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How To Connect A Car Amp To A Wall Plug: A Beginner Guide

Last Updated on: July 1, 2022

Have you considered connecting a vehicle amplifier to a wall outlet? Perhaps you believe that because a car amplifier is meant to be used in a vehicle, it cannot be utilized at home.

However…

It absolutely can! 

This may appear perplexing at first, but putting it together isn’t difficult.

First, you must choose the type of power supply to use, how to connect it to the amp, then how to connect your smartphone, home stereo, or other audio sources to the amp.

To make this as simple as possible, we developed this article to address all of your questions.

Can You Connect A Car Amp Directly To A Wall Plug

Amps and speakers in rear hood

The answer is no, a car amp will not operate if plugged straight into a wall socket. 

How to connect a car amp to a wall plug? If you do that, the amp will just blow up. 

This is because a car amp utilizes direct current (DC), whereas electrical outlets use alternating current (AC).

This is why an AC to DC power inverter is required to convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC).

Furthermore, a car amp employs a remote turn-on-wire to switch the amplifier on and off automatically to minimize depleting the car battery, so that must be addressed as well.

How To Choose The Right Power Supply Unit For Your Amp

AC to DC power supply units can be purchased at an electrical store or online. However, there are a few things to consider when purchasing the power supply.

The amount of electrical current (amperage, “amps”) your amplifier will draw, as well as whether you’ll be pushing it hard or softly, will determine the power supply unit you need.

That’s why the power source must output at least 12-volt DC and have an amperage rating that fits the amp’s specification.

There are two fundamental approaches to selecting a power source for a car amp:

  1. Obtaining a suitable power source capable of producing sufficient voltage and current to operate your car amp. If you’re not going to be pushing the amp too hard, this is a nice alternative (fine for casual listening).
  2. Estimating the current draw of the amplifier based on its power rating (more on this below) (highly recommended for when you want serious amp power).

Voltage Needed

Car amplifiers are typically powered by a variety of voltages, not simply 12 volts, but that is a common starting point. 

The voltage might fluctuate between 12V and 14.4V when the engine is operating and the alternator is working.

You’ll need a power source with a DC voltage output of 12V to 13.8V to use your car amp at home. A 12V power supply works properly for casual listening.

In reality, you’ll notice that the majority of power supply devices on the market are 12V.

Because most amplifiers can handle a good amount of voltage, using a decent power supply unit with a slightly greater voltage than required would not harm the amplifier.

It’s worth noting, though, that if the voltage decreases below about 11V, your amplifier may shut down or go into protect mode, so make sure you have adequate voltage.

Size Power Supply Needed

The finest power source for your amplifier is one that delivers the appropriate wattage. 

The amplifier may not work correctly if you use the incorrect power supply unit which is why you must understand the input power specifications of your amp.

In reality, an amplifier with power terminals that does not get enough power will struggle to drive your speakers/subs. 

Not only that, but it may also have a variety of issues, such as blowing its fuse, cutting off, heat shutdown, or going into protect mode when the bass is turned up loudly.

When purchasing a power supply for your amplifier, the ampere rating is one of the most crucial critical parameters to pay particular attention to.

Standard wall adapters with a current rating of 1A or 2A aren’t very impressive. They’re not powerful enough for vehicle amplifiers. 

5A, 10A, and 15A power supply units are quite inexpensive and, for the most part, perform the job.

When it comes to larger power supply units that can run a subwoofer with powerful bass, things can become a little pricey. Some of them can easily cost more than $100.

However, using a desktop computer power supply is one of the better solutions because they’re easy to locate, don’t cost an arm and a leg, and provide adequate power output.

If you’re on a budget, you can acquire a computer power supply for under $40 (if you shop wisely) and use it to power your amp. 

Most computer power supply with power terminals can deliver up to 30 amps or even more, making them an excellent choice. 

They come in a range of power levels, from 150W to 500W and beyond.

Estimating Required Amperage

You’ll need to consider the sort of amp you have and its efficiency rating when estimating the amount of amperage you’ll need to drive the speakers/subs.

 All automobile amplifiers waste energy, which is converted into heat. 

As a result, automobile amplifiers consume more current.

  • Class A amplifiers are the least efficient in terms of power consumption, however because of their high power drain and low efficiency, they are uncommon in automotive audio.
  • Class A/B amplifiers are the most popular variety and are more efficient than class A amplifiers. The A/B architecture is used in the majority of automotive audio amplifiers.
  • Class D amplifiers may achieve efficiencies of 80% or higher. Standard class A/B amplifiers waste less power (and use less current). As a result, they’re ideal for high-frequency and subwoofer applications.

We can use these percentages to determine the total current an amp would require since class D and class A/B automobile amplifiers are the most often used amps, and their efficiency is roughly 85 percent and 65 percent, respectively.

Class D Amps

Calculate the number of amps utilized by a 100W RMS x 4 amp:

400W total from 4 x 100W. (400W/12V) = 33.33A.

Take power waste into account: 33.33A/.85 = 39.21A

Class AB Amps

Calculate the amount of current utilized by a 250W RMS x 2 amp:

2 × 250W total = 500W (500W/12V) = 41.66A.

Take power waste into account: 41.66A/.65 = 64.10A

As you can see, running your amplifier at maximum power will need a very large power supply unit. For the most part, though, you won’t require such strength.

How To Connect A Car Amp To A House Stereo

car amp inside car

A car amp may be connected to a home radio in a variety of ways. 

Each of these options is dependent on the features of your amplifier and whether your home stereo includes RCA connectors or merely speaker-level outputs.

Home Stereo Without RCA Jacks And Amp With Speaker Level Inputs

If your home stereo lacks RCA connectors and your amplifier only has speaker-level inputs, you can connect the speaker-level inputs of the amplifier to the stereo’s speaker outputs.

The amp’s speaker level inputs will scale down the speaker signal to a low-level signal that the amp requires in this scenario.

Home Stereo Without RCA Jacks And Amp With RCA Inputs

A line output converter is the only way to connect a home stereo with no RCA connectors to a car amplifier with RCA inputs.

Home Stereo With RCA Jacks And Amp With RCA Inputs

When a home radio has full-range RCA output connectors, connecting it straight to a car amplifier is the easiest option.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you plug a car amp into the wall?

Automobile amplifiers may indeed be used at home. Any home stereo device, cell phone, or another audio source may be connected to the amplifier. 

However, there are certain dangers. Car amplifiers have different power sources than stereos, and acquiring electricity is their biggest issue.

Can we connect the car stereo to a house plug?

It’s simple, and you may use 120 or 220 V power to connect your car audio to your home. The automobile stereo’s audio output is not hooked into the outlet.

What causes ground loop noise?

When the ground connections in an amp, stereo, and other components have a slightly differing potential (a tiny change in voltage), ground loop noise occurs. 

Despite your best efforts, it is sometimes virtually hard to eradicate.


Conclusion

Isn’t it amazing how a vehicle amplifier can transform into a home audio source? You may do it yourself using simple wiring techniques and tiny devices. You no longer need to get rid of your old automobile amplifier after purchasing a new one.

Use your imagination. When you connect your automobile amplifier to a wall outlet, you won’t be able to tell the difference between it and a standard house setup. You may also utilize any music source with the vehicle amplifier, whether it’s a smartphone or a home theater. Plan ahead of time, use traditional methods, and dance to your favorite tunes!

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