Introduction: Use an Old Xbox PSU to Power a Car Amplifier.

Picture of Use an Old Xbox PSU to Power a Car Amplifier.
This is my first Instructable so don't be too hard on me. I'm sure it is confusing in a lot of places.

Well, i see tutorials all over the Internet about how to use a PC PSU to power a car amplifier in a house. I wanted to try it but it seems I'm fresh out of PC PSUs... I do have a lot of old xbox's that gather dust. So i improvised. It really wasn't that different than a PC PSU because basically, the old xbox is a PC.
I'm not responsible for any harm you do to yourself, or your xbox or amp. Okay so here we go.

That's not the speaker rattling btw, and it's turned way down but still hits pretty good throughout the house.

And please remember to have the xbox completely unplugged while working on it. Even if it's unplugged the PSU can have power built up it it and it can shock you. I learned that the hard way.
You should be fine as long as you don't pull the PSU out.

Things you need
-Torx T10
-Basic tools for the wiring (cutting, splicing, etc.)
-Xbox (or just the PSU..)
-An extra 4-pin molex cable, if you don't want to cut your xbox cables up.
You can also use a 4-pin male to 2x female if you want your xbox to be fully functional at the same time.

Step 1:

Picture of

Okay, firstly disassemble the xbox. I wont be covering this, as it is very simple. Just remove the 6 torx screws on the bottom of the xbox. Once you have it open, disconnect the 4-pin molex cable from the harddrive.

If you have an extra female 4-pin, i would recommend using that, so you wont have to cut the wires that are on the xbox. You can also used a splitter like in the second picture and have one end go to the amp, and one to the HDD to retain full functionality of the xbox

Step 2:

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Okay, the wires you need fromt he 4-pin molex are the yellow wire, and the black wire closest to it. The black wire goes into the ground port on the amp, and the yellow wire goes into the battery+.

Now, the remote. You need a small jumper wire to run from the + to the remote.
When your amp is in your car, it has a constant power supply (the battery)
The reason it turns off when you take the key out is because when the key is removed, it cuts power to the remote wire. When the remote wire has no power the amp cannot be turned on. However, give the remote wire power and it lets the amp power up.

So since we only need the amp to work while the xbox is turned on, we can link the remote and the +

The other black, and the red wire are left now. You can cap these off as shown in the second picture. Unless you find another use for them.

Step 3:

Picture of

Okay, now if everything is set up right, you just need a source for music. I'll let you figure that out.
Now, make sure that everything is plugged in on the xbox or it will turn off in about 10-15 minutes.

Okay that's it!
Feel free to ask any questions, i'm sure i didn't make sense in some (most) parts. I should have taken the pics AS i did it, not after.
But let me know what you think!


TravisS114 (author)2017-12-16

Got bored last night and tried this out as I'm waiting on parts to use an old pc psu to power a JL audio amp for a pair of 12"s in a box I've had sitting around. My xbox is chipped/modded and when I opened it up I read the specs on the psu and it said 1.2 amps at 12 volts, that's not much at all!!!!!!!!! Had some of that 4 wire stuff from tearing down the old desktop pc and that worked to power up the amp. The amp is a JL Audio 4 channel that'll do 150 watts RMS each channel when bridged into a 2 channel system, which is how I hooked up the subs. Sounded decent, not maxing out the sub's travel at all but moving them maybe about 3/16" and a little more for quick bass punches. The subs are sony xplod 1200 watt max or 350 watt RMS subs in a ported box (they were an old friends system that I got for free when he upgraded). My xbox didn't have any cables connected to it besides the power and it never shut off in the 30 minutes or so I was messing with it, that could be because it's chipped though, you could hear the fan slowing down on low bass rumbles but otherwise not half bad.

ForrestR3 (author)2016-10-07

Awesome post; still relevant!

I'm having issues with power cutting off when sub hits too hard. Would a capacitor do the trick?


w00tness (author)2010-06-08

would i be able to run a 1500watt amp or only a 400watt one?

Gmatti (author)w00tness2015-10-12

yes but, the amp must be turn down quite a bit because if it's upturned up too loud it'll blow your speaker

AsaBerdahl (author)2010-03-20

 Thanks for the inspiration on this one. I'd run out of PC power supplies to use and I didn't realize that there was 12v in an old Xbox. I got really inspired and I even used a Neutrick SpeakOn connection to keep from touching the contact points.

st1tch3s (author)2010-03-11

is it possible to burn ur psu out with a 1000w amp?
i have a 1000w sony amp with one 1200w 12" sony Xplode
and i tried bridging and my xbox turned off and i cant get it to turn back on

kingred777 (author)2010-02-16

ok i have 400 watt amp will it have enough power to run it? what watts size did u use?

Br14n (author)kingred7772010-02-16

400 i think. around there.

