How to Power A Car Amplifier?

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A car amplifier basically has the function of maximizing the output from your car’s sound system. When you have a car amplifier, so you can listen to music with improved sound quality while on the go.

How to power a car amplifier
Photo Credit: Malte Luk, Pexels.com

Are you having trouble installing and powering your amplifier, no worries as this article got you covered on the procedures of getting your amplifier to work?

A car amplifier may be a little bit challenging to install and power since you are working with your vehicle’s electrical system but with this essential information, you will be able to jump-start and get it done within 3-4 hours.

Before we get into the installation, we will have to discuss some important steps we may get to take when going through the process of installation which includes.

What Kind of Accessories and Wiring do You Need?

First, you need to get some wiring kits as car amplifiers don’t come with such.

You will need to purchase separately an in-line fuse, remote turn-on wire, RCA cables (where RCA stands for radio corporation of America, which are electrical cables consisting of red, white and yellow cords) and speaker wires.

After all these materials are made available, the power and ground wires need to be thick enough to provide the amplifier’s demand because the amplifier won’t perform up to your expectations if they are not good enough.

You will also have to measure all the distance between where the amplifier will be placed from the speakers in order to avoid a shortage of wires, so you will have to make sure the wires are long enough.

The next step is the fuse (in-line) on the power cable installed within 6 inches of the car battery connection. It is very necessary for protecting your wires and vehicle from the fire in case a short circuit occurs.

Choosing a fuse for your wires is based on manufacturer’s ratings but for a sixteen to twenty-foot run, your amplifier will perform best using these recommendations.

Twenty-five-amp fuse and 10-gauge wire

Sixty-amp fuse and 8-gauge wire

One hundred-amp fuse and 4-gauge wire

Two hundred and fifty-amp fuse and 1/0-gauge wire

As mentioned earlier amplifier’s wiring kits are not included with it and this includes the signal wires. The amplifier receives signals from all the receiver’s output cables which come in pairs.

When connecting new speaker wirings from your amplifier output, you can work with wire sizes of eighteen to fourteen gauges and note that a low gauge will lead to a thick wire.

The sub-woofers also accommodate sixteen to twelve-gauge wire.

The next question would be, where should the amplifier be mounted? Well, you could follow the producer’s recommendations.

The amplifier should be three feet apart from the car stereo as minimum distance to avoid interference and electrical field interceptions and ensure sure you do not attach or screw your amp to the car’s chassis.

This is likely to lead to noises and sound interruption and all these should be considered so that the amplifier may not interfere with the stereo’s AM/FM services.

Video: How to power a Car Amplifier

Video explains the steps you can take to power a car amplifier

Also, ensure enough space is provided to accommodate wirings and provide comfortable access to set the controls. You could make good choices from the following options.

On the Car firewall or Passenger Side

For this location, you can save up some money as short wires are required. The only constraint here is that it can only accommodate smaller amplifiers.

Under a Car Seat

The amplifier will be close to the receivers. You can make use of short-length wires which are not interrupted by electric signals.

The only problem with this option is you will have to detach the seat of the car and by doing so you might deactivate your car’s airbag system. This also means smaller amplifiers can fit into it as a result of insufficient space.

In the Trunk

You could choose the trunk as they will plenty of space to accommodate bigger amplifiers, but you will have to provide longer wires for its connections.

After deciding where to install your amplifier you should also consider concealing the wires as you don’t want bulky wires everywhere. It’s advisable you seal wires under door Scutt plate, pillar trim panel or kick panel to make sure the wires accommodate less space.

Installation and Powering the Amplifier

Now to the main business, you will have to do the following.

Disconnect the car battery, during installation and ensure the negative terminal head is removed from the battery to avoid you being electrocuted.

(1). Install the amplifier to the location you have considered and chosen.

(2). The next step is to ensure you install a power cable; this will be connected to your car battery.

(3). Remove the battery terminal’s nut fit in the power cable appropriately then fasten the power cable with the nut.

Make sure the wire runs in a loom which gives it protection against heat produced from the engine and the wiring should run across the car’s firewall and then down to the amplifier.

Ensure that you do this carefully to avoid short-circuiting the system.

(4). After the step above, ensure you install a fuse holder from your amplifier to the power wire.

Find any possible location in the car near the amplifier and drill a hole for fitting a bolt that could be used to fasten the ground wire to protect against external electrical power sources.

The next step is making sure the wires from the amplifier’s output is tightly connected to the speakers, ensure you use 14- or 16-gauge wires for the speakers and 12 or 14 gauge for subwoofers.

It is safe to run speaker wires near power cable as interferences are unlikely to occur. You can run each wire through the vehicle’s door speakers from the rubber gasket or boot rubber.

It’s important that the positive and negative wires are fit in the speaker’s positive/negative terminal correctly.

In this step, you are making sure all necessary wires are connected and are being fitted thoroughly through appropriate places where they cannot be spotted too easily.

Lastly, turning on the amplifier is where we get to actually put the set up to work, this time around we will make a routine check by ensuring wires are connected.

The battery terminals are reconnected and all connections are tight. Set your amplifier’s gains to a minimum for the first test and turn off filters and bass boost or equalizers.

