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Picture of Ammo Box Speakers
This instructable will demonstrate how to turn a .50 caliber ammunition box into a sweet set of speakers that can be used with your mp3 player, laptop, or any other portable device.

This set of speakers is rugged, compact, easy to take on the go, and LOUD!  The whole project will cost about $50.00 usd. and can be completed in an afternoon.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
Most of these materials can be purchased locally, but I chose to get some of the items online to cut down on costs.

Heres what you need:

1.  One .50 caliber ammo box- http://www.joesarmynavyonline.com/servlet/Detail?no=5984
2.  Two 4" speakershttp://www.amazon.com/Pyle-PL42BL-4-Inch-Two-Way-Speakers/dp/B000230LBI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1291250695&sr=8-2
3.  2 sets of speaker wires- these will come with your speakers typically
4.  12 volt amplifier-http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.34406
5.  3.5mm panel mount plughttp://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062450
6.  12 volt illuminated toggle switchhttp:// http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=206249312
7.  Computer power supply- a broken one is ok for this, as you will just be using the plug and cord.
8.  Egg carton foam- I had this piece of foam from some type of packaging.
9.  1 3/4" desk grommet- these can be found in the hardware store or office supply store.
10.  12 volt power supply- this is the kind of power supply that a laptop would use.
11.  Two 4" computer fan grates.
12.  3.5mm male audio to rca audio
13.  3.5mm male to 3.5mm male audio cable
14.  cheap little tripod from the dollar store
15.  various hardware.

Step 2: Safety Gear

Picture of Safety Gear
You are definitely going to have to wear safety glasses for this project as there are metal bits and solder flying all over the place.  I would also suggest wearing hearing protection because when you get ready to cut the ammo box, it may be the loudest thing ever heard by human ears.
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GlennS429 days ago

Also, is it advisable to add a 10A fuse?

GlennS429 days ago

I am by no means an electrical engineer (so this may seem like a silly question), but how would you wire the Bluetooth switch, AUX switch, USB and USB switch, Voltage meter and switch, etc.? Would you use more wire to split them off?

jboedie432 months ago
I am kinda new to this kind of stuff, but is the amp the only thing that needs charging?
patmcurtis made it!4 months ago

Hey guys, given how much all of our friends loved these ammo can speakers, we've launched a small manufacturing company called AmmoAudio.com to build these at scale and perfect the sound. We were just reviewed in Military.com (here:

http://undertheradar.military.com/2015/02/ammocan-x-you-want-this-bluetooth-speaker-built-from-an-ammo-can/#more-14860)

and you can read all about our build on our site. Hope you like the aluminum control panel and switches!

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spikec patmcurtis3 months ago

[Disclaimer: I'm the guy who builds these] I can avow for the AmmoCan X version. Not as much fun as building your own, but they're very efficient. They'll run 24hrs on a charge, have very little distortion and a good amount of bass considering the size of the enclosure. Bluetooth up to 15m and you can charge your phone while you're listening.

I'll do an Instructable for them one of these days :-)

stjwinn9 months ago

Great instructable. I've been gathering parts to build a few of these, but in testing all the pieces I noticed that the amp is getting really hot. After about 15 minutes the amp case was over 140 degrees and climbing. Anyone else have this problem? I thought it might be because my speakers are 4ohm and the amp is rated 8-20ohm, but it looks like the original instructable has the same setup. Any suggestions? Considering using the cooling fan from the PC p/s but I'm wondering if it would make too much noise. Or just get a 4ohm amp?

stoobers stjwinn3 months ago

Maybe you could mount the amp to the side of the ammo box with some heat-sink paste and use the ammo box as a big heat sink? How hot is your amp able to go before breaking?

scotprice1 year ago

Has anybody made an ammo box speaker like this that runs on battery, but can also be plugged in to run off a laptop power supply? I am trying to come up with a schematic to do it using a DC Power Jack w/switching, but am having trouble finding out how to properly wire it all together (power jack input is tip positive, shell negative).

i am making one that uses a 12v battery. so pretty easy to connect 12v power supply + charge battery at the same time.
CraigE2 thezapman3 months ago

Can you give a schematic or drawing to show how you hooked it up? I'd like to do the same thing, but don't want to end up blowing anything up.

thezapman CraigE23 months ago
i dont have one drawn up but could if you wanted. basically its just how you would hook up a car stereo (schematics always come with them) put instead of having the power from a car, the batteries and switch are in their place.
CraigE23 months ago

Does anyone have any hints on wiring in the 12v rechargeable battery? I purchased a 12v 7.0 AH rechargeable with charger from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002NYN7EM/ref=oh...

