Auto Rickshaws are used as public transport in many countries like India, Thailand, Japan, China, some European and American countries.
Many auto rickshaw owners nowadays are upgrading their vehicles with radio and speakers. Having a good stereo system in your auto rickshaw not only entertains your customers but also the journey becomes fun and exciting.
Nowadays, many auto rickshaw owners are upgrading their vehicles with radio and speakers, but how should you install a radio in your auto rickshaw? Let’s find out.
As a general rule, the radio can be installed in the dashboard of the auto rickshaw and connected directly to the 12-volt battery. Some auto rickshaws do not have side doors, so the speakers can either be put in the trunk or below the front seat and wired directly to the stereo.
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Tip: If the radio does not fit into the dashboard’s space, it can be mounted under the dashboard and mounted to the dashboard from underneath.
In the article below, I will show you how to install a sound system in your auto rickshaw so that your ride becomes fun and adventurous.
Where to Place the Radio in the Rickshaw?
Auto rickshaws have limited space, and the size of the radio used in the auto rickshaw has to be compact.
So most auto rickshaws have installed single din radios, which you can control either remotely or directly from the buttons at the front panel.
You should install a radio at a place where it is easily accessible to you while driving. For example, many auto rickshaws have a specially designed dashboard into which you can place your stereo provided the model you choose fits that space. You can also mount your radio with the body of an auto rickshaw near the front seat.
If you are looking to install an aftermarket radio or new one in your auto rickshaw without any professional help, follow the steps below:
- Open the compartment (which is usually empty) on the dashboard with the auto rickshaw key, or if your rickshaw already has factory installed stereo, remove it from the dashboard.
- Place the new stereo into that compartment and see if it fits into it.
- If the radio does not fit into the compartment, you have to mount the radio at a different location. For this, make a hole at the lower side of the dashboard with a drill. As you can see, the stereo has a bolt at the top. Pass the bolt through the hole and tie it with a nut from above.
- Another alternative is to mount the stereo with the walls of the rickshaw. In this, mark the holes with the pencil by placing the stereo on the wall. Next, make holes with the drill and mount the radio by tightening the screws into the hole.
While installing the stereo on the wall or under the dashboard, make sure you leave some space for the wiring.
- Now let’s make electrical connections. In modern auto rickshaws, the wiring from the battery to radio already exists, and you will find the wires under the dashboard.
- Connect the positive wire from the battery to the radio’s positive terminal and the ground wire from the battery to the negative terminal of the radio. Make sure that all connections are solid and clean. In older models, you have to run wires from the radio to the battery.
Today most people are buying e-rickshaws which means they run on a rechargeable battery.
A battery, once charged, can provide power for 11-13 hours. However, if you install a heavy sound system into an e-rickshaw, it will consume your battery much faster, and you have to recharge it again.
If you drive an e-rickshaw, I recommend installing a secondary battery. With the secondary battery, you can power up amps, subwoofers, speakers and upgrade your sound system.
The auto rickshaws used as public transports do not have doors, so there is a chance of theft of the stereo. Therefore, it is advisable always to place the stereo into the dashboard or hide it under the hood.
Another thing to consider while mounting the radio outside of the dashboard is that they should be protected from dirt, water, and sunlight. Because of this, some of the auto rickshaw owners try to cover their radios and speakers or purchase marine-grade audio accessories.
How to Modify the Dashboard in a Rickshaw to Fit a Radio?
Many auto rickshaws already come with factory installed radios fitted into the dashboard, but the problem with factory stereos and speakers is that they deliver mediocre sound quality.
For a good audio experience, you have to replace the factory radio with aftermarket stereos. The downside about the radio replacement is that the new radio has larger dimensions than the original one.
In this case, you have to modify the dashboard by cutting it with a blade to fit the new radio. You can also use a clamp to mount the radio, while some auto rickshaw radios can be mounted using a nut bolt.
Cutting the Dashboard to Fit the New Radio
The dashboards in auto rickshaws are made of plastic or wood. The plastic dashboard of the auto rickshaw is very light, and you can cut it using a blade.
For wooden dashboards, you can use a handsaw. Follow the steps below to modify the dashboard for installing the new radio:
- First, turn off the rickshaw and disconnect the factory radio from the battery by removing the battery’s negative lead.
