You and your friends want to go on a road trip, but your car doesn’t have any loud music. Don’t worry. All you have to do is get a good amplifier for the sound system in your car.
But you can’t just pick any amplifier without testing it first. No matter how well-known the brand is or how good the deal is, you shouldn’t just trust it. With the music it puts out, the Rockford Fosgate R500X1D Prime 1 is the best amplifier on the market right now.
There are three parts to an amplifier:
It has the 12V power wire that comes from the battery, the ground wire that is connected to the chassis ground, and the remote turn-on wire that turns the amplifier on or off depending on whether the small wire has 12V on it or not.
If your amplifier has the right 12V and ground but won’t turn on, check the remote wire and fuses.
Most of the time, your input signal comes from low voltage RCA wires. This is because your amplifier only needs a small amount of sound signal to be able to clean it up, process it, and expand it with as little distortion as possible.
Some amplifiers also have an option for a high input. Most of the time, these amplifiers don’t make the best sound. They often cause more distortion in your sound system.
Using a headphone jack to RCA inputs like the Monoprice Audio Cable – 3 Feet is one way to test an amplifier’s inputs to see if they work.
To do this, connect your phone to the headphone jack and play music while your amplifier is on. If you don’t hear sound, there may be a problem inside your amplifier.
It’s not hard to check the amplifier in your car. To check if it works, all you need is a multimeter.
How does a multimeter work?
Car owners don’t know anything about the electronics in their car’s sound system.
If you are one of them, don’t worry because we will explain it to you. The job of a multimeter is to figure out what’s wrong with electric and electrical devices. In an electric or electronic circuit, the multimeter can be used to measure resistance, current, and voltage.
Technically, a multimeter is used to make sure that the right levels are being used.
Multimeters come in two different kinds.
Digital multimeters are popular because they are easier to use and show the results in digits, which makes it harder to make mistakes when reading the results.
The Innova 3300 Hands-Free Digital Multimeter is the best digital multimeter on the market.
The needle on an analog multimeter moves along a scale. They are cheap, but it is hard for beginners to understand how to read the results, especially on resistance scales.
The Tekpower TP8260L Analog Multimeter With Black Light and Transistor Checking dock is the best analog multimeter on the market.
Each kind of multimeter has both good and bad points. So you will have to decide which one you can work with.
How do you use a multimeter?
There are two kinds of leads on a digital multimeter.
Both are dark. Red is a positive (+) terminal and should be correctly connected to the voltage, current, or resistance.
Black, on the other hand, should be connected to a common or ground port and be thought of as a negative terminal (-).
The probes on the multimeter are used to hold the connections being checked.
There are also tips that are used in a technical way to make a connection.
Most of the time, even if your amplifier is connected correctly, it won’t work.
So, the best way to test your car amplifier is to use a multimeter.
Also, you should make sure the power is off before connecting the meter.
How to use a multimeter to check your amplifier
Some people might think the task is hard, while others might not.
But to make it easier, we’ll split the job in two.
- The multimeter
- The amplifier
1.The measuring tool
First, you should make sure you have a multimeter. You might find it helpful to buy a good multimeter. You can buy a multimeter at any electronics store or online, but make sure you get the best one. Astro Digital Multimeter 2000 Counts with DC/AC Voltmeter and Ohm Volt Amp Tester It tests for live wire, voltage, current, and resistance, among other things.
Second, once you’ve bought a multimeter, you’ll need to set it up. This is done by setting the meter’s reading based on how many amperes usually flow through the circuit.
On the nameplate of each circuit, you can see how many amperes it can handle, and on the multimeter, you can also see how many amperes it can handle at most. Don’t use more than the number of amperes shown on the multimeter.
Because of this, do the configuration in the steps below:
A multimeter has both VDC (Voltage Direct Current) and VAC (Voltage Alternating Current) (Voltage Alternating Current).
When testing appliances that run off of your home’s power supply, the VAC combination is very important.
