Introduction: Car Stereo PC Power Supply Mod With Pizzazz
Now many have used computer power supplies to run various devices in the past, car stereo equipment included. I wanted to do one that had a little style to it, yet didn’t break the bank. It had to be able to fit in with a variety of décor, as I wanted it to be portable. One could easily take my design further and equip it with ability to also run off a battery back, maybe finish the panels in brushed aluminum or even do away with my humble folding antenna and take advantage of the stereos built in relay to power on/off a motorized antenna, adding some nice visual movement to the unit.
- I started with an MP3 CD player unit that also had USB and standard input jacks to play music off every thing from a thumb drive to your average Ipod. The beauty of this unit is that it has a remote, something I used to mock, but now appreciate. It used to be housed in my poor 80’s Tercel, before it bit the dust with a blown head gasket this fall. 30 bucks new with free shipping, love that ebay!
- The case came from a book shelving unit, made of MDF and finished in a red satin finish that my loving wife was willing to let me use, even though it broke up a set of 4. The front and rear panels were completed in pine, with a neutral satin varnish. Normally I am not a fan of mixed finishes, but I think it works in this case.
- Speakers came from various sources, The center 20watt sub-woofer and resonating port came from a el-cheapo computer sound system. The two 10watt side speakers came from Sony battery powered auxiliary speakers. I didn’t bother with an amp, as the radio is all ready pushing out 50 watts per channel, and my low rated speakers don’t need it. Surprisingly the sound coming out of the unit is amazing, clear tight highs, resonating mid-tones and some decent base.
- Grill for the front was found in a box of odds and ends, the two chrome side grills are actually trim rings off ceiling mounted fire extinguishing sprinkler heads. With the backs cuts down a little the look awesome.
- The handle came off an old defunct sewing machine box.
- The antenna was a cheap after market product purchased to go on the Tercel and then promptly misplaced. Its recent re-discovery initiated this instructable. Oddly enough it lends a nice military look to the unit regardless of the colour scheme.
Note – “This is one of those creations conceived and constructed during a single night of insomnia. Not thinking, I did not take any photos initially so this instructable will be a little reverse engineered. Any gaps have been made up with drawings of the construction and careful labeling of detailed photos. I recently added an antenna, and this was fully documented.”
The video below kinda sucks, waiting for my daughter to open her Christmas present, so I can borrow it! For now this will have to do, by the way its State radio playing - So Bohemian Grove. Saw them last year at the Commodore in Vancouver, awesome!
Step 1: Supplies & Tools
- 1 mod style book case, open on both sides. approx 18" high, 10" wide and 8" deep
- 2 3/4" thick sections of wood panel that will fit the interior dimensions of the book case to form the front and back
- 4 wood battens, 3/4" square by about 12 inches
- 2 3" mid range speakers
- 1 5" sub-woofer speaker
- 1 3" tube port - optional
- 1 functional computer power supply
- 1 car antennae - stubby works best
- 1 car stereo - best to find one that accepts a multitude of inputs and playable media
- 5 minute epoxy, or suitable strong, thick adhesive - I used alot, I found them at the dollar store super cheap, 2 for a dollar. Normally they are 6 bucks a pack - score!
- Hot glue sticks, about a dozen
- screws of various sorts, lengths will be determined by your case choice.
- varnish or wood finish of your choosing - or perhaps au natural!
- Measuring tape
- Drill and drilling bits
- Circular saw
- Glue gun
- Dremel, angle grinder or tin snips - to manipulate any metal bits that need manipulating!
- Paint brush
Step 2: Think a Little
First things first, lay out your supplies. Start with your case, lay it down, and try to fit in all of your components. Move them around to your liking. Try to think of where the wires need to run, is there anything that shouldn't be touching each other. The last thing you want is to bits of what have you to vibrate in an irritating manner when you have the tunes cranked!
Step 3: Measure Twice Cut Once, or at Least on the Large Side
- lay your case onto your chosen board, and with a pencil, trace out your cut. Then do it again! Keep in mind the thickness of your saw blade and much will disappear with the cut. You can always cut it ever so slighlty larger then required, and then trim or sand to fit!
