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Car amplifier installation guide

Step-by-step instructions for wiring an amp

In the 1950's, I'd take the family television's vacuum tubes down to Willow Grove Radio and TV Repair, check them with the giant tester machine, buy new replacement tubes, and reassemble the repaired television, so my mom and dad could enjoy their precious, respectively, Dean Martin and Red Skelton shows. In the 1960's, I studied radio and electronics at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. After college, in the early 70's, I joined a rock 'n roll band as the soundman, learning how to operate the electronics that make music sound good. Then, I worked in a music store in Austin manufacturing, installing, repairing, and operating sound systems and components for recording studios, nightclubs, and touring bands. I moved back to Charlottesville permanently in 1984 and opened a little demo recording studio. I also attempted to put to practical use the creative writing degree I had picked up along the way. In 2006, I finally came to my senses and got this job at Crutchfield where they actually pay me to ramble on, rant, and explain the things I love about music, electronics, and getting good sound.

More from Buck Pomerantz

An advisor class learning how to do their thing.

In a Nutshell

Q: How do I install an amplifier? 

A: Read this article! We cover all of the basics of where to mount and how to wire the amplifier. And we'll walk you step-by-step through the installation process. We'll also share a few expert tips and tricks along the way. 

Please read over these guidelines before beginning the installation so you'll know what to expect.

Full Story

Here at Crutchfield, we always say, "Just give us a call if you have any questions." That's because our people know their stuff. For example, the photo at the top of the page is a recent group of new advisors in our sales and tech support teams finishing up their 13-week training class. One of the requirements is that they install a car audio system, often in their own vehicles, under the supervision of their trainer. We really put them to the test and they do indeed know their stuff. And with our help, you can too! 

This installation guide offers examples of amplifier installation and layout. Installation specifics will depend on the make and body style of your vehicle and the equipment you purchased.

You might want to watch this short video on the subject to get an overview of what's involved before going through this more-detailed guide.


Preliminary considerations

Before we get into the installation, let's talk about some of the details: 

  • What installation accessories do you need for the installation?
  • Where should you put the amp?
  • How and what do you dissassemble in order to run wires?

What wiring and accessories do I need?

Car amplifiers don't come with any wiring included. You must supply the amp's power and ground wiring, an inline fuse, a remote turn-on wire, RCA cables, and speaker wires.

007CPWR1 Amplifier power wire

Power and ground wires

The power and ground wires need to be thick enough to accommodate the amp's demand for electrical current or the amp won't operate properly or put out its rated power. Your amp's instructions will include a recommendation on what size wire to use. Or, you can check out How to determine the best size wire for help doing it yourself. Don't forget to measure all distances first, so you'll know what lengths of wire to get.

142EFXF200

The fuse that will protect your system

The in-line fuse on the main power cable, mounted within six inches or so of the battery connection, is essential for protecting the wire, your car, and you from a catastrophic fire in the event of a short circuit. Each wire manufacturer rates their wire's current capacity differently, but as a general rule, for a typical 16- to 20-foot run, you'll be safe using a:

  • 25-amp fuse with 10-gauge wiring
  • 60-amp fuse with 8-gauge wiring
  • 100-amp fuse with 4-gauge wiring
  • 250-amp fuse with 1/0-gauge wiring
007CK4 Crutchfield amp wiring kit

Crutchfield's 4-gauge amplifier power wiring kit

An amplifier wiring kit

The easiest way to get these items is with an amplifier wiring kit, which will include matching power, ground, turn-on wires, and fuse.

120RCA174 RCA patch cables

RCA cables and speaker wire

Amp wiring kits often don't include signal wiring. Your amplifier gets its input signals from the receiver's output typically via RCA cables. RCA cables come in stereo pairs, in various lengths. When running new speaker wires from your amplifier's output to the speakers, any size wire from 18- to 14-gauge will work fine. (The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire.) For subwoofers, use 16- to 12-gauge wires.

541SPW512B speaker wire

Where should I mount my amp?

Use these guidelines to choose a location for mounting your amplifier. A smart mounting location will help your installation go smoothly:

  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for mounting the amplifier and make sure it's secure. An amp that isn't secure could break loose in an accident and injure someone as it flies through the vehicle.
  • The amp should be at least three feet from the stereo to avoid noise radiated from the vehicle's electrical system. The amp can also interfere with the stereo's AM/FM reception.
  • Do not bolt your amplifier directly to your car's metal chassis — that's inviting noise problems, like ground loops which hum or buzz. You could use rubber grommets around the mounting screws to isolate the case. Or you could mount the amp on a wooden board and attach that to the car body.
  • An amp produces damaging heat during operation, which its heatsink absorbs and radiates, so it needs a few inches of air space around it to stay as cool as possible. Never mount an amp upside down, as dissipated heat will radiate back into the amp.
  • Make sure there's enough room for you to connect the wiring and adjust the controls (gain, crossover, bass boost, etc.).
Amplifier mounted in trunk

A compact subwoofer amplifier mounted in an out-of-the-way nook in a trunk with plenty of air space for cooling

Good locations to install an amplifier include:

  • On the firewall (passenger side)
    Pros: You can use short wires and patch cords. You won't have to remove a seat or climb into the trunk.
    Cons: Only very small amps fit here. This puts your amp close to some common noise sources.
  • In the trunk or hatch area
    Pros: Plenty of room for large amps. Near the rear speakers.
    Cons: You sacrifice some cargo space. Longer wires and patch cords are required.
  • Under a seat
    Pros: Closer to the receiver, so you can use shorter patch cables and signal cables, which are less prone to noise and signal degradation. Closer to the front speakers, so running wire to them will be easier. No cargo space sacrificed.
    Cons: You may have to remove the seat to do the installation. Warning: removing your seat could deactivate your vehicle's SRS (airbag) system. Only small amps will fit. The amp will need to be protected against water from rain or snow brought in on shoes.