- Carefully remove the factory radio from the dashboard and disconnect the wires from the back.
- Mark the dimensions of the new radio on the dashboard with a marker or pencil. You can find the dimensions of the new radio in the product manual.
- After marking the dimensions, take a saw or a blade and start cutting the dashboard from the inside out.
- When you have finished the hole, install the new radio, connect with the battery and test your stereo.
If you do not want to cut your dashboard, you can choose radios that have a bolt fitted on their top. To fit this radio under the dashboard, follow the steps below:
- Make a hole under the dashboard with a drill and widen the hole with a round file if needed.
- Put the bolt of the stereo inside the hole and tighten it with a nut from above.
- Make the connections with the battery and enjoy your favorite tracks.
There are no dashboards in the e-rickshaws, so the factory stereo is fitted into a metal box, as shown below.
The installation process is simple, open the nuts of the metal box and follow the above steps.
Which Radios Are Good for an Auto Rickshaw?
Because an auto rickshaw is not an expensive vehicle, many owners choose affordable head units and speakers.
Single DIN radios of good brands like Boss, Jensen, JBL, or Alpine are best for auto rickshaws because they are compact, easy to install in the dashboard.
Manufacturers do not produce special stereos for auto rickshaws. Single DIN radios that are suitable for cars can also be installed into rickshaws. So if you have a spare car stereo, then you can use it.
Below I listed the best and affordable radios that you can install in your auto rickshaw:
Philips Audio single Din stereo has innovative technology that lets drivers and passengers enjoy their favorite tracks with vivid spatial effects, and it is the most expensive from all below.
To get the best sonic focus in auto rickshaws, users can switch the audio listening zone from passenger to driver and vice-versa.
Phillips CE223 has a solid built quality and is not lightweight, like some cheap stereos. The sound quality is good, and the only downside for me is the missing Bluetooth. It is worth considering if you are OK with just AUX or USB connections.
Below are a few of its key features:
- It has a built-in 50-watt x 4 channel amplifier, which produces excellent quality sound.
- High contrast LCD comes with a detachable front panel, thus protecting your stereo from robbery as some auto rickshaws have no doors.
- USB charging port which provides 1 amp current for charging your devices.
Boss 616UAB radio has a small LCD with dancing LED lights and illuminating buttons if you are looking for a fancy-looking stereo. For me, although the microphone is not perfect, it is good enough for making or receiving calls.
616UAB is equipped with the following features:
- Bluetooth pairing allows you to make or answer calls hand-free. They have a built-in microphone that helps another person to listen to your voice on the call.
- It supports mp3 and WMA files. You can also play music via music streaming apps like Spotify, Pandora, etc.
- It supports connectivity via 3.5 mm AUX with your iPod, smartphone, or mp3 player and has a USB port for pend drive.
- AM/FM radio tuning allows you to listen to the latest news, sports updates, music, etc.
- Four channels connect speakers with 50-watt peak output, and you can also configure the sound output with a built-in equalizer.
- Wireless remote control.
When it comes to functionality, the JENSEN MPR210 is the best stereo. This audio receiver has a high-resolution 7 character display.
If you are replacing a stock radio to use hands-free and Bluetooth, this is the radio for you. The Bluetooth works great, and I like the remote app you can download to control eq and volume.
Here are some of the great features of this radio:
- It has a Google or Siri voice assistance feature and allows you to control stereo by pressing a button.
- It supports connectivity via Bluetooth and AUX, therefore you have an option in which way you want to make the calls.
- USB port for playing music via pen drive and has 4 preset equalizer options to choose from.
Can I Have a Bluetooth Audio in the Rickshaw?
Bluetooth allows you to wirelessly connect your smartphone with the stereo and enjoy the music, podcasts, or making calls.
Most auto rickshaw drivers prefer to pair their devices via Bluetooth rather than connecting with AUX or USB.
Like car stereos, auto rickshaw stereos support Bluetooth pairing with smartphones, mp3 players, or iPod so that you can stream music from apps like Pandora, Spotify, etc.
