How to Convert a Car Stereo to a Home Stereo
By Chris Moore
Converting a car stereo so you can use it in your home involves two main tasks. The first is completely removing the stereo unit and the speakers from the car. The next involves converting the stereo to work on home power. This unit is made to work on a 12-volt battery; you must rewire it to work on the 120-volt constant power you get from your home. This process can vary depending on exactly how the stereo is installed in the car.
Removal From Car
Disconnect the vehicle's batter. Loosen the clamp nut connecting the black negative cable to the battery terminal with a wrench and disconnect the cable.
Remove the trim panels surrounding the main stereo unit within the car. This can vary depending on your model, but it usually involves prying off the panel with a trim stick.
Remove the doors' inner trim panels. Disconnect the window controls and trim bezels with a trim stick (a manual window crank requires a hooked tool), remove every screw on the trim panel, pry around the edge with the trim stick and lift off the panel.
Remove the fasteners for the stereo unit and speakers using a wrench or screwdriver. Some speakers may be riveted in place. In that case, you'll need to drill them out.
Remove the speakers from the doors and the unit from the dash, disconnecting the electrical connectors.
Cut and/or disconnect the constant power, switched power and ground wires on the electrical connector from their car locations. The yellow constant wire is at the positive battery terminal, the red is at the ignition switch and the black ground is at a metal ground.
Feed the electrical wires and their connectors out of the car.
Take a length of black and a length of red wire and strip a half inch of insulation from each end of each wire using wire cutters. Strip the same amount of the cut leads of the stereo's red, yellow and black wires.
Twist the leads of the stereo's red and yellow wires together, then twist them with one lead from the free red wire. Solder these wires together, making sure the solder touches the wire but the iron doesn't touch the solder.
Connect and solder the stereo's and the free black wire together in a similar fashion.
Cover the bare connected leads of the wires with either electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing, using a hair dryer or similar heat gun to shrink the tubing.
Loosen the positive terminal on the power inverter with a Phillips screwdriver. Insert the red wire's bare lead into the terminal's opening and retighten the terminal.
Connect the black wire to the inverter's negative terminal in the same way.
Connect the stereo unit to the speakers using their electrical connectors.
Plug the power inverter into a free 120-volt wall outlet.
- "Chilton Ford Focus Repair Manual"; Jay Storer; Haynes North America; 2005
- Chilton Dodge Neon Repair Manual; Larry Warren; 2005
- Crutchfield: Connect the Wiring
- The Car Stereo Cookbook; Mark Rumreich; 1998
Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.