Where do I run the wires for my amp?

All system wiring should be concealed for safety, and to give your installation a nice, finished look. Wires should be secured so that they do not interfere with safe vehicle operation. Depending on the location you choose for your amplifier, the wiring may need to be run under the dash, door scuff plate, pillar trimpanel, or kickpanel.

126CR3NGL

Boyo trim panel tools

The instructions below address, in general, which panels may need to be removed and how they typically come off. Often, panels can be pried up at the edges. You'll probably also need to remove some screws and retaining clips (Figure 1). To prevent damage, always use care when removing panels — a panel tool is helpful.

Figure 1

Screws and retaining clips might be present that will require removal

Removing the door scuff plate 

The plates are usually removed by prying up the edges to release clips. Some vehicles will have screws present which will need to be removed (Figure 2).

Scuff plate

Removing the seat belt

A seat belt may be located on a panel that needs to be removed. Most seat belt anchor covers pry off. The seat belt anchor is secured with a large nut or bolt (Figure 3).

Seatbelt cover

Removing the pillar trimpanel 

Remove the seat belt if present. Remove screw covers, screws, and plastic retaining clips if present. Pry up the edges of the panel to remove it (Figures 4 & 5).

Figure 4-5

Removing the kickpanel 

Look for screws and pry-out retaining clips to remove. Pry out the edges of the panel to release and remove it (Figure 6).

Kickpanel

Routing wire behind the dash

When routing wire behind or under the dash, always secure it with plastic wire ties. Be sure that the wire doesn't interfere with any moving parts to ensure safe operation of the vehicle.


System diagram

Time to install the amplifier

With that background stuff covered, it's time to get to work. Gather up your gear and tools, maybe a friend and a soda, and give yourself plenty of time. 

Step 1 — Disonnect the battery

Set the parking brake and disconnect the negative terminal from your battery to prevent any electrical shorts or shocks.

Step 2 — Mount the amplifier

Mount your amplifier in the location you've chosen. 

Step 3 — Install the power wire

The power wire from your amp wiring kit (usually 16-20 feet in length) needs to run from the battery, through your car's firewall, through the car's body to the amp. Find an unused grommet in the firewall or one that already has wires or cables passing through it and that has enough room for the power wire to fit through too.

Running power wire through the firewall

Route the power wire from your amp wiring kit through a hole in your vehicle's firewall, using a grommet or bushing to prevent the insullation from scraping against metal.

If you can't find an existing grommet, you'll have to drill a hole through the firewall. Make sure you don't drill into any electrical or gas lines — check both sides of the firewall. Use a grommet to protect your wire from fraying and shorting as it passes through the hole.

Step 4 — Install the fuse holder

The power wire from your amp wiring kit may have a fuse holder installed. If so, go to Step 5. If not, find a good spot close to your battery to place your fuse-holder (included in the kit) — less than 6" from the battery is best. Be aware: even after a fuse blows, the short stretch of cable between the battery and the fuse holder will still be live and a potential fire hazard in the event of an accident. Anchor the fuse holder to a suitable spot with a screw or cable tie, so it won't hang loose or bounce around.

Fuse near battery

Fuse installed on power wire, and secured in engine compartment near the battery.

Cut a short piece off the end of the power wire (to cover the distance from the battery to the fuse holder location), and strip the insulation off both ends with a wire stripper. Crimp the terminal ring (included in the kit) onto one end of the short piece of wire, and attach the fuse holder onto the other end. Strip the insulation off the end of the power wire that leads into the passenger compartment, and connect it to the other end of the fuse holder.

Multi-amp installations

When powering multiple amplifiers, you run a single heavy-gauge power cable from your battery to a distribution block, and then connect a lighter-gauge cable from the block to each amplifier. This arrangement minimizes potential noise problems and keeps your installation looking neat. Make sure the main power cable is thick enough that it can handle the total current draw of all the amplifiers.

Check out our amplifier wiring diagram to see how the wiring gets connected in a typical 2-amp system.

Step 5 — Connect the power wire

Attach the power cable to the positive battery terminal (not directly to the battery post itself). For top-mounted battery posts, the most common way to do this is to crimp a ring terminal onto the end of the power cable (many cables in wiring kits come with it already attached). Remove the battery terminal's nut, slip the power cable's ring over the bolt that secures the battery terminal to the battery post, and replace the nut. For GM vehicles with a side-mount post, we offer terminal adapters that work nicely.

A wire loom provides added protection for your wire against the high heat inside the engine compartment. If your kit includes a wire loom, thread it over the power cable until it reaches the firewall and cut to fit. Thread another piece over the short power wire running from the fuse holder to the battery.

Step 6 — Ground wire: the most important connection of all

As near to the amplifier's location as possible, find a bolt to your vehicle's metal frame to use for ground. If you can't find a convenient ground screw or bolt, drill a hole for one — be careful not to drill into any wiring, the gas tank, or a gas or brake line. Crimp a ring terminal (usually included with the amp kit) to the short piece of ground cable (also in the kit).

Scrape away any paint and clean the bolt location thoroughly, and then bolt the terminal tightly to the vehicle's metal chassis. Use a lock washer, a star washer, extra screws, and any other technique or device that'll keep this connection tight, clean, and electrically conducting. Many people even coat the final connection with silicone caulk to prevent corrosion.

Ground wire

Scrape the paint away from the contact point so the ground connection will be bare metal to bare metal.

