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  4. Amplifier Troubleshooting
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  3. Amplifier Troubleshooting

Amplifier Troubleshooting

Will Not Power On

  1. Using a multimeter, check the voltage on the main power wire (B+) at the amp. It should be 12 volts when the car is off and 13.8 to 14.4 volts when running.
  2. The main power wire should be run directly to the battery and fused at the battery positive post.
  3. Be sure there is voltage on the remote turn-on lead from the radio. It should show 12 volts, with the radio powered on.
  4. The ground is on a clean metal point near the amplifier.
  5. If everything tests correctly, check the in-line fuse and amp fuses. If any fuse is bad, replace it and retest the amplifier.

Protection Light Comes On

  1. Start by troubleshooting for no power (see above).
  2. Unplug/disconnect speaker wiring from the amp. If the protection light turns off, check all speakers and wiring for possible speaker failure or shorted wiring. Be sure no speaker wire is touching any metal point.
  3. Check RCA cables. If the RCA cables are grounded, burnt, or pinched, the amp may go into protection or have no sound output. Unplug RCA cables and retest using clean new RCA cables.

No Output

  1. Make sure the amp is turning on, with the above steps.
  2. Be sure all RCA cables are plugged in properly. Be sure RCA cable are not grounded, burnt, or pinched.
  3. Check the amp’s crossovers and gain settings. You need to ensure gains are set properly. (See amplifier owner’s manual for gain settings.)
  4. Check input switching for input/mode switch is in the correct position. (On select amplifiers.)
  5. Be sure speakers are the correct impedance for your amplifier.
  6. Check all speakers and speaker wiring for grounded or shorted wires.

Clipping Amp (Amp turns on and off)

  1. Clipping is caused by not enough current (amperage) to run the amplifier. Amplifiers main power lead should connect directly to the battery. Grounds should be on a clean metal surface close to the amplifier. Or poor or failing speakers or speaker connections.
  2. Test the main power wire running to the battery to be sure there is no voltage drop at the amplifier. (Testing at the battery and then at the amp should show the same voltages during use.)
  3. Unplug the speaker wires and continue playing sound. The power, ground and RCA cables should still be connected. If it stops clipping, one of the speakers is shorting out or your wire is burnt.
  4. If the amp continues after disconnecting the speaker wire, you must check the ground connection. It might have come loose.

Hearing Engine Whine. Typically, this can be caused by a bad ground or faulty RCA cables.

  1. Be sure your amplifier is grounded by itself to a clean metal point that is free of paint near the amplifier.
  2. Do not run the RCAs along with the power or ground wires.

Overheating Amplifier

  1. Check the airflow to the amp.
  2. Examine the wiring. Ensure that the subwoofers and speakers are wired together with an impedance that the amp remains stable with.
  3. Check the amp voltage while playing. If it goes below 12 volts, you do not have enough power, which forces the amp to work harder.

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