Life Hacks: How to Make a Boombox from Your Car Stereo
If you’re ready for a next-level life hack, it’s time for something a little more exciting than microwave recipes.
Instead, you can learn how to make a boombox from your car stereo.
That’s right – you really can build a boombox using a car stereo! With this easy, step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how.
How to Make a Boombox From a Car Stereo
Tools and Materials
Of course, you can’t quite build a boombox from scratch, even if you have a car stereo on your hands already. You’ll need the right tools and materials to turn that stereo into your new, custom boombox.
What You’ll Need:
- Wire cutters
- Hot glue gun and glue sticks
- Car stereo
- Speakers with aux cord
- Aux cord
- Wood to build boombox frame
- Electrical tape
Simplify by Sticking With 12V
If the stereo you use, and the rechargeable battery you use with it, are both 12V, you’ll save yourself serious headaches.
12V is considered the standard for stereos in cars and boats. So, it will be much easier for you to find parts and build this stereo if you stick with that system.
DIY Boombox in 7 Steps
1. Build the Frame
Use wood to create the front, back, sides, top, and bottom of your boombox.
Measure and cut your wood to form a neat rectangular box that will fit all the materials in it. Then, use the hot glue plus screws to hold it all together.
You’ll want to plan ahead and mark where your speakers and switches are going to go on the front. Measure everything carefully so you don’t run into problems later on.
2. Get Your Stereo
Your car stereo is going to become the amplifier for your boombox.
3. Find Some Speakers
It can be hard to use the speakers from a car in a boombox. They’re large, often shaped oddly, and difficult to work with. Instead, look for a used set of small detached speakers you can work with.
These don’t need to be fancy, high-powered speakers. Speaker technology wasn’t all that great when boomboxes came out. Yet, the sound still got across just fine.
Fasten the speakers inside your boombox frame. You can cut holes in the front of the frame to fit the speakers.
4. Power On
A 12V battery is the perfect way to power your DIY car stereo boombox.
They’re easy and cheap to recharge, making this a much cheaper option than the old-school boombox that took countless D batteries to work.
Get a charger for your battery, Make sure you don’t let the battery discharge completely or go too long without charging. You can even keep the battery plugged into the charger at all times. That way, you never have to worry about your boombox being ready.
5. Add Switches
If you want to get fancy, wire up some switches to control the current from the battery. The switches can also turn the stereo on and off and work with your Bluetooth system.
An on-off-on power switch allows you to choose between battery or power outlet as a power source. However, an on-off switch works if you only plan to use a battery.
6. Hook Up Your Phone
Use an aux cord to hook up your phone to the speakers. Yeah, it’s that easy.
7. Add a Bluetooth Function
If you want, you can add a Bluetooth function to your car stereo boombox, instead of using cords.
That way, you can hook the boombox up to your mobile device and play any song you want. Get an inexpensive Bluetooth receiver and add it to the boombox. You can secure it with tape at first until you get everything set up.
8. Take Safety Precautions
Factory-made boomboxes took batteries for a reason. Batteries can’t heat a wire enough to start fires, and they don’t spark.
However, a 12V battery is not so trustworthy. That’s fine — it just means you need to take a bit of extra precaution to make sure your boombox is safe to use.
Be careful to set up the battery properly. Cover the battery terminals with electrical tape 00 lots of electrical tape. More than you think you need.
More Safety Notes
Although this is a great DIY project, it’s not ideal for complete beginners with no idea of how electricity works.
Anytime you are wiring and hooking up something to a power source on your own, you want to be sure to do it safely to avoid the risk of fires and explosions.
So make sure you have the base knowledge you need to do it right. This way, you can enjoy your DIY stereo safely.
There are countless ways to make your custom boombox your own. Once you have the right materials, it’s all about creativity.
You can get different speakers in different sizes to make your best boombox louder or quieter, bigger or smaller.
Instead of wood for the frame, try something different. Old plastic gasoline containers can be perfect to fit sets of rectangular speakers. Or, you can build an even fancier wooden case yourself, making it custom-fit to the size and shape of your speakers.
Paint your boombox case any color that makes you happy! Black is a classic, but there’s not limits when it’s your own creation. Make it a neon green glitter boombox if that’s what you like.
Build Your Own – Or Just Buy One
Making things yourself can be a fun, exciting chance to learn. If you’ve never built something this elaborate before, get a team of friends together and you just might have a lot of fun.
You can make a complicated or simple boombox, depending on your skill level and what you plan to use it for. But if you don’t want to go to all that trouble, there are also lots of great, affordable boomboxes on the market now.
You can get waterproof boomboxes, Bluetooth-compatible ones – you name it.
Once you have one of your own, you just might be inspired to try building one from a car stereo next.