Off-Grid Party Sound Systems




Introduction: Off-Grid Party Sound Systems

About: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.
Whether its for a mobile bike party or a solar powered concert, a 12V or 24V sound system is the key.  I recently built several systems for mobile bike parties and this article has a pile of details.  You can also check my Easy Bike Party Sound System project if you want a simpler and smaller system and my Bike Party Sound Trailer for specific tips on a trailer design.  If you want to just purchase finished speakers built according to the principles of this guide, we sell them at MonkeyLectric.

This article covers:
  • A simple but efficient setup where you just pick the right parts and plug it together
  • A true Active 12V speaker - an ultra-efficient speaker with integrated 12V or 24V internal amp.
  • Choosing efficient speakers and amps
  • Choosing a battery
  • Weatherproofing and vibration proofing
The goal of this project is to achieve sound levels needed for off-grid dance parties while reducing weight and power use.  Compared to common setups, we achieved power reduction of 50-80% and weight reduction of 20-40% with equivalent sound output.

My friend Deep runs Flashdance, and we used his system as a reference point to compare our work against.  Deep has an amazing tricycle setup that lets him bring the party wherever he goes.  San Francisco has rather notorious hills though, so our goal was to see if we could cut the weight of his setup without sacrificing any of the sound.  A big key to cutting the weight is to see if we can use something much smaller than a car battery - and that means being more efficient about power use.

This project is brought to you by MonkeyLectric and the Monkey Light bike light

Step 1: A Word About Efficiency

The key to any battery-powered sound system is efficiency.  Home and car sound gear is not designed to be efficient or light - it just isn't a concern in those applications.  Low efficiency means you need lots of power to make the same amount of sound, and lots of power means a big heavy amp, a big heavy car battery, and maybe a big heavy inverter too.  An efficient speaker can produce 5x the volume from the same amount of power.  An efficient amplifier is 2x better than a standard one, plus its far smaller and lighter.  Together this means that with a bit of attention paid to your component choices, you'll get way more output for the same amount of power.

Lets take a look at Deep's current system.  He's got:
  • 2 nice Yamaha powered speakers (they have a built-in amplifier)
  • An inverter because the Yamaha's need 120V
  • A car battery
Another option I see some people using goes like this:
  • 2 big auto-sound speakers
  • a big auto amplifier
  • a car battery
Either way there is a lot of inefficiency.  Using 120V powered speakers, the amp inside the speakers is moderately efficient (not the best, not the worst).  we lose a good chunk of efficiency because of the inverter.

With auto-sound gear, you don't need an inverter but the problem is that it all the parts have very poor efficiency.  I think this is due to marketing forces at work - the folks selling you this stuff learned that if the amp and speakers are bigger and have higher watt ratings, they make more money selling them.  but, those high watt ratings are only needed because the gear is so inefficient.

Step 2: Efficient Speakers

PA, DJ and "Live Sound" speakers are the best place to look for efficiency.  You will find the efficiency measured as "SPL 1w/1m" in the spec sheets of most speakers.  "SPL max" is different.  Every 3 points of SPL means DOUBLE the efficiency: 90 is bad, 96+ is good. 

Large speakers (both boxes and driver cone size) are nearly always more efficient than small ones.  If you don't care so much about the weight get the biggest speakers (15" or larger woofers).  If you do care, the weight and size of the speaker will be your main tradeoff in your setup

Think about going MONO!  Stereo doesn't always make a lot of sense in an informal environment.  Using one larger speaker you will have overall higher efficiency and lower weight than two smaller ones.

I built and tested systems using the speakers listed below.  All but the smallest are rated SPL between 95 and 98:
  • Behringer S1020 - 10" woofer, 20 lbs, $100
  • Behringer B212XL - 12" woofer, 25 lbs, $170
  • Pyle PPHP121 - 12" woofer, 30 lbs, $120
  • Peavey PR12N - 12" woofer, 25 lbs, $180
  • Peavey PR15N - 15" woofer, 32 lbs, $220
  • Gemini RS-308 - 8" woofer, 15 lbs, $70
We also compared against Deep's original Yamaha MSR250, which are pricey and average 27 lbs each.

