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.

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Step 1:

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:

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:

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!

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    36 Discussions


    1 year ago

    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.


    3 years ago

    Awesome post; still relevant!

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



    Reply 4 years ago

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


    9 years ago on Introduction

     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.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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


    10 years ago on Step 3

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

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 3

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


    10 years ago on Step 3

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


    10 years ago on Introduction

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

    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...


    10 years ago on Introduction

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


    10 years ago on Introduction

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

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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


    10 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

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