Add an Electrical Outlet to Your Amplifier

In the ’60s and ’70s, it was not uncommon to find an extra power outlet on the back of your amp. I assume this was because live rock music was in its infancy and most theaters didn’t have a milk crate full of quad boxes and power strips to bring power to your multiple amps, reverb units, and bulky-ass Morley wah pedals. The extra outlet disappeared in the ’80s, which is a shame, because they can be so damn useful. I know, because my Ampeg V-4B and SVT have ones which I use all the time to plug in my pedals.

This is Sean’s Peavey XXX amp with an outlet I added. I did it because he likes to place his wireless on top of the amp and Sennheiser, in their infinite wisdom, made the power adapter cord 3′ long. It’s a pain in the ass to run an extension cord for a single DC power adapter, so the outlet makes things easier. I detailed how I did it in a post about fixing that amp. Another option is to get an IEC plug splitter like the one I wrote about before, but that’s just something extra to lose. Sean’s now got a signature Satriani XXX and he wanted it, too, to have the extra outlet. What a time to make a post dedicated to adding this long-lost convenience.

If you don’t mind modifying your amp, this is a relatively low-risk operation. It affects nothing in your amp, not your tone, not your transformers, nothing. It’s just running a parallel electrical source to the one that’s already there. It’s a power strip in your amp.

You’re gonna need one of these. Or something like it. I got a smilier flat-panel receptacle from a local ACE Hardware. I find they have a much better electrical section than any Home Depot. These came wired, too, which was a bit of a convenience. I chose white, however, because I figured that’d be easer to find on a dark stage with 5 minutes left to set up all your gear before a show.

I found an area in the amp with some clear space inside that was close to the outlet. I cut a hole in the chassis using a Dremel and a diamond cutting wheel. The hole measured approximately 7/8″ square, but I did have to do some additionally filing till I got it just right for the receptacle to snap in place. Be sure to wear safety glasses when doing something like this. The diamond dust and metal shards from the chassis are no joke and your eyeballs are easy to fuck up. Also, measure twice and cut once; if the hole is too big, there’s no fixing it.

It’s always a joy when you don’t have to solder. The IEC receptacle has male spade wire terminals. I cut the old female connectors off the wire running to the PCB, twisted the ends with the wires coming off the panel-mount receptacle, and crimped them into new, larger female connectors (14-12 AWG). These fit right back onto the IEC receptacle.

Finished, I made sure to test all my connections. You want to make sure neutral>neutral (black), hot>hot (white/blue), and ground>ground (green).

Sean’s amp is now ready to accept the DC adapter for his wireless again, another amp, or whatever the fuck he wants to plug in.

One thought on “Add an Electrical Outlet to Your Amplifier

  1. Every once in a while, I wander back onto your blog and find another really cool entry. My 1989 SS-140C combo and 1997 VH-140C head have one of these and I’m like, “this shit is so convenient.” But it never occurred to me to simply add one to my other amps. I’m not sure about cutting up my Ampeg VL-502, but the Peavey Ultra 120 has a perfect spot for one! Awesome.

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