Custom equipment console

I saw a few chasers and public safety people around that had custom built equipment consoles. I started thinking of a custom job after seeing Dave Drummond's work on a console using wood and carpet, and after much thought, and dread of doing anything to my 99 Explorer XLT, I started a console today. So far the design is quite simple. This console is the same length as the factory floor console, and runs from the dash, all the way to the rear of the front seats. The original factory console will come out, unharmed and go into storage. The current construction is for white pine support structures, and facing made of 1/4" plywood, covered with speakerbox carpet. I will post pics as soon as I can take some. This console will house my CB, GMRS, ham, and scanner radios, a weather station, computer, 2 power inverters, and the factory CD changer. I will still try to keep cupholders.

The question I have is for those who have done all of this work before. I guess that is...

1 - How well do they hold the equipment when properly anchored?
2 - Does the wood used make any kind of problems during cold or moist weather?
3 - How well do they stand up to daily driving conditions and chase day abuse?
 
The one I built in that thread is still holding up just great. The one I built for Graham's truck is just fine as well. I used particle board and pine. I've used plywood for the sides in the past as well. Your tolerances don't have to be perfect, so expansion of the wood isn't an issue. My stuff gets a great deal of abuse and is holding up just fine. If you anchor the equipment well inside it, it should be rock solid.

One tip though, for easier cleaning, consider covering it with vinyl instead. That aftermarket carpet tends to catch EVERYTHING making it a chore to clean. You can buy the vinyl by the yard in various colors and places that sell material like Cloth World or other places that have stuff for sewing.

I'll be outfitting yet another chase vehicle for 2007, and I will be using the vinyl on that. You could also use leather if you wanted to lay out the cash for it.

Might want to keep the power inverters some place else unless your going to ventilate the case with a fan, those things need good ventilation to keep from overheating.
 
Yeah I would think so as long as there is an inlet for the cool air. Maybe go with 2 80mm case fans or a single 120mm case fan. Nice thing about those you can run them directly off vehicle voltage. Make sure you don't have a heater vent that will be blowing down in the front of the console. If so, plug it up with some foam or a sponge or something like that. you could ventilate out the sides toward the seats and the fans wouldn't be seen that way unless your in the habit of shoving map books of something like that down in there that would block it.
 
Hmmm, after some looking around on other forums, I ran into a problem. In 1995-2001 Ford Explorers with rear air and CD changer, if the rear air and harness is disconnected, the rear speakers and sub will not work. The design of my console is fairly simple and can be changed accordingly. The panel that houses the controls for the rear air is actually a simple bolt-in. I will post pix when done, but this looks like it's going to be an involved project. I will have to actually re-use the rear air controls and ducting on the new console, which is not a problem, because the console's new clearance will make up for lost height due to ducts.

I see a sweet custom/factory hybrid coming!!!
 
OK, Update.

So, my digicam broke down, and I have no pics (sorry), but here's what I've done so far. The console is in. The armrest is still under construction, and I'm waiting to get my new subwoofer in. I have to pull the rear inside kick panel to get the sub out (it blew), and to drop the headliner (and install the antennae). The console is done, and I'm currently building some custom brackets to shore up the mount. The rear stereo controls and factory CD changer currently reside inside the armrest. All communications equipment is disconnected, waiting on a relay for ignition power, and of course, the antennas. I am in mid-process of building the laptop stand.

I'll update later.
 
i'd like to see this custom rig myself, what are you useing as a laptop mount?, i was considering makeing one for my rig as well
 
Im glad you figured out the thing about the rear speakers before you did the console. I didn't know that until I had ripped my entire factory console out and installed my full Havis shields track mount. (2000 explorer XLT)

I ended up just plugging the rear controls back into the harness and ziptying them under the dash out of the way.
 
Yeah, I found out why that is. The rear stereo controls house a switch that toggles between rear audio and a headphone jack. There could be a way to bypass the switch, but screwing with the wiring of a Mach Audio system was something I was not up to at the time. The console construct has pretty much been halted due to finances, so for the time being, I'm cruising around with a wooden armrest, and no back on the console.
 
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