Improper or loose grounding is the #1 cause of amplifier problems.

Step 7 — Install the remote turn-on wire

The turn-on wire (also called the remote wire) is located behind the stereo. On aftermarket stereos, it's usually a blue and white wire. The remote wire will "tell" your amplifier to turn on whenever the stereo is powered up (usually, whenever the vehicle is turned on). You'll have to remove the stereo to get to this wire. For step-by-step instructions on removing your vehicle's radio, see your vehicle-specific Crutchfield MasterSheet™, or read our Car stereo installation guide.

Remote turn-on wire

Locate the remote turn-on lead behind your radio (usually a blue and white wire), and connect the turn-on lead from your amplifier wiring kit to it.

Strip the insulation off a small section of this wire coming from the radio and the turn-on lead that came with your wiring kit and connect them together via solder, a crimp connector, or a Posi-Connector.

The turn-on signal is +12 volts DC. If, like a factory radio, your radio doesn't have a remote turn-on output, then you can get the turn-on signal from your vehicle's fuse box. Because of its low current demand, you can connect your turn-on lead to almost any fused output terminal, like the one for the radio itself for instance, as long as it only powers up when the vehicle's on. Using an Add A Fuse connector plus a 2A to 10A fuse will make this connection easier.

You'll need to route the turn-on lead to your amplifier through the car's body — it's often easiest to route the turn-on wire with the RCA cables (next step) but you can also route it with the power wire after it passes through the firewall. The power and RCA cables should run on opposite sides of the vehicle, to reduce noise — but it won't matter for the turn-on lead's low current.

Step 8 — Making the signal connections

If your in-dash receiver has preamp (RCA) outputs, connect your RCA patch cables to them. Route the patch cables to the opposite side of the vehicle from the power cable. It's important to separate the patch cables from the power wires as much as possible to avoid potential noise problems. Now you can partially re-install the radio in the dash. Avoid completely re-installing it if you can, in case you need to fix a problem later.

If you're using a factory radio with no RCA outputs, you can get your amplifier's input signals from the factory speaker wiring. The speakers will be getting their signal from the new amplifier — which leaves the radio's outputs available to use for the amp's inputs. There are two ways to do this: get a line output converter (LOC) that'll adjust the speaker-level signal for your amp's input, or get an amplifier with speaker-level inputs. You cut the factory speaker wires behind the radio, and connect the wires coming from the radio to your LOC or amp's inputs.

142SLC4

Scosche SLC4 Line Output Converter

Learn more about line output converters

Step 9 — Speaker wiring

Now you have to provide a way for the music to get from your new amp to the speakers. The best way to do that is to run a new speaker wire from each amplifier output to each speaker. Use 14- or 16-gauge wire for speakers, 12- or 14-gauge for subwoofers. Speaker-level signals are not very prone to picking up interference, so it's okay to run your speaker wires near power cables.

You'll have to run each wire for your door speakers through the rubber gasket or boot around the hinge, to protect the wires from the weather or from getting pinched in the door. There may be a Molex plug or a similar obstruction blocking the way, but you can usually find a place to drill a hole through it big enough to fit your wire through. Disconnect or cut the factory speaker wires and connect the new wires directly to each speaker terminal.

It is important that you keep the polarity of your speaker wiring straight. This means that each positive terminal of the amp connects to a positive terminal of a speaker — and the same goes for the negative terminals. This ensures that your speakers will operate in mechanical phase — all the speaker cones moving the same direction with the same kind of signal — and will sound balanced when playing together. The positive and negative terminals of each speaker should be labeled, but if not, the positive terminal will usually be wider than the negative terminal.

Use your factory speaker wiring

Another and much more convenient way to send the powered signal from the amp to your speakers is to run the speaker wires to the harness that’s behind your receiver, where all your car’s speaker connections are accessible in one place. You cut each speaker wire from the receiver's harness and reconnect it to a speaker wire coming from the amp. Then, the signal can flow from the amp to the speakers by way of the vehicle's original factory wiring. This technique will work fine in systems with up to 75 watts RMS of power per channel — but for more powerful systems it would be better to run new speaker wire directly from the amp to each speaker.

Check out How to connect an amplifier to a factory stereo to see how this can be done.

Step 10 — Connect all the wires

Neatly drape or trim each wire and connect it to the amp. Make gentle curves with the wires, not sharp bends that could pinch. Many people cut small slits in their vehicle's carpeting and run their wires underneath, for stealthy installations that look factory-neat. A wiring snake comes in handy for this. Tape your wires to the snake, fish it under and through to where you want your wires to go, and pull them on through.

RCA cables plugged in

RCA cables routed through slits in the vehicle's carpet, and connected to the amplifier's signal inputs

Step 11 — Turning it on

Check all of your wiring, from the battery and receiver to the amp and speakers, making sure every connection is tight and secure with no stray wire strands laying out that could cause a short circuit. Especially, check that the ground connection is tight and secure. Set all the amplifier's gains to minimum, and turn off all the filters and any bass boost or EQ it may have. See that the main fuse is properly installed in its holder. Then, reconnect your car's negative battery cable.

Turn on your car, then turn on the radio. Verify that the amplifier powered up (there'll probably be an indicator light on it somewhere). Play some music and turn the volume up just loud enough to hear. Now verify that sound is coming from each speaker and/or subwoofer in your system. If everything sounds right, you can finish re-installing the stereo and all your vehicle's paneling, and then move ahead to step 12.

If things aren't working as they should, see the Troubleshooting section below. 

Step 12 — Setting the amp's gain

Setting your amplifier's gain, or input sensitivity, matches the amp's input level with the receiver's output level, resulting in maximum distortion-free music and minimum background noise.