In some stereos, there is a special button on the front panel to activate Bluetooth pairing. You just have to press that button and search for your stereo name in your mobile’s Bluetooth menu. Then, tap on the name of the stereo on your mobile phone to pair, and you are good to go.
Follow the steps below to pair your rickshaw Bluetooth stereo with your device:
- Activate the Bluetooth of your stereo by going to the (Setting) menu and find (Bluetooth Connection).
- Select (Pairing), and this will put your auto rickshaw stereo in Bluetooth pairing mode.
- Now, turn on the Bluetooth in your phone’s settings, so your device will start scanning. Once you find the name of the stereo on your device, tap on it to pair.
- Depending on the type of stereo, you may be asked to enter a pin which is usually 0000 or 1234, and after entering the correct pin, your device is paired with your auto rickshaw radio.
- Depending on the functions in the stereo, successful pairing will activate the hands-free calling feature.
How Many Speakers Can I Put In the Rickshaw?
Installing new speakers is the most inexpensive way to upgrade your sound system, and aftermarket speakers are not only cost-effective but also easy to install.
Many auto rickshaw owners prefer to install speakers in speaker boxes with one subwoofer only. However, if you want to upgrade factory stereo, you should put at least two coaxial speakers in the auto rickshaw.
Some of the auto rickshaws come with doors, especially this model of TATA Magic Iris, in which you can install four speakers in the doors.
However, installing four speakers is costly, so auto rickshaw drivers usually go for cost-effective solutions.
While installing speakers in a box in the open auto rickshaw, remember that the speakers are vulnerable to dirt, sunlight, and water, so they should be covered with waterproof material.
Where to Install Speakers in a Rickshaw?
Speakers are essential components of a good sound system.
Since the auto rickshaw’s engine is loud, make sure while selecting speakers that they will be loud enough to overloud the engine’s noise and give a good sound output.
There are several places where you can install speakers in an auto rickshaw. Factory speakers are installed in the dashboard of the auto rickshaw, but most people prefer to install speakers into the speaker box and put them under the front seat or in the trunk of an auto rickshaw.
Others make a custom frame like shown in the picture below and place them in the trunk of the rickshaw.
Upgrading in Dash Speakers
The factory-installed dash speakers are of poor quality, so I am sure you will upgrade them.
Factory speakers are coaxial, so you can select powerful aftermarket speakers and replace them without a problem.
Since the dashboard of an auto rickshaw is small and it has limited space, I recommend that you select the speakers of the exact dimensions that are already installed in your rickshaw dashboard.
Factory-installed speakers are usually 6.5 inches, and I have found an excellent and affordable replacement.
JVC CS-J620 is 300 watt, 6.5 inches 2-way coaxial speakers that are the best option to upgrade factory speakers in an auto rickshaw.
To upgrade factory installed dash speakers of auto rickshaw, follow the steps below:
- First of all, collect all needed tools like a screwdriver, speaker adapters and harnesses, and of course the speakers.
- Once you have gathered all the tools, remove the negative terminal from the battery to avoid any short circuit, blown fuses, or other electrical problems.
- Take a screwdriver and remove the screw of factory speakers. After removing all screws, carefully take out one speaker and unplug it from the factory harness.
- Take the new speaker and plug it into the factory harness and make sure the polarity matches. If the connector of your new speaker does not fit with the factory harness, then it’s better to cut off the connectors and crimp the extension from the original speaker wires.
- After cutting the connectors, remove the insulation from both sides and connect the stereo’s positive wire with the speakers’ positive wire and the negative wire with the negative.
- Now you can test the speaker by joining the negative terminal of the battery. If the speaker is working well, then install the aftermarket speaker by tightening the screws.
- Repeat the same process with the speaker on the other side.
If the new aftermarket speakers you have selected are larger than factory installed speakers, you have to cut the dashboard of the auto rickshaw.
Below are the steps to cut the dashboard of the auto rickshaw to upgrade factory speakers:
- Remove the factory speakers by unscrewing the screws with a screwdriver.
- Place the new speaker template on the dashboard and mark the dimensions of new speakers and holes with a pencil or marker.
- The dashboard of an auto rickshaw is not as thick as that of a car, so you don’t need a fancy tool like a jigsaw to cut holes. You can cut the holes using a simple blade knife or handsaw.