Our tested results for these speakers:  The Peavey and Pyle are the loudest with the same power input, and about equal to each other.  The Behringer's are noticeably less loud.  The B212XL and the Yamaha have noticeably better audio quality than the others.  (more results later).  The Gemini is by far the smallest speaker here - it will fit into a milk crate - its not as loud as the bigger ones but great for its size.

Bigger speakers (15" or 18" woofer) can get up to 100 or 101 SPL efficiency.  With more expensive speakers you can find something a little more efficient, but mostly you are buying higher sound quality and a higher maximum power level.  Running off batteries you likely will be well below the maximum power levels.

Where to find this stuff:
American Musical
and others...  ( has some of them)

Step 3: Efficient Amplifiers

For amplifiers there is really only one choice: a Tripath-based amp, sometimes called a T-amp, Class-T amp, or Digital amp.  These ultra-efficient wonders are inexpensive but obscure.

(a note on terms:  "Class-T" is a marketing term.  All T-amps are technically "Class-D" amps, sometimes refrerred to as "Digital" amps. There exist non-Tripath class-D amps, but all the ones I have seen are either very small or only for use with subwoofers (they are not "full spectrum").

T-amps are available in a couple of different sizes, based on different amp chips:
  • TA2024 based amps: 10 watts per channel, runs on 8V to 16V DC
  • TA2020 based amps: 20 watts per channel, runs on 8V to 16V DC
  • TK2050 based amps: 100 watts per channel, runs on 8V to 36V DC (needs 24V for full power rating)
  • TA2022 based amps: 100 watts per channel, requires custom power supply
Those are the most common models i currently see available for purchase.  Most of the ones I can find are only sold direct from Chinese vendors through Ebay.  This means they are cheap, but it will take 2 weeks to get it.  Please post if you know of other sources for these amps.

I bought and tested several of the common amps I found on ebay.  Note that there are many vendors on ebay all selling the same amps (or copies of the same amps).  The names of the amps get a bit confusing, its easier to go by the photos.

How to find these on  search for the amp chip:  TA2020, etc.  You will find tons of these amps.

Stand alone amps (amps with a plastic or metal case):
  • SMALL: Dayton DTA-1 from, $45.  TA2024 based.    This amp includes a built-in battery holder.  It runs at full power for 3-5 hours on 8 rechargeable AA's.  If you want a small system, this amp is really convenient and recommended.
  • MEDIUM: "SMSL" or "Topping" type TA2020 amp - $20 - I bought one from ebay seller indeed-hi-fi-lab. This amp is very good quality with durable construction, and sounds great. It also has a small and attractive case. indeed-hi-fi-lab seems to have 2 variations called the "Tripath TA2020 Mini Cute Class T Amp Amplifier Ipod MP3" and the "NEW Class T Amp TA2020 Amplifier Tripath Chip TA 2020". Rest assured mine is the "mini cute" type, but the other one looks equally well made in their photos.
  • LARGE: Dayton DTA-100a from, $95.  TK2050 based.  This is a 24V amp and includes a wall wart.
  • BAD:  "Lepai" TA2020 amp from ebay seller "box-them", $20. The internal construction of this amp is low quality. It also broke after a few days use so - NOT RECOMMENDED - particularly as there are better options for about the same price.
Bare board amps (no case included):
  • BIG:  "TK2050" and "TK2050-improved" amps - $40 - from ebay seller sureelectronics. The "improved" version is now available from also.   These are "bare board" amps without a case. I built several sound systems using these amps.  Note that you MUST use a powered mixer (see later step about this) to to get full power out of these, but even so these are the best deal going for a high power setup.
  • MEDIUM:  "MKII TA2020" and "MKIII TA2020" amps - $25 to $35 - from ebay seller arjenhelder_electronic.  These amps are top quality and sound great.  These are "bare board" amps with no case.  They also come with bare wires for power and audio input, so you'll have to do some soldering to hook them up.  These also need some vibration-proofing if you plan to use them on a bike.