Check if the main fuse is installed properly.

Turn off your car, then put on the stereo, make sure the amplifier is powered on, the amplifier should have a light indicator and should light up if it has received voltage.

The speakers should also be checked if they are all working after it has been confirmed that your amplifier has been powered on.

Buy this BOSS Audio Systems PV3700 Car Amplifier on Amazon

How to Get More Power from Your Car’s Amplifier?

As it was mentioned earlier, an amplifier helps increase the sound quality coming from your stereo.

If after following the instructions on powering your amp and the quality of the sound specifically the volume doesn’t still meet up to your expectations then maybe you are not getting enough power off your amplifier.

This is because getting more power off your vehicle’s amplifier certainly helps it perform up to expectations and it will give you an excellent experience of listening to music in your car.

The main issue here to note is that you should have the right tools and tactical mindset in order to tackle the block and get your speakers jamming.

Let’s cut to the chase and here are some points which could be why you’re not getting the satisfaction you expect from your vehicle’s amplifier.

Changing Your Car’s Speakers

Not getting enough power from your amplifier may not be as a result of the amplifier itself but because of the aftermath of low-quality speakers. You might be using a powerful amplifier but when paired with inferior speakers, it might not work quite well.

So, it’s advisable to try your amplifier on different speakers to observe if there are any quality differences and know if the amplifier is the problem.

Set Your Amplifier’s Gains Properly

You might be experiencing lousy sounds from your car stereo because you haven’t adjusted your amplifier’s gain properly. The gain control of your amplifier increases the input signals of your amplifier.

Using the Equalizer

The structure and material of your vehicle can play a role in reducing the output of your amplifier. The body of your vehicle either plastic or glass, may cause the music from your speakers to become lousy.

This is where your equalizer found alongside the dashboard on your amplifier comes into use. Adjusting the amplifier’s treble and bass controls can help improve your car’s acoustics.

Adding a Capacitor to Get More Power

Well yes, your subwoofers and speakers and vehicle may not come with appropriate capacitors to help aid your amplifier in giving you the desired power boost to your vehicle’s sound.

You can connect the condenser with the power cable of your car’s battery and then your capacitor should be combined close to the amplifier. After this attachment has been made, it will give you the stronger amplifier you need.

Have it in mind that this connection can only be done appropriately by a certified automobile technician, so it’s recommended you seek the help of a technician.

Using High-Quality Wires 

Making use of high-quality wires will be a great addition to the power of your amplifier as inferior ones do not transmit electricity efficiently to your car amplifier.

Making use of cheap or low-quality cables will not give your amplifier the quality input required for it to perform properly. Discarding substandard cables and replacing them with superior ones will help bring the best out of your amplifier.

Playing Better Quality Music Files

Again, your amplifier may not be the problem but a fault from another area of the car sound system. Then it may probably be the type of music files you play through your car stereo.

It’s better to play more quality music files than poor ones which produce bad or low sound quality. It is advisable to use music files with higher resolution which provides you with the best audio sound.

Troubleshooting Your Amplifier

At the end of following all the steps, you might still find yourself in a situation where your car’s amplifier doesn’t still work. This is not because you didn’t do it right through the steps but because of some glitches we missed which could be;

Factory Radios/ Security Code

Your amplifier may not work as a result of you making use of a normal factory radio, which may require an anti-theft code reset. You can find the security code and reset procedure in your vehicle’s owner’s manual and from a dealership service.

Amplifier Doesn’t Power

If your amplifier is yet to power on and serve its purpose, then there might be some electrical malfunction on your hands. Then you need to either consult a technician or yourself to check the voltages and continuity using a multimeter.

Firstly, measure the exact voltage of the amp between the positive terminal and ground/earth connection. If there’s no voltage, remove the in-line fuse close to the battery point and check for continuity, if no continuity it means the power fuse is damaged and needs to be replaced.

If perhaps there is continuity, it means that the ground or power wire is out of place or is not properly connected.

Check the voltage of the amplifier within the remote and ground turn-on terminals, when it is up to +12 volts, either the amplifier’s fuse is damaged and needs replacement or there is a fault with the amp that needs repair.

No Sound from Speakers When Amplifier Indicator Is On

When your amplifier is working, and the speakers aren’t making any sounds after selecting a track from your stereo. Ensure your stereo is connected to your amplifier correctly with the proper cables and ensure the cables are connected.

Ensure the track selected has an audible volume, the amplifier gains should be set to max, and all other equalizers should be turned off. If all these mentioned are okay then it could be that your speakers are faulty.

How to Power a Car Amp using a Computer Power Supply

Car amplifiers usually don’t have standard divider plugs since they are connected directly to your vehicle’s wire box and that can make it hard to test or use them inside.

While it is impossible to wire the car amp to an outlet due to its wrong current type, you can connect links from a PC power supply to the amp’s information ports to effortlessly change over from exchanging current (AC) to direct current (DC).

To start with, discover the wires on the force supply that power it and connect them together. Now, you should simply interface the coordinating wires to the ports on the back of the amplifier.

We hope this article was helpful. Feel free to share your thought in the comments section.

You can also check out how to install a car amplifier here.

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