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This past Christmas I re-purposed an old Car Stereo and built a portable outdoor radio for my Dad. Ultimately what I wanted to do is have it to where it runs primarily off of a computer power supply (EVGA 500 W1 80+, 500W Continuous Power) when plugged into an outlet but when unplugged it can retain all of the presets and audio settings from a connected 12v battery source. I thought I knew how to achieve this but I was definitely wrong and now the radio draws all of its power from the battery instead of the Computer Power Supply. Hopefully I can describe my current setup and one of you can provide some guidance on how I can achieve this.

My current setup: My car stereo has two 12v leads on the harness. One is the constant/battery (yellow) which also keeps the memory for the radio. The other is red which is labeled as Ignition. I took all of the 12v Yellow cables from the Computer Power Supply and connected them to the Red (Ignition) cable thinking that would power the stereo unit. Meanwhile I wired the Car Stereo's Yellow Constant/battery wire to a 12v/7aH battery in order to maintain all my settings when the Power Supply is not plugged into the wall. Based on everything I read online the Computer Power Supply should power the Radio all by itself as long as both the Red (Ignition) and Yellow (Battery/Constant) wires coming from the radio are connected to the 12v yellow wires from the power supply. But as soon as you turn off the power supply or unplug it all the radio settings and stations are gone. Hence why I tried to wire in the backup 12v battery to retain memory.

My Problem: The Stereo unit draws all its power from the Yellow (Constant/battery) wire and only uses the Red (ignition) wire as a switch to let the radio know when the car is on so that it can turn on when the engine starts. Well needless to say the first time out with the radio it played flawlessly until my 12v/7aH battery got too low to power the Radio (4 hours of play).

Question: How can I wire the stereo to where it pulls all its power from the Computer Power Supply when plugged into an outlet but then switches over to the secondary power source (12v/7ah battery) when its unplugged in order to keep all the settings and memory. I do not plan on running the radio when not plugged in if that helps. I just would like to find a way to where I can configure all the settings and then have it to where my technology deficient dad can just turn it on and have everything work.

I've ready about switches, and diodes and other possibilities but my understanding of how they work is just to limited for me to grasp it and conceptualize a solution. Thoughts?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Schematic or pinout for your radio is needed. It should be easy to find online. \$\endgroup\$ – Passerby Mar 16 '16 at 0:23
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You should probably use a 12V battery, and a special battery charger.

If you connected the 12V battery via 2-3 diodes in series (depending on voltage drop), it should make the battery output ~11V, and the power supply will output 12V so no current will flow through the diodes unless there's no power connected. But you'll need to make sure you charge the battery up frequently.

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General idea. Don't know how your radio is internally wired aside from what you mentioned, or the current draw needed for it, which is important for sizing of a diode. But a simple Diode OR circuit can work.

schematic

simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

D1 & D2 Drop the battery voltage ~1.4V, To ensure the battery is always less than the regulated 12V from the power supply. D3 prevents the battery from pulling the Ignition/On pin high, which tells the radio to turn on.

D3 needs to be sized for the appropriate current draw of the radio. It should be listed on the radio, if not, use the radio fuse size of the car the radio came from. Probably 5 to 10 Amps.

Another option is wiring in a relay instead of D3.

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You'll need a relay to switch between the PSU and charger, and use a charger taht has a load output. I'd recommend the IMAX B6 you can get it for about 20£

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