I also purchased a 12v digital display:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00825NB24/ref=oh...

I'd like to use a hybrid of the original design (use the computer plug) mixed with the battery inside. Basically, I'd like to be able to plug the charger into the computer plug adapter and charge the battery, then be able to unplug and go without having to connect or disconnect the battery inside. I'm ***REALLY*** new at this, so any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

Here are a pica friend's build I'm interested in incorporating (he's deployed, so I can't ask him):

Ammo Can.jpg
ChrisO53 months ago

Is it necessary to ground the system?

C_Creature4 months ago

Just don't try to take this on an airplance. haha.

where did you guys find to covers for the speakers? I have been hunting amazon and cant find it

they are on the Power supplies that they ripped apart. old school power supplies have that goofy grill. Go to any computer repair shop and ask for old power supplies that don't work and see if those griles are on them.

any electronics supply house like an industrial version of radio shack. they are cooling fan covers. not really spaeker grills.

this is awesome!, im doing this for my electronics project, however in order to do that, i have to build my own amplifier bit, anyone know where i can find a schematic for the one he uses? so i can copy it and therefore pass my project

Ive had a need for a loud portable durable speaker for a few years and never could find one to buy that satisfied my needs and wasnt outrageously priced. Did a lot of research into making my own before stumbling across some ammo can speaker projects like this one and decided to make my own.

Used a 50 cal ammo can which I applied a butyl sound deadening material to, some kicker 4" speakers, Lepai t-class amp and a 7ah 12vdc sla battery that is most commonly used in home alarm systems with quick connects for a battery tender for recharging. Audio is connected to a 3.5mm plug with my ipod. I also did some subtle customization to keep the military feel with the blacked out nut washer combo and the graphic i made and trimming the speaker grills in flat white.

The 7ah battery is a little overkill since this amp and speaker combo is very loud and efficient. Future mods in the next few weeks will include:

-port tube hidden under the latch
-lighter battery pack (prob a 3ah li-ion)
-speaker feet
-bluetooth connectivity
2012-08-14_13-25-42_66.jpg2012-08-14_13-25-21_247.jpg2012-08-14_13-26-53_956.jpg

Thought I would come back a few years later to drop an update on this project.

I ultimately ended up ditching the .50 cal ammo can for a .30 cal can which is almost half the depth and almost half the weight. I also ended up changing to a dta-2 amp and a 3.8ah Li-ion battery pack along with bluetooth 3.0

This setup is about a 40% reduction in size and 60% reduction in weight without a significant decrease in sound quality and battery life is still killer.

The bluetooth range is pretty limited mounted inside the box but as long as its close by all is good.

After tons of tinkering and lots of parts swapping I heavily recommend this setup.

Links for components below:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002IA9MYK/ref=oh...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007RQW5WG/ref=oh...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008AGQMQC/ref=oh...

IMG_20140825_154427_714.jpg
How did you wire the battery into the amp. I have fried two amps now. I have a switch with an LED in it, From the battery the positive goes to the positive the ground to the ground. I cut the cable supplied with the amp and ran it to the switch directly. The all black wire ran to the ground on the switch, the black and white wire runs to the switched power on the switch itself. Am I missing something here.
Ok. I think I figured it out. I had the wires going to the amp backwards. I checked on a laptop 12 volt power supply with my multimeter and found that the inside of the plug was the "hot" side, and the outside was the ground, which is the opposite of the way I had my power unit wired.
Have you come up with a way of doing internal bluetooth? I've been kicking around that idea for months and cant get around the notion that a bluetooth receiver inside a sealed steel box would have a range of about 14 inches, haha.

I have found lots of simple solutions on bluetooth receivers, some even run off of 12v so they could be wired to the battery... but the range problem still eludes me.
Ive contemplated the idea for my next one as well, and the only solution ive come across is taking a bluetooth reciever apart, finding where its internal antenna is and mounting/ attaching a wire or other antenna to it to run to the outside.