- At this point, position your power supply on the back board to measure. Trace it, double check and cut it out
- On the front board you do the same but with the face of the stereo, any speaker openings and if you want you can add a port tube as well. I mostly did it for the look, as technically this is not an airtight enclosure anyway. In theory it would be awesome to just build the stereo and power supply into an existing stereo speaker! That how ever would be too easy, not my style!
Step 4: Prep Your Power Supply
or this one of many here on instructables
Here is a basic run down though:
The wires we are concerned about keeping are the yellow ones - +12V and the black ones - ground, The single green wire will be grounded to one of the black ground wires. This signals the power supply to turn on. This could be wired to a switch to turn the unit off and on, I simply chose that when you plug it in, its on. Were not talking like this is a power tool and all. The stereo unit itself has its own on-off switch anyway.
- First off all the yellow wires are grouped together, this will simulate the cars 12 volt positive.
- All black wires except one were grouped together, this will simulate the cars 12 volt ground.
- The single green wire was joined and taped off to the remaining black ground wire.
- All other wires were trimmed and sealed with electrical tape.
- There is no need to open this power supply as it will all be hidden inside the case, keep it simple, its safer and easier!
Step 5: Get a Handle on It
- Lay out your hand where you want it.
- mark the holes for drilling
- and bolt it on!
Step 6: Side Speakers
I found nice little powerful 3" speaker to use. Small but deadly! The grills were non-existent So I found trim rings from a roof mounted fire sprinkler heads. I trimmed off the backs and they looked awesome.
- Drill or cut out a 2 3/4" hole, and mount the speakers from behind. I screwed these right into the mdf case.
- The trim rings fit just inside the holes and were glued in place with epoxy.
- done for now
Step 7: Prep the Stereo Face and Case
If you haven't cut out the holes for the speakers, stereo, power supply and optional port, do it now. The battens then get glued and screwed on to the inside of the front panel. Be careful to make sure that they don't interfere with any of your components.
The other battens get glued into the case itself. I aligned the 2 battens for the back board so they not only acted as a support for the rear panel but also act as supports for the stereo.
Once all the battens are attached, take your front board and coat the sides and sides of the battens with epoxy and insert it so it is flush with the case.
Inside the case glue in your rear battens, allotting space for the 3/4" rear panel. Keep in mind that the top of the battens should be aligned so that the rear of the stereo rests on the tops of the battens.
Wait for the epoxy to cure an hour.
Now is a good time to finish the front and back panel, if you haven't all ready given it a nice sanding, do so now. Blow off any dust and run a tack cloth over it. Finish up with one of the many krylon clear finishes, mine was a nice satin clear. Its stood up to being used in a restaurant kitchen for weeks now, just a quick wipe and its good as new!
Step 8: Fit & Attatch the Deck
Step 9: Glue Down the Power!
How to attach the power supply.... With tons of epoxy, slather it on, and glue it down in place. Make sure its lined up to fit the back board!!!
Step 10: Wire It Up
Red wire connects to the yellow computer power supply wires.
Orange wire also connected to the yellow wires, this is constant memory for the deck
Black wire to the black wire
Blue wire would be used to signal and Amp to turn on, or super sexy a power antenna!
All other wires are either front or back, left and right speaker wires.
Here is an example:
- Left Front Speaker Wire (+): green
- Left Front Speaker Wire (-): Black/green
- Right Front Speaker Wire (+): grey
- Right Front Speaker Wire (-): Black/grey
- Left Rear Speaker Wire (+): Red
- Left Rear Speaker Wire (-): Black/Red
- Right Rear Speaker Wire (+): Blue
- Right Rear Speaker Wire (-): Black/Blue
I wired one rear speaker to the sub-woofer, for base this is all that is really needed.
Step 11: Secure the Back Board
- Push the back board into position and drill a pilot hole through the panel into the batten.
- Screw in a screw, tricky
- 4 holes, on in each corner should suffice.
Step 12: Antenna?
The antenna was simple, just follow the instructions on the package. The best one to get, they didn't have in-stock of course, it attaches by 2 simple bolts, rather then the hole I had to drill in the pictures below. These are meant to be secured in sheet metal after all, not through 3/4" of wood!
Step 13: Conclusion
Awesome sound and looks, it gets used every day!