I have an extra car amp at home, and an idea strikes in my mind: Why not install it at home?
If you have a similar idea, you probably want to know how to install a car amp at home? Let’s find out.
In general, to install a car amp at home, you need to take an AC to DC +12 volt power adapter and wire it to the amplifier and main supply. Then, if your amplifier has a remote turn ON, take a wire loop and wire it to +12 volts. Now, when your amplifier is powered up, connect the speakers, adjust the gain, and you are good to go.
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Tip: Depending on the amplifier power, you need to use a power adapter that will match the amplifier’s amperage. This IMAYCC adapter supports up to 600W at 12V that is enough for most stereo amplifiers.
In this article, I will dig deep into installing a car amp at home and attaching it to home speakers and stereos.
Can I Run Home Speakers From a Car Amplifier?
When you are short on funds, getting a new amplifier is not an option, and you may consider using a car amplifier to run home speakers.
This is doable, but to make it right, there are several things you need to consider.
The way of wiring a car amplifier with home speakers depends on whether you have to use an RCA cable or speaker connectors. When you have standard speaker terminals in the speakers, use the speaker wires with gauge 14 or 16 AWG.
The few steps below will show you how to connect the home speakers with a car amplifier:
- Take the speaker wire and remove 0.5″ of insulation from each end using a wire cutter or pliers. When cutting the wire, ensure the length is sufficient for the whole distance between the amplifier and speakers.
- If you are using wire connectors, make sure their connection with wires is safe. To make these points secure, use a heat sink tube.
- Cut 1″ of heat sink tube and slide it over the bare wire. Now use a heat gun to heat the tube to secure the heat sink tube to the wire, and repeat the same process with a negative wire.
- Now take a metal terminal and solder it to the wire using soldering iron and flux. Depending on the speaker terminals, you may need different connector types, either banana, spade, or “U” shape.
- Unscrew the speaker’s positive terminal, attach red (positive) wire into it, and then tighten the screw. Now connect the other (negative) wire to the speaker’s negative terminal and repeat the same for the other speaker.
In over 99% of cases, you have to make the parallel connection (direct one speaker with one amplifier terminal).
How to Match a Car Amp With a Home Stereo?
You can connect a car amplifier to any home stereo, and the steps to make connections and parts needed depending on whether they have only speaker connectors or RCA cable jacks:
Both Car Amp and Stereo Without RCA Cable Jacks
This is the most common case as most home stereos do not have RCA jacks or have only speaker terminal outputs. Therefore, you have to connect the speaker wire directly with the speakers and amplifier’s terminals.
Car Amp or Stereo With RCA Cable Jacks
If only the amplifier or speakers have an RCA connection but not both, you can connect them using a line-level converter.
On one side of the line-level converter, attach the RCA cables, and on the other side, you can connect standard speaker wires.
Both Car Amp and Stereo Have RCA Cable Jacks
This is the simplest case to make stereo amp connections. Just plug the RCA cables and make the connections.
Can I Use 8 ohm Speakers With a Car Amp?
The 8 ohm home speakers will work with a 4-ohm amplifier, but not at the same performance.
Connected 8 ohm home speakers will receive only half of their required power, and in effect, they will play quieter than the 4-ohm speakers of the same power.
In other words, you will not receive the full power of 8-ohm speakers by running them with a 4-ohm car amplifier, even with the amplifier’s volume turned to the maximum.
How Do I Power a Car Amp With a Wall Outlet?
If you have a car amplifier at home and are looking to power it up, there is only one obstacle – the car amplifiers are designed to work at 12 volts DC, whereas the wall outlet provides 110 volts AC.
So, if you plug in the car amplifier directly into the wall outlet, you will end up blowing it.
To power up the car amplifier, you need a DC power adapter that converts the 110 volts AC input to 12 volts DC output, thus stepping down the voltage level at the operational level of the car amp.
Here is the step-by-step process to power a car amp using 110V from the wall outlet, and before the start, make sure you have the following tools. If you do not have these or similar items, I added Amazon links.
- 110 volts AC / DC converter (you can have different one depending on the amplifier power)
So, when I was connecting my amplifier, I have followed the steps below:
- Choose the right place for the amplifier and the converter because you will not move them back and forth. Ideally, if the converter can be bolted down to some shelf or cabinet.
- Measure and cut the power wires between the converter and the amplifier. Make sure the cables are long enough and remove 0.5″ of the insulation from each end.
- Take the positive wire and place its one end in the positive amplifier’s terminal and the other end in the converter’s positive terminal (+12V)
- Repeat the same with the negative wire but connect it to the negative terminals (-12V)
- Connect one end of the remote wire to the converter’s positive (+12V) terminal and the other end to the amplifier’s remote terminal.
- At this point, the amplifier is connected and can be powered. The next step is to connect the RCA signal wires from the stereo to the RCA inputs in the amplifier.
- The last step is to plug the converter into the wall socket and test the amplifier. If the amplifier is equipped with a power diode, you should see it start illuminating.
Can I Power a Car Amp With a Laptop Charger?
Laptop chargers are designed to convert the 110 volts to the required DC voltage so that you can use them to power the car amplifier.
The only downside is that a car amplifier has to produce much more power than any laptop charger can provide, so I would not recommend this type of connection unless the amp you are connecting is not powerful.
If you still want to go ahead and power the car amplifier with the laptop charger, a few steps below will show you how to do it correctly:
- Cut the wire of the laptop charger from the charging pin side using pliers.
- You will see two wires. One is positive, and the other one is negative. To figure out which wire is positive, you can use a multimeter.
- Plug in the charger to the wall socket and turn it on, make sure the wires are not touching. Now take a multimeter, turn its knob to DC voltage and connect the leads to the wires.
If the reading is positive, the wire touching the red lead is positive, and the other is negative. Conversely, if the reading on the multimeter is negative, then the wire touching the red lead is negative, and the wire connecting the black lead is positive.
- Unplug the charger, take the positive wire of the laptop charger, unscrew the positive input terminal of the amp, and then slide in the positive laptop charger wire.
- Repeat the same with the negative wire of the laptop charger and then tighten the screws.
- If your amplifier has a remote turn on, connect the positive wire from the charger with the amplifier’s remote terminal.
- Plug the charger in the socket, and your amplifier is ready.
If you decide to install a car amp and speakers at home, there are three main things that you should consider: power, wire gauges, and speaker location.
Power considerations include a power source (electrical or battery), voltage/current requirement, and amplifier wattage when choosing the suitable AC / DC converter.