When testing a car amplifier, on the other hand, the VDC mode is very important, so you have to set the amplifier to VDC mode, which runs directly.
After setting up the multimeter, the wires need to be set. As was already said, there are two kinds of cables.
- Black and red
Most of the time, black is called the ground wire and is thought of as the negative terminal. Red, on the other hand, is called the amperage wire.
The best thing to do would be to plug the black wire into the standard circuit and the red wire into the A socket (amperage).
- Your multimeter has a dial in the middle that you can turn to set the amperage.
Turn the central dial in the same direction as the socket to set the amperage.
2.Testing the sound system
After you set up your multimeter correctly, you can use it to test your car’s amplifier.
Follow these steps to test the amplifier in your car:
- Find the amplifier’s location in your vehicle
If you are testing factory-installed amplifiers, which is the case in most situations, amplifiers are already in the car, but the location of the amplifiers can vary by car model or company. So, the first thing you should do is find out where the amplifier is mounted.
Car amplifiers might be behind the seats, on the dashboard, or somewhere else.
The manual for your car will tell you where the built-in amplifier is.
- Test the fuse of the car amplifier for power
To do this, check the fuse voltage attached to the amplifier.
- Check the amplifier protection mode
A protection mode on an amplifier is like a shutdown state.
Even though it’s annoying, your amplifier goes into protection mode to keep it from getting worse damage.
An amplifier goes into protection mode if it was installed wrong, if its wires aren’t connected right, or if it has a problem inside.
So, you need to test the amplifier by removing all of its connections and turning it on. There is a problem if the protection mode is on.
Connect the multimeter to an amplifier and check the wiring problems by looking at the voltage coming from the amplifier’s wires.
- Verify the output
To check the output frequency, plug the multimeter wire into the output channel.
Check what the multimeter says. If it doesn’t say anything about a task, the output failed. The speaker has gone out.
- Check the signals of your amplifier
Connect the multimeter to the amplifier so you can check the signals coming from it.
If the signals from the amplifier are getting weaker, it means that the amplifier will distort the sound.
- Check the voltage coming from your amplifier
Connect the multimeter to the amplifier and measure its voltage.
If the amplifier turns off, you need to find out where the power is coming from.
Another reason why your amplifier might show a voltage of less than 10 Volts is that the power supply could be broken. In this case, you could hurt your amplifier, so you should have a professional look at it.
Also, sometimes the ground on the amplifier you’re using could be bad, which could give you trouble.
How do you know if the ground in your amplifier is bad?
If the amplifier’s linkage is broken or if the ground or wiring is too short, it will heat up too much. This happens because the amplifier isn’t getting enough voltage to make the output that is wanted.
For the best grounding, make sure your ground wire is almost exactly the same size as the power wire and is firmly attached to a part of the frame that has been sanded down and cleaned of any paint.
Most of the time, an amplifier gets too hot because:
- Improper installation.
- Poor quality of construction.
- Impedance that doesn’t match.
- Not enough power.
- Improper ventilation.
- Some amplifiers might be full.
The efficiency of an amplifier shows how much of the power that goes into it is turned into sound and how much is lost as heat.
2.Sound signal with a “clip”
Clipping starts when an amplifier is asked to put out more power than it can. This is called resonance. It is a sign of not having a good foundation.
When you push an amplifier past the point where it can make enough power to send the input signals to the speakers (for example, because the impedances don’t match), it will be hard to amplify the input signal without lowering the quality of the original signal. The signal will be boosted, but it will be badly messed up. This will hurt the sound quality and could damage your amplifiers because of clipping.
Clipping can also be caused by the following:
- Small diameter wire.
- Sensitivity to input is very high.
- A bigger alternator is needed.
- The source signal has too much gain.
3.Can’t get it to work
Another sign of a bad ground is that an amplifier won’t turn on. If your amplifier’s power circuit is completed by grounding, an amplifier with a bad ground won’t even turn on.