Step 4: Notes on the Sure Electronics TK2050 100W Amps

I got 2 different TK2050 amps from Sure Electronics - their original 100W system and the "improved" 100W system.  These are both "bare board" amps.  At $40-$50 for a 2x100W amp with 85%+ efficiency, these are amazing deals under any circumstances.   I recommend the "improved" amp because its umm - improved!   ok here's the deal:
  • With the original amp you must use a powered mixer (see next step) to boost the levels from the mp3 player.  If you don't, you will get at best 5% of the rated output.
  • With the improved amp, you can get about 25% of rated output plugging your mp3 directly to the amp.  This isn't bad, but you still need to use a powered mixer to get full output (see next step).
  • Another note about the "improved" amp: it has a small heatsink with a fan. I'm not a big fan of fans, because they are failure prone in dirty or vibratory environments. I've been using this amp inside a speaker and letting the airflow from the woofer cool the amp - this means i can chop out that fan.
The technical details:
  • The original amp has "low input sensitivity".  This is a fancy way of saying that it has no volume knob, and the volume is pre-set at "low".  Kinda dumb.  If you try to power it from an mp3 player, the maximum volume on the mp3 player won't run the amp close to its designed power level.  If you are handy with a soldering iron, this volume problem is easily fixed by replacing 2 resistors.  If not, you need the powered mixer.
  • The "improved" amp improves the volume problem - it has a set of switches on board that let you choose the desired volume (3 choices).  Even the highest setting won't get you to full power with an mp3 player, but at least its usable. 
If you want to hack your original amp to change its volume setting, check the photos:

Step 5: Mixers

If you want to have a microphone or any 2nd input in addition to your mp3 player then you need a powered mixer.   Also, the higher-power 100W amplifiers need a powered mixer just to boost the signal level from the mp3 player.  Without the signal boost you just can't get maximum volume out of the amp.

There are a couple of different suitable mixers available around $50.  I've been using the Rolls MX51s, which calls itself a "stereo powered mini line mixer".  you can get it from, amazon, and others.  there are some other brands with nearly identical products.

How to use the mixer:  
  • the mixer sits between your inputs (mp3 player, mic) and your output (amplifier).  plug your mp3 player and mic into the 'input' jacks on the mixer.  
  • plug the 'output' jack on the mixer to the input of your amplifier.  
  • The mixer also needs DC power, most models like the Rolls have a wall-wart but run on DC power internally - 9V and 12V are common.
  • The Rolls runs on 12V internally, which is very convenient for our battery-powered setup.  I just cut the wall wart off the power cord that came with it and wired it straight to my 12V battery.
  • You must connect the ground wires between the amp and the mixer, or you will get hum or even damage the amp.  With a 12V system this is easy, the amp and mixer should run from the same 12V battery.
  • If you are building a 24V system: check the wiring diagram below.

Step 6: Power, Batteries and Chargers

for the smaller TA2024 and TA2020 amps, a 12V battery is needed.  To get full power from a big TK2050 amp you need 24V, although it is possible to run the amp on 12V at reduced power.

12V SLA batteries (also known as "gel cell" or "sealed lead acid") are very convenient for a battery-based sound system.  They come in many sizes and are inexpensive.  If you need 24V, just get two 12V batteries and wire them in series.  SLA batteries are widely used in electric scooters, emergency exit lights, "UPS" computer back-up power supplies, etc.

Free batteries!  You can often find SLA batteries free at your local recycle center.  I've found that the UPS systems are often disposed while the battery inside them is still in good condition and easily removed. 

If you want to just buy a new 12V SLA battery, they run $20 to $45 depending on the size. and  have many sizes, just search for "12v sealed lead acid battery".  

For a TA2024 or TA2020 system, you can also run on 8 or 10 AA batteries. Use rechargeables since it will last 3 to 5 hours. You can get a 10-AA battery holder from part number 12BH310. 

Capacity:  SLA batteries come in a wide range of capacities.  For a smaller systems a 4Ah to 8Ah battery is good and will be 3 to 6 pounds in weight.  Figure on 1 to 2 hours runtime per Ah with a smaller amp.  For a larger system or multiple speakers, you probably want to think about how long you need to run your setup for as compared to any weight consideration.  With my setup I have 9Ah batteries for a single TK2050 amp, and 18Ah batteries for a dual-speaker setup, both of those will run for 6 or 8 hours at full volume, all day if i turn it down just a little.  A standard car battery is around 50Ah.  rechargeable AA's are about 2.5Ah capacity.

