· What's the best way to keep the player safe from harm or theft?
(Entry last updated on June 11th, 2008)
When you're not driving, it's best to remove it from the dash and take it with you indoors. This will protect it from theft, as well as keep the hard disks from being exposed to extreme temperatures. The full pullout design is a great advantage in this situation.
For the dash opening, there are a few different schools of thought. Some feel that the hole in the dash is a message to thieves that there's no stereo here, and therefore nothing to steal. On the other hand, thieves might break into your car anyway, looking for a stereo to be hidden under the seat or in the glove box. I once had a removable-faceplate stereo stolen, even though the faceplate had been removed, because of this very mentality.
Some think you should cover the dash opening with a fake plate with a bunch of dangling wires, to make it look like the stereo had already been stolen. Or perhaps with a fake plate that makes it look like a cheap radio not worth stealing. These might or might not deter a thief, but would look ugly in the process.
Personally, I go for the full-stealth approach. There are photos of my Stealth install here. Outside the car, there are no visible signs of a custom stereo installation. All speakers are under the factory grille points or under upholstery. The amplifiers are in the trunk, and not visible from outside the car. I have also purchased a blank plastic plate from the car manufacturer to cover the dash opening. This plate is the same part that's used to cover the dash opening in cars which are sold without a stereo. It even has the car company's logo etched onto it, so it looks totally authentic. When I leave the car, I pull the player out of the dash and take it with me, then I cover the hole with this plate. From anyone looking at the outside of the car, it appears as though there is no stereo installed at all, and therefore nothing worth stealing.
Even if someone does break into the car, I've taken the player with me so that the only thing to steal is a couple of amplifiers. Those are a lot easier to replace than the player.
Another style of stealth installation is to cover the open hole with a false face that looks exactly like the factory-installed radio; factory radios are not usually a target for thieves. An excellent example of this can be seen here. Note that this only works as a theft deterrent if it's completely authentic. Anything that looks even slightly "aftermarket" could become a target.
Sometimes, there will be situations where you can't take the player with you when you leave the car. I don't recommend leaving the player in the car, either visible or hidden. Rather, I would simply leave the player at home before departing on those kinds of trips.
For carrying the player with you, the empeg international store used to sell a very nice carrying case for the unit, which allowed you to take it just about anywhere very comfortably. The case was small, easy to carry, and made traveling with the empeg a breeze. It even had the empeg logo embroidered on the front. Unfortunately, they are sold out of these cases and no more will be made.
Bansai8 Creations makes high quality leather carrying cases for the player, complete with memory-foam padding. These are a similar design to the original empeg carrying cases. Click here to order one.
The most secure carrying case would be a padded hard-shell unit such as a Pelican or Serpac brand case. These are designed to carry photo equipment or similar items. Some users report great success with Pelican cases. These are bulky, however.
Many owners have reported that certain soft-shell cases designed for cameras work well. If you're stuck trying to find a case for the player, it might not hurt to try browsing around a camera store. The CaseLogic company also sells a large selection of cases for things about the same size as the car player; for example, their cases for portable disk drives might work.
It has also been reported that some soft-shell cases designed to carry portable video games, such as the GameBoy Advance, are large enough to hold the car player. So a trip to your local video-game retailer might prove fruitful. Pelican even has one of these soft-shell GBA cases available, model PP1500.
If you are concerned about losing the player by leaving it in a restaurant or something, you can put your name and your work telephone number in the case. You can also use the empeg Logo Editor software to put that information on the player's boot-up screen for additional security.
At the current time, the player software does not have any built-in "code" security to prevent it from being used by a thief. The technical support resources required to support such a system are too great to make it feasible. However, if your player is stolen, contact support and inform them.