But the ground cables and power cables must be very thick to meet the amplifier’s need for a lot of electrical current.
If you don’t do this, the amplifier won’t turn on or work right.
The following can cause an amplifier not to turn on:
- Not having a remote.
- A burned out a fuse.
- Poor grounding.
- Putting an amplifier on a material that conducts electricity.
- If the power cable doesn’t have any power.
So, choose the right wiring kit for your amplifier to make sure it works well. It’s also important to make sure that your amplifier is properly grounded by making sure that the ground cable is tight and that the area where it connects is clean and free of any paint.
4.Always having to start over
A bad ground will cause an amplifier to keep turning off at random.
Loose or wrong grounding is one of the most common reasons why an amplifier stops working.
So, make sure that every connection is tight and that there are no loose cable strands that could trip a circuit breaker.
Also, make sure the ground connection is right, especially for safety and tightness.
An amplifier keeps turning on and off because of the following:
- Poor link between speakers.
- Impedance that doesn’t match.
- If something is wrong with the inside.
There are many things that could cause a disturbance that affects the whole car sound system. This makes it hard and takes a long time to find the problem.
The most common reasons for these problems are bad amplifier installation and not having a ground.
To fix this, make sure that the amplifier is properly grounded and that its metal case is not touching the frame of the car. You can also sometimes use a noise filter or a noise suppressor. Also, the length of your ground cable shouldn’t be more than 18 inches. A longer line can cause problems.
Also, your audio system’s patch wires, ground cables, antenna wire, and other parts can make unwanted sounds louder.
The problem is trying to figure out where the noise is coming from.
6.Smoke or fire
Fire or burning is the worst sign of a bad base. This is because you and your car are put in danger when you do this.
Where there is friction, heat is made. In which a bad ground, either on the amplifier or where it is attached to the frame of your car, could melt the ground connection to the amplifier, creating sparks that could start a fire. So, always double-check that it is mounted securely to avoid a tragedy.
How to Fix the Amplifier in Your Car?
If your amplifier wasn’t working right or if you use a multimeter to test it and find a problem, you can fix it in the following ways.
1.Get all the right tools.
These are the tools you’ll need to fix your amplifier:
- RCA cable.
- Cooling fan (not a must).
2.Take out the wires
Next, take out all of your car amplifier’s cables except for the power, ground, and remote cables.
3.Look at how the amplifier is hooked up.
The ground wire should be hooked up to the amplifier.
The ground wire shouldn’t have any rust on it and should be made of metal.
Also, make sure that the remote wire is connected to the blue wire.
4.Check the links.
Check the connections with a multimeter that can measure voltage.
5.Take a look at the amplifier
If the amplifier has no voltage, the connections may be loose or broken. So, you must check the open screws, nuts, and hardware.
6.Plug the wires back in.
The best thing to do would be to connect the speaker wire and RCA cable again. Make sure that the speaker wires are not touching anything else in the car. It will make a sound.
7.Look at the transistor.
Connect the transistor to the multimeter and look to see if any of them have a reading of zero ohms for resistance.
If something is broken, replace it right away.
8.Slow down the profit
If your amplifier is getting too hot, it could be turning the gain up too high.
If that’s the case, I’d suggest getting an extra fan to keep your amplifier from getting too hot.
If you can’t figure out what’s wrong, you should call a technician.
Also, it would be best to be careful when using a multimeter to test an amplifier in a car.
- Wires that are broken on a digital multimeter should never be used.
- To get accurate measurements, always keep the test leads and dial in the right place.
- Never try to check the power of your amplifier by using the resistance. Your multimeter will get broken.
- The test probes have guards for your fingers. So, to keep yourself safe, put your fingers on the finger guards every time you test the amplifier.
In conclusion, testing an amplifier with a multimeter will be easy if you follow all of the steps above. Also, don’t forget to take care of your safety and the safety of one of your devices.