Charging:  12V SLA batteries can be charged with a small car battery charger, you can also get small and inexpensive chargers designed specially for them.  Many electric scooters run on 12V, 24V or 36V, so conveniently you can find $10 to $15 chargers with all 3 of these voltage choices. You can get these $10 scooter chargers at Amazon, just search for "12V SLA charger" or "24V SLA charger" or "36V SLA charger".  They come with a connector that you can just cut off and replace with crimp-terminals.

Weight:  gel cells are heavy, but you'll still save a lot of weight compared to a car battery just because your setup is efficient so you won't need as big a battery.  A car battery is 40 or 50 lbs, and my gel cell is half that weight and powers an equally loud setup.  Lithium packs are the lightest, but much more expensive than SLA.  You can get some good big lithium packs from

Step 7: The Elements

Depending on your application, you may want to improve the waterproofing or vibration proofing of your gear.

Waterproofing - if you are re-cycling a home audio speaker, you probably want to paint it.  a PA or DJ speaker normally has a waterproof box.  In either case, i found the woofer cone is often made of unprotected stiff paper.  You can easily waterproof this by coating it with a thin layer of a water-based urethane wood finish - such as Varthane - from your home improvement store.

Vibration proofing - i'm making mobile bike systems, these get vibrated a lot.  amps often have some larger components in them that may or may not be well attached to the amp board.  take a look and glue down anything that looks flimsy.  hot-melt glue and silicone glue both work well to glue down any wobbly parts in your electronics.  some of the T-amps are ok.  the ones from arjenhelder_electronics needed some anti-vibration glue (see the photo).  the original TK2050 from sure electronics also needed a bit of help.

Step 8: Just Do It Now!!

ok there's an easy way and a hard way for everything.  If you want the easy way, here it is:

read the previous steps.  get an efficient speaker (or 2), get an effiicient amp, a battery, and plug them together.  done!!

(my article about a simple rear-rack mounted bike party sound system shows an example of the 'do it now' option)

the steps after this show how to make an Active 12V speaker - a speaker with integrated battery-powered amp.  This allows slightly improved efficiency, lower weight and a more convenient package, but it is also more complex to build.

Step 9: The Fully Integrated Active 12V-24V Speaker

Along my quest for speaker efficiency I started thinking about Active speakers (also called Powered speakers).  This is the term for when the amp is built into the speaker.  Most active speakers are built for 120V wall power - it means you just plug in your active speaker and plug the mp3 player straight to it.  very convenient. 

I looked around for a while for an active 12V speaker - one with an integrated 12V amp - but there's really not much out there.  just a few subwoofers for cars, nothing full range.  so lets make one!  the benefits:
  • with the 12V amp inside the speaker, you have a convenient integrated package, plus you save the weight of an extra box and wires.
  • with the amp wired inside the speaker, you can wire individually to the tweeter and the woofer.  this allows additional efficiency improvements.  lets explain:
the nitty gritty:
inside your speaker are normally 2 or 3 "drivers" - the things that make the sound.  the low-frequencies are made by the big cone, called the woofer.  the highs are made by a smaller horn called the tweeter.  sometimes there's a 3rd midrange speaker.  the efficiency of each of the 2 or 3 drivers is not the same.  in a PA/DJ speaker the woofer might have a 96 SPL rating, while the tweeter might be around 103.  that's a big difference!  when you have your amp outside the speaker (as in any home or car stereo setup), there is just 1 signal sent to the speaker.  inside every speaker is a "crossover" circuit that splits the sound up - it sends the low frequency part of the sound to the woofer and the high frequency part to the tweeter.  just doing this at all incurs perhaps a 5% or 10% efficiency loss.  But - what if the tweeter is much more efficient than the woofer?  if all the crossover did was split up the sound, then the efficient tweeter would play all the high-pitch sounds way too loud compared to the low-pitch sounds played by the less efficient woofer.  so the crossover has a 2nd job - it equalizes the sound by reducing the volume on the tweeter.  but, the way that this volume adjustment happens in the crossover is by blowing off the excess power as heat - another efficiency loss.  in an active speaker we have the opportunity to fix this - active speakers use a separate amp for each driver - one amp for the woofer and one for the tweeter, and we can just turn down the volume on the tweeter's amp.  that's an efficient way to reduce the tweeter volume instead of the inefficient way the crossover does it.  Since our T-amps are so cheap, this also won't cost much to do, and we'll end up with our amp neatly mounted inside our speaker.

