Anyone Can Make This 10W+10W Amplifier

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About: Old timer ... Still learning

When I first came across the tiny 2.5 cm x 3 cm "PAM8610 stereo mini class D digital power amplifier board 2 x15W" - around USD 5.00 on Ebay, I just had to have it.

It turns out that the 2 x15W is only possible using 4 Ohm speakers and a small heatsink on the IC. I don't have 4 Ohm speakers so I settled for 2 x 10W with my 6 Ohm speakers.

The Class D amplifier has received a lot of negative press from "serious" listeners, but to my low-spec ears it sounds great (and loud!) especially with good sized bookshelf speakers and an MP3 player with a built-in graphic equalizer and various environment settings.

Using an MP3 player also means that you don't need to have bass, treble and balance controls on your amplifier - just a volume control.

Since the wiring-up is so simple, I thought it would be a great medium level project for beginners.

Step 1: Getting the Parts Together

The parts required are as follows:

  • 1 pc Plastic Box. Mine is approx 8cm x 5cm x 2.2cm (31/8" x 17/8" x 7/8")
  • 1 pc PAM8610 Digital Power Amplifier Board 2 x15w
  • 1 pc 50K + 50K Dual Potentiometer
  • 1 pc Knob for the above potentiometer - colour to suit your theme.
  • 1 pc SPDT (Single Pole - Double Throw) Switch
  • 1 pc 3.5mm Panel Mounting Stereo Audio Jack Socket
  • 1 pc Panel Mounting DC Jack Socket
  • 2 pcs 10uF 25V electrolytic capacitors - the smaller the better
  • 2 pcs 2-terminal or 1 pc 4-terminal Interlocking Screw Terminals
  • 1 pc 3mm Blue LED (or other colour depending on your design theme)
  • 1 pc 4.7K 1/8W resistor (current limiting for the LED - more details in the attachment)
  • 1 pc 12V 2A AC Adaptor or wall wart - more details in the attachment.
  • 1 pc diode 1N5401 or 1N5822 (optional)

Besides these you will also need multistrand (7-strand) hook-up wire (various colours) for the interconnection of the components.

Attached is a PDF with very detailed explanation of each of the parts in the parts list. I wrote this mainly for beginners, so if all you need is the parts list, you can skip most of it and just read the part on the AC Adaptor - very important.

Step 2: The Tools

In this project there is a minimum amount of mechanical work. Only three basic tools are needed for making holes and one tool for soldering:

  1. A hand drill for drilling the pilot holes
  2. A larger size drill (3mm) for enlarging the holes
  3. A Reamer
  4. 18W - 25W Soldering Iron

THE HAND DRILL: With a 1mm drill-bit.

THE MINI-DRILL (or a Power Drill): With a 3mm drill-bit to match the tip of the reamer.

It is easy to make your own Mini-Drill:

  • The motor is from an old printer.
  • The drill chuck with interchangeable collets is available from Ebay - very cheap. Check the mounting hole diameter with the seller before buying. It should match the shaft diameter of your motor.

THE REAMER: This is my favouite tool for making holes in plastic and metal; one I recommend that you have in your toolbox.

You start off with a 3mm hole at the centre of the position that you want to mount the component, insert the reamer and push forward gently while rotating clockwise. After every few turns, check if the component fits snugly in the hole. With practice you will be able to make holes quickly and accurately.

THE SOLDERING IRON: Not much more can be said on this topic that has not already been covered in detail in any number of Instructables. All I can say is practice makes perfect. This is a surface mounted PCB, so be very careful. Avoid splashing solder. One solder splash can short a number of components together - almost impossible to recover from.

Step 3: Preparing the Box

It is now time to get your box ready for mounting the components.

Stick blank white stickers on the surfaces on which you are going to mount your connectors and controls. In my case I decided to have a front and rear - like a full sized amplifier. I marked out where each control would be (see the pictures).

