because it’s more than just a box. I wanted everything to be concealed beneath the removable floor in the trunk. “Everything” includes the subwoofer, power distribution and regulation, amplifiers, and two ham radio chassis. On top of that, I wanted it to be relatively easy to remove in case I ever decide to autocross or track the car. The panel/box is made from 3/4″ MDF board that’s glued and screwed together. I did not brace the interior since the internal volume is already at a minimum for a 10-inch subwoofer.

Externally, the box is ~26″ long, 18.75″ wide, and 3.75″ deep, including the 3/4″ thickness of the panel to which it is glued. That leaves the interior dimensions at 24.5 x 17.25 x 2.25 inches, which yields an internal volume of just 0.55 cubic feet, or ~0.51 cubic feet with a subwoofer mounted. My choice of subwoofer can operate in as little as 0.4 cubic feet, but it would probably sound better with 0.75 cubic feet. I used Acousta-Stuf polyfill to fake more volume, although I’m sure it’s not much. Getting the carpet applied evenly was my greatest challenge. It’s not perfect, but I think it turned out well. I may build a replacement box and finish it with truck bed liner. Then again, the carpet tends to hide the screw holes from the many times that I have moved components or rewired the panel. 😀

The loaded 75-lb panel can be lifted to reach the spare tire and whatever is left of the storage area; or it can be removed altogether. With removal in mind, I included quick-connections for the electrical parts so that I wouldn’t have to unscrew or cut any of the cable ties to allow removing the panel. The panel currently has a total of 13 cables feeding it, with quick jacks or mechanical breaks installed in each cable. The connections include ham radio display cables (x2), ham radio microphone cables (x2), ham radio speaker cables (x2), 12-volt power in, 12-volt power out, ground, trailer lighting, Helix harness, Helix demo cable, and Rockford Fosgate bass control cable. The panel is made electrically safe via circuit breaker on top of the battery.

I’ve shared a photo album of the panel’s construction below.