Car Audio Power

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Car Audio Power

Postposted on Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:38 pm

I have heard of people using PC Hardware (PSU) to power their car audio systems, and I was wondering HOW? What Wattage would they use? What Brands? How would the wiring work? Etc...
JawesomeArt
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Re: Car Audio Power

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:54 pm

Car audio gear is a load designed for 12V source, a modern computer PSU is a source designed to handle high-power 12V loads.

Biggest limitation is that each pin of a standard 5.25" drive connector or ATX power header was (still is, AFAIK) rated for 5A maximum. So, you would need to splice two or more 12V wires together (and same again for the grounds) to reliably power anything larger than a head unit.
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ludi
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Re: Car Audio Power

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:12 pm

ludi wrote:Car audio gear is a load designed for 12V source, a modern computer PSU is a source designed to handle high-power 12V loads.

Biggest limitation is that each pin of a standard 5.25" drive connector or ATX power header was (still is, AFAIK) rated for 5A maximum. So, you would need to splice two or more 12V wires together (and same again for the grounds) to reliably power anything larger than a head unit.


On most of the implementations I've seen, they have used a beefy single rail power supply design and have desoldered the factory harness, put on a couple of binding posts after soldering usually 10 or 8 gauge to the board and those posts. They usually slap on either a switch to the power good signal to turn it on or just short it and use the switch on the back of the power supply.
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Re: Car Audio Power

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:35 pm

I don't understand how this would be implemented...computer PSUs take AC input and convert it to DC. Why would you use an AC input power supply in a car which already has a DC power system? Do they use inverters to supply the AC (that seems extra silly to me)?
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Re: Car Audio Power

Postposted on Fri Jan 03, 2014 11:52 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:I don't understand how this would be implemented...computer PSUs take AC input and convert it to DC. Why would you use an AC input power supply in a car which already has a DC power system? Do they use inverters to supply the AC (that seems extra silly to me)?


There are a couple of common uses. You will see such setups (although larger) at car audio competitions where vehicles are parked all day but have their sound systems going all day on display. I also used a similar setup for off season tuning of my competition system. Running a vehicle in a heated garage is not recommended. Another common use is to bench test car audio components and then there are the home hackers that simply want to use an inexpensive car audio amp for something such as a home brew sub. Car audio amps are more readily available then quality monoblock amps for homebrew subs and as such a lot of the homebrew crew uses them.
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Re: Car Audio Power

Postposted on Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:03 am

Right, so basically people use them when there is AC power available. I get that, but I was thinking this question was meant for actually powering a car audio system in normal use.
MadManOriginal
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Re: Car Audio Power

Postposted on Sat Jan 04, 2014 9:35 pm

MadManOriginal wrote:Right, so basically people use them when there is AC power available. I get that, but I was thinking this question was meant for actually powering a car audio system in normal use.

Eh, I doubt it. Car audio competitions and homebrew subwoofers using car audio components are common uses of a 12V supply in this fashion. A car battery charger/eliminator is a common 12V source but a beefy computer PSU can be cheaper and/or more readily available in some circumstances.
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