- Before installing the speakers, you need to use a thin drill and make the mounting holes for the speakers’ screws.
Installing Speakers in Speaker Box
If your auto rickshaw does not have factory installed speakers, this is an excellent way to add the speakers.
Many auto rickshaw drivers prefer installing a single speaker into the speaker box and then place the box below the front seat or under the dashboard.
Installing speakers in the box is a relatively easy task, but to do it right, follow the steps below:
- Select the speaker you want to install in your rickshaw, and then buy the speaker box so that the selected aftermarket speaker fits into it. I recommend Audiopipe APMB-8SB-C because its RMS output is 125W and is powerful enough to overcome the noise of auto rickshaw engines and the traffic.
- Place the speaker in the hole of the speaker box and then mark the holes with a marker. Remove the speaker and use a drill to make holes at the markings.
- Now take two wires long enough to reach outside of the speaker box and solder them with speaker terminals as shown below.
- After soldering wires at speaker terminals, pass these wires through a small hole at the back of the box. Now place the speaker on the box and adjust it to the drilled holes. As the last step, tighten the screws with a screwdriver.
- Connect the speaker to the stereo, and you are ready to rock your auto rickshaw with your favorite tracks.
The short video below explains in detail the installation process.
Install Speakers in Trunk of Auto Rickshaw
If you will install subwoofers, speakers, etc. in an auto rickshaw, the safest way is to install them on a wooden frame and place them into the trunk.
If you do not have any DIY experience, it will be challenging to do at home, so you should seek professional help as it involves cutting the wooden frame and fixing it at the back.
How to Power Speakers in the Rickshaw?
The speakers are powered from the stereo or amplifier of an auto rickshaw, so while selecting them, make sure they can provide sufficient power to all speakers connected to it.
The wiring of speakers to stereo in the case of an auto rickshaw is simple, and to make sure you have it right, I highlighted a few simple steps of how to proceed:
- Like in any other vehicle type, speakers for rickshaws have two terminals – positive and negative.
- You will see the wires coming from the back of the stereo. First, find the speaker outputs and connect the positive wire with the speaker’s positive terminal and the negative wire with the negative terminal of the speaker.
- Repeat the same with all the speakers.
- When connecting the wires, you may need to either solder the wires or crimp using the wire connectors.
- Another thing you can use is a plug-and-play speaker harness cable.
If you have installed an amplifier between the speakers and stereo, then connect the positive terminal of the amp with the speaker’s positive terminal and, in the same way, connect the negative terminals.
Can I Add Wireless Speakers to the Rickshaw?
Wireless speakers are a great way to play your favored music and receive hands-free calls. Since many auto rickshaw drivers spend most of their time in the vehicles, adding Bluetooth speakers will make this time more enjoyable.
You can add wireless speakers to your auto rickshaw and pair them on Bluetooth with your rickshaw’s stereo or with your smartphone.
The best wireless speaker for auto rickshaws is the Jabra speaker, which can be paired with two devices at the same time. It also has a unique voice guidance feature that provides Bluetooth connection status, pairing instructions, and battery status.
All you need is to connect your smartphone with speakers and make calls with voice assistance. Below are few other features of wireless speakers:
- They also have noise cancellation, which is also helpful in hands-free calling.
- The size of Bluetooth speakers is compact, and they are portable, so you can take them anywhere you want.
- Good audio quality, and some of the models come with shock-proof shells, for example, Dprofy V3-M.
How to Install Wireless Speakers in an Auto Rickshaw?
The installation of wireless speakers is easy, and you don’t need any professional help with that. Here are the step by step instructions to place wireless speakers in the auto rickshaw:
Step 1 – Choose a Location to Mount and Connect the Charging Cable
You can easily mount the Bluetooth speakers on the roof or under the dashboard or nearby stereo.
I recommend mounting them close to the stereo’s charging port or any other charging point under the dashboard. You can also carry a power bank to charge speakers.
Step 2 – Pair the Speakers With Your Smartphone or Rickshaw Stereo
To connect Bluetooth wireless speakers with your mobile device, first make sure that both devices are in pairing mode.
