Picture of Simple iPod Amp
I wanted a simple iPod amp for my garage. You need listen to something when you are working on your bike right?

I only had one extra stereo speaker, so I only made it mono. If you have two speakers, just make this twice and you have a stereo amp.

The name of the game here is simple, but feel free to make it more complicated and nicer if you feeling the urge.

I also included steps on how to fit this in a army surplus case and make it a portable amp for your ipod.
UPDATE: I have kits
I have been asked for parts and where to get them a lot since I posted this. If anyone is interested I have kits now with everything you need to build this for $50 + $5 shipping.

Send me a PM with your email address if you are interested.

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Step 1: Parts

Picture of Parts
-Radio Shack Phono(RCA) Jack 274-346 $3.99
-4 small nuts and bolts.
-Radio Shack DC Power Jack - 274-1576 $2.59
-Any old 8-12V wall wart that fits the power jack. $Free
-Radio Shack project box 270-283 $3.99 .
-Velleman 7W Mono Amp K4001 $10.00

If you make the portable model
-2 9V snap connectors 270-324
-2 9v batteries $5.00
-Power switch 275-612 $2.99
-470 ohm resistor
-Army Surplus box ??? I used a signal light box.
-Old computer speaker
-Old earphones or some old 1/8" stereo jack headphone jack.
-Piece of screen
-4 nuts and bolts

Soldering Iron
Tin Nibbler
Screw drivers
Wire strippers
Needle Nose Pliers

Step 2: Assemble the amp.

Picture of Assemble the amp.
Assemble this Amplifier kit and make sure it works. The kit comes with instructions but the PDF is available on the Velleman website www.vellemanusa.com. If the idea of soldering the kit up is a little intimidating they also sell the kit assembled for $1.00 more.

Step 3: Put it in the box.

Picture of Put it in the box.
If you are going to make this a portable model, skip ahead to step 3.
Line up the power jack, rca connector and two nuts on one side of the project box. Make sure there is room and mark the locations. Start by putting in the power connector. Drill a hole for it with the your drill and a 1/.4” bit. Then move on to the RCA connector and do the same.
Now you will drill holes for your speaker jacks. They are just your bolts and two nuts.

Step 4:

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You are almost done now. I remove the posts on the velleman kit and use just standard solid 22awg wire. I use 2inch pieces so I can have room to solder the connectors on the project box later. For the connectors you are putting in, I like to solder 2inch leads on them before I fix them in the box. Drill a hole in the top of the box to replace the heatsink the kit comes with.

Step 5: Done if not moving...

Picture of Done if not moving...
Turn it on, you finished. If you want you could add a power switch and an LED to show it is on. If you use an LED, make sure to use a resistor (470 should be good but 1000 will work too).

Step 6: Going mobile

Picture of Going mobile
If you want to make a portable version...
Survey your army box and see what you have to work with. Mine included a lamp, which worked! Putting that aside for another project.

Step 7:

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Take your speaker apart. I was going to make it stereo with two amps, but I did not have the room in the box with these speakers.
Mark the mounting holes for your speakers.

Step 8:

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Now you need to cut out a hole for the speaker. I found a round cap that was the same size as the speaker and traced it out

Step 9:

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I used a nibbing tool to cut out the circle from the metal lid. First drll a hole then poke the bibber through and go to town.
File or dremel the the hole to make it smooth when you are done.

Step 10:

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Cut out a piece of cheep screen to cover the speaker. Admittedly this is really just for looks.

Step 11:

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Attach the speaker with your four nuts and bolts.

Step 12:

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Drill a small hole on the left side of the box to attach the amp to. This giant metal box is going to take the place of the heatsink the amp kit came with.

Step 13:

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Attach the amp, it's a good idea to cover the bottom of the amp with tape to keep from shorting out on the metal box .

Step 14:

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Hook everything up with alligator clips and make sure it works, if you did this earlier then you can skip this step.

Step 15:

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I lined the box with some foam I had around the house.
To run this off of batteries solder two 9v battery connectors together, solder the black to the negative on the amp, and the positive straight positive on the amp, I wanted to make this run off of batteries or a wall wart, so I also added a switch and a dc power jack

Step 16:

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Solder the speaker wires to the amp where it is marked LS.
I cut apart an old pair of headphones and used the cord to connect it to the amp. Cut the cord and tie the white and red cable to the red cable marked IN on the amp. Solder the negative cable to the negative and your are finished.
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takboilaw3 years ago
This is not much of a help I want to build an amplifier from the scratch meannig not from a discarded or pre existing computer amplifier from a desktop nor laptop speaker system.

This is much more of putting together all working pieces muck more like a jigsaw puzzle.

Its is much better if there was an schematics like a stereo amplfier with sub woofer output power by DC 12 volts that has an ouput of 200w per channel.

It's easy to make an amplifier circuit.
If anyone is interested, if you google the TBA820M power amp IC, its a great sounding little amp circuit and the test/application circuit is included in the data sheet all you do is change one value of resistor for the gain, I use it in my school and each circuit works out a lot less than $10, just means you need to be handy with making you own PCBs or vero/strip boarding. Also it runs well off a 9V battery
tonybowles4 years ago

I like this iPod amp. This is what real hobbyists / enthusiasts are made off!
I used to like tinkering around with electronics and making various devices.

Rahul164 years ago
can u please provide me the amplifier circuit diagram with exact component listed....
joe (author)  Rahul164 years ago
Hey Rahul - The amplifier kit from Velleman includes the instructions and all needed parts are included for the amplifier circuit.

you could've just cut out the seperators you know :P
joe (author) 7 years ago
I Have Kits!

I have been asked for parts and where to get them a lot since I posted this. If anyone is interested I have kits now with everything you need to build this for $60 + shipping.

