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How to set up car loudspeakers to run as a stand-alone unit for computer? Answered

I have a set of vdo hsp 6931 loudspeakers that I will never use for the car, so I want to turn them into a stand-alone speaker system for for my computer. Do I need to buy an amplifier or other items & how would I go about hooking it all up? I have some knowledge in electrics any help would be appreciated.



Well, you can plug them directly into the headphone jack, but you probably won't get much volume. So, yes, you want an amplifier. Buy a cable that plugs into the headphone jack and feeds the amplifier, or build one (tip is one channel, ring is the other, shield is the common ground), then wire the amp's outputs to the speakers. Putting the speakers in enclosures is optional but desirable to protect them; when I've been in a rush, I've used cardboard boxes. CAVEAT: These speakers have strong magnets. Magnets can do very bad things to CRT displays -- distorting the image at least, and sometimes permanently damaging the mask. So if you're still using a CRT, keep these at least a foot, and probably more than that, away from it. (Speakers made specifically for PCs have metal cases that isolate the speaker's magnetic field from its surroundings; you could homebrew that too, of course..)

That sounds good, could I use a car amplifier or head-unit (there cheaper) & then hook it up to a power-point. If the speaker boxes were lined with metal would it be okay? (I have an i-mac)

Sure, you could use a car amplifier -- if you have a 12V supply at sufficient amperage to power it. Given how easy it is to find an old stereo amplifier that someone took out of service when they upgraded, adapting the car amplifier sounds like much more work than it's worth.

The question of whether your PC is a mac or a Windows box or Linux doesn't signify; it its monitor is a CRT rather than a flat-panel, it will probably object to having magnets too close to it. Yes, a magnetic-metal plate between the screen and the speaker magnet would reduce the problem. The canonical choice is "mu metal" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu-metal), but thin steel will probably work well enough for this purpose. A friend of mine claimed he had successfully used a cookie sheet propped between speaker and monitor as a temporary magnetic shield.

Hope that helps