My idea was to make a tiny hole directly next to the speaker and have a tiny wire (antenna) go around the outside of the speaker to hide it inbetween the speaker body and the ammo box. That way you have an external antenna for the reviever thats partly hidden, maybe completely hidden by the speaker mounting body.
I have had the same feeling, especially given that mine is lined in sound deadening material. Ultimately I decided that I will be using:
http://www.amazon.com/Britelink-Bluetooth-Audio-Receiver-Portable/dp/B0059M4G9K/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1346078657&sr=8-3&keywords=bluetooth+receiver
although I have yet to order it. Small, good battery life, rechargeable, great reviews. The only reason I am even attempting this is because I am porting my box and will be mounting the receiver directly above the port. Hoping this will allow adequate signal transmission but who knows. I will definitely post an update once it is all finished and let you know about the range.

I am thinking of making one, battery powered and adding a small 3"-7" tablet for music controlling playing so it turns into an All in one player. or using a Small First act Guitar amp for parts...

mpauwels211 months ago

What are the dimensions of the bass port?

ctx1985 made it!1 year ago

Great Instructable! I made these a while back and figured I'd post some pics of my own. I made mine so they could run off of AC wall power as well as an internal 12v SLA battery. I put a panel volt meter with a momentary switch on top to check the battery voltage. I also added a USB charge port on the side. Thanks for the fantastic Instructable!

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cdavis60 ctx198511 months ago
could you show more pictures in detail
scotprice1 year ago

Has anybody made an ammo box speaker like this that runs on battery, but can also be plugged in to run off a laptop power supply? I am trying to come up with a schematic to do it using a DC Power Jack w/switching, but am having trouble finding out how to properly wire it all together (power jack input is tip positive, shell negative).

bjc40731 year ago

Why not use a small battery or run it out of a cigarette lighter so it is portable?

wly1 made it!1 year ago

Heres mine that I built to be super compact at 8lbs.

Been using for 4 days and battery sits around 12.4 since full charge.

List:

1. 200 cartridge 7.62mm box

2. Powersonic 9ah battery

3. Parts-express dta-2 30 watt amp

4. 4 2" Hi-wave speakers from Parts-express(220uf hp filter)

5. 2 1" Tweeter(10uf hp filter)

6. Dc jack/3.5 audio jack

7. Spare 12v 2a wall adapter for charging

8. Materials (wires, acrylic, heat sink, terminals, etc)

Future Mods: Bluetooth, 12v solar panel

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Eljah_421 year ago

Would using two 6.5" speakers work?

limelightconsulting made it!1 year ago

Great instructable! When I made mine I took a few liberties with the materials. I reduced the size of the ammo can, custom spacers (couldn't find that tripod) and used a different power cord, but for the most part followed the great photos and directions you posted. I made this for a client who happens to be the owner of a gun range for whom we did some design work. So I added our company logo.

ammo can speaker.JPG
tsnider21 year ago
I'm trying to build one of these with a 12v battery inside. Will the speaker magnets drain the battery?

I built mine with a 12v SLA battery inside (placed directly behind the speakers) and had no issues with it.

MrParrott1 year ago
All, I'm really having trouble pairing up some speakers that will sound good with this rig. I'm using the Hifimydiy linked here and here, and I'm using these rockford fosgate speakers. This SHOULD work right? The speakers are 30 Watt RMS, 60 Watt Peak, 4 ohm two-ways, and the amp is 2x100 at 4 ohms. What gives?
It all depends on what watt is being used. There are RMS watts (Root mean square), and loads of others. I would suspect the chinese amp watts is nowhere near 100watts rms, more like 30 max. so your speakers will be aok.
rbaechle1 year ago
so I was going to build one of these but using a MK19 ammo can which is larger. 18 19/32 inches (472.3 mm) x 8 19/64 inches (210.7 mm) x 14 19/32 inches (370.7 mm) in its outside dimensions. I would like to place 2 speakers on each side but looking for advise as to why it would or wont work. Also would this parts list still apply or will I need a larger power pack and amp? Thank you for whatever advise you can offer.
MrParrott1 year ago
Still hoping for a reply to the below, but in the meantime, here are some drawings... One shows shadows of the frame (MDF, 1/4" and a little 1/2") and the stuff in it. The other show just the frame. I don't care so much about weight, as I usually have wheels or wings. I care more about strength and battery life. The included components are speakers (still need advice on the type), the amp board, two SLA 12v9ah batteries in 24v series, 7.5 amp fuse, Smart Charger, contura sealed rocker switches (dpst for power on/off and charge on/off), L and R Neutrik rca jacks, Blue Sea 24 volt Dual USB jack, etc. Have everything but the speakers... Just need to build it...
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