Gain setting on an amplifier

Setting the amp's gain

For a detailed explanation of how to do this, read our article about setting the gains on a 4-channel amplifier. If you’re installing an amp for a subwoofer, read How to tune your subs. The approach is the same, we’ve just tailored the explanation to each situation. 

Enjoy your new system.

Enjoying the vehicle.

Troubleshooting your amplifier installation

Sometimes things just don't work like we expect them to right from the start. Here are some of the most common problems that can occur when installing an amplifier. 

Factory radios and their security codes

If you're using a factory radio, it may need its anti-theft security code reset. If so, you can usually find the code and resetting procedure in the vehicle's owner's manual, online, or from a car dealership service department (be prepared to prove you own the vehicle).

Amplifier doesn't power-up

In order to properly and safely troubleshoot a malfunctioning electrical system you'll need to use a multimeter to measure voltages and check continuity. Crutchfield sells the Install Bay 3320 digital multimeter, but if you're in a hurry, you can probably find one at your local hardware or electrical supply store.

  1. Measure the voltage at the amplifier between the ground and positive power terminals. If no voltage is present, go to Step 2. If +12 volts DC is present, skip down to Step 3.
  2. Remove the inline fuse by the battery and check it for continuity. No continuity means the fuse is blown and needs replacing. Good continuity means that a power or ground wire is loose or not connected somewhere along the line.
  3. Measure the voltage at the amplifier between the ground and remote turn-on lead terminals. If it reads +12 volts DC, either the amp's onboard fuses are blown (check continuity and replace if necessary), or there's something wrong with the amplifier and you should return it to your dealer for repair. If you find no voltage here, it means the remote lead is either broken or not connected correctly.

Amplifier comes on but no sound comes from the speakers

  • Try turning up the amplifier's gain a little. Make sure all its filters are off or deactivated.
  • Check your source. Make sure it's really playing music and not idling. If, for example, only some speakers aren't playing but others are, it may be that the receiver's fade or balance control isn't set to the middle. Some receivers have a mute function — you'll want to check on that, too. Make sure the RCA cables are plugged in properly.
  • Turn the receiver and amp off. Unplug all the RCA cables from the receiver. Turn the receiver and amp back on. Now, touch the inner pin of one of the RCA plugs with a finger. If the wiring is good, you will hear a soft hum coming from a speaker. Test all the RCA cables this way. If all the speakers hum, it means the receiver's not putting out signal and may need to be looked at by a service technician. Or, if you're using a line output converter, it's not hooked up right. If you hear no humming on any channel, turn off the receiver and amp and plug the RCAs back in.
  • With the receiver and amp off, unplug the RCA cables from the amplifier's input jacks. Get a short RCA cable that you know is good and plug it into the amp's input. Turn the receiver and amp on. Touch the inner pin of the RCA plug at the free end of the cable, and listen for a hum. Test all the amplifier's channels this way. If every channel hums, it means the RCA cables from the receiver are bad and need to be replaced. If you hear no humming, turn off the system and re-connect the patch cables to the amp inputs. (Another, better, way to perform this test is to plug a portable music player or phone directly to the amp's inputs with a mini-to-RCA adapter from the headphone jack, and play music through the amp.)
  • Check the speaker wiring. No part of your speaker wiring should touch any part of your vehicle's metal body — that's a short circuit that could damage your amp and speakers. Another place to look for short circuits is at the amplifier's speaker terminals. It's very common to find a strand or two of stray wiring touching another wire, causing none of the speakers to work (the amp has sensed a short and shut down).
  • Disconnect the speaker wires from the amp. Take a battery, 9 volts or less, and momentarily touch its poles to the positive and negative wires of a speaker. If the wires and speaker are good, you will hear the speaker click. Test all the speakers this way. If all the speakers click, it means the amplifier has a problem and probably needs to go in for servicing. If the speakers didn't click, you'll need to repeat this battery test at each speaker to determine whether the wire or the speaker itself needs to be repaired or replaced.

Noise: humming, buzzing, or whining

  • The vast majority of noise problems are caused by bad grounding. If your ground point is free of dirt and paint and making a good connection to your vehicle's frame, try moving the ground to a different spot and see if that clears it up.
  • Actually, any loose wire throughout your car could cause noise, even your battery terminals. Low battery fluid can also be a source of system-wide noise.
  • The case of your amplifier making contact with your vehicle's metal body could cause noise. Any part of the signal system's negative wiring or shielding that touches the car's metal body could cause noise.
  • See How to diagnose and suppress noise for more tips on fixing noise problems.

Don't overwhelm your vehicle's electrical system

We have assumed you picked equipment that your car's electrical system can handle. It would be wildly inappropriate, for example, to try to run 5,000 watts RMS worth of amplifiers in a compact car with a small-capacity alternator. Such a system would quickly bog down the car's system and eventually burn out the alternator. Some people, especially competitors, upgrade their alternators to accommodate their high-power systems.

One common symptom of over-powering is the dimming of lights when bass notes hit. If your lights dim just a little during heavy bass passages, you might benefit by installing a capacitor on the bass amp's power cable. Otherwise, check out Headlights dim when the music plays to help solve over-powering issues.

Install.

Give us a call — we'll help you outfit your system

Your best first step is to call Crutchfield and talk to an Advisor about what your amplifier will need. They'll make sure you get all the necessary hardware and accessories for a successful and satisfying installation. And remember, anything you buy from Crutchfield comes with free lifetime tech support. Just click on "Contact Us" at the top of this page for the toll-free number and other methods of contacting us.

