How to Install a Car Amplifier
Adding an amplifier is an integral part of upgrading your car audio system. Follow these steps so you can install your amplifier the right way.
Adding an amplifier to your music system allows for your components to get more power. In turn that allows you to play music louder which is something we all desire. A great amplifier not only raises the soundstage in your car, but it also enhances every detail of a song no matter the volume you play it at. So, you have your subwoofers properly fitted in the trunk, speakers in the door panels and a brand new double DIN head unit mounted on the dashboard. But where exactly does the amplifier go? We’ll be the first to admit; installing an amplifier properly is not a particularly easy task. However, it is an integral part in getting the right sound as well as avoiding certain technical mishaps. If you’re looking to save on installation fees, here’s how to install a car amplifier the right way:
1. Find a Suitable Place to Mount your Amplifier
The location where you place your amp will have a significant effect on the convenience as well as the unit’s lifespan. Typically, there are a couple of hurdles that you have to jump to find the best location for your car amplifier. But ultimately, it’s a matter of what works best for you. One of the most common locations is under the driver’s or passenger’s seat. This method not only keeps your car looking factory by hiding the amp, it also allows for a central location where you can route all your speaker wires. Another popular option is to mount the amplifier in your trunk or boot space. Whichever location you choose to mount your amplifier, make sure to leave some room behind for ventilation to avoid overheating your amp.
2. Disconnect Battery and Run Power Cables Through Firewall
Since you will be dealing with electrical wires, you must always disconnect the power source before working on the cables. This will ensure that you and your gear are safe from electrocution throughout the installation. Next, you need to run power cables from the car battery to wherever you are housing your amplifier. In most vehicles, it is easy to pass the cable through a firewall that separates the main cabin from the engine compartment. You can either put the cable through an empty rubber grommet in the factory hole or drill one yourself. You may also have to trim some carpeting.
3. Signal Cables and Turn On Wire
If you got your amplifier as part of a kit, you’re in luck because it includes a turn on wire. If not, then you have to buy a couple of accessories. Run the signal and turn on wires behind the dashboard all the way to your head unit. The turn-on wire will need to be connected to a remote turn on lead in your stereos harness. Afterwards, plug all the RCA cables into their respective RCA stereo outputs. Word of caution here – ensure the wires are as far from the power cables as possible to prevent electrical noise and interference from occurring.
4. Ground the Amplifier
The next primary connection will involve grounding the amplifier by wiring a lead to the car’s metal chassis. To achieve this, simply look for a nearby metal bolt that is in direct contact with the chassis and fasten the ground cable to it. If you can’t find a bolt nearby, drill your own screw somewhere close to the amp but still in contact with the metal chassis. The ground terminal needs to be in constant contact with the car’s bare metal, so you should sand away paint and material at the point of contact for the best possible connection.
5. Test it Out
Now that you have all the connections in place, it’s time to take her out for a test drive. First, ensure that all power connections are in place and everything is on. Next, set all the input levels on your amp to the lowest setting. This means that bass, treble, volume and gain should all be at 0. Additionally, the equalizers should be at a neutral position if present.
Connect your device and play some clean sounding music that you are familiar with. Next, turn up the volume until you hear some distortion. Repeat the entire process with all other settings and leave them slightly below where you hear distortion. If the distortion is very minimal at loud settings, then the unit is in great shape. After a few finishing touches, you and your new set up are ready to go.