The sticker provides a clean white surface for making clear markings and also protects the surfaces from scratches while drilling, etc.

Next, using the hand-drill, drill the pilot holes with a 1mm drill in the places where each control comes through.

Follow up with the 3mm drill on all the holes except ones for the speaker connector.

Finally enlarge the holes with the Reamer following the guidelines in the previous section. The hole for the 3mm LED is not enlarged unless you are using a bigger size LED.

The results are shown in the pictures above - absolutely neat holes with no further cleaning up to be done.

As you can see from the picture with the components mounted, all the components are screwed in except the speaker terminals which are super-glued to the box after passing the leads through the 1mm holes. Make sure that the terminal holes in which the speaker wires are inserted point upwards for easy connection. The LED is push-fit or held in place with contact adhesive.

Step 4: Connecting Up the Components

THE WIRING: The wiring is pretty straightforward.

For easy future fault-finding I recommend some kind of colour coding e.g. Red for all the Positive wiring, Black for all the negative or ground wiring, Orange for all the Right channel wiring and Blue for all the Left channel wiring. For the speaker wiring I have used Orange for R+, White for R-, Blue for L+ and Brown for L-. You can use your own colour combination but try to stick to the same identifying colour for Left and Right throughout.

There are just a few things related to polarities that you need to take care of. Please see the attached PDF file for all the details.

Also please note, in my case, I am mounting everything inside the box and using it as the top of my amplifier. The lid is the bottom. This means I am working on a kind of mirror image to the Wiring Diagram. In use, all the components that are mounted on the left side will be on the right side and vice versa. Be careful when wiring the speaker connections, if your layout is the same as mine, on the side shown in the picture, the Left speaker connections are wired on the right side and the Right speaker connections on the left, so when you flip the box over they will be in their correct places.

You can see how simple the wiring is in the "Wiring Completed" picture above.

Step 5: Troubleshooting and Precautions After Assembly

INITIAL TESTING: Now that you have completed the wiring, before powering up or connecting anything to your amplifier, it is best to do some preliminary tests:

Have another look at the Wiring diagram along with a friend, if possible, and check that everything matches with your wiring. Fresh eyes usually notice things you wouldn't see after working hours on the project.

With your multimeter in low Ohms range, check for short circuits at points 1, 3, 4, 5 & 6:

  • If there is a short at point 1, you may blow your AC Adaptor as soon as you plug it in.
  • If there is a short between the speaker pins or between any of the pins at points 3 or 4 and ground , you may blow your Amplifier Module. R- and L- are not common points so don't, under any circumstances, short them together or connect them to ground.
  • If there is a short between L & G or R & G at point 5, one of the channels may not work when you power up.
  • If there is a short at point 6, you may blow your AC Adaptor after you turn the power switch on.

At the Power Switch (point 2) if you are expecting down to be On and up to be Off, set the switch in the Down position and and with your multimeter in the Ohms range, measure the resistance between its two solder points. If you get anything besides zero Ohms, the switch may be upside down. Loosen the mounting screw and rotate the switch till the lever is now up. Put it in the down position and check the resistance again. If it is still not zero Ohms, you may have a defective switch.

ADDITIONAL PROTECTION: As mentioned previously, you can damage the Amplifier Module if you use a different polarity AC Adaptor than the one your Amplifier is wired for. You can prevent this from happening by adding a single diode in series with the positive connection to the PCB. The wiring modification is shown in the attached diagram.

In this case when you connect the wrong polarity Adaptor and turn the switch on, the diode is reverse biased and will not allow the voltage to reach the Amplifier Module. Also the LED will not light up because it is reverse biased. It therefore acts an indicator that the AC Adaptor may be of the wrong polarity or defective.

The only problem with this protection is that there will be some voltage drop across the diode, which is important if your adaptor supplies exactly 12V.