Last updated 10/27/2017
  • Justin Garrison from Apex, NC

    Posted on 5/11/2015

    Hi, I installed a powered subwoofer (Rockford Fosgate P300-10) in my 2014 Honda Accord, and I hear some humming/rumbling when I start my car engine. I kept the factory stereo, so I had to use a 2-Line Converter to connect the rear speakers to the RCAs in the subwoofer. When I turn on my car engine, I hear 4 loud rumbles from the subwoofer, roughly 1 second apart. The car stereo is "off" when I start the engine, and the sub does not even turn on until the stereo starts playing music (the sub detects 'audio' in order to power itself on). I do NOT hear the rumble if I turn the car to Acc/On, it only happens when I start the engine. I tried sanding down the ground location in my trunk and re-attaching the ground wire, but that did not fix the problem. Any ideas? Is there an "ideal" ground location in the trunk of a 2014 Accord? Also, I noticed a small spark when I re-attached the ground wire to the bolt this time. Is that a red flag? Thanks!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/11/2015

    Justin, Usually when engine noise is heard in a system it's because of a loose ground or power connection, but other things may contribute. Check out this article for help troubleshooting your problem. Maybe you could try grounding it at a different point. If you bought your sub from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Clint from Decatur Illinois

    Posted on 5/22/2015

    Can you describe a installation of a 200W amp on a 2004 Honda Goldwing?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/27/2015

    Clint, Sorry but I am unfamiliar with that motorcycle and what systems would work in it. The Goldwing isn't even in Crutchfield's vehicle database. You'll need to look for an amplifier that's compact and made to withstand the outdoor environment - in other words designed for marine or power sports use. You might find better suggestions in the Goldwing Owners Forums.

  • Bryan from corapeake, NC

    Posted on 6/5/2015

    i want to add a powered subwoofer to my existing 2008 RAM 1500 4 speaker system. do i have to go through all of this set up like stuff for that? are there specific instructions for powered subwoofers?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/5/2015

    Bryan, A powered subwoofer sure is more convenient to install than a separate amplifier and sub enclosure, but, except for speaker wiring, you still have to go through all the same installation steps as you would for any other amplifier.

  • Robert Riddle from Henderson NV.

    Posted on 7/3/2015

    Just a thought, there are grommets available for your power wire from battery through firewall or any metal that when locked make a water proof seal between the grommet and the metal and also a seal around the power wire. I use a dielectric grease on all threads and around the wire for a backup to the seals of the grommet. The grommets are price effective and worth every penny. These are a compression type fitting for a good seal.

  • Roy Nickerson from port Allegany

    Posted on 7/13/2015

    I need help I have a vr-3 headunit and a vr-3 amp I have the amp were it will turn on but im haveing truble with the rca cord I have only one sub hook up and a 2 channel amp I have the y splitter hooked up to the one sub conecter and then both my rca cords hooked into that and on the amp I have them pluged into the line in holes and my speakers are hooked up the amp is not running my speakers I have the out ports and dont know how to hook them up and were to hook them up

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/14/2015

    Roy, If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Felix Harvey from Dyer

    Posted on 8/11/2015

    Adding two amps to my truck next week. One has three 30 amp fuses already installed and the other has 2 30 amp fuses already installed. Do I need a fused or unfused power distribution block? I am going to run 0 gauge wire from the battery with a 150 amp ANL fuse close to it.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/11/2015

    Felix, With the main fuse by the battery and each amplifier having its own onboard fuses, you'll be okay using an unfused distribution block.

  • Alvaro Ceballos from West Palm Beach

    Posted on 9/17/2015

    A JVC KWV41BT head unit, a 4 channel amp for component speakers and an amp for a subwoofer were installed in my car but I can't seem to tune the EQ for the speakers and subwoofers separately. I also don't have fader or balance controls; channeling the sound to either front, back, left, right just doesn't work and the music still sounds the same intensity from the speakers and subwoofer regardless. What could be the issue?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/18/2015

    Alvaro, I recommend going back to whoever installed the amp, point out the issues, and try and get them to correct them. It sounds like a separate RCA cable for each output channel of the receiver was not installed - although lack of left-right balance control is puzzling. If you bought your amplifier at Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Raul Hurtado from BAKERSFIELD

    Posted on 12/8/2015

    Hello i have a 1998 mercedes e320 and im having trouble trying to install my amp. Because im trying to keep the original stereo and i dont know where to get the remote wire. Or the rca wire.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/9/2015

    Raul, You'll need to connect your amp's remote turn-on lead to any 12-volt circuit that comes on when the car gets turned on, like the radio's power terminal in the fuse box or a powered antenna. If your amplifier has speaker-level inputs you could connect them to the radio's speaker wiring to get input signals. Otherwise you'll need to get a line output converter to send RCA line-level signals to the amp from the speaker wiring. If you bought your amplifier at Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help wiring your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Chris from Los Angeles

    Posted on 12/27/2015

    Hi, Gonna run a Rockford fosgate prime 500.1 to one rf p2d4-12 and an rf prime 300.4 to four door kicker door speakers 41-dsc654.. Not too much power.. Question is would it be better to run two separate 4 gauge power kits or run a 1/0 to a distribution block and then 4ga to each amp.. Thank you and happy holidays

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/28/2015

    Chris, Those two amplifiers should be okay using a single 4-gauge wire from the battery to a distribution block and 8-gauge wires from there to each amp. Although it won't hurt anything using larger wire, 1/0-gauge wire may be expensive overkill. And one 1/0-gauge wire will be able to carry about the same amount of current per second as two 4-gauge wires, so only convenience matters as to which way to go for that.