Step 10: What You Need

to make the fully integrated 12V amp + speaker, you need:

- speaker
- stereo amp
- crossover

Check the system diagrams below.

When the crossover comes after the amp, then it has to be big to handle the full amplified signal, and it has to waste power to equalize the tweeter and woofer volume.  But, we always need to split apart the highs and lows from the mp3 player and direct them to the tweeter and woofer.  So the secret to a good integrated amp setup is that we put a small crossover BEFORE the amp.  this gives us an un-amplified tweeter signal, and an un-amplified woofer signal.  we route one of those to the left channel input of the amp, and the other to the right channel input of the amp.  Then on the amp output side we wire the left channel direct to the tweeter, and the right channel direct to the woofer.

When we put the crossover before the amp, we can also use it to adjust the volumes of the tweeter and woofer, and also to combine stereo to mono if we want to.  operating on the un-amplified signal these can all be done without power waste.

So, to make the integrated 12V amp + speaker you need:

- speaker(s)
- 1 stereo amp per speaker
- 1 crossover per speaker

The stereo amp can be whichever T-amp you like.  My build photos mostly show the TK2050 amps.

The crossover - I made my own circuit for this - see my monoXover project.  It is a fairly simple circuit so you can build it yourself from parts.  If you would be interested in buying a monoXover DIY kit, let me know.  Another option is to use a mixing board.  Some small mixing boards in the $50 to $100 range can provide this crossover functionality, i haven't tried this myself but it looks possible.

Step 11: Remove the Speaker Back

First remove the speaker back plate.  this may be easy or difficult depending on the speaker.  If its impossible, you can remove the woofer instead to get access to the inside.

Inside the speaker (usually attached to the plate) is the built-in crossover.  Remove this and note the labels on the wires: you want to identify the "+" and "-" wires for both the woofer and tweeter.  usually it is also labeled on the woofer and tweeter itself if you need to double-check.

cut the wires to the crossover and remove it.

also, check around for where you have enough room to mount your amp and crossover.  on the Peavey PR12N, the plate is big enough to fit the amp.  The Pyle PPHP121 has a really big plate, easy to work with.  On the Behringer B212XL, there is no back plate at all, so i'll glue the amp inside the box somewhere.

Another option if you have no back plate - you can route all 4 wires from the woofer and tweeter outside the speaker, and attach the amp on the outside.

Step 12: Prep the Back Plates

we need to attach both our crossover and our amp to the backplate (or elsewhere inside).

the photos show the mounting on a Pyle PPHP121 plate.

- remove the built-in crossover

- remove some of the input jacks that came with the speaker if needed

- put a power jack into the back (i used one of the existing holes, or just drill a new one)

- drill mounting holes for a pre-amp crossover.  (i'm using my  monoXover crossover).  i also put 2 holes so i can adjust the tweeter and woofer balance knobs from the outside.

- drill mounting holes to match my TK2050 amp

Step 13: Attach the Pre-amp Crossover

Step 14: Attach the Amp

this shows a TK2050 "improved" model amp from sure electronics. 

notice i removed the fan from the amp.  when used inside the speaker, the woofer will create plenty of air flow to cool the amp, and the fan is not needed.

Step 15: Wire It Up

- if you are using my monoXover crossover, the woofer output will be "out2" on the amp and tweeter will be "out1" on the amp. 

- if you aren't sure which output has the high frequencies and which has the lows, test each output with a regular unmodified speaker to hear it.