The diodes recommended can both handle 3 Amps. The difference is in the forward voltage drop. If you use the standard rectifier 1N5401 the voltage drop is around 0.7V so the available voltage will be 11.3V or less. With the Schottky Barrier Rectifier 1N5822, the drop is only 0.4V at 2 Amps so you have available at least 11.7V (closer to 12V). Please select one of these diodes depending on your requirement e.g. if your AC Adaptor measured output is 13V (which is quite possible), a 0.7V drop shouldn't matter, so you can use the 1N5401.

MAXIMUM VOLTAGE CAUTION: The maximum voltage that the Amplifier Module can handle is 16V. To avoid damage, please check the actual output voltage of your AC Adaptor with your multimeter, and confirm that it is well below 16V before connecting up.

Step 6: Powering Up

Once you have confirmed that all your wiring checks out and there are no shorts, AND if you have connected the series protection diode recommended. You can happily connect your AC Adaptor, your speakers (push each wire all the way into the connector till it reaches the start of the insulation - to prevent short circuit) and your MP3 player (via the earphone jack), turn up the volume slightly and power on. Enjoy the sound.

If you didn't use the protection diode, one further precaution you can take before powering up is, keep the Red +12V connection to the Amplifier Module disconnected, plug in the AC Adaptor, power on, and using your multimeter in the DC range, Red lead to the disconnected Red wire and Black lead to any Black (ground) connection, check that the voltage reading is positive (around) 12V.

Once you are confirmed that the voltage and polarity are correct, power off, disconnect the AC Adaptor, solder the Red +12 wire to the Amplifier Module and follow the previous instructions for powering on. You're on you way to beautiful sound!

Step 7: Conclusion

When I started this Instructable, I wanted it to be a short quick instruction for beginners, to show how simple it is to make a reasonably powered small size stereo amplifier.

As I kept writing I found that there was more and more that I needed to explain to make the project a success for beginners. Rather than include it all in the main text, I have made a couple of PDF attachments.

I hope I haven't crossed the boundary from informative to plain boring.

If you are a newcomer to electronics and you are intending to do this project, I am assuming that you at least have the basic tools i.e. a soldering iron, solder, a multimeter, a screwdriver set (interchangeable tips) and a pair of long-nose pliers and wire cutters. Also, read all the PDF attachments before starting off.

Much of the information is based on my many years experience in the consumer electronic service business, repairing and training technicians to repair. I found it very difficult to not mention all of it especially the fault finding part which most writers don't go into. To me this is the difference between the success or failure of a project.

I hope you like it.

I have made another of these amplifiers, involving an additional PCB in a smaller box 5cm x 3.5cm x 2cm, which I will publish soon.

3 People Made This Project!

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67 Discussions

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TonmoyI

17 days ago

why comes sound when i plug 3.5mm jack ??sound like booooom boooooom.but if plug opposite 3.5mm jack to my laptop,the sound stop.

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tonepTonmoyI

Reply 16 days ago

Please also read my reply to another similar question. You can't connect a headphone to this amplifier. Headphones with the normal 3.5mm jack require that one of the speaker terminals of each of the amplifiers is connected to ground. In this amplifier module the speaker terminals are "floating". If you short the two negative terminals of the speaker output together to connect them to the common point of the headphone jack, you'll be lucky if nothing blows. I haven't come across any solution to this, besides having a separate headphone amplifier.

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TonmoyItonep

Reply 16 days ago

can i use 2*4ohm 10watt speakers without heatsink ?

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tonepTonmoyI

Reply 15 days ago

You can, but at higher volume, the IC will start getting hot. To avoid overheating it is best to have a heatsink when using 4 Ohm speakers. You will find more info in the specifications that I attached along with my text.

The heatsink is actually quite small. Some suppliers sell the module with the heatsink attached. If you google images for PAM8610 you will come across some images of the module with the heatsink.