  • avery cotton from louisville

    Posted on 1/31/2016

    I have a 2007 Toyota Camry factory radio , jbl , I need to know what items I need and instructions for installation wireing guide..

  • Marc Cozad from Pembroke

    Posted on 2/26/2016

    I'm thinking about getting a Kenwood KSC-SW1. I just need a little more bass from the OEM radio. The specs say it has a maximum current consumption of 8.5 amps. The question is, with the power consumption only at 8.5 amps can I hook the power to the in cabin fuse box? I think the installation manual shows it going to the fuse box first. The inline fuse that comes with it is 10a.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/26/2016

    Marc, The installation manual for that sub is rather confusing, but I think it's showing that its switched and constant power wires can hook up with the wires that power the receiver. That means that it will probably be alright using the vehicle's fuse box to get power.

  • David Pagnott from Palm Harbor, Florida

    Posted on 3/8/2016

    I have a DEH P3100Ub Pioneer deck..I am adding Two RF 501bd amps and two Punch P3 12" subs,(dual voice coil 4 ohm)(can they be wired to two ohms and have the amps remain stable?)... plus I am adding a RF 301x 900 4 channel amp for my speakers.The deck only has two pre-outs and the amps (vintage) dont have "outs"..so i have to split rca's for the sub amps, and for the 4 channel amp as well.(is that correct?).I am wiring this to a 98 ford escort zx2 cool coupe..the car is 14.2 feet long..the amps are being mounted in the trunk ..farthest from the battery as you can get..it just worked out that way......can you give me a list of exactly what i will need?..including fuses and distribution blocks? Plus wire for wiring the subs and four speakers..using 4gage for main power and ground and 12 gage wire for subs and 14g for speakers?

  • Kobe Rourke from California md

    Posted on 3/8/2016

    Hello, I have a hifonics Brutus 2000.1 anmp and 4 guage wiring kit. The amp powers on but the subs get no sound from the amp. They are new subs and have been hooked directly to the head unit and work. And I've switched out all rca cables. Also I've hooked up an old amp that I knew worked and still had no sound to subs. Also I have got new speaker wire from the amp to the subs. Any responses would be greatly appreciated

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/10/2016

    Kobe, A list of what may be wrong is long. Here are some things to check for: Is the subwoofer output of your receiver turned on? Is the ground wire absolutely secure - bare metal-to-bare metal contact? Is the amp seeing less than a 1-ohm load? Is any speaker wire touching the car's metal frame or another wire? If you bought your amp from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number would be on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Nick Looper from Waskom

    Posted on 3/27/2016

    I'm having some kind of trouble with my truck. I recently installed a amp problem and sub that I purchased from yall. Somehow, it caused my body control module to go out and have to be replaced by the ford dealership and suggested advice?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/28/2016

    Nick, Call Crutchfield Tech Support for help and advice. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you can't find it, you can still contact them via phone - just click on the phone icon at the very top of this page for information.

  • Todd Trap from Kentwood

    Posted on 4/13/2016

    Hello. I have a single cab pick-up truck. So far the system I'm putting together includes: Pioneer FHX820BS receiver, Polk Audio DB651s door speakers, JL Audio Microsub CP106Lg-W3v3 6.50 Subwoofer and Kicker CX300.1 mono amp. I was originally going to run the door speakers off of the head unit but now want to add a 2-channel amp. I want to purchase the Kicker DXA125.2 2-channel amp (30 watts RMS x 2). What would be the best way to wire up up both of these amps? I was thinking about getting the EFX PAD 8BX Wiring Kit (for adding second amp) to go along with my current EFX 8 gauge wiring kit. Neither amp has an on board fuse and they both need a 40 amp fuse at the battery. I'm a little confused on how to use the wiring kit for adding the second amp. Would I use one 80 amp fuse at the battery and two 40 amp fuses in the distribution block? Can I splice into the remote wire from the other amp without any problems? Or am I better off just running a single power wire from each amp (one 40 amp fuse on each) to the battery and running two separate remote wires from the receiver to the amps? Just looking for the easiest way to do this.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/14/2016

    Todd, As long as you don't plan on any power upgrades in the near future, you should be fine using one 8-gauge power wire from your battery to a distribution block. Make sure to install a 60-amp fuse near the battery - most manufacturers rate their 8-gauge wire to carry up to 60 amps before failing, and you want the fuse to blow before the wire and your car burn up in the event of a short circuit. Using a fused distribution block with two 40-amp fuses, or installing them inline after the block, will further protect your amps and installation.

  • James Wymer from Baltimore

    Posted on 5/7/2016

    I am installing a kicker 1200 watt amp and I bought a converter because I am using factory radio. How do I exactly hook the converter up. Do I have to use both sets of wires to hook to the speakers or is 1 sufficient?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/9/2016

    James, Even if it didn't come with instructions, if you bought your line output converter at Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help wiring your system. Their toll-free number would be on your invoice. Even if you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Sean from warwick

    Posted on 6/14/2016

    Hello. Can i mount my amp ....( with plastic mounting holes) to the cats mettal chassis. I.e. under the back window dash in trunk. I knkw about heat gojng up thats why i also have 2 seperate DC fans blowing over amp to help cool

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/15/2016

    Sean, Unless your amplifier's installation instructions specifically state that you can, you should never mount an amp upside down. Internal heat flowing the wrong way could cause damage. And mounting an amp with its metal case making electrical contact with your vehicle's chassis could set up a ground loop, causing noise. One way to prevent this is to mount a piece of wood to the car's body, and then secure the amp to the wood.

