How to connect a car stereo to a power source?

How to connect a car stereo to a power source?

on November 25, 2023

In the world of car audio and stereo installations, one of the most frequently asked questions is how to connect a car stereo to a power source? To achieve this successfully, you must take certain considerations into account.

The goal of all this is to achieve an optimal sound experience and avoid loss of definition of sound waves.

If you want to know more about how to connect a car stereo to a power source, stay reading this post and your questions will be answered.

Genius contact us

What to keep in mind when connecting a car stereo

To connect a car stereo to a power source you need to take into account some considerations. 

Firstly, you need a 3.5mm audio cable to connect to the power jack of the car stereo. Once you have this requirement, you must go through the following steps: 

  1. Make sure the car stereo and power source are turned off. 
  2. Connect the positive terminals of the car stereo and the power supply. -Make sure the connections are isolated. 
  3. Connect the negative terminal of the car stereo to the car chassis. -Turn on the stereo and tune to the desired sound source. 

What do you need?

Guides on Power Cables

Keep in mind that a car stereo, like any other amplifier, requires 12 volts to operate. 

The sound source in a device is the part that is responsible for transforming electrical energy into sound. It consists of an amplifier and an audio input. The function of the amplifier is to increase the amplitude of the sound so that it can be reproduced through the speakers. Then, the audio input receives the audio signal from the music player or external devices. 

To achieve a successful connection, you need a 3-pin Direct Current (DC) connector, that is, one that has two rounded ends and a straight one in the middle, so that it fits with the car's DC socket. Additionally, you need a three-prong Power Cord (AC) plug (with the ends rounded and the middle straight) to connect to the AC power source. 

Lastly, you need a ground jumper wire to connect to a nut on the car's ground and then connect it to a ground on the tailgate of the car. If you are wondering how to connect a car stereo to a power source, we tell you that there are different ways to do it. One of them is using an AC to DC adapter to connect it to the power outlet and then connect it to the car battery terminal. Another way is to use an external battery that connects directly to the vehicle.


Guides on Power Cables 

What to keep in mind when connecting a car stereo


In any case, another issue that you should take into consideration, in addition to the power sources, is the power cable that you are going to use. These cables are responsible for transmitting voltage and current to the amplifier. 

Therefore, they must have the necessary resistance to withstand the same voltage as the amplifier. Furthermore, it must be taken into consideration that the resistance of the cable prevents the total voltage produced by the battery from reaching the amplifier. 

Resistance is inversely proportional to the gauge of the power cable. That is, the larger the diameter, the less resistance the cable will have. 

When choosing the cable, you want all the battery voltage to reach the amplifier. 

However, this goal is very difficult to achieve completely but maintaining it will allow you to avoid a drastic voltage drop when the amplifier delivers its maximum power. Therefore, it is recommended that you opt for a cable of good diameter. 

Good practices

A good practice is to ensure that the power cable does not lose more than 0.5 volts when the amplifier consumes maximum current. That is, if the maximum power of the amplifier is 12 volts, it usually receives 11.5 volts. 

The voltage drop across the amplifier power cable is determined by multiplying the current drawn by the resistance of the cable. For example, if it draws 50 amps and I use one meter of 12 gauge wire, the loss calculation is: 

50*0.00531=0.27 volts

That is, only 11.73 volts will reach the amplifier. Moreover, you should consider the quality of the material used in the cable. Recognized brands can guarantee better quality. 

Genius dealer


If your goal is to achieve the best sound experience and you want to know how to connect a car stereo to a power source, you must have certain considerations. 

As we could see, both the cables used and the components of the sound equipment must be specific and appropriate according to the amount of voltage and resistance. 

At Genius Audio, we have the best components so you can get the best sound experience in car audio. 

Here you can see our online catalog and thus choose the best equipment for you. Contact us now and our team of experts will answer all your comments, questions and concerns.

You may be interested in:

What does LPF mean on an amplifier?

Introduction to drivers or audio controllers

Stereo vs Mono: Which one is better?



Please note, comments must be approved before they are published