How to run a car stereo on house current

Written by nichole liandi
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Car stereos pack a lot of capabilities into a small platform. A typical car stereo will have an AM/FM tuner, a CD or cassette player and a powerful amplifier built in. Car stereos are designed to operate on 12-volt DC electrical current, so using one in your home will require the use of a power converter that converts your home's 120-volt AC power to 12-volt DC. With the right equipment, you can set up a car stereo to run on home current in only a short while.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wire strippers
  • Screwdriver
  • Power converter (11 to 15 volt output, 10 amp output)

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  1. 1

    Remove 1/2 inch of insulation from the black, red, and yellow wires connected to the back of the stereo, using your wire strippers.

  2. 2

    Twist together the bare ends of the yellow and red wires.

  3. 3

    Loosen the screw terminals marked "+" and "-" on the converter--sometimes these are marked "power" and "ground" respectively. Some terminals require a screwdriver, some can be loosened with your fingers.

  4. 4

    Slide the bare ends of the red/yellow wires into the "+" terminal and tighten to hold the wires securely. Slide the bare end of the black wire into the "-" terminal and tighten the terminal.

  5. 5

    Plug your converter into an AC outlet and turn it on. Turn on the car stereo to power it up.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure that the power converter you use has the correct specifications for the job. It needs to be able to accept a 110-120 volt household alternating current and output 11 to 15 volts DC at 10 amperes.

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