  • Shaun

    Posted on 6/19/2016

    Hello Buck, In the first picture, it's showing that both RCA and Power cables are using the same side of the vehicle to connect to the Amp. But I heard that they should be connected in parallel to the Amp to avoid any noise. What's your take on this? I recently had my $2000 ICE done which unfortunately making a hissing/buzzing noise. I have an appointment with the installer for the same. Meanwhile, striking my head against all the odds. Thanks!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/20/2016

    Shaun, That overview diagram is more of a general guide than an exact wiring schematic. Most guides do recommend running the power and signal wiring along opposite sides of a vehicle to avoid induced interference, although many people run them together with no problem. Most noise problems, however, come from inadequate grounding.

  • Mark from Greenville

    Posted on 7/5/2016

    Just installed the Sound Ordnance B-8PTD and so far it sounds great! However it pops when I turn the stereo on AND off. I know this isn't normal, but not sure what to do about it. Kenwood KDC-BT365U head unit.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/6/2016

    Mark, Not knowing how your powered sub is wired to your system or how it powers up make it difficult to troubleshoot your issue. Fortunately you should be covered by Crutchfield's lifetime tech support for our customers. Give them a call. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Anthony Price from Easley

    Posted on 8/29/2016

    I am not getting an sound through my amp in CD mode or aux mode but when in radio mode it works fine.have Sony explode deck Sony 1200 amp and 2 explode 10" subs

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/30/2016

    Anthony, It sounds to me like your receiver's defective, or I'm not understanding your issues. If you bought any of your gear from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Adam from Cincinnati

    Posted on 9/3/2016

    Hey my name is Adam I hooked up a 1300 wat APM to my old mobile Alero go and with 1600 watt wires and it keeps kicking off the APM if I turn the bass even up to -3

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/6/2016

    Adam, If you want a question answered about your system, you must identify all your equipment by brand names and model numbers.

  • ALMARIE from Springdale

    Posted on 10/17/2016

    I need help badly. I have a 2008 mercury milan I need to hook up a L7 speaker and my BOSS AMP help step by step

  • Martin

    Posted on 10/18/2016

    I have got only 1 important comment the power wire and the ground wire should both be connected to the battery if you connect the ground wire to the chassis the current will have to flow through the chassis and find it's way through the pointwelds . or maybe worse the current may flow through other wiring in your car This will eventually give electrical problems to your electrical circuit and may or will even ruin your car i have been working with car audi / and pro audio for over 20 year and have seen some very expensive cars being ruined this way

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/18/2016

    Almarie, If this Installation Guide or its PDF version don't help you, maybe you would benefit from getting a professional to do the installation. Crutchfield offers an amplifier InstallCard and a subwoofer InstallCard that'll let your local car audio installer get the job done right. Or, if you still want to do it yourself, you can purchase some expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Chelsea keelin from Ashland ky

    Posted on 10/21/2016

    Why is there no sound coming out of low pass only plays in full pass?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/24/2016

    Chelsea, When its low-pass filter is engaged, an amplifier will only play notes lower than the crossover frequency. Perhaps whatever music you're listening to has no information down there.

  • Liza from Kingsville

    Posted on 12/2/2016

    Hello, there isn't any sound coming out of speakers at all. No chiming when doors are open or when blinker is on or when radio is on. I've been told that more than likely I need to replace amplifier but have no clue where it's even located in my vehicle. I have a 2011 Chevy traverse. Fuses have been checked and all fuses are good. Would you happen to know where the amplifier on my vehicle is located.I'd hate to purchase a brand new amplifier and that not be the problem. Thanks in advance. Liza

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/5/2016

    Liza, If you're having trouble with a factory system, you'll have to go to an auto repair shop that can handle electrical problems. If you've had an aftermarket receiver installed, it had to have a special factory integration wiring harness in order to work in your vehicle. If you bought the receiver from Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number is on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.

  • Raul from Houston

    Posted on 1/8/2017

    I want to install a Kenwood KAC-M1824BT amplifier on my 1972 Dodge Dart. It has no factory radio and the fuses are the glass type. Where would I hook up the power control wire? Could I splice it to the wire going to the gas sender?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/9/2017

    Raul, Even if your car doesn't have a radio, it probably still has a fused circuit for one in the fuse box, that deactivates when the car is turned off. Try identifying which circuit that is and connect to that for the amplifier's power control signal.

  • Cecil Hepditch from Stjohns

    Posted on 2/4/2017

    I have two JBL GX602 60W continues & 180W peak speakers & Two JBL GX 962 100W continues & 300W peak speakers along with a Kicker 300W Subwoofer @ 4 ohms. Can I connect all this to my 2 Channel Kenwood Kac-5206 400W Amplifier or what type Amp would I need ?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/7/2017

    Cecil, If you want to amplify four speakers and a subwoofer, a 2-channel amplifier will not do. Try looking at 5-channel amps, where each channel drives a separate device, like a Soundstream Picasso Nano PN5.640D.

  • Darrell W from San Bernardino

    Posted on 3/4/2017

    Would this installation be the same for all general size cars?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/6/2017

    Darrell, This diagram is of a generalized, fits-all-sizes, non-product-specific car audio system. Every installation is different, but the element components are basically the same. We present the diagram so you can get a quick and easy picture of all the elements that make up a system and how they connect to each other.

  • Teody from Bergenfield

    Posted on 3/26/2017

    Hi, I have purchased 4-door speakers for my toyota rav4. Should i wire it directly to the amplifier without connecting the speaker harnesses to head unit? Or should i wire it both to head unit and amplifier? I will also need an advise if i can use any 4-ga wiring kit to a 5 channel amplifier. Planning to just buy rca and speaker wires separately instead of buying the expensive 5-6 channel complete wiring kit.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/27/2017

    Teody, The vehicle harness that plugs into a car receiver contains the receiver's power connections as well as speaker connections, so it needs to get plugged in. You can run speaker wires from your amplifier to each speaker, disconnecting the factory speaker wires at the speaker. Another method is to run an 8-conductor speaker cable from the amp to the harness, where you'd cut the wires to the receiver and connect to the wires going to the speakers, like this article describes. What size power wiring kit to use will be specified in your amp's owner's manual.