Send me a PM with your email address if you are interested.

epicelite joe4 years ago
Where did you find that box!? I want one! D:
sqeeek4 years ago
Lol I've put pencils and screwdrivers through my speakers more than once. A little bit of screen isn't a bad idea.
I haven't learned much about electronics, but this makes your ipod or mp3 player be able to "power" a large speaker? I tried once connecting my iPod to a small radio speaker I salvaged, but the sound was really quiet. This would theoretically make it louder? Thanks
Yes, by the looks of this amp it should be VERY loud, running off two 9v. If you're looking to do something less complicated, you can salvage and old personal radio into an amp, but some components may require changing (resistors) otherwise it will be very distorted, plus it only uses 3v instead of 18v.
sqeeek xAxrules4 years ago
I've made some out of old computer speakers before. Many of them will run off of 9v/12v. Or you can keep the original plug and just plug them in.

I've found that many computer speakers can be greatly improved by putting them in a good box :)
Your mp3 player doesn't power the speakers, the 2 9V batteries power it ;)

The very quiet bit is still there, but it's amplified using the batteries (doesn't drain your ipod, big plus also :P)
foxtrot46975 years ago
Hawt Case
RedFilter6 years ago
I am about to start this project for my Zune using a dry box and a marine speaker for canoeing, but the one thing I am tring to figure out is if the speaker magnet will wipe out my Zunes hard drive. Anyone?
If it uses a hard drive instead of flash memory, more than likely, you want to keep as much distance between the zune and speaker as possible, between 10 and 20 cm should be fine.
gabi19886 years ago
hi, i want to build a small amp like this but i want to know if i would be able to plug my guitar into it!? it has an output jack for an electric guitar right.
franzwa6 years ago
I want to built a system like this but louder. Can you help me?
Xellers franzwa6 years ago
vacuum tube amp!
pyro-jim7 years ago
sorry the bottom pin was supposed to be two spaces along so that it went just below the gap
pyro-jim7 years ago
hi, great instructable, i was just wondering I have an amp that I made in a resistant materials class at school and I wanted to make it a stereo amp. How do I split the channels? I believe it is using the jack connecter but if so then which pins do I use? On the PCB they go. || || |
dbtahoe9 years ago
I am interested in this concept for speakers on my boat. I would love to know if you think it has enough power to be heard over the engine. Thanks, Doug
joe (author)  dbtahoe9 years ago
Doug, well it without a doubt loud! And on the boat I guess you have 12v so you power as many of them as you want. Go for it, Velleman also sells a 25W stereo amp that you might want to check out, that way you could enjoy the stereophonic sound while you are in your boat. -Joe
Derin joe7 years ago
will it work with 2 amp circuits in series to add onto the power?
yea. thats what i did
i doubt this has enough power. it would be great when the engine is off however and it looks friggin awesome! i've got 2x 250w speakers on my tower and i can barely make out what's being played when i ride, they are long throw woofers, and they are on BLAST. forget about hearing the low range of music regardless of how loud it is, it all blends in with with the vibrations of the motor and the water. good luck with your boat!
electrian127 years ago
This is awesome, but where do you get that army surplus box?!?!? But good job though
TKEdwin5827 years ago
This is pretty dang nifty. I'd make one, but I've never been good at technical-stuff... LoL.
nuffun14407 years ago
How many watts is the speaker? great instructable, this has really inspired me to try something
=SMART=7 years ago
wow brilliant look! rough and tough!
tecno geek7 years ago
confusing, but i like it. good job!
alexhalford7 years ago
This may sound like a stupid question but could someone please explain to me how an amp works. i.e. why couldn't you just have a variable transformer (as the power supply) and the input signal controlling a transistor??? Any help appreciated.
Wolfpack8717 years ago
What all do they sell in army surplus stores? I've never been to one. That box is pretty sweet though.
alot like the foxhole army place in puyallup
bdu's flak jackets, old guns, military helmets, gas masks, and much more
Brennn107 years ago
Awesome use of another kit to make this. It makes it 10X easier for everyone, so that they dont actually have to make the PCB. Good Work.
zman1238 years ago
can you hook a guitar up to it ???????????? ? 00 ~
my guitar hook up is a adapter to a rca conecter wired straight to my stereo, im to cheap to buy an amp
exabopper7 years ago
This is very clever - I bought a set of amplified speakers at a clearance store for about $10, and I have an old army first-aid box - I'm going to use them, along with my jigsaw (with a hacksaw blade) to make this project soon.

That said, I hate to tell you this, but your idea has a problem. The amp you are using is mono, and you say that you have attached both channels from the iPod into the one input connector on the amp.

Imagine this - you are listening to a tune on the iPod, and that tune for whatever reason is only on one channel, either left or right (Pink Floyd does this sometimes, so that it seems like the music is coming from the right, then the left, etc). This means that there is high voltage on one channel, and zero volts on the other. When you connect high voltage to zero voltage, that is called a SHORT CIRCUIT - the left channel is shorting to the right or vice versa, and it stresses the circuit. In general, you should NEVER attach two outputs together without some circuitry in between, or you may see fireworks in the future.

The iPod is probably designed to handle some shorts, but if I were you, I'd put resistors in series with each individual channel , and then a resistor between the amp's input and neutral. This is called an isolation pad, and it protects the iPod's outputs. I'd use maybe 2.2Kohms for each of the three resistors (you should experiment with this on a breadboard - you may not need the resistor between input and ground depending on the amp's impedance). Granted, it will attenuate the signal, so it will sound softer, but if you have a good strong amp, just crank it a little more. At least then the iPod will be protected.

Once again, hell of a good idea for iPod use in rough conditions. You could even waterproof that that thing!
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