- attach the woofer and tweeter to the amp.  NOTE:  depending on the type of crossover you use, you may need to FLIP the tweeter cables.  if you are using my monoXover crossover (or any 2nd order crossover), you need to flip the tweeter:  connect the tweeter's "+" to the amp's output "-".  the woofer is always connected "straight up" to the amp.  if you used an off-the-shelf mixing board, connect both of them "straight up".

- attach the power wires from the power jack to the amp

- attach an audio cable from the crossover to the amp input

- attach an audio cable from the crossover input to the outside of the speaker (use a jack if you want, my photo doesn't have a jack yet, but i'll put one in later)

Step 16: Put the Plate Back On

it's done!

Step 17: Additional Build Photos

i built some more setups with other speakers, here are some photos of those.  check the photo notes for more info.

Step 18: The Sound-off

We tested all the speakers.  Our reference is Deep's set of 120V active powered Yamaha's.  Deep has been using his mobile dance party setup all over san francisco for the past couple years so it is a good comparison.

Our active 24V speakers measured up!  I made 3 different systems all with 100W TK2050 amps.  The Yamaha reference speakers have a much higher power rating, but they are also less efficient.

At full volume, all the speakers were fairly close to each other, the B212XL was a bit quieter.  The Yamaha and the B212XL have notably better sound quality than the others.

In terms of power use, it was no contest.  with equal volume levels, all the 3 setups with TK2050 amps used about 1/3 the power of the Yamaha setup (with an inverter).

With 1/3 the power draw, it means we don't need a car battery to power these systems.  They run great on a much smaller and lighter gel cell.  plus no inverter is needed.

Step 19: More Ideas

I haven't tried building my own speaker boxes yet.  it's rather time consuming.  i'm not sure if you can improve efficiency by making your own box, but you can reduce weight.  searching around instructables and the web you can find many projects about building your own boxes.

along with building your own box, you can also buy whichever woofer and tweeter you like best - including some very efficient ones.  you could also swap the woofer in one of the cheaper plastic PA cabinets for a better one.

Step 20: Credits

thanks to:


6 People Made This Project!


  • For the Home Contest

    For the Home Contest
  • Game Design: Student Design Challenge

    Game Design: Student Design Challenge
  • Make It Bridge

    Make It Bridge



Question 2 years ago

So I get a pair of Behringer Eurolive B1520, a class-T 120w amp, needed wires/cable, and a 100ah SLA battery, and source (iphone) and I'm good to go? Looking to have dance parties in the desert with my kiddos and family friends and want some mega bass and volume.


Question 2 years ago

I need something a little bit different.. I don’t care about the weights and size, I’ll transport it in a van or a car, no problem using the heavy trucks battery if needed. I need sound system capable for minimum 12h of miniature outdoor rave like party with 30-50 people with full sound in like 20x20 meters of clean space, bass is the most important cause it will be used for simple techno music, mostly minimal occasionally house so its all about the woofers (I was thinking of bass bins) the most important thing is to be able to run dj players and a mixer.. we’re deep in the woods long way from electrical grid and I wonder if it can be done without the generators, if this is impossible tell me the closest to this that is doable... Thanks in advance, Mike!

And if this has been sad before please direct me there, i was searching but couldn’t find.


Answer 2 years ago

Hi konjiludi1312,
How's the sound planning coming? If I can offer any advice for that size don't overlook a gas generator, with a long cord you can minimize the sound from the motor. That will get the job done in least effort in my opinion.
BUT if you want to craft a battery powered system, I posted some photos of my system in the "people made this section", the bass bin and the tweeter horn have their own amps and batteries. I don't think the instructable mentions using multiple independent power sources, maybe it does, but anyway, I'd recommend breaking up the power sources. So, like, for each massive bass bin install a battery, crossover and amp all in one component if that makes sense. I have read that some amps will blow speakers if the battery goes dead that is supplying the amp with power, be wary. I think it's as if the amp sends a $%##*'d up signal to the woofer when the power supply is crappy. I'm pretty scared of that myself since I'm attached to my sub speaker, I've had it for like 25 years lol...