  • Troy from New York

    Posted on 4/6/2017

    Need some help. I bought a new pioneer head unit and speakers from Crutchfield and installed it in my jeep. Instructions etc were great! I just got a 5 channel amp and want to hook this up and read that running new dedicated speaker wires would be the best thing to do. My question is this. I'm going to use the RCA outs on my head unit to the amp. Then I'm going to run dedicated speaker wires from the amp to the speakers. What do I do with the speaker wires connected to the radio harness? Do I cut them and cap them off since I will be using the RCA outs on the head unit instead? Or if using the RCA outs, do they just override the signal that would normally go to the harness speaker outputs? Hope this makes sense.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/7/2017

    Troy, You unplug the factory speaker wires at each speaker and leave them intact. You should tape off the ends, if there're any exposed contacts.

  • Isaac from Merced

    Posted on 6/9/2017

    Hi, I'm running a speaker wire from trunk to driver front speaker but running it down the passenger side since I do not want to take carpet out and power cables are being ran down the driver side. Is it fine to use 14 gauge wire for this long run (25 ft give or take 3 ft)

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/10/2017

    Isaac, 14-gauge speaker wire will work great in your install.

  • DOnald from Springfield

    Posted on 6/17/2017

    I have a 2007 Chevy Malibu and i cant seem to find a good spot to run the power wire though the firewall any suggestions.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/19/2017

    Donald, Our vehicle research photos show a large black grommet just right of center, high on the firewall.

  • JAMES POLIVKA from SPARTANBURG

    Posted on 6/20/2017

    5 Channel Amplifier Head Unit Stereo Output to Amplifier Mono Sub Input I am shopping for a new reciever and have found that although some are available with 5 channels, most units are equipped with 6 RCA Pre-Outs with one pair being Subwoofer Stereo L and R. I need to connect this to the Mono RCA input on my 5 channel amplifier. I have downloaded PDF manuals from a couple different head unit manufacturers and no solution such as program setting to switch output for either Mono or Stereo exists. I have not found any converter box marketed to change Unbalanced Stereo input to Unbalanced Mono output. What do I need to do to get all audio signals to my mono subwoofer?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/21/2017

    James, Every 5-channel amplifier I've encountered has left/right subwoofer inputs, two RCA jacks, which sum their signals via a small circuit inside the amp. If your amp's subwoofer channel has only a single RCA input, you can use a single subwoofer output of the receiver, left or right. Bass content is usually the same in both channels.

  • Martin Thomas Patrick

    Posted on 7/12/2017

    Hi i have kenwood KVT 514 which doesn't have a sub out but rear/sub i have an rockford fosgate p2 dvc and planet audio mono amp and 4 channel amp for the speakers how will be the setting for the headunit rear or sub out?? if sub how will be able to control the rear? if rear what will be the wiring diagram?

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/12/2017

    Martin, Use the front and rear outputs of the receiver for the 4-channel amp's inputs. If neither amp has preamp outputs, you'll need to get the mono amp's input signal by way of Y-cords connected to the 4-channel amp's front channel inputs.

  • Charles Burgess from Russellville

    Posted on 9/10/2017

    Hello i have a boss cx122 and a Boss AR1500M Armor Series 1500 Watt Mono Car Amplifier. The amplifier has been getting burning hot and shutting off on longer rides I've check everything I could think of. Could use some help on this thank you!

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/11/2017

    Charles, If your amplifier overheats while playing through a 4-ohm load, then either the amp's defective or it's being overdriven. I'd venture to guess it's the latter, and you'd do better with a more powerful amplifier.

  • Budzy

    Posted on 9/21/2017

    Hi Sir. I want to seek advise. I have a 4 channel car stereo, 8 pcs of 4 ohms 200W component speakers and 2 pcs 1200 Watts 4 ohms Sub-woofers. I want to use my 2 pcs amplifier (2 ch 1000W Class AB each) for the 8 speakers and 1 pc amplifier (2 ch 500W RMS) for the 2 subs. The 2 RCA terminals of the Car Stereo will be for the amp of the subs. And the other 2 RCA terminals, can I use an RCA splitter (1 in 2 out) to give signal for the 2 pcs class AB amps? I'm not sure if this is correct. Pls Advice. Thanks a lot.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/21/2017

    Budzy, You can use Y-cord adapters to get four inputs for your amplifiers, but you'll lose your stereo's front-to-rear fade function.

  • Ronnie from Deltona

    Posted on 10/19/2017

    Hi I hope this is a simple fix. I am helping my son install an amp in his 2008 Hyundai Sante Fe and we are putting it in the rear cargo area. I am having a heck of a time trying to find a spot to place the ground wire. I am using the 8 gauge wire sent with amp but the back rear seat bolts are very hard to get to and the front ones are too far away. The rear cargo area has the plastic insert on the floor for cargo. Can suggest a location for the ground or do we need to change the location of the amp. He wanted it visible because the BOSS on the amp left gets up blue and he wants it visible. Help the frustrated dad please.

  • Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/21/2017

    Ronnie, Two good spots for a ground are a lower seatbelt bolt or a bolt holding the seat itself. Otherwise, you could screw a ground terminal to your vehicle's bare metal frame with a ground connector like this EFX Ultimate Ground Terminal.

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