In this article, we'll discuss the basics of your vehicle's audio system wiring. Specifically, we'll look at the addition of one or two amplifiers to your system, and examine the steps involved for both the mechanical and electrical installation.
Refer back to these two illustrations while reviewing the text. Every car audio installer, indeed, every automotive professional, will always recommend this first step: You want to do this in order to avoid any possibility of a short circuit. Remember that on many late-model vehicles, you will need a "radio code" in order to reactivate the radio.
Presuming that your car or truck has an existing stereo sound system and that you are interested in installing one or two amplifiers as an upgrade, the next step will be to decide the mounting location for the amp. Mount an amplifier less than three feet from the car's radio or bolt it directly to the vehicle's metal chassis, and you'll hear a lot of annoying static, buzzing, and humming over your music.
Amplifiers have slotted cooling fins on their surface to release internal heat that builds up. Power amps can get quite hot to the touch. When you select a location, make sure the cooling fins have plenty of space around them to dissipate heat which will radiate upward.
The fins should face the sides or top of the amp. Mounting an amplifier upside down is a no-no, because the cooling fins will be on the bottom and dissipated heat will radiate back up inside the amplifier unit where it can't escape. You will also want to leave enough room around the sides of the amp to connect wiring and make adjustments for boost, crossover, and other factors. Typical amplifier mounting locations include under the passenger side dash, under a seat, or in the trunk or hatch area.
There are pro's and con's to each choice. Under the dash or seat keeps the wiring to the receiver shorter, but can be awkward to install.
The seat may need to be temporarily removed. Cargo capacity can be compromised. According to How do i hook up two amps in my car, loose or poor ground wiring is a leading cause of stereo sound system problems and underperformance.
Interestingly, it's also the 1 cause of any electrical issue on a vehicle. All amplifiers require a separate ground wire, so it is important to find an ideal spot to make that connection.
One easy choice is an existing ground point. Look for a wire or cable already connected to a bolt that screws into the body or chassis. If you decide to create a new ground point, you will need to drill a hole NOTE!