5 years ago

Would it be possible to use a car amp with any of the PA speakers listed in the article? I'm running two 6x9"s, two 5"s, and an 8" sub off of a 1600W marine amp powered by a 12v, deepcycle, yellowtop battery for a car.
The system sounds nice, but I was wanting to put together a slightly smaller setup with a passive PA speaker on my BOB Yak trailer with a 400W car amp I have lying around.


6 years ago

building a "semi-efficient" bike trailer system. i'll be using a small pair of really nice sounding proel flash 8P 96dB 8" two ways as mains, an efficient planet audio BB1200.4 class D (nearly twice as efficient as regular class A/B amps) and a 93dB JBL GT 5-15 15" sub that will put more out at the bottom octave than high efficiency woofers which have fast rolloff under 70Hz, BUT will be tossing efficiency out the window some by going sealed, for sound quality and a nice tight thump, instead of porting which merely adds distortion to SIMULATE bass.

version 1 won't be light either with at least 1 AGM battery, but in planning version 2.0, i'd like to lighten things up with fiberglass and lithium ion batteries as well as get some "free dB" by using 4 x 10" or 12" subs for even tighter bass and possibly some extra bottom octave dB, but at least be able to move a similar or greater amount of air.

in version 1.0, i'm balancing size, weight and cost just to get rolling ASAP. i have MOST of the system, but need a sub box, wiring, a circuit breaker, power meter, more batteries and to build a wooden frame to mount everything.

EVENTUALLY, the system, whether i upgrade to fiberglass or not, will include a sound activated RGB LED light show.

more than SPL drag racing, i'm building my system with an emphasis on sound quality. i could have theoretically lightened it up by using bare sure class D modules, but that would require a 24v minumum system where staying at 12v, i can add EQs or power inverters without needing a separate power supply.

trikes and trailers are best if you want to build a really heavy and loud system.


6 years ago

Hi , I am looking to make a 24volt 60watt system. With two 12volt 7amp batteries in series. I want to wire in a charging port and use a 24 volt scooter charger to charge the batteries. My question is would i be able to follow this simple circut to charge the batteries and would i have to disconnect them from the amp when charging. The 24 volt motor is replaced by a 24 volt dc amplifier, just to be clear. Any advice would be greatly appreciated , thanks.


6 years ago

Hi super-maker!

Based on your rec, I bought the Dayton Audio DTA-1 Class T Digital AC/DC Amplifier and a pretty decent speaker ( 15 WPC BEHRINGER EUROLIVE B212XL)... And when I opened the speaker and looked at the back, I saw that it has "2 professional speaker connectors plus ¼'' jack connectors" while my adorable little battery powered amp only has standard speaker wire "outs".

I bought a raw wire to 1/4 converter and when I plug in one 1/4 inch into my speaker, it sounds pretty decent but it's not that loud. Is it possible to run both "outs" from the little amp into both 1/4 inputs in my one speaker to double my bang? You mentioned mono is the best way to go. Can I double up? Or is a single output the only way to go with my little amp (if I have one speaker for my bike)? Or I am an idiot for thinking this is possible? Excuse my ignorance. I'm a wanna be bike-party-off-grid-sound-system girl.


6 years ago

Im interested in putting one of these together within an old ammo can and using some good qulity car speakers. Iv been looking at the topping tp22 (tk2050) and two scooter batteries . However this has a wall wart set to 20V at 3A i was wondering would i wire the datteries directly to the amp at 24 volts or to the wart or do i need a seprate peace of kit to get it working ?


7 years ago

Thank you so much for this instructable, I bought a 15 inch passive PA speaker on a whim a month ago and have learnt a great deal of what i know now about electronics and speakers just from this one article, i bought one of these amps which i cannot speak highly enough of and would recommend to anyone! costs 15 dollars shipped to australia,
i am currently running this off a 7 amp hour gel cell battery and have attached a solar panel to the circuit to charge my battery and give extra power to the amp as i use it (not that it needs it)
i even connected my solar panel directly to my amp the other day and it ran the speaker wonderfully in full sun!


Reply 6 years ago

Looking at building something similar. If I may ask, what is the brand of 15in Speaker you are using? Also a nooby electronics question... How is the rated watt level so low for these T-amps, yet they can adequately power these large speakers with such high watt requirements?