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AmitK339

17 days ago

I like your idea but their is a problem with my board......i am using 3 li-ion laptop battery with a 3s power supply....but i don't know why this board (PAM8610) is macking a annoying sound.... i want to use this board for my school project plss help me to get out....

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tonepAmitK339

Reply 16 days ago

You haven't provided enough information to help me better understand your circuit connection e.g.

1. What is the output voltage of the battery? meaning are the cells connected in series or parallel?
2. What is 3s?
3. Do you have any power supply filtering?
4. What is the current capacity of the power supply?

A circuit diagram of your setup would be helpful.

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DanutaP1

22 days ago

Hi, I want to connect 32 ohm headphones instead of speakers - is it possible ? The headphones have +R;+L and ground only so how to connect them to 4 speaker terminals ?
And what is the purpose of adding 10uf capacitors before volume control ?

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tonepDanutaP1

Reply 21 days ago

Unfortunately you can't connect normal headphones with a stereo jack to this amplifier module. The reason is that the four speaker terminals are "floating". This is a bridged output amplifier. There is no ground connection as in normal push pull class AB amplifiers. If you connect any one of the terminals to ground or connect the negative speaker terminals together you will short out some of the output components of the amplifier resulting in smoke!

The purpose of the input capacitors is AC coupling, effectively DC blocking. This is also explained in these chats below.

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amasoun

Question 5 weeks ago

I have this PAM8610 board with massive 2200UF capacitor filter. It sounds really muddy and there is no bass. I wanted to know if I remove this capacitor filter, and short the connections, will it work fine. What other filter should I use if needed or any other suggestions?

8610.jpg
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tonepamasoun

Answer 5 weeks ago

If you remove the filter capacitor and short its terminals, you are actually shorting the positive to the negative of the power supply. In other words you will have no sound and a possibly burnt power supply.

According to the info I have read on this board, this capacitor smooths any ripple you have on the power supply thereby reducing the distortion caused by an unfiltered dc supply. Leave it in place.

Your problem most likely lies with either your speakers or your music source. Make sure your speakers are mounted in properly matched speaker enclosures and that your music source plays back without distortion on other amplifiers.

I use this same board cnonnected to ex-music system speakers to amplify my PC audio and it sounds great.

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amasountonep

Reply 4 weeks ago

I am already using good quality speakers with PAM8403 and they sound great. Actually I loved it so much that I wanted to try its bigger brother. Speakers are good, music source is good (pc), for power supply I am using 10v 2A adapter of Netgear router. The only thing I think needs to be checked is 3.5mm male to male cable now. I will try other cable. I think I should try the Black bare bone model.

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SubirD2

Question 2 months ago on Introduction

Pls help me, how to install a 5v Bluetooth module with a pam8610 amplifier , using a 12v power supply , without any humming. I want to make a boom box.

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tonepSubirD2

Answer 2 months ago

Hi. Sorry for the delay replying. I just saw this post.

The connection from Bluetooth module to PAM8610 is pretty straightforward. You just need to connect L to L input, R to R input and GND to GND.

The Bluetooth module itself can be powered from the 12V supply via a 5V regulator. To minimise the hum and also the heat generated by the power supply use a buck boost stepdown module (adjusted to output 5V) rather than a 5V regulator. They are very cheap and easily available from suppliers like AliExpress.

Other recommended ways to reduce the hum in audio systems are:

1. Keep all the wire connections short

2. Bring all the ground connections to one point

3. Make sure that the 12V supply to the power amp is properly filtered.

4. Keep the preamp section of the amplifier and the Bluetooth module as far away as possible from the power supply. In this case using a wall wart helps.

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SiddhantG6

4 months ago

Hi, I was searching for some low power 4 or 4.1 channel system. I came across your 'ible, its great !

But this got me thinking, what if I use 2 PAM8610 for connecting 4 speakers and one TPA3116 for the bass. I am not sure if it would work. Could you think over it and tell me if its possible ? I am a noob so need some good help right away

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tonepSiddhantG6

Reply 4 months ago

Hi. Thanks for ckecking out my instructable. What you are planning to do is an excllent way of using these modules.The two modules that you intend to use and the functions that you intend to use them for are also perfectly applicable.

