Indoor Car Stereo

I’ve never previously had a stereo/speaker problem, for the past seven years I’ve had two iterations of Logitech’s Subwoofer/4+ Speaker combination. One set is currently with my Brother at school, the other set is 3500 miles away in Virginia.

I’ve been in California for the last seven months, thumping along with the laptop speakers. Not bad, tinny, can’t get too loud, can’t rock a party, but okay. This project started when my office-mate came in to work with brand new speakers from some store bought system that he didn’t need.

When I lived in D.C. I used to have an old Cobra C.B. radio strapped to a throw-out computer power supply, so getting a stereo together was the natural response to receiving these speakers.

12.17.2013…an upcoming cross country road trip requiring an AUX port means that after a half decade, the receiver has finally been promoted to Jeep duty.

1/3 Tools/Materials

Car Stereo:
This is a Kenwood KDC-138. I’ve always a Kenwood stereo, and have never been disappointed. I got this specific model because I didn’t need anything flashy, except for the 3.5mm input jack in the front of the receiver. The input will allow me to hook up my computer, iPod, or whatever else I want to listen to. You do not need a Kenwood, you can use any car stereo, as long as you know what the wires in the back are for. Any aftermarket deck should have the wires labeled and colored.

Computer Power Supply:
Any ATX computer power supply is adequate. You should not have to pay for this. I’ve always had useless/old power supplies hanging around, and any other computer related person will too. Go to your ‘computer person’ at work, if you ask him/her, they will often just give an old power supply to you. Go on craigslist. You can often find old computers that people want just taken away for free. Go get it. Take out the power supply, save the rest for future projects.

Any four ohm speakers you can find. Book shelf speakers, car stereo speakers, whatever. If it has two wires hanging out the back and its impedance is 4 ohms, you’re fine. You can often find old speakers at yard sales, on craigslist, etc.

Wire Connectors:
In this case, wire nuts from Home Depot.

Wire Stripper:
Crimp tool, wire stripper, knife, teeth, etc.

Digital Multi-Meter:
Not really needed, ATX is supposed to be ATX, but it’s best to check you’re power before you hook up a new stereo.

2/3 Plans:
Good old MS Paint:

3/3 Construction:
HERE you will find a very detailed, and simple explanation of the pins on an ATX power supply. What we’re going to be most interested in is pin 10 (12 volt), pin 13 (ground), pin 14 (power supply on), pin 17 (another ground).

1. Make sure the power supply is off (…thanks to ATOMICSLR 03.03.2013). We will clip the wires from behind the harness on pin 14 and pin 17. This is the power-on and the ground. Strip these wires and wire-nut them together. This will mimic a user pushing the ‘on’ button on a computer, and turn the power supply on.

2. Power for the stereo. Go ahead and check pin 10 with the digital multi meter, with the ground on pin 13. If the output of the DMM is near 12 volts, you’re good to go. Cut behind the harness for each wire and strip them.

3. Behind the car stereo, strip the yellow and the red wire. This is the battery, and the ignition wire, respectively. The battery wire is the power for the stereo, the ignition wire is a signal going to the stereo that tells it to turn on when the car is on. Connect all yellow(power supply)+red(stereo)+yellow(stereo). Connect black(power supply)+black(stereo). Plug the power supply in, and the stereo should turn on.

4. Strip all of the speaker wires on the speakers, as well as the eight wires on the back of the stereo for the speakers: while/black, white, gray/black, gray, green/black, green, purple/black, purple. Connect each set of speaker wires to a speaker.

5. That’s it. Put the speakers in a convenient spot, in this case on top of the whole set up, and enjoy.

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