7 years ago

Thank you so much for this instructable, I bought a 15 inch passive PA speaker on a whim a month ago and have learnt a great deal of what i know now about electronics and speakers just from this one article, i bought one of these amps which i cannot speak highly enough of and would recommend to anyone! costs 15 dollars shipped to australia,
i am currently running this off a 7 amp hour gel cell battery and have attached a solar panel to the circuit to charge my battery and give extra power to the amp as i use it (not that it needs it)
i even connected my solar panel directly to my amp the other day and it ran the speaker wonderfully in full sun!


7 years ago

Thank you so much for this instructable, I bought a 15 inch passive PA speaker on a whim a month ago and have learnt a great deal of what i know now about electronics and speakers just from this one article, i bought one of these amps which i cannot speak highly enough of and would recommend to anyone! costs 15 dollars shipped to australia,
i am currently running this off a 7 amp hour gel cell battery and have attached a solar panel to the circuit to charge my battery and give extra power to the amp as i use it (not that it needs it)
i even connected my solar panel directly to my amp the other day and it ran the speaker wonderfully in full sun!


7 years ago on Step 3

Hi, I want to use the Peavey PR15N - 15" woofer, what would be the best amp mixer combo to compliment this? I don't know anything about electronics and I'm just hoping I can follow the instructions well. The "TK2050-improved" is not available any more. my goal is just to get maximum sound!


7 years ago on Step 3

I've been thinking about making the active speakers using the monoXover you described. However, i would also like to add a separate subwoofer to the system. Any ideas on the best way to do that? It would be great with a monoxover that splits to 3 frequency ranges, so i can get some tweeters, midranges, and then a nice big sub (and even better, one of the T2050 running in mono)


8 years ago on Introduction

Hi there,
I'm pretty inexperienced with audio technology. This instructables is awesome and so inspiring. I'd like to put a powerful PA together to be used with a crowd of 100-300 people on a large square. I think I can do it despite my lack of knowledge with this instructions. I just have a few technical questions to get me started.

For a speaker with 400W (

- do I need an amp that is capable of 400W also?
- we care for RMS only, and not for peak power, right?
- does it make sense to have so much watts? (I'd like to have a good sound including a full bass) or does it run the battery dry too quickly?
- do I need a couple or more batteries then?

Thanks for your help.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I'm not super experienced but I know some of the basics. That speaker can handle that much but you can get good sound out of it running lower power. A 15" might be overkill for what you could really pump out of it on batteries. I'd do something smaller unless you have the power supply to support your goals.

I'm in the middle of upgrading a build but before I used two 12v12ah sla batteries in series and a plain on 2x100w sure digital amp. I was more than enough to drive a cheap 12" pa speaker rated for 300w rms and it was well received during a bike rave. I was maybe driving 30-40w to it and it got plenty loud.

I guess it depends on how portable you want it. The speaker you are looking at has a spl rating of 98db. At 30 feet away and 40w amp input it will be about 95db loud.

The more power you put into it the more battery power you will use. My setup theoretically was 40w/25.2v=1.58a that's maxing it out which will never happen but it means you could run the 12ah batteries for over 7 hours. My old set up went for almost 8 and I had it full volume most of the time and I never noticed a drop in performance. Bass will suck the power more and I found that in an outdoor setting with out a good supply of power you can't really get than thunder out of a mobile system. It can be good but nothing like a real system.

I'll post up my new project when I'm done.



7 years ago on Step 1

I've got hold of a couple of Peavey Eurosys 3 speakers . they have
two large jack sockets on the back like the type that take guitar lead
type jack , anyone know how would I wire these to an amp?


7 years ago on Step 5

Anyone know of a suitable mixer available in the UK - we can't get the Rolls here?


7 years ago on Introduction

Where can I switch the mixer or amp to MONO?

Thomas P.A
Thomas P.A

8 years ago on Introduction

Hey all! I must be missing a step... all the recommended amps have speaker-wire outputs, but all the recommended speakers have 1/4 jack inputs! How do i patch those two without losing quality/efficiency?