This guide on how to build a car amplifier will help you with a complete installation using your hands and available power tools. Make sure to plan appropriately and select which features are important to you in a car amplifier and which are dispensable. Consider how much you expect to spend on your future system and what level of quality you want to obtain as a result.
To build a car amplifier, you will need:
- Wiring kit and wires
- Electrical drill and drill bits
- Contact tips
- Screwdrivers and screws
- Installation manual
- Choose an amplifier type. It’s important to choose the right car amplifier. If you’re planning to power only the rear or only the front speakers then a two-channel amp with a matching power rating is sufficient. If you want to run all four channels then a four-channel amplifier would be suitable. A third option and the best choice would be a multichannel amplifier (usually a six-channel unit) so that you can bridge the two channels into one to power the subwoofer while the rest of the power goes to the speakers. More power is always better, not just for loudness but also for sound quality. Also pay attention to the quantity of power sources inside the housing. It’s better when there are two—one for the wide band channels and another for the subwoofers.
- Mount the amplifier rack. Be careful when choosing a new location for the amplifier rack. You have to make sure that the amplifier gets enough air circulation to keep from overheating. Airflow is important for good performance and reliability because the electronics in the amplifier produce a lot of heat when you’re raising the volume and heat can damage the components. By mounting the amplifier to a wooden rack or other non-conductive material, you also minimize unnecessary noise.
- Set-up the new amplifier. The installation is simple if you’ve made a solid amplifier rack. Do not cover the amplifier with anything; otherwise, you’ll need to install a fan to cool it. Ensure that the amplifier is appropriately powered. Generally, it’s placed in the trunk of the car. Establish the safety fuse as near as possible to terminal “+” of the storage battery and connect it with the battery. An amplifier has its own fuses to protect against short-circuiting, melting of the cable’s insulation, or fire. The size of the fuse should be the same rating as the fuses used by the amplifier or less. To protect against corrosion, apply silicone lubricant.
- Connect the wire, which has a fork contact tip, from the storage battery directly to the +12V contact connector on the amplifier. Places where fire could pass through or where the wire could easily bend should be fortified with plastic insulated tubing. Avoid placing switches or any other devices with large current flow in these areas. In the engine, fasten wire on the previously laid wires with cable tightening clamps. For good contact with the car’s metal, connect to a clean metallic surface where there’s no paint.
- Clean the metal with a wire brush, drill the opening, and screw the contact washer to the car body. Protect this connection with silicone lubricant or cover with paint after connecting the wire. Now that there’s power to the amplifier, wire up the radio, speakers and/or subwoofers to finish hooking up the system. Use the owner’s manual to adjust the settings for your new amplifier and you’ll be ready to show off your new sound system. Consider a good security system to prevent anyone from stealing your equipment.