To turn on Bluetooth in wireless speakers, you have to long-press a button until you hear a sound from the speaker like “Bluetooth mode activated.”
Now go to the Bluetooth setting in your phone and turn on the Bluetooth. It will start scanning the new devices. You will find your speaker’s name in the list. Tap on it, and your speaker will notify you that “Bluetooth pairing is done.”
The same is the case when you try to connect with a stereo. Go to the Bluetooth settings of the stereo and tap on “scan new devices.” Your stereo will start scanning the wireless speakers and select the name in the list.
Right after pairing, you are ready to play your music on wireless speakers.
Which Speakers Are Best for the Rickshaw?
Many speaker brands are available in the market, and sometimes it can be overwhelming to select which speakers are good.
You don’t need special speakers for the auto rickshaw. Speakers that are good for cars can also be installed in rickshaws.
Below I have listed the most suitable and affordable speakers for auto rickshaws:
Pioneer TS-F1634R are two-way 6.5-inch speakers with a 200W max power output. They have standard 4 ohms impedance and have been designed with shallow baskets for easier installation in narrow places.
Something important to note is these are NOT high-end speakers, and they will not blow you away with sound quality, but for replacement of factory speakers or as additional ones in the auto rickshaw, they are perfect.
By looking at the price tag, you may think they are nothing special, but the reality is, they are mindblowing at this price level.
BOSS CH6520 are two-way speakers with a peak power output of 250 watts.
They are made from polyurethane which makes them resilient to harsh weather and durable. In addition, they have piezo-electric tweeters which are resilient to overloads, and they do not have built-in crossovers.
The sensitivity of these speakers is 90 dB which guarantees that the performance of these speakers is excellent. They are louder and crispier than earlier mentioned Pioneers but produce less bass and offer less dynamic.
Still, this is a definitely better option for a loud and open auto rickshaw than the factory alternative.
JBL Stage 810 is an 8-inch subwoofer. The power handling capacity of this speaker is 200 Watt RMS with 88dB sensitivity and 4-ohm impedance.
The cone is made from polyurethane supported by nitrile rubber, making the speaker resistant to abuses of harsh environments.
The power level of the Stage810 means that an external amplifier is a must, but if you want to make your rickshaw outstanding, it is worth spending extra money on this woofer.
Jabra wireless speakers are the best wireless speakers that you can install in your auto rickshaw.
You can make or take the calls hands-free via Bluetooth, and these speaker phones even announce the incoming caller’s name.
You can connect two Bluetooth devices at the same time. It has 14 hours of playtime and 960 hours of standby time, meaning that if you spend in the rickshaw all day, you do not need to recharge the speaker.
Do I Need an Amplifier in the Rickshaw?
If you decide to install a recommended subwoofer JBL Stage 810, or any other, then the amplifier is a must. You simply have to have it.
An amplifier amplifies the low voltage signal from stereo to high voltage signal and supplies it to speakers. Unfortunately, there is no existing stereo that will provide enough power to run a subwoofer.
Also, when it comes to the speakers, you should install an amplifier in a rickshaw because it will increase the quality of sound coming out of the speakers. An amplifier helps produce louder volume with less distortion, thus overcoming road noise.
The choice of an amplifier depends on the type of sound system you will install in your auto rickshaw. Usually, auto rickshaws have two speakers, so a four-channel class A/B amplifier like BOSS R2504 is an excellent choice.
It has a 94W RMS per channel and remote control to steer the bass level. This little amp puts out considerable power compared to just using the head units speaker outputs. The amplifier is also very small and easy to hide in the auto rickshaw.
How to Install an Amplifier in the Rickshaw?
The best place to install an amplifier in an auto rickshaw is close to the speakers, and it should be properly grounded to avoid interference.
If you use dash factory speakers, install an amplifier under the dashboard or under the seat. Many auto rickshaws use speaker boxes, so in these cases, mount the amplifier nearby the speaker box or even attached it to the speaker box.
The amplifier, however has to be insulated from any contact with the metal walls of the auto rickshaw for grounding purposes.
Before installing an amplifier in an auto rickshaw, make sure you follow the steps below:
- Follow the manufacturer instructions listed on the instruction manual.
