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Thinking of how to build a custom amplifier that meets everything you want from a car audio amplifier? Basically, a car comes with a stereo system for music playback and FM radio.
However, most times, audiophiles don’t find such stereo systems worthy because they can’t output the high-level sound they desire.
Thus, they tend to build a custom stereo system, or a custom amplifier to improve the audio quality they get when driving.
How To build a car audio amplifier, you need to ready the necessary components and ensure they’re all compatible. Also, you need a schematic to help you through.
Well, customizing your car’s audio system can be quite challenging, and of course, it needs utmost carefulness.
There are many DIY videos and guides online to help you in customizing your car audio system, but, this article focuses on building a custom car audio amplifier.
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Car Audio Amplifiers Explained
Car audio amplifiers are just like the regular amplifiers you know – just that, they are built to be installed in vehicles.
The function is the same with every other type of amplifier you know, which is to boost the audio signals from your car stereo to power your connected speakers or car subwoofer system.
A car audio amplifier would power your car stereo to deliver better sound, along with deeper bass.
Well, stock car amplifiers work pretty well, but to some people, it can’t just serve – especially if they’re playing to add a separate subwoofer for bass output.
Actually, there are pretty many budget-friendly car audio amplifiers you can find on Amazon, eBay, and other stores.
But, if you’re planning to create one by yourself, then we’ve provided a detailed guide you can follow below.
Should You Get a Car Audio Amplifier?
The truth is, while most new cars do come with decent, mind-blowing sound systems (car stereo), some older models come with poor stereo and speakers.
Put simply, if you’re not satisfied with the sound you’re getting from your car stereo, one of the things you need to improve it, is a car amp.
That said, you can either buy an aftermarket amplifier and fix it to your car stereo, or get some required components and build the amplifier yourself.
However, whether you’re going for an aftermarket option or building one yourself, you must take into consideration the following things:
- The configuration of your car stereo system
- Available spaces where you can fix the aftermarket speakers/subwoofer
- Make sure the parts you purchased are all compatible with each other
How to Build a Car Audio Amplifier
It all starts with sourcing out the materials you need for the DIY.
There are two main ways to get the materials you need; the first is to buy them online or at offline electronic shops, and the second is scavenging various parts of your old, rickety appliances.
Definitely, getting the necessary components you need from your old appliances would save you a lot of money.
But then, there’s no guarantee that the components are compatible, and you can’t be too sure if they are still good/functional. Hence, the best way to source your parts should be to purchase a DIY amplifier kit.
Mainly, DIY amp kits come with all the components you need to build your own amplifier – the way you want it.
More so, with such kits, you’re sure that all the components are compatible with each other, which would the coupling process much easier and painless.
Furthermore, building a custom amplifier includes soldering some stuff into a circuit board. With a DIY kit, the board is already settled, all major parts to be soldered onto the board must have been done already.
Again, this makes the job much easier than gathering the parts yourself. Below is a photo of how a DIY car amplifier kit looks like.
The kit should typically comprise the following:
- A PCB
- Dual/Quad Power Amplifier
- Op Amp
- Basic Red
- Power Switch
- Hex Nut
- A schematic
However, what would be included in the kit depends on the one you bought. Some kits may contain much more than the items above, while others may not come with all of that.
Gathering the components is the most challenging part of building a custom amplifier. Once you have it done, you’re good to go.
So, with the parts all ready, it’s time to start compiling and tightening the amplifier components.
#Pro Tip: You need a magnifier lens you’d use to check the resistors and capacitors to ensure they’re good.
If you’re using a kit, ensure to read the schematic carefully, if you salvaged your old components, you should be an audio expert then.
#Pro Tip: In the end, ensure you install the amplifier in a way that it won’t overheat.
The first step is to load the turret board following the instruction in the kit schematic you read. This includes installing resistors, capacitors, potentiometers, amp-chips, and fuses.
You should start with the highest-value component of each type. Apparently, the connectors will come out from the other side of the board, where you’d solder them onto the board.
Now, install the chassis-mount components, power and output transformers, then the RCA jacks. Use a 100-amp fuse IEC power-supply socket since the amplifier will use power from the car battery.
Mount the board and solder it into the chassis base. Then solder the chassis-mounted parts onto the circuit board.
Depending on the instruction in the schematic you’re following, you may need a wire to ground the terminals of each component on your board.
Note: use red wire for positive terminals and black for negative terminals.
You’re done, simply couple the amplifier and fit it into your car – into the respective space – then connect your stereo and speakers.
Basically, the manual that comes with DIY car amp kits explains the steps clearer.