Tuesday, 9 January 2018

TPA3116 Amplifier - Power Supply

TPA3116 Amplifier - Power Supply - Intro

I am not an electrical engineer. Perhaps this is why I have tried this amplifier with 5 different power supply options. Including 12V, 15V, 20V, 24V  all have worked to some extent. Which shows this amp although needing a hefty power supply to produce loud music will, produce varying volumes from all different types of supply provided they are within spec voltages of 6V to 24V.

System: This is based on the 2 chip 2.1 board with NE5335 pre-amps. My input source was an Iphone 6, connected via a good old fashioned aux cable, via the 3.5mm headphone socket.

TPA3116 Amplifier - Power Supply - 12V 2A Wall Socket Power Supply

This worked OK, but the volume was very low. The sound was perfectly clean, noy problems really but very underwhelming volume.

12V 2A - Cheap and Works to an Extent

TPA3116 Amplifier - Power Supply - 12V SLA

I have tried this amplifier on 2 types of lithium batty which are design to replace SLAs, the shido LTX9-BS and the EV Power 7ah 12v LiFePo4 Pack.

The Shido LTX9-BS is the closest match to a true SLA as it gives out many many amps peak current. Powered by this SLA equivalent the TPA3116 gives out clean rich sound at a fairly low volume. Perfectly adequate for a lounge listening, or for speaker computers for example, but certainly not party loud.

SLA or Alternative OK for Low Volume

TPA3116 Amplifier - Power Supply - 12V to 24V Transformer from SLA

I have also tried a "Fulree" Step-Up converter, rated at 3A this gives more gain for lower input volume, but I suspect the 3A max current is not high enough to support the TPA3116 at high volumes.

I have tried this 12V - 24V Step-Up converter powered from the above Shido battery and also powered from a 20V 90W (4.5A) IBM Thinkpad Power Supply.

The TPA3116 will cut out (I Think) if it is not getting enough current. I have arrived at this conclusion because whilst using the 12V - 24V Step-Up converter, the cut out occured at a lower volume when running from 12V than it did at 20V.

The 12V - 24V Step-Up converter supplies more current if it has to make up for smaller differences in voltage, so a lower volume cut out when supplying less amps would suggest a current cut out are caused by low current. The step up converter does com,e in a 10A variant which would be a better choice.

10A Variant preferable to 3A Version

TPA3116 Amplifier - Power Supply - 20V 4.5A Laptop Power Brick

At 20V this amplifier really starts to shine. The input source (Iphone) can be turned up to full volume with very little distortion. You also begin to feel the bass rather then just hear it. The sound is clean and crisp, and there is little or no hiss.

The good news about this power supply is that you probably already have one! Most laptop bricks run 19V or 20V, and although some may only kick out 2A this will be fine for a board with a single TPA3116 chip.

If you do not have one then I would suggest search for a "Thinkpad T60" power adaptor, they are 20V 4.5A and sell for £6 / $10 including shipping.

Excellent Sound - Feel the Bass - Excellent Value

TPA3116 Amplifier - Power Supply - 24V 6A Power Brick

I had to max this thing out, so I went for the 24V 6A "Minger" power brick that is available on Ebay and Amazon. After all I had tried nearly every other power source! So why not one more to make a good blog post.

24V power brick are quite expensive compared to 20V one, I had to pay £16 / $25 for this supply.

For Maximum Power and Higher Low Input Gain. 
Some Class D Amplifier Builds:

TPA3116 2.1 Speaker Build
PAM8610 Amplifier Review & Build
Make a Portable Speaker with PAM8403 Amplifier

ESDM Report


  1. hi,
    so which power supply do you recommend ?
    I have read that 19V/20V like Thinkpad T60 should be ok.
    Is there any quality degradation when using 24V 6A Power Brick ? I heard that at 24V amp can have some distortion. I am not sure why lots of guys recommend 19/20V bricks. Is it only due to lower price in comparison to 24V bricks ?

  2. Hi Simon, Yes you are correct a 20V brick will sound better, but a 24V brick will be louder.

    I have stuck with 24V brick for the TPA3116 as the quality difference is small, and the power gain is significant.

    1. I have bought some lenovo 20V 4.5A 90W power supply, but it appeared they are using 3 pin connector with some id pin- when I cut plug - there are 2 wires - when I am measuring voltage I see that it cuts voltage after 1 second - it looks like they made some trick to use it only with laptops --- Do you know maybe some bypass to make it work ?

    2. Problem solved - working perfecto ! :-) some issue with multimeter.
      By the way have you ever tried some other D class Amps ? Can you recommend sth ?
      I have this little board:

      but I have heard that ICEPower D class amps might be quite good ...

    3. I have only ever tried the PAM8403 which is tiny and the PAM8610, which is pretty good. You can run either of AA batteries as they need so little current. Very cheap projects in either case.

      I will edit this post so there are some links to these builds.

    4. I have also bought TDA7498 amp --> https://www.aliexpress.com/item/DC24-100W-100W-mini-2-0-channel-TDA7498-Class-D-digital-power-amplifier/32794894761.html?spm=a2g0s.9042311.0.0.4df84c4deyc7HU

      It will be probably delivered in a month - I heard that TDA7498 & TDA7498E amps are much better than tpa3116. I am trying to find right now some cheap 24V ~5A brick power supply for it as lenovo 20V 4.5A 90W might be not enough.
      TDA7498 working voltage is 20-36V.

  3. They look pretty sweet. I can get a 3 channel one on ebay for £25 which is pretty good. Although I would like louder music, I am quite happy with my TPA at the moment but in the pursuit of loudness. . . who knows a TDA7498 does seem pretty tempting. Good luck with your build. Let me know what you think.

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  5. I am still waiting for my TDA7498 delivery... I will let you know soon how it sounds in comparison with tpa3116.
    I have bought some better power supply brick - 24V 4.16A 100W. Based on my experience 24V is too much for tpa3116 - at least for my board which has got really small radiator. Radiator gets hot even with low volume and when I was using 20V it was cold. For small room or PC use I would recommend 20V supply.

    1. I agree 20V is best for TPA3116, unless you are desperate for extra volume. For listening pleasure 20V is best.