- To avoid noise-related issues, an amplifier should be at least 3 feet away from the stereo.
- Do not mount the amplifier directly with the metal body as it may lead to noise problems like buzz or hum. Instead, use rubber gourmets around the screws, or you can first mount the amplifier on a wooden board and then mount it with the body of an auto rickshaw.
- Make sure you leave enough space for connecting wiring and adjust gains, bass boost, crossover, etc.
The following steps will show you how to wire your amplifier in the auto rickshaw:
- Remove the insulation from the wires so that you can attach connector pins to them.
- Connect the ground wire of the amp to the bare metal or any other grounding point. Make sure you clean the rust or remove paint from the grounding point.
- Next, plug the speaker wires, RCA, and remote wires from the stereo. If your stereo does not have a remote turn-on wire, you can use an external 12 volts switch to not drain the battery when the radio is turned off.
- Run the power wire from the battery to the amplifier. Connect the positive terminal of the battery with the positive terminal of the amp. For protection purposes, you can connect a fuse between the battery and amplifier power wire.
- Secure all the wiring with the cable ties and test your amplifier.
How to Hide Audio Wires in the Rickshaw?
For any audio installation, the proper wiring is critical.
Correct wiring helps avoid accidents as you don’t want your power wires to short circuit and cause damage or fire, and with clean wiring, the vehicle’s interior looks clean and organized.
If you use a dash speaker stereo system, then wiring can be hidden in the dashboard. When your stereo and speakers are far from each other, then I recommend using either cable sleeve or spiral cable wrap to hide the wires.
Before you ever start working on your rickshaw’s electrical system, be sure to disconnect the negative battery wire because while working with positive cables and if they touch metal parts, they won’t ground out.
Use a multimeter to verify that there is no voltage between positive and negative leads.
Many auto rickshaw drivers prefer to install the speaker box in the trunk or under the front seat.
The wiring in this case, is naked and prone to wear and tear. Follow these steps to hide the wires in your rickshaw properly:
- Plan the route. If you have the speaker placed under the seat, then wiring can be laid on the floor, and for the audio equipment in the trunk, the wiring route will be through the roof cover.
- Choose Wire Cover. As I mentioned earlier, you can choose a cable sleeve or spiral cable wrap to cover the visible wiring.
- Cut the cover to the length from the speakers to the stereo, and cover toe wires before connecting them with the terminals.
- Now you have hidden all wires in the black cover, and the next thing is to securely hang them using cable ties. You can use self-adhesive cable tie mounts to place the cables on the wall, roof and then tie them with a cable tie.
Well-planned wiring routes in your auto rickshaw also safeguard your signal wires from the noise produced by power wires.
Can a Factory Battery Handle Audio in the Rickshaw?
The battery’s primary purpose in auto rickshaws is to turn on the engine and give power to accessories like headlights, fan, horn, stereo, etc.
In the case of petrol, diesel, and CNG auto rickshaws, the factory battery can handle basic stereo-speaker arrangements.
If you drive an e-rickshaw, you should install a secondary battery for the sound system because they run on battery. If you place a powerful audio system, it will drain your primary battery faster.
The audio rickshaw draws its power from the battery for its operation, and if your battery does not fulfill the power requirements, you will face issues like frequent turning off of headlights, unable to increase volume after a certain level, etc.
You can install any 12-volt car battery dedicated for your rickshaw stereo, and you can place it under the dashboard on the rickshaw’s floor or under the front seat.
What Other Audio Equipment Do I Need for the Rickshaw?
Auto rickshaw driving is the source of income for most people in developing countries. This is because they spend most of their waking hours driving auto and taking passengers around the city.
For a good audio experience, a basic stereo speaker arrangement is good. Apart from this, you can install amps, subwoofers, and tweeters into your rickshaw sound system if you want to make it unique.
Auto rickshaws are not as expensive as cars, ATVs, or golf carts. Therefore there is no point in spending thousands of dollars on an audio system alone.
Installing a radio in an auto rickshaw is a simple task.
The main problem is that in auto rickshaws or e-rickshaws, there is not enough space to fit heavy stereo systems.
Another thing is that the audio components are not protected from weather, dust, or thieves, so while buying, always look for affordable audio solutions.