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How to Power a Car Stereo in My House?

Car stereos provide a wide array of features, so many that some users feel tempted to move the stereo system inside for maximum enjoyment. Because car stereos work off direct current, they can be effectively moved inside with only minimal hassle.

Step 1 - Set up a power source. Because car stereo systems work with direct current (DC), they can be powered directly by a car battery. If you want to use a car battery for a temporary arrangement, the battery will serve as its own power source. If you will be using an AC/DC converter, the converter will transform household current into a 12-volt power supply; be certain, though, that the voltage output is set to "12 V DC" if there is more than one output option.

Step 2 - Run speaker wire from your car stereo head unit to your speakers. Consult your car stereo installation manual to determine which wires are assigned to speakers; car stereo speaker wires are typically color-coded, though some manufacturers rely on the car's wiring harness to connect the correct leads to the proper speakers.

Step 3 - Use the wire cutter/stripper to expose a portion of bare wire from the stereo's speaker lead. Strip a small segment of insulation from the end of a length of speaker wire, wrap the exposed speaker wire around the exposed speaker lead and use electrical tape to secure the connection.

Step 4 - Connect the other end of the length of speaker wire to the corresponding speaker using the appropriate method for your make and model of speaker. Repeat this process for each speaker, keeping in mind that car stereo systems may be designed to power up to 12 (or more) speakers.

Step 5 - Identify and prepare the stereo head unit's power connectors. Like most direct current (DC) powered electronics, the car stereo should have two power lead wires: one positive (usually red) and one negative (usually black). Consult your stereo's installation manual to identify the power leads for your particular make and model of stereo.

Step 6 - Use the wire cutter/stripper to expose a portion of bare wire from each lead wire. Strip a small segment of insulation from the end of a length of electrical wire, wrap the exposed electrical wire around the exposed power lead and use electrical tape to secure the connection.

Step 7 - If you will be using a car battery to power your stereo, attach a battery terminal to the end of each power wire. Strip about 1/2 inch of insulation from the unattached end of one electrical wire used in Step 5 above, then insert the exposed wire into the wire opening on a battery terminal. Secure the wire in place using either solder or electrical tape, then repeat this process for the other power wire. Note that this step may not be necessary if you are using an AC/DC converter, since the converter may offer its own method for securing power wires.

Attach the power wires to the power source. If you are using a car battery to power your stereo, simply slide the positive and negative battery terminals over the corresponding posts on the battery, then tighten the terminals to secure them in place. If you are using a converter that offers its own wire connectors, insert the power wire into the proper positive or negative connector, then turn or screw the connector to hold the wire in place.

TIPS: The method for powering a car stereo described above relies on the stereo's on/off switch and does not offer a way to interrupt power to the stereo; if you need a way to interrupt power, you can install a toggle switch in the positive (red) power wire. If you will be listening to the radio (AM or FM) on your car stereo, you might need to obtain and connect an external antenna; connect the antenna to the rear of the car stereo deck by simply screwing into place.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: 12-volt car battery (or AC/DC converter), 12-volt battery terminals, Wire cutters/strippers, Electrical tape, Electrical wire, Stereo speaker wire

WARNINGS: This method for powering a car stereo may make it difficult to install the stereo in a car; if you will be using the stereo in your car after using it in your house, consider using a wiring harness to avoid cutting the wires that directly extend from your car stereo head unit. Always exercise extreme caution when working with electricity, and especially when working with exposed electrical wires. Ensure all power sources are disconnected before modifying or cutting any wires.

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