DJNASHA (author)2010-01-15

i'm going to find a old car amp and hook it up to a 150watt  7inch sony sub and see if it works as a electronics class project p.s keep cranking out ideas

theone89 (author)2009-08-02

xbox psu dosent have enogth power to power up the turns off every 5 minutes

Solderguy (author)theone892009-08-15

Did you plug in the audio/video cable? The Xbox might be programed to automatically turn off if it doesn't detect the audio/ video cables in 5 minutes.

Br14n (author)theone892009-08-03

well get a capacitor. Obviously it does power up if it turns 'off' after 5 minutes

theone89 (author)2009-08-03

which cables did u use to connect the switch in the back

Jakeanator12 (author)2009-07-08

Great tut man, i personally dont have an x-box ( more of a sony guy) but i think it is a great find!

super_kool_dude29 (author)2009-06-29

WOW....never thought it would work but i was wrong. its powering a 250 watt sony xplod with two mtx subs. i am very peased at the results and am totally geeked!!! dont worry ill spread the word about this tutiorial. thanks...

Jinorio (author)2009-06-26

Nicely done.. how many watts is your amp and have you found a use for the extra black wire and red wire yet?

DJ54 (author)2009-06-21

Hey this is great works perfect no problems. Running 21" subwoofer and 7 speakers.

Br14n (author)DJ542009-06-25

I'm glad to hear people are actually doing my instructable lol , thanks

DJ54 (author)2009-06-22

When i play my music the xbox turns itself off after about 10 minutes does anyone know a way to fix this i would really appreciate it.

Br14n (author)DJ542009-06-25

It's overheating. Most likely at least.. Do you have your AV cable plugged in?

Phizital1ty (author)2009-02-19

Hey this is a really great tutorial but, I think don't quote me but if you look both the black are plugged into the same ground port on the power supply, but i was wondering, i have a broken motherboard and the power flickers when turned on, is there any way to have the power supple turn on while its not connected to the motherboard? i know i normal PC power supplies you can do this by connecting pins on the 20 pin thing that goes to the motherboard. Any help is fantastic Thanks - Phiz

Br14n (author)Phizital1ty2009-02-19

Yeah i'm pretty sure both black wires are the same.. Not sure why i put it like that. I've actually been trying to get the PSU to power on without the motherboard.. So far i've just been able to get it to flicker by connecting the orange wires to ground (I think) and that's the only way i can get something out of the PSU.. I'm working on a way to get the switch from the xbox to be directly connected to the PSU to power it on that way.. But no luck. If you find anything i'd be greatful for the information :) I'll update if i figure something out

Phizital1ty (author)Br14n2009-02-19

if you use a multimeter you could check the voltage from the blue and white to ground to see how much voltage is running through, then use the pinout to see which wire is runnning to it to make it run, i would but my friend across town is using my multimeter at the moment

Br14n (author)Phizital1ty2009-02-19

Okay i got it to power up by connecting pin 9 to pin 11.. On that diagram it says pin 9 is a ground.. but on my connector it's 3.3v orange wire. I got the PSU to power up and turn my amp on.. But now i think that it's only putting 3.3v out.. cause the amp works but when i turn the music up the amp runs out of power and doesn't hit the sub until you turn it down and let it sit for a few seconds..

xiao_haozi (author)Br14n2009-05-27

Can you clarify what you have done to run this with just the xbox psu itself? I can't get mine to power on unless I use my power switch to hook 5V (standby constant) to the ps_on wire. But things seem odd.

Br14n (author)Phizital1ty2009-02-19

Do you have AIM or MSN? I'm about to go test the wires, and it'd be easier to talk about this through aim or msn then through comments

Phizital1ty (author)Br14n2009-02-19

yeah i have aim message Phizital1ty, and heres my setup for some reason my motherboard powers on now, i wont ask questions... i have the amp screwed into the top of and old xbox cover thats why its different than the halo one on the bottom (I didnt want to screw into that one)

ntrlbrnkllr (author)2009-04-29

is there any way to remove the power unit from the xbox completely and still have it function?

Br14n (author)ntrlbrnkllr2009-04-29

Yes, kind of. I can only get 7 volts out of the PSU when it's not connected to the mobo, and that's not enough.. So idk how to get 12v out of it.

ntrlbrnkllr (author)Br14n2009-04-29

alright, thanks. btw, i have two of those CVRs in my car, great subs

jasonsnyder (author)2009-04-04

i was kind of skeptical at first but i wanted to try this and it worked perfect and the steps i followed were very easy. THANKS

Br14n (author)jasonsnyder2009-04-05

No problem, thanks for the feedback

jasonsnyder (author)2009-04-04

i dont plan on using my xbox for anything else except for powering my amp what is that switch on the back of ur xbox

Br14n (author)jasonsnyder2009-04-05

It's for a 12" cold cathode, and an 80mm cold cathode...

Kicker2 (author)2009-03-23

How do you get the corner screws off? there seems to be a like grippy thing.

Br14n (author)Kicker22009-03-23

They peel off. You also have to cut through your warranty sticker and stuff on the bottom.

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