My suggestion is to use these modules as speaker drivers in the output stage. In the input stage you would then have an active crossover circuit. If you have the knowledge and skill, i recommend building up this stage using preamp ICs. When I was planning to make exactly what you are intending to do, I found many circuit diagrams on the internet, but they were mainly 2.1. If you are intending to make 4.1, you will have to look for an additional surround sound circuit.

Please keep in mind that none of the speaker connections for all these modules should ever be connected to the ground of your amplifier system. The speaker output for each channel of each module is connected as a bridge circuit and therefore both connections of each speaker terminal is live. If any of the speaker connections is connected to ground, one section of the bridge gets grounded and will most likely blow (never tried for obvious reasons!).

You can also purchase ready assembled circuit boards, but these are relatively more expensive than the power amp modules that you have.

Good luck

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PREDATOR10101

5 months ago

i am planning to use this board for a subwoofer .... so just want to know if i can combine both of its output and connect it to my subwoofer ?... btw subwoofer is 25w at 4ohm....

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tonepPREDATOR10101

Reply 5 months ago

Hi. Thanks for your interest in my instructable. I am not sure if you can brige the two amplifiers in this module into one amplifier to drive your subwoofer. The two speaker outputs are taken from already bridged amplifiers. Unless you have a tested circuit for bridging this module, I don't recommend it.

A better option would be to purchase a higher wattage power module designed around the TPA3118 IC. A mono version is availavle from AliExpress for around USD 1.70. The rated power is max 60W, but the voltage range is 12V to 24V. You can run it at a lower voltage for a lower power output to suit your speaker. This is also a Class D amplifier, so the heat dissipation is very low and there is not much change in distortion level at a lower voltage. Please google the specs for ihe module to see if it suits your requirement. There are also other similar high power low cost mono modules available from AliExpress.

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PREDATOR10101tonep

Reply 5 months ago

thankyou so much for quick reply .... one more thing i wanted to ask.... i have pam8403 (3+3watt) which i connected to my 2 inch speakers.... and now i wanted to add subwoofer to them ... so i bought pam8610 and using only one output for woofer... so will it be good configuration ?... any suggestions ?

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tonepPREDATOR10101

Reply 5 months ago

One of the main problems you would have using the PAM8610 is that you would have to have an addiional 12V supply to run it. In this case you wouldn't be able to run your amplifier from your USB socket unless you used an additional voltage booster module (also available from AliExprss - based on IC XL6009). Then again your power source (e.g. USB socket) would have to provide enough current to power both the booster as well as the PAM8610.

A better solution would be to use a 5V mono module. I did a search on AliExpress for "5V mono digital amplifier board" and came up with this 5W 5V mono amplifier based on the IC XTP8871 the price for 1 pc is around one USD. Please look it up. You may find other mono amplifers that you would prefer.

You also have to consider using an active crossover circuit with a subwoofer connection. In this case, you can't use the speaker terminals as the take-off point since the speakers are not connected to a common ground. You have to look for a circuit that has a preamp and uses your power modules as the final amplifier stage. Please google it. You will find a lot of circuits, believe me. I was planning to do exactly what you are doing and I am still deciding which circuit to use from the hundreds that I found!

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PREDATOR10101tonep

Reply 5 months ago

Thanks again for your help.... Good news... I finished building amplifier and speakers.... And they sounds toooo good... Using pam8403 for satellite speakers and pam8610 for sub woofer... Both work great... I want to share my work.... Will share as soon as possible. BTW I need yep... Can you help me with diy low pass filter for sub. I have plenty of 21 gauge insulated copper wire ... Please tell me how to make low pass filter.... BTW I am not a pro... Just a hobbyists.