A few months ago I was looking at doing a new project that would again give me more soldering experience. After milling around with different options I found making a DIY Amp and Speaker the most satisfying option for my lifestyle. I found my kit and speakers with matching watts and ohms on eBay . I was forced to impatiently wait 3 long weeks for the parts to arrive from China. After they arrived, I realized I could have used that time to get a better handle on analog electronics because they arrived without any kind of instructions. The following was my experience!
soldering the components
I sorted out all my parts based on the contents list and studied the basic schematics I was provided from the website. Luckily, the board itself was decently labeled for where some of the capacitors and resistors were to be soldered based on their farads and ohms. Between the schematic, labeled board and some research I was able to find where everything was to be soldered and got to my task. Here’s a few pictures!
Once I finished soldering all the components onto the board I was eager to to power it on! It was this instance I realized I was quite silly and forgot to purchase power for it. Luckily I had a 12v adapter from some old DVR cameras. I cut the female end of the cable that is normally connected to the camera and separated the power and ground wires. I then peeled off some of the protective rubber coating around the wires to expose the copper. At this point I was able to soldered the wires directly into where the power module should have been on the board. Pretty sure I hi-fived myself for thinking on my feet and then excitedly rushed over and plugged it in. But, to my dismay the red LED light didn’t turn on. What was wrong? What had I missed? Did I not read the schematics right? I started researching to see what I could have messed up when I found an article that said to check the leads. So, I thoroughly trimmed all the leads and crossed my fingers as I anxiously connected it to power. BOOM! It lit up red. Oh the excitement! My DIY amp and speaker was starting to take shape. Now it was time to start building the housing for it.
Constructing the Housing
The box construction to house the DIY amp and speaker was simple. I’ll avoid boring you with too many specifics and dimensions. Which leads me to where I started, with a single nice piece of hardwood that I cut two grooves into, as you will see pictured. The grooves were made to hold the wood that the speakers would mount to in the front and the wood to enclose the back. Next, I cut the long board at a 45 degree angle to create the four walls. I then created the front and back walls with plywood. Since the front was mounting the speakers I reinforced it with two pieces, which also made a nice cradle for the speakers to drop into. Once I tested that the speakers fit, I used cloth to cover the front wall and speakers. This gave it more of a professional look and hid the speakers nicely! The framework for the housing was now complete and it was time to begin the finishing touches!
Connecting the Speakers and finishing touches
All that was left now were some final touches like connecting the speakers, mounting the board and glueing the housing together. Once these were complete my DIY amp and speaker would come to life! Connecting the speakers was a quick process. I had some wiring terminals lying around and some copper cable. You can see from the last picture above the I removed the rubber coating from the copper cables. I then pinched down the exposed copper to the speaker terminals. Next, I screwed the other end of the wires into the terminals that were soldered into the board. These terminals were marked for positive and ground so I had to verify I connected them correctly from the speakers. I mounted the board to the housing base using some thick plastic designed to hold screws in drywall. Finally, I glued and screwed all the housing together and my monster was complete!
Overall, I was extremely happy with my DIY amp and speaker project. I was exposed to analog electronics, quenching my thirst for knowledge while brushing up on my soldering skills. The box actually sounds good and gets loud! It also looks real hip in my living room. Here is a short video I recorded of it playing Andrew Belle’s “Black Bear”. I recorded it